Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:15 - 4:15

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:15 - 4:15

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A different turn is now given to the prophecy, viz., that if Israel would not desist from idolatry, Judah ought to beware of participating in the guilt of Israel; and with this the fourth strophe (Hos 4:15-19) is introduced, containing the announcement of the inevitable destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes. Hos 4:15. “If thou commit whoredom, O Israel, let not Judah offend! Come ye not to Gilgal, go not up to Bethaven, and swear ye not by the life of Jehovah.” אָשֵׁם, to render one's self guilty by participating in the whoredom, i.e., the idolatry, of Israel. This was done by making pilgrimages to the places of idolatrous worship in that kingdom, viz., to Gilgal, i.e., not the Gilgal in the valley of the Jordan, but the northern Gilgal upon the mountains, which has been preserved in the village of Jiljilia to the south-west of Silo (Seilun; see at Deu 11:30 and Jos 8:35). In the time of Elijah and Elisha it was the seat of a school of the prophets (2Ki 2:1; 2Ki 4:38); but it was afterwards chosen as the seat of one form of idolatrous worship, the origin and nature of which are unknown (compare Hos 9:15; Hos 12:12; Amo 4:4; Amo 5:5). Bethaven is not the place of that name mentioned in Jos 7:2, which was situated to the south-east of Bethel; but, as Amo 4:4 and Amo 5:5 clearly show, a name which Hosea adopted from Amo 5:5 for Bethel (the present Beitin), to show that Bethel, the house of God, had become Bethaven, a house of idols, through the setting up of the golden calf there (1Ki 12:29). Swearing by the name of Jehovah was commanded in the law (Deu 6:13; Deu 10:20; compare Jer 4:2); but this oath was to have its roots in the fear of Jehovah, to be simply an emanation of His worship. The worshippers of idols, therefore, were not to take it into their mouths. The command not to swear by the life of Jehovah is connected with the previous warnings. Going to Gilgal to worship idols, and swearing by Jehovah, cannot go together. The confession of Jehovah in the mouth of an idolater is hypocrisy, pretended piety, which is more dangerous than open ungodliness, because it lulls the conscience to sleep.