Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:18 - 4:18

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:18 - 4:18

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“Their drinking has degenerated; whoring they have committed whoredom; their shields have loved, loved shame. Hos 4:19. The wind has wrapt it up in its wings, so that they are put to shame because of their sacrifices.” סָר from סוּר, to fall off, degenerate, as in Jer 2:21. סֹבֶא is probably strong, intoxicating wine (cf. Isa 1:22; Nah 1:10); here it signifies the effect of this wine, viz., intoxication. Others take sâr in the usual sense of departing, after 1Sa 1:14, and understand the sentence conditionally: “when their intoxication is gone, they commit whoredom.” But Hitzig has very properly object to this, that it is intoxication which leads to licentiousness, and not temperance. Moreover, the strengthening of hisnū by the inf. abs. is not in harmony with this explanation. The hiphil hiznâh is used in an emphatic sense, as in Hos 4:10. The meaning of the last half of the verse is also a disputed point, more especially on account of the word הֵבוּ, which only occurs here, and which can only be the imperative of יָהַב (הֵבוּ for הָבוּ), or a contraction of אָהֲבוּ. All other explanations are arbitrary. But we are precluded from taking the word as an imperative by קָלֹון, which altogether confuses the sense, if we adopt the rendering “their shields love 'Give ye' - shame.” We therefore prefer taking הֵבוּ as a contraction of אָהֵבוּ, and אָהֲבוּ הֵבוּ as a construction resembling the pealal form, in which the latter part of the fully formed verb is repeated, with the verbal person as an independent form (Ewald, §120), viz., “their shields loved, loved shame,” which yields a perfectly suitable thought. The princes are figuratively represented as shields, as in Ps. 47:10, as the supporters and protectors of the state. They love shame, inasmuch as they love the sin which brings shame. This shame will inevitably burst upon the kingdom. The tempest has already seized upon the people, or wrapt them up with its wings (cf. Psa 18:11; Psa 104:3), and will carry them away (Isa 57:13). צָרַר, literally to bind together, hence to lay hold of, wrap up. Rūăch, the wind, or tempest, is a figurative term denoting destruction, like רוּחַ קָדִים in Hos 13:15 and Eze 5:3-4. אֹותָהּ refers to Ephraim represented as a woman, like the suffix attached to מָגִנֶּיהָ in Hos 4:18. יֵבֹשׁוּ מִזִּבֵחֹותָם, to be put to shame on account of their sacrifices, i.e., to be deceived in their confidence in their idols (bōsh with min as in Hos 10:6; Jer 2:36; Jer 12:13, etc.), or to discover that the sacrifices which they offered to Jehovah, whilst their heart was attached to the idols, did not save from ruin. The plural formation זְבָחֹות for זְבָחִים only occurs here, but it has many analogies in its favour, and does not warrant our altering the reading into מִזְבְּחֹותָם, after the Sept. ἐκ τῶν θυσιατηρίων, as Hitzig proposes; whilst the inadmissibility of this proposal is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact that there is nothing to justify the omission of the indispensable מִן, and the cases which Hitzig cites as instances in which min is omitted (viz., Zec 14:10; Psa 68:14, and Deu 23:11) are based upon a false interpretation.