Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 7:4 - 7:4

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 7:4 - 7:4

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To this there is added the passion with which the people make themselves slave to idolatry, and their rulers give themselves up to debauchery (Hos 7:4-7). Hos 7:4. “They are all adulterers, like an oven heated by the baker, who leaves off stirring from the kneading of the dough until its leavening. Hos 7:5. In the day of our king the princes are made sick with the heat of wine: he has stretched out his hand with the scorners. Hos 7:6. For they have brought their heart into their ambush, as into the oven; the whole night their baker sleeps; in the morning it burns like flaming fire. Hos 7:7. They are all red-hot like the oven, and consume their judges: all their kings have fallen; none among them calls to me.” “All” (kullâm: Hos 7:4) does not refer to the king and princes, but to the whole nation. נִאֵף is spiritual adultery, apostasy from the Lord; and literal adultery is only so far to be thought of, that the worship of Baal promoted licentiousness. In this passionate career the nation resembles a furnace which a baker heats in the evening, and leaves burning all night while the dough is leavening, and then causes to turn with a still brighter flame in the morning, when the dough is ready for baking. בֹּעֵרָה מֵאֹפֶה, burning from the baker, i.e., heated by the baker. בֹּעֵרָה is accentuated as milel, either because the Masoretes took offence at תַּנּוּר being construed as a feminine (Ges. Lehrgeb. p. 546; Ewald, Gramm. p. 449, note 1), or because tiphchah could not occupy any other place in the short space between zakeph and athnach (Hitzig). הֵעִיר, excitare, here in the sense of stirring. On the use of the participle in the place of the infinitive, with verbs of beginning and ending, see Ewald, §298, b.

Hos 7:5-7

Both king and princes are addicted to debauchery (Hos 7:5). “The day of our king” is either the king's birthday, or the day when he ascended the throne, on either of which he probably gave a feast to his nobles. יֹום is taken most simply as an adverbial accus. loci. On this particular day the princes drink to such an extent, that they become ill with the heat of the wine. הֶחֱלוּ, generally to make ill, here to make one's self ill. Hitzig follows the ancient versions, in deriving it from חלל, and taking it as equivalent to הֵחֶלּוּ ot , “they begin,” which gives a very insipid meaning. The difficult expression מָשַׁךְ יָדֹו אֶת־ל, “he draws his hand with the scoffers,” can hardly be understood in any other way than that suggested by Gesenius (Lex.), “the king goes about with scoffers,” i.e., makes himself familiar with them, so that we may compare שׁוּת יָדֹו עִם (Exo 23:1). The scoffers are drunkards, just as in Pro 20:1 wine is directly called a scoffer. In Hos 7:6, Hos 7:7, the thought of the fourth verse is carried out still further. כִּי introduces the explanation and ground of the simile of the furnace; for Hos 7:5 is subordinate to the main thought, and to be taken as a parenthetical remark. The words from כִּי קֵרְבוּ to בְּאָרְבָּם ot כִּי קֵרְבוּ form one sentence. קֵרֵב is construed with בְ loci, as in Jdg 19:13; Psa 91:10 : they have brought their heart near, brought them into their craftiness. “Like a furnace” (כְּתַנּוּר) contains an abridged simile. But it is not their heart itself which is here compared to a furnace (their heart = themselves), in the sense of “burning like a flaming furnace with base desires,” as Gesenius supposes; for the idea of bringing a furnace into an 'ōrebh would be unsuitable and unintelligible. “The furnace is rather 'orbâm (their ambush), that which they have in common, that which keeps them together; whilst the fuel is libbâm, their own disposition” (Hitzig). Their baker is the machinator doli, who kindles the fire in them, i.e., in actual fact, not some person or other who instigates a conspiracy, but the passion of idolatry. This sleeps through the night, i.e., it only rests till the opportunity and time have arrived for carrying out the evil thoughts of their heart, or until the evil thoughts of the heart have become ripe for execution. This time is described in harmony with the figure, as the morning, in which the furnace burns up into bright flames (הוּא points to the more remote tannūr as the subject). In Hos 7:7 the figure is carried back to the literal fact. With the words, “they are all hot as a furnace,” the expression in Hos 7:4, “adulterous like a furnace,” is resumed; and now the fruit of this conduct is mentioned, viz., “they devour their judges, cast down their kings.” By the judges we are not to understand the sârı̄m of Hos 7:5, who are mentioned along with the king as the supreme guardians of the law; but the kings themselves are intended, as the administrators of justice, as in Hos 13:10, where shōphetı̄m is also used as synonymous with מֶלֶךְ, and embraces both king and princes. The clause, “all their kings are fallen,” adds no new feature to what precedes, and does not affirm that kings have also fallen in addition to or along with the judges; but it sums up what has been stated already, for the purpose of linking on the remark, that no one calls to the Lord concerning the fall of the kings. The suffix בָּהֶם does not refer to the fallen kings, but to the nation in its entirety, i.e., to those who have devoured their judges. The thought is this: in the passion with which all are inflamed for idolatry, and with which the princes revel with the kings, they give no such heed to the inevitable consequences of their ungodly conduct, as that any one reflects upon the fall of the kings, or perceives that Israel has forsaken the way which leads to salvation, and is plunging headlong into the abyss of destruction, so as to return to the Lord, who alone can help and save. The prophet has here the times after Jeroboam II in his mind, when Zechariah was overthrown by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, and Menahem the son of Pekahiah by Pekah, and that in the most rapid succession (2Ki 15:10, 2Ki 15:14, 2Ki 15:25), together with the eleven years' anarchy between Zechariah and Shallum (see at 2Ki 15:8-12). At the same time, the expression, “all their kings have fallen,” shows clearly, not only that the words are not to be limited to these events, but embrace all the earlier revolutions, but also and still more clearly, that there is no foundation whatever for the widespread historical interpretation of these verses, as relating to a conspiracy against the then reigning king Zechariah, or Shallum, or Pakahiah, according to which the baker is either Menahem (Hitzig) or Pekah (Schmidt).