Ho 9:1-17. Warning against Israel's Joy at Partial Relief from Their Troubles: Their Crops Shall Fail, and the People Leave the Lord's Land for Egypt and Assyria, Where They Cannot, If So Inclined, Serve God According to the Ancient Ritual: Folly of Their False Prophets.
1. Rejoice not ... for joy -- literally, |to exultation.| Thy exultation at the league with Pul, by which peace seems secured, is out of place: since thy idolatry will bring ruin on thee.
as other people -- the Assyrians for instance, who, unlike thee, are in the height of prosperity.
loved a reward upon every corn floor -- Thou hast desired, in reward for thy homage to idols, abundance of corn on every threshing-floor (Ho 2:12).
2. (Ho 2:9, 12).
fail -- disappoint her expectation.
3. return to Egypt -- (See on Ho 8:13). As in Ho 11:5 it is said, |He shall not return into ... Egypt.| Fairbairn thinks it is not the exact country that is meant, but the bondage state with which, from past experience, Egypt was identified in their minds. Assyria was to be a second Egypt to them. De 28:68, though threatening a return to Egypt, speaks (De 28:36) of their being brought to a nation which neither they nor their fathers had known, showing that it is not the literal Egypt, but a second Egypt-like bondage that is threatened.
eat unclean things in Assyria -- reduced by necessity to eat meats pronounced unclean by the Mosaic law (Eze 4:13). See 2Ki 17:6.
4. offer wine offerings -- literally, |pour as a libation (Ex 30:9; Le 23:13).
neither shall they be pleasing unto him -- as being offered on a profane soil.
sacrifices ... as the bread of mourners -- which was unclean (De 26:14; Jer 16:7; Eze 24:17).
their bread for their soul -- their offering for the expiation of their soul [Calvin], (Le 17:11). Rather, |their bread for their sustenance ('soul' being often used for the animal life, Ge 14:21, Margin) shall not come into the Lord's house|; it shall only subserve their own uses, not My worship.
5. (Ho 2:11).
6. because of destruction -- to escape from the devastation of their country.
Egypt shall gather them up -- that is, into its sepulchres (Jer 8:2; Eze 29:5). Instead of returning to Palestine, they should die in Egypt.
Memphis -- famed as a necropolis.
the pleasant places for their silver -- that is, their desired treasuries for their money. Or, |whatever precious thing they have of silver| [Maurer].
nettles -- the sign of desolation (Isa 34:13).
7. visitation -- vengeance: punishment (Isa 10:3).
Israel shall know it -- to her cost experimentally (Isa 9:9).
the prophet is a fool -- The false prophet who foretold prosperity to the nation shall be convicted of folly by the event.
the spiritual man -- the man pretending to inspiration (La 2:14; Eze 13:3; Mic 3:11; Zep 3:4).
for the multitude of thine iniquity, &c. -- Connect these words with, |the days of visitation ... are come|; |the prophet ... is mad,| being parenthetical.
the great hatred -- or, |the great provocation| [Henderson]; or, |(thy) great apostasy| [Maurer]. English Version means Israel's |hatred| of God's prophets and the law.
8. The watchman ... was with my God -- The spiritual watchmen, the true prophets, formerly consulted my God (Jer 31:6; Hab 2:1); but their so-called prophet is a snare, entrapping Israel into idolatry.
hatred -- rather, |(a cause of) apostasy| (see Ho 9:7) [Maurer].
house of his God -- that is, the state of Ephraim, as in Ho 8:1 [Maurer]. Or, |the house of his (false) god,| the calves [Calvin]. Jehovah, |my God,| seems contrasted with |his God.| Calvin's view is therefore preferable.
9. as in the days of Gibeah -- as in the day of the perpetration of the atrocity of Gibeah, narrated in Jud 19:16-22, &c.
10. As the traveller in a wilderness is delighted at finding grapes to quench his thirst, or the early fig (esteemed a great delicacy in the East, Isa 28:4; Jer 24:2; Mic 7:1); so it was My delight to choose your fathers as My peculiar people in Egypt (Ho 2:15).
at her first time -- when the first-fruits of the tree become ripe.
went to Baal-peor -- (Nu 25:3): the Moabite idol, in whose worship young women prostituted themselves; the very sin Israel latterly was guilty of.
separated themselves -- consecrated themselves.
unto that shame -- to that shameful or foul idol (Jer 11:13).
their abominations were according as they loved -- rather, as Vulgate, |they became abominable like the object of their love| (De 7:26; Ps 115:8). English Version gives good sense, |their abominable idols they followed after, according as their lusts prompted them| (Am 4:5, Margin).
11. their glory shall fly away -- fit retribution to those who |separated themselves unto that shame| (Ho 9:10). Children were accounted the glory of parents; sterility, a reproach. |Ephraim| means |fruitfulness| (Ge 41:52); this its name shall cease to be its characteristic.
from the birth ... womb ... conception -- Ephraim's children shall perish in a threefold gradation; (1) From the time of birth. (2) From the time of pregnancy. (3) From the time of their first conception.
12. Even though they should rear their children, yet will I bereave them (the Ephraimites) of them (Job 27:14).
woe ... to them when I depart -- Yet the ungodly in their madness desire God to depart from them (Job 21:14; 22:17; Mt 8:34). At last they know to their cost how awful it is when God has departed (De 31:17; 1Sa 28:15, 16; compare Ho 9:11; 1Sa 4:21).
13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus ... in a pleasant place -- that is, in looking towards Tyrus (on whose borders Ephraim lay) I saw Ephraim beautiful in situation like her (Eze 26:1-28:26).
is planted -- as a fruitful tree; image suggested by the meaning of |Ephraim| (Ho 9:11).
bring forth his children to the murderer -- (Ho 9:16; Ho 13:16). With all his fruitfulness, his children shall only be brought up to be slain.
14. what wilt thou give? -- As if overwhelmed by feeling, he deliberates with God what is most desirable.
give ... a miscarrying womb -- Of two evils he chooses the least. So great will be the calamity, that barrenness will be a blessing, though usually counted a great misfortune (Job 3:3; Jer 20:14; Lu 23:29).
15. All their wickedness -- that is, their chief guilt.
Gilgal -- (see on Ho 4:15). This was the scene of their first contumacy in rejecting God and choosing a king (1Sa 11:14, 15; compare 1Sa 8:7), and of their subsequent idolatry.
there I hated them -- not with the human passion, but holy hatred of their sin, which required punishment to be inflicted on themselves (compare Mal 1:3).
out of mine house -- as in Ho 8:1: out of the land holy unto Me. Or, as |love| is mentioned immediately after, the reference may be to the Hebrew mode of divorce, the husband (God) putting the wife (Israel) out of the house.
princes ... revolters -- |Sarim ... Sorerim| (Hebrew), a play on similar sounds.
16. The figures |root,| |fruit,| are suggested by the word |Ephraim,| that is, fruitful (see on Ho 9:11, 12). |Smitten,| namely, with a blight (Ps 102:4).
17. My God -- |My,| in contrast to |them,| that is, the people, whose God Jehovah no longer is. Also Hosea appeals to God as supporting his authority against the whole people.
wanderers among ... nations -- (2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:26).