Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Probably delivered in the interreign and civil war at Pekah's death; for
"all their kings . . . fallen," refers to the murder of
Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. In
the reference seems to be to Menahem's payment of tribute to Pul, in
order to secure himself in the usurped throne, also to Pekah's league
with Rezin of Syria, and to Hoshea's connection with Assyria during the
interregnum at Pekah's death [MAURER].
1. I would have healed Israel--Israel's restoration of the two hundred
thousand Jewish captives at God's command
gave hope of Israel's reformation [HENDERSON].
Political, as well as moral, healing is meant. When I would have healed
Israel in its calamitous state, then their iniquity was discovered to
be so great as to preclude hope of recovery. Then he enumerates their
wickedness: "The thief cometh in (indoors stealthily), and the troop of
robbers spoileth without" (out-of-doors with open violence).
2. consider not in their hearts--literally, "say not to," &c.
that I remember--and will punish.
their own doings have beset them about--as so many witnesses against
before my face--
3. Their princes, instead of checking, "have pleasure in them that do"
4. who ceaseth from raising--rather, "heating" it, from an
Arabic root, "to be hot." So the Septuagint. Their
adulterous and idolatrous lust is inflamed as the oven of a baker who
has it at such a heat that he ceaseth from heating it only from the
time that he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened; he only
needs to omit feeding it during the short period of the fermentation of
the bread. Compare
"that cannot cease from sin" [HENDERSON].
5. the day of our king--his birthday or day of inauguration.
have made him sick--namely, the king.
MAURER translates, "make
with bottles of wine--drinking not merely glasses, but bottles.
MAURER translates, "Owing to the heat of wine."
he stretched out his hand with scorners--the gesture of revellers in
holding out the cup and in drinking to one another's health. Scoffers
were the king's boon companions.
6. they have made ready--rather, "they make their heart approach,"
namely their king, in going to drink with him.
like an oven--following out the image in
As it conceals the lighted fire all night while the baker sleeps but in
the morning burns as a flaming fire, so they brood mischief in their
hearts while conscience is lulled asleep, and their wicked designs wait
only for a fair occasion to break forth [HORSLEY].
Their heart is the oven, their baker the ringleader of the plot. In
their plots appear, namely, the intestine disturbances and murders of
one king after another, after Jeroboam II.
7. all hot--All burn with eagerness to cause universal disturbance
devoured their judges--magistrates; as the fire of the oven devours
all their kings . . .
none . . . calleth unto me--Such is their perversity that amid all
these national calamities, none seeks help from Me
(Isa 9:13; 64:7).
8. mixed . . . among the people--by leagues with idolaters, and the
adoption of their idolatrous practices
(Ho 7:9, 11;
Ephraim . . . cake not turned--a cake burnt on one side and unbaked
on the other, and so uneatable; an image of the worthlessness of
Ephraim. The Easterners bake their bread on the ground, covering it with
and turning it every ten minutes, to bake it thoroughly without
9. Strangers--foreigners: the Syrians and Assyrians
(2Ki 13:7; 15:19, 20; 17:3-6).
gray hairs--that is, symptoms of approaching national dissolution.
are here and there upon--literally, "are sprinkled on" him.
yet he knoweth not--Though old age ought to bring with it wisdom, he
neither knows of his senile decay, nor has the true knowledge which
leads to reformation.
10. Repetition of
not return to . . . Lord . . . for all
this--notwithstanding all their calamities
11. like a silly dove--a bird proverbial for simplicity: easily
without heart--that is, understanding.
call to Egypt--Israel lying between the two great rival empires Egypt
and Assyria, sought each by turns to help her against the other. As
this prophecy was written in the reign of Hoshea, the allusion is
probably to the alliance with So or Sabacho II (of which a record has
been found on the clay cylindrical seals in Koyunjik), which ended in
the overthrow of Hoshea and the deportation of Israel
As the dove betrays its foolishness by fleeing in alarm from its nest
only to fall into the net of the fowler, so Israel, though warned that
foreign alliances would be their ruin, rushed into them.
12. When they shall go--to seek aid from this or that foreign state.
spread my net upon them--as on birds taken on the ground
as contrasted with "bringing them down" as the "fowls of the
heavens," namely, by the use of missiles.
as their congregation hath heard--namely, by My prophets through whom
I threatened "chastisement"
13. fled--as birds from their nest
me--who both could and would have healed them
had they applied to Me.
redeemed them--from Egypt and their other enemies
Pretending to be My worshippers, when they all the while worshipped
also defrauding Me of the glory of their deliverance, and ascribing it
and their other blessings to idols [CALVIN].
14. not cried unto me--but unto other gods
(Job 35:9, 10).
Or, they did indeed cry unto Me, but not "with their heart": answering
when they howled upon their beds--sleepless with anxiety; image of
deep affliction. Their cry is termed "howling," as it is the cry of
anguish, not the cry of repentance and faith.
assemble . . . for corn, &c.--namely in the temples of their idols,
to obtain from them a good harvest and vintage, instead of coming to Me,
the true Giver of these
(Ho 2:5, 8, 12),
proving that their cry to God was "not with their heart."
rebel against me--literally, "withdraw themselves against Me,"
that is, not only withdraw from Me, but also rebel against Me.
15. I . . . bound--when I saw their arms as it were relaxed with
various disasters, I bound them so as to strengthen their sinews; image
from surgery [CALVIN].
MAURER translates, "I instructed them" to war
(Ps 18:34; 144:1),
namely, under Jeroboam II
GROTIUS explains, "Whether I chastised them
(Margin) or strengthened their arms, they imagined mischief
against Me." English Version is best.
16. return, but not to the Most High--or, "to one who is
not the Most High," one very different from Him, a stock or a stone.
So the Septuagint.
A bow which, from its faulty construction, shoots wide of the mark. So
Israel pretends to seek God, but turns aside to idols.
for the rage of their tongue--their boast of safety from
Egyptian aid, and their "lies"
whereby they pretended to serve God, while worshipping idols; also
their perverse defense for their idolatries and blasphemies against God
and His prophets
(Ps 73:9; 120:2, 3).
their derision in . . . Egypt--Their "fall" shall be the subject of
"derision" to Egypt, to whom they had applied for help
(Ho 9:3, 6;