PART II., Hosea 4-14. A series of addresses which give a summary of Hosea's prophetic teaching. The period presupposed seems to be the time of anarchy which followed the death of Jeroboam II (c. 743 B.C.). But there is no reason to suppose that the sections are arranged in chronological order. In Hosea 4-8 Israel's guilt is emphasized, in Hosea 9:1 to Hosea 11:11 the punishment, and in Hosea 11:12 both lines of thought are continued, the whole being rounded off with a brighter picture (Hosea 14). As, however, the oracles are essentially independent it is best to treat them separately. The text is in places very corrupt.
Hosea 7:8 to Hosea 8:3. Political Decay the Outward Sign of Israel's Moral Decay. The attempts to cure national ills and secure safety by foreign aid, instead of by turning to Yahweh, are foredoomed to failure; Yahweh Himself frustrates them and will bring the misguided people to punishment and ruin (Hosea 7:8-12). Their doom is sealed, for they have been disloyal to Yahweh; they do not turn to Him with a true heart, but use heathen devices (cut themselves, Hosea 7:14 mg., see p. 110) when they appeal to Him. Their shallow hearts are incapable of real and acceptable repentance; therefore their princes shall fall by the sword, and this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt (Hosea 7:13-16). The inevitable judgment is devastating war, which their appeals to Him shall not avert (Hosea 8:1-3).
Hosea 7:8. mixeth himself: i.e. dissipates his national strength and character by intermingling with the Gentiles. Another possible rendering is withereth away among, etc. The cake is the flat, round cake of bread, which was baked on hot stones or ashes (cf. 1 Kings 19:6), and which, if not frequently turned, would be burnt. It may be an emblem of a country half ruined by war, or of the people's fickle and inconstant character and achievement (cf. our half-baked).
Hosea 7:9. The signs of national decreptitude are unheeded.
Hosea 7:11. The inconstancies of national policy are another mark of weakness (the reference need not be to rival Egyptian and Assyrian parties in Israel). Note the striking and original figure.
Hosea 7:12. By seeking foreign alliances they walk into a net. I will chastise. heard: read, I will bind them because of their wickedness (cf. LXX).
Hosea 7:13 b. Better as an indignant question: And I should I redeem them when, etc.
Hosea 7:16 a. Cf. Hosea 11:7. Read perhaps, return to the Baal (or Baalim). for. tongue: i.e. their insolence towards God (but text doubtful). The rest of Hosea 7:16, if genuine, must refer to some unknown incidents.
Hosea 8:1 a. Lit. to thy palate the cornet! (God addresses the prophet). an eagle: the Assyrian may be meant.
Hosea 8:2. Omit Israel with LXX.
Israel's Unsanctified National Life. Man-made kings, like man-made gods (the calf of Samaria), are impotent; Israel sows the wind and shall reap the whirlwind; the sources of the national life are withered, and the nation ceases to count (Hosea 8:4-8). Resort to foreign aid only further diminishes its vital forces (Hosea 8:8-10). Multiplication of altars only multiplies sin; the rites of an unholy cultus can but hasten the Divine punishment (Hosea 8:11-14). Probably Hosea 8:14 is an addition, and there may be glosses besides.
Hosea 8:5. Read, I have cast off.
Hosea 8:7 b. Better, Hath it grown up? (then) it hath no shoot nor bringeth forth fruit (so Wellhausen, G. A. Smith). The assonance is original. The general idea, expressed under the metaphor of sowing and reaping, is that futile and unprofitable conduct brings ruin at the end.
Hosea 8:8. Israel has already, within a few years of the death of Jeroboam II, dissipated its national prestige. Marti and Nowack transpose like a wild ass alone by himself from Hosea 8:9 to Hosea 8:8, and (reading Ephraim for pere), render, Israel is swallowed up, Ephraim isolated. as a vessel, etc.: cf. Jeremiah 22:28; Jeremiah 48:38.
Hosea 8:9 f. It is difficult to extract coherent sense from MT. With the transposition of Hosea 8:9 b (see above), and slight emendation (misraim, Egypt, for Ephraim and scatter for gather), Hosea 8:9 f. will run: For they they are gone up to Assyria; to Egypt have given love-gifts. (Though they give [such] among the nations now will I scatter them) and they shall soon cease to anoint kings and princes (cf. LXX). Marti regards the bracketed clause as a gloss.
Hosea 8:11. Omit the first to sin.
Hosea 8:12. my law. precepts: read, the multitude of my laws (directions) not the written Law in the later sense. as a strange thing: render, as those of a stranger.
Hosea 8:13 a. Text obscure. Read, perhaps Sacrifices they loved and did sacrifice; flesh, and did eat, etc. The sacrifice and feasts of the cultus are dear to the Israelites, but not to Yahweh.