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Hosea 10 commentary


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A verse by verse commentary on Hosea 10 dealing with the idols of Israel that will lead to their destruction. They will be praying for the mountains to cover them.for they will be reaping the fruit of unfaithful love.

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Hosea 10 commentary

  1. 1. HOSEA 10 COMME TARY EDITED BY GLE PEASE 1 Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones. BAR ES, "Israel is an empty vine - Or, in the same sense, “a luxuriant vine;” literally, “one which poureth out,” poureth itself out into leaves, abundant in switches, (as most old versions explain it,) luxuriant in leaves, emptying itself in them, and empty of fruit; like the fig-tree, which our Lord cursed. For the more a fruit tree putteth out its strength in leaves and branches, the less and the worst fruit it beareth. : “The juices which it ought to transmute into wine, it disperseth in the ambitious idle shew of leaves and branches.” The sap in the vine is an emblem of His Holy Spirit, through whom alone we can bear fruit. “His grace which was in me,” says Paul, “was not in vain.” It is in vain to us, when we waste the stirrings of God’s Spirit in feelings, aspirations, longings, transports, “which bloom their hour and fade” . Like the leaves, these feelings aid in maturing fruit; when there are leaves only, the tree is barren and “nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned” Heb_6:8. It bringeth forth fruit for itself - Literally, “setteth fruit to, or on itself.” Luxuriant in leaves, its fruit becomes worthless, and is from itself to itself. It is uncultured; (for Israel refused culture,) pouring itself out, as it willed, in what it willed. It had a rich show of leaves, a show also of fruit, but not for the Lord of the vineyard, since they came to no size or ripeness. Yet to the superficial glance, it was rich, prosperous, healthy, abundant in all things, as was the outward state of Israel under Jehoash and Jeroboam II. According to the multitude of his fruit - Or more strictly, “as his fruit was multiplied, he multiplied altars; as his land was made good, they made goodly their images.” The more of outward prosperity God bestowed upon them, the more they abused His gifts, referring them to their idols; the more God lavished His mercies on them, the more profuse they were in adoring their idols. The superabundance of God’s goodness became the occasion of the superabundance of their wickedness. They rivaled
  2. 2. and competed with and outdid the goodness of God, so that He could bestow upon them no good, which they did not turn to evil. People think this strange. Strange it is, as is all perversion of God’s goodness; yet so it is now. People’s sins are either the abuse of what God gives, or rebellion, because He withholds. In the sins of prosperity, wealth, health, strength, powers of mind, wit, people sin in a way in which they could not sin, unless God continually supplied them with those gifts which they turn to sin. The more God gives, the more opportunity and ability they have to sin, and the more they sin. They are “evil,” not only in despite of God’s goodness, but “because” He is good. CLARKE, "Israel is an empty vine - Or, a vine that casteth its grapes. He bringeth forth fruit - Or, he laid up fruit for himself. He abused the blessings of God to the purposes of idolatry. He was prosperous; but his prosperity corrupted his heart. According to the multitude of his fruit - He became idolatrous in proportion to his prosperity; and in proportion to their wealth was the costliness of their images, and the expensiveness of their idol worship. True is the homely saying of old Quarles: - “So God’s best gifts, usurp’d by wicked ones, To poison turn, by their con-ta-gi-ons.” Another poet, of a higher order, but worse school, says: - Effodiuntur opes, irritamenta malorum. Ovid. Of which the words of St. Paul are nearly a literal rendering: - ሤιζα γαρ πανθων των κακων εστιν ᅧ θιλαργυρια. “For the love of money is the root of all these evils” 1Ti_6:10. Pity that this beautiful metal, on which God has bestowed such a large portion of mineral perfection, and then hid in the earth, should, on its being digged up by man, become the incentive to so many vices, and draw away his heart from the Creator of all things, and the fountain of ineffable perfection and goodness. GILL, "Israel is an empty vine,.... The people of Israel are often compared to a vine, and such an one from whence fruit might be expected, being planted in a good soil, and well taken care of; see Psa_80:8; but proved an "empty vine", empty of fruit; not of temporal good things, for a multitude of such fruit it is afterwards said to have; but of spiritual fruit, of the fruit of grace, and of good works, being destitute of the Spirit of God, and his grace; and, having no spiritual moisture, was incapable of bringing forth good fruit: or, "an emptying vine" (o); that casts its fruit before it is ripe; these people, what fruit they had, they made an ill use of it; even of their temporal good things; they emptied themselves of their wealth and riches, by sending presents, or paying tribute, to
  3. 3. foreign princes for their alliance, friendship, and help; or by consuming it on their idols, and in their idolatrous worship. The Targum renders it, "a spoiled vine (p);'' spoiled by their enemies, who robbed them of their wealth and riches, and trampled them under foot. The Septuagint version, and those that follow that, understand it in a sense quite the reverse, rendering it, "a flourishing vine"; putting forth branches, leaves, and fruit; and which the learned Pocock confirms from the use of the word in the Arabic language: but then it follows, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself; all the good works done by them were not to the praise and glory of God, as fruits of righteousness are, which come by Jesus Christ; but were done to be seen of men, and to gain their applause and esteem, and so were for themselves; and all their temporal good things they abounded with were not made use of in the service of God, and for the promoting of his glory, and of true religion among them; but either consumed on their own lusts, or in the service of idols: or, "the fruit is like unto himself" (q); as was the vine, so was its fruit: the vine was empty, and devoid of goodness, and so the fruit it produced. The Targum is, "the fruit of their works was the cause of their being carried captive:'' according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars: as the Israelites increased in riches and wealth, their land bringing forth in great abundance, they erected the greater number of altars to their idols, and multiplied their sacrifices to them; this was the ill use they made of what fruit they did produce: according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images; of richer metal, and more ornamented, and more of them, according to the plenty of good things, corn, and wine, and oil, their land produced; thus abusing the providential goodness of God to such vile purposes! HE RY, "Observe, I. What the sins are which are here laid to Israel's charge, the national sins which bring down national judgment. The prophet deals plainly with them; for what good would it do them to be flattered? 1. They were not fruitful in the fruits of righteousness to the glory of God. Here all their other wickedness began (Hos_10:1): Israel is an empty vine. The church of God is fitly compared to a vine, weak, and of an unpromising outside, yet spreading and fruitful; believers are branches of that vine, and partake of its root and fatness. But this was the character of Israel, they were as an empty vine, a vine that had no sap or virtue in it, and therefore none of those good fruits produced by it that were expected from it, with which God and man should be honoured. Note, There are many who, though they have not become degenerate vines, are yet empty vines, have no good in them. A vine is of all trees least serviceable if it do not bear fruit. It is thenceforth good for nothing, Eze_15:3, Eze_15:5. And those that bring forth no grapes will soon come to bring forth wild grapes; those that do no good will do hurt. He is an empty vine, for he brings forth fruit to himself. What good there is in him is not directed to the glory of God, but he takes the praise of it to himself, and prides himself in it. Christians live not to themselves (Rom_14:6), but hypocrites make self their centre; they eat and drink to themselves, Zec_7:5, Zec_7:6. Or Israel is by the judgments of God emptied and spoiled of all his
  4. 4. wealth, because he made use of it in the service of his lusts, and not to the honour of God who gave it to him. Note, What we do not rightly employ we may justly expect to be emptied of. 2. They multiplied their altars and images, and the more bountiful God's providence was to them the more prodigal they were in serving their idols: According to the multitude of his fruit which his land brought forth he has increased the altars, and according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Note, It is a great affront to God, and an abuse of his goodness, when the more mercies we receive from him the more sins we commit against him, and when the more wealth men have the more mischief they do. Should not we be thus abundant in the service of our God, as they were in the service of their idols? As we find our estates increasing, we should proportionably abound the more in works of piety and charity. JAMISO , "Hos_10:1-15. Israel’s idolatry, the source of perjuries and unlawful leagues, soon destined to be the ruin of the state, their king and their images being about to be carried off; A just chastisement, the reaping corresponding to the sowing. The prophecy was uttered between Shalmaneser’s first and second invasions of Israel. Compare Hos_10:14; also Hos_10:6, referring to Hoshea’s calling So of Egypt to his aid; also Hos_10:4, Hos_10:13. empty — stripped of its fruits [Calvin], (Nah_2:2); compelled to pay tribute to Pul (2Ki_15:20). Maurer translates, “A widespreading vine”; so the Septuagint. Compare Gen_49:22; Psa_80:9-11; Eze_17:6. bringeth forth fruit unto himself — not unto ME. according to ... multitude of ... fruit ... increased ... altars — In proportion to the abundance of their prosperity, which called for fruit unto God (compare Rom_6:22), was the abundance of their idolatry (Hos_8:4, Hos_8:11). K&D 1-3, "In a fresh turn the concluding thought of the last strophe (Hos_9:10) is resumed, and the guilt and punishment of Israel still more fully described in two sections, Hos_10:1-8 and Hos_10:9-15. Hos_10:1. “Israel is a running vine; it set fruit for itself: the more of its fruit, the more altars did it prepare; the better its land, the better pillars did they make. Hos_10:2. Smooth was their heart, ow will they atone. He will break in pieces their altars, desolate their pillars. Hos_10:3. Yea, now will they say, No king to us! for we feared not Jehovah; and the king, what shall he do to us?” Under the figure of a vine running luxuriantly, which did indeed set some good fruit, but bore no sound ripe grapes, the prophet describes Israel as a glorious plantation of God Himself, which did not answer the expectations of its Creator. The figure is simply sketched in a few bold lines. We have an explanatory parallel in Psa_80:9-12. The participle bōqēq does not mean “empty” or “emptying out” here; for this does not suit the next clause, according to which the fruit was set, but from the primary meaning of bâqaq, to pour out, pouring itself out, overflowing, i.e., running luxuriantly. It has the same meaning, therefore, as ‫ת‬ ַ‫ח‬ ַ‫ּר‬‫ס‬ ‫ג‬ in Eze_17:6, that which extends its branches far and wide, that is to say, grows most vigorously. The next sentence, “it set fruit,” still belongs to the figure; but in the third sentence the figure passes over into a literal prophecy. According to the abundance of its fruit, Israel made many altars; and in proportion to the goodness of its land, it made better ‫ּות‬‫ב‬ ֵ ַ‫,מ‬ Baal's pillars (see at 1Ki_14:23); i.e., as Israel multiplied, and under the blessing of God attained to prosperity, wealth, and power in the good land
  5. 5. (Exo_3:8), it forgot its God, and fell more and more into idolatry (cf. Hos_2:10; Hos_ 8:4, Hos_8:11). The reason of all this was, that their heart was smooth, i.e., dissimulating, not sincerely devoted to the Lord, inasmuch as, under the appearance of devotedness to God, they still clung to idols (for the fact, see 2Ki_17:9). The word châlâq, to be smooth, was mostly applied by a Hebrew to the tongue, lip, mouth, throat, and speech (Psa_5:10; Psa_12:3; Psa_55:22; Pro_5:3), and not to the heart. But in Eze_ 12:24 we read of smooth, i.e., deceitful prophesying; and there is all the more reason for retaining the meaning “smooth” here, that the rendering “their heart is divided,” which is supported by the ancient versions, cannot be grammatically defended. For châlâq is not used in kal in an intransitive sense; and the active rendering, “He (i.e., God) has divided their heart” (Hitzig), gives an unscriptural thought. They will now atone for this, for God will destroy their altars and pillars. ‫ף‬ ַ‫ר‬ ָ‫,ע‬ “to break the neck of the altars,” is a bold expression, applied to the destruction of the altars by breaking off the horns (compare Amo_3:14). Then will the people see and be compelled to confess that it has no longer a king, because it has not feared the Lord, since the king who has been set up in opposition to the will of the Lord (Hos_8:4) cannot bring either help or deliverance (Eze_13:10). ‫ה‬ ָ‫שׂ‬ ָ‫,ע‬ to do, i.e., to help or be of use to a person (cf. Ecc_2:2). CALVI , "Verse 1 Interpreters explain this verse in various ways. Those who think ‫,בוקק‬ bukok, here applied to the vine, means “empty,” are mistaken; for the Prophet means rather, that Israel was like a vine, which is robbed after the ingathering is come: for the word ‫,בקק‬ bekok, means properly to pillage, or to plunder. But the Prophet compares the gathering of grapes to robbing; and this view best suits the place. He says, then, that Israel is like a robbed vine; for it was stripped of its fruit; and then he adds, He will make fruit for himself The verb ‫,שוה‬ shue, means to equal; and many render it thus, — He will equalize fruit to himself, or, “fruit has been squalled to him.” But this rendering brings out no clear sense. I rather follow those who render it, “to lay up.” This verb means also sometimes “to lie;” at least some thus render the clause, “Fruit will lie to him:” and though, in the sense of lying, it has a different final letter, ‫,שוה‬ shue, it is yet said to be derived from this root, so that there is a change of ‫א‬ “alef ” into ‫ה‬ “he ”, as grammarians think: and yet it does not seem probable that ‫,שוא‬ shua means to lie. But they elicit this sense, “Israel is a plundered vine; therefore fruit will lie to him;” that is, it will bring no produce, for that will happen to it which is wont to be, when robbers have laid waste fields and vineyards. But as I have said already, some more correctly render it, “to lay up;” He will lay up fruit for himself Some, however, read the sentence as a question, — “Will Israel lay up fruit for himself?” Then the sense is, that Israel was so plundered, that no restitution could be hoped for. But these interpreters do not seem to understand the mind of the Prophet. I collect a different meaning from the words, and that is, that Israel would lay up fruit for himself after the robbing, and sacred history confirms this view: for this people, we know, had been in various ways chastised; so, however, that they gathered new strength. For the Lord intended only to admonish them gently, that they might be healed; but nothing, as it has before appeared, was effected by God’s
  6. 6. moderation. The case, however, was so, that Israel produced new fruit, as a vine, after having been robbed one year, brings forth a new vintage; for one ingathering does not kill the vine. Thus also Israel did lay up fruit for himself; that is, after the Lord had collected there his vintage, he again favoured the people with his blessing, and, as it were, restored them anew; as vines in the spring throw out their branches, and then produce fruit. (61) But what did happen? According to the abundance of his fruit, he says, he multiplied his altars Here God complains, that Israel, after having been once gathered, went on in his own wickedness. Chastisements ought at least to have availed so much as to induce Israel to retake himself to the pure worship of God. But God not only reproves the people here for having been always obstinate but also for having, as it were designedly increased their vices. For it was like a horrible conspiracy against God for the people, as soon as they acquired new strength, to multiply altars to themselves, when yet the Lord had already shown, by clear evidences, that fictitious modes. of worship did not please him; nay, that they were to him the greatest abominations. We now apprehend the meaning of the Prophet. Then Israel, a robbed vine, multiplied altars for himself; that is, Israel has indeed been gathered but the Lord restored to him wealth and abundance of provisions, and whatever appertains to a safe and happy condition; has Israel become better through correction? Has he repented after the Lord has so mercifully withdrawn his hand? By no means, he says; but he has multiplied altars for himself, he has become worse than he was wont to be; and according to the goodness of his land, he has been doing good in statues ow this is a very useful doctrine; for we see how the Lord forbears in inflicting punishments — he does not execute them with the utmost rigour; for as soon as he lays on a few stripes, he withholds his hand. But how do they act who are thus moderately chastised? As soon as they can recruit their spirits, they are carried away by a more headstrong inclination, and grow insolent against God. We see this evil prevalent in the world even in our day, as it has been in all ages. We need not wonder, then, that the Prophet here expostulates with the people of Israel: but it is, at the same time, right for us to apply the doctrine for our own instruction. Though, then, the Lord should spare us, and, after having begun to chastise us, should soon show indulgence, and restore us as it were anew, let us beware lest a forgetfulness of our former sins should creep over us; but let his chastisements exert over us an influence, even after God has put a limit and an end to them. For the import of what the Prophet teaches is this, that men are not to forget the wrath of God, though he may not always, or continually, lay on stripes, but to consider that the Lord deals thus gently that they may have more time to repents and that a truce is granted them that they may more quietly reflect on their sins. But he says, According to the goodness of their land, they have been doing good in statues I have before stated, that some take this as meaning, that they made good statues, and consider “good” to be elegant. But I repeat the preposition ‫ל‬ “lamed ” before altars. When the Prophet said that Israel multiplied altars to himself, the literal reading is, that he multiplied in altars, or as to altars; that is, he did much, or
  7. 7. very liberally spent money on altars. So also here, it is proper to repeat, that they did good as to statues. But a concession is made in the verb ‫,הימיבו‬ eithibu; (62); for it is certain that they grievously sinned; they would not have provoked the wrath of God had they not dealt wickedly in altars and statues. But the Prophet speaks ironically of the perverted worship of God, as when we say at this day, that the Papists are mad in their good intentions: when I call intentions good, I concede to them a character which does not rightly belong to them. It is therefore according to their sense that the Prophet speaks here; but he says, ironically, that they did good in statues; that is, that they seemed to themselves to be the most holy worshipers of God; for they made a show of great zeal. It was, as they say, insane devotion. But there appeared here something more than blind hardness, inasmuch as they had so soon forgotten the Lord’s displeasure, of which they had been reminded by evident tokens. We now then perceive the object of the Prophet, and what is the application of his doctrine. Let us go on — “A vine, emptying itself, isIsrael, It makes fruit equal to itself: According to the abundance of his fruit, He has abounded toward altars; According to the goodness of his land, He has made statues good.” Or, if we would coin a word to correspond with the original, the two last lines may be thus translated: — “According to the goodness of his land, He has goodnized statues.” — Ed. COFFMA , "Verse 1 Following the superlative denunciations recorded in the previous chapter, any further elaborations of Israel's guilt might, to some, have appeared superfluous; but not for the prophet Hosea. The same theme is continued in this chapter with no reduction whatever: in the impact of them. One of the final thoughts of Hosea 9 designated Ephraim as "rotten, root and branch"; and in this chapter, Hosea dug out the roots and shook them! The roots of Israel's ruin lay in two areas. First, there were the institutions of the nation's corporate life, the monarchy and the religious system, both of which were set up contrary to God's will and became the twin poisonous springs feeding the iniquity of the whole nation. Secondly, there was the stubborn unwillingness of the people to be restrained by the strict moral code of the Decalogue covenant. It is regrettable that most of the commentators have overlooked altogether this second and very important root of their national disaster, the same oversight being due to the fact of its being contained in the second reference to Gibeah (Hosea 10:9-10). All of the public symbols of the nation's life were pointed out one by one. As Mays wrote:
  8. 8. "The judgment falls upon every significant institution of Israel's religious and national life, altar, and pillar, king and capital, idol and high place - one by one they are blotted out until the people are left alone to face the wrath of Yahweh, crying out for the sanctuary of death in consternation."[1] Hosea 10:1 "Israel is a luxuriant vine, that putteth forth his fruit; according to the abundance of his fruit he hath multiplied his altars; according to the goodness of their land they made goodly pillars." "A luxuriant vine ..." The figure of a vine as the representation of Israel abounds in both the Old Testament and the ew Testament. Christ extended it and applied it to the new Israel, his church, and also to himself, with whom the ew Testament unequivocally identifies his church. "I am the true vine" (John 15:1). The old Israel was the false vine; Christ and his church are the true vine. The ew English Bible rendered this place "a rank vine"; and some of the translators make it "empty .vine"; but the message of the whole verse is clear enough, "Prosperity led to the proliferation of false religion rather than true worship."[2] "Multiplied his altars ... made goodly pillars ..." The sinfulness of the multiple altars lay in the fact that God had provided one altar only, that in Jerusalem, and in the further fact that these serf-authorized altars were Staffed and serviced with a bastard, illegitimate priesthood without regard to the tribe of Levi, and in the still more horrible corruption of the worship associated with them by the adoption of the gross rites of the old Canaanite pagans. The "goodly pillars" were Israel's device for getting around the prohibition against idols. They merely set up a pillar which, normally, would have been the pedestal for some idol god; but, in their case, they merely left the idol off, attributed sanctity to the pillar itself, and worshipped it! God commanded the destruction of such things. "In Canaanite religion it was identified with deity (especially male deity), an object of veneration, and therefore forbidden to the Israelites."[3] The pillar became, in practice, a phallic symbol! "The Israelites were told to destroy all they found (Exodus 23:24; Deuteronomy 16:22)."[4] In this verse, the big thing appears in the false manner that Ephraim used his prosperity. "What people did with their prosperity was indicative of the direction of their heart."[5] This comment is likewise true in the present tense; and there is no greater danger today than that which is inherent in a Christian's false use of his wealth. ELLICOTT, "(1) Empty in the English version is wrong, being inconsistent with what follows. (Comp. LXX. and Vulg.) Read luxuriant. The metaphors of the vintage (comp. also Genesis 49:22, and Introduction to Hosea 9) are still prevalent in the mind of the prophet. Wünsche has powerfully illustrated this wild strong growth
  9. 9. of Israel as compared with Judah. Joash prevailed over Amaziah, and plundered Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:12-14). Jeroboam II. extended his power as far as Hamath (2 Kings 14:23-25). The kingdom had resisted the attacks of Syria, and had become insolent as well as idolatrous. The last clause should be rendered, The more abundant his fruit, the more he increased altars; the fairer his land, the fairer the Baal-pillars. On “Baal-pillars,” see W. R. Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, pp. 248, 425. (Comp. 9:1 and 2:5.) Misapprehending the cause of their temporal prosperity, and wilfully ignoring Jehovah’s forbearance and love, they attributed their mercies to the grace of Baal, and multiplied idolatrous shrines (see Romans 2:4.) TRAPP, "Verse 1 Hosea 10:1 Israel [is] an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Ver. 1. Israel is an empty vine] Heb. an emptying vine, ‫בוקק‬ losing her fruit, and so deceiving the owner. How can Israel but be empty of all good, of all fruits of the Spirit, when he will not hearken unto God, nor dwell under the droppings of a powerful ministry? when he is cast off by God, Hosea 9:17, who fills his people with the fruits of righteousness, Philippians 1:11 : and is not a wilderness a land of darkness unto them? Jeremiah 2:31, when his root is dried up, and all his juice and strength runs out into leaves, so that is frondosa vitis (as the Vulgate renders it), a leafy vine; such as are our profligate professors, and carnal gospellers, and such as was St James’s solifidian, that empty fellow, as he calleth him, κενε, James 2:20, when, lastly, the Holy Spirit (those two golden pipes, Zechariah 4:12) empties not into his candlestick the golden oils of all precious graces, as from two blessed olive branches. The vine and the olive, two of the best fruit trees, grow best together, saith Melancthon. If Israel’s heart be divided from God, as Hosea 10:2, and hath not his fruit found in him, as Hosea 14:8, what marvel if he prove {as ahum 2:10} empty and void and waste; and though {as ahum 2:2} the Lord turn away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel; for the emptiers have emptied them out, and married their vine branches? He beareth fruit to himself] As he beareth fruit in and from himself (like the ivy, which, though it clasp about the oak, and sometimes kills it, yet brings forth all its berries, by virtue of its own root) so he beareth fruit for himself, or to himself. Profit, pleasure, and preferment is his Trinity; and corrupt self is all these in unity. He fasteth to himself, as those hypocrites, Zechariah 7:5; he prays, hears, confers, giveth alms, &c., out of sinful self-love. In all that he doth, sibi soli velificatur, he seeks his own ends only; as the eagle, when he flieth highest, hath his eye on his prey. In parabola ovis capras suas quaerit; in the parabol of the sheep, he sought for his own sheep; like the fish in the Gospel, either he is dumb, or hath nothing but silver in his mouth, he is a notorious self-seeker, he bears fruit to himself, he sacrificeth to himself, as Sejanus did. As Prometheus is fabled to have stolen fire from Jupiter, so the false Israelite would defraud God of heaven, if he could tell
  10. 10. how. Spira confessed that he used prayer only as a bridge to bring him to heaven; and therefore he despaired of acceptance, as well he might: for how should God relish such sorry hedge-fruits? how should he say of such clusters of Gomorrah, "Destroy it not, for there is a blessing in it?" Isaiah 65:8. The good soul, as she bears all her fruit in Christ, John 15:2, so she keeps all her fruit for him, Song of Solomon 5:13, and cries out, Propter te, Domine, propter te. On account of you, Lord, on account of you. As all his springs are in her, so all she has and is, is for him; and if she had more and better, she could think it worthy of him. Hence it is, that when he comes into his garden (upon her invitation), Song of Solomon 4:16, to eat his pleasant fruits, he gathereth his myrrh with his spice, he eateth his honey with his honeycomb, as it were, crust and crumb together, Song of Solomon 5:1. He takes in good part the better and worse performed services; he passeth by failings in the manner, where the heart is upright for the main: wicked men present also some kind of fruit (as the oak bears some kind of apples and acorns, but they are not man’s meat; swine indeed will hunch them up; so the devil likes well enough of these self-fruits), but they make not to God’s palate. Delicata res est Spiritus Dei The Spirit of God is a charming person. (Tertull.), our oaken apples will not down with him. Self must be strained out, and God set up, that ye may be called "Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he alone may be glorified," Isaiah 61:3; "being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God," Philippians 1:11. According to the multitude of his fruit, he hath increased the altars] Iuxta ubertatem, exuberant simulachris, saith the Vulgate elegantly; but yet short of the original, where there is a dainty alliteration, and a double polyptoton. (a) For the sense: the prophet, as he had accused Israel of emptiness and selfishness, so he doth here of unthankfulness, in abusing God’s plenty to the promoting of idolatry; as if God had hired them to be wicked. See the like before, Hosea 2:8. {See Trapp on "Hosea 2:8"} and consider how far against the ingenuity of a Christian it is to be least for God when he hath most from him; when his own turn is served, then to turn his back from the author of all his good; to do as the moon, that getteth farthest off the sun when she is fullest of his light. According to the goodness of his land] Idolaters desire to be in the place where there are good lands, fruitful fields; that they may lavish upon their images; that they may so beautify, or (as the Hebrew word here is) bonify their images, as Jezebel did her head with tires and brave dresses, 2 Kings 9:30. "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god," or that endow another god, and give gifts to him, as that text may be rendered, Psalms 16:4. What excessive cost the superstitious Papists bestow upon their idols, or images (which are one and the same, as we see here), and especially upon their Lady of Loretto, the Jesuit Tursellinus hath set forth to the world. And why they so much desire and endeavour to recover England (praying for it, as is to be seen written on the gates of their colleges, Iesu, Iesu, converte Angliam: fiat, fiat Jesus, Jesus, convert the English, let it happen, let it happen) the reason is evident; it is a good land, and would easily yield them good
  11. 11. images, stately altars, &c. England was wont to be called the pope’s ass, and his puteus inexhaustus, unexhausted well, his pit of treasure, that could never be drawn dry: he was wont to say, that he could never want money so long as he could hold a pen in his fingers to write to England. He received here hence yearly above nine tons of gold. ow, according to what they received they expended upon their images. What a shame it is, then, for true worshippers, that there is no proportion between their increases for God and their increases from God, that those that are rich in this world are not rich in good works; that they lay not by for pious and charitable uses, according as God hath blessed them, 1 Corinthians 16:2, but that they should be the richer the harder; as children that have their mouths full, and both hands full, yet will part with none, but spill it rather. It is observed of men that grow very fat, that they have so much the less blood. And so the fatter many men are in their estates the less blood, life, and spirits they have for God. BE SO , "Verse 1 Hosea 10:1. Israel is an empty vine — The Hebrew, ‫בוקק‬ ‫,גפן‬ may either signify, an empty, or emptying vine. If we take it in the former sense, the meaning is, Israel is a vine which has no fruit on it; that is, that they brought forth no fruit to God, had no true worshippers of him among them, none that truly served and glorified him; for it is said in the following words that he brought forth fruit unto himself. If the expression be understood in the other sense, and be rendered an emptying vine, the sense of the clause is, Israel is a vine which casteth its grapes, that is, does not bring them forth to perfection. And by the next words, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself, may be understood, not only that they used the blessings which God had given them according to their pleasure, and to the gratification of their lusts, but that their apparent good works proceeded from selfish motives, and not from a regard to the glory and will of God. The LXX. give the expression yet another sense, αµπελος ευκληµατουσα, a vine well furnished with branches: with which accords the Vulgate, vitis frondosa. Thus interpreted, the words may be considered as indicative of their national prosperity, increasing population, and military strength. According to the multitude of his fruit — By the fruit here spoken of we are not to understand good works, but their abundant crops, numerous flocks and herds, and public opulence; he hath increased the altars — When their land yielded a most plentiful harvest, and their flocks, and herds, and wealth increased, this plenty was employed on multiplying their idols. Their idolatrous altars were as numerous as their national prosperity was great, and were increased in proportion thereto. And according to the goodness, &c., they have made goodly images — Imagining that the goodness of their land was a blessing from their idols. Bishop Horsley reads here, Like the beauty of his land he made the beauty of his images, interpreting the meaning to be, “That the exquisite workmanship of his images was as remarkable as the natural beauty of his country.” PETT, "Verse 1 ‘Israel is a luxuriant vine, Which puts forth his fruit. In accordance with the abundance of his fruit, He has multiplied his altars,
  12. 12. In accordance with the goodness of their land, They have made goodly pillars.’ With withering sarcasm Hosea now depicts what Israel has become. They are indeed a luxurious vine which puts forth its fruit (something that they were no doubt claiming for themselves), but their response to having an abundance of fruit has been to build an abundance of altars. Most of the credit is going to Baal (and their own perverted sexual behaviour). And their response to the goodness of the land (the land, be it noted, of YHWH) as it produces abundantly is to erect goodly pillars. Such pillars were a symbol of Baal and were erected at their many sanctuaries in his honour. Many examples have been discovered archaeologically. ote the play on ‘abundance of fruit’ and ‘multiplied altars’, ‘goodly land’ and ‘goodly pillars’, clearly stressing that the more they were blessed, the more they looked to Baal. So the more YHWH prospered Israel, the more Baalism was taking over their minds. They had never had it so good, and they gave Baal most of the credit, seeing it as a just response to all their exuberant worship and all their perverted sexual antics. They felt that they made a good partnership. And in so far as YHWH was still worshipped, it was as a part of this nature pattern. At the same time they were conveniently able to ignore the fact that they had already lost over half their land to Assyria, land which had become a province of Assyria, and also to overlook the fact of the threat of an Assyria looming ever larger, an ever threatening reality. Their eyes were simply on their own present with its fruitful harvests and freedom from all restraint, and they seemingly thought that it could go on for ever. Verses 1-8 Israel’s ‘Fruitfulness’ Is Revealed By Their Setting Up A Multiplicity Of Altars And Religious Pillars, Declaring That They Are Responsible To o One, And Do ot Fear God, But They Will Shortly Discover That They Are Responsible To Someone, Even To The Great King Of Assyria, And That All Their False Altars Will Be Torn Down By A God Whom They Will Certainly Fear (Hosea 10:1-8). Israel is here depicted as being like a luxuriant vine, but it is as one that turns out to be a vine of false promises because the ‘abundance of fruit’ that it produces will be in the form of altars to Baal and pillars of Baal. Furthermore they will declare their freedom from any restraint, whether by king or God, trusting to false covenants with nature gods. This reveals a state of anarchy and lawlessness within Israel unparalleled in the past. All restraint has broken down as they fling themselves headlong into dependency on Baal and Asherah. However, Hosea points out that they will inevitably discover that they are not free from restraint because they will discover in the end that they have to submit to a king, even the Great King, the King of Assyria, and at the same time they will be in terror of losing their ‘new’ gods. Furthermore they will discover that their high places will be destroyed, and that by the very One Whom they have despised. Analysis of Hosea 10:1-8). a Israel is a luxuriant vine, which puts forth his fruit. According to the abundance
  13. 13. of his fruit he has multiplied his altars; according to the goodness of their land they have made goodly pillars (Hosea 10:1). b Their heart is divided. ow will they be found guilty. He will smite their altars, he will destroy their pillars (Hosea 10:2). c Surely now will they say, “We have no king. For we do not fear YHWH, and the king, what can he do for us?” (Hosea 10:3). d They speak vain words, swearing falsely in making covenants, therefore judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field (Hosea 10:4). c The inhabitants of Samaria will be in terror for the calves of Beth-aven, for the people in it mourn over it, and its priests who rejoiced over it, for its glory, because it is departed from it. It also will be carried to Assyria for a present to the great king. Ephraim will receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel (Hosea 10:5-6). b As for Samaria, her king is cut off, as a twig on the water, the high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed (Hosea 10:7-8 a). a The thorn and the thistle will come up on their altars, and they will say to the mountains, “Cover us,” and to the hills, “Fall on us” (Hosea 10:8 b). ote that in ‘a’ stress is laid on the multiplicity of their altars, and in the parallel we learn what will happen to their altars. In ‘b’ YHWH will smite their altars and destroy their pillars, and in the parallel the high places of Aven will be destroyed. In ‘c’ the people boast that they have no king and have no fear of YHWH, and want to know what a king can do for them, and in the parallel they are in terror for their gods and own the kingship of the Great King and admit the folly of their own counsel. Centrally in ‘d’ they speak lying words concerning religious covenants with the result that judgment will inevitably come upon them. EBC, " O CE MORE: PUPPET-KI GS A D PUPPET-GODS Hosea 10:1-15 For another section, the tenth chapter, the prophet returns to the twin targets of his scorn: the idols and the puppet-kings. But few notes are needed. Observe the reiterated connection between the fertility of the land and the idolatry of the people. "A wanton vine is Israel; he lavishes his fruit; the more his fruit, the more he made his altars; the goodlier his land, the more goodly he made his macceboth, or sacred pillars. False is the heart of them: now must they atone for it. He shall break the neck of their altars; He shall ruin their pillars. For already they are saying, o king have we, for we have not feared Jehovah, and the king-what could he do for us? Speaking of words, swearing of false oaths, making of bargains-till law breaks out like weeds in the furrows of the field." "For the Calf of Beth-Aven the inhabitants of Samaria shall be anxious: yea, mourn for him shall his people, and his priestlings shall writhe for him - for his glory that it is banished from him." In these days of heavy tribute shall the gold of the golden calf be safe? "Yea, himself shall they pack to Assyria; he shall be offered as tribute to King Pick-Quarrel. Ephraim shall take disgrace, and Israel be ashamed because
  14. 14. of his counsel. Undone Samaria! Her king like chip on the face of the waters!" This may refer to one of the revolutions in which the king was murdered. But it seems more appropriate to the final catastrophe of 724-21: the fall of the kingdom, and the king’s banishment to Assyria. If the latter, the verse has been inserted; but the following verse would lead us to take these disasters as still future. "And the high places of idolatry shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorn and thistle shall come up on their altars. And they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us." It cannot be too often repeated: these handmade gods, these chips of kings, shall be swept away together. Once more the prophet returns to the ancient origins of Israel’s present sins, and once more to their shirking of the discipline necessary for spiritual results, but only that he may lead up as before to the inevitable doom. "From the days of Gibeah thou hast sinned, O Israel. There have they remained"-never progressed beyond their position there-"and this without war overtaking them in Gibeah against the dastards. As soon as I please, I can chastise them, and peoples shall be gathered against them in chastisement for their double sin." This can scarcely be, as some suggest, the two calves at Bethel and Dan. More probably it is still the idols and the man-made kings. ow he returns to the ambition of the people for spiritual results without a spiritual discipline. "And Ephraim is a broken-in heifer, that loveth to thresh. But I have come on her fair neck. I will yoke Ephraim; Judah must plough; Jacob must harrow for himself. It is all very well for the unmuzzled beast," [Deuteronomy 25:4;, 1 Corinthians 9:9;, 1 Timothy 5:18] to love the threshing, but harder and unrewarded labors of ploughing and harrowing have to come before the floor be heaped with sheaves. Israel must not expect religious festival without religious discipline. "Sow for yourselves righteousness; then shall ye reap the fruit of God’s leal love. Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek Jehovah, till He come and shower salvation upon you. Ye have ploughed wickedness; disaster have ye reaped: ye have eaten the fruit of falsehood; for thou didst trust in thy chariots, in the multitude of thy warriors. For the tumult of war shall arise among thy tribes, and all thy fenced cities shall be ruined, as Salman beat to ruin Beth-Arbel in the day of war: the mother shall be broken on the children"-presumably the land shall fall with the falling of her cities. "Thus shall I do to you, O house of Israel, because of the evil of your evil: soon shall the king of Israel be undone-undone." The political decay of Israel, then, so deeply figured in all these chapters, must end in utter collapse. Let us sum up the gradual features of this decay: the substance of the people scattered abroad; the national spirit dissipated; the national prestige humbled; the kings mere puppets; the prophets corrupted; the national vigor sapped by impurity; the idolatry conscious of its impotence. MACLARE , "‘FRUIT WHICH IS DEATH’ Hosea 10:1 - Hosea 10:15. The prophecy of this chapter has two themes-Israel’s sin, and its punishment. These recur again and again. Reiteration, not progress of thought, characterises Hosea’s
  15. 15. fiery stream of inspired eloquence. Conviction of sin and prediction of judgment are his message. We trace a fourfold repetition of it here, and further note that in each case there is a double reference to Israel’s sin as consisting in the rebellion which set up a king and in the schism which established the calf worship; while there is also a double phase of the punishment corresponding to these, in the annihilation of the kingdom and the destruction of the idols. The first section may be taken to be Hosea 10:1 - Hosea 10:3. The image of a luxuriant vine laden with fruit is as old as Jacob’s blessing of the tribes [Genesis 49:22], where it is applied to Joseph, whose descendants were the strength of the orthern Kingdom. Hosea has already used it, and here it is employed to set forth picturesquely the material prosperity of Israel. Probably the period referred to is the successful reign of Jeroboam II. But prosperity increased sin. The more fruit or material wealth, the more altars; the better the harvests, the more the obelisks or pillars to gods, falsely supposed to be the authors of the blessings. The words are as condensed as a proverb, and are as true to-day as ever. Israel had attributed its prosperity to Baal [Hosea 2:8]. The misuse of worldly wealth and the tendency of success to draw us away from God, and to blind to the true source of all blessing, are as rife now as then. The root of the evil was, as always, a heart divided-that is, between God and Baal- or, perhaps, ‘smooth’; that is, dissimulating and insincere. In reality, Baal alone possesses the heart which its owner would share between him and Jehovah. ‘All in all, or not at all,’ is the law. Whether Baals or calves were set beside God, He was equally deposed. Then, with a swift turn, Hosea proclaims the impending judgment, setting himself and the people as if already in the future. He hears the first peal of the storm, and echoes it in that abrupt ‘now.’ The first burst of the judgment shatters dreams of innocence, and the cowering wretches see their sin by the lurid light. That discovery awaits every man whose heart has been ‘divided.’ To the gazers and to himself masks drop, and the true character stands out with appalling clearness. What will that light show us to be? An unnamed hand overthrows altars and pillars. o need to say whose it is. One half of Israel’s sin is crushed at a blow, and the destruction of the other follows immediately. They themselves abjure their allegiance; for they have found out that their king is a king Log, and can do them no good. A king, set up in opposition to God’s will, cannot save. The ruin of their projects teaches godless men at last that they have been fools to take their own way; for all defences, recourses, and protectors, chosen in defiance of God, prove powerless when the strain comes. The annihilation of one half of their sin sickens them of the other. The calves and the monarchy stood or fell together. It is a dismal thing to have to bear the brunt of chastisement for what we see to have been a blunder as well as a crime. But such is the fate of those who seek other gods and another king. In Hosea 10:4 Hosea recurs to Israel’s crime, and appends a description of the chastisement, substantially the same as before, but more detailed, which continues till Hosea 10:8. The sin now is contemplated in its effects on human relations. Before, it was regarded in relation to God. But men who are wrong with Him cannot be right with one another. Morality is rooted in religion, and if we lie to God, we
  16. 16. shall not be true to our brother. Hence, passing over all other sins for the present, Hosea fixes upon one, the prevalence of which strikes at the very foundation of society. What can be done with a community in which lying has become a national characteristic, and that even in formal agreements? Honey-combed with falsehood, it is only fit for burning. Sin is bound by an iron link to penalty. Therefore, says Hosea, God’s judgment springs up, like a bitter plant {the precise name of which is unknown} in the furrows, where the farmer did not know that its seeds lay. They little dreamed what they were sowing when they scattered abroad their lies, but this is the fruit of these. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’; and whatever other crop we may hope to gather from our sins, we shall gather that bitter one which we did not expect. The inevitable connection of sin and judgment, the bitterness of its results, the unexpectedness of them, are all here, and to be laid to heart by us. Then Hosea 10:5 - Hosea 10:6 dilate with keen irony on the fate of the first half of Israel’s sin-the calf. It was thought a god, but its worshippers shall be in a fright for it. ‘Calves,’ says Hosea, though there was but one at Beth-el; and he uses the feminine, as some think, depreciatingly. ‘Beth-aven’ or the ‘house of vanity,’ he says, instead of Beth-el, ‘the house of God.’ A fine god whose worshippers had to be alarmed for its safety! ‘Its people’-what a contrast to the name they might have borne, ‘My people’! God disowns them, and says, ‘They belong to it, not to Me.’ The idolatrous priests of the calf worship will tremble when that image, which had been shamefully their ‘glory,’ is carried off to Assyria, and given as a present to ‘king Jareb’-a name for the king of Assyria meaning the fighting or quarrelsome king. The captivity of the god is the shame of the worshippers. To be ‘ashamed of their own counsel’ is the certain fate of all who depart from God; for, sooner or later, experience will demonstrate to the blindest that their refuges of lies can neither save themselves nor those who trust in them. But shame is one thing and repentance another; and many a man will say, ‘I have been a great fool, and my clever policy has all crumbled to pieces,’ who will only therefore change his idols, and not return to God. Hosea 10:7 recurs to the political punishment of the civil rebellion. The image for the disappearance of the king is striking, whether we render ‘foam’ or ‘chip,’ but the former has special beauty. In the one case we see the unsubstantial bubble, ‘A moment white, then melts for ever’; and in the other, the helpless twig swept down by the stream. Either brings vividly before us the powerlessness of Israel against the roaring torrent of Assyrian power; and the figure may be widened out to teach what is sure to become of all man-made and self-chosen refuges when the floods of God’s judgments sweep over the world. The captivity of the idol and the burst bubble of the monarchy bid us all make Jehovah our God and King. The vacant shrine and empty throne are followed by utter and long-continued desolation. Thorns and thistles have time to grow on the altars, and no hand cuts them down. What of the men thus stripped of all in which they had trusted? Desperate, they implore the mountains to fall on them, as preferring to die, and the hills to cover them, as willing to be crushed, if only they may be hidden. That awful cry is heard again in our Lord’s predictions of judgment, and in the Apocalypse. Therefore this prophecy foreshadows, in the destruction of Israel’s confidences and in their shame and despair, a more dreadful
  17. 17. coming day, in which we shall be concerned. Hosea 10:9 - Hosea 10:11 again give the sin and its punishment. ‘The days of Gibeah’ recall the hideous story of lust and crime which was the low-water mark of the lawless days of old. That crime had been avenged by merciless war. But its taint had lived on, and the Israel of Hosea’s day ‘stood,’ obstinately persistent, just where the Benjamites had been then, and set themselves in dogged resistance, as these had done, ‘that the battle against the children of unrighteousness might not touch them.’ Stiff-necked setting oneself against God’s merciful fighting with evil lasts for a little while, but verse 10 tells how soon and easily it is annihilated. God’s ‘desire’ brushes away all defences, and the obstinate sinners are like children, who are whipped when their father wills, let them struggle as they may. The instruments of chastisement are foreign armies, and the chastisement itself is described with a striking figure as ‘binding them to their two transgressions’; that is, the double sin which is the keynote of the chapter. Punishment is yoking men to their sins, and making them drag the burden like bullocks in harness. What sort of load are we getting together for ourselves? When we have to drag the consequences of our doings behind us, how shall we feel? The figure sets the Prophet’s imagination going, and he turns it another way, comparing Israel to a heifer, broken in, and liking the easy work of threshing, in which the unmuzzled ox could eat its fill, but now set to harder tasks in the fields. Judah, too, is to share in the punishment. If men will not serve God in and because of prosperous ease, He will try what toil and privation will do. Abused blessings are withdrawn, and the abundance of the threshing-floor is changed for dragging a heavy plough or harrow. Hosea 10:12 still deals with the figure suggested in the close of the previous verse. It is the only break in the clouds in this chapter. It is a call to amendment, accompanied by a promise of acceptance. If we ‘sow for righteousness’-that is, if our efforts are directed to embodying it in our lives-we ‘shall reap according to mercy.’ That is true universally, whether it is taken to mean God’s mercy to us, or ours to others. The aim after righteousness ever secures the divine favour, and usually ensures the measure which we mete being measured to us again. But sowing is not all; thorns must be grubbed up. We must not only turn over a new leaf, but tear out the old one. The old man must be slain if the new man is to live. The call to amend finds its warrant in the assurance that there is still time to seek the Lord, and that, for all His threatenings, He is ready to rain blessings upon the seekers. The unwearying patience of God, the possibility of the worst sinner’s repentance, the conditional nature of the threatenings, the possibility of breaking the bond between sin and sorrow, the yet deeper thought that righteousness must come from above, are all condensed in this brief gospel before the Gospel. But that bright gleam passes, and the old theme recurs. Once more we have sin and punishment exhibited in their organic connection in Hosea 10:13 - Hosea 10:14. Israel’s past had been just the opposite of sowing righteousness and reaping mercy. Wickedness ploughed in, iniquity will surely be its fruit. Sin begets sin, and is its own punishment. What fruit have we of doing wrong? ‘Lies’; that is, unfulfilled expectations of unrealised satisfaction. o man gets the good that he aimed at in sinning, or he gets something more that spoils it. At last the deceitfulness of sin will be found out, but we may be sure of it now. The root of all Israel’s sin was the root
  18. 18. of ours; namely, trust in self, and consequent neglect of God. The first half of Hosea 10:13 is an exhaustive analysis of the experience of every sinful life; the second, a penetrating disclosure of the foundation of it. Then the whole closes with the repeated threatening, dual as before, and illustrated by the forgotten horrors of some dreadful siege, one of the ‘unhappy, far-off things,’ fallen silent now. A significant variation occurs in the final threatening, in which Beth-el is set forth as the cause, rather than as the object, of the destruction. ‘They were the ruin of him and of all Israel.’ Our vices are made the whips to scourge us. Our idols bring us no help, but are the causes of our misery. The Prophet ends with the same double reference which prevails throughout, when he once more declares the annihilation of the monarchy, which, rather than a particular person, is meant by ‘the king.’ ‘In the morning’ is enigmatical. It may mean ‘prematurely,’ or ‘suddenly,’ or ‘in a time of apparent prosperity,’ or, more probably, the Prophet stands in vision in that future day of the Lord, and points to ‘the king’ as the first victim. The force of the prophecy does not depend on the meaning of this detail. The teaching of the whole is the certainty that suffering dogs sin, but yet does so by no iron, impersonal law, but according to the will of God, who will rain righteousness even on the sinner, being penitent, and will endow with righteousness from above every lowly soul that seeks for it. SIMEO , "BRI GI G FORTH FRUIT TO OURSELVES Hosea 10:1. Israelis an empty vine; he bringeth forth fruit unto himself. I order to judge aright of our actions, we must examine the principles from whence they proceed. Ignorant as we are of men’s real motives, we invariably endeavour to discover them even in courts of judicature; and pass sentence, not so much upon their actions, as on their intentions. or does any one disapprove of this method of estimating men’s conduct, provided only there be sufficient ground for discovering the real sentiments and wishes of their hearts. ow, if this be a proper mode of judging with respect to each other, we should certainly try our own actions by the same rule; since they will most assuredly be estimated according to this rule in the day when we shall stand before the tribunal of God. In the words before us, God passes sentence, as it were, on the Israelites, not so much for the form and matter of their services, as for the dispositions they exercised in the performance of them. And, as he does the same with respect to us, it is of importance to ascertain, I. When we may be said to bring forth fruit to ourselves— By the law of our creation we should regard nothing but the glory and authority of God. But, through the corruption of our nature, we have cast off God, and exalted self into his throne. We manifest that we do this, 1. When self is the principle of our actions—
  19. 19. [It is but too evident that unregenerate men act in an entire conformity to their own will, without ever considering the will of God. If in any thing they seem to oppose their own will, they do so, not from a regard to his authority, but from some selfish principle of carnal hope or fear. If we would persuade them to any course of conduct, we find that the simple declaration of God’s mind and will has no effect on them whatever; and that we must have recourse to carnal and temporal considerations, if we would succeed with them. Moreover they wish that others also should consult their will, rather than the will of God: and thus they shew not only that they are a god unto themselves, but that they would gladly be a god also to their fellow-creatures; and have their will more respected than the will of God. What can be a proof of bringing forth fruit to themselves, if this be not [ ote: Colossians 2:23.]?] 2. When self is the measure our actions— [Many are willing to be almost Christians; but few wish to be altogether so. Herod would part with many things; but not with his Herodias. The Young Man would follow Christ at all events. as he thought; but could not be prevailed upon to sell his estate, and give it to the poor [ ote: Matthew 19:21-22.]. Thus, if the attending at the house and table of the Lord, if the abstaining from gross sins, and the exercising of benevolence to the poor will suffice, many will be content to pay the price: but, the renouncing of all sin, and the walking in the narrow path of holiness and self- denial, are too irksome a task: and if they cannot maintain an interest in Christ on lower terms, they determine to part with him. ow what is this, but to make their own ease the measure of their obedience, when they ought to have no other measure than the word of God? whereas the true Christian wishes to “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”] 3. When self is the end of our actions— [God’s command is, that “whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God [ ote: 1 Corinthians 10:31.].” But what if we be studying how to advance our own reputation or interest in the world? What if, like Jehu, we be actuated by pride, when we profess to be doing the Lord’s work [ ote: Compare 2 Kings 10:30 with Hosea 1:4.]? What if, even in religious duties also, we be seeking to establish our own righteousness, or to gratify only some selfish principle [ ote: Zechariah 7:5- 6.]? In all these cases we are justly involved in that censure, “All men seek their own, and not the things that are Jesus Christ’s [ ote: Philippians 2:21.].”] To shew the evil of such conduct we shall proceed to point out, II. In what respects, they who do so resemble an empty vine— The similes of Scripture, if strained and perverted, are made disgusting; but, if soberly and judiciously illustrated, they are replete with useful instruction. ow, without fear of straining this simile, we may observe, that they, who bring forth fruit to themselves, resemble an empty vine,
  20. 20. 1. In its nature— [ A vine is a proper emblem of fruitfulness; but an empty vine, in a country so famous for its vineyards as Palestine, gives one a very strong idea of barrenness. Hence, when God was complaining of his people’s unfruitfulness, he compared them to a vineyard, which, alter the greatest pains and cost bestowed on its culture, brought forth nothing but wild grapes [ ote: Isaiah 5:4.]. In this view, an empty vine marks the depraved nature of those, who, notwithstanding all the labour with which they have been cultivated, remain “barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord:” who, instead of being “filled with the fruits of righteousness to God’s praise and glory,” can rise no higher than self, nor do one single act that is pleasing and acceptable to God.] 2. In its use— [A barren vine is the most worthless of all things: other trees may be made useful in some way; but neither root nor branch, nor even the trunk, of a barren vine is good for any thing [ ote: Ezekiel 15:2-5.]. Such worthless creatures are they who bring forth no fruit to God. They may indeed be good members of the community; but, as to all the great ends of their creation, they are of no use whatever: they bring no glory to God; they advance not the spiritual welfare of those around them; they attain not to any measure of the Divine image. There is not any thing in the whole creation that does not answer the ends of its formation better than they. Well does our Lord compare them to “salt, which, when it has lost its savour, is unfit even for the dunghill [ ote: Luke 14:35.].”] 3. In its end— [Our Lord has told us what will be the end of a barren vine [ ote: John 15:6.]. And shall not such also be the end of those who live to themselves rather than to God? Let our Lord determine this point also [ ote: Matthew 25:30.]: and let “the unprofitable servant” not think himself secure on account of his freedom from gross sins: but remember that the best actions are to no purpose, if not wrought from a principle of love to God [ ote: 1 Corinthians 13:1.].] Address— 1. Those who resemble an empty vine— [The culture bestowed on you is worse than in vain, since it greatly aggravates your guilt. Guard then against self-deceit: and devote yourselves in body, soul, and spirit, unto God. Above all, seek to be united unto Christ by faith: for it is only by virtue derived from Christ, that you can ever bring forth fruit unto God [ ote: Romans 7:4. John 15:4.].] 2. Those who may rather be compared to fruitful vines—
  21. 21. [Occasional mixtures of self are no just ground to question our state before God: for there is much remaining weakness in the best. evertheless you must watch and pray against that base principle, and judge of your attainments by the degree in which self is mortified, and God exalted in your hearts.] BI, "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself. The abuse of worldly prosperity Our version is faulty here. Elzas renders, “Israel is a luxurious vine, whose fruit is very abundant.” So our subject is the abuse of prosperity. Some men are very prosperous. Every branch of their life clusters with fruit. Sonic nations are very prosperous. When is prosperity abused? I. When it is used with an exclusive regard to our own selfish ends. As— 1. For self-indulgence. 2. For self-aggrandisement. The right which property gives is the right to lay it out for the benefit of our fellow-men. II. When it is used without a supreme regard to the claims of God. Unless we employ our property according to the directions of the Great Proprietor we abuse the trust. How does God require us to employ our property? 1. For the amelioration of human woes. 2. For the dispersion of human ignorance. 3. For the elevation of the human soul. To raise it to the knowledge, the image, the fellowship, and the enjoyment of God. How are we, as a nation, using our enormous prosperity? (Homilist.) The figure of the vine Israel is a luxuriant vine. Not as in the A.V. “an empty vine,” nor as in the margin A.V. “a vine emptying the fruit which it giveth,” but a vine which pours itself forth, spreads out its branches. It denotes the outward prosperity and abundance which they had enjoyed. The vineyard had been planted with the choicest vine, and diligently cultivated, but it bore wretched fruit, significant of sins against God. (W. Henry Green, D. D. , LL. D.) The Church compared to a vine 1. No plant has a more unpromising outside than the vine. 2. The vine is the most fruitful plant that grows out of the earth. 3. No plant requires so great care as the vine. 4. The vine is the most depending plant in the world, unable to underprop itself, it must have props more than any other plant, and therefore nature has given it tendrils by which it catches hold of anything near it.
  22. 22. 5. If it be not fruitful, it is the most unprofitable thing in the world. 6. A vine is the most spreading of plants. It spreads larger than other plants, and fills a great deal of room with its branches. 7. The vine is the softest and most tender of plants, the emblem of peace. But Israel is an empty, or emptying, vine; he makes himself empty. (1) Emptiness in those who profess themselves to be God’s people is a very great evil. It is unnatural. It is a dishonour to the root. It frustrates the Lord of all the care, and cost, and charge He expends. There is no blessing upon thy soul if thou art “an empty vine.” If there be grace, it cannot but bear fruit. Common gifts shall be taken away, if the vine proves empty. The evil of emptiness is great according to the greatness of opportunities. (2) Sin will empty a land of all the blessings God has bestowed. Sin is an emptying thing; it empties lands, families, and persons of all their outward comforts. (3) It is all one, to be an empty Christian, and to bring forth fruit to oneself. Men think that which they bring forth to themselves is clear gain; but this is an infinite mistake, for that which is for thyself is lost, and that which is for God is gained. (Jeremiah Burroughs.) Israel as a robbed vine The prophet means, that Israel was like a vine which is robbed after the ingathering is come: for the word bekok means properly to pillage, or to plunder. The prophet compares the gathering of the grapes to robbing; and this view best suits the place. Israel is like a robbed vine, for it was stripped of its fruit; and then he adds, “he will make fruit for himself.” I understand by the words that Israel would lay up fruit for himself after the robbing, and sacred history confirms this view; for this people, we know, had been in various ways chastised: so, however, that they gathered new strength. For the Lord intended only to admonish them gently, that they might be healed; but nothing was effected by God’s moderation. The case, however, was so, that Israel produced new fruit, as a vine, after having been robbed one year, brings forth a new vintage; for one ingathering does not kill the vine. Thus also Israel did lay up fruit for himself; that is, after the Lord had collected there His vintage, He again favoured the people with His blessing, and, as it were, restored them anew; as vines in the spring throw out their branches, and then produce fruit. God, in the next clause, complains that Israel, after having been once gathered, went on in his own wickedness. This is a useful doctrine. We see how the Lord forbears in inflicting punishments—He does not execute them with the utmost rigour. But how do they act who are thus moderately chastised? As soon as they can recruit their spirits they are carried away by a more head strong inclination, and grow insolent against God. (John Calvin.) Israel as a vine A luxuriant vine; one which poureth out, poureth itself out into leaves, abundant in switches (as most old versions explain it), luxuriant in leaves, emptying itself in them, and empty of fruit; like the fig-tree which our Lord cursed. For the more a fruit tree putteth out its strength in leaves and branches, the less and worse fruit it beareth. “The
  23. 23. juices which it ought to transmute into wine it disperseth in the ambitious idle shew of leaves and branches.” The sap in the vine is an emblem of His Holy Spirit, through whom alone we can bear fruit. “His grace which was in me,” says St. Paul, “was not in vain.” It is in vain to us, when we waste the stirrings of God’s Spirit in feelings, aspirations, longings, transports, “which bloom their hour and fade.” Like the leaves, these feelings aid in maturing fruit; when there are leaves only, the tree is barren, and “nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.” “It bringeth forth fruit for itself,” lit. “setteth fruit to, or on, itself.” Luxuriant in leaves, its fruit becomes worthless, and is from itself to itself. It is uncultured (for Israel refused culture), pouring itself out, as it willed, in what it willed. It had a rich shew of leaves, a shew also of fruit, but not for the Lord of the vineyard, since they came to no size or ripeness. Yet to the superficial glance, Israel, at this time, was rich, prosperous, healthy, abundant in all things. (E. B. Pusey, D. D.) Self-aggrandisement, and its secret “He bringeth forth fruit unto himself”; and yet, literally, he brings forth no fruit at all, only long stem and tendril, and leaves innumerable; his fruit is all foliage. The figure is very Hebraic and grand. Israel is a vine, and a growing vine, but Israel misses the purpose of the vine by never growing any wine; growing nothing but weedy leaves, and so disappointing men when they come to find fruit thereon, and discover none. The Church is an empty vine. Theology is an empty vine. All religious controversy that is conducted for its own sake—that is to say, with the single view of winning a victory in words—is an empty vine,—luxuriant enough, but it is the luxuriance of ashes. “According to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land, they have made goodly images.” They have gone pari passu with the Almighty— He, the living Father, doing the good, and they, the rebellious men, doing proportionate evil. When the harvest has been plentiful, the idolatry has been large, increasing in urgency and importance; when the vine has brought forth abundantly, another image has been set up. That is the teaching of the prophet; yea, that is the impeachment of God. God may be represented as saying, Your wickedness has been in proportion to My goodness; the more I have given you, the less I have received from you; the larger the prosperity with which I have crowned you, the more zealous have you been in your idolatry; the more lovingly I have revealed Myself to you, the greater your wantonness, selfishness, and rebellion. That is not only Hebrew, it is English; that is not only ancient history, it is the tragedy, the blasphemy of to-day. What is the explanation? Where is the point at which we can stand and say: This is the beginning of the mischief? The answer is in the second verse, “Their heart is divided.” That has always been the difficulty of God; He has so seldom been able to get a consenting heart. God says: These people want to do two irreconcilable things—they want to serve God and Mammon; they want to courteously recognise the existence of Jehovah, and then run to kiss the lips of Baal. Their heart does not all go one way; they cannot wholly throw off the true religion; it has indeed become to them little better than a superstition, but men do not like to gather up all the traditions of the past, and cast them in one bundle into the flowing river, in the hope that it may he carried away and lost for ever. So they come to the altar sometimes; now and again they look in at the church door; intermittently they listen to the old Psalm and the half-remembered hymn; but in the soul of them they are drunk with idolatry. There are persons very anxious to maintain orthodoxy who are the most notorious thieves in society; there are those who would subscribe to any society to defend Sunday, if they might do on Monday just what they liked; they are zealous about the Sabbath, and
  24. 24. especially zealous that other people should keep it, but on Monday you would never imagine that there was a Sunday. “Their heart is divided.” (Joseph Parker, D. D.) The self-shoot the wrong one to cultivate A little while ago an inexperienced hand had trained a rose-tree over a porch, The leaves of the tree were green, and the growth was strong, but not a flower was there. “Why is this?” inquired the master of a skilled gardener. The answer was given by an act, not by words, for, taking out his pruning knife, the gardener in one moment levelled the rampant growth to the ground. “What have you done?” cried the master. “Don’t you see, sir,” was the reply; “your man has been cultivating the wrong shoot!” and, at the same time, the gardener pointed out the grafted rose, which had barely struggled two inches above the ground, and which the wild shoot had completely overwhelmed. In a few months the graft, set free from the encumbering growth of the wrong shoot, sent out in vigorous life its beautiful branches, and covered the porch with its luxuriance; and there it lives, a parable of heavenly things. Not all the cultivation or training in the world could have made that wrong shoot become a beautiful and flowering tree, neither will the efforts of a whole life succeed in making our “old man” like Christ, or fruitful towards God. God has condemned our nature in the Cross of Christ: He has judicially cut it down; and no fruit fit for God shall grow upon it for ever. The practical word, then, to those Christians who are seeking to produce out of self-fruit acceptable to God is, Do not cultivate the wrong shoot. (H. F. Wetherby.) Sin the product of man’s free will This is the oldest illustration of cause and effect known to our race. The Old Testament, with its system of conscience education, is a profound commentary on the subject, its moral law creating a knowledge of sin, its sacrificial system deepening the sense of the guilt of sin, and its prophetic ministry denouncing sin, and bringing the sorrow and suffering following sin home to the hearts of the kings and the people with unflinching courage and precision. None the less striking is this truth when read from the pages of classic heathenism. It is Helen’s crime and that of Paris which brings on sorrow in the downfall of Troy. AEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are pagan preachers enunciating the terrible judgments following in the train of wrong-doing. Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton build their poems and construct their dramas upon this foundation. Sin is the product of man’s free will. “Israel bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” In appropriating the gifts of God to self-gratification the Creator has been ignored. Sin is man’s own product. It is the child of our own self-will. While it is true that in every human being there is a persistent tendency to take the wrong direction in moral development, yet no man is ever otherwise than a wilful sinner. The election by the individual will to act counter to the requirements of God is the source of all sin. Again, we see the insidious manner in which sin makes its home in the human heart. Self- interest is pressed into the service of sin, but sin, once getting a foothold, transforms a healthy serf-interest into gross selfishness. Growth and prosperity are turned to sinful uses. In the satiety of self-indulgence, in the greed of self-aggrandisement, in the divided heart, we witness the wreck of God’s purposes as they are related to human life. Into this terrible state of antagonism to the will of God the prophet Hosea declares Israel has come. When the Almighty created man with free will, He, in a sense, “set bounds to His own omnipotence.” From that hour man has held in his will the awful power of resisting
  25. 25. God. Sorrow, then, and suffering, are the inevitable results of persistent wilful sin. The moment sin is committed judgment begins with the steady developments of growth. But in the distressing picture of sin and its consequences now before us there is relief afforded. Sad, indeed, would be the lot of man if he were irrevocably doomed to endure the conditions of his terrible fortune. There is promised the overthrow of the dominion of sin by repentance and service in the cause of righteousness. (E. M. Taylor.) 2 Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones. BAR ES, "Their heart is divided - Between God and their idols, in that they would not wholly part with either, as Elijah upbraided them, “How long halt ye between the two opinions?” 1Ki_18:21. When the pagan, by whom the king of Assyria replaced them, had been taught by one of the priests whom the king sent back, in order to avert God’s judgments, they still propagated this division. Like Jeroboam 2Ki_17:32-33, 2Ki_ 17:41, they became fearers of the Lord,” His worshipers, “and made to themselves out of their whole number (i. e., indiscriminately) priests of the high places. They were fearers of the Lord, and they were servers of their gods, according to the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. These nations were fearers of the Lord, and they were servers of their idols, both their children and their children’s children. As did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” This divided allegiance was their hereditary worship. These pagan, as taught by one of the priests of Israel, added the service of God to that of their idols, as Israel had added the service of the idols to that of God. But God rejecteth such half service; from where he adds, “now,” in a brief time, all but come, “they shall be found faulty,” literally, “they shall be guilty,” shall be convicted of guilt and shall bear it. They thought to “serve at once God and Mammon;” but, in truth, they served their idols only, whom they would not part with for God. God Himself then would turn away all their worship, bad, and, as they thought, good. “He,” from whom their heart was divided, He Himself, by His mighty power which no man can gain-say, “shall break down their altars,” literally, shall “behead” them. As they out of His gifts multiplied their altars and killed their sacrifices upon them against His will, so now should the altars themselves, be demolished; and “the images” which they had decked with the gold which He had given, should, on
  26. 26. account of that very gold, tempt the spoiler, through whom God would spoil them. He shall break down - He Himself. The word is emphatic. : “God willeth not that, when the merited vengeance of God is inflicted through man, it should be ascribed to man. Yea, if anyone ascribeth to himself what, by permission of God, he hath power to do against the people of God, he draweth down on him the displeasure of God, and, at times, on that very ground, can hurt the less” (see Deu_32:26, Deu_32:7; Isa_10:5 ff). The prophet then says very earnestly, “He Himself shall break,” meaning us to understand, not the lofty hand of the enemy, but that the Lord Himself did all these things. CLARKE, "Their heart is divided - They wish to serve God and Mammon, Jehovah and Baal: but this is impossible. Now God will do in judgment what they should have done in contrition, “break down their altars, and spoil their images.” GILL, "Their heart is divided,.... Some say from Hoshea their king, who would have reformed them from their idolatry, and returned them to the true worship of God; but of that there is no proof; better from one another, their affections being alienated from each other, by their discords and animosities, their conspiracies against their kings, and the murders of them, and the civil wars among themselves; they also not being of one mind, but disagreeing in their sentiments about their idols; some being for one, and some for another: or rather from God himself, from the fear of him, from his worship and service; or from the law, as the Targum; or their hearts were divided between God and their idols, as in Ahab's time between God and Baal; they pretended to worship God when they worshipped the calves, and so shared the service between them; or it may be rendered, "their heart flatters" (r) them; as if they had done that which was right and good, and were guilty of no evil, nor would any punishment be inflicted on them: now shall they be found faulty; be convicted of their sin and folly, and appear guilty; when they shall be punished for their idolatry, and their idols not able to save them, as the destruction of them next mentioned will fully evince: or, "now shall they become desolate" (s) their land shall be desolate, and they carried captive: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images: that is, the king of Assyria shall do all this, or God by him: or, "behead their altars" (t); take off the top of them, as the Targum; the horns of them, which might be made of gold, or other ornaments which were of value; and therefore became the plunder of the enemy; and who also would break in pieces their images, for the sake of the metal, gold or silver, of which they were made; as was usually done by conquerors, and to show their entire power over the conquered, that even their gods could not deliver them out of their hands. HE RY, "Their hearts were divided, Hos_10:2. (1.) They were divided among themselves. They were at variance about their idols, some for one, some for another, at variance about their kings, whose separate interests made parties in the kingdom, and in them their very hearts were divided, and alienated one from another, and there was no such thing as cordial friendship to be found among them; it follows therefore, Now shall they be found faulty. Note, The divisions and animosities of a people are the causes of
  27. 27. much sin and the presages of ruin. (2.) They were divided between God and their idols. They had a remaining affection in their hearts for God, but a reigning affection for their idols. They halted between God and Baal, that was the dividing of their heart. But God is the sovereign of the heart and he will by no means endure a rival; he will either have all or none. Satan, like the pretended mother, says, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it; but, if this be yielded to, God says, Nay, let him take it all. A heart thus divided will be found faulty, and be rejected as treacherous in covenanting with God. Note, A heart divided between God and mammon, though it may trim the matter so as to appear plausible, will, in the day of discovery, be found faulty. JAMISO , "heart ... divided — (1Ki_18:21; Mat_6:24; Jam_4:8). now — that is, soon. he — Jehovah. break down — “cut off,” namely the heads of the victims. Those altars, which were the scene of cutting off the victims’ heads, shall be themselves cut off. CALVI , "Verse 2 He says first that their heart was divided, that is, from God; for this, we know, is principally required, that people should faithfully cleave to their God. “And now Israel, what does thy God require of thee, but to cleave to him with the whole heart?” Since God then binds us to himself by a holy union, it is the summit of all wickedness, when our heart is divided from him, as it is when an unchaste and perfidious wife alienates her affection from her husband. For as long as the husband keeps the heart of his wife, as it were, tied to himself, conjugal fidelity and chastity continue; but when her heart is divided from her husband, it is all over, and she abandons herself to lewdness. So also the Prophet says here that the heart of the people was divided from God; for they did not devote themselves to God with a pure and sincere affection, as they ought to have done. “This people then have withdrawn their heart from me.” But he says, ow they shall be guilty; that is I will now show what they deserve, so that they shall not hereafter, as they are wont to do, sport with their cavils; for the verb ‫,אשם‬ ahsem, is not to be referred to the deeds but rather, as, they say, to its manifestation. Then he says that they shall be guilty, for they shall be convicted: as, to be justified means to be absolved, so also to be guilty means to be condemned. The meaning is, that as this people could not perceive the Lord’s wrath as long as their condition was easy to be borne, he would inflict such dreadful punishment as would convince them, so that they might no longer deceive and flatter themselves. They shall then be now condemned. How? For the Lord will overturn their altars. This may be referred to the minister of vengeance; but as no name is expressed, I prefer to understand God as being meant. God then shall overturn their altars and destroy, or reduce to nothing, their statues This was added, because ungodly men, we know, trust in their own devices, and can never be brought to serious fear, except when they understand that they have been deceived by the crafts of Satan, while they gave themselves up to superstitions and
  28. 28. idolatry. Hence the Prophet declares that their altars shall be overturned, and their statues reduced to nothing, that hypocrites might lay aside the confidence by which they had hitherto grown proud against God. But a confirmation of this view follows — COFFMA , "Verse 2 "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found guilty: he will smite their altars, he will destroy their pillars." "Their heart is divided ..." Any expose of the roots of rebellion against God should begin with the heart, as Hosea began here. The heart, in Hebrew thinking, was never the seat of the emotions, but the seat of the will and the intelligence. The people simply chose to serve Satan rather than God for purposes of their own lust and gratification. It was for this reason that, "Under the appearance of devotedness to God, they still clung to idols."[6] For the scriptural documentation of this fact, see 2 Kings 17:9. TRAPP, "Verse 2 Hosea 10:2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. Ver. 2. Their heart is divided] sc. from God; whose soul therefore is justly disjointed from them, Jeremiah 6:8. They professed to worship the true God, and yet they transferred the honour due to him alone upon dumb idols; they halted between two, and would needs serve two lords; but God would have none of that. "Be the gods of the heathen good fellows," saith one, "the true God is a jealous God, and will not part stakes with another." The double-minded man is not for his service; for he will be served truly, that there be no halting; and, totally, that there be no halving. Good therefore and worthy of all acceptation is the counsel of St James to such, James 4:8, "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded," or ye cloven-hearted, διψυχοι. Out with the corruption that cleaveth to your hearts; and then there will be a constance and evenness in your minds, mouths, and manners; which is absolutely necessary to such as draw nigh to God in holy duties, and the contrary abominable, Isaiah 29:13. ow shall they be found faulty] Sinners against their own souls, procurers of their own ruth and ruin. And this they shall so clearly be convinced of (as afflictio dat intellectum, smart makes wit), that they shall cry out, with Joseph’s brethren, We are verily guilty, Genesis 42:21, and conscience awakened, shall answer as Reuben in the next verse, "Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin" (O do not this abominable thing): "and ye would not hear?" Did not the prophets foretell you what would be the fruit of your idolatries? did they not even slit up your hearts with the sacrificing knife of God’s word (sharper than any two-edged sword), and lay all your evil thoughts naked and open, or dissected, quartered, and cleft in the backbone (as the apostle’s word, τετραχηλισµενα, signifieth, Hebrews 4:13), but ye would not then be convinced of all, and falling down upon your face, worship God,
  29. 29. as 1 Corinthians 14:24-25? ow you are found faulty, or guilty, and cry peccavi; I have sinned, or now you are, that is, shortly ye shall be, wasted and desolated, as some render it; or now shall they die ( interibunt, so the Vulgate), shall they perish; how should they do otherwise whose heart, that seat of life, is cut in twain; and whom the jealous and just God will cut in twain ( διχοτοµησει), tearing their souls from their bodies by death, Satan’s slaughter man, and appointing them their portion with hypocrites, Matthew 24:51. He shall break down their altars] He, that is, God, my God, Hosea 9:17, for this chapter is a continuation of that (though Gualter makes it the beginning of Hosea’s seventh sermon). He, that excelleth he, that Aph-hu, 2 Kings 2:14. Even he, proved by five reasons to be one of God’s attributes, by Mr Weemiss in his exposition of the moral law, Part I p. 162. Vide sis. Others render it thus: It shall break down their altars, Ipsum cor. It, that is, their heart (which indeed is the next antecedent), and happy had it been for them if their heart, divided from their wickedness, had been active in breakng down their altars in the prophet Isaiah’s sense, Isaiah 27:9, as a fruit of their true repentance: "By this therefore," that is, by their affliction sanctified, "shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit" (and good fruit too) "to take away his sin; when" (in testimony of his sound repentance and self-abhorrency for former idolatry) "he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalk- stones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up." But it appears not anywhere that Israel was so well affected, though grievously afflicted; that his divided heart prompted him to any such holy practice. Rather it brought ruin upon him to the decolling of his altars and spoiling of his images (which he so doted on and delighted in), and so might well say to him, as Apollodorus the tyrant’s heart did, who dreamed one night that he was flayed by the Scythians, and boiled in a caldron; and that his heart spake to him out of the kettle; It is I that have drawn thee to all this: thou mayest thank me for all, ‘ Eγω σοι τουτων αιτια.. BE SO , "Verse 2-3 Hosea 10:2-3. Their heart is divided — Between God and their idols, or between God and the world. ow shall they be found faulty — As this was their sin, so it is here threatened, that the effects thereof should prove, and be an open manifestation of their guilt. The Hebrew ‫יאשׁמו‬ ‫,עתה‬ may be rendered, now shall they be punished, or, treated as guilty. So the Vulgate, nunc interibunt, now, that is, forthwith, shall they perish. He shall break down their altars, &c. — That is, God shall cause their idolatrous altars to be broken down, namely, by the Assyrians. For now they shall say — They shall see and feel, and be compelled to own; We have no king — Absolutely none, or no such king as we need and expected. This is thought by some commentators to relate to the time of anarchy, or the interregnum which continued for eight or nine years between the murder of Pekah and the settlement of Hoshea on the throne; because we feared not the Lord — They shall be sensible that their forsaking the Lord for idols, and their casting off his fear, is the true cause of all their calamities; and particularly of their being deprived of the blessing of a wise, just, and good civil government. What then — Or rather, But what should a king do for us? A king could not save us without the help of God. The verse, however, seems
  30. 30. rather to refer to the time of their captivity, and the sense probably is, “After Israel shall be carried captive into the country of their enemies, and shall have no king over their nation, they shall then acknowledge that this misfortune has happened to them through their own fault, and because they have not feared the Lord. And they shall acknowledge that it would profit them nothing to have kings, without having also the protection of God.” — Calmet. PETT, "Verse 2 ‘Their heart is divided (or ‘smooth, deceitful’). ow will they be found guilty. He will smite their altars, He will destroy their pillars.’ But Hosea warned that it would not go on for ever. Their hearts were divided between YHWH and Baal, with YHWH demoted to a mere nature god, and as a result they were about to be found guilty, guilty of dishonouring and ignoring YHWH’s covenant and His special claim on them. And as a consequence He was about to smite their altars and destroy their pillars. For He had not overlooked Assyria. Indeed He was about to use Assyria as the rod of His anger (Isaiah 10:5). BI, "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty. A divided heart It is one grievous fault with the Church of Christ at the present day, that it is not merely divided somewhat in its creed, and somewhat also in the practice of its ordinances, but, alas! it is also somewhat divided in heart. When our doctrinal divisions grow to so great a head that we cease to co-operate, when our opinions upon mere ordinances become so acid towards each other that we can no longer extend the right hand of fellowship to those who differ from us, then indeed is the Church of God found faulty. Even Beelzebub, with all his craft, cannot stand when once his hosts are divided. The smallest church in the world is potent for good when it hath but one heart and one soul; when pastor, elders, deacons, and members are bound together by a threefold cord which cannot be broken. Union is strength. By union we live, and by disunion we expire. Apply the text to our individual condition. I. A fearful disease. “Their heart is divided.” 1. The seat of the disease. It affects a vital part, a part so vital that it affects the whole man. There is no power, no passion, no motive, no principle which does not become vitiated when once the heart is diseased. 2. The disease touches this vital part after a most serious fashion. The heart is cleft in twain. Nothing can go right when that which should be one organ becomes two; when the one motive power begins to send forth its life-floods into two diverse channels, and so creates intestine strife and war. 3. It is a division in itself peculiarly loathsome. Men who are possessed of it do not feel themselves unclean; they will venture into the church, they will propose to receive her communion, and they will afterwards go and mingle with the world; and they do not feel that they have become dishonest. Take the glass and look into that man’s heart, and you will discern that it is loathsome, because Satan and sin reign there. All the while that he is living in sin he is pretending that he is a child of God.
  31. 31. Stand out in thy true colours. If thou art a worldling, be a worldling. 4. It is a disease always difficult to cure, because it is chronic. It is not an acute disease, which brings pain and suffering and sorrow with it. But it is chronic, it has got into the very nature of the man. What physician can join together a divided heart? 5. This disease is a very difficult one to deal with, because, it is a flattering disease. The most cunning of all flatterers is a man’s own heart. A man’s own heart will flatter him, even about his sins. He is contented and self-satisfied. II. The usual symptoms of the disease. 1. Formality in religious worship. These men have no faith; they have only a creed. They have no life within, and they supply its place with outward ceremony. What wonder, therefore, that we fiercely defend that! 2. Inconsistency. You must not see him always if you would have a good opinion of him. You must be guarded as to the days on which you call upon him. You must have a divided heart if you live an inconsistent life. 3. Variableness in object. There are men who run first in one direction then in another. Their religion is all spasmodic. They are taken with it as men are taken with the ague. They take up with religion, and then they lay it down again. 4. Frivolity in religion is often a token of a divided heart. It is perhaps too common a sin with young persons to treat religion with a light and frivolous air. There is a seriousness which is well-becoming, especially in youthful Christians. III. The sad effects of a divided heart. When a man’s heart is divided he is at once everything that is bad. 1. With regard to himself, he is an unhappy man. Men who are neither this nor that, neither one thing nor another, are always uneasy and miserable. 2. He is useless in the Church. Of what good is such a man to us? We cannot put him in a pulpit or make him a deacon. We cannot commit to his charge spiritual matters, because we discern that he is not spiritual himself. We know that no man who is not united in his heart vitally and entirely to Christ can ever be of the slightest service to the Church of God. 3. He is dangerous to the world. He is like a leper going abroad in the midst of healthy people; he spreads the disease. Though outwardly whitewashed like a sepulchre, he is more dangerous to the world than the most vicious of men. 4. He is contemptible to everybody. When he is found out nobody receives him; scarcely will the world own him, and the Church will have nothing to administer to him but censure. 5. He is reprobate in the sight of God. To the eye of infinite purity he is one of the most obnoxious and detestable of beings. The holy God both hates his sin and the lies with which he endeavours to cover it. IV. The future punishment of the man whose heart is divided. Unless he is rescued by a great salvation. Let me describe the terrible condition of the hypocrite when God shall come to judge the world. (C. H. Spurgeon.)