|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-6 When the measure of sin is filled up, the Lord will forbear no longer. The inhabitants of Samaria must have endured great affliction. Some of the poor Israelites were left in the land. Those who were carried captives to a great distance, were mostly lost among the nations.
Verse 2. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Hoshea's general attitude towards Jehovah was much the same as that of former kings of Israel. De maintained the calf-worship, leant upon "arms of flesh," and turned a deaf ear to the teaching of the prophets e.g, Hoshea and Micah, who addressed their warnings to him. But he was not guilty of any special wickedness - he set up no new idolatry; he seems to have allowed his subjects, if they pleased, to attend the festival worship at Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:11, 18). The rabbis add that when the golden calf of Bethel had been carried off by the Assyrians in one of their incursions, he did not replace it ('Seder Olam,' 2 Kings 22.); but it is not at all clear that the image was carried away until Hoshea's reign was over (see Dr. Pusey's comment on Barnes' NotesHosea 10:6 in his ' Minor Prophets,' p. 64).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. He did not worship Baal, as some of them had done; and he could not worship the calves, as all of them had, for they were carried away by the Assyrians in the former captivities, as the Jews (s) say; and who also observe (t), that he removed the garrisons set on the borders of the land to watch the Israelites, that they might not go up to Jerusalem; and this being done on the fifteenth of Ab, that day was afterwards observed as a festival on that account; and they further remark (u), that the captivity of the ten tribes was in the reign of this king, who was better than the rest, to show that it was not barely the sins of the kings on whom the Israelites would cast the blame, that they were carried captives, but their own, according to Hosea 5:3.
(s) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 22. (t) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 88. Kimchi in loc. (u) Seder Olam Raba, ut supra. (c. 22.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. he did evil … but not as the kings of Israel—Unlike his predecessors from the time of Jeroboam, he neither established the rites of Baal, nor compelled the people to adhere to the symbolic worship of the calves. [See on 2Ch 30:1.] In these respects, Hoshea acted as became a constitutional king of Israel. Yet, through the influence of the nineteen princes who had swayed the scepter before him (all of whom had been zealous patrons of idolatry, and many of whom had been also infamous for personal crimes), the whole nation had become so completely demoralized that the righteous judgment of an angry Providence impended over it.
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