|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:12-19 The people consulted images, and not the Divine word. This would lead to disorder and sin. Thus men prepare scourges for themselves, and vice is spread through a people. Let not Judah come near the idolatrous worship of Israel. For Israel was devoted to idols, and must now be let alone. When sinners cast off the easy yoke of Christ, they go on in sin till the Lord saith, Let them alone. Then they receive no more warnings, feel no more convictions: Satan takes full possession of them, and they ripen for destruction. It is a sad and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin. Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin. May we be kept from this awful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest, will soon hurry impenitent sinners into ruin.
Verses 18, 19. - The first of these two verses gives a picture of the degeneracy of the times; the second predicts the destruction that would ensue. Their drink is sour (margin, is gone): they have committed whoredom continually. If the first clause be taken literally,
(1) it denotes a charge of drunkenness preferred against Ephraim. To this vice the people of the northern kingdom, as is well known, were addicted: the wine, from oft-repeated potations, became sour in the stomach and produced loathsome eructations.
(2) Some, connecting closely the first and second clauses, and translating as in the margin, explain the meaning to be that "when their intoxication is gone they commit whoredom." But though drunkenness and debauchery frequently go together, it is rather during the former than afterwards that the latter is indulged in.
(3) The first clause had better be understood figuratively, and the latter either literally or figuratively, or both. Thus the sense is the degeneracy of principle among the people in general, or rather among the principal men of that day. By the finest wine becoming vapid, the prophet represents the leading men of the nation, on whom so much depended and from whom so much might be expected, as becoming unprincipled, and as being addicted to immorality or idolatry, or probably both (hazneh hiznu): "whoring they have committed whoredom."
(1) Her rulers (margin, shields) with shame do love, Give ye; or rather,
(2) her shields lore, love shame. The first takes הֵביּ for הָבוּ, as imperative of יָהַב, to give, and should rather be, "Her shields love, ' Give ye - shame, as there is no preposition before the word "shame;" even thus it is awkward. Most modern expositors take הֵבוּ as a contraction of אָהֵב ו, and so a repetition of part of the full verb preceding; thus: אָחְבוּ הֵבוּ, equivalent to "loved, loved." Ewald, Delitzsch, and Pusey understand it so; the latter says this "is probably one of the earliest forms of the intensive verb, repeating a part of the verb itself with its inflection." And Keil calls it "a construction resembling the pealal form." Among the sebirin, or conjectural readings, we find both words united into one; thus: אֲהַבהֵבוּ, equivalent to "mightily love." The shields are the princes, or natural protectors of the state, as in Psalm 47:9, "The princes of the people are gathered together.., for the shields of the earth be. long unto God." The shame they loved was the sin which is a shame to either princes or people, causes shame, and ends in shame. Isaiah expounds the thought (in Isaiah 1:22), a comparison of which confirms the above exposition.
(1) The wind hath bound her up in her wings; or,
(2) she hath bound up the wind with her in her skirts.
In the one case the wind is the strong storm-wind of Divine wrath that will seize on Ephraim, wrap her up with its wings, and carry her away. In the other, Ephraim wraps up the wind, that is, disappointment, the result of her sin, in the fold of her skirt. The
(1) translation of the first clause of ver. 19 is supported by Rashi: "The storm takes her in its wings, as that bird which the wind does not let rest until it makes him go far away; so the enemies will come upon them and carry them into exile." Translation
(2) is favored by Aben Ezra and Kimchi; the former says, "As the man who binds the wind in the folds of his robe without finding anything therein." And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. Frustrated in her hopes, and disappointed by the idols, from which she hoped so much and got so little, she is ashamed of the sacrifices she offered them; not of the altars (LXX.), for the preposition rain is indispensable.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Their drink is sour,.... In their stomachs, having drank so much that they cannot digest it; hence nauseous eructations, with a filthy stench, are belched out; so it is a charge of drunkenness which Ephraim or the ten tribes were addicted to, and are accused of, Isaiah 28:1 or "their drink is gone" (y); it has lost its colour, brightness, smell, and flavour; it is turned to vinegar; expressive of the general corruption and depravity of manners and religion among them; see Isaiah 1:22 or "their drink departeth", or "causeth to depart"; or "is refractory" (z); that is, it made them refractory, like a refractory belief, as before; caused them to depart from God and his worship, and led them into all sin and irreligion, particularly what follows:
they have committed whoredom continually; corporeal whoredom, which drunkenness leads to; and spiritual whoredom or idolatry, which they had committed, and continued in, ever since the days of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and increased therein:
her rulers with shame do love, give ye; or "her shields" (a); those that should have been the protectors of Israel, compared before to a heifer; and preserved them not only from their external enemies, but from all innovations in religion; and which we rightly enough render "rulers", civil and ecclesiastic, kings, princes, and priests; see Psalm 47:9, these "loved, give ye", which was a "shame" to them: the sense is, either they loved gifts and bribes, and were continually saying, "give, give", when causes were to be tried, and so perverted justice and judgment, which was very shameful; or they loved wine and strong drink, and therefore required it to be continually given them, which was very scandalous in rulers more especially, Proverbs 30:4; or they loved whoredom, both in a corporeal and spiritual sense, and desired more harlots and more idols, and added to their old ones, which was very abominable and ignominious. So the Targum,
"they turned themselves after fornication they loved, which brought shame unto them;''
and these may be considered as so many reasons why Judah should have nothing to do with Israel.
(y) "recessit potus eorum", Montanus, Drusius; "recessit vinum eorum", Schmidt. (z) "Recedere fecit inerum eorum", Tarnovius; "refractarium est merum eorum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (a) "clypei ejus", Montanus, Vatablus; "scuta ejus", Drusius, Tarnovius; "cujus clypei", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Their drink is sour—metaphor for utter degeneracy of principle (Isa 1:22). Or, unbridled licentiousness; not mere ordinary sin, but as abandoned as drunkards who vomit and smell sour with wine potations [Calvin]. Maurer not so well translates, "When their drinking is over, they commit whoredoms," namely, in honor of Astarte (Ho 4:13, 14).
her rulers—Israel's; literally, "shields" (compare Ps 47:9).
with shame … love, Give ye—(Pr 30:15). No remedy could be effectual against their corruptions since the very rulers sold justice for gifts [Calvin]. Maurer translates, "The rulers are marvelously enamored of shame." English Version is better.
Hosea 4:18 Parallel Commentaries
Hosea 4:18 NIV
Hosea 4:18 NLT
Hosea 4:18 ESV
Hosea 4:18 NASB
Hosea 4:18 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible