|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-7 A practical disbelief of God's government was at the bottom of all israel's wickedness; as if God could not see it or did not heed it. Their sins appear on every side of them. Their hearts were inflamed by evil desires, like a heated oven. In the midst of their troubles as a nation, the people never thought of seeking help from God. The actual wickedness of men's lives bears a very small proportion to what is in their hearts. But when lust is inwardly cherished, it will break forth into outward sin. Those who tempt others to drunkenness never can be their real friends, and often design their ruin. Thus men execute the Divine vengeance on each other. Those are not only heated with sin, but hardened in sin, who continue to live without prayer, even when in trouble and distress.
Verse 6. - This verse, Wunsche thinks, is probably the most difficult in the whole book.
1. The translation of the first clause in the Authorized Version is susceptible of a more literal and improved rendering.
(1) "For they bring near as an oven their heart, whilst they lie in wait;" that is, they approach the king with loyalty on their lips, but hatred in their heart. Their heart (which is the fact) is heated with evil passion, as an oven (which is the figure) is heated for baking purposes; while they are secretly set for wickedness.
(2) Wunsche, after enumerating a great variety of renderings and expositions, with none of which he is satisfied, gives the following: "For they press close together; like an oven is their heart in their artifice (cunning)." The meaning, according to the same author, is that all, scoffers and king alike, press near each other, being of one heart and disposition; cunning makes them one single society.
(3) Keil translates more simply as follows: "For they have brought their heart into their ambush, as into the oven." In this rendering he combines the explanation of Ewald and Hitzig.
2. In the second clause which Keil translates in the same sense as
(1) the Authorized Version, Wunsche
(2) changes the common reading into אַפְהָם, equivalent to אַפָם, their anger, and translates accordingly, "All night their anger sleeps, in the morning it burns like flaming fire." That the reading here is somewhat doubtful may be inferred from the fact that the LXX. has Ἔφραιμ: while the Chaldee and Syrian rugzehon, their fury; still, as it is only a conjectural emendation, we prefer abiding by the ordinary reading and rendering, at least in this instance. The following explanation of the whole verse by Aben Ezra gives a consistent sense: "By בארבם are meant their evil purposes, which they devise all night long. And their heart is like an oven, only with the difference that there the baker sleeps the whole night, and only in the morning kindles the oven; but their heart does not sleep at all, but devises evil the whole night." It is curious how Rashi and Kimchi, while giving in the main the same explanation with Aben Ezra, differ from him about the meaning of the sleeping. The former has the following brief comment: "Their baker lights the oven. After they have prepared their heart and thought out the consummation of their wickedness, how they could carry the same into effect, then their baker sleeps, that is, they sleep till morning; at the break of day, however, they burn like fire, until they have brought their wickedness fully to an end." Kimchi goes into the matter a little more fully, as is usual with him; he comments as follows: "The heart is the instrument of the thought, and the power that works therein is the baker by way of figure. And as the baker lights the oven at night, and in the morning finds that the pieces of wood have burnt out, and he baketh therein the bread, which is the chief end of the work of heating; and lo, the baker sleeps in the night after he has put the pieces of wood into the oven, because he has nothing more to do till the morning. Just so the baker in this figurative sense, which is the power of thought - he sleeps in the night; as if he said he lies there and rests, because the project comes not forth into execution until the morning; and the prophet calls him who thinks sleeping, because that there is no effort of the body in thought, In the morning he burneth, as if he said that they are in flame in the morning to execute the evil which they have devised at night."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait,.... The prince, people, and scorners before mentioned, being heated with wine, and their lust enraged, they were ready for any wickedness; for the commission of adultery, lying in wait for their neighbours' wives to debauch them; or for rebellion and treason against their king, and even the murder of him, made drunk by them, whom they now despised, and waited for an opportunity to dispatch him:
their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire; as a baker having put wood into his oven, and kindled it, leaves it, and sleeps all night, and in the morning it is all burning, and in a flame, and his oven is thoroughly heated, and fit for his purpose; so the evil concupiscence in these men's hearts, made hot like an oven, rests all night, devising mischief on their beds, either against the chastity of their neighbours' wives, or against the lives of others, they bear an ill will to, particularly against their judges and their kings, as Hosea 7:7; seems to intimate; and in the morning this lust of uncleanness or revenge is all in a flame, and ready to execute the wicked designs contrived; see Micah 2:1. Some by "their baker" understand Satan; others, their king asleep and secure; others Shallum, the head of the conspiracy against Zachariah.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. they have made ready—rather, "they make their heart approach," namely their king, in going to drink with him.
like an oven—following out the image in Ho 7:4. As it conceals the lighted fire all night while the baker sleeps but in the morning burns as a flaming fire, so they brood mischief in their hearts while conscience is lulled asleep, and their wicked designs wait only for a fair occasion to break forth [Horsley]. Their heart is the oven, their baker the ringleader of the plot. In Ho 7:7 their plots appear, namely, the intestine disturbances and murders of one king after another, after Jeroboam II.
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