Hosea 10:13
Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
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(13) Thy way.—By a slight change of the Hebrew word thus rendered it acquires the sense, thy chariots, a reading followed by the LXX. and Ewald, Kuinöl, and Nowack. It establishes a good parallelism, and harmonises with prophetic teaching (Hosea 14:3; Isaiah 2:7). The Masoretic text gives, however, a fine meaning.

Hosea 10:13-15. Ye have ploughed wickedness — Instead of working righteousness, (Hosea 10:12,) you have taken a great deal of pains in the service of sin, to compass your wicked designs. Ye have reaped iniquity — Ye have, in return, received the fruit of iniquity, namely, punishment, or calamity. Ye have eaten the fruit of lies — Fed yourselves with vain hopes, which have deceived and will deceive you. Or, you have trusted to that which has been only specious, not really satisfying or profitable. Because thou didst trust in thy way — Thy own carnal projects and sinful contrivances, particularly the idolatry at Dan and Beth-el. In the multitude of thy mighty men — The next lie, or false ground of their confidence, was the wisdom and valour of their great men. Therefore shall a tumult arise — A terrible outcry, as of men affrighted at the news of the enemies’ approach. And all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, &c. — This seems to be a prophecy of the taking of Samaria by Shalmaneser, which put a final period to the kingdom of Israel, 2 Kings 17:6. It held out a siege of three years, which probably provoked Shalmaneser to treat it with the severity which he used, when he made himself master of it. The only difficulty in this verse is, what place or person is alluded to by the words, as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle. It is supposed that by Shalman is meant Shalmaneser; and that Beth-arbel was a place in Armenia which he took and spoiled, putting the inhabitants to the sword without any distinction either of age or sex. But it cannot be said with certainty, that this supposition is founded on fact. Some other conquest, by some other person, might possibly be meant. But it is not material to know this. It was some place which had been treated with great severity by the conqueror, and such treatment the prophet denounces Samaria should meet with. It is worthy of remark, however, that the Vulgate, St. Jerome, and the LXX. (see the Alexandrine MS.) suppose that the history alluded to is Gideon’s destruction of Zalmunna. So shall Beth-el do unto you — “This is the fruit of your worshipping the golden calves at Beth-el and Dan. As it happened to the city above mentioned, so shall it happen to you, because of your iniquities.” In a morning — That is, suddenly, quickly, and unexpectedly; or after a night of adversity, when they thought the morning of prosperity was come; shall the king of Israel be cut off — And the whole state and government of Israel be put an end to along with him. This seems to be spoken of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, who, in the sixth year of his reign, was shut up in prison by the king of Assyria, who, in three years more, made himself master of the whole kingdom of Israel, and carried the inhabitants of it into captivity. The Vulgate, (which, with the LXX. and the Syriac, carries this clause to the next chapter,) instead of בשׁחר, in the morning, seems to have read כשׁחר, as the morning, rendering the clause, sicut mane transit, pertransit rex Israel: “As the morning passes away, so passes away the king of Israel.” This reading Bishop Horsley adopts, and translates to nearly the same sense, thus: As the morning is brought to nothing, to nothing shall the king of Israel be brought: observing, “The sudden and total destruction of the monarchy of the ten tribes is compared to the sudden and total extinction of the beauties of the dawn in the sky, by the instantaneous diffusion of the solar light: by which the ruddy streaks in the east, the glow of orange-coloured light upon the horizon, are at once obliterated, absorbed, and lost in the colourless light of day. The change is sudden even in these climates; it must be more sudden in the tropical; and in all it is one of the most complete that nature presents.”

10:9-15 Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day's work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men's sins bring on them, even in this world!Ye have plowed wickedness - They not only did not that which God commanded, but they did the exact contrary. They cultivated wickedness. They broke up their fallow ground, yet to sow, not wheat, but tares. They did not leave it even to grow of itself, although even thus, on the natural soil of the human heart, it yields a plenteous harvest; but they bestowed their labor on it, plowed it, sowed, and as they sowed, so they reaped, an abundant increase of it. "They brought their ill doings to a harvest, and laid up as in provision the fruits thereof." Iniquity and the results of iniquity, were the gain of all their labor. Of all their toil, they shall have no fruits, except the iniquity itself. : "By the plowing, sowing, eating the fruits, he marks the obstinacy of incorrigible sinners, who begin ill, go on to worse, and in the worst come to an end. Then too, when the corrupted soul labors with the purpose of a deed of sin, and resolves in its inmost thoughts, how it may bring the ungodly will into effect in deed, it is like one plowing or sowing. But when, having completed the work of iniquity, it exults that it has done ill, it is like one reaping. When further it has broken out so far as, in pride of heart to defend its sins against the law of God prohibiting them, and goes on unconcerned in impenitence, he is like one who, after harvest, eats the fruits stored up."

Ye have eaten the fruit of lies - They had been full of "lies" Hosea 4:1-2; Hosea 7:3; they had "lied" against God by hypocrisy Hosea 5:7; Hosea 6:7; Hosea 7:16; Hosea 10:4 and idolatry; they had "spoken lies against Him" Hosea 7:13; by denying that He gave them what He bestowed upon them, and ascribing it to their idols Hosea 2:5, Hosea 2:12. All iniquity is a lie. Such then should be "the fruit" which they tasted, on which they fed. It should not profit, nor satisfy them. It should not merely be empty, as in the case of those who are said to "feed on ashes" Isaiah 44:20, but hurtful. As Isaiah saith, "they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed, breaketh out into a viper" Isaiah 59:4-5. "Gain deceives, lust deceives, gluttony deceives; they yield no true delight; they satisfy not, they disgust; and they end in misery of body and soul." "Bodily delights," says a father , "when absent, kindle a vehement longing; when had and eaten, they satiate and disgust the eater. Spiritual delights are distasteful, when unknown; when possessed, they are longed for; and the more those who hunger after them feed upon them, the more they are hungered for. Bodily delights please, untasted; when tasted, they displease; spiritual, when untasted, are held cheap; when experienced, they please. In bodily delights, appetite generates satiety; satiety, disgust. In spiritual, appetite produceth satiety; satiety appetite. For spiritual delights increase longing in the soul, while they satisfy. For the more their sweetness is perceived, so much the more is "that" known which is loved more eagerly. Unpossessed, they cannot be loved, because their sweetness is unknown."

Because thou didst trust in thy way - "Thy way," i. e., not God's. They forsook God's way, followed "ways of wickedness and misbelief." While displeasing God, they trusted in the worship of the calves and in the help of Egypt and Assyria, "making flesh their arm, and departing from the living God." So long as a man mistrusts his ways of sin, there is hope of his conversion amid any depths of sin. When "he trusts in his ways," all entrance is closed against the grace of God. He is as one dead; he not only justifies himself, but is self-justified. There is nothing in him, neither love nor fear, which can be awakened.

13. reaped iniquity—that is, the fruit of iniquity; as "righteousness" (Ho 10:12) is "the fruit of righteousness" (Job 4:8; Pr 22:8; Ga 6:7, 8).

lies—false and spurious worship.

trust in thy way—thy perverse way (Isa 57:10; Jer 2:23), thy worship of false gods. This was their internal safeguard, as their external was "the multitude of their mighty men."

You, O Israelites, subjects of the kingdom of the ten tribes,

have ploughed wickedness; instead of repentance, and a life of righteousness, you have lived in wickedness, and propagated it, you have increased all manner of impieties; thus you have abused and perverted the fruits of God’s goodness.

Ye have reaped iniquity; the wickedness you have sown hath sprung up and ripened into iniquity; or, you have met with a recompence worthy of this your labour, God hath punished you for your wickedness; the first seems most agreeable to the text.

Ye have eaten the fruit of lies; fed yourselves with vain hopes, maintained yourselves upon a carnal, sinful confidence, forsaking the fountain of living waters; and these lies the prophet doth in the following words reduce to two heads.

Thou didst trust in thy way; dependence on idols, worshipping them, and seeking to them; their way was their idolatry committed with the calves.

In the multitude of thy mighty men; the next lie on which they lived was the wisdom and valour of their great men, their king, nobles, captains, and counsellors; in confidence of sufficient help by them, they held on in a way of sin and wickedness.

Ye have ploughed wickedness,.... Contrived it, and took a great deal of pains to commit it; by ploughing sowed it, and which sprung up in a plentiful crop: it may denote their first sins, from whence all others arose; as their irreligion and infidelity; their apostasy from God; their idolatry and contempt of his word and prophets:

ye have reaped iniquity; abundance of other sins have sprung up from thence; a large harvest of them have been reaped and got in; or great numbers of other sins have been committed; one sin leads on to another, and these proceed "ad infinitum"; wickedness is of an increasing nature, and grows worse and worse, and proceeds to more ungodliness: many understand this of the punishment or reward of sin:

ye have eaten the fruit of lies; as a sweet morsel though bread of deceit; which could not profit them, nor yield them in the issue the pleasure it promised them, and they hoped for from it:

because thou didst trust in thy way; in the worship of their idols, and in their alliances with neighbouring nations, and promised themselves great prosperity and happiness from hence:

and in the multitude of thy mighty men; their valiant soldiers, their numerous armies, and the generals of them, well skilled in war, and courageous; and also in their auxiliaries, which they had from the Egyptians and others; these they put their confidences in, to protect them; and so in their garrisons and fortresses, as the following words show:

Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
13. How necessary is this exhortation! For hitherto the Israelites have done the exact opposite.

plowed wickedness] i.e., formed wicked plans (as Job 4:8). The word for ‘to plough’ has in fact another meaning ‘to plot.’

reaped iniquity] Better, reaped injustice—i. e. the injustice of oppressors, which, being retributive, is, from the higher point of view, substantial justice. The tense is the prophetic perfect.

the fruit of lies] To ‘lie’ is sometimes = to disappoint (as Hosea 9:2), and probably this is the meaning here, viz. that the consequence of Israel’s present policy shall be the disappointment of all his expectations. ‘Fruit’ implies that that policy has been one of ‘lying’, i.e. treason both to earthly kings and to Jehovah (comp. Hosea 11:12, Hosea 12:1; Isaiah 28:15).

in thy way] i.e. in thy policy. But there is a reading of earlier date than the Massoretic, viz. in thy chariots (comp. Hosea 14:3; Isaiah 2:7) which, as it harmonizes better with the rest of the clause, is undoubtedly preferable. For few scholars will maintain that the ἐν ἁμαρτήμασι of the Vatican MS. of the Septuagint is more original than the ἐν ἅρμασι of the Alexandrine and other MSS. (confirmed by St Jerome and the Syro-Hexaplar text). The Vatican reading can easily be explained; the scribe wished to harmonize the translation with the reading ‘in thy way’ found by him in his Hebrew Bible.

Verse 13. - Ye have ploughed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies. Hitherto their course had been the very opposite of that which they are now exhorted to enter on. Hitherto their work had been wickedness, and their wages, as might be expected, the fruit of iniquity. What they had wrought for they reaped. Their plowing had been sin, their sowing wickedness, and their harvest sorrow. Wickedness against God and man was what they both ploughed and sowed; oppression at the hand of their enemies was the harvest or reward of iniquity which they reaped. Their lies, including their idolatry in reference to God, disloyalty to their king, their false words and false works with one another, bore fruit, bitter fruit, sour fruit, and they were obliged to eat that fruit till their teeth were set on edge. Thus Kimchi explains it: "After the plowing follows the sowing, and both of them are a figurative representation of work, as we have explained it. The prophet says, 'Ye have done the opposite of that which I commanded you, when I said, Sow to yourselves in righteousness.'" The harvest is the reward of the work done; the genitive is expressive of contents - that in which the fruit consists; the fruit of lies against God is the fruit which disappoints those who wait for it Ki directs attention to the ground of Israel's gradual declension and final destruction; the two fundamental errors, or rather evils, that led on to Israel's ruin, were apostasy from Jehovah and sinful self-confidence. Sunk in idolatry, they no longer looked to Jehovah as the Source of their power and strength; while they pursued their own ways, confident of the excellence of their own sagacity and foresight. Because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. They had placed their confidence in the wisdom of their own ways - their prudent plans and wise counsels; in the heroism of their soldiers and the excellence of their preparations of war. By these means they fancied themselves independent of the Almighty, and sufficiently defended against their enemies. "Thou hast trusted," says Kimchi, in his exposition, "to thine own way which thou goest; and that is the way of iniquity and of confidence in evil; and in like manner thou hast trusted in the multitude of thy men of war which thou hast had among thine own people, or among the Egyptians, from whom they sought help, and thou hast made flesh thine arm, and not trusted in me; therefore thou hast stumbled." Hosea 10:13The call to repentance and reformation of life is then appended in Hosea 10:12, Hosea 10:13, clothed in similar figures. Hosea 10:12. "Sow to yourselves for righteousness, reap according to love; plough for yourselves virgin soil: for it is time to seek Jehovah, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:13. Ye have ploughed wickedness, ye have reaped crime: eaten the fruit of lying: because thou hast trusted in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men." Sowing and reaping are figures used to denote their spiritual and moral conduct. לצדקה, for righteousness, is parallel to לפי חסד; i.e., sow that righteousness may be able to spring up like seed, i.e., righteousness towards your fellow-men. The fruit of this will be chesed, condescending love towards the poor and wretched. Nı̄r nı̄r, both here and in Jeremiah 4:3 to plough virgin soil, i.e., to make land not yet cultivated arable. We have an advance in this figure: they are to give up all their previous course of conduct, and create for themselves a new sphere for their activity, i.e., commence a new course of life. ועת, and indeed it is time, equivalent to, for it is high time to give up your old sinful says and seek the Lord, till (עד) He come, i.e., till He turn His grace to you again, and cause it to rain upon you. Tsedeq, righteousness, not salvation, a meaning which the word never has, and least of all here, where tsedeq corresponds to the tsedâqâh of the first clause. God causes righteousness to rain, inasmuch as He not only gives strength to secure it, like rain for the growth of the seed (cf. Isaiah 44:3), but must also generate and create it in man by His Spirit (Psalm 51:12). The reason for this summons is given in Hosea 10:13, in another allusion to the moral conduct of Israel until now. Hitherto they have ploughed as well as reaped unrighteousness and sin, and eaten lies as the fruit thereof, - lies, inasmuch as they did not promote the prosperity of the kingdom as they imagined, but only led to its decay and ruin. For they did not trust in Jehovah the Creator and rock of salvation, but in their way, i.e., their deeds and their might, in the strength of their army (Amos 6:13), the worthlessness of which they will now discover.
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