Hosea 10:14
Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.
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(14) Then comes the crash of the thunder-peal. The prophet seems to hear the advance of the invading army, and see the fall of Samaria’s fortress.

Shalman.—The references in the margin are not to the same historic event. The allusion is very obscure. Schrader (Keilinschriften, 2nd ed., pp. 440-2) suggests two theories: one that it refers to an episode in the campaign of Shalmaneser III. to the “cedar country” (Lebanon), in 775 B.C., or to Damascus in 773. He might then have penetrated into the Transjordanic country, and destroyed Arbela, near Pella (Beth-arbel). The other theory, that we have here a mention of the Moabitish king Salmanu, whose name occurs in Tiglath-pileser’s inscription, is far-fetched and improbable. On the other hand, Geiger, following the hint of Jerome, identifies Shalman with Zalmunna (Judges 8:18; comp. Psalm 83:11). The kind of barbarity here referred to is illustrated by 2Kings 8:12; Psalm 137:8-9.

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!Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people - Literally, "peoples." Such was the immediate fruit of departing from God and trusting in human beings and idols. They trusted in their own might, and the multitude of their people. That might should, through intestine division and anarchy, become their destruction. As in the dislocated state of the Roman empire under the first emperors, so in lsrael, the successive usurpers arose out of their armies, armies , "the multitude of their mighty ones," in whom they trusted. The "confused noise" of "war" should first "arise in" the midst of their own "peoples." They are spoken of not as one, but as many; "peoples," not, as God willed them to be, one people, for they had no principle of oneness or stability, who had no legitimate succession, either of kings or of priests; who had "made kings, but not through" God. Each successor had the same right as his predecessor, the right of might, and furnished an example and precedent and sanction to the murderer of himself or of his son.

All thy fortresses shall be spoiled - Literally, "the whole of thy fortresses shall be wasted." He speaks of the whole as one. Their fenced cities, which cut off all approach, should be one waste. They had forsaken God, their "fortress and deliverer," and so He gave up their fortresses to the enemy, so that all and each of them were laid waste. The confusion, begun among themselves, prepared for destruction by the enemy. Of this he gives one awful type.

As Shalman spoiled - (or wasted) Beth-Arbel in the day of battle "Shalman" is, no doubt, "Shalmaneser king of Assyria," who came up against Hoshea, early in his reign, "and he became a servant to him and brought him a present 2 Kings 17:3. Shalman" being the characteristic part of the name , the prophet probably omitted the rest, on the ground of the rhythm. "Beth-Arbel" is a city, which the Greeks, retaining, in like way, only the latter and characteristic half of the name, called Arbela .

Of the several cities called Arbela, that celebrated in Grecian history, was part of the Assyrian empire. Two others, one "in the mountain-district of Pella" , and so on the East side of Jordan, the other between Sepphoris and Tiberias , (and so in Naphthali) must, together with the countries in which they lay, have fallen into the bands of the Assyrians in the reign of "Tiglath-pileser," who "took - Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali" 2 Kings 15:29, in the reign of Pekah. The whole country, East of Jordan, being now in the hands of Shalmaneser, his natural approach to Samaria was over the Jordan, through the valley or plain of Jezreel. Here was the chief wealth of Israel, and the fittest field for the Assyrian horse. Over the Jordan then, from where Israel itself came when obedient to God, from where came the earlier instruments of God's chastisements, came doubtless the host of Shalmaneser, along the "great plain" of Esdraelon. "In that plain" also lay an "Arbela," "nine miles from Legion" . Legion itself was at the Western extremity of the plain, as Scythopolis or Bethshean lay at the East .

It was about fifteen miles West of Nazareth , and ten miles from Jezreel . Beth-Arbel must accordingly have lain somewhere in the middle of the valley of Jezreel. Near this Arbela, then, Israel must have sustained a decisive defeat from Shalmaneser. For the prophet does not say only, that he "spoiled Beth-Arbel," but that he did this "in a day of battle." Here Hosea, probably in the last years of his life, saw the fulfillment of his own earlier prophecy; and "God brake the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel" Hosea 1:5.

The mother was dashed to pieces on the children - It was an aggravation of this barbarity, that, first the infants were dashed against the stones before their mother's eyes, then the mothers themselves were dashed upon them. Syrians 2 Kings 8:12, Assyrians , Medes Isaiah 13:16, Babylonians Psalm 137:8-9, used this barbarity. India has borne witness to us of late, how pagan nature remains the same.

It may be that, in the name "Betharbel," the prophet alludes to the name "Bethel." : As "Betharbel," i. e., "the house," or it may be the idolatrous "temple of Arbel," rescued it not, but was rather the cause of its destruction, so shall Bethel. The holy places of Israel, the memorials of the free love of God to their forefathers, were pledges to "them," the children of those forefathers, that, so long as they continued in the faith of their fathers, God the Unchangeable, would continue those same mercies to them. When they "turned" Bethel, "the house of God," into Bethaven, "house of vanity," then it became, like Betharbel, literally, "house of ambush of God," the scene and occasion of their desolation.

14. tumult—a tumultuous war.

among thy people—literally, "peoples": the war shall extend to the whole people of Israel, through all the tribes, and the peoples allied to her.

Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel—that is, Shalmaneser, a compound name, in which the part common to it and the names of three other Assyrian kings, is omitted; Tiglath-pileser, Esar-haddon, Shar-ezer. So Jeconiah is abbreviated to Coniah. Arbel was situated in Naphtali in Galilee, on the border nearest Assyria. Against it Shalmaneser, at his first invasion of Israel (2Ki 17:3), vented his chief rage. God threatens Israel's fortresses with the same fate as Arbel suffered "in the day (on the occasion) of the battle" then well-known, though not mentioned elsewhere (compare 2Ki 18:34). This event, close on the reign of Hezekiah, shows the inscription of Hosea (Ho 1:1) to be correct.

Therefore, since such are their sins, and such will be their disappointments, since their refuges will be so vain, cud their enemies so many and strong,

shall a tumult arise; a discontent, murmur, and outcry, as of men affrighted, not knowing what course to take when the alarm is given, and certain news cometh, that Shalmaneser comes with his army against the kingdom of Israel.

Among thy people; the Israelites, among all sorts of people, among all the tribes of the kingdom.

All thy fortresses shall be spoiled; every one of thy strong holds, those impregnable fortifications on which thou hast laid out all that art and diligence could, to make them able to break the power of the enemy that dares besiege them, these, every one of them, (as the Hebrew construction bears it,) shall be wasted.

Shalman; it is most probably spoken of Shalmaneser, though abbreviated, which is usual in all writings of history; so Alexander or Pompey, without the addition of Great, and so here Shalman without eser, or surnamed prince.

Betharbel, possibly Arbel here may be the name of a man whose house and family Shalman destroyed, and so this passage might be read, the house of Arbel; but the more likely reading is as we read it, so it is the name of some country or city, or both. We meet with a city of this name, famous for the overthrow which Alexander gave to Darius, and probable it is that this might be that Arbel or Beth-arbel here spoken of, rebuilt and grown great again since the sack of it by Shallman, which was at least four hundred years before the overthrow of Darius. It was a city of Assyria, and gave name, Arbelis, to a country or region, part of Assyria, and lay somewhat below Arpad.

In the day of battle: of this war we no where else read; it is likely it was not long before the war with Samaria and the ten tribes, that the memory of that severity was fresh, and the particulars then well known.

The mother was dashed in pieces upon her children; all were put to the sword, and the city utterly destroyed.

Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people,.... Because of their wickedness and vain confidence, the Assyrian army should invade them; which would cause a tumultuous noise to be made throughout the tribes in all cities and towns, a cry, a howling, and lamentation; especially among fearful and timorous ones as women and children; who would be thrown into a panic at hearing the news of a powerful foreign enemy entering their country, and laying waste all before them; a voice of clamour, as Jarchi observes, crying, flee, flee:

and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled; the strong holds, in which they put their confidence for safety; everyone of these should be taken and demolished by the enemy, in all parts of the kingdom; so that there should be none left to flee unto no place of retreat:

as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle; that is, Shalmaneser king of Assyria, his name being abbreviated, as Bethaven is called Aven, Hosea 10:8; who had lately, though there in no account of it elsewhere, spoiled this place, demolished its fortresses, and destroyed the inhabitants of it; which is thought to be either the city of Arbel beyond Jordan, in the Apocrypha:

"Who went forth by the way that leadeth to Galgala, and pitched their tents before Masaloth, which is in Arbela, and after they had won it, they slew much people.'' (1 Maccabees 9:2)

which Josephus (k) calls a city of Galilee, and sometimes a village; and which, according to him, was not far from Sipphore, and in lower Galilee near to which thieves and robbers dwelt in caves and dens, difficult to come at; and so a Jewish writer (l) places Arbel between Sipphore and Tiberias; and elsewhere (m) mention is made of the valley of Arbel, near to these places: and Jerom (n) says, there was the village Arbel beyond Jordan, on the borders of Pella, a city of Palestine; and another of this name in the large plain, nine miles from the town of Legio: and he also speaks of an Arbela, the border of the tribe of Judah to the east; perhaps the same with Harbaalah, whence Arbela, or the mount of Baalah, Joshua 15:11; now one or other of these places might be laid waste by this king of Assyria, in the first year of Hoshea, when he came up against him, and made him tributary: though some think Arbela in Assyria or Armenia is meant, famous for the utter defeat of Darius by Alexander, four hundred years after this, when it might have been rebuilt, and become considerable again: some of the Jewish writers (o) say there was a place near Nineveh so called; Benjamin of Tudela says (p), from Nineveh to Arbel is one "parsa", or four miles: and others (q) think Samaria itself is meant; but that cannot be, since the destruction of that city is here prophesied of, which should be as this: some conjecture it was the temple of a deity called Arbel, as Schmidt: but, be it what or where it will, here was a great devastation and slaughter made; which at this time was well known, and to which the desolation that would be made in the land of Israel is compared. The Vulgate Latin version is, "as Salmana was wasted by the house of him who judged Baal in the day of battle"; which patrons and defenders of interpret of the slaughter of Zalmunna by Jerubbaal, that is, Gideon; but the names of the one and the other are very different; nor does the text speak of the slaughter of a prince, but of the destruction of a city, and not of Shalman, but of Arbel; and refers not to an ancient, but recent history. Mr. Whiston (r) places the spoil of Arbela in the year 3272 A.M. or before Christ 732;

the mother was dashed in pieces with her children: women big with child, or having their children in their arms, had no mercy shown them, but were destroyed together; so it had been at Arbel, and would be again in Israel, which was dreadful to think of: according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, Arbel was the name of a great man in those days, whose family, meant by beth or a house, was thus cruelly destroyed.

(k) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 11. sect. 1. & l. 14. c. 15. sect. 4. In Vita sua, sect. 69. p. 922, 934. (l) Juchasin, fol. 65. 1.((m) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2, 3. & Taaniot, fol. 69. 2. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 34. 3.((n) De locis Heb. fol. 87. L. (o) Juchasin, ut supra. (fol. 65. 1.) (p) Itinerar. p. 62. (q) Juchasin, ib. (fol. 65. 1.) R. Joseph Kimchi in David Kimchi in loc. (r) Chronological Tables, cent. 8.

Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as {s} Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.

(s) That is, Shalmaneser in the destruction of that city spared neither type nor age.

14, 15. In a few words the prophet describes the crash of Israel’s ruin (comp. Hosea 13:16).

Therefore] The prophet simply connects the judgment by an ‘and’; but the next verse clearly shows that sequence is here identical with consequence.

a tumult] i.e., the tumult, or, more exactly, the ‘roar’, of an advancing army (as in Isaiah 17:12).

among thy people] Rather, against thy peoples. The tribes of Israel are called peoples, as in Deuteronomy 33:3.

as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel, &c.] It would seem that the prophet refers to some event of recent times which took place in the immediate neighbourhood of Ephraim. Beth-arbel will then be, not the Assyrian Arbela, but either the place so called on the west of the lake of Tiberias, or more probably that near Pella, on the east of the Jordan. Who Shalman was, is altogether uncertain. Schrader thinks that he was either Shalmaneser III., who made an expedition to the ‘cedar country’ (Lebanon) in 775 b.c., and to Damascus in 773–2, on which occasions he may have penetrated into the Transjordanic country, and destroyed the last-mentioned Arbela, or else a Moabitish king Salamanu, mentioned by Tiglath-Pileser as his tributary, who, like other Moabitish kings, very possibly made incursions into the land of Israel. It is against the former view that the abbreviation Shalman nowhere else occurs, and that ‘king’ or ‘king of Assyria’ is not added. But the latter view, though plausible (the Hebrew word is strictly, not Shalman, but Shalěman), is not the only possible one. The Septuagint renders ‘prince Salaman,’ which, if we may take it as a variant, will point rather to a general (= ‘prince of the host’) than to a king. The name occurs again on a Palmyrene inscription, so that there may have been several other Shalmans. The barbarities attending the capture of Beth-arbel seem to have made a deep impression on the Israelites; Mr Huxtable aptly reminds us of the horrors of the sack of Magdeburg. Comp. 2 Kings 8:12; Psalm 137:8-9. [The Septuagint, the Syro-Hexaplar, the Old Latin, and the Vulgate, followed by Bishop Horsley and the Jewish scholar Abraham Geiger, suppose a reference to Zalmunna (Σαλμανά, Salmana) who was slain by Gideon or Jerubbaal according to Judges 8. This hint will enable the reader to understand the singular renderings of these ancient versions.]

Verse 14. - Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled. This was the fruit of their doings, the result of their sins. The tumult of war is already heard, and the work of destruction has begun. The word shaon, tumult, is from שָׁאָה, as applied to the loud rushing of waters, then the tumult of advancing warriors. The preposition be is rendered

(1) as above by the Authorized Version, Umbreit, and others; and, joined with "peoples" (which is plural), signifies that the confused noise of war would be heard among their own peoples, or the multitude of the mighty ones in whom they had had such confidence; or the plural may refer to the tribes of Israel, each of which was an עם, though Keil would confine this meaning to Pentateuchal times. Host of the versions read the singular, like our own Authorized Version, yet it must still be referred to the people of Israel. But

(2) the preposition is translated "against" by many modern interpreters, and thus the confused noise of the advance of the enemy against Israel is denoted. The attack of the invaders is directed against the fortresses, or fenced cities, so called from a verb denoting "to cut off" (בצד), as if all approach to them were cut off, and assault impossible. Nevertheless they were to go down, all of them, before the enemy - laid waste and spoiled; while inhuman cruelty would characterize the conquerors. As an illustration of or specimen resembling that cruelty, an obscure piece of history is quoted. As Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. In the great variety of opinion with respect to the event referred to, and the consequent diversity of exposition, we shall not venture to do more than select that which on the whole, notwithstanding a certain chronological difficulty that lies against it, appears the most probable. Accordingly, Beth-arbel may have been Arbela, mentioned in 1 Macc. 9:2 and more than once by Josephus, in Upper Galilee, in the tribe of Naphtali, between Sephoris and Tiberias, now Irbid; and Shalman may be an abbreviation for Shal-maneser; while the circumstance here mentioned may have been an incident of the campaign of which we read in 2 Kings 17:3, 5. "Against him came up Shalmaneser King of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant.... Then the King of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years." The manifestation of the cruelty was when the mother, with true motherly affection, bent over her children to defend them, and she and they perished in a common ruin, or when the children were dashed to the ground before their mother's eyes, and she, done to death, hurled upon them. Hosea 10:14"And tumult will arise against thy peoples, and all thy fortifications are laid waste, as Shalman laid Beth-Arbeel waste in the day of the war: mother and children are dashed to pieces. Hosea 10:15. Thus hath Bethel done to you because of the wickedness of your wickedness: in the morning dawn the king of Israel is cut off, cut off." קאם with א as mater lect. (Ewald, 15, e), construed with ב: to rise up against a person, as in Psalm 27:12; Job 16:8. שׁאון, war, tumult, as in Amos 2:2. בּעמּיך: against thy people of war. The expression is chosen with a reference to rōbh gibbōrı̄m (the multitude of mighty men), in which Israel put its trust. The meaning, countrymen, or tribes, is restricted to the older language of the Pentateuch. The singular יוּשּׁד refers to כּל, as in Isaiah 64:10, contrary to the ordinary language (cf. Ewald, 317, c). Nothing is known concerning the devastation of Beth-Arbeel by Shalman; and hence there has always been great uncertainty as to the meaning of the words. Shalman is no doubt a contracted form of Shalmanezer, the king of Assyria, who destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes (2 Kings 17:6). Bēth-'arbē'l is hardly Arbela of Assyria, which became celebrated through the victory of Alexander (Strab. Isaiah 16:1, Isaiah 16:3), since the Israelites could scarcely have become so well acquainted with such a remote city, as that the prophet could hold up the desolation that befel it as an example to them, but in all probability the Arbela in Galilaea Superior, which is mentioned in 1 Maccabees 9:2, and very frequently in Josephus, a place in the tribe of Naphtali, between Sephoris and Tiberias (according to Robinson, Pal. iii. pp. 281-2, and Bibl. Researches, p. 343: the modern Irbid). The objection offered by Hitzig, - viz. that shōd is a noun in Hosea 9:6; Hosea 7:13; Hosea 12:2, and that the infinitive construct, with ל prefixed, is written לשׁדד in Jeremiah 47:4; and lastly, that if Shalman were the subject, we should expect the preposition את before בּית, - is not conclusive, and the attempt which he makes to explain Salman-Beth-Arbel from the Sanscrit is not worth mentioning. The clause "mother and children," etc., a proverbial expression denoting inhuman cruelty (see at Genesis 32:12), does not merely refer to the conduct of Shalman in connection with Beth-arbel, possibly in the campaign mentioned in 2 Kings 17:3, but is also intended to indicate the fate with which the whole of the kingdom of Israel was threatened. In 2 Kings 17:16 this threat concludes with an announcement of the overthrow of the monarchy, accompanied by another allusion to the guilt of the people. The subject to כּכה עשׂה is Beth-el (Chald.), not Shalman or Jehovah. Bethel, the seat of the idolatry, prepares this lot for the people on account of its great wickedness. עשׂה is a perf. proph.' and רעת רעתכם, wickedness in its second potency, extreme wickedness (cf. Ewald, 313, c). Basshachar, in the morning-dawn, i.e., at the time when prosperity is once more apparently about to dawn, tempore pacis alluscente (Cocc., Hgst.). The gerund נדמה adds to the force; and מלך ישׂ is not this or the other king, but as in 2 Kings 17:7, the king generally, i.e., the monarchy of Israel.
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