Hosea 10:7
As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.
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(7) Foam . . . Water.—One of the most striking images in the prophecy. The word qetseph, rendered “foam”—Speaker’s Commentary reads “bubble”—properly signifies “chip” or “fragment.” Translate: Like a chip on the waters’ surface. The king is tossed on the raging seas of political life like a helpless fragment. Such was the instability of the throne of Israel at this period. (Comp. Hosea 13:11.)

10:1-8 A vine is only valuable for its fruit; but Israel now brought no fruit to perfection. Their hearts were divided. God is the Sovereign of the heart; he will have all, or none. Were the stream of the heart wholly after God, it would run strongly, and bear down all before it. Their pretences to covenant with God were false. Even the proceeding of justice was as poisonous hemlock. Alas, how empty a vine is the visible church even at this day! But all earthly prosperity is but a collection of bubbles, soon destroyed like foam upon the water. Sinners will in vain seek shelter from that Judge, whom they now despise as a Saviour.Her king is cut off like foam - (Or, more probably, "a straw) on the" (literally, "face of the) water." A bubble, or one of those little shreds which float in countless numbers on the surface of the water, give the same image of lightness, emptiness, worthlessness, a thing too light to sink, but driven impetuously, and unresistingly, here and there, at the impulse of the torrent which hurries it along. Such was the king, whom Israel had set in the highest place, in whom it had trusted, instead of God. So easily was Hoshea, their last king, swept away by the flood, which broke in on Ephraim, from Assyria. Piety is the only solidity; apart from piety all is emptiness. 7. (Ho 10:3, 15).

foam—denoting short-lived existence and speedy dissolution. As the foam, though seeming to be eminent raised on the top of the water, yet has no solidity, such is the throne of Samaria. Maurer translates, "a chip" or broken branch that cannot resist the current.

As for Samaria, after three years’ siege she shall be cut off. Her king is cut off; for all the rest of the kingdom was lost, and now he is pent up there also; he that was once the confidence of the ten tribes, and king of a mighty people, is now spoiled of all but one only city, where he is rather a prisoner than a king, kept close till made a captive.

Is cut off; shortly will be cut off; it is not unlikely this prophecy should be delivered when Samaria was besieged.

As the foam upon the water; as a contemptible, weak, and light thing: it is a proverb, and foretells how contemptibly the Assyrians should use them.

As for Samaria,.... The metropolis of the ten tribes of Israel, and here put for the whole kingdom:

her king is cut off; which some understand of Pekah, who was killed by Hoshea; others of several of their kings cut off one after another, very suddenly and quickly, as the metaphor after used shows; or rather Hoshea the last king is meant, who was cut off by the king of Assyria; the present tense is used for the future, to denote the certainty of it. Aben Ezra thinks the verb "cut off" is to be repeated, Samaria is "cut off, her king is cut off"; both king and kingdom destroyed. So the Targum,

"Samaria is cut off with her king:''

as the foam upon the water; as any light thing flowing upon it; as the bark of a tree, as Kimchi and Abarbinel; or as the scum upon a boiling pot of water, as Jarchi, and the Targum; or as foam, which is an assemblage of bubbles upon the water; such are kings and kingdoms, swell, look big and high for a while; but are mere bubbles, empty things; and are often suddenly, quickly, and easily destroyed; so Samaria and her king were by the Assyrian army; the Lord of hosts, the King of kings, being against them.

As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.
7. her king] i. e. not merely the king who happened to be on the throne, but the monarchy itself (as Hosea 10:15). Others, less probably, her idol-god (comp. Amos 5:26).

as the foam, &c.] A striking figure, and singled out for its beauty by so good a judge as Mr Ruskin, but Hosea’s is still more appropriate. Render, as a chip on the face of the water (following the Septuagint instead of the Targum), and note the contrast between the helpless fragment of wood and the irresistible power of the current.

Verse 7. - As for Samaria, her king is out off as the foam upon the water (face of the waters). Instead of the throne of Samaria being established, or the kingdom consolidated by the idolatrous measures which Jeroboam had adopted for the purpose, the king himself was cut off as foam upon the surface of the waters, or as a chip carried off by the current, and the kingdom ingloriously ruined. Though the sense is sufficiently plain, the sentence has been variously constructed. Thus

(1) one of the Hebrew commentators renders it, "In the city of Samaria her king has been made like foam on the surface of the water" (be being understood and נדמה taken in the sense of "being like").

(2) Rashi, understanding the verb to signify being "reduced to silence," explains, "The King of Samaria is brought to silence."

(3) The correct signification of the verb, however, is "cut off" or "annihilated," while the construction may be

(a) an asyndeton; thus: "Samaria (and) her king;" or

(b) Samaria taken as nominative absolute, - thus in the Authorized Version, "(As for) Samaria, her king is cut off;" or

(c) supplying נדמה to the second noun, with Aben Ezra, "Samaria is cut off, her king is cut off." Some

(d) consider it simpler to translate as follows: "Samaria is cut off; her king is like [literally, 'as'] a chip on the surface of the waters." In this way the Massoretic punctuation is neglected. Sheraton is feminine, as the names of cities and countries usually are, and therefore the suffix to "king" is feminine, while the masculine form, נִדְמֶה, is justified by its position at the head of the sentence; for, according to Gesenius, the predicate at the beginning of a clause or sentence "often takes its simplest and readiest form, viz. the masculine singular, even when the subject," not yet expressed, but coming after, "is feminine or plural." קצפ is explained either as "foam" or "splinter." The latter is, perhaps, preferable, as the verbal root cognate with the Arabic katsapha signifies "to break," "break off," "crack;" then "to be angry" (its most common meaning) from the sudden breaking out or breaking loose of passion, with which may be compared the Greek ὀήγνυμι. The word קצפה in Joel 1:7, from the same root, is literally a" breaking or breaking off," "barking," The word דמה, again, has two principal meanings - one "to be like," the other "to be silent" (connected, according to Gesenius, with a different root, darnam, dum, like the English "dumb"); or the meanings are traceable to one root, in the sense of "making flat," "plane," "smooth;" then "silent," and so "reduced to silence," "destroyed." Hosea 10:7With the carrying away of the golden calf the kingdom of Samaria also perishes, and desert plants will grow upon the places of idols. Hosea 10:7, Hosea 10:8. "Destroyed is Samaria; her king like a splinter on the surface of the water. And destroyed are the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel: thorn and thistle will rise up on their altars; and they will speak to the mountains, Cover us! and to the hills, Fall on us!" שׁמרון מלכּהּ is not an asyndeton, "Samaria and its king;" but Shōmerōn is to be taken absolutely, "as for Samaria," although, as a matter of fact, not only Samaria, the capital of the kingdom, but the kingdom itself, was destroyed. For malkâh does not refer to any particular king, but is used in a general sense for "the king that Samaria had," so that the destruction of the monarchy is here predicted (cf. Hosea 10:15). The idea that the words refer to one particular king, is not only at variance with the context, which contains no allusion to any one historical occurrence, but does not suit the simile: like a splinter upon the surface of the water, which is carried away by the current, and vanishes without leaving a trace behind. Qetseph is not "foam" (Chald., Symm., Rabb.), but a broken branch, a fagot or a splinter, as qetsâphâh in Joel 1:7 clearly shows. Bâmōth 'âven are the buildings connected with the image-worship at Bethel ('âven equals Bēth-'ēl, Hosea 10:5), the temple erected there (bēth bâmōth), together with the altar, possibly also including other illegal places of sacrifice there, which constituted the chief sin of the kingdom of Israel. These were to be so utterly destroyed, that thorns and thistles would grow upon the ruined altars (cf. Genesis 3:18). "The sign of extreme solitude, that there are not even the walls left, or any traces of the buildings" (Jerome). When the kingdom shall be thus broken up, together with the monarchy and the sacred places, the inhabitants, in their hopeless despair, will long for swift death and destruction. Saying to the mountains, "Cover us," etc., implies much more than hiding themselves in the holes and clefts of the rocks (Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21). It expresses the desire to be buried under the falling mountains and hills, that they may no longer have to bear the pains and terrors of the judgment. In this sense are the words transferred by Christ, in Luke 23:30, to the calamities attending the destruction of Jerusalem, and in Revelation 6:16 to the terrors of the last judgment.
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