Hosea 12:8
And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(8) Translate, And Ephraim saith, Surely I have become wealthy; I have gotten me substance (i.e., by legitimate means, not robbery): all my earnings bring me not guilt as would be sin (i.e., requiring expiation). Such a coarse pursuit of wealth, and such glorying in the innocence of the entire process by which it has been obtained, has its parallel in the moral position of the Laodicean Church, rebuked by our Lord (Revelation 3).

12:7-14 Ephraim became a merchant: the word also signifies a Canaanite. They carried on trade upon Canaanitish principles, covetously and with fraud and deceit. Thus they became rich, and falsely supposed that Providence favoured them. But shameful sins shall have shameful punishments. Let them remember, not only what a mighty prince Jacob was with God, but what a servant he was to Laban. The benefits we have had from the word of God, make our sin and folly the worse, if we put any slight upon that word. We had better follow the hardest labour in poverty, than grow rich by sin. We may form a judgment of our own conduct, by comparing it with that of ancient believers in the like circumstances. Whoever despises the message of God, will perish. May we all hear his word with humble, obedient faith.And Ephraim said, Yet am I become rich - Literally, "I am simply rich." As if he said, "the only result of all this, with which the prophets charge me, is that 'I am become rich:' and since God thus prospers me, it is a sure proof that he is not displeased with me, that 'no iniquity' can be 'found in me;'" the ordinary practical argument of men, as long as God withholds His punishments, that their ways cannot be so displeasing to Him. With the people of this world, with its politicians, in trade, it is the one decisive argument: "I was in the right, for I succeeded." "It was a good speculation, for he gained thousands." "it was good policy, for, see its fruits. An answer, at which the pagan laughed, "the people hisses me, but I, I, safe at home, applaud myself, when the coin jingles in my chest" . The pagan ridiculed it; Christians enact it. But in truth, the fact that God does not punish, is often the evidence of His extremest displeasure.

They shall find none iniquity in me, that were sin - The merchants of Ephraim continue their protest; "in all the toil of my hands, all my buying and selling, my bargains, contracts, they can bring no iniquity home to me," and then, in a tone of simple innocence, they add, 'that' were 'sin,' as though they 'could' not do, what to do were sin. None suspect themselves less, than those intent on gain. The evil customs of other traders, the habits of trade, the seeming necessity for some frauds, the conventional nature of others, the minuteness of others, with their frequent repetition, blind the soul, until it sees no sin, while, with every smallest sale, "they sell their own souls into the bargain" .

8. And—that is, Notwithstanding.

Yet I am … rich—I regard not what the prophets say: I am content with my state, as I am rich (Re 3:17). Therefore, in just retribution, this is the very language of the enemy in being the instrument of Israel's punishment. Zec 11:5: "They that sell them say … I am rich." Far better is poverty with honesty, than riches gained by sin.

my labours—my gains by labor.

they shall find none—that is, none shall find any.

iniquity … that were sin—iniquity that would bring down the penalty of sin. Ephraim argues, My success in my labors proves that I am not a guilty sinner as the prophets assert. Thus sinners pervert God's long-suffering goodness (Mt 5:45) into a justification of their impenitence (compare Ec 8:11-13).

Ephraim said; this covetous, oppressive merchant reckoned with himself, or discoursed with himself, upon the whole of his trading.

Yet I am become rich; whatever is said by some, or thought by others, yet I get what I aim at: either it is good and lawful, and prospered to me by the blessing of God on it because it is just and righteous, or it is not so bad as morose prophets and preachers make it, or at worst (which I will venture, saith Ephraim) it lessens my innocency, but improves my stock, and this is more to such merchants than all the poor innocence in the world.

I have found me out substance; the same thing, with a vain boast of what is not in his wealth and substance. If in his gain he assumed his own only to himself, it were praiseworthy; that is, if he took to himself with shame the sinful manner of acquiring it; but he takes the praise to himself, and forgets God; boasts of his wit, though he cannot of his honesty.

In all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin; finally, he hugs himself in the apprehension of close and crafty carriage of all his affairs, that no great fault, no crime, can be found in it to deserve a reproach or punishment, that he hath more reason to believe all is well since it doth prosper, than to suspect any great miscarriage which should deserve punishment. So this people do at once flatter themselves into security, fearless of punishment, and into hardened obstinacy in sin incapable of amendment.

And Ephraim said, yet I am become rich,.... Notwithstanding they took such unjust methods, as to use deceitful balances, they prospered in the world, got abundance of riches; and therefore concluded from thence that their manner of dealing was not criminal, at least not so bad as the prophets represented to them; and so promised themselves impunity, and that what they were threatened with would not come upon them; and, as long as they got riches, they cared not in what manner; and inasmuch as they prospered and succeeded in their course of trading, they were encouraged to go on, and not fear any evil coming upon them for it. According to Aben Ezra and Kimchi, the sense is, that they became rich of themselves, by their own industry and labour, and did not acknowledge that their riches, and power to get them, were of God. They gloried in them as their own attainments; and which they had little reason to do, since they were treasures of wickedness, and mammon of unrighteousness, which in a day of wrath would be of no service to them;

I have found me out substance; they found ways and means of acquiring great riches, and large estates, by their own wisdom and cunning, and all for themselves, for their own use, to be enjoyed by them for years to come; and they were reckoned by them solid and substantial things, when a mere shadow, emptiness, and vanity; and were not to be employed for their own use and advantage only, but should have been for the good of others; nor were they to be attributed to their own sagacity, prudence, and management, but to the providence of God, admitting they had been got in ever so honourable and just a manner;

in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin: here again Ephraim, or the people of Israel, vainly ascribe all their wealth and riches to their own labour, diligence, and industry, and take no notice of God and his providence, or of his blessing upon them; and pretend to be very upright and honest in their dealings, and that what they got were very honestly got, and would bear the strictest scrutiny; and that if their course of trade was ever so narrowly looked into, there would be nothing found that was very bad or criminal, that they could be justly reproached the; only some little trifling things, that would not bear the name of "sin", or deserve any correction or punishment; so pure were they in their own eyes, so blinded and hardened in sin, and fearless of the divine displeasure; like the adulterous woman, wiped their mouths when they had eaten the sweet morsels of sin, and said they had done no wickedness, Proverbs 30:20; or which was involuntary, and not done knowingly, as Kimchi and Abendana: or rather, as Ben Melech renders it, "no iniquity and sin"; and so others: or, best of all, "no iniquity or sin", as Noldius (a); no iniquity, or any kind of sin at all. Thus, as Ephraim was charged before with idolatry and lies in religion, so here with fraudulent dealings, and getting riches in an illicit way in civil things; and of whose repentance and reformation there was no hope.

(a) Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 104. No. 522.

And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me {h} that were sin.

(h) Thus way the wicked measure God's favour by outward prosperity, and like hypocrites cannot endure that any should reprove their doings.

8. And Ephraim said …] Better, Ephraim indeed said, Surely I have become rich, I have gotten me wealth: all my profits shall bring me no iniquity that were a sin. Ephraim congratulates himself on his riches, and with callous conscience maintains that they have been won quite honestly; or if he be not absolutely innocent, yet his few trifling lapses will not be reckoned a sin. He reminds us of the mercenary shepherds in Zechariah 11:5, who say ‘Blessed be Jehovah that I become rich.’ There is a better connexion however with the next verse if we adopt one or two slight emendations, and render the latter part thus, (but) all his profits will not suffice for (i.e. to expiate) the guilt which he has incurred, i.e. though he gave them all up as ‘a ransom for his soul’ (Exodus 30:12), the sacrifice would be inadequate. Comp. the Septuagint, πάντες οἱ πόνοι αὐτοῦ οὐχ εὑρεθήσονται αὐτῷ δἰ ἀδικίας ἂς ἥμαρτεν. We thus get rid of the unnatural distinction supposed above between ‘iniquity’ and ‘sin.’

8–15. Not Israel, but Canaan should he be called; for his ideal is Canaan’s. The end justifies the means, and his end is—to become rich! But how bitterly will he be disappointed. He must in short begin his history over again, and repeat his wilderness-wanderings. Or to speak more plainly, idolatry must be rooted out. Jehovah must take up the challenge thrown down by Ephraim. Just before the severe final rebuke, Hosea resumes his appeal to the instructive history of Jacob; but Hosea 12:12-13 may be misplaced.

Verse 8. - And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance. Ephraim in this verse boasts of his riches, though procured by fraud and violence, while he maintains at the same time that he has not sinned thereby so as to expose himself to punishment or deserve severe reprehension. The particle - אַך- has two principal meanings:

(a) "surely" and

(b) "only." In the former sense the clause

(1) may allude to the injunction contained in ver. 6 to wait on God, and may signify, "No doubt I have become rich, yet not through Divine help, but by my own exertions;" in the latter sense it may signify,

(2) "I have only become rich; I have done nothing else; I have done nothing amiss" Aben Ezra regards אַך as introducing the apodosis, and explains it nearly in the sense of

(1), thus: "The sense of אך is, 'God has not given me the wealth, but I by myself [i.e. my own unaided efforts] have become rich, for I am not as the Canaanite,' that is, the merchant, as 'There shall be no more the Canaanite' (Zechariah 14:21) ;" he then proceeds to show the connection, "And the meaning [according to the context] is, 'Why does he say, Keep mercy and judgment, and be not an oppressor like the Canaanite [nor am I]? yet all is my own honest earning; none of the sons of men shall find that I have sinned.'" The interpretation of Kimchi is similar, but somewhat simpler, thus: "The words, 'I am become rich,' are the opposite of 'Wait on thy God continually.' But he (Ephraim) does not wait on God the blessed, and he does not acknowledge that he gave him strength to acquire wealth, but says, 'My own power and the strength of my hands have made for me this wealth,' and he forgetteth God the blessed, who gave him power to work, as it is written in the Law (Deuteronomy 8:14), 'And thou forget the Lord thy God.' This is what he (the prophet) means by 'I have become rich;' he means to say, 'I have become rich from myself,'" i.e. by my own labor. The word און denotes both physical or bodily strength, and also, like חַיִל, riches, Latin opes, probably as procured thereby. The flourishing state of the kingdom during the reigns of Joash and Jeroboam II. may have induced their overweening self-confidence and their amazing forgetfulness of God, and at the same time this surprising ignorance of their real condition.

(2) The Septuagint rendering is εὕρηκα ἀναψυχὴν ἐμαυτῷ, "I have found refreshment for myself," and Jerome, "Inveni mihi idolum," as if אָוֶש had been read instead of און. In all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin; margin, all my labors suffice me not: he shall bare punishment of iniquity in whom is sin. Here two modes of construction are possible and each has had its advocates; thus, יְנִיעַי may be

(a) the subject of the verb, as in the LXX., which is, "None of his labors shall be found available for him on account of the sins he has committed." This is the rendering followed and interpreted by Cyril and Theodoret.

(b) The words in question, instead of being taken as the subject to the verb, may be employed absolutely or with the ellipsis of a preposition, as in the Authorized Version; thus: "As to my labors, or the fruits of my labors," for יני, is used in both senses. The meaning of the passage then is

(1) that, besides the sins of fraud and oppression, Ephraim did not shrink through shame to vindicate his conduct and to maintain that. in all the riches he had acquired with such labor, no one could show that those riches had been unjustly acquired by him, or that there was sin contracted in their acquisition. Thus Kimchi: "He (the prophet) mentions another vice, saying that he (Ephraim) oppresses, and asserts that, in all he has labored for and gathered together, they shall not be able to find

(a) any riches of iniquity and sin. אי תי is the same as iniquity and sin, and thus (Ecclesiastes 5:18) 'it is good and comely' (asher here also for ray). Or the explanation of it is:

(b) They shall not find with me iniquity. nor any matter in which there is sin pertaining to me. And חי is less than עי iniquity, for sin comes sometimes by reason of error. Or the explanation of 'iniquity which were sin' is:

(c) Iniquity in which there was sin to me; as if he said, with regard to which I had sinned; for if riches came into my hand through iniquity and robbery, it was not with my knowledge; he means: so that I sinned in relation to it, and took it by iniquity with my knowledge; and in this way (Leviticus 22:16) 'they lade themselves with the iniquity of trespass; עי being in construct state, that is to say, iniquity with regard to which they trespassed." לִי signifies "belonging to me;" while חטא is read, not as a noun, but as a verb in the Septuagint, α{ς ἅμαρτεν.

(2) The Chaldee, which is explained by Rashi, gives an explanation identical, though only partially so, with the marginal rendering of the Authorized Version, namely, "It were good for thee if thou consideredst with thyself: all my riches do not suffice me, in order to expiate the iniquity which I have committed." This, and the marginal reading - both where they coincide and where they diverge - we must unhesitatingly reject as far-fetched, artificial, and having no real basis in the text. To their other sins Israel added this protestation of innocence, which was the solemn protestation of a falsehood. The clause

(3) may admit another sense; thus: If in ray gains by labor iniquity should be found, that indeed would be sin; but such is not the case. Thus, like the Pharisees of a later age, did they justify themselves before men; but God knew their hollow-hearted hypocrisy. Hosea 12:8"Canaan, in his hand is the scale of cheating: he loves to oppress. Hosea 12:8. And Ephraim says, Yet I have become rich, have acquired property: all my exertions bring me no wrong, which would be sin." Israel is not a Jacob who wrestles with God; but it has become Canaan, seeking its advantage in deceit and wrong. Israel is called Canaan here, not so much on account of its attachment to Canaanitish idolatry (cf. Ezekiel 16:3), as according to the appellative meaning of the word Kena‛an, which is borrowed from the commercial habits of the Canaanites (Phoenicians), viz., merchant or trader (Isaiah 23:8; Job 40:30), because, like a fraudulent merchant, it strove to become great by oppression and cheating; not "because it acted towards God like a fraudulent merchant, offering Him false show for true reverence," as Schmieder supposes. For however thoroughly this may apply to the worship of the Israelites, it is not to this that the prophet refers, but to fraudulent weights, and the love of oppression or violence. And this points not to their attitude towards God, but to their conduct towards their fellow-men, which is the very opposite of what, according to the previous verse, the Lord requires (chesed ūmishpât), and the very thing which He has forbidden in the law, in Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 24:13-16, and also in the case of ‛âshaq, violence, in Leviticus 6:2-4; Deuteronomy 24:14. Ephraim prides itself upon this unrighteousness, in the idea that it has thereby acquired wealth and riches, and with the still greater self-deception, that with all its acquisition of property it has committed no wrong that was sin, i.e., that would be followed by punishment. און does not mean "might" here, but wealth, opes, although as a matter of fact, since Ephraim says this as a nation, the riches and power of the state are intended. כּל־יגיעי is not written at the head absolutely, in the sense of "so far as what I have acquired is concerned, men find no injustice in this;" for it that were the case, בּי would stand for לי; but it is really the subject, and יצמצאוּ is to be taken in the sense of acquiring equals bringing in (cf. Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 12:8, etc.).
Hosea 12:8 Interlinear
Hosea 12:8 Parallel Texts

Hosea 12:8 NIV
Hosea 12:8 NLT
Hosea 12:8 ESV
Hosea 12:8 NASB
Hosea 12:8 KJV

Hosea 12:8 Bible Apps
Hosea 12:8 Parallel
Hosea 12:8 Biblia Paralela
Hosea 12:8 Chinese Bible
Hosea 12:8 French Bible
Hosea 12:8 German Bible

Bible Hub

Hosea 12:7
Top of Page
Top of Page