Hosea 13:9
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
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(9) In me . . . Help.—The close of this verse is rhetorically abrupt, which is altogether missed in the English version. Render, but against Me thy help. We must supply “Thou hast rebelled,” the construction being the same as in Hosea 13:16. “Thy captivity, O Israel, is from thee; thy redemption is from Me; thy perishing is from thee: thy salvation is from Me” (Pusey).



Hosea 13:9

These words are obscure by reason of their brevity. Literally they might be rendered, ‘Thy destruction for, in, or against Me; in, or against thy Help.’ Obviously, some words must be supplied to bring out any sense. Our Authorised Version has chosen the supplement ‘is,’ which fails to observe the second occurrence with ‘thy Help’ of the preposition, and is somewhat lax in rendering the ‘for’ of the second clause by the neutral ‘but.’ It is probably better to read, as the Revised Version, with most modern interpreters, ‘Thou art against Me, against thy Help,’ and to find in the second clause the explanation, or analysis, of the destruction announced in the first. So we have here the wail of the parental love of God over the ruin which Israel has brought on itself, and that parental love is setting forth Israel’s true condition, in the hope that they may discern it. Thus, even the rebuke holds enclosed a promise and a hope. Since God is their help, to depart from Him has been ruin, and the return to Him will be life. Hosea, or rather the Spirit that spake through Hosea, blended wonderful tenderness with unflinching decision in rebuke, and unwavering certainty in foretelling evil with unfaltering hope in the promise of possible blessing. His words are set in the same key as the still more wonderfully tender ones that Jesus uttered as He looked across the valley from Olivet to the gleaming city on the other side, and wailed, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Therefore your house is left unto you desolate.’

We may note here

I. The loving discovery of ruin.

It is strange that men should need to be told, and that with all emphasis, the evil case in which they are; and stranger still that they should resent the discovery and reject it. This pathetic pleading is the voice of a divine Father trying to convince His son of misery and danger; and the obscurity of the text is as if that voice was choked with sobs, and could only speak in broken syllables the tragical word in which all the evil of Israel’s sin is gathered up-’his destruction,’ or ‘corruption.’ It gathers up in one terrible picture the essential nature of sin and the death of the soul, which is its wages-inward misery and unrest, outward sorrows, the decay of mental and moral powers, the spreading taint which eats its way through the whole personality of a man who has sinned, and pauses not till it has reduced his corpse to putrefaction. All these, and a hundred more effects of sin, are crowded together in that one word ‘thy destruction.’

It is strange that it needs God’s voice, and that in its most piercing tones, to convince men of ruin brought by sin. A mortifying limb is painless. There is no consciousness in the drugged sleep which becomes heavier and heavier till it ends in death. There is no surer sign of the reality and extent of the corruption brought about by sin, than man’s ignorance of it. There is no more tragical proof that a man is ‘wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked’ than his vehement affirmation, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing,’ and his self-complacent rejection of the counsel to ‘buy refined gold, and white garments, and eye-salve to anoint his eyes.’ So obstinately unconscious are we of our ruin that even God’s voice, whether uttered in definite words, or speaking in sharp sorrows and punitive acts, but too often fails to pierce the thick layer of self complacency in which we wrap ourselves, and to pierce the heart with the arrow of conviction. Indeed we may say that the whole process of divine education of a soul, conducted through many channels of providences, has for its end mainly this-to convince His wandering children that to be against Him, against their Help, is their destruction.

But, perhaps, the strangest of all is the attitude which we often take up of resenting the love that would reveal our ruin. It is stupid of the ox to kick against its driver’s goad; but that is wise in comparison with the action of the man who is angry with God because He warns that departure from Him is ruin. Many of us treat Christianity as if it had made the mischief which it reveals, and would fain mend; and we all need to be reminded that it is cruel kindness to conceal unpleasant truths, and that the Gospel is no more to be blamed for the destruction which it declares than is the signalman with his red flag responsible for the broken-down viaduct to which the train is rushing that he tries to save.

II. The loving appeal to conscience as to the cause.

Israel’s destruction arose from the fact of Israel having turned against God, its Help. Sin is suicide. God is our Help, and only Help. His will is love and blessing. His only relation to our sin is to hate it, and fight against it. In conflict of love with lovelessness one of His chiefest weapons is to drive home to our consciousness the conviction of our sin. When He is driven to punish, it is our wrongdoing that forces Him to what Isaiah calls, ‘His strange act.’ The Heavenly Father is impelled by His love not to spare the rod, lest the sparing spoil the child. An earthly father suffers more punishment than he inflicts upon the little rebel whom, unwillingly and with tears, he may chastise; and God’s love is more tender, as it is more wise, than that of the fathers of our flesh who corrected us. ‘He doth not willingly afflict nor is soon angry’; and of all the mercies which He bestows upon us, none is more laden with His love than the discipline by which He would make us know, through our painful experience, that it is ‘an evil and bitter thing to forsake the Lord, and that His fear is not in us.’ In its essence and depth, separation from God is death to the creature that wrenches itself away from the source of life; and all the weariness and pains of a godless life are, if we take them as He meant them, the very angels of His presence.

Just as the sole reason for our sorrows lies in our wrongdoing, the sole cause of our wrongdoing is in ourselves. It is because ‘Israel is against Me’ that Israel’s destruction rushes down upon it. It could have defended its hankering after Assyria and idols, by wise talk about political exigencies and the wisdom of trying to turn possibly powerful enemies into powerful allies, and the folly of a little nation, on a narrow strip of territory between the desert and the sea, fancying itself able to sustain itself uncrushed between the upper millstone of Assyria on the north, and the under one, Egypt, on the south. But circumstances are never the cause, though they may afford the excuse of rebellion against our Helper, God; and all the modern talk about environments and the like, is merely a cloak cast round, but too scanty to conceal the ugly fact of the alienated will. All the excuses for sin, which either modern scientific jargon about ‘laws,’ or hyper-Calvinistic talk about ‘divine decrees,’ alleges, are alike shattered against the plain fact of conscience, which proclaims to every evil-doer, ‘Thou art the man!’ We shall get no further and no deeper than the truth of our text: ‘It is thy destruction that thou art against Me.’

The pleading God has from the beginning spoken words as tender as they are stern, and as stern as they are tender. His voice to the sons of men has from of old asked the unanswerable question, ‘Why should ye be stricken any more?’ and has answered it, so far as answer is possible, by the fact, which is as mysterious as it is undeniable, ‘Ye will revolt more and more.’ God calls upon man to judge between Him and His vineyard, and asks, ‘What could have been done more to My vineyard that I have not done unto it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?’ The fault lay not in the vine-dresser, but in some evil influence that had found its way into the life and sap of the vine, and bore fruits in an unnatural product, which could not have been traced to the vine-dresser’s action. So God stands, as with clean hands, declaring that ‘He is pure from the blood of all men; that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked’; and His word to the men on whom falls the whole weight of His destroying power is, ‘Thou hast procured this unto thyself.’

III. The loving forbearance which still offers restoration.

He still claims to be Israel’s Help. Separation from Him has all but destroyed the rebellious; but it has not in the smallest degree affected the fulness of His power, nor the fervency of His desire to help. However earth may be shaken by storms, or swathed in mist that darkens all things and shuts out heaven, the sun is still in its tabernacle and pouring down its rays through the cloudless blue that is above the enfolding cloud. Our text has wrapped up in it the broad gospel that all our self-inflicted destruction may be arrested, and all the evil which brought it about swept away. God is ready to prove Himself our true and only Helper in that, as our prophet says, ‘He will ransom us from the power of the grave’; and, even when death has laid its cold hand upon us, will redeem us from it, and destroy the destruction which had fixed its talons in us. All the guilt is ours; all the help is His; His work is to conquer and cast out our sins, to heal our sicknesses, to soothe our sorrows. And He has Himself vindicated His great name of our Help when He has revealed Himself as ‘the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’

Hosea 13:9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself — Thy sins have brought down destruction upon thee, and it is from me only thou canst expect any help, which I will in due time afford thee. The Hebrew of this verse is capable of different versions. That of the Vulgate, Destruction is thy own, O Israel: only in me is thy help, seems one of the most literal; unless, taking שׁחתךְfor a verb, we prefer rendering the first clause, It has destroyed thee, O Israel; that is, all that sin and folly of thine, with which thou hast been before charged. As thy own wickedness has many a time corrected thee, so it has now at length destroyed thee. Observe, reader, wilful sinners are self-destroyers; obstinate impenitence is the grossest self- murder. Those that are destroyed of the destroyer, have their blood upon their own heads: they have destroyed themselves. Observe, also, that the case of such is not yet desperate: God will be their help if they will make application to him. This is a plank thrown out after shipwreck; and greatly magnifies not only the power of God, that he can help when things are at the worst, can help those that cannot help themselves; but the riches of his grace, that he will help those who have destroyed themselves, and therefore might justly be left to perish, and even those that had long refused his help. Dr. Pocock reads this verse, O Israel, this has destroyed thee, that in me is thy help. And R. Tanchum interprets it to the same effect. They understand the sentiment to be, “that the cause of the destruction of Israel was, his presuming upon God’s readiness to help him. They hardened themselves in their corrupt practices, in the confidence that God would never give them up; that, notwithstanding the severity of his threatenings, he would interpose, as upon so many occasions he before had done, to rescue them from their enemies when things came to an extremity. The passage, thus understood is a cool reflection upon the fatal effects of God’s kindness upon the perverse minds of the Israelites.” — Horsley.

13:9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in Me is thy help - This is one of the concise sayings of Hosea, which is capable of many shades of meaning. The five words, one by one, are literally, "Israel, thy destruction, for" or "that, in" or "against Me, in" or "against thy help." Something must be supplied any way; the simplest seems; "O Israel, thy destruction" is, "that" thou hast been, hast rebelled "against Me, against thy help" . Yet, in whatever way the words are filled up, the general sense is the same, that God alone is our help, we are the sources of our own destruction; and "that," in separating ourselves from God, or rebelling against Him who is our help until we depart from Him, who alone could be, and who if we return, will be, our help. The sum of the meaning is, all our destruction is from ourselves; all our salvation is from God. : "Perdition, reprobation, obduration, damnation, are not, properly and in themselves, from God, dooming to perdition, reprobating, obdurating, damning, but from man sinning, and obduring or hardening himself in sin to the end of life. Contrariwise, predestination, calling, grace, are not from the foreseen merits of the predestinate, but from God, predestinating, calling, and, by His grace, forecoming the predestinate. Wherefore although the cause or ground, why they are predestinated, does not lie in the predestinate, yet in the not-predestinated does lie the ground or cause why they are not predestinated."

"This saying then, 'O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in Me is thy help,' may be thus unfolded;

Thy captivity, Israel, is from thee; thy redemption from Me.

Thy perishing is from thee; thy salvation from Me.

Thy death from thee; thy life from Me.

Thy evil from thee; thy good from Me.

Thy reprobation from thee; thy predestination from Me, who ever stand at the door of thy heart and in mercy knock.

Thy dereliction from thee; thy calling from Me.

Thy misery from thee; thy bliss from Me.

Thy damnation from thee, thy salvation and beatifying from Me."

For " many good things doeth God in man, which man doeth not, but none doeth man, which God endueth not man to do." : "The first cause of the defect of grace is from us; but the first cause of the gift of grace is from God." : "Rightly is God called, not the Father of judgments or of vengence, but the "Father of mercies," because from Himself is the cause and origin of His mercy, from us the cause of His judging or avenging."

"Blessed the soul which comprehendeth this, not with the understanding only, but with the heart. Nothing can destroy us before God, but sin, the only real evil; and sin is wholly from us, God can have no part in it. But every aid to withdraw us from sin, or to hinder us from falling into it, comes from God alone, the sole Source of our salvation. The soul then must ever bless God, in its ills and its good; in its ills, by confessing that itself is the only cause of its suffering; in its good, owning that, when altogether unworthy of it, God prevented it by His grace, and preserves it each instant by His Almighty goodness."

: "No power, then, of the enemy could harm thee, unless, by thy sins, thou calledst forth the anger of God against thee to thy destruction. Ascribe it to thyself, not to the enemy. So let each sinful city or sinful soul say, which by its guilt draws on it the vengeance of God."

This truth, that in Him alone is help, He confirms by what follows:

9. thou … in me—in contrast.

hast destroyed thyself—that is, thy destruction is of thyself (Pr 6:32; 8:36).

in me is thine help—literally, "in thine help" (compare De 33:26). Hadst thou rested thy hope in Me, I would have been always ready at hand for thy help [Grotius].

Thou hast destroyed thyself; after these menaces it might seem I had destroyed thee, but thou thyself hast done it by thy sins. It is the rebel that destroys himself, though he fall by the sword of his provoked sovereign: thou art the cause and author of thine own ruin.

But in me is thy help; or,

for I was always ready and able to help thee, and would certainly have saved thee; but thy sins, thy wickedness carried thee toward other helps, which were lies, and have disappointed thee; and now thou dost perish under thine own choice, whereas hadst thou chosen me I would have helped and saved thee. Or else thus the whole verse: This hath destroyed thee, O Israel, for thou hast rebelled against me, against thy help: and so Sol. Jarchy.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself,.... Though the Lord was a lion, a leopard, and a bear to them, yet their destruction was not owing to him, but to themselves; he was not chargeable with it, but they only; the fault and blame was theirs; their own sins brought it on them, and provoked him to such righteous wrath and vengeance before expressed: this is said to clear the Lord from any imputation of this kind, and to lay it where it should be It may be rendered, "it hath destroyed thee" (k); either the calf, as Kimchi, and the worshipping of that, their idolatry; or their king, as others, taking it from the following verse by way of anticipation; or rather it may refer to all their sins before observed, their idolatry, luxury, and ingratitude. Gussetius (l) thinks the word has the signification of "burning", as in Isaiah 3:24; and renders it, "burning in me hath destroyed thee, even in him who is thy help"; that is, by their sins they had made God their enemy, who is a consuming fire, and whose burning wrath destroyed them, in whom otherwise they would have had help. Now though this may primarily regard the destruction of the civil state and kingdom of Israel for their sins, yet it may be applied to the spiritual and eternal state of men. Man is a lost, ruined, and undone creature; he is depraved and corrupted in his whole nature, soul and body; the image of God in him is marred and spoiled; there is no holiness in him, nor any righteousness upon him; no will nor power to that which is good; though he has not lost the natural liberty of his will, he has lost the moral liberty of it, and is a slave to his lusts, and a vassal to Satan; he has no true knowledge of that which is good, no inclination to it, nor strength to perform it he is dead in sin, and dead in law; he is under the curse of it, and in the open way to everlasting ruin and destruction; and is in himself both helpless and lifeless; and he is a self-destroyed creature; his destruction is not owing to Satan only, though he was an instrument of the ruin of mankind; nor to the first parents of human nature only, in whom all men naturally and federally were, in whom they sinned, and with whom they fell; but to their own actual sins and transgressions. However, their destruction is not to be charged upon God, or ascribed to any decree of his, which is no cause of man's damnation, but sin only; nor to any sentence of condemnation passed by him, or the execution of it, which both belong to him as a righteous Judge; but to themselves and their sins, as is owned both by good men, who under true and saving convictions acknowledge their damnation would be just, if God should execute it on them; and by bad men, even the damned in hell; this will be the never dying worm, the remorse of a guilty conscience, that they have brought all this ruin on themselves;

but in me is thine help; not in themselves, not in any creature, but in the Lord alone; the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; the essential Word, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, on whom his divine Father has laid the help of his people; and who has helped them, and saved them from their sins, the cause of their destruction, and from wrath, which they deserved by reason of them; and has brought them out of a wretched state, a pit wherein is no water, into a comfortable, glorious, and happy one, and delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies; and helps them to what they want, to holiness, righteousness, and strength; to all supplies of grace here, and glory hereafter. Some render the particle as causal, "for in me", &c. (m) and so make it to be a reason either proving that God could not be the cause of their destruction, because in him was their help, and in him only; or that their destruction was owing to themselves; "for in" or "against me, against thine help"; thou hast transgressed and rebelled; so Jarchi.

(k) "perdidit te", Vatablus, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Zanchius, De Dieu, Rivet; "corrupit te", Cocceius. (l) Comment, Ebr. p. 367. (m) "quia in me", Montanus, Calvin, Schmidt.

O Israel, thou {f} hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

(f) Your destruction is certain, and my benefits toward you declare that it comes not from me: therefore your own malice, idolatry, and vain confidence in men must necessarily be the cause of it.

9. Hosea, ‘in the spirit’, sees the future as if it were past. Hence the use of the perfect.

O Israel, &c.] This rendering agrees with that of the Jewish commentator, Rashi (similarly the Targum). It belongs to a numerous series of attempts (see Poole’s Synopsis ad loc.) to explain one of Hosea’s most abrupt sentences. The text, as it stands, means literally, ‘He (or, It) hath destroyed thee, O Israel, because (or, that) on (or, against) me, on (or, against) thy help’, that is, as most moderns interpret, This is thy destruction, O Israel, that to me, to thy helper, (thou hast been unfaithful): the abruptness is attributed to the ‘labouring voice, interrupted by sobs’ (Ewald) of one whose pity is only less strong than his regard for justice. Turning to the versions, we find the Septuagint rendering, Τῇ διαφθορᾷ σου Ἰσραήλ τίς βοηθήσει; the Peshito, ‘I have destroyed thee, O Israel; who shall help thee’; the Vulgate, ‘Perditio tua, Israel; tantummodo in me auxilium tuum.’ As Louis Cappel long ago saw, the slight variation of a single letter implied in the Septuagint and Peshito renderings greatly improves the latter part of the verse. Accepting this, we may render the whole, ‘He hath destroyed thee, O Israel; yea, who Is thy help?’ By ‘Israel’ of course Ephraim, i.e. N. Israel, is meant. For the idiom ‘in thy help’= invested with the character of a helper, comp. Delitzsch’s note on Psalm 35:2. The alternative is to suppose that a word has dropped out of the text. Ewald’s explanation (above) is forced.

I will be thy king, &c.] Rather, Where, now, is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities? The prophet looks a little way before him to the fulfilment of the predictions in Hosea 10:14 (‘all thy fortresses’) and Hosea 11:6 (‘his cities’).

thy judges] The ‘judges’ appear to be synonymous (comp. Hosea 7:7) with ‘king and princes’, who, of course, in Israel as well as in Judah (Jeremiah 21:11-12) shared the judicial functions. See on Hosea 3:4, Hosea 8:12.

Give me a king] Some compare 1 Samuel 8:5 (of Saul), but Hosea is not opposed to royalty in itself. See next note.

9–15. An alternation of cries expressive of the contending thoughts and emotions of the tender-hearted but truthful prophet. The punishment is inevitable; yea, it is begun. Yet—if Israel would only repent! Indeed, his Father must interpose. And yet, on the other hand, rebellion must be punished.

Verse 9. - O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. The literal rendering of this verse is,

(1) It hath destroyed thee, O Israel, that thou hast been against me, against thy Help. The ellipsis is accounted for by the strong emotion of the speaker, ֵשחִת is

(a) the Piel third person, and has the suffix of the second person, from which the pronoun אתָּה may be supplied as subject of the concluding clause. The preposition be has here the meaning of "against," as in Genesis 16:12 and 2 Samuel 24:17, while בִי is in apposition to it. The Hebrew commentators take שי as a verbal form; thus Rashi: "Thou hast destroyed thyself, O Israel;" and Kimchi:

(2) "The calf has destroyed thee which he had mentioned above; he says, 'This has destroyed thee; for unless this had been so, thy help had been in me.'"

(b) The Septuagint and Jerome take שחחך as a noun, the former translating by τῆ διαφθορᾶ: "Who will aid thee in thy destructions" the latter by "Thy destruction, O Israel; but in me is thy help," the noun being of the form קֵטֵּר דִבֵּר. The explanation of Rashi, who understands

(c) the verb as second person preterit Piel with suffix, is: "'Because thou hast acted unfaithfully against me, thou hast rebelled against thy help.' The Scripture uses brevity, but he who understands the language of Scripture will recall to mind that כי בי is 'because against me is the rebellion with which thou hast rebelled. And if thou shouldst say, What does it concern thee? Against thy help hast thou rebelled when thou didst rebel against me.'" Kimchi remarks in the two beths servile that one of them would suffice, and that the sense might have been expressed by כי בי עזרך or כי אני בעזרך . All the disaster and destruction previously mentioned are charged on Israel's misconduct; they had brought all upon themselves by their rebellion against Jehovah who would otherwise have been their Shield and Deliverer. The sense is well expressed by Calvin thus: "How comes it, and what is the reason, that I do not now help thee according to my usual manner? Thou hast indeed found me hitherto to be thy Deliverer.... How comes it now that I have cast thee away, that thou criest in vain, and that no one brings thee any help? How comes it that thou art thus forsaken, and receivest no relief whatever from my hand, as thou hast been wont to do? And doubtless I should never be wanting to thee, if thou wouldest allow me; but thou closest the door against me, and by thy wickedness spurnest my favor, so that it cannot come to thee. It then follows, that thou art now destroyed through thine own fault:

(3) Something then hath destroyed thee." It will be observed that the rebellion against Jehovah here complained of is not that of all Israel, when they are said to have rejected Jehovah by asking a king of Samuel; but the defection of the ten tribes that cast off their allegiance to the house of David and made Jeroboam their king. Hosea 13:9Hosea 13:9 commences a new strophe, in which the prophet once more discloses to the people the reason for their corruption (Hosea 13:9-13); and after pointing to the saving omnipotence of the Lord (Hosea 13:14), holds up before them utter destruction as the just punishment for their guilt (Hosea 13:15 and Hosea 14:1). Hosea 13:9. "O Israel, it hurls thee into destruction, that thou (art) against me, thy help. Hosea 13:10. Where is thy king? that he may help thee in all thy cities: and (where) they judges? of whom thou saidst, Give me king and princes! Hosea 13:11. I give thee kings in my anger, and take them away in my wrath." שׁחתך does not combine together the verbs in Hosea 13:8, as Hitzig supposes; nor does Hosea 13:9 give the reason for what precedes, but shichethkhâ is explained by Hosea 13:10, from which we may see that a new train of thought commences with Hosea 13:9. Shichēth does not mean to act corruptly here, as in Deuteronomy 32:5; Deuteronomy 9:12, and Exodus 32:7, but to bring into corruption, to ruin, as in Genesis 6:17; Genesis 9:15; Numbers 32:15, etc. The sentence כּי בי וגו cannot be explained in any other way than by supplying the pronoun אתּה, as a subject taken from the suffix to שׁחתך (Marck, and nearly all the modern commentators). "This throws thee into distress, that thou hast resisted me, who am thy help." בעזרך: as in Deuteronomy 33:26, except that ב is used in the sense of against, as in Genesis 16:12; 2 Samuel 24:17, etc. This opposition did not take place, however, when all Israel demanded a king of Samuel (1 Samuel 8:5). For although this desire is represented there (Hosea 13:7) as the rejection of Jehovah, Hosea is speaking here simply of the Israel of the ten tribes. The latter rebelled against Jehovah, when they fell away from the house of David, and made Jeroboam their king, and with contempt of Jehovah put their trust in the might of their kings of their own choosing (1 Kings 12:16.). But these kings could not afford them any true help. The question, "Where" ('ehı̄ only occurs here and twice in Hosea 13:14, for אי or איה, possibly simply from a dialectical variation - vid. Ewald, 104, c - and is strengthened by אפוא, as in Job 17:15), "Where is thy king, that he may help thee?" does not presuppose that Israel had no king at all at that time, and that the kingdom was in a state of anarchy, but simply that it had no king who could save it, when the foe, the Assyrian, attacked it in all its cities. Before shōpheteykhâ (thy judges) we must repeat 'ĕhı̄ (where). The shōphetı̄m, as the use of the word sârı̄m (princes) in its stead in the following clause clearly shows, are not simple judges, but royal counsellors and ministers, who managed the affairs of the kingdom along with the king, and superintended the administration of justice. The saying, "Give me a king and princes," reminds us very forcibly of the demand of the people in the time of Samuel; but they really refer simply to the desire of the ten tribes for a king of their own, which manifested itself in their dissatisfaction with the rule of the house of David, and their consequent secession, and to their persistence in this secession amidst all the subsequent changes of the government. We cannot therefore take the imperfects אתּן and אקּח in Hosea 13:11 as pure preterites, i.e., we cannot understand them as referring simply to the choice of Jeroboam as king, and to his death. The imperfects denote an action that is repeated again and again, for which we should use the present, and refer to all the kings that the kingdom of the ten tribes had received and was receiving still, and to their removal. God in His wrath gives the sinful nation kings and takes them away, in order to punish the nation through its kings. This applies not merely to the kings who followed one another so rapidly through conspiracy and murder, although through these the kingdom was gradually broken up and its dissolution accelerated, but to the rulers of the ten tribes as a whole. God gave the tribes who were discontented with the theocratical government of David and Solomon a king of their own, that He might punish them for their resistance to His government, which came to light in the rebellion against Rehoboam. He suspended the division of the kingdom not only over Solomon, as a punishment for his idolatry, but also over the rebellious ten tribes, who, when they separated themselves from the royal house to which the promise had been given of everlasting duration, were also separated from the divinely appointed worship and altar, and given up into the power of their kings, who hurled one another from the throne; and God took away this government from them to chastise them for their sins, by giving them into the power of the heathen, and by driving them away from His face. It is to this last thought, that what follows is attached. The removal of the king in wrath would occur, because the sin of Ephraim was reserved for punishment.
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Hosea 13:8
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