Hosea 3:4
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
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(4) The prophet suddenly passes from his personal history to that of Israel, which it symbolised.

Without a king . . .—The isolation of Gomer’s position pre-figured that of Israel in the exile. Her bitter experience was a parable of Israel’s utter deprivation of all civil and religious privilege. There was to be no king, or prince, or sacred ritual of any kind. Observe that the terms of both cultus are here intermingled, suggesting the idolatrous conceptions of the pure ancient practice which Jeroboam’s calf-worship was only too likely to introduce. By “image” we are to understand upright stones, representing Baal or the sun-god. (Comp. Hosea 10:1 and Exodus 24:4.) On “ephod,” see Judges 17:5; Judges 18:14; Judges 18:17-20; on “teraphim,” Genesis 31:19-35; 1Samuel 19:13-16; Ezekiel 21:21; Zechariah 10:2. In the last two passages the word is translated “idols,” “images,” their use as instruments of divination being condemned.

Hosea 3:4. For the children of Israel shall abide many days — Here begins a more plain and full explication of the symbolical action of the prophet, namely, that it signified what should befall the children of Israel; that they should continue many days in a state of captivity; without a king, as the woman continued without a husband; without the means of worshipping God according to the rites of their law; and yet refraining from idolatry, as the woman refrained from unfaithfulness to her betrothed husband. And this prediction was remarkably fulfilled upon the ten tribes, when made captives by Shalmaneser, (compare Hosea 9:4,) and upon the two remaining tribes, after the destruction of their temple and commonwealth by Nebuchadnezzar, and during their captivity in Babylon. This prophecy has also been fulfilled upon the whole nation of the Jews, from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus unto this day. From that time, they have had no republic, or civil government of their own; but have lived everywhere like so many exiles, only upon sufferance; they have had neither priest nor sacrifice, their temple being destroyed where only they were to offer sacrifices: and yet the want of a place where to perform the most solemn parts of their public worship, does not tempt them to idolatry, or make them fond of image-worship, or any such idolatrous practice, which was the epidemical sin of their forefathers. This seems the general import of this remarkable prophecy; but the several expressions must be more particularly explained. Without a king — Namely of their own; and without a prince — Without any civil magistrate of their own with supreme authority. And without a sacrifice — Deprived of the means of offering the typical sacrifices of the law, and having, as yet, no share in the true sacrifice of Christ. And without an image — Or, as the LXX. and Vulgate read, without an altar. The Hebrew word, מצבה, here rendered image, seems properly to signify those pillars, which, in the patriarchal ages, were erected to the honour of God, and used as altars. Thus we read, Genesis 28:18, that Jacob, after the divine vision he had had, took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a PILLAR, (Hebrew, מצבה, the same word which is used here,) and poured oil upon the top of it; that is, he made an altar of it to pour out a libation upon it, as a token of gratitude for the vision with which he had been favoured, and to ratify, in a solemn manner, his resolution of serving Jehovah. And again, Genesis 35:14, we find the same word rendered pillar twice, and used in the same sense. And without an ephod — The ephod being one principal part of the high-priest’s garments of consecration and of service, the saying here, that the children of Israel should be without an ephod, seems to signify, that they should be without a high-priest to minister in the priest’s office. And without teraphim — Those interpreters who suppose that the different words here used denote the several ways of lawful worship practised among God’s ancient people, and the means they used of inquiring after the will of God, understand the word teraphim here as signifying the same with the Urim and Thummim, or the oracle placed in the breast-plate of the high-priest; which they think is fitly joined with the ephod, that being often put for the whole priestly habit, and used when there was occasion of consulting God by the high-priest: see 1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 30:7. This interpretation is followed by the LXX., and it makes an easy and natural sense of the text, namely, that God would deprive the Jews of the principal offices, for the enjoyment of which they chiefly valued themselves, namely, that of the priesthood, and that of prophecy. The Jews had no succession of prophets, for a considerable time before Christ’s coming; and both kingdom and priesthood were taken away, within forty years after Christ’s death.

The word teraphim, however, evidently signifies images, Genesis 31:34, and, it seems, is used of idol-images, Jdg 17:5; and some commentators of great note understand it in the same sense here, and indeed interpret also the two preceding expressions as intended of the worship of idols. Thus Archbishop Newcome, “My opinion is, that the teraphim were objects of idolatrous worship; and such, in their state of captivity, the Israelites would not harbour.” Thus also Bishop Horsley, “After much consideration of this passage, and of much that has been written upon it by expositors, I rest in the opinion strenuously maintained by the learned Pocock, in which he agrees with many that went before him, and has the concurrence of many that came after, Luther, Calvin, Vetablus, Drusius, Houbigant, and Archbishop Newcome, with many others of inferior note; I rest, I say, in the opinion, that statue, ephod, and teraphim, are mentioned as principal implements of idolatrous rites. And the sum of this 4th verse is this; that for many ages the Jews would not be their own masters; would be deprived of the exercise of their own religion, in its most essential parts; not embracing the Christian, they would have no share in the true service; and yet would be restrained from idolatry, to which their forefathers had been so prone.” As a confirmation of this interpretation, the bishop observes, that this 4th verse is the exposition of the type of the prophet’s conduct toward his wife; and that, if the restriction of the Jews from idolatry is not mentioned, we have nothing in the exposition answering to that article, Thou shalt not play the harlot.” “This is surely a most astonishing prophecy of events directly contrary to all human probability; yet undeniably taking place, not on a particular occasion, or for a short time, but through very many revolving centuries. How could Hosea have foreseen this, had not God inspired him? And does not this demonstrate the divine inspiration of this prophecy?” — Scott.

3:4-5 Here is the application of the parable to Israel. They must long sit like a widow, stripped of all joys and honours; but shall at length be received again. Those that would seek the Lord so as to find him, must apply to Christ, and become his willing people. Not only are we to fear the Lord and his greatness, but the Lord and his goodness; not only his majesty, but his mercy. Even Jewish writers apply this passage to the promised Messiah; doubtless it foretold their future conversion to Christ, for which they are kept a separate people. Though the first fear of God arise from a view of his holy majesty and righteous vengeance, yet the experience of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ, will lead the heart to reverence so kind and glorious a Friend and Father, and to fear offending him.For the children of Israel shall abide many days - The condition described is one in which there should be no civil polity, none of the special temple-service, nor yet the idolatry, which they had hitherto combined with it or substituted for it. "King and prince" include both higher and lower governors. Judah had "kings" before the captivity, and a sort of "prince" in her governors after it. Judah remained still a polity, although without the glory of her kings, until she rejected Christ. Israel ceased to have any civil government at all. "Sacrifice" was the center of worship before Christ. It was that part of their service, which, above all, foreshadowed His love, His atonement and sacrifice, and the reconciliation of God by His blood, whose merits it pleaded. "Images," were, "contrariwise," the center of idolatry, the visible form of the beings, whom they worshipped instead of God. The "ephod" was the holy garment which the high priest wore, with the names of the twelve tribes and the Urim and Thummim, over his heart, and by which he inquired of God. The "Teraphim" were idolatrous means of divination.

So then, "for many days," a long, long period, "the children of Israel" should "abide," in a manner waiting for God, as the wife waited for her husband, kept apart under His care, yet not acknowledged by Him; not following after idolatries, yet cut off from the sacrificial worship which He had appointed for forgiveness of sins, through faith in the Sacrifice yet to be offered, cut off also from the appointed means of consulting Him and knowing His will. Into this state the ten tribes were brought upon their captivity, and (those only excepted who joined the two tribes or have been converted to the Gospel,) they have ever since remained in it.' Into that same condition the two tribes were brought, after that, by "killing the Son, they had filled up the measure of their father's" sins; and the second temple, which His presence had hallowed, was destroyed by the Romans, in that condition they have ever since remained; free from idolatry, and in a state of waiting for God, yet looking in vain for a Messiah, since they had not and would not receive Him who came unto them; praying to God; yet without sacrifice for sin; not owned by God, yet kept distinct and apart by His providence, for a future yet to be revealed. "No one of their own nation has been able to gather them together or to become their king."

Julian the Apostate attempted in vain to rebuild their temple, God interposing by miracles to hinder the effort which challenged His Omnipotence. David's temporal kingdom has perished and his line is lost, because Shiloh, the peace-maker, is come. The typical priesthood ceased, in presence of the true "priest after the order of Melchisedek." The line of Aaron is forgotten, unknown, and cannot be recovered. So hopelessly are their genealogies confused, that they themselves conceive it to be one of the offices of their Messiah to disentangle them. Sacrifice, the center of their religion, has ceased and become unlawful. Still their characteristic has been to wait. Their prayer as to the Christ has been, "may He soon be revealed." Eighteen centuries have flowed by. "Their eyes have failed with looking" for God's promise, from where it is not to be found. Nothing has changed this character, in the mass of the people.

Oppressed, released, favored; despised, or aggrandised; in East or West; hating Christians, loving to blaspheme Christ, forced (as they would remain Jews,) to explain away the prophecies which speak of Him, deprived of the sacrifices which, to their forefathers, spoke of Him and His atonement; still, as a mass, they blindly wait for Him, the true knowledge of whom, His offices, His priesthood, and His kingdom, they have laid aside. Anti God has been "toward them." He has preserved them from mingling with idolaters or Muslims. Oppression has not extinguished them, favor has not bribed them. He has kept them from abandoning their mangled worship, or the Scriptures which they understand not, and whose true meaning they believe not; they have fed on the raisinhusks of a barren ritual and unspiritual legalism since the Holy Spirit they have grieved away. Yet they exist still, a monument to "us," of God's abiding wrath on sin, as Lot's wife was to them, encrusted, stiff, lifeless, only that we know that "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."

True it is, that idolatry was not the immediate cause of the final punishment of the two, as it was of the ten tribes. But the words of the prophecy go beyond the first and immediate occasion of it. The sin, which God condemned by Hosea, was alienation from Himself. He loved them, and "They turned to other gods." The outward idolatry was but a fruit and a symbol of the inward. The temptation to idolatry was not simply, nor chiefly, to have a visible symbol to worship, but the hope to obtain from the beings so symbolized, or from their worship, what God refused or forbade. It was a rejection of God, choosing His rival. "The adulteress soul is whoever, forsaking the Creator, loveth the creature." The rejection of our Lord was moreover the crowning act of apostasy, which set the seal on all former rejection of God. And when the sinful soul or nation is punished at last, God punishes not only the last act, which draws down the stroke, but all the former accumulated sins, which culminated in it. So then they who "despised the Bridegroom, who came from heaven to seek the love of His own in faith, and, forsaking Him, gave themselves over to the Scribes and Pharisees who slew Him, that the inheritance, i. e., God's people, "might be" theirs," having the same principle of sin as the ten tribes, were included in their sentence.

4. The long period here foretold was to be one in which Israel should have no civil polity, king, or prince, no sacrifice to Jehovah, and yet no idol, or false god, no ephod, or teraphim. Exactly describing their state for the last nineteen centuries, separate from idols, yet without any legal sacrifice to Jehovah, whom they profess to worship, and without being acknowledged by Him as His Church. So Kimchi, a Jew, explains it. The ephod was worn by the high priest above the tunic and robe. It consisted of two finely wrought pieces which hung down, the one in front over the breast, the other on the back, to the middle of the thigh; joined on the shoulders by golden clasps set in onyx stones with the names of the twelve tribes, and fastened round the waist by a girdle (Ex 28:6-12). The common ephod worn by the lower priests, Levites, and any person performing sacred rites, was of linen (2Sa 6:14; 1Ch 15:27). In the breast were the Urim and Thummim by which God gave responses to the Hebrews. The latter was one of the five things which the second temple lacked, and which the first had. It, as representing the divinely constituted priesthood, is opposed to the idolatrous "teraphim," as "sacrifice" (to Jehovah) is to "an (idolatrous) image." "Abide" answers to "thou shalt abide for me" (Ho 3:3). Abide in solitary isolation, as a separated wife. The teraphim were tutelary household gods, in the shape of human busts, cut off at the waist (as the root of the Hebrew word implies) [Maurer], (Ge 31:19, 30-35). They were supposed to give responses to consulters (2Ki 23:24; Eze 21:21, Margin; Zec 10:2). Saul's daughter, Michal, putting one in a bed, as if it were David, proves the shape to have been that of a man. Now the parable is unfolded and made plain; it shall be with Israel much like as with such a woman, they and she guilty of adultery, both punished with a divorce, both punished long with such afflicted state, both made slaves, kept hardly, and valued meanly, yet in mercy at last pardoned, reaccepted, and preferred, but this after long time of probation: how long we cannot tell, nor list to dispute whether seventy years of Babylon’s captivity, or whether these seventy and the one hundred and thirty years of the ten tribes’ captivity before the two tribes went captives, i.e. two hundred years; or whether till Messiah’s coming, or the general and last conversion of the Jews; long it was to be no doubt.

Without a king; none of their own royal line shall sit on the throne, and rule them, but foreigners, enemies, and they that had conquered them, should be kings over them. So the kingdom ceased, as Hosea 1:4.

Without a prince; the conquering kings will not out of the Jews make their chief officers to rule the Jews, but strangers shall be princes and governors over them.

Without a sacrifice; either right, and according to law, (these sacrifices they had long since cast off,) or idolatrous ones, which they would choose.

Without an image; they could carry none of their images with them, and the Assyrians would not let them make new ones.

Without an ephod; no priest as well as no ephod.

Without teraphim; idolatrous images kept in their private houses to worship and consult with, like the Roman lares and penates, household gods. In one word, such should be the state of these captives, they should have nothing of their own, either in kingdom and civil affairs, or in church and religion, but be wholly under the power and arbitrary wills of their conquering enemies.

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince,.... Without any form of civil government, either regal or without any civil magistrate, either superior or subordinate, of their own; being subject to the kings and princes of other nations, as the ten tribes were from their captivity by Shalmaneser, to the coming of Christ, which was about seven hundred years; and from that time the tribes of Judah and Benjamin have had no kings and princes among them, for the space of nineteen hundred years, which may very well be called "many days". This answers to the harlot's abiding for the prophet many days, in the parable:

and without a sacrifice; the daily sacrifice, which has ceased as long as before observed; and any other sacrifice of slain beasts, as the passover lamb, &c.; the Jews not thinking it lawful to offer sacrifice in a strange land, or any where but upon the altar in Jerusalem; and to this day have no such sacrifices among them, though they have no notion of the abrogation of them, as the Christians have; but so it is ordered in Providence, that they should be without them, being kept out of their own land, that this and other prophecies might be fulfilled:

and without an image, or "statue": such as were made for Baal, or as were the calves at Dan and Bethel; and though the people of Israel were very subject to idolatry, and set up images and statues for worship before their captivities, yet since have nothing of image worship among them, but strictly observe the command.

And without an ephod; a linen garment wore by the high priests under the law, to which the breastplate was fastened, which had in it the Urim and Thummim; and which were wanting in the second temple, and have been ever since; so that these people have been so long without this way and means of inquiry of God about future things, see Ezra 2:63, this may be put for the whole priesthood, now ceased in a proper sense; and so the Septuagint render it, "without a priesthood"; so that the Jews are without any form of government, civil or ecclesiastical; they have neither princely nor priestly power: "and without teraphim"; which some understand to be the same with the Urim and Thummim; and so the Septuagint render it, "without manifestations"; by which they are thought to mean the Urim, which according to them so signifies: but the word is generally thought to design some little images or idols, like the penates or household gods of the Romans, which were consulted about future things; and so the Jews commonly understand it, and some describe them thus (g),

"what are the "teraphim?" they slay the firstborn of a man, cut off his head, and pickle it with salt and oil, and inscribe on a plate of gold the name of an unclean spirit, and put that under his tongue; then they place it in a wall, and light candles before it, and pray unto it, and it talks with them.''

But now, according to this prophecy, the Jews in their captivity should have no way and means of knowing future things, either in a lawful or unlawful manner; see Psalm 74:9. How the whole of this prophecy is now fulfilled in them, hear what they themselves say, particularly Kimchi;

"these are the days of the captivity in which we now are at this day; we have no king nor prince out of Israel; for we are in the power of the nations, and of their kings and princes; and have no sacrifice for God, nor image for idols; no "ephod" for God, that declares future things; and no "teraphim" for idolatry, which show things to come, according to the mind of those that believe in them;''

and so Jarchi

"without a sacrifice in the sanctuary in Judah; without an image of Baal in Samaria, for the kings of Israel; without an ephod of Urim and Thummim, that declares hidden things; and "teraphim" made for a time to speak of, and show things that are secret;''

and to the same purpose Aben Ezra. The Targum is,

"without a king of the house of David, and without a ruler over Israel; without sacrifice for acceptance in Jerusalem; and without a high place in Samaria; and without an ephod, and him that shows;''

i.e. what shall come to pass. The Syriac version renders the last clause, "without one that offers incense"; and the Arabic version, "without one that teaches".

(g) Pirke Eliezer, c. 36. fol. 40. 1.

For the children of Israel shall {e} abide many days without a king, and without a {f} prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:

(e) Meaning not only all the time of their captivity, but also until Christ.

(f) That is, they would neither have administration nor religion, and their idols also in which they put their confidence, would be destroyed.

4. For …] The explanation of this latter part of the prophet’s acted allegory. As he has restrained his erring wife from even the legitimate gratification of her natural instincts, so Jehovah will chastise idolatrous Israel by depriving her of her civil and religious institutions. By ‘the children of Israel’ Hosea means the Ten Tribes, as elsewhere in these chapters,

shall abide] Rather, shall sit still (as Hosea 3:3).

many days] The prophet has received no revelation as to the duration of the captivity of the Ten Tribes.

without a king and without a prince] The abolition of ‘king and princes’ corresponds to the denial of intercourse with her lovers to Gomer. The term ‘prince’ is used partly of the magnates of the state in general, partly of the ‘elders’ or heads of families, who played such an important part in the Israelitish community (comp. Exodus 3:16; 2 Samuel 19:11; 1 Kings 8:1; 1 Kings 20:7; Jeremiah 26:17). A king and princes are mentioned together again in Hosea 7:3, Hosea 13:10 (and probably in Hosea 8:10).

without a sacrifice and without an image] The withholding of this and the next pair of objects corresponds to the cessation of conjugal intercourse between Hosea and Gomer. Consequently as Hosea represents Jehovah, the ‘image’ (or rather consecrated pillar, Heb. maçççbah) spoken of must stand in some relation to Jehovah, must in fact be of one of those pillars sacred to Jehovah, which, as many think, lasted on in Judah (much more therefore in Israel) at any rate till the time of Hezekiah: see note on Hosea 10:1. The ‘pillars’ were the distinguishing marks of holy places, and are therefore very naturally combined by Hosea with sacrifices or altars (Sept., followed by Pesh. and Vulg. reads ‘altar’ here instead of ‘sacrifice’). Comp. Dean Plumptre:

No pomp of kings, no priests in gorgeous robes,

No victims bleeding on the altar-fires,

No golden ephod set with sparkling gems,

No pillar speaking of the gate of heaven,

No Teraphim with strange mysterious gleam

Shall give their signs oracular.

(Lazarus, p. 90.)

It follows from this passage of Hosea that the worship of Jehovah in northern Israel presented features altogether alien to the orthodox worship of Jehovah according to the Law, and that Hosea raises no protest against it. He refers to its suspension as a privation corresponding to and equally felt with that of king and princes. We must remember however that the kings of N. Israel were regarded by Hosea as usurpers.

without an ephod] The high priest’s ephod is described in Exodus 28:6-14. It was a sleeveless coat of splendid and costly material, and with two ouches of onyx on the shoulders, bound by a rich girdle. Over it was worn the so-called choshen, a jewelled breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim. But what connexion had this coat with the sacred ‘pillar’ and the teraphim? It is as difficult to answer as the question with regard to Gideon’s ephod in Jdg 8:24-27. The root-meaning of ephod is simply to overlay, and the feminine form of the word ephod (aphuddâh) is used in Isaiah 30:22 of the gold plating of images. The easiest supposition is that both in Judg. l.c. and here ‘ephod’ means, not an article of sacerdotal dress but an image of Jehovah overlaid with gold or silver (so in Judges 17, 18; 1 Samuel 21:10; 1 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 30:7-8, but not 1 Samuel 2:18; 1 Samuel 22:18). It is no doubt strange to find this idolatry of Jehovah still prevalent among the larger section of the Israelites. But the fact is in harmony with all that Hosea tells us of the religious state of his country elsewhere.

and without teraphim] Ephod and teraphim were evidently used for similar purposes (see Judges 17, 18). The latter word only occurs in the plural form; the teraphim seem to have been household gods (see Genesis 31:19; Genesis 31:34; 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:16), and regarded as the protectors of domestic happiness (if we may derive from root taraf to fare well). Very possibly they were representations of the animals worshipped by the Semitic clans of Syria in primitive times—survivals of a fetishistic period in Semitic heathenism (see Prof. Robertson Smith’s article in the Journal of Philology, 1880, and compare, on the general question of fetishism in the Old Testament, Max Müller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 60). If so, we may connect them with the ‘creeping things and beasts and idols (gillûlîm) of the house of Israel’ which Ezekiel saw ‘pourtrayed upon the wall’ in the ‘chambers of imagery’ (Ezekiel 8:10-12). Josiah indeed had attempted to put away ‘the teraphim and the gillûlîm’ (2 Kings 23:24), but in vain; the Jews took them with them into exile. Ezekiel represents the king of Babylon as seeking an oracle from his teraphim (Ezekiel 21:21); at any rate, this was the principal use of the teraphim to the Israelites—to divine by (Zechariah 10:2). The meaning of ‘ephod and teraphim’ was already forgotten in the time of the Septuagint translator of Hosea, who renders οὐδὲ ἱερατείας οὐδὲ δήλων (he identifies the teraphim with the Thummim, comp. Sept. Deuteronomy 33:8; elsewhere δῆλα or δήλωσις = the Urim).

Verse 4. - For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and teraphim. For a long series of years they were thus doomed to be without civil polity, or ecclesiastical privilege, or prophetic intimations. More particularly they were to remain without royal rule, or princely power, or priestly function, or prophetic instruction. As the prophet's wife was neither to be, strictly speaking, her husband's nor yet belong to another man; so Israel, as represented by her, was destined to be deprived of independent self-government and princely sovereignty; of Divine service, whether allowed as by sacrifice - the central part of Hebrew worship - or disallowed as by statue; of oracular responses, whether lawful as by the ephod or unlawful as by teraphim. There was thus an entire breaking up of Church and state as they had long existed; of all civil and ecclesiastical relations and privileges as they had been long enjoyed. Without a king of their own nationality to sit upon the throne, or a prince of their own race as heir apparent to the kingdom, or princes as the great officers of state; without offering by sacrifice to Jehovah, or statue by way of memorial to Baal; without means of ascertaining the will of Heaven in relation to the future by the Urim and Thummim of the high-priestly ephod, only the more than questionable means of soothsaying by the teraphim; - the children of Israel were to be left. And what attaches special importance to this remarkable passage is the undeniable tact that these predictions were uttered, not only before the dissolution of the monarchy and the cessation of sacrifices, but at a time when no human sagacity could foresee and no human power foretell the future abstention of the Hebrew race from idol-worship so long practiced, and from heathenish divination resorted to from such an early period of their history. Rashi, in his comment, has the following: "I said to her, Many days shalt thou abide for me; thou shalt not go a-whoring after other gods; for if thou shalt play the harlot, thy sons shall remain many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice in the sanctuary in Judah, and without a statue of Baal in Samaria of the kings of Israel, and without an ephod with Urim and Thummim which declared to them secrets, and without teraphim; they are images that are made with the observation of one hour composed for the purpose, and which speak of themselves and declare secrets; and so Jonathan has translated, "Neither will there be an ephod nor one to give a response.'" Similarly Aben Ezra: "Without king, nor is there any objection from the Chasmoneans, for they were not of the children of Judah... without sacrifice to Jehovah nor statue to Baal, without ephod to Jehovah and without teraphim to the worshippers of idols, which Laban called his gods." It is a matter of much consequence that some of the ablest of the Jewish expositors realize these predictions as applicable to their own case and the existing circumstances of their nation. Thus Kimchi, in commenting on this verse, says, "These are the days of the exile in which we are this day, and we have neither king nor prince of Israel, for we are in the power of the Gentiles, and in the power of their kings and princes... no sacrifice to God and no statue for worshippers of idols... and no ephod which shall declare future things by Urim and Thummim, and no teraphim for idolaters which declare the future according to the notion of those who believe in them; and thus we are this day in this exile, all the children of Israel;" he then cites the Targum of Jonathan in confirmation of his sentiments. For the ephod, comp. Exodus 28:6-14, from which we learn that it was "a short cloak, covering shoulders and breast, wrought with colors and gold, formed of two halves connected by two shoulder-pieces, on each of which was an onyx engraved with six names of tribes, and held together round the waist by a girdle of the same material;" it was part of the high priest's attire. The teraphim - from the Arabic tarifa, to live comfortably, and turfator, a comfortable life, were the household gods and domestic oracles, like the Roman penates, and deriving the name from being thought the givers and guardians of a comfortable life, חֶרֶפ. They were images in human form and stature, either graven of wood or stone (pesel), or molten out of precious metal (mas-sekhah). The first mention of them is in Genesis 31:19, and the name occurs fifteen times in the Old Testament. They appear to have been of Syrian or Chaldean origin. Aben Ezra says of them, "What appears to me most probable is that they had a human form and were made for the purpose of receiving supernal power, nor can I explain it further." The two principal species of offerings were the זבח, or bloody sacrifice, and the מנחה, or unbloody oblation. The former comprehended those entirely burnt on the altar, עֹלָח rad. עלה, to ascend, from going up entirely in the altar-smoke; and חלב, or those of which only the fat was burnt. According to the object of the offerer, they were chattah, sin offering, pointing to expiation or pardon for something done demanding punishment; or asham, trespass offering, implying satisfaction and acceptance, or something undone demanding amends; and shelamim, peace offerings. Hosea 3:4"For the sons of Israel will sit for many days without a king, and without a prince, and without slain-offering, and without monument, and without ephod and teraphim." The explanation of the figure is introduced with כּי, because it contains the ground of the symbolical action. The objects, which are to be taken away from the Israelites, form three pairs, although only the last two are formally connected together by the omission of אין before תּרפים, so as to form one pair, whilst the rest are simply arranged one after another by the repetition of אין before every one. As king and prince go together, so also do slain-offering and memorial. King and prince are the upholders of civil government; whilst slain-offering and memorial represent the nation's worship and religion. מצּבה, monument, is connected with idolatrous worship. The "monuments" were consecrated to Baal (Exodus 23:24), and the erection of them was for that reason prohibited even in the law (Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 16:22 : see at 1 Kings 14:23); but they were widely spread in the kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:26-28; 2 Kings 17:10), and they were also erected in Judah under idolatrous kings (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 23:14; 2 Chronicles 14:2; 2 Chronicles 31:1). The ephod and teraphim did indeed form part of the apparatus of worship, but they are also specially mentioned as media employed in searching into the future. The ephod, the shoulder-dress of the high priest, to which the Urim and Thummim were attached, was the medium through which Jehovah communicated His revelations to the people, and was used for the purpose of asking the will of God (1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 30:7); and for the same purpose it was imitated in an idolatrous manner (Judges 17:5; Judges 18:5). The teraphim were Penates, which were worshipped as the givers of earthly prosperity, and also as oracular deities who revealed future events (see my Bibl. Archol. 90). The prophet mentions objects connected with both the worship of Jehovah and that of idols, because they were both mixed together in Israel, and for the purpose of showing to the people that the Lord would take away both the Jehovah-worship and also the worship of idols, along with the independent civil government. With the removal of the monarchy (see at Hosea 1:4), or the dissolution of the kingdom, not only was the Jehovah-worship abolished, but an end was also put to the idolatry of the nation, since the people discovered the worthlessness of the idols from the fact that, when the judgment burst upon them, they could grant no deliverance; and notwithstanding the circumstance that, when carried into exile, they were transported into the midst of the idolaters, the distress and misery into which they were then plunged filled them with abhorrence of idolatry (see at Hosea 2:7).

This threat was fulfilled in the history of the ten tribes, when they were carried away with the Assyrian captivity, in which they continue for the most part to the present day without a monarchy, without Jehovah-worship, and without a priesthood. For it is evident that by Israel the ten tribes are intended, not only from the close connection between this prophecy and Hosea 1:1-11, where Israel is expressly distinguished from Judah (Hosea 1:7), but also from the prospect held out in Hosea 3:5, that the sons of Israel will return to David their king, which clearly points to the falling away of the ten tribes from the house of David. At the same time, as the carrying away of Judah also is presupposed in Hosea 1:7, Hosea 1:11, and therefore what is said of Israel is transferred implicite to Judah, we must not restrict the threat contained in this verse to the Israel of the ten tribes alone, but must also understand it as referring to the Babylonian and Roman exile of the Jews, just as in the time of king Asa (2 Chronicles 15:2-4). The prophet Azariah predicted this to the kingdom of Judah in a manner which furnishes an unmistakeably support to Hosea's prophecy.

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