Hosea 4:10
For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.
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4:6-11 Both priests and people rejected knowledge; God will justly reject them. They forgot the law of God, neither desired nor endeavoured to retain it in mind, and to transmit the remembrance to their posterity; therefore God will justly forget them and their children. If we dishonour God with that which is our honour, it will, sooner or later, be turned into shame to us. Instead of warning the people against sin, from the consideration of the sacrifices, which showed what an offence sin was to God, since it needed an atonement, the priests encouraged the people to sin, since atonement might be made at so small an expense. It is very wicked to be pleased with the sins of others, because they may turn to our advantage. What is unlawfully gained, cannot be comfortably used. The people and the priests hardened one another in sin; therefore justly shall they share in the punishment. Sharers in sin must expect to share in ruin. Any lust harboured in the heart, in time will eat out all its strength and vigour. That is the reason why many professors grow so heavy, so dull, so dead in the way of religion. They have a liking for some secret lust, which takes away their hearts.For they shall eat, and not have enough - This is almost a proverbial saying of Holy Scripture, and, as such, has manifold applications. In the way of nature, it comes true in those, who, under God's affictive Hand in famine or siege, "eat" what they have, but have "not enough," and perish with hunger. It comes true in those, who, through bodily disease, are not nourished by their food. Yet not less true is it of those who, through their own insatiate desires, are never satisfied, but crave the more greedily, the more they have. Their sin of covetousness becomes their torment.

They shall commit whoredom and not increase - Literally, "they have committed whoredom." The time spoken of is perhaps changed, because God would not speak of their future sin, as certain. There is naturally too a long interval between this sin and its possible fruit, which may be marked by this change of time. The sin was past, the effect was to be seen hereafter. They used all means, lawful and unlawful, to increase their offspring, but they failed, even because they used forbidden means. God's curse rested upon those means. Single marriage, according to God's law, "they twain shall be one flesh," yields in a nation larger increase than polygamy. God turns illicit sexual intercourse to decay. His curse is upon it.

Because they have left off to take heed to the Lord - Literally, "to watch, observe, the Lord." The eye of the soul should be upon God, watching and waiting to know all indications of His will, all guidings of His Eye. So the Psalmist says, "As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hands of her mistress, even so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until He have mercy upon us" Psalm 123:2. The Angels of God, great and glorious as they are, "do alway behold the Face of the Father" Matthew 18:10, at once filled with His love, and wrapped in contemplation, and reading therein His will, to do it. The lawless and hopeless ways of Israel sprang from their neglecting to watch and observe God. For as soon as man ceases to watch God, he falls, of himself, into sin. The eye which is not fixed on God, is soon astray amid the vanities and pomps and lusts of the world. So it follows;

10. eat, and not have enough—just retribution on those who "eat up (greedily) the sin of My people" (Ho 4:8; Mic 6:14; Hag 1:6).

whoredom, and … not increase—literally, "break forth"; used of giving birth to children (Ge 28:14, Margin; compare Ge 38:29). Not only their wives, but their concubines, shall be barren. To be childless was considered a great calamity among the Jews.

For, or And, Heb. This is another part of their punishment, and it is better rendered as a particular part of their curse, than as a cause of that which was spoken in the former verse.

They shall eat, and not have enough: in Hosea 4:8 they are said to eat up the sin of that people, i.e. by sinful courses they project for their livelihood; now comes the curse God will punish this sin with. He will withhold his blessing, they shall not be nourished, not satisfied, with what they eat. See Haggai 1:6.

They shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase; though they multiply wives to relieve them under the curse of barrenness and want of children, or by fornication seek to multiply their offspring, though they do this which they ought not to do, they shall not hereby increase the number of their children; either the women shall not bear, or the children not live.

Because they have left off to take heed to the Lord; they have apostatized and turned from the true God, from his worship and law.

For they shall eat, and not have enough,.... Namely, the priests; for of them the words are continued, who ate of the sacrifices of the people, and of feasts made in honour of idols; and yet, either what they ate did not satisfy or nourish them, or else their appetites were still greedy after more of the same kind: or this may respect a famine, either at the siege of Samaria, or in their captivity; when they who had lived so voluptuously should have so little to eat, that it should not satisfy them: or though, as others, they eat to the honour of their idols, expecting to be blessed with plenty by them, they shall not have it:

they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase; that is, their offspring; they shall not beget children, so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi; or the children they beget shall quickly die; yea, though they commit whoredom in the idol's temple with that view, where the women prostituted themselves for that purpose:

because they have left off to take heed to the Lord; to his word, and worship, and ordinances, which they formerly had some regard unto, but now had relinquished: or, "the Lord they have forsaken", or "left off to observe" (y); his ways, his word, and worship. R. Saadiah connects this with the following words, they have forsaken the Lord to observe fornication and wine; but wrongly.

(y) "Jehovam desierunt observare", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Rivetus, Liveleus; "ad observandum", Schmidt; "reliquerunt observare", Cocceius; "deseruerunt observare", so some in Vatablus.

For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall {l} commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.

(l) Showing that their wickedness will be punished in all ways: for even though they think by the multitude of wives to have many children, yet they will be deceived of their hope.

10. they shall eat …] Greed is punished retributively by insufficiency of food (Micah 6:14; Leviticus 26:26); whoredom by childlessness.

Verse 10. - For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase. This part of the verso states the punishment to be inflicted and the reward to be received; it is thus an expansion of the closing clause of the preceding verse, with an obvious allusion to the sin specified in the eighth verse. To eat and not be satisfied may occur in time of famine, or be the effect of disease or the consequence of insatiable craving. "Since," says Kimchi, "they eat in an unlawful manner, their food shall not be to them a blessing." This was one of the punishments threatened for violation of the Law, as we read in Leviticus 26:26, "When I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied." Further, the multiplication of wives or concubines would not increase their posterity; Solomon long previously had been a notable exemplification of this. "So in their cohabitation with their women, since it is in a whorish manner, they shall not increase, for they shall not have children by them; or, if they have, they shall die from the birth." The Hiph. hiznu has rather the intensive sense of Qal than that of causing or encouraging whoredom. Because they have left off to take heed to the Lord. The verbal lishmor either

(1) has Jehovah for its object, as in the Authorized Version; or

(2) durko or darkair may be supplied, as is done by Kimchi and Aben Ezra. The former has, "To observe his ways, for they have no delight in him and in his ways; to observe his ways they have left off;" the latter has, "They have forsaken Jehovah, to observe his way or his Laws." But

(3) Kimchi informs us that "Saadiah Gaon of blessed memory has connected the word with the verse that comes after it; they have forsaken the Lord to observe whoredom and wine and new wine." Hosea 4:10"They will eat, and not be satisfied; they commit whoredom, and do not increase: for they have left off taking heed to Jehovah." The first clause, which still refers to the priests on account of the evident retrospect in ואכלוּ to יאכלוּ in Hosea 4:8, is taken from the threat in Leviticus 26:16. The following word hiznū, to practise whoredom (with the meaning of the kal intensified as in Leviticus 26:18, not to seduce to whoredom), refers to the whole nation, and is to be taken in its literal sense, as the antithesis לא יפרצוּ requires. Pârats, to spread out, to increase in number, as in Exodus 1:12 and Genesis 28:14. In the last clause Lשׁמר belongs to Jehovah: they have given up keeping Jehovah, i.e., giving heed to Him (cf. Zechariah 11:11). This applies to the priests as well as to the people. Therefore God withdraws His blessing from both, so that those who eat are not satisfied, and those who commit whoredom do not increase.
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