Hosea 4:18
Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.
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(18, 19) The Authorised version is here very defective. Translate, Their carousal hath become degraded; with whoring they whore. Her shields love shame. A blast hath seized her in its wings, so that they are covered with shame for their offerings. “Shields” mean the princes of the people, as in Psalm 47:9. The fern. “her” in these verses refers to Ephraim, in accordance with the common Hebrew idiom. The change of person to the masculine plural is characteristic of the style of Hebrew prophecy. The storm-wind hath seized upon her with its wings—carried her away like a swarm of locusts or a baffled bird.

4:12-19 The people consulted images, and not the Divine word. This would lead to disorder and sin. Thus men prepare scourges for themselves, and vice is spread through a people. Let not Judah come near the idolatrous worship of Israel. For Israel was devoted to idols, and must now be let alone. When sinners cast off the easy yoke of Christ, they go on in sin till the Lord saith, Let them alone. Then they receive no more warnings, feel no more convictions: Satan takes full possession of them, and they ripen for destruction. It is a sad and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin. Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin. May we be kept from this awful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest, will soon hurry impenitent sinners into ruin.Their drink is sour - Literally, "turned," as we say of milk. So Isaiah says, "Thy silver is become dross; thy wine is mingled," i. e., adulterated, "with water" Isaiah 1:22; and our lord speaks of "salt which had lost its savor." The wine or the salt, when once turned or become insipid, is spoiled, irrecoverably, as we speak of "dead wine." They had lost all their life, and taste of goodness.

Her rulers with shame do love, give ye - Avarice and luxury are continually banded together according to the saying, "covetous of another's, prodigal of his own." Yet it were perhaps more correct to render, "her rulers do love, do love, shame." They love that which brings shame, which is bound up with shame, and ends in it; and so the prophet says that they "love the shame" itself. They act, as if they were in love with the shame, which, all their lives long, they are unceasingly and, as it were, by system, drawing upon themselves. They chase diligently after all the occasions of sins and sinful pleasures which end in shame; they omit nothing which brings it, do nothing which can avoid it. What else or what more could they do, if they "loved the shame" for its own sake?

18. Their drink is sour—metaphor for utter degeneracy of principle (Isa 1:22). Or, unbridled licentiousness; not mere ordinary sin, but as abandoned as drunkards who vomit and smell sour with wine potations [Calvin]. Maurer not so well translates, "When their drinking is over, they commit whoredoms," namely, in honor of Astarte (Ho 4:13, 14).

her rulers—Israel's; literally, "shields" (compare Ps 47:9).

with shame … love, Give ye—(Pr 30:15). No remedy could be effectual against their corruptions since the very rulers sold justice for gifts [Calvin]. Maurer translates, "The rulers are marvelously enamored of shame." English Version is better.

Though in their idol feasts they drink wine and strong drinks, yet this is either sour and unpleasant, or corrupt and hurtful, there is no good savour in it; therefore, O Judah, decline thou the intimate familiarity, and have nothing to do with the idolatries, of Israel.

They have committed whoredom, both spiritual and corporal, continually, without ceasing from Jeroboam’s time to this day, two hundred years, one king after another, and one idolater after another; not one but either was an idolatrous worshipper of Baal or the calves, &c.

Her rulers with shame do love, Give ye; beside all this, there is shameful oppression and bribery among them; and what good then, O Judah, canst thou look for from society and friendship with them?

Their drink is sour,.... In their stomachs, having drank so much that they cannot digest it; hence nauseous eructations, with a filthy stench, are belched out; so it is a charge of drunkenness which Ephraim or the ten tribes were addicted to, and are accused of, Isaiah 28:1 or "their drink is gone" (y); it has lost its colour, brightness, smell, and flavour; it is turned to vinegar; expressive of the general corruption and depravity of manners and religion among them; see Isaiah 1:22 or "their drink departeth", or "causeth to depart"; or "is refractory" (z); that is, it made them refractory, like a refractory belief, as before; caused them to depart from God and his worship, and led them into all sin and irreligion, particularly what follows:

they have committed whoredom continually; corporeal whoredom, which drunkenness leads to; and spiritual whoredom or idolatry, which they had committed, and continued in, ever since the days of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and increased therein:

her rulers with shame do love, give ye; or "her shields" (a); those that should have been the protectors of Israel, compared before to a heifer; and preserved them not only from their external enemies, but from all innovations in religion; and which we rightly enough render "rulers", civil and ecclesiastic, kings, princes, and priests; see Psalm 47:9, these "loved, give ye", which was a "shame" to them: the sense is, either they loved gifts and bribes, and were continually saying, "give, give", when causes were to be tried, and so perverted justice and judgment, which was very shameful; or they loved wine and strong drink, and therefore required it to be continually given them, which was very scandalous in rulers more especially, Proverbs 30:4; or they loved whoredom, both in a corporeal and spiritual sense, and desired more harlots and more idols, and added to their old ones, which was very abominable and ignominious. So the Targum,

"they turned themselves after fornication they loved, which brought shame unto them;''

and these may be considered as so many reasons why Judah should have nothing to do with Israel.

(y) "recessit potus eorum", Montanus, Drusius; "recessit vinum eorum", Schmidt. (z) "Recedere fecit inerum eorum", Tarnovius; "refractarium est merum eorum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (a) "clypei ejus", Montanus, Vatablus; "scuta ejus", Drusius, Tarnovius; "cujus clypei", Cocceius.

Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, {x} Give ye.

(x) They are so shameless in receiving bribes, that they command men to bring them to them.

18. Their drink is sour …] This translation is cannot be sustained philologically. If the text is correct, the only version at once intelligible and philologically sound is, ‘Their drunkenness has passed by.’ For the rendering of the verb comp. 1 Samuel 15:32 Hebr., and for ‘drunkenness’, lit. drink, comp. 1 Samuel 1:14; 1 Samuel 25:37 (where ‘wine’ must be synonymous with ‘the fumes of wine’). Connecting this clause with the following, we may render (as Henderson, following the Jewish commentator Abarbanel), When their carousal is over they indulge in lewdness, i.e. when tired of one sin they plunge without scruple into another. The Sept. rendering ἡρέτισε Χαναναίους is very difficult to justify. The Peshito omits the words. St Jerome explains the whole clause, Factum est, inquit Deus, convivium eorum à me alienum.

her rulers with shame do love, Give ye] Rather, her shields are enamoured of infamy (Henderson). This involves a slight change in the points, necessary in order to make sense of the word rendered ‘infamy.’ Probably, however, as Abp. Seeker was the first to infer from Sept. and Pesh., there is an erroneous repetition of three letters (comp. a similar case in Psalm 88:17), so that we may render simply, ‘her shields love infamy’ (‘shields’ for ‘rulers’, as Psalm 47:9). The Septuagint, indeed, suggests a various reading which possibly deserves the preference; it renders, ἠγάπησαν ἀτιμίαν ἐκ φρυάγματος αὐτῆς. Here, as in Amos 8:7, the Greek translator seems to have misunderstood the expression, ‘the excellency of Jacob’ (i.e. Jehovah). The Hebrew which he had before them may be thus put into English, they love infamy rather than her Excellency (or, her Pride, i.e. Jehovah, Israel’s God). Φρύαγμα is in fact the rendering of Heb. gâôn in Zechariah 11:3 and three other passages.

Verses 18, 19. - The first of these two verses gives a picture of the degeneracy of the times; the second predicts the destruction that would ensue. Their drink is sour (margin, is gone): they have committed whoredom continually. If the first clause be taken literally,

(1) it denotes a charge of drunkenness preferred against Ephraim. To this vice the people of the northern kingdom, as is well known, were addicted: the wine, from oft-repeated potations, became sour in the stomach and produced loathsome eructations.

(2) Some, connecting closely the first and second clauses, and translating as in the margin, explain the meaning to be that "when their intoxication is gone they commit whoredom." But though drunkenness and debauchery frequently go together, it is rather during the former than afterwards that the latter is indulged in.

(3) The first clause had better be understood figuratively, and the latter either literally or figuratively, or both. Thus the sense is the degeneracy of principle among the people in general, or rather among the principal men of that day. By the finest wine becoming vapid, the prophet represents the leading men of the nation, on whom so much depended and from whom so much might be expected, as becoming unprincipled, and as being addicted to immorality or idolatry, or probably both (hazneh hiznu): "whoring they have committed whoredom."

(1) Her rulers (margin, shields) with shame do love, Give ye; or rather,

(2) her shields lore, love shame. The first takes הֵביּ for הָבוּ, as imperative of יָהַב, to give, and should rather be, "Her shields love, ' Give ye - shame, as there is no preposition before the word "shame;" even thus it is awkward. Most modern expositors take הֵבוּ as a contraction of אָהֵב ו, and so a repetition of part of the full verb preceding; thus: אָחְבוּ הֵבוּ, equivalent to "loved, loved." Ewald, Delitzsch, and Pusey understand it so; the latter says this "is probably one of the earliest forms of the intensive verb, repeating a part of the verb itself with its inflection." And Keil calls it "a construction resembling the pealal form." Among the sebirin, or conjectural readings, we find both words united into one; thus: אֲהַבהֵבוּ, equivalent to "mightily love." The shields are the princes, or natural protectors of the state, as in Psalm 47:9, "The princes of the people are gathered together.., for the shields of the earth be. long unto God." The shame they loved was the sin which is a shame to either princes or people, causes shame, and ends in shame. Isaiah expounds the thought (in Isaiah 1:22), a comparison of which confirms the above exposition.

(1) The wind hath bound her up in her wings; or,

(2) she hath bound up the wind with her in her skirts.

In the one case the wind is the strong storm-wind of Divine wrath that will seize on Ephraim, wrap her up with its wings, and carry her away. In the other, Ephraim wraps up the wind, that is, disappointment, the result of her sin, in the fold of her skirt. The

(1) translation of the first clause of ver. 19 is supported by Rashi: "The storm takes her in its wings, as that bird which the wind does not let rest until it makes him go far away; so the enemies will come upon them and carry them into exile." Translation

(2) is favored by Aben Ezra and Kimchi; the former says, "As the man who binds the wind in the folds of his robe without finding anything therein." And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. Frustrated in her hopes, and disappointed by the idols, from which she hoped so much and got so little, she is ashamed of the sacrifices she offered them; not of the altars (LXX.), for the preposition rain is indispensable.

Hosea 4:18"Their drinking has degenerated; whoring they have committed whoredom; their shields have loved, loved shame. Hosea 4:19. The wind has wrapt it up in its wings, so that they are put to shame because of their sacrifices." סר from סוּר, to fall off, degenerate, as in Jeremiah 2:21. סבא is probably strong, intoxicating wine (cf. Isaiah 1:22; Nahum 1:10); here it signifies the effect of this wine, viz., intoxication. Others take sâr in the usual sense of departing, after 1 Samuel 1:14, and understand the sentence conditionally: "when their intoxication is gone, they commit whoredom." But Hitzig has very properly object to this, that it is intoxication which leads to licentiousness, and not temperance. Moreover, the strengthening of hisnū by the inf. abs. is not in harmony with this explanation. The hiphil hiznâh is used in an emphatic sense, as in Hosea 4:10. The meaning of the last half of the verse is also a disputed point, more especially on account of the word הבוּ, which only occurs here, and which can only be the imperative of יהב (הבוּ for הבוּ), or a contraction of אהבוּ. All other explanations are arbitrary. But we are precluded from taking the word as an imperative by קלון, which altogether confuses the sense, if we adopt the rendering "their shields love 'Give ye' - shame." We therefore prefer taking הבוּ as a contraction of אהבוּ, and אהבוּ הבוּ as a construction resembling the pealal form, in which the latter part of the fully formed verb is repeated, with the verbal person as an independent form (Ewald, 120), viz., "their shields loved, loved shame," which yields a perfectly suitable thought. The princes are figuratively represented as shields, as in Psalm 47:10, as the supporters and protectors of the state. They love shame, inasmuch as they love the sin which brings shame. This shame will inevitably burst upon the kingdom. The tempest has already seized upon the people, or wrapt them up with its wings (cf. Psalm 18:11; Psalm 104:3), and will carry them away (Isaiah 57:13). צרר, literally to bind together, hence to lay hold of, wrap up. Rūăch, the wind, or tempest, is a figurative term denoting destruction, like רוּח קדים in Hosea 13:15 and Ezekiel 5:3-4. אותהּ refers to Ephraim represented as a woman, like the suffix attached to מגנּיה in Hosea 4:18. יבשׁוּ מזּבחותם, to be put to shame on account of their sacrifices, i.e., to be deceived in their confidence in their idols (bōsh with min as in Hosea 10:6; Jeremiah 2:36; Jeremiah 12:13, etc.), or to discover that the sacrifices which they offered to Jehovah, whilst their heart was attached to the idols, did not save from ruin. The plural formation זבחות for זבחים only occurs here, but it has many analogies in its favour, and does not warrant our altering the reading into מזבּחותם, after the Sept. ἐκ τῶν θυσιατηρίων, as Hitzig proposes; whilst the inadmissibility of this proposal is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact that there is nothing to justify the omission of the indispensable מן, and the cases which Hitzig cites as instances in which min is omitted (viz., Zechariah 14:10; Psalm 68:14, and Deuteronomy 23:11) are based upon a false interpretation.
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