Hosea 4:2
By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Blood toucheth bloodi.e., murder is added to murder with ghastly prevalence. References to false swearing and lying are repeated in terrible terms by Amos 2:6-8 and Micah 7:2-8; and the form of the charge suggests the Decalogue and pre-existing legislation (Exodus 20:13-15).

Hosea 4:2. By swearing — False swearing seems to be here chiefly intended, which is here, as it is also elsewhere, joined with lying and stealing; because, in the Jewish courts of justice, men that were suspected of theft were obliged to purge themselves by an oath; and they often ventured to forswear themselves, rather than discover the truth. The Hebrew word, אלה, here used, is rendered αρα by the LXX., that is, execration, imprecation, or cursing, as Bishop Horsley renders it. Profane swearing, however, or taking the name of God in vain, is doubtless included. The next word, כחשׁ, rendered lying, means falsehood in general: and especially, as some think, the denying of deposites which had been left in their hands, and which, when the owners came to claim them, they absolutely denied having received. And killing, committing murders, either privately or with open violence. They break out — Hebrew, פרצו, they burst out, or overflow, a metaphor taken from rivers breaking their banks, and bearing down every obstacle by the impetuosity of their waters. The meaning is, There is an inundation of all manner of wickedness, and all law and equity is broken through and violated. And blood toucheth blood — One murder follows upon another, and many are committed in all parts of the country, and as it were, in a constant series and succession. This was probably spoken with an especial reference to the murder of their kings by those who aspired to succeed them; as Zechariah by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, Pekah by Pekahiah and Hoshea. In such civil broils a great many of their friends and dependants are commonly slain with the kings themselves.4:1-5 Hosea reproves for immorality, as well as idolatry. There was no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land: it was full of murders, 2Ki 21:16. Therefore calamities were near, which would desolate the country. Our sins, as separate persons, as a family, as a neighbourhood, as a nation, cause the Lord to have a controversy with us; let us submit and humble ourselves before Him, that he may not go on to destroy.By swearing, and lying ... - Literally, "swearing or cursing" , "and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery!" The words in Hebrew are nouns of action. The Hebrew form is very vivid and solemn. It is far more forcible than if he had said, "They swear, lie, kill, and steal." It expresses that these sins were continual, that nothing else (so to speak) was going on; that it was all one scene of such sins, one course of them, and of nothing besides; as we say more familiarly, "It was all, swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery." It is as if the prophet, seeing with a sight above nature, a vision from God, saw, as in a picture, what was going on, all around, within and without, and summed up in this brief picture, all which he saw. This it was and nothing but this, which met his eyes, wherever he looked, whatever he heard, "swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery." The prophet had before said, that the ten tribes were utterly lacking in all truth, all love, all knowledge of God. But where there are none of these, "there," in all activity, will be the contrary vices. When the land or the soul is empty of the good, it will be full of the evil. "They break out," i. e., burst through all bounds, set to restrain them, as a river bursts its banks and overspreads all things or sweeps all before it. "And blood toucheth blood," literally, "bloods touch bloods" . The blood was poured so continuously and in such torrents, that it flowed on, until stream met stream and formed one wide inundation of blood. 2. they break out—bursting through every restraint.

blood toucheth blood—literally, "bloods." One act of bloodshed follows another without any interval between (see 2Ki 15:8-16, 25; Mic 7:2).

By swearing; either falsely or profanely, or cursing and wishing evil to one; instead of truth here is perjury; instead of compassion here is execration and evil-speaking.

Lying of all kinds; affirming of falsehoods, denying of truths, defrauding, lessening good, and representing it what it is not, greatening what is in others ill, and so flattering in some cases, and defaming in other cases, &c.

Killing: though God hath forbidden all kinds and degrees of murder, this people, through ignorance of God, do fill the land with murders, either open or secret; by cruelty withholding relief from some, by violence and falsehood cutting off others: the temper of this people was toward killing, their designs laid for it, &c.

Stealing; injuring one another, either by taking away what was another’s, or detaining what should have been his, or giving less to another than was his due: every one inclined to frauds, many addicted to secret thefts, and some openly practicing it.

Committing adultery; which was a sin grown high among them, a sin directly against the truth and mercy which should have been among them. Under this, all degrees of adultery, unchaste thoughts, words, and gestures are included.

They break out; as waters that swell above all banks, or as unruly beasts that break over all hedges, so you, O Israelites, have broken down the hedge of the law, which expressly forbids what you daily practise.

Blood toucheth blood; slaughters are multiplied: by blood the Scripture understandeth slaughter, Genesis 4:10, &c.; Psalm 58:10. Possibly the wrong done by the adulterer was (as Ammon’s) revenged with the slaughter of the adulterer; or possibly it may refer to murders committed in the very court of the temple; so the blood of the murdered touched the blood of sacrifices. It is too particular to refer it to the blood of Zechariah slain between the porch and the altar, and which (some say) ran down to the altar and touched the blood of the sacrifice. Or what if this should refer to what will be ere long, when Jeroboam is dead, when Zachariah is murdered by Shallum, 2 Kings 15:10; Menahem slew Shallum, 2 Kings 15:14, and ripped up women with child in Tiphsah, 2 Kings 15:16; when Pekah slew Pekahiah, and Hoshea slew him? These kings being thus slain, no doubt much blood was spilt; all which happened in less than forty years; for from Zechariah to Pekah’s usurpation are but fourteen years, from Pekah’s entrance on the throne to Hoshea’s conspiracy are twenty years. By swearing, and lying,.... Which some join together, and make but one sin of it, false swearing, so Jarchi and Kimchi; but that swearing itself signifies, as the Targum interprets it; for it not only takes in all cursing and imprecations, profane oaths, and taking the name of God in vain, and swearing by the creatures, but may chiefly design perjury; which, though one kind of "lying", may be distinguished from it here; the latter intending "lying" in common, which the devil is the father of, mankind are incident unto, and which is abominable to God, whether in civil or in religious things: "and killing, and stealing and committing adultery"; murders, thefts, and adulteries, were very common with them; sins against the sixth, eighth, and seventh commandments:

they break out; through all the restraints of the laws of God and man, like an unruly horse that breaks his bridle and runs away; or like wild beasts, that break down the fences and enclosures about them, and break out, and get away; or like a torrent of water, that breaks down its dams and banks, and overflows the meadows and plains; such a flood and deluge of sin abounded in the nation. Some render it, "they thieve" (o); or act the part of thieves and robbers: and the Targum,

"they beget sons of their neighbours' wives;''

and so Abarbinel interprets it of breaking through the hedge of another man's wife; but these sins are observed before:

and blood toucheth blood; which some understand of sins in general, so called, because filthy and abominable; and of the addition and multiplication of them, there being as it were heaps of them, or rather a chain of them linked together. So the Targum,

"and they add sins to sins.''

Others interpret it of impure mixtures, of incestuous lusts, or marriages contrary to the ties of blood, and laws of consanguinity, Leviticus 18:6, or rather it is to be understood of the great effusion of blood, and frequency of murders; so that there was scarce any interval between them, but a continued series of them. Some think respect is had to the frequent slaughter of their kings; Zachariah the son of Jeroboam was slain by Shallum, when he had reigned but six months; and Shallum was slain by Menahem when he had reigned but one month; and this Menahem was a murderer of many, smote many places, and ripped up the women with child; Pekahiah his son was killed by Pekah the son of Remaliah, and he again by Hoshea, 2 Kings 15:8.

(o) "latrocinantur, vel latrones agunt", Schmidt.

By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and {b} blood toucheth blood.

(b) In every place appears a liberality to most wicked vices, so that one follows right after another.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. By swearing …] Rather, (There is nothing but) swearing and lying, &c. The ‘swearing’ meant is of course false swearing (Hosea 10:4).

break out] Viz. into acts of violence; or, ‘break into (houses)’, as Job 24:16.

blood toucheth blood] The Hebrew has ‘bloods’, i.e. bloodshed. The sense is, one deed of blood follows close upon another.Verse 2. - Having given a picture of Israel negatively, he next presents the positive side. The absence of the virtues specified implies the presence of the opposite vices. In the most vivid and impressive manner the prophet, instead of enumerating prosaically the vices so prevalent at the time, expresses them more emphatically by a species of exclamation, using

(1) infinitives absolute instead of finite verbs; thus: "Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery." They may, however, be regarded as in the nominative as subjects to יֵשׁ. Instead of either supplying לְשָׁוְא, to allot, or closely connecting" allot" with the verb "to lie," which immediately follows, it is better to understand the two verbs separately, as expressing two different species of sin; that is, swearing and cursing, and lying. So the Septuagint renders them by the nouns ἀρὰ καὶ ψεῦδος, equivalent to "cursing and lying;" as also the Chaldee, "they swear falsely and lie." The commandments which the children of Israel thus violated were the third, the ninth, the sixth, the eighth, and the seventh.

(2) The construction, adopted in the LXX., Vulgate, and by Luther in his version, takes the infinitives (nounal expressions of habitual or continued actions) as nominatives to the verb paratsu; thus: "Cursing, and lying, and murder, and theft, and adultery abound (κέχυται or εκκέχυται) in the land;" "Maledictum, et mendacium, et homicidium, et furtum, et adulterium innndavernut;" and Luther translates, "Gotteslastern, Luger, Morder, Stehlen, and Ehebrechen hat uberhand genommen." The common mode

(3) of constructing the infinitives independently as above in

(1) or gerundively as in the Authorized Version, and in either ease understanding an indefinite subject to paratsu, is preferable on the whole; thus: "By swearing, etc., they break out." The allusion to the water overflowing its banks and spreading in all directions, implied in the Septuagint Version, is approved by Jerome in his Commentary: "He (the prophet) did not say est, but, to demonstrate the abundance of crimes, introduced inundaverunt (overflowed)." The common meaning of parats is to tear or break - break in upon, especially with violence, as robbers and murderers; so paritsim has the sense of murderers and robbers. It is better, therefore, to take the verb here as a present perfect connecting past and present, and to translate it" break through," or" in to," that is, as burglars into houses. So Kimchi, though figuratively: "They break through the wall which is the fence of the Law, and multiply transgressions." Similarly, De Wette has "Gewaltthat uber sie;" and Maurer likewise: "Jurare et mentiri et occidere et furari et adulterari! Violenter agunt et sanguines sanguines altingunt." The Massoretic accentuation favors (putting athnach at naopt) this construction; while the context, which speaks of bloodshed, is quite in keeping with acts of violence. In Daniel 8:26 there follows, in conclusion, the confirmation of the truth of what is said of the duration of this oppression for the people of God. Because the time of it was not seen by Daniel, but was revealed to him in words, נאמר אשׁר is here used in reference to that which was, or of which it was, said. But we need not connect this relative sentence with the genitive והבּקר הערב (the evening and the morning), although this were admissible, but can make it depend on מראה (vision), since the world-revelation of the evenings and mornings forms an integral part of the "vision." והבּקר הערב are to be taken collectively. The confirmation of the truth of this revelation does not betray the purpose to make the book falsely appear as if it were old (v. Leng., Hitzig); it much more is fitted to serve the purpose of strengthening the weakness of the faithful, and giving them consolation in the hour of trial. For in the statement of the duration of the afflictions lies not only the fact that they will come to an end, but at the same time also that this end is determined beforehand by God; cf. Daniel 12:7. In other places this confirmation serves only to meet doubts, arising from the weakness of the flesh, as to the realization of revelations of such weighty import; cf. Daniel 10:1; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6.

But Daniel must close the prophecy, because it extends into a long time. סתן is not equivalent to חתם, to seal up, but it means to stop, to conclude, to hide (cf. 2 Kings 3:19; Ezekiel 28:3), but not in the sense of keeping secret, or because it would be incomprehensible for the nearest times; for to seal or to shut up has nothing in common with incomprehensibility, but is used in the sense of keeping. "A document is sealed up in the original text, and laid up in archives (shut up), that it may remain preserved for remote times, but not that it may remain secret, while copies of it remain in public use" (Kliefoth). The meaning of the command, then, is simply this: "Preserve the revelation, not because it is not yet to be understood, also not for the purpose of keeping it secret, but that it may remain preserved for distant times" (Kliefoth). The reason assigned for the command only agrees with this interpretation. רבּים לימים (to many days) is not to be identified with לעת־קץ in Daniel 8:17, but designates only a long time; and this indefinite expression is here used because it was not intended to give exactly again the termination according to Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19, but only to say that the time of the end was not near.

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