Hosea 5:2
And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
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(2) Are profound to make slaughter.—Ewald, followed recently by Nowack, is right in interpreting the Heb. text as meaning, “The apostates have gone deep in iniquity.” In the last clause the Authorised version is again incorrect. Render, But I (i.e., Jehovah) am chastisement to them all. The deceivers and deceived shall alike perish.

Hosea 5:2. And the revolters — Hebrew, שׂשׂים, declinantes, the persons declining, turning aside, and departing out of the way appointed them to walk in, are profound to make slaughter — Or, have gone deep in slaughter, as שׁחשׂה העמיקוmay be properly rendered. The words may be intended either of the slaughter of idolatrous sacrifices, or of men. It seems most likely, however, that the latter is meant, and that these wicked priests and princes laid plots to cut off such as adhered to the worship of the true God, and opposed their idolatry. The LXX. suppose the allusion to hunting is still carried on, and render the clause, οι αγρευοντες την θηραν κατεπηξαν, the hunters have pierced the prey. Though I have been a rebuker of them all — Though I have reproved, exhorted, and instructed them by the prophets whom I raised up among them, even after they turned to idolatry. They had, in particular, two very extraordinary prophets, Elijah and Elisha, who were endued with a greater power to work miracles, whereby to prove their divine commission, and to convince the people of the certain truth and deep importance of their messages, than any one who had been raised up either among the Jews or Israelites since the days of Moses. Dr. Waterland and Calmet, however, translate this clause, I will call them all to discipline; and Newcome and Horsley, I will bring a chastisement on them all; which the latter interprets, “I will be a chastisement to them, as they have been a net and a snare to others.”

5:1-7 The piercing eye of God saw secret liking and disposition to sin, the love the house of Israel had to their sins, and the dominion their sins had over them. Pride makes men obstinate in other sins. And as Judah was treading in the same steps, they would fall with Israel. By dealing treacherously with the Lord, men only deceive themselves. Those that go to seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds only, and not with their hearts and souls, cannot expect to find him; nor shall any speed who do not seek the Lord while he may be found. See how much it is our concern to seek God early, now, while it is the accepted time, and the day of salvation.And the revolters are profound to make slaughter - Literally, "They made the slaughter deep," as Isaiah says, "they deeply corupted themselves" Isaiah 31:6; and our old writers say "He smote deep." They willed also doubtless to "make it deep," hide it so deep, that God should never know it, as the Psalmist says of the ungodly, "that the inward self and heart of the worker's of iniquity is deep," whereon it follows, that God should "suddenly wound them," as here the prophet subjoins that God rebuked them. Actual and profuse murder has been already Hosea 4:2 mentioned as one of the common sins of Israel, and it is afterward Hosea 6:9 also charged upon the priests.

Though I have been a rebuker - Literally, "a rebuke," as the Psalmist says, "I am prayer" Psalm 109:4, i. e., "I am all prayer." The Psalmist's whole being was turned into prayer. So here, all the attributes of God, His mercies, love, justice, were concentrated into one, and that one, rebuke. Rebuke was the one form, in which they were all seen. It is an aggravation of crime to do it in the place of judgment or in the presence of the judge. Israel was immersed in his sin and heeded not, although God rebuked him continually by His voice in the law, forbidding all idolatry, and was now all the while, both in word and deed, rebuking him.

2. revolters—apostates.

profound—deeply rooted [Calvin] and sunk to the lowest depths, excessive in their idolatry (Ho 9:9; Isa 31:6) [Henderson]. From the antithesis (Ho 5:3), "not hid from me," I prefer explaining, profoundly cunning in their idolatry. Jeroboam thought it a profound piece of policy to set up golden calves to represent God in Dan and Beth-el, in order to prevent Israel's heart from turning again to David's line by going up to Jerusalem to worship. So Israel's subsequent idolatry was grounded by their leaders on various pleas of state expediency (compare Isa 29:15).

to … slaughter—He does not say "to sacrifice," for their so-called sacrifices were butcheries rather than sacrifices; there was nothing sacred about them, being to idols instead of to the holy God.

though—Maurer translates, "and (in spite of their hope of safety through their slaughter of victims to idols) I will be a chastisement to them all." English Version is good sense: They have deeply revolted, notwithstanding all my prophetical warnings.

The revolters; all those that have cast off the law of God, both in matters of religion and civil government.

Are profound; dig deep to hide their counsels, or have taken deep root since their apostasy from God, and revolt from the house of David.

To make slaughter: all their religion is but a butchering of cattle, no sacrifice to God; or, which is worse, a murdering of men.

Though I, Hosea, have been a rebuker; a preacher, who ill the name and word of God have sharply inveighed against their brutish religion and their bloody slaughters.

Of them all: none that have been guilty have escaped the reproof; I have declaimed against idolatrous priests and bloody usurpers, such as were in those times, Shallum, Menahem, and Pekah.

And the revolters are profound to make slaughter,.... The revolters are the king, priests, and people, who had revolted from the true worship and ways of God unto idolatry. These formed deep laid schemes, and took crafty methods, like hawkers; who lay themselves flat upon the ground to manage their snares and nets, and observe the creatures that fall into them, and take them, and whom they artfully decoy, to which the allusion is; and that either to slay those who would not comply with their false worship; or rather to multiply the sacrifices of slain beasts, and offer them with a great show of devotion and religion, and thereby beguile, entice, and ensnare simple and unwary souls; so the Targum,

"they sacrifice to idols abundantly;''

and which, in the sight of God, was mere slaughter and butchery:

though I have been a rebuker of them all; king, priests, and prophets; those idolaters, revolters, or worshippers of Baal, as Aben Ezra calls them: this is to be interpreted either of the prophet, who had freely, faithfully, and openly reproved all orders of men for their departure from God and his worship, and for their idolatrous practices; or of the Lord himself, which comes to the same sense, who had rebuked them by his prophets, and corrected them by his judgments, but to no purpose: and therefore they could not plead ignorance, or excuse themselves upon that account.

And the revolters are profound to make {b} slaughter, though I have been a {c} rebuker of them all.

(b) Even though they seemed to be given altogether to holiness, and to sacrifices which here he calls slaughter in contempt.

(c) Though I had admonished them continually by my Prophets.

2. And the revolters are profound to make slaughter] The expressions used have a most un-Hebraic cast, and what can the ‘slaughter’ refer to? There is nothing at all in the context to suggest that the slaying of sacrifices is meant (as many after St Jerome have supposed), and it is very harsh to understand it as a fresh image for the priests’ abuse of their position. It is better to render (changing a Teth into a Tâv), The apostates are gone deep in corrupting (comp. Hosea 9:9). The ancient versions already found the passage obscure. The Septuagint (and similarly the Peshito) renders δ (sc. τὸ δίκτυον) οἱ ἀγρεύοντες τὴν θήραν κατέπηξαν. Possibly they had had a somewhat different text. Certainty is unattainable, and another plausible and easy emendation deserves at least a mention, from its suitableness to the context, And the pit of Shittim they have made deep. Having been a station of the camp under Moses and Joshua (Numbers 25:1; Joshua 3:1; Joshua 5:1), it is probable, though unproved, that Shittim contained one of the popular shrines or holy places.

though I have been a rebuker of them all] Lit., ‘and I am chastisement for them all’; comp. Psalm 109:4 A.V., ‘I give myself unto prayer’ (lit., ‘I am prayer’). This however is very harsh, and it is simpler to transpose two letters and render, and there is no correction for any of them.

Verse 2. - And the revolters are profound to make slaughter (or, profuse in murders or in sacrifices, or in dealing corruptly), though I have been a rebuker of them all (rather, but I am [bent upon] chastisement for them all). The literal rendering of the first clause is, slaughtering they have made deep, which is an idiom analogous to "they have deeply revolted;" literally, "they have made revolting deep" (Isaiah 31:6). The slaughtering, though understood by Wunsche of sacrifices, is rather meant of the destruction and carnage which the revolters caused to the people. Rashi explains it literally in this way: "I said, Every one that goes not up to the stated feasts transgresses a positive precept; but they decree that every one who goes up to the stated feasts shall be slain." This seems to imply that liers-in-wait were set probably on Mizpah and Tabor, the places mentioned in the preceding verse, to slay the Israelites that were found going up to the feasts at Jerusalem. Aben Ezra, taking this second verse as continuing the sentiment of the first, interprets as follows: "Ye have been a snare on Mizpah that ye might not allow them to go up to the feasts to the house of the Lord; and to slay (victims) in the usual way." The revolters or apostates he takes to be the worshippers of Baal. "They made deep," he adds in his exposition, "the snares, those that are mentioned, that passers-by might not see them; but I will chastise all of them for this evil which they have done, since it is not hidden from me why they have hid (made) it so deep." The slaughtering is thus understood by Aben Ezra of slaying the sacrificial victims. Similarly Kimchi interprets thus: "He says that the revolters who are the worshippers of idols, who depart from the ways of God - blessed be he! - and kern his service, like a woman who is a revolter from under her husband, have made deep their revolt, slaying and sacrificing to idols." lie would understand the slaughtering neither of victims with Kimchi and Aben Ezra; nor of literally slaying Israelites to prevent persons going up to Jerusalem, the proper seat of Jehovah's worship; but of the destructive consequences which the conduct of these apostates brought on the people. The work of chastisement God now takes in hand in good earnest. Droppings of the coming shower there had been; but now the full flood is to descend, for God presents himself to misleaders and misled alike under the sole aspect of rebuke. "I," he says, "am chastisement" (give myself to it). A like form of expression occurs in Psalm 109:4, "I am prayer;" that is, am a man of prayer, or give royal. If to prayer. Thus Kimchi explains the idiom: "The prophet says, Say not that no man shall correct and reprove them, therefore they sin; for I am the person who reproves them all, and day by day I reprove them, but they will not hearken to me. But raani moser wants the word ish, man, as (in Psalm 109:4) raani tephilah, which we have explained raani ish tephilah." Hosea 5:2This accusation is still further vindicated in Hosea 5:2., by a fuller exposure of the moral corruption of the nation. Hosea 5:2. "And excesses they have spread out deeply; but I am a chastisement to them all." The meaning of the first half of the verse, which is very difficult, and has been very differently interpreted by both ancient and modern expositors, has been brought out best by Delitzsch (Com. on Psalm 101:3), who renders it, "they understand from the very foundation how to spread out transgressions." For the word שׂטים the meaning transgressions is well established by the use of סטים in Psalm 101:3, where Hengstenberg, Hupfeld, and Delitzsch all agree that this is the proper rendering (see Ewald's philological defence of it at 146, e). In the psalm referred to, however, the expression עשׂה סטים also shows that shachătâh is the inf. piel, and sētı̄m the accusative of the object. And it follows from this that shachătâh neither means to slaughter or slaughter sacrifices, nor can be used for שׁחתה in the sense of acting injuriously, but that it is to be interpreted according to the shâchūth in 1 Kings 10:16-17, in the sense of stretching, stretching out; so that there is no necessity to take שׁחט in the sense of שׁטח, as Delitzsch does, though the use of עלוה for עולה in Hosea 10:9 may no doubt be adduced in its support. שׂטים, from שׂטה (to turn aside, Numbers 5:12, Numbers 5:19), are literally digressions or excesses, answering to the hiznâh in Hosea 5:3, the leading sin of Israel. "They have deepened to stretch out excesses," i.e., they have gone to great lengths, or are deeply sunken in excesses, - a thought quite in harmony with the context, to which the threat is appended. "I (Jehovah) am a chastisement to them all, to the rulers as well as to the people;" i.e., I will punish them all (cf. Hosea 5:12), because their idolatrous conduct is well known to me. The way is thus prepared for the two following verses.
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