Hosea 6:8
Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
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(8) Polluted . . .—More accurately, betrodden (or foot-tracked) with blood. We infer from Judges 10:17 that there was a town called Gilead east of the Jordan distinct altogether from Mizpah (identified by many with the city of refuge Ramoth-Gilead), and this is confirmed by notices in Eusebius and Cyril. Murder in a “city of refuge” adds to the horror. On the murderous propensities of the Gileadites see 2Kings 15:25.

Hosea 6:8-9. Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, &c. — Archbishop Newcome translates these two verses very literally thus: Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity: she is marked with footsteps of blood. And as bands wait for a man, a company of priests murder in the way to Shechem. “If Gilead be put here for Ramoth-gilead, (and I know not,” says Bishop Horsley, “what other city can be meant,) it was a city of refuge, Deuteronomy 4:43; and such also was Shechem, or Sichem, Joshua 20:7; both, therefore, inhabited by priests and Levites. By describing the first of these two cities as polluted with blood, and the high-road to the other as beset with knots of priests, like robbers, intent on blood, and murdering on the whole length of the way, up to the very walls of the town, the prophet means to represent the priests as seducers of the people to that idolatry which proved the ruin of the nation. Insomuch that, like a man who should be murdered in a place of religious retreat, or upon his way to it, the people, under the influence of such guides, met their destruction in the quarter where, by God’s appointment, they were to seek their safety.” The word שׁכמה, rendered by consent, in Hosea 6:9, signifies toward Shechem. For they commit lewdness — Hebrew, זמה עשׁו, they work enormity, or that which is wicked and abominable.

6:4-11 Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man. As Adam broke the covenant of God in paradise, so Israel had broken his national covenant, notwithstanding all the favours they received. Judah also was ripe for Divine judgments. May the Lord put his fear into our hearts, and set up his kingdom within us, and never leave us to ourselves, nor suffer us to be overcome by temptation.Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity - If we regard "Gilead," (as it elsewhere is,) as the country beyond Jordan, where the two tribes and a half dwelt, this will mean that the whole land was banded in one, as one city of evil-doers. It had an unity, but of evil. As the whole world has been pictured as divided between "the city of God" and the city of the devil, consisting respectively of the children of God and the children of the devil; so the whole of Gilead may be represented as one city, whose inhabitants had one occupation in common, to work evil. Some think that there was a city so called, although not mentioned elsewhere in Holy Scripture, near that Mount Gilead, dear to the memory of Israel, because God there protected their forefather Jacob. Some think that it was Ramoth in Gilead , which God appointed as "a city of refuge," and which, consequently, became a city of Levites and priests Joshua 21:38.

Here, where God had preserved the life of their forefather, and, in him, had preserved them; here, where He had commanded the innocent shedder of blood to be saved; here, where he had appointed those to dwell, whom He had hallowed to Himself, all was turned to the exact contrary. It, which God had hallowed, was become "a city of workers of iniquity," i. e., of people, whose habits and custom was to work iniquity. It, where God had appointed life to be preserved, was "polluted" or "tracked with blood." Everywhere it was marked and stained with the bloody footsteps of those, who (as David said) "put" innocent "blood in their shoes which were on their feet" 1 Kings 2:5, staining their shoes with blood which they shed, so that, wherever they went, they left marks and signs of it." "Tracked with blood" it was, through the sins of its inhabitants; "tracked with blood" it was again, when it first was taken captive 2 Kings 15:29, and "it, which had swum with the innocent blood of others, swam with the guilty blood of its own people." It is a special sin, and especially avenged of God, when what God had hallowed, is made the scene of sin.

8. Gilead … city—probably Ramoth-gilead, metropolis of the hilly region beyond Jordan, south of the Jabbok, known as "Gilead" (1Ki 4:13; compare Ge 31:21-25).

work iniquity—(Ho 12:11).

polluted with blood—"marked with blood-traces" [Maurer]. Referring to Gilead's complicity in the regicidal conspiracy of Pekah against Pekahiah (2Ki 15:25). See on [1121]Ho 6:1. Many homicides were there, for there were beyond Jordan more cities of refuge, in proportion to the extent of territory, than on this side of Jordan (Nu 35:14; De 4:41-43; Jos 20:8). Ramoth-gilead was one.

Gilead; one of the six cities of refuge, situate in the country of that name, on a high hill, whence it is called Ramoth-gilead: now as a city of refuge it was a city pertaining to the priests and Levites, as all the cities of refuge did, in what tribe soever they were, Numbers 35:6.

Is a city of them that work iniquity; a sacerdotal city, where priests did, and religion, i.e. knowledge of God and mercy to man, should, dwell; but Gilead is a city full of most notorious transgressors, the inhabitants, though Levites and priests, are a generation of men that work all manner of wickedness.

And is polluted with blood; murders committed there have polluted it, or murderers protected there against the law of God, who provided these cities a relief for such as unawares, without malice, by chance slew his neighbour, not for wilful murderers; yet these for money or interest got in and were secured there; and probably many were kept out or delivered up to the avenger of blood contrary to the law: thus Gilead by name, and all the rest of the cities of refuge intended too, were polluted with blood.

Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity,.... The chief city in the land of Gilead, which lay beyond Jordan, inhabited by Gad and Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh; and so belonged to the ten tribes, whose sins are here particularly observed. It had its name from the country, or the country from that, or both from the mountain of the same name. It is thought to be Ramothgilead, a city of refuge, and put for all the cities of refuge in those parts, which were inhabited by priests and Levites; and who ought to have had knowledge of the laws, and instructed the people in them, and observed them themselves, and set a good example to others; but, instead of this, the whole course of their lives, was vicious; they made a trade of sinning, did nothing else but work iniquity; and this was general among them, the city or cities of them consisted of none else; and all manner of iniquity was committed by them, particularly idolatry; for so the words may be rendered, "a city of them that serve an idol" (a); not only at Dan and Bethel, but in the cities of the priests, idols were set up and worshipped; this shows the state to be very corrupt:

and is polluted with blood; with the blood of murderers harboured there, who ought not to have been admitted; or with the blood of such who were delivered up to the avenger of blood, that ought to have been sheltered, and both for the sake of money; or with the blood of children, sacrificed to Mo: the word used has the signification of supplanting, lying in wait, and so is understood of a private, secret, shedding of blood, in a deceitful and insidious way: hence some render it, "cunning for blood" (b); to which the Targum seems to agree, calling it a city

"of them that secretly or deceitfully shed innocent blood.''

It has also the signification of the heel of a man's foot, and is by some rendered, "trodden by blood" (c); that is, by bloody men: or "footed" or "heeled by blood" (d); that is, such an abundance of it was shed, that a man could not set his foot or his heel any where but in blood.

(a) "civitas operantium idolum", V. L. (b) "callida et astuta sanguine", so some in Vatablus; "callida sanguine", Castslio. (c) "Calcata a sanguine", Piscator. (d) "Vestigiata a sanguine", Capellus, Tarnovius; "vestigis sanguinolentis", Juuius & Tremellius.

{h} Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.

(h) Which was the place where the priests dwelt, and which should have been best instructed in my word.

8. Gilead] Here alone, and probably in Jdg 10:17, mentioned as the name of a town. We still find the name of Gilead (in its Arabic form Jil‘âd) lingering at various parts of the ancient Gilead, but we cannot venture on a combination with the prophet’s Gilead. Ramoth-Gilead would seem, from its importance, a not unlikely place to be meant.

polluted with blood] Rather, tracked with bloody foot-prints; comp. the striking expression used of Joab in 1 Kings 2:5. The Gileadites, half-civilized mountaineers, seem to have been distinguished for their ferocity (comp. 2 Kings 15:25). From the next verse we may perhaps infer that at Gilead too the priests were foremost in lawlessness.

8, 9. Two spots of specially ill fame are singled out—Gilead and the road to Shechem.

Verses 8, 9. - In these two verses the prophet adduces proof of that faithlessness with which he had just charged Israel. Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. The latter clause is more literally rendered, foot-printed or foot-tracked from blood. Two things require consideration here - the place and its pollution. Gilead is sometimes a mountain range, and sometimes the mountainous region east of the Jordan; it has Bashan on the north, the Arabian plateau on the east, and Moab on the south. It stretches from the south end of the Sea of Galilee to the north end of the Dead Sea - some sixty miles in length by twenty in breadth. The part of Gilead between the Hieromax and the Jabbok is now called Jebel Ajlun; while the section south of the Jabbok forms the province of Belka. In the New Testament it is spoken of under the name of Pertea, or beyond Jordan. Sometimes the whole trans-Jordanic territory belonging to Israel is called Gilead. In the passage before us it is the name of a city, though some take it to mean the whole land of Gilead. The men of Gilead and the Gileadites in general seem to have been fierce, wild mountaineers; and yet they are represented as still worse in this Scripture. They are nut only barbarous and wicked, but murderous and infamous for homicidal atrocities. As evidence in some sort of the justness of this dark picture, the murder of Pekahiah by Pekah with "fifty men of the Gileadites." as recorded in 2 Kings 15:25, may be specified. The word עְקַוּבָּה is taken

(1) by some as the feminine of the adjective עָקוב, crafty, cunning, wily; thus Rashi explains it: "Gilead is full of people who lie in wait for murder;" and Kimchi likewise has, "Gilead is a city of evil-doers, who are crafty to murder men." But

(2) it is rather the Qal Pual participle feminine from עָקַב, to seize the heel of any one, hold, tread in the footsteps, follow, go after; which is the right meaning, viz. "tracked," as given above. We retain the Authorized Version of the first clause of ver. 9, slightly modified, viz.

(1) As troops of robbers wait for a man, so is the company of priests; חַכֵּי equivalent to חַכֵּה, wait, being an anomalous form of the infinitive Piel for חַכּוה; thus Kimchi says, "The yod stands in the place of he, and the form is the infinitive." Both Aben Ezra and Kimchi translate the first clause as above; the former beg, "The sense is, As robber-troops wait for a man who is to pass along the way, that they may plunder him, so is (or so does) the company of the priests;" the latter explains, "As troops of robbers wait for a man passing along the way to plunder him, so is the company of priests, he means to say, as the priests of the high places who combine to plunder those who pass along the way. There is

(2) another translation, which, connecting ish taken collectively with gedhudhim, and making it the subjective genitive of the infinitive כ, is, "Like the lurking of the men of the gang, s is the company of the priests." This first clause is

(3) quite misread and not rendered by the LXX.: Καὶ ἡ ἰσχύς σου ἀνδρὸς πειρατοῦ ἔκρυψαν ἱερεῖς ὁδόν, "And thy strength is that of a robber: the priests have hid the way." Instead of כְּחַכֵּי they read כְּחַך, and for חבד they read חבו or חבאו. In the second clause we prefer decidedly the translation which is intimated in the margin of the Authorized Version; thus: Along the way they murder even go Shechem. The word derekh is an adverbial accusative of place; and Sichem, the present Nablus, was situated on Mount Ephraim between Ebal and Gerizim. It was a Levitical city and a city of refuge; it thus lay on the west as Gilead on the east of Jordan, and both cities, thus perhaps nearly parallel in place on opposite sides of the river, were equal in crime and infamy. The prophet does not tell us who the wayfarers were, or whither they were bound; he only intimates that they fell victims to certain miscreant priests located in these quarters. As this city lay on the main route from the north to Jerusalem, pilgrims to the annual feasts passed along this way. The priests of the calf-win, ship, being in general persons taken from the dregs of the people, waylaid those pilgrims, whether for plunder, or through hostility to the purer worship still maintained in the holy city, or from sheer cruelty. Or it is even possible that the wayfarers referred to may have been persons going from Samaria, the northern capital, to the idolatrous worship at Bethel. In either case, on the way to their destination or on the return journey they were set upon and robbed, or, in the event of resistance, they were murdered. For they commit lewdness; rather, yea, they have committed enormity. The zimmah, or infamy, here mentioned is referred

(1) by some to unnatural wickedness (comp. Leviticus 18:17; Leviticus 19:29); it is rather

(2) a designation of wickedness and abominations in general; thus Kimchi explains it of "evil and abominable work of every kind." He further remarks: "The prophet says, Net this alone have they done; but all their works are zimmah. And perhaps zimmah may be explained of thought, as if he said, As they have thought in their heart so they have acted." On this verse generally it may be briefly remarked

(1) that "by consent" of the Authorized Version would require אחד to be joined with "shoulder;"

(2) the connection of the first and second clauses in the Authorized Version is much the same with that of Ewald: "And as troops lie in wait the company of priests murder along the way to Sichem."

(3) His explanation is that the priests murdered those that fled by the way before they reached the refuge, perhaps at the command of some leading persons ill disposed towards them. Hosea 6:8The prophet cites a few examples in proof of this faithlessness in the two following verses. Hosea 6:8. "Gilead is a city of evil-doers, trodden with blood. Hosea 6:9. And like the lurking of the men of the gangs is the covenant of the priests; along the way they murder even to Sichem: yea, they have committed infamy." Gilead is not a city, for no such city is mentioned in the Old Testament, and its existence cannot be proved from Judges 12:7 and Judges 10:17, any more than from Genesis 31:48-49,

(Note: The statement of the Onomast. (s.v. Γαλαάδ), that there is also a city called Galaad, situated in the mountain which Galaad the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, took for the Amorite, and that of Jerome, "from which mountain the city built in it derived its name, viz., that which was taken," etc., furnish no proof of the existence of a city called Gilead in the time of the Israelites; since Eusebius and Jerome have merely inferred the existence of such a city from statements in the Old Testament, more especially from the passage quoted by them just before, viz., Jeremiah 22:6, Galaad tu mihi initium Libani, taken in connection with Numbers 32:39 -43, as the words "which Gilead took" clearly prove. And with regard to the ruined cities Jelaad and Jelaud, which are situated, according to Burckhardt (pp. 599, 600), upon the mountain called Jebel Jelaad or Jelaud, it is not known that they date from antiquity at all. Burckhardt gives no description of them, and does not even appear to have visited the ruins.)

but it is the name of a district, as it is everywhere else; and here in all probability it stands, as it very frequently does, for the whole of the land of Israel to the east of the Jordan. Hosea calls Gilead a city of evil-doers, as being a rendezvous for wicked men, to express the thought that the whole land was as full of evil-doers as a city is of men. עקבּה: a denom. of עקב, a footstep, signifying marked with traces, full of traces of blood, which are certainly not to be understood as referring to idolatrous sacrifices, as Schmieder imagines, but which point to murder and bloodshed. It is quite as arbitrary, however, on the part of Hitzig to connect it with the murder of Zechariah, or a massacre associated with it, as it is on the part of Jerome and others to refer it to the deeds of blood by which Jehu secured the throne. The bloody deeds of Jehu took place in Jezreel and Samaria (2 Kings 9-10), and it was only by a false interpretation of the epithet applied to Shallum, viz., Ben-yâbhēsh, as signifying citizens of Jabesh, that Hitzig was able to trace a connection between it and Gilead.

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