Hosea 7:13
Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
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(13) Fled.—The word thus translated is used of the wandering flight of birds, and arises naturally out of the images employed in Hosea 7:11-12.

(13) Though I have redeemed.—Should be, Though I would fain redeem them: an impressive picture of all the insults to longsuffering Divine love.

Hosea 7:13-14. Wo unto them, &c. — These are words both of menace and lamentation. The prophet at once foretels and bewails their miseries. For they have fled from me — As if it had not been enough that they at first left my government, temple, and worship, they have gone still further from me by their sinful and idolatrous courses. Destruction unto them — The ruin of their country and commonwealth will be the consequence of their apostacy. Because they have transgressed against me — Rebelliously cast off my authority and laws. Though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies, &c. — Though I delivered them from the Egyptians, and afforded them many other signal deliverances, yet they have not given me true glory, but have likened me to golden calves, and other images. Idolatry is frequently called in Scripture a lie, because it gives false representations of things; attributing power, &c., to things which, in their own nature, have no such power, or representing the Deity by forms which he is in no way like; therefore it was, properly speaking, changing the truth and glory of God into a lie, or, speaking lies against him. They also belied his corrections, as if not deserved; they belied the good which God had done them, as if it were too little, or not done by him, but by their idols. And they have not cried unto me, when they howled, &c. — When they bemoaned their calamities, as sick men bewail themselves upon their beds of sickness; yet they did not call upon me heartily and sincerely. They assemble, &c., for corn and wine, and they rebel, &c. — When they assemble themselves to deprecate a famine, they still retain the same disobedient temper toward me.

7:8-16 Israel was as a cake not turned, half burnt and half dough, none of it fit for use; a mixture of idolatry and of the worship of Jehovah. There were tokens of approaching ruin, as grey hairs are of old age, but they noticed them not. The pride which leads to break the law of God leads to self-flattery. The mercy and grace of God are the only refuge to which obstinate sinners never think of fleeing. Though they may howl forth their terrors in the form of prayers, they seldom cry to God with their hearts. Even their prayers for earthly mercies only seek fuel for their lusts. Their turning from one sect, sentiment, form, or vice, to another, still leaves them far short of Christ and holiness. Such are we by nature. And such shall we prove if left to ourselves. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.Woe unto them, for they have fled from Me - The threatening rises in severity, as did the measure of their sin. Whereas "Salvation belonged to God" Psalm 3:8 alone, and they only "abide under His shadow" Psalm 91:1-2, who make Him their "refuge, woe" must needs come on them, who leave Him. "They forsake their own mercy" Jonah 2:8. "Woe" they draw upon themselves, who forget God; how much more then they, who willfully and with a high hand transgress against Him! "Destruction unto them, for they have transgressed against Me." To be separated from God is the source of all evils; it is the "pain of loss" of God's presence, in hell; but "destruction" is more than this; it is everlasting death.

And I have redeemed them and they have spoken lies against Me - The "I" and "they" are both emphatic in Hebrew; "I redeemed;" "they spoke lies." Such is man's requital of His God. Oft as He redeemed, so often did they traduce Him. Such was the history of the passage through the wilderness; such, of the period under the Judges; such had it been recently, when God delivered Israel by the hand of Jereboam II 2 Kings 14:25-27. The word, "I have redeemed," denotes "habitual oft-renewed deliverance," "that He was their constant Redeemer, from whom they had found help, did still find it, and might yet look to find it, if they did not, by their ill behavior, stop the course of His favor toward them" . God's mercy overflowed their ingratitude. "They" had Spoken lies against Him, often as He had delivered them; He was still their abiding Redeemer. "I do redeem them."

They have spoken lies against Me - People "speak lies" against God, in their hearts, their words, their deeds; whenever they harbor thoughts, speak words, or act, so as to deny that God is what He is, or as to imply that He is not what He has declared Himself to be. Whoever seeks anything out of God or against His will; whoever seeks from man, or from idols, or from fortune, or from his own powers, what God alone bestows; whoever acts as if God was not a good God, ready to receive the penitent, or a just God who will avenge the holiness of His laws and "not clear the guilty," does in fact, "speak lies against God." People, day by day, "speak lies against God," against His Wisdom, His providence, His justice, His Goodness, His Omniscience, when they are thinking of nothing less. Jeroboam spake lies against God, when he said, "these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt," whereas God had so often enforced upon them Exodus 20:2; Leviticus 19:36; Leviticus 23:43; Numbers 15:41; Deuteronomy 5:6, Deuteronomy 5:15, "the Lord redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:8; add. Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 15:15; Deuteronomy 24:18); the Lord thy God brought thee out thence with a mighty hand and stretched out arm."

Israel "spake lies against God," when he said, "these are my rewards which my lovers have given me" Hosea 2:12, or when, "they returned not to Him" but "called on Egypt," as though God would not help them, who said that He would, or as though Egypt could help them, of whom God said that it should not. Sometimes, they "spoke" out "lies" boldly, telling God's true prophets that He had not sent them, or forbidding them to speak in His Name; sometimes covertly, as when they turned to God, not sincerely but feignedly; but always perversely. And when God the Son came on earth to "redeem them," then still more, they spoke lies against Him, all His life long, saying, "He deceiveth the people," and all their other blasphemies, and , "when He, forgave them the sin of His death, saying, "Father, forgave them for they know not what they do," they persevered in "speaking lies" against Him, and bribed the soldiers to speak lies against Him," and themselves do so to this day.

13. fled—as birds from their nest (Pr 27:8; Isa 16:2).

me—who both could and would have healed them (Ho 7:1), had they applied to Me.

redeemed them—from Egypt and their other enemies (Mic 6:4).

lies—(Ps 78:36; Jer 3:10). Pretending to be My worshippers, when they all the while worshipped idols (Ho 7:14; Ho 12:1); also defrauding Me of the glory of their deliverance, and ascribing it and their other blessings to idols [Calvin].

Woe unto them! it is the voice both of menace and lamentation, the prophet doth at once foretell and bewail their miseries.

They have fled from me; as if it were not enough that they did at first leave my government, temple, and worship, they have gone further from me, they have hastened herein, they flew from me as birds on wing: their sin is apostacy.

Destruction unto them! this explains the woe already mentioned, such woe it will be as ends in destruction.

Because they have transgressed against me; rebelliously cast off my law and government, much in state, more in church matters, oppressors in one, idolaters in the other, and incorrigible in both.

Though I have redeemed them; out of Egypt; but that is long since, and the prophet speaks of deliverance nearer to the times he lived in: God redeemed them partly by Joash, 2 Kings 18, but more fully by Jeroboam the Second, 2 Kings 14, and would have completed this deliverance, but they by sins hinder it.

Yet they have spoken lies against me; practically they belie me, fleeing to idols, worshipping them, praying to them, as if I were not able or willing to help them; and ascribing praise of the good they enjoy to their idols, Hosea 2:5-7: they belied his corrections, as if not deserved, or severer than need; they belied the good done, as if too little, or not done by God, but by their idol.

Woe unto them, for they have fled from me,.... From the Lord, from his worship, and the place of it; from obedience to him, and the service of him; as birds fly from their nests, and leave their young, and wander about; so they had deserted the temple at Jerusalem, and forsaken the service of the sanctuary, and set up calves at Dan and Bethel, and worshipped them; and, instead of fleeing to God for help in time of distress, fled further off still, even out of their own land to Egypt or Assyria: the consequence of which was, nothing but ruin; and so lamentation and woes:

destruction unto them, because they have transgressed against me; against the laws which God gave them; setting up idols, and worshipping them, and so broke the first table of the law; committing murder, adultery, thefts and robberies, with which they are charged the preceding part of this chapter, and so transgressed the second table of the law; and by all brought destruction upon themselves, which was near at hand, and would certainly come, as here threatened; though they promised themselves peace, and expected assistance from neighbouring nations, but in vain, having made the Lord their enemy, by breaking his laws:

though I have redeemed them; out of Egypt formerly, and out of the hands of the Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, and others, in the times of the judges; and more lately in the times of Joash and Jeroboam the second, who recovered many cities out of the hands of the Syrians. Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret this of the good disposition of God towards them, having it in his heart to redeem them now from their present afflictions and distresses, but that they were so impious and wicked, and so unfaithful to him:

yet they have spoken lies against me; against his being and providence, being atheistically inclined; or pretending repentance for their sins, when they were hypocrites, and returned to their former courses; or setting up idols in opposition to him, which were vanity to him; attributing all their good things to them, and charging him with all their evils. Abendana reads the words interrogatively, "should I redeem them, when they have spoken lies against me?" (t) no, I will not.

(t) "et ego redimerem eos?" so some in Rivet.

Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have {k} redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.

(k) That is, at different times redeemed them, and delivered them from death.

13. they have fled from me] like birds scared out of their nest (Isaiah 16:2); but the Israelites have only themselves to blame for the fatal consequence. They have left their true home, and shall find no second (see on Hosea 9:17).

transgressed] Or, ‘rebelled; strictly, ‘broken away.’

though I have redeemed …] Rather, I indeed would redeem them, but they, &c. The ‘lies’ of the Israelites related (see next verse) to Jehovah’s power and willingness to save.

Verse 13. - Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction (margin, spoil) unto them! because they have transgressed against me. Of these exclamations, the first is general and indefinite, the second is specific and precise. The thought of coming chastisement calls forth the exclamation of woe; while the second exclamation fixes the character and explains the nature of that woe denounced. In neither case does יְהִי or ךיבֹא need to be supplied; the opposite expression is שָׁלום לָהֶם or בְּלָכָה לָהָם In assigning the reason, there is a retrospective reference to the figures of the two immediately preceding verses. The word נָדַד with rain is employed in relation to birds which, when scared from their nest, fly away. Kimchi thinks it applies to the abstention or withdrawal of the Israelites from Divine service in the national sanctuary in Jerusalem. His comment is: "They fly from me, from the service of the house of my sanctuary, to the service of the calves; and this is a breach of faith and defection from me." The LXX. translate the beginning of the second clause freely by δειλαῖοι εἰσὶν, equivalent to "they are cowards;" and Jerome by "miseri (maticulose) erunt, et semper timentis ac formidantes." The cause assigned is their breaking covenant with God, which is expressed by פָשַׁע, literally, "to break away from," "tear one's self loose from." Though I have redeemed them. This first part of the last clause is rendered

(1) as a past by some, as Jerome, who refers it to the redemption from Egypt; thus also the Chaldee: "And I was their Deliverer." Rosenmüller approves of this, but, instead of restricting it to the deliverance from Egypt, includes their recent deliverance from the Syrians by Jeroboam II. It is

(2) better rendered in a voluntative or optative sense: "I would (should like) to redeem them, but they speak lies against (or, concerning) me." The verb 'ephdem cannot with any propriety be taken for a preterit. Yet they have spoken lies against me; rather, but they on their part have spoken lies concerning me. The prophet had already charged them with lying at ver. 3, and previously at Hosea 4:2; but their lies were not confined to their intercourse or dealings with their fellow-men; they spoke lies against or, as the preposition sometimes signifies, concerning God. The lies in question included, no doubt, a denial of his essential Deity or sole Divinity; of his power or willingness either to protect or punish. Or they might consist in their falsehood in drawing near to God with their lips without either true faith or real affection in their hearts; some were directly opposed to the claims of Jehovah, some insincere in his service, and others turned aside to the idolatry of the calves - all, with probably some honorable exceptions, had proved false to his covenant with Israel. The last clause has been taken

(3) independently by Ewald, without any considerable alteration of the sense: "I, for my part, would redeem them, but they, on their side, speak lies against me." Other acceptations,

(a) interrogative and

(b) conditional, evidently mistake the sense.

The whole clause is correctly explained by Kimchi thus: "It was in my heart to redeem them out of their distress; but they speak lies against me, while they say that I know nothing nor exercise any providential care over their actions, whether their actions are good or bad. Therefore I have withdrawn my providential oversight, and have hidden my face from them, and they shall be consumed." Hosea 7:13"Woe to them! for they have flown from me; devastation to them! for they have fallen away from me. I would redeem them, but they speak lies concerning me. Hosea 7:14. They did not cry to me in their heart, but howl upon their beds; they crowd together for corn and new wine, and depart against me." The Lord, thinking of the chastisement, exclaims, Woe to them, because they have fled from Him! Nâdad, which is applied to the flying of birds, points back to the figures employed in Hosea 7:11, Hosea 7:12. Shōd, used as an exclamation, gives the literal explanation of 'ōi (woe). The imperfect 'ephdēm cannot be taken as referring to the redemption out of Egypt, because it does not stand for the preterite. It is rather voluntative or optative. "I would (should like to) redeem them (still); but they say I cannot and will not do it." These are the lies which they utter concerning Jehovah, partly with their mouths and partly by their actions, namely, in the fact that they do not seek help from Him, as is explained in Hosea 7:14. They cry to the Lord; yet it does not come from the heart, but (כּי after לא) they howl (יילילוּ, cf. Ges. 70, 2, note) upon their beds, in unbelieving despair at the distress that has come upon them. What follows points to this. Hithgōrēr, to assemble, to crowd together (Psalm 56:7; Psalm 59:4; Isaiah 54:15); here to gather in troops or crowd together for corn and new wine, because their only desire is to fill their belly. Thus they depart from God. The construction of סוּר with ב, instead of with מן or מאחרי, is a pregnant one: to depart and turn against God.
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