Hosea 7:14
And they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Cried . . . Howled—God discriminates between a heart-cry to Him, and a howl of despair, resembling the yell of a wild beast. A howl upon their bed is not a sob of true repentance.

They assemble themselves.—To supplicate Jehovah for fruitful harvests. This rendering is supported by several eminent authorities. Others follow Ewald in translating,” they excite themselves” with dervish-like devices and cries. The LXX. render with great force, “they cut themselves.” (Comp. 1Kings 18:28; Deuteronomy 14:1; Jeremiah 16:6.) This is based on a slightly different reading, contained in some of Kennicott’s and De Rossi’s MSS., which is not improbably the right one. The charge is that all their simulated penitence is to secure physical comforts, not to show conformity with the Divine will.

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.And they have not cried unto him with their heart, when they howled upon their beds - Or, in the present time, "they cry not unto Me when they howl." They did "cry," and, it may be, they "cried" even "unto God." At least, the prophet does not deny that they cried to God at all; only, he says, that they did "not cry to" Him "with their heart." Their cries were wrung from them by their temporal distresses, and ended in them, not in God. There was no sincerity in their hearts, no change in their doings. Their cry was a mere howling. The secret complaint of the heart is a loud cry in the ears of God. The impetuous "cry" of impatient and unconverted suffering is a mere brutish "howling." Their heart was set wholly on their earthly needs; it did not thank God for giving them good things, nor cry to Him truly when He withheld them.

But, it may be, that the prophet means also to contrast the acts of the ungodly, private and public, amid distress, with those of the godly. The godly man implores God in public and in private. The prayer on the "bed," expresses the private prayer of the soul to God, when, the world being shut out, it is alone with Him. In place of this, there was the "howling," as people toss fretfully and angrily on their beds, roar for pain; but, instead of complaining "to" God, complain "of" Him, and are angry, not with themselves, but with God. In place of the public prayer and humiliation, there was a mere tumultuous assembly, in which they clamored "for grain and wine," and "rebelled against God. They assemble themselves;" (literally, "they gather themselves tumultuously together). They rebel against Me ;" (literally, "they turn aside against Me"). They did not only (as it is expressed elsewhere) "turn aside "from" God." "They turn aside against Me," He says, flying, as it were, in the very face of God. This "tumultuous assembly" was either some stormy civil debate, how to obtain the grain and wine which God withheld, or a tumultuous clamoring to their idols and false gods, like that of the priests of Baal, when arrayed against Elijah on Mount Carmel; whereby they removed the further from God's law, and rebelled with a high hand against Him.

: What is to "cry to the Lord," but to long for the Lord? But if anyone multiply prayers, crying and weeping as he may, yet not with any intent to gain God Himself, but to obtain some earthly or passing thing, he cannot truly be said to "cry unto the Lord," i. e., so to cry that his cry should come to the hearing of the Lord. This is a cry like Esau's, who sought no other fruit from his father's blessing, save to be rich and powerful in this world. When then He saith, "They cried not to Me in their heart, etc.," He means, they were not devoted to Me, their heart was not right with Me; they sought not Myself, but things of Mine. They howled, desiring only things for the belly, and seeking not to have Me. Thus they belong not to "the generation of those who seek the Lord, who seek the face of the God of Jacob" Psalm 24:6, but to the generation of Esau."

14. not cried unto me—but unto other gods [Maurer], (Job 35:9, 10). Or, they did indeed cry unto Me, but not "with their heart": answering to "lies," Ho 7:13 (see on [1123]Ho 7:13).

when they howled upon their beds—sleepless with anxiety; image of deep affliction. Their cry is termed "howling," as it is the cry of anguish, not the cry of repentance and faith.

assemble … for corn, &c.—namely in the temples of their idols, to obtain from them a good harvest and vintage, instead of coming to Me, the true Giver of these (Ho 2:5, 8, 12), proving that their cry to God was "not with their heart."

rebel against me—literally, "withdraw themselves against Me," that is, not only withdraw from Me, but also rebel against Me.

And they, immersed in these troubles. taken in the net, have not cried unto me; either they cried to their idols, not to God, see Hosea 7:7; or else their tongues made noise, their hearts were silent, and that is, in God’s account, no cry at all.

With their heart; with affection, hope, humility, and sincerity; but out of some trouble, and more fear, they cried out to be delivered out of their pain and fear; it is therefore elegantly and properly called howling: though they did thus howl, yet they prayed not, they did not pour out a supplication to their God.

Upon their beds; on their couches, or in their chambers.

They assemble, in the houses of their idols, for corn and wine; that they may have plenty of these to satisfy their appetite, to live luxuriously, and in jollity.

They rebel against me; as in the use of these to excess, so in this manner of seeking these, they rebel against God, and give that honour to the idol which is due only to God. And they have not cried unto me with their heart,.... In their distress, indeed, they cried unto the Lord, and said they repented of their sins, and promised reformation, and made a show of worshipping God; as invocation is sometimes put for the whole worship of God; but then this was not heartily, but hypocritically; their hearts and their mouths did not go together, and therefore was not reckoned prayer; nothing but howling, as follows:

when they howled upon their beds; lying sick or wounded there; or, as some, in their idol temples, those beds of adultery, where they pretended to worship God by them, and to pray to him through them; but such idolatrous prayers were no better than the howlings of clogs to him; even though they expressed outwardly their cries with great vehemency, as the word used denotes, having one letter more in it than common:

they assemble themselves for corn and wine: either at their banquets, to feast upon them, as Aben Ezra; or to the markets, to buy them, as Kimchi suggests; or rather to their idol temples, to deprecate a famine, and to pray for rain and fruitful seasons; or if they gather together to pray to the Lord, it is only for carnal and worldly things; they only seek themselves, and their own interest, and not the glory of God, and ask for these things, to consume them on their lust. The Septuagint version is, "for corn and wine they were cut", or cut themselves, as Baal's priests did, when they cried to him, 1 Kings 18:28; and Theodoret here observes, that they performed the Heathen rites, and in idol temples made incisions on their bodies:

and they rebel against me: not only flee from him transgress his laws but cast off all allegiance to him and take up arms, and commit hostilities against him. The Targum joins this with the preceding clause,

"because of the multitude of corn and wine which they have gathered they have rebelled against my word;''

and to the same sense Jarchi; thus, Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked.

And they have not cried unto me with their heart, {l} when they howled upon their beds: {m} they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.

(l) When they were in affliction, and cried out in pain, they did not seek me for help.

(m) They only seek their own benefit and wealth, and care not for me their God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. with their heart, when they howled] Rather, in their heart, but they howl. The prophet contrasts the quiet communion of the heart with Jehovah and the wild-beastlike ‘howling’ of the impenitent Israelites, who murmur at the withdrawal of material blessings. Comp. Isaiah 24:11.

they assemble themselves] i.e. to lament together in their affliction. But the rendering is doubtful. Ewald, better, ‘they excite themselves’ (or, are inwardly moved). But it is much more natural to suppose that Daleth has become altered into Resh, and that we should read differently. Render therefore, with the Septuagint and some Hebrew MSS., they cut themselves. It is an allusion to a well-known sign of mourning, forbidden indeed by the Law (Deuteronomy 14:1; Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5), but habitually practised in Palestine (Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5; Jeremiah 47:5; Jeremiah 48:37), and still noticeable in the time of St Jerome (comm. on Jeremiah 16:6).Verse 14. - And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. This clause may be more correctly rendered, They did not cry to me in their heart, but howl upon their beds. Their falsehood manifested itself in works as well as words; a practical example is here given. They did not, in reality, seek help from God; if they sought at all, it was insincerely. They cried to God, but that cry did not proceed from their heart. They gave vent to their feelings of distress by howlings upon their beds; but those howlings were the expression of unbelief and despair, not by any means evidences of faith. "They do not cry to me," says Aben Ezra, "as the sick man cries to the physician." The comment of Kimchi is still fuller and more explicit: "They have not cried to me in their heart, because of their notion that I do not see their cry nor know what is good or bad for them; but they howl upon their beds, i.e. when they are upon their bed and when they think of that misfortune which is coming upon them. They howl and weep because of their evil case, and do not think that the evil falls on them from me, because they have broken faith with me." The form of יְיֵלִלִוּ is correctly explained by Gesenius as future Hiph. with preformative put before the third person, the yod of the simple form being superficially taken to belong to the stem. His derivation from אֵל, God, as if a cry to him for help, is incorrect; it is really an onomatopoetic word. They assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. What this

(1) assembling of themselves was does not clearly appear; whether it was in the market-place or elsewhere to purchase corn in time of famine, as some think; or in idol-temples to propitiate their deities, like the Roman supplicatio or lectiosternium, as others suppose; or for the performance of some extra rite of worship to Jehovah; or for the purpose of plunder in a season of scarcity; or generally their assembling in knots and crowds to discuss anxiously and lament despairingly the distressed state of the country; - their chief design and highest aim being a good supply of corn and wine, that is, the supply of mere bodily wants.

(2) The LXX. seem to have read ויתגדדו, as their rendering is κατετεμνόντο, equivalent to "they cut themselves," or" pined for corn and wine;" corresponding to which rendering is Cyril's exposition: "As enthusiasts and fanatics making incisions with steel in their breasts and both hands, and absurdly all but shedding in sacrifice their own blood, perhaps to graven images."

(3) Jerome, taking the verb from גָּרַר, to ruminate, translates accordingly: "super triticum et vinum ruminabant."

(4) The Syriac, tracing it to גוּר, to be afraid, translates: "They feared (or, were fearfully anxious) about corn and wine." The common reading and rendering are clearly preferable; Kimchi's exposition is in harmony therewith: "When corn or new wine comes into the city for sale, they all assemble at (or, round) it on account of the famine which is in the city; and yet they fall away from me." The construction of the last clause is pregnant, that is

(1) "they turn aside (and turn) against me." Here, again

(2) the LXX. seem to have read יִוָּסְרוּ, to which their translation, ἐπαιδεύθησαν ἐν ἐμοί, equivalent to "they were instructed by me," corresponds. A violent war shall then break out, in which the king of the north shall be overcome. One of the offspring of her roots shall appear. מן in מנּצר is partitive, as Daniel 11:5, and נצר is used collectively. The figure reminds us of Isaiah 11:1. The suffix to שׁרשׁיה refers to the king's daughter, Daniel 11:6. Her roots are her parents, and the offspring of her roots a brother of the king's daughter, but not a descendant of his daughter, as Kranichfeld by losing sight of נצר supposes. כּנּו is the accusative of direction, for which, in Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21, Daniel 11:38, כּנּו על stands more distinctly; the suffix refers to the king of the south, who was also the subject in יעמד, Daniel 11:6. אל־החיל יבא does not mean: he will go to the (to his) army (Michaelis, Berth., v. Leng., Hitz., Klief.); this would be a very heavy remark within the very characteristic, significant description here given (Kran., Hv.); nor does it mean: he attained to might (Hv.); but: he shall come to the army, i.e., against the host of the enemy, i.e., the king of the north (Kran.). אל בּוא, as Genesis 32:9; Isaiah 37:33, is used of a hostile approach against a camp, a city, so as to take it, in contradistinction to the following בּמעוז יבא: to penetrate into the fortress. מעוז has a collective signification, as בּהם referring to it shows. ב עשׂה, to act against or with any one, cf. Jeremiah 18:23 ("deal with them"), ad libidinem agere (Maurer), essentially corresponding to כּרצונו in Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:36. החזיק, to show power, i.e., to demonstrate his superior power.
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