Hosea 7:3
They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
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(3) Glad.—The evil awakens no alarm, but rather sympathy and gladness, in the breasts of their kings and rulers, who are ready to follow suit in all deeds of violence.

Hosea 7:3. They make the king glad with their wickedness — They study to please their kings and great men, by complying with the idolatry they have set up. The Seventy (with whom agree the Syriac and Arabic) read βασιλεις, kings, in the plural number, meaning the succession of the kings of Israel from Jeroboam. And the princes with their lies — Which they speak to please and flatter them. But the word lie sometimes signifies an idol, and the practice of idolatry, as being set up in direct opposition to the true God and his truth. Bishop Horsley renders the verse, By their evil doings they pleasure the king, and by their perfidies the rulers, namely, their perfidies toward God, in deserting his service for idolatry.

7:1-7 A practical disbelief of God's government was at the bottom of all israel's wickedness; as if God could not see it or did not heed it. Their sins appear on every side of them. Their hearts were inflamed by evil desires, like a heated oven. In the midst of their troubles as a nation, the people never thought of seeking help from God. The actual wickedness of men's lives bears a very small proportion to what is in their hearts. But when lust is inwardly cherished, it will break forth into outward sin. Those who tempt others to drunkenness never can be their real friends, and often design their ruin. Thus men execute the Divine vengeance on each other. Those are not only heated with sin, but hardened in sin, who continue to live without prayer, even when in trouble and distress.They make the king glad with their wickedness - Wicked sovereigns and a wicked people are a curse to each other, each encouraging the other in sin. Their king, being wicked, had pleasure in their wickedness; and they, seeing him to be pleased by it, set themselves the more, to do what was evil, and to amuse him with accounts of their sins. Sin is in itself so shameful, that even the great cannot, by themselves, sustain themselves in it, without others to flatter them. A good and serious man is a reproach to them. And so, the sinful great corrupt others, both as aiding them in their debaucheries, and in order not to be reproached by their virtues, and because the sinner has a corrupt pleasure and excitement in hearing of tales of sin, as the good joy to hear of good. Whence Paul says, "who, knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" Romans 1:32.

But whereas, they all, kings, princes, and people, thus agreed and conspired in sin, and the sin of the great is the rarest destructive, the prophet here upbraids the people most for this common sin, apparently because they were free from the greater temptations of the great, and so their sin was the more willful. "An unhappy complaisance was the ruling character of Israel. It preferred its kings to God. Conscience was versatile, accommodating. Whatever was authorized by those in power, was approved." Ahab added the worship of Baal to that of the calves; Jehu confined himself to the sin of Jeroboam. The people acquiesced in the legalized sin. Much as if now, marriages, which by God's law are incest, or remarriages of the divorced, which our Lord pronounces adultery, were to be held allowable, because man's law ceases to annex any penalty to them.

3. Their princes, instead of checking, "have pleasure in them that do" such crimes (Ro 1:32). They, either the subjects in general, or rather the courtiers in particular who were about the king,

make the king glad with their wickedness: the kings of Israel, every one of them from first to last, were addicted to vicious practices, and their minds were vitiated, deeply tainted with all kind of sins, and they it seems took pleasure in sins, both in their own and other men’s; and here are a parcel of flagitious fellows that make it their work to invent pleasing wickedness, to acquaint their king with it, who is so far from doing his duty in discountenancing it, that it is one of his delights to hear or see it.

The princes; great men about the court.

With their lies; with false accusations brought in against the more innocent, or by false reports made of their words and actions, representing them as ridiculous or foolish, drolling them into infamy.

They make the king glad with their wickedness,.... Not any particular king; not Jeroboam the first, as Kimchi; nor Jehu, as Grotius; if any particular king, rather Jeroboam the second; but their kings in general, as the Septuagint render it, in succession, one after another; who were highly delighted and pleased with the priests in offering sacrifice to the calves, and with the people in attending to that idolatrous worship, by which they hoped to secure the kingdom of Israel to themselves, and prevent the people going to Jerusalem to worship: it made them glad to the heart to hear them say that God was as well pleased with sacrifices offered at Dan and Bethel, as at Jerusalem:

and the princes with their lies; with their idols and idolatrous practices, which are vanity and a lie; though some interpret this of their flatteries, either of them, or their favourites; and of their calumnies and detractions of such they had a dislike of.

They make the {b} king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.

(b) They esteem their wicked king Jeroboam above God, and seek how to flatter and please him.

3–6. The highest personages are not too refined for the most sensual pleasures. A consuming passion inflames them as if with the heat of a furnace. Their way of celebrating a royal commemoration is to indulge in monstrous excess.

Verse 3. - They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. The moral corruption and depravity of Israel were extreme and universal. They reached from the rabble to royalty, from the common people to the princes of the court. The king and princes were in full accord with fellows of the basest sort, taking pleasure in their wickedness trod applauding their lies.

(1) Rosenmüller quotes the explanation of Abarbanel to the following purport: "He (the prophet) means to say that the violent men of that ago were accustomed to narrate their atrocities to their kings, that the latter might thence derive entertainment." It is much the same whether the king and princes of that time took pleasure in the villanies which were perpetrated, or in the narratives of those villanies to which they listened,

(2) A somewhat different rendering, and consequently different exposition, have much to recommend them: "In their wickedness they make the king merry, and in their feigning the princes;" their wickedness was their diabolical design to assassinate king and princes; with this object in view they make the king merry with wine so that he might fall an easy and unsuspecting victim; their feigning was their fell purpose of assassination under the profession of friendship. Such was the desperate treachery of those miscreant conspirators. This view tallies well with the context. Hosea 7:3In the first strophe (Hosea 7:1-7) the exposure of the moral depravity of Israel is continued. Hosea 7:1. "When I heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim, reveals itself, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they practise deceit; and the thief cometh, the troop of robbers plundereth without. Hosea 7:2. And they say not in their heart, I should remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds have surrounded them, they have occurred before my face. Hosea 7:3. They delight the king with their wickedness, and princes with their lies." As the dangerous nature of a wound is often first brought out by the attempt to heal it, so was the corruption of Israel only brought truly to light by the effort to stem it. The first hemistich of Hosea 7:1 is not to be referred to the future, nor is the healing to be understood as signifying punishment, as Hitzig supposes; but the allusion is to the attempts made by God to put a stop to the corruption, partly by the preaching of repentance and the reproofs of the prophets, and partly by chastisements designed to promote reformation. The words contain no threatening of punishment, but a picture of the moral corruption that had become incurable. Here again Ephraim is not the particular tribe, but is synonymous with Israel, the people or kingdom of the ten tribes; and Samaria is especially mentioned in connection with it, as the capital and principal seat of the corruption of morals, just as Judah and Jerusalem are frequently classed together by the prophets. The lamentation concerning the incurability of the kingdom is followed by an explanatory notice of the sins and crimes that are openly committed. Sheqer, lying, i.e., deception both in word and deed towards God and man, theft and highway robbery and not fear of the vengeance of God. "Accedit ad haec facinora securitas eorum ineffabilis" (Marck). They do not consider that God will remember their evil deeds, and punish them; they are surrounded by them on all sides, and perform them without shame or fear before the face of God Himself. These sins delight both king and prince. To such a depth have even the rulers of the nation, who ought to practise justice and righteousness, fallen, that they not only fail to punish the sins, but take pleasure in their being committed.
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