Hosea 7:5
In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.
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(5) Following the hint of the LXX. and other versions, the rendering of which is based on a slightly different punctuation of the Hebrew, we prefer to translate, the day of our king the princes have begun with the glowing (or fever) of winei.e., the carousal of the princely retinue in celebration of the sovereign’s coronation-day (or birthday) commences at an early hour, significant of monstrous excess. (Comp. Acts 2:15.) There is bitterness in the use of the pronoun “our” before “king.” Otherwise we must render, have made themselves ill with the fever of wine (the Authorised version is here inaccurate). The last clause is obscure; probably it means “he (i.e., our king) hath made common cause with scorners,” and is boon-companion of the dissolute and depraved. (Comp. Exodus 23:1.)

Hosea 7:5-7. In the day of our king — Probably the anniversary of his birth, or coronation; the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine — Or, when the princes began to be hot with wine, (so Newcome,) he stretched out his hand with scorners — Deriders of God and man. Some recent and notorious act of contempt to God, or to his prophets, or to public justice, is here alluded to. “Those,” says Bishop Horsley, “who in their cups made a jest of the true religion, and derided the denunciations of God’s prophets, the king distinguished with the most familiar marks of his royal favour; in this way carrying on the plot of delusion.” They — Those luxurious and drunken princes; have made ready their heart like an oven — Hot with concupiscence, ambition, revenge, and covetousness. While they lie in wait — Against the life or estate of some of their subjects. Their baker sleepeth, &c. — As a baker, having kindled a fire in his oven, goes to bed and sleeps all night, and in the morning finds his oven well heated, and ready for his purpose; so these, when they have laid some wicked plot, though they may seem to sleep for a while, yet the fire is glowing within, and flames out as soon as ever there is opportunity for it. They are all hot as an oven — The whole people are inflamed with bad passions, and have followed the ill example of their princes and great men. Or, the flame of civil discord is spread among the people in general; and, as fire devours, so has this destroyed their judges and rulers by conspiracies and assassinations. All their kings are fallen — An anarchy continued for eleven years after the death of Jeroboam II., and the six following kings, the last who reigned in Israel, fell by conspirators, namely, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea. There is none among them that calleth unto me — And yet these plain signs of my indignation have not brought either kings or people to a due humiliation and sorrow for their sins.

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.In the day of our king, the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine - (Or, "with heat from wine.") Their holydays, like those of so many Englishmen now, were days of excess. "The day of their king" was probably some civil festival; his birthday, or his coronation-day. The prophet owns the king, in that he calls him "our king;" he does not blame them for keeping the day, but for the way in which they kept it. Their festival they turned into an irreligious and anti-religious carousal; making themselves like "the brutes which perish," and tempting their king first to forget his royal dignity, and then to blaspheme the majesty of God.

He stretched out his hand with scorners - as it is said, "Wine is a mocker" (or "scoffer"). Drunkenness, by taking off all power of self restraint, brings out the evil which is in the man. The "scorner" or "scoffer" is one who "neither fears God nor regards man" Luke 18:4, but makes a jest of all things, true and good, human or divine. Such were these corrupt princes of the king of Israel; with these "he stretched out the hand," in token of his good fellowship with them, and that he was one with them. He withdrew his hand or his society from good and sober people, and "stretched" it "out," not to punish these, but to join with them, as people in drink reach out their hands to any whom they meet, in token of their sottish would-be friendliness. With these the king drank, jested, played the buffoon, praised his idols, scoffed at God. The flattery of the bad is a man's worst foe.

5. the day of our king—his birthday or day of inauguration.

have made him sick—namely, the king. Maurer translates, "make themselves sick."

with bottles of wine—drinking not merely glasses, but bottles. Maurer translates, "Owing to the heat of wine."

he stretched out his hand with scorners—the gesture of revellers in holding out the cup and in drinking to one another's health. Scoffers were the king's boon companions.

In the day of our king: whether this day were any occasional day that the king of Israel took to feast his nobles, as Ahasuerus did his; or whether the anniversary of his birth or coronation, both which were usually celebrated among most nations, the birthday especially; so Pharaoh, Genesis 40:20, and Herod, Matthew 14:6; whether of these we inquire not curiously.

The princes, who attended on the king to witness their joy in the remembrance of that day which made the public glad so great a blessing was bestowed upon them, and to wish many such days unto their king and the kingdom.

Have made him sick with bottles of wine; in their excess of drinking healths, no doubt; instead of a pious arid thankful remembrance of God’s mercies, they run into monstrous impieties of luxury and drunkenness, and with bottles of wine, drank off probably at one draught, inflame themselves and their king, and drink him almost to death while they drink and wish his life.

He stretched out his hand: in these drunken feasts it seems the king of Israel forgat himself, became too familiar a companion, and used the formalities of these drinking matches, stretched out his hand with scorners, who deride religion, and wish confusion to the professors of it.

In the day of our king,.... Either his birthday, or his coronation day, when he was inaugurated into his kingly office, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi; or the day on which Jeroboam set up the calves, which might be kept as an anniversary: or, "it is the day of our king" (o); and may be the words of the priests and false prophets, exciting the people to adultery; and may show by what means they drew them into it, saying this is the king's birthday, or coronation day, or a holy day of his appointing, let us meet together, and drink his health; and so by indulging to intemperance, through the heat of wine, led them on to adultery, corporeal or spiritual, or both:

the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine: that is, the courtiers who attended at court on such a day to compliment the king upon the occasion, and to drink his health, drank to him in large cups, perhaps a bottle of wine at once; which he pledging them in the same manner, made him sick or drunk: to make any man drunk is criminal, and especially a king; as it was also a weakness and sin in him to drink to excess, which is not for kings, of all men, to do: or it may be rendered, "the princes became sick through the heat of wine" (p), so Jarchi; they were made sick by others, or they made themselves so by drinking too much wine, which inflamed their bodies, gorged their stomachs, made their heads dizzy, and them so "weak", as the word (q) also signifies, that they could not stand upon their legs; which are commonly the effects of excessive drinking, especially in those who are not used to it, as the king and the princes might not be, only on such occasions:

he stretched out his hand with scorners; meaning the king, who, in his cups, forgetting his royal dignity, used too much familiarity with persons of low life, and of an ill behaviour, irreligious ones; who, especially when drunk, made a jest of all religion; scoffed at good men, and everything that was serious; and even set their mouths against the heavens; denied there was a God, or spoke very indecently and irreverently of him; these the king made his drinking companions, took the cup, and drank to them in turn, and shook them by the hand; or admitted them to kiss his hand, and were all together, hail fellows well met. Joseph Kimchi thinks these are the same with the princes, called so before they were drunk, but afterwards "scorners".

(o) "dies regis nostri", V. L. Calvin, Tigurine version, Tarnovius, Cocceius, Schmidt. (p) "argotarunt principes a calore vini", Liveleus; "morbo afficiunt se calore ex vino", Tarnovius. (q) "Quem infirmant principes aestu a vino", Cocceius; "infirmum facerunt", Munster; "infirmant", Schmidt.

In the {d} day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.

(d) They used all indulgence and excess in their feasts and solemnities, by which their king was overcome with being fed too much, and brought into diseases, and who delighted in flatteries.

5. Here the figurative description is interrupted by one from real life.

In the day of our king] Either the coronation-day (so the Targum), or (comp. Matthew 14:6) the royal birthday is meant. The prophet quotes the words of the princes. He was himself too loyal to the house of David to adopt the phrase seriously.

have made him sick with bottles of wine] Rather, are become sick with the fever of wine. The Auth. Version probably means to imply that the princes meant to assassinate the king when he was drunk; but there is no evidence of this (see on Hosea 7:7).

he stretched out his hand with scorners] i.e. he (the king) entered into close relations with proud, lawless men (comp. Proverbs 21:24). So Isaiah too calls the politicians of Judah ‘men of scorn’ (Isaiah 28:14). Hosea may perhaps refer to some lawless project decided upon in the intoxication of the revel.

Verse 5. - A like diversity of exposition is found in connection with ver. 5, at least it, first clause.

1. There is

(1) the rendering already given; but

(2) Wunsche, taking החלו from חלל, to begin, as is done by the LXX., Syriac, Chaldee, and Jerome, translates:" The princes begin [i.e. open] the day of our king in the heat of wine." Consequently, yom is

(a) the object of this verb; while,

(b) according to the usual rendering, it is the accusative of time, equivalent to ביום; others again

(c) take the word as a nominative absolute, or translate the clause as an independent one; thus Simson: "It is the day of our king."

2. Again, חֲמַח st. construct of חֵמָה, from the root חמם or יחם, (for the construct state is used, not only for the genitive-relation, but also before prepositions, the relative pronoun, relative clauses, even ray copulative, etc.), is

(1) the accusative of the clause, equivalent to "in the heat (proceeding) from wine;" or

(2) be may be understood; or

(3) the preposition rain may be regarded as transposed, - Rashi explains it: "From the heat of the wine that burneth in them;" or

(4) בַּעֲלֵי may be supplied, as Wunsche suggests, equivalent to "possessors (bearers) of heat from wine."

3. לֵצ is a scoffer and worse than כְסִיל, a fool, or פְחִי, a simpleton; the last acts through inexperience, the second from unwisdom, the first, though possessing in some measure both wisdom and experience, acts in disregard of both. The meaning is given by Kimchi in the following comment: "The sense of חי מי is that the one came with his bottle full of wine, and the other with his bottle; and they made the king sick;" and to this there is an exact parallel in Habakkuk 2:15, "Woe unto him that giveth his neigh-hour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also." In the second clause the expression, "drawing out the hand," is borrowed from drunken carousals, in which the hand is stretched out in asking, receiving, and handing the goblets; or, more simply, according to Pussy, who says, "Men in drink reach out their hands to any whom they meet, in token of their sottish would be friendliness." Hosea 7:5Both king and princes are addicted to debauchery (Hosea 7:5). "The day of our king" is either the king's birthday, or the day when he ascended the throne, on either of which he probably gave a feast to his nobles. יום is taken most simply as an adverbial accus. loci. On this particular day the princes drink to such an extent, that they become ill with the heat of the wine. החלוּ, generally to make ill, here to make one's self ill. Hitzig follows the ancient versions, in deriving it from חלל, and taking it as equivalent to החלּוּ ot , "they begin," which gives a very insipid meaning. The difficult expression משׁך ידו את־ל, "he draws his hand with the scoffers," can hardly be understood in any other way than that suggested by Gesenius (Lex.), "the king goes about with scoffers," i.e., makes himself familiar with them, so that we may compare שׁוּת ידו עם (Exodus 23:1). The scoffers are drunkards, just as in Proverbs 20:1 wine is directly called a scoffer. In Hosea 7:6, Hosea 7:7, the thought of the fourth verse is carried out still further. כּי introduces the explanation and ground of the simile of the furnace; for Hosea 7:5 is subordinate to the main thought, and to be taken as a parenthetical remark. The words from כּי קרבוּ to בּארבּם ot כּי קרבוּ form one sentence. קרב is construed with ב loci, as in Judges 19:13; Psalm 91:10 : they have brought their heart near, brought them into their craftiness. "Like a furnace" (כּתנּוּר) contains an abridged simile. But it is not their heart itself which is here compared to a furnace (their heart equals themselves), in the sense of "burning like a flaming furnace with base desires," as Gesenius supposes; for the idea of bringing a furnace into an 'ōrebh would be unsuitable and unintelligible. "The furnace is rather 'orbâm (their ambush), that which they have in common, that which keeps them together; whilst the fuel is libbâm, their own disposition" (Hitzig). Their baker is the machinator doli, who kindles the fire in them, i.e., in actual fact, not some person or other who instigates a conspiracy, but the passion of idolatry. This sleeps through the night, i.e., it only rests till the opportunity and time have arrived for carrying out the evil thoughts of their heart, or until the evil thoughts of the heart have become ripe for execution. This time is described in harmony with the figure, as the morning, in which the furnace burns up into bright flames (הוּא points to the more remote tannūr as the subject). In Hosea 7:7 the figure is carried back to the literal fact. With the words, "they are all hot as a furnace," the expression in Hosea 7:4, "adulterous like a furnace," is resumed; and now the fruit of this conduct is mentioned, viz., "they devour their judges, cast down their kings." By the judges we are not to understand the sârı̄m of Hosea 7:5, who are mentioned along with the king as the supreme guardians of the law; but the kings themselves are intended, as the administrators of justice, as in Hosea 13:10, where shōphetı̄m is also used as synonymous with מלך, and embraces both king and princes. The clause, "all their kings are fallen," adds no new feature to what precedes, and does not affirm that kings have also fallen in addition to or along with the judges; but it sums up what has been stated already, for the purpose of linking on the remark, that no one calls to the Lord concerning the fall of the kings. The suffix בּהם does not refer to the fallen kings, but to the nation in its entirety, i.e., to those who have devoured their judges. The thought is this: in the passion with which all are inflamed for idolatry, and with which the princes revel with the kings, they give no such heed to the inevitable consequences of their ungodly conduct, as that any one reflects upon the fall of the kings, or perceives that Israel has forsaken the way which leads to salvation, and is plunging headlong into the abyss of destruction, so as to return to the Lord, who alone can help and save. The prophet has here the times after Jeroboam II in his mind, when Zechariah was overthrown by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, and Menahem the son of Pekahiah by Pekah, and that in the most rapid succession (2 Kings 15:10, 2 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 15:25), together with the eleven years' anarchy between Zechariah and Shallum (see at 2 Kings 15:8-12). At the same time, the expression, "all their kings have fallen," shows clearly, not only that the words are not to be limited to these events, but embrace all the earlier revolutions, but also and still more clearly, that there is no foundation whatever for the widespread historical interpretation of these verses, as relating to a conspiracy against the then reigning king Zechariah, or Shallum, or Pakahiah, according to which the baker is either Menahem (Hitzig) or Pekah (Schmidt).
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