Hosea 7:6
For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Render, Yea, they draw nigh together. Like an oven in their heart with their wiles. Their baker sleepeth all the night, &c. The metaphor of Hosea 7:4 is resumed. The baker, having left his dough to become leavened and his fire to smoulder, can afford to sleep. The baker may mean the evil passion which has been raging. Indeed, Wünsche and Schmoller, by a slight change of punctuation, obtain the rendering “their anger,” instead of “their baker,” which is supported by the Targum and Syriac version. After the murderous plots and carousal, the conspiracy ripens with the day; then will come the outburst of violence.

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.For they have made ready their heart like an oven - He gives the reason old their bursting out into open mischief; it was ever stored up within. They "made ready," (literally, "brought near") "their heart." Their heart was ever brought near to sin, even while the occasion was removed at a distance from it. "The "oven" is their heart; the fuel, their corrupt affections, and inclinations, and evil concupiscence, with which it is filled; "their baker," their own evil will and imagination, which stirs up whatever is evil in them." The prophet then pictures how, while they seem for a while to rest from sin, it is but "while they lie in wait;" still, all the while, they made and kept their hearts ready, full of fire for sin and passion; any breathing-time from actual sin was no real rest; the heart was still all on fire; "in the morning," right early, as soon as the occasion came, it burst forth.

The same truth is seen where the tempter is without. Such, whether Satan or his agents, having lodged the evil thought or desire in the soul, often feign themselves asleep, as it were, "letting the fire and the fuel which they had inserted, work together," that so the fire pent-in might kindle more thoroughly and fatally, and, the heart being filled and penetrated with it, might burst out of itself, as soon as the occasion should come.

6. they have made ready—rather, "they make their heart approach," namely their king, in going to drink with him.

like an oven—following out the image in Ho 7:4. As it conceals the lighted fire all night while the baker sleeps but in the morning burns as a flaming fire, so they brood mischief in their hearts while conscience is lulled asleep, and their wicked designs wait only for a fair occasion to break forth [Horsley]. Their heart is the oven, their baker the ringleader of the plot. In Ho 7:7 their plots appear, namely, the intestine disturbances and murders of one king after another, after Jeroboam II.

For; surely.

They; those luxurious and drinking princes, Hosea 7:5.

Have made ready their heart like an oven; do keep close some fire of ambition, revenge, or covetousness, like as a baker keeps a hot fire within his oven.

Whiles they lie in wait, either against the life or estate of some of their fellow subjects, or it may be, as appears Hosea 7:7, against the life which they seemed in their cups to pray for.

Their baker sleepeth all the night; he who should watch and prevent mischief is swallowed up in the day with feasting and drunkenness, and sleeps in security all the night, never suspecting the projects of conspirators.

In the morning it burneth as a flaming fire; but when he awakes too late, he seeth all in flames, and past quenching. Sedition and rebellion is among these a sin as hateful to God as dangerous to the public, yet frequently acted by the usurpers of those dissolute times.

For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait,.... The prince, people, and scorners before mentioned, being heated with wine, and their lust enraged, they were ready for any wickedness; for the commission of adultery, lying in wait for their neighbours' wives to debauch them; or for rebellion and treason against their king, and even the murder of him, made drunk by them, whom they now despised, and waited for an opportunity to dispatch him:

their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire; as a baker having put wood into his oven, and kindled it, leaves it, and sleeps all night, and in the morning it is all burning, and in a flame, and his oven is thoroughly heated, and fit for his purpose; so the evil concupiscence in these men's hearts, made hot like an oven, rests all night, devising mischief on their beds, either against the chastity of their neighbours' wives, or against the lives of others, they bear an ill will to, particularly against their judges and their kings, as Hosea 7:7; seems to intimate; and in the morning this lust of uncleanness or revenge is all in a flame, and ready to execute the wicked designs contrived; see Micah 2:1. Some by "their baker" understand Satan; others, their king asleep and secure; others Shallum, the head of the conspiracy against Zachariah.

For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait] Better, with Ewald, ‘Yea, almost like the oven have they made their heart in their intrigue’, if there were only sufficient justification for the rendering. This view of the verse makes it a climax to Hosea 7:5. Better still, by self-evident corrections of the text, For their inward part is like an oven, their heart burneth in them (the reason for the strong expression ‘scorners’).

their baker] Better, to follow the vocalizing of Targum and Peshito, and render, their anger, viz. against the destined victims of their intrigue.

sleepeth all the night] Rather, still retaining the consonants of the text, smoketh all the night (for the phrase, comp Deuteronomy 29:20). The night is mentioned as the time when evil devices are matured.

Verse 6. - This verse, Wunsche thinks, is probably the most difficult in the whole book.

1. The translation of the first clause in the Authorized Version is susceptible of a more literal and improved rendering.

(1) "For they bring near as an oven their heart, whilst they lie in wait;" that is, they approach the king with loyalty on their lips, but hatred in their heart. Their heart (which is the fact) is heated with evil passion, as an oven (which is the figure) is heated for baking purposes; while they are secretly set for wickedness.

(2) Wunsche, after enumerating a great variety of renderings and expositions, with none of which he is satisfied, gives the following: "For they press close together; like an oven is their heart in their artifice (cunning)." The meaning, according to the same author, is that all, scoffers and king alike, press near each other, being of one heart and disposition; cunning makes them one single society.

(3) Keil translates more simply as follows: "For they have brought their heart into their ambush, as into the oven." In this rendering he combines the explanation of Ewald and Hitzig.

2. In the second clause which Keil translates in the same sense as

(1) the Authorized Version, Wunsche

(2) changes the common reading into אַפְהָם, equivalent to אַפָם, their anger, and translates accordingly, "All night their anger sleeps, in the morning it burns like flaming fire." That the reading here is somewhat doubtful may be inferred from the fact that the LXX. has Ἔφραιμ: while the Chaldee and Syrian rugzehon, their fury; still, as it is only a conjectural emendation, we prefer abiding by the ordinary reading and rendering, at least in this instance. The following explanation of the whole verse by Aben Ezra gives a consistent sense: "By בארבם are meant their evil purposes, which they devise all night long. And their heart is like an oven, only with the difference that there the baker sleeps the whole night, and only in the morning kindles the oven; but their heart does not sleep at all, but devises evil the whole night." It is curious how Rashi and Kimchi, while giving in the main the same explanation with Aben Ezra, differ from him about the meaning of the sleeping. The former has the following brief comment: "Their baker lights the oven. After they have prepared their heart and thought out the consummation of their wickedness, how they could carry the same into effect, then their baker sleeps, that is, they sleep till morning; at the break of day, however, they burn like fire, until they have brought their wickedness fully to an end." Kimchi goes into the matter a little more fully, as is usual with him; he comments as follows: "The heart is the instrument of the thought, and the power that works therein is the baker by way of figure. And as the baker lights the oven at night, and in the morning finds that the pieces of wood have burnt out, and he baketh therein the bread, which is the chief end of the work of heating; and lo, the baker sleeps in the night after he has put the pieces of wood into the oven, because he has nothing more to do till the morning. Just so the baker in this figurative sense, which is the power of thought - he sleeps in the night; as if he said he lies there and rests, because the project comes not forth into execution until the morning; and the prophet calls him who thinks sleeping, because that there is no effort of the body in thought, In the morning he burneth, as if he said that they are in flame in the morning to execute the evil which they have devised at night." Hosea 7:6Both 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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