Hosea 8:5
Your calf, O Samaria, has cast you off; my anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocence?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Thy calf . . . hath cast thee off.—Rather, is loathsome, Nothing can exceed the scorn of this outburst. The last clause should be rendered, How long are ye unable to attain purity? The attribution of consuming fire to God is not peculiar to the prophet. (Comp. Hebrews 12:29.)

Hosea 8:5-6. Thy calf, O Samaria — Here God himself, who is the speaker, turns short upon Samaria, or the ten tribes; and, in a tone of dreadful indignation, upbraids their corrupt worship. Hath cast thee off — That is, “will profit thee nothing in dangers.” — Grotius. As if he had said, As the people of Samaria hath cast off that which is good, Hosea 8:3, so the calf, which they worship, shall not protect or deliver them from the evils coming upon them, now my anger is kindled against them. How long will it be ere they attain to innocency? — How long will it be ere they repent and reform? Bishop Horsley renders it, How long will they bear antipathy to pure religion? The Hebrew word, נקיו, signifies purity, or cleanness generally; hence moral purity, innocence. But here, says he, “I think it particularly denotes pure religion, or the purity of worship; pure religion and undefiled, in opposition both to the superstitious practices of idolaters, and the false show of hypocrites. For from Israel was it also — Or, “from Israel came even this; this thing, vile and abominable as it is, was his own invention; not a thing that he had learned or borrowed from any other nations. Archbishop Newcome indeed says, ‘The Israelites may have originally borrowed this superstition from the Egyptians;’ for in Egypt, he observes, ‘this species of animals were worshipped, the Apis at Memphis, and the Mnevis at Heliopolis.’ But the prophet expressly says, that the Israelites borrowed this superstition from nobody; it was all their own. Indeed, what they had seen in Egypt was the worship of a living calf, not of the lifeless image of a calf, or of any other animal.” — Bishop Horsley. The workman made it, therefore it is not God — It is no more than the work of man, and therefore there is no divine power in it. But the calf of Samaria — Or, the calf of Beth-el, in the kingdom of Samaria, shall be broken in pieces — Whereby it shall be proved to all, that there is nothing divine in it. Horsley renders it, Verily, the calf of Samaria shall be reduced to atoms. So also Grotius understands the Hebrew expression, שׁבבים היה, interpreting the noun שׁבב, as signifying, “minimum quidque in re quâvis: ut scintillæ, fragmenta, segmenta;” the smallest particle in any thing, as sparks, shivers, shreds; Jerome says, atoms. This was done by the Assyrians, when they made an entire conquest of the ten tribes.8:5-10 They promised themselves plenty, peace, and victory, by worshipping idols, but their expectations came to nothing. What they sow has no stalk, no blade, or, if it have, the bud shall yield no fruit, there was nothing in them. The works of darkness are unfruitful; nay, the end of those things is death. The hopes of sinners will deceive them, and their gains will be snares. In times of danger, especially in the day of judgment, all carnal devices will fail. They take a course by themselves, and like a wild ass by himself, they will be the easier and surer prey for the lion. Man is in nothing more like the wild ass's colt, than in seeking for that succour and that satisfaction in the creature, which are to be had in God only. Though men may sorrow a little, yet if it is not after a godly sort, they will be brought to sorrow everlastingly.Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off - Israel had cast off God, his good. In turn, the prophet says, the "calf," which he had chosen to be his god instead of the Lord his God, "has cast" him "off." He repeats the word, by which he had described Israel's sin, "Israel hath cast off and abhorred good" in order to show the connection of his sin and its punishment. "Thy calf," whom thou madest for thyself, whom thou worshipest, whom thou lovest, of whom thou saidst, "Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" 1 Kings 12:28-31; "thy" calf, in whom thou didst trust instead of thy God, it has requited thee the dishonor thou didst put on thy God; it hath "cast thee off" as a thing "abhorred." So it is with all people's idols, which they make to themselves, instead of God. First or last, they all fail a man, and leave him poor indeed. Beauty fades; wealth fails; honor is transferred to another; nothing abides, save God. Whence our own great poet of nature makes a fallen favorite say, "had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal I served my king, He would not in mine age have left me naked to mine-enemies."

Mine anger is kindled against them - Our passions are but some distorted likeness of what exists in God without passion; our anger, of His displeasure against sin. And so God speaks to us after the manner of people, and pictures His divine displeasure under the likeness of our human passions of anger and fury, in order to bring home to us, what we wish to hide from ourselves, the severe and awful side of His Being, His Infinite Holiness, and the truth, that He will indeed avenge. He tells us, that He will surely punish; as people, who are extremely incensed, execute their displeasure if they can.

How long will it be ere they attain to innocency? - Literally, "how long will they not be able innocency?" So again it is said, "him that hath an high look and a proud heart, I cannot" Psalm 101:5; we supply, "suffer." "New moons and sabbaths I cannot" Isaiah 1:13; our version adds, "away with," i. e., endure. So here probably. As they had with abhorrence cast off God their good, so God says, "they cannot endure innocency;" but He speaks as wondering and aggrieved at their hardness of heart and their obdurate holding out against the goodness, which He desired for them. "How long will they not be able to endure innocency?" "What madness this, that when I give them place for repentence, they will not endure to return to health of soul!"

5. hath cast thee off—As the ellipsis of thee is unusual, Maurer translates, "thy calf is abominable." But the antithesis to Ho 8:3 establishes English Version, "Israel hath cast off the thing that is good"; therefore, in just retribution, "thy calf hath cast thee off," that is, is made by God the cause of thy being cast off (Ho 10:15). Jeroboam, during his sojourn in Egypt, saw Apis worshipped at Memphis, and Mnevis at Heliopolis, in the form of an ox; this, and the temple cherubim, suggested the idea of the calves set up at Dan and Beth-el.

how long … ere they attain to innocency?—How long will they be incapable of bearing innocency? [Maurer].

Thy calf; Jeroboam at first set up two calves, at Dan and Beth-el, but it is probable that in process of time there were more set up in other places, for when Israel forgot his God he built temples, Hosea 8:14. The calf then here is the chief idol set up in Samaria, and worshipped there. The prophet, in contempt of the idol, and in derision of their folly, gives it its right name, it is no god, but a calf; nor yet so much, for that it is senseless and without life.

Hath cast thee off; been the occasion of casting thee far off, in that by this thou hast provoked God to anger, and he hath cast thee off. Or else thus, if thy God, thy idol, thy calf, have done aught, it is mischief; thy calf could not keep itself in Samaria, but it is either carried a captive god, or, broken into pieces, is carried piecemeal into Assyria, and so hath cast time off: it carrieth somewhat of irony in it.

Mine anger is kindled against them; now it is evident that my anger, as fire, burneth against the idols, idol-makers, and idol-worshippers, and shall so burn till they are purified or consumed.

How long will it be ere they attain to innocency? the prophet is very concise, and perhaps here must be supposed some or other (some one of the people, or the prophet himself) sighing out to God, How long shall thine anger burn? and answer returned by God, How long will it be ere they be cleansed? Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off,.... Or, is the cause of thy being cast off by the Lord, and of being cast out of thine own land, and carried captive into another; the past tense is used for the future, as is common in prophetic writings, to denote the certainty of the thing: or "thy calf hath left thee" (a); in the lurch; it cannot help thee; it is gone off, and forsaken thee; it has "removed" itself from thee, according to the sense of the word in Lamentations 3:17; as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; or is removed far from thee, being carried captive itself into Assyria; for, when the king of Assyria took Samaria, he seized on the golden calf for the sake of the gold, and took it away; see Hosea 10:5; or "he hath removed thy calf" (b); that is, the enemy, taking it away when he took the city; or God has rejected it with the utmost contempt and abhorrence: the calf is here, and in the following verse, called the calf of Samaria, because this was the metropolis of the ten tribes, in which the calf was worshipped, and because it was worshipped by the Samaritans; and it may be, when Samaria became the chief city, the calf at Bethel might be removed thither, or another set up in that city:

mine anger is kindled against them: the calves at Dan and Bethel, the singular before being put for the plural; or against the if of Samaria, and Samaria itself; or the inhabitants of it, because of the worship of the calf, which was highly provoking to God, it being a robbing him of his glory, and giving it to graven images:

how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? or "purity" (c); of worship, life, and conversation: the words may be rendered thus, "how long?" (d) for there is a large stop there; and this may be a question of the prophet's, asking how long the wrath of God would burn against the people, what; would be the duration of it, and when it would end? to which an answer is returned, as the words may be translated, "they cannot bear purity" (e); of doctrine, of worship of heart, and life; when they can, mine anger will cease burning: or, as the Targum,

"as long as they cannot purify themselves,''

or be purified; so long as they continue in their sins, in their superstition and idolatry, and other impieties, and are not purged from them.

(a) "dereliquit vitulus te", Lutherus; "descruit te vitulus tuus", Schmidt. (b) "Elongavit sc. hostis, vitalum tuum", Schindler. (c) "munditiem", Calvin, Rivet, Schmidt. (d) "quousque?" Zanchius, Pareus, Cocceius. (e) "non possunt innocentiam praestare", Cocceius; "quamdiu non poterunt animum adjungere ad innocentam", Zanchius; "usquedum non poterunt ferre innocentiam", Pareus.

Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to {d} innocency?

(d) That is, upright judgment and a godly life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off] This rendering is very harsh in this context; Ewald prefers ‘He hath cast off thy calf’, a contrast to ‘Israel hath cast off that which is good’ in Hosea 8:3. But ‘casting off’ implies a previous connexion (e. g. Psalm 43:2); it is better to revert to the intransitive sense which belongs to the cognate verb in Arabic, and render, Thy calf, O Samaria, is loathsome. ‘Thy calf’ is a contemptuous expression for the small golden bull which was symbolic of Jehovah; such a bull, it appears, existed at Samaria, and doubtless at other places besides Dan and Bethel (e. g. at Gilgal).

ere they can attain innocency] Lit. ‘will they be incapable of innocency.’ Idolatry presented itself to Hosea, not only as a form of worship, but as an immoral way of living.Verse 5. - Thy calf, O Samaria, hath east thee off; mine anger is kindled against them. This portion of the verse has occasioned much diversity of translation and exposition, and yet the general meaning is much the same.

(1) In the translation

(a) of the Authorized Version the word "thee" is supplied; others

(b) supply "me," meaning Jehovah, thus, "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast me off;" while

(c) Rosenmüller prefers supplying "them," viz. the Israelites: "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast them off," i.e. has been the cause of their rejection, which is favored by בָם in the following clause. The meaning of (b) is plain, the import being that the idol-worship had led to the rejection and so the withdrawal of Jehovah; while the sense of (a) conveys the idea that the golden calf which the country represented by its capital and the government had established at Bethel as the symbol of their worship, so far from protecting its worshippers, would fall itself into the hands of the Assyrian invader.

(2) The Septuagint translates by ἀπότρεψαι τὸν μόσχον σου Σαμάρεια, equivalent to "Cast off [as if זְנַח] thy calf, O Samaria;" which is an exhortation to Samaria, and not only Samaria, but the entire country, with the inhabitants of the capital at its head, to cast aside the calf-worship by which they had incurred the wrath of the Almighty. Jerome, reading זֻנַּח (Pual), renders, "Cast off is thy calf."

(3) Some modern scholars translate, "He has cast off thy calf," and refer it to the enemy, and rather in the sense of carrying off the golden image as a spoil; or to Jehovah; thus De Wette has, "[Jehova] verwirft deiu Calb, Samarien," which is not in keeping with the first person in the next clause.

(4) Others take the verb intransitively, and give it the meaning of "smelling bodily," "emitting intolerable stench." "being loathsome or disgusting;" thus Keil has, "Thy calf disgusts, O Samaria." So Wunsche: "Anekolt deiu Calb." Israel loathed or felt disgust at pure worship and what was really good; now Jehovah in turn is disgusted with their golden calf and hateful idolatry. No wonder it is added, Mine anger is waxed hot (has burnt or blazed out) against them; i.e. not the calf and Samaria, nor the calves, but their stupid, sinful worshippers. How long will it be ere they attain to innocence? Or it may be translated, How long will it be ere they shall be able to endure (bear) innocence (guiltlessness)? The verb יכל, has frequently to be supplemented by another verb, as in Psalm 150:5, לא אוּכַל, "A proud heart will not I suffer;" so also Isaiah 1:13. The speaker here turns, as it were, from unwilling auditors to others more ready to lend ancar, and asks, "How long are they incapable of purity of life instead of the abominations of idolatry? How great the madness that, while I allow space and place for repentance, they are unwilling to return to soundness of mind! " The Authorized Version rendering is supported by Aben Ezra and Kimchi. The former explains: "It is as if ז were written double, ' Thee as thy calf cast off - thee Samaria, as if it has rejected thee, for the city shall be laid and its inhabitants shall go into captivity;'" and Kimchi says, "ז is transitive, and has the meaning of ' remove,' as in Lamentations 2:7. He says, 'O Samaria, thy calf has removed thee,' that is, on account of it thou art removed out of thy land." The last clause is also well explained by Kimchi, though in a different sense from that given above, thus: "How long are they unable to purify themselves from this guilt (i.e. idolatry)?" In those times shall many rise up against the king of the south (על עמד as Daniel 8:20); also עמך פריצי בּני, the violent people of the nation (of the Jews), shall raise themselves against him. פריצים .mih ts בּני are such as belong to the classes of violent men who break through the barriers of the divine law (Ezekiel 18:10). These shall raise themselves חזון להעמיד, to establish the prophecy, i.e., to bring it to an accomplishment. ha`amiyd equals qayeem, Ezekiel 13:6, as עמד equals קוּם in Daniel, and generally in the later Hebrew. Almost all interpreters since Jerome have referred this to Daniel's vision of the oppression under Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 8:9-14, Daniel 11:23. This is so far right, as the apostasy of one party among the Jews from the law of their fathers, and their adoption of heathen customs, contributed to bring about that oppression with which the theocracy was visited by Antiochus Epiphanes; but the limiting of the חזון to those definite prophecies is too narrow. חזון without the article is prophecy in undefined generality, and is to be extended to all the prophecies which threatened the people of Israel with severe chastisements and sufferings on account of their falling away from the law and their apostasy from their God. ונכשׁלוּ, they shall stumble, fall. "The falling away shall bring to them no gain, but only the sufferings and tribulation prophesied of" (Kliefoth).
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