Hosea 9:15
All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of my house, I will love them no more: all their princes are rebels.
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(15) Gilgal.—On Gilgal as a seat of idolatrous worship, see Hosea 4:15. “My house” here, and in Hosea 8:1 (“Jehovah’s house”), is interpreted by Wünsche and Nowack, with considerable show of reason, to mean the “holy land,” Canaan. This interpretation is confirmed by the use of the Assyrian word Bîtu, corresponding to the Hebrew bêth “house.” The term seems to have blended the conception of a people and the territory they occupied. (See Schrader, Keilinschriften und das alte Testament, p. 540, where the examples are cited Bît-Am-ma-na “Ammon,” Bît-A-di-ni, “Beth-Eden.”) Similarly, Egypt is called in Exodus 20:2, “the house of slaves.” We are reminded by the word “house” of the domestic episode (Hosea 1-3): Ephraim, like an adulterous wife, is turned out of house and home (comp. Hosea 3:4), and is no longer Jehovah’s people (Hosea 1:9).

Hosea 9:15-17. All their wickedness is in Gilgal — Gilgal is notorious, and has been so of old, for the wickedness of its inhabitants. There I hated them There of old (or therefore) they were an abomination to me. “The first great offence of the Israelites, after their entrance into the Holy Land, was committed while they were encamped in Gilgal; namely, the sacrilegious peculation of Achan, (Joshua 7.,) and to this, it seems, these words allude. There, says God, of old, was my quarrel with them.” It must be observed further here, that “Gilgal was the place where the armies of Israel, upon their entering Canaan, first encamped; where Joshua set up the twelve stones, taken by God’s command out of the midst of Jordan, in memorial of the miraculous passage through the river. There the first passover was kept, and the fruits of the promised land first enjoyed. There the captain of the Lord’s host appeared to Joshua. There the rite of circumcision, which had been omitted during the forty years of the wandering of the people in the wilderness, was renewed. And, in the days of the prophet Samuel, Gilgal appears to have been an approved place of worship and burnt-offering. But, in later times, it appears from Hosea, and his cotemporary, Amos, that it became a place of great resort for idolatrous purposes. And these are the wickednesses in Gilgal, of which the prophet here speaks.” — Horsley. I will drive them out of my house —

That is, I will no longer consider them as my family, my children, and my servants. All their princes are revolters — All their chief men, their rulers and magistrates, have revolted from me and my commands; either by worshipping false gods, or by likening me to images of their own forming, and by worshipping me under the emblems of them. Ephraim is smitten, &c. — Or rather, shall be smitten, namely, with barrenness; for that is the punishment which is here chiefly mentioned. Bishop Horsley renders the clause, Ephraim is blighted; their root is dried up, they shall produce no fruit: or, according to the construction and rendering of the Syriac, Ephraim is smitten at the root, he is dried up; so that he shall bear no fruit; which is also, in substance, the version of the LXX. Yea, though they bring forth — And if any should bring forth; yet will I slay the beloved fruit, &c. — I will soon take away the children, whose birth afforded them great joy and satisfaction, and in whom they placed their delight. My God will cast them away — The prophet here calls Jehovah his God; as much as to say he would no longer be the God of the Israelites in general, and no more own them for his people, but leave them to wander and be dispersed among the other nations. They were afterward called by the name of the Διασπορα, or dispersed among the Gentiles. 9:11-17. God departs from a people, or from a person, when he withdraws his goodness and mercy from them; and when the Lord is departed, what can the creature do? Even though, for the present, good things seem to remain, yet the blessing is gone if God is gone. Even the children should perish with the parents. The Divine wrath dries up the root, and withers the fruit of all comforts; and the scattered Jews daily warn us to beware, lest we neglect or abuse the gospel. Yet every smiting is not a drying up of the root. It may be that God intends only to smite so that the sap may be turned to the root, that there may be more of root graces, more humility, patience, faith, and self-denial. It is very just that God should bring judgments on those who slight his offered mercy.All their wickedness is in Gilgal - "Gilgal," having been the scene of so many of God's mercies, had been, on that very ground, chosen as a popular scene for idol-worship (see the note above at Hosea 4:15). And doubtless, Ephraim still deceived himself, and thought that his idolatrous worship, in a place once so hallowed, would still be acceptable with God. "There, where God of old was propitious, He would be so still, and whatever they did, should, even for the place's sake, be accepted; the hallowed place would necessarily sanctify it." In answer to such thoughts, God says, "all their wickedness," the very chief and sum, the head from which the rest flowed, their desertion of God Himself, whatever they hoped or imagined, all their "wickedness is" there.

For there I hated them - "There, in the very place where heretofore I shewed such great tokens of love to, and by My gracious presence with, them, "even there I have hated them" and now hate them." "He saith not, there was I angry, or displeased with them, but in a word betokening the greatest indignation, "I hated them." Great must needs be that wickedness which provoked the Father of mercies to so great displeasure as to say, that He "hated them;" and severe must needs be those judgments which are as effects of hatred and utter aversation of them, in Him."

For the wickedness of their doings - The sin of Israel was no common sin, not a sin of ignorance, but against the full light. Each word betokens evil. The word "doings" expresses "great bold doings." It was "the wickedness of their wicked works," a deeper depth of wickedness in their wickedness, an essence of wickedness, for which, God saith, "I will drive them out of My house," i. e., as before, out of His whole land (see the note above at Hosea 8:1).

I will love them no more - So He saith, in the beginning; "I will have no more mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away" Hosea 1:6. : "This was a national judgment, and so involved the whole of them, as to their outward condition, which they enjoyed as members of that nation, and making up one beady politic. It did not respect the spiritual condition of single persons, and their relation, in this respect, to God." As individuals, they were, "not cut off from God's favor and tokens of His love, nor from the power of becoming members of Christ, whenever any of them should come to Him. It only struck them forever out of that "house of the Lord" from which they were then driven," or from hopes that that kingdom should be restored, which God said, He would cause to cease.

All their princes are revolters - Their case then was utterly hopeless. No one of their kings "departed from the sin of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin." The political power which should protect goodness, became the fountain of corruption. : "None is there, to rebuke them that offend, to recall, those that err; no one who, by his own goodness, and virtue, pacifying God, can turn away His wrath, as there was in the time of Moses." : "Askest thou, why God cast them out of His house, why they were not received in the Church or the house of God? He saith to them, because they "are all revolters, departers," i. e., because, before they were cast out visibly in the body, they departed in mind, were far away in heart, and therefore were cast out in the body also, and lost, what alone they loved, the temporal advantages of the house of God."

15. All their wickedness—that is, their chief guilt.

Gilgal—(see on [1126]Ho 4:15). This was the scene of their first contumacy in rejecting God and choosing a king (1Sa 11:14, 15; compare 1Sa 8:7), and of their subsequent idolatry.

there I hated them—not with the human passion, but holy hatred of their sin, which required punishment to be inflicted on themselves (compare Mal 1:3).

out of mine house—as in Ho 8:1: out of the land holy unto Me. Or, as "love" is mentioned immediately after, the reference may be to the Hebrew mode of divorce, the husband (God) putting the wife (Israel) out of the house.

princes … revolters—"Sarim … Sorerim" (Hebrew), a play on similar sounds.

All; the chief, or sum, or beginning:

Gilgal is not to be understood exclusive to other places, for every city was full, there was all kind of sin elsewhere.

Their wickedness, in rejecting God and his government. Here Saul was made king, and Samuel was rejected. Here they begun to turn the remarkable blessings God gave them in this place into a superstitious and hypocritical veneration of the place, and began their will-worship and idolatries. If all the impiety of Ephraim may be reduced to their horrible degeneracy and corruption in state and church, here it began, and so all was here.

Gilgal; where Israel first pitched their tents after they passed over Jordan: see Hosea 4:15.

There I hated them; as there they began to sin so notoriously, there also I began to show that I hated them for the wickedness of their doings; for the continued wickedness which from their first beginning there they have propagated to other places, and increased daily, and with obstinacy.

I will drive them out; as men thrust out of their houses one that is altogether unworthy to dwell longer with them.

Of mine house; by a synecdoche, the house for land; or, out of their house, which though theirs for use, was yet God’s propriety; and when God casts Ephraim out of his house, he sends him into captivity.

I will love them no more; I will cease to express any more love to thee; it is a meiosis, I will add no more love to them, i.e. I will add to hate them and punish them, I will leave them in the hand and under the fury of their enemies in a strange land.

All their princes, their kings and rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical,

are revolters; are and have been idolaters ever since the division in Jeroboam son of Nebat, not one of their kings but were idolaters, and obstinate and perverse in it also. Ah their wickedness is in Gilgal,.... A place in the ten tribes, where the covenant of circumcision was renewed in Joshua's time; the first passover was kept in the land of Canaan, and the people of Israel ate the firstfruits of the land; where the tabernacle was for a while, and sacrifices were offered up to the Lord: but now things were otherwise; all manner of iniquity was committed in it, especially idolatry; for which it was chosen by idolaters, because it had formerly been famous for religious worship: here, though not to the exclusion of other places, as Dan and Bethel, was the above sin committed; here it begun and spread itself, and had the measure of it filled up; here began the first departure from the Lord, rejecting him, and asking a king in the days of Samuel, as Kimchi and Abarbinel observe; and here were high places and altars erected for idolatry; and this is now the reason of the above threatenings of God, and the predictions of the prophet. Grotius thinks there is a mystical sense in the words, and that they have reference to the sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ on Golgotha; which, in the Syriac language, is the same with Gilgal; but both the people spoken of, and the place, are different:

for there I hated them; or "therefore" (m), because they sinned so greatly against him in a place where they had formerly worshipped him; their sacrifices there, instead of being acceptable, were the more abominable to him, as they were offered there where his tabernacle once was, and sacrifices were offered to him according to his will:

for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house; not out of the house of my sanctuary, or the temple, as the Targum; unless this is to be understood of losing the opportunity of going to the temple at Jerusalem, which those of the ten tribes had while they were in their own land, which the few godly persons among them then took, and made use of; but now their idolatry increasing in Gilgal, and other places, they should be carried captive; and, if they would, could not go up to the house of the Lord, and worship him there: or rather this may design, either the visible church of God, out of which they would be now ejected; or their native country, where they had been, as the family and household of God; but now should be so no more, but, as afterwards said, wanderers among the nations, and no more reckoned as belonging to the Lord, and under his paternal care and protection:

I will love them no more; which is not to be understood of the special love and favour the Lord bears to his own people in Christ, which is everlasting and unchangeable; but of his general and providential favour and regard unto these people, which he had manifested in bestowing many great and good things upon them; but now would do so no more; he would do nothing to them, or for them, that looked like love, or be interpreted of it, but all the reverse; and, by his behaviour to them, show that they were the objects of his aversion and hatred; and this was to continue, and has continued, and will continue unto the time of their conversion in the latter day, when "all Israel shall be saved", Romans 11:26;

all their princes are revolters; from God and his worship, who should have set a good example to the people; and since these were perverse and rebellious against God, it is no wonder that the people in general apostatized. This is to be understood of their king as supreme, and all subordinate rulers; of their judges and magistrates of every order; of all their governors, both civil and ecclesiastic; and not at Gilgal only, but in all the land. There is an elegant play on words (n) in the original, the beauty of which cannot be expressed in the translation.

(m) "ideo", Rivet. (n) "Sharehem Sorerim".

All their wickedness is in {q} Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.

(q) The chief cause of their destruction is that they commit idolatry, and corrupt my religion in Gilgal.

15. All their wickedness is in Gilgal, &c.] The dangerous attractiveness of Gilgal has been mentioned already (Hosea 4:15): the corruption of the northern kingdom had its focus there. At Gilgal, then, Jehovah has learned to ‘hate’ His unnatural children (comp. Hosea 11:1) so much that He must drive them out of His House (i.e. the Holy Land, as Hosea 8:1).

all their princes are revolters] Those who should be the leaders in cheerful subordination to the revealed will of God, are the foremost in transgression. The same paronomasia as in Isaiah 1:23—as if he had said, they are not sârîm but sôrerîm.

15, 16. Continuation of the speech of Jehovah, which had been interrupted at Hosea 9:13.Verses 15-17. - After the interruption by the excited question of the prophet in ver. 14, the terrible storm of denunciation sweeps on to the end of the chapter. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them; or, there I conceived hatred against them, the verb being used in an inchoative sense. Gilgal had been the scene of many mercies; there the rite of circumcision, the seal of the Abrahamic covenant, after its omission dining the sojourn in the wilderness, was renewed; there the Passover, also intermitted from its second observance at Sinai, was kept; there the twelve memorial stones had been set up; there the Captain of the host of the Lord had appeared to Joshua, reassuring him of Divine protection; there the tabernacle had stood before its removal to Shiloh; yet that very place - a place of such blessing and solemn covenanting-had become the scene of idolatry and iniquity. The wickedness of Israel had been concentrated there as in a focus; there Israel's rejection of the theocracy in its spiritual form had taken place; there that first-plague's pot of ruin had been contracted; there the calf-worship had been developed; there the form of civil government had been shaped according to their own erring fancy, and their mode of religious worship had been corrupted. Thus Gilgal had become the center of all their sin; but the scene of mercy became the source of wrath, for there God's fatherly love was turned by Israel's wickedness into hatred. For the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of my house, I will love them no more. They were driven out like Hagar out of the house of the patriarch, that Ishmael might not inherit with Isaac; like an unfaithful wife divorced and driven out of the house of the husband whom she has dishonored; or like an undutiful and disobedient son whom his father has disinherited. Further, God disowns the rebellious son, and acknowledges the paternal relationship no longer. The princes of Israel had become rebellions and stubborn: by an impressive Hebrew paronomasia, their sarim, rulers, had become sorerim, revolters. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Ephraim is a pleasant plant, but a worm has smitten the root and it has withered; Ephraim is a goodly tree, but the lightning of heaven has scorched and dried it up; there may be leafage for a time, but no fruitage ever. Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay the beloved fruit of their womb. The desires - margin, dear delights, or, darlings - perish, and so the figure is now dropped, and the fact is seen in all its severe and stern reality, while the dread denunciation of vers. 11 and 12 is repeated and emphasized. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations. The prophet submits his will to the Divine will, and acquiesces in the disposals of his providence, and in his own proper person predicts Israel's coming doom. He fills up the outline of the dark picture by stating the cause of their rejection. He specifies at the same time the character of rejection, namely, dispersion among the nations, like birds driven from their nest, for so the term nodedim denotes.

On the other hand, he will honour the god of fortresses. That מעזּים is not, with Theodotion, the Vulgate, Luther, and others, to be regarded as the proper name of a god, is now generally acknowledge. But as to which god is to be understood by the "god of fortresses," there is very great diversity of opinion. Grotius, C. B. Michaelis, Gesenius, and others think on Mars, the god of war, as the one intended; Hvernick, v. Lengerke, Maurer, and Ewald regard Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom Antiochus purposed to erect a temple in Antioch (Livy, xli. 20); others, Jupiter Olympius; while Hitzig, by changing מעזּים into ים מעז, fortress of the sea, thinks that Melkart, or the Phoenician Hercules, is referred to. But according to the following passage, this god was not known to his fathers. That could not be said either of Mars, or Jupiter, or Melkart. Add to this, "that if the statement here refers to the honouring of Hercules, or Mars, or Zeus, or Jupiter, then therewith all would be denied that was previously said of the king's being destitute of all religion" (Klief.). The words thus in no respect agree with Antiochus, and do not permit us to think on any definite heathen deity. כּנּו על does not signify on his foundation, pedestal (Hv., v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald), because the remark that he honoured God on his pedestal would be quite inappropriate, unless it had been also said that he had erected a statue to him. כּנּו על has here the same meaning as in Daniel 11:7, Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21 : "in his place or stead" (Gesenius, de Wette, Kliefoth, and others). But the suffix is not, with Klief., to be referred to כּל על: in the place of all that, which he did not regard, but it refers to כּל־אלוהּ: in the place of every god; which is not overthrown by the objection that in that case the suffix should have been plur., because the suffix is connected with the singular אלוה. The "god of fortresses" is the personification of war, and the thought is this: he will regard no other god, but only war; the taking of fortresses he will make his god; and he will worship this god above all as the means of his gaining the world-power. Of this god, war as the object of deification, it might be said that his fathers knew nothing, because no other king had made war his religion, his god to whom he offered up in sacrifice all, gold, silver, precious stones, jewels.
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