Hosea 9:4
They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.
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(4) Offeri.e., pour out as a libation. A better rendering is to be obtained by abandoning the Hebrew accentuation: And their sacrifices will not be pleasing to Him; it shall be to them as bread of sorrowi.e., funeral food, which defiles for seven days those who partake of it. Another reference to the Mosaic legislation (Deuteronomy 26:14)—Yea, their bread is for their appetite (i.e., only for bodily sustenance), it cometh not to Jehovah’s house as a sacred offering.[12] These verses show that Hosea did not consider the worship of the Northern Kingdom as in itself illegal.

[12] Kuenen (Hibbert Lecture, p. 312) proposes an alteration in the text, whereby the parallelism becomes more harmonious and the construction simpler. He then renders, “They shall pour no libation of wine to Jehovah, and shall not lay out their sacrifices before Him: as food eaten in mourning is their food.” This agrees better with Hosea 3:4.

Hosea 9:4. They shall not offer wine-offerings to the Lord — They have omitted to make wine-offerings to the Lord when they had it in their power, and when it was their duty to do it; and in the time of their captivity they will be willing to do it, but shall not have it in their power. Wine- offerings were appointed to be offered with the morning and evening sacrifice; the sacrifice representing Christ, and pardon by him, and the wine-offering the Spirit of grace. The daily repetition of the sacrifice continued their pardon and peace. All this, it is here threatened, should be withheld from these captives. Neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be, &c. — The words in this sentence are somewhat transposed in our translation. They stand otherwise in most other versions, namely, Neither shall their sacrifices be pleasing unto him, but as the bread of mourners among them — That is, their sacrifices shall be no more pleasing to God than if they were the bread of mourners, or that which is prepared for those who are mourning for the dead, of which no part was ever offered, or so much as brought into the temple. Mourners for the dead were, during their time of mourning, unqualified to attend upon God’s service; and any thing they had eaten of was accounted unfit to be offered to God: see note on Deuteronomy 26:14. All that eat thereof — Namely, of the sacrifices here spoken of; shall be polluted — Rendered impure. For their bread for their soul — The offerings they make for the expiation of their sin, or for an atonement for their souls, (see Leviticus 17:11,) shall not come into the house of the Lord — Shall not be fit to be brought into the temple.

9:1-6 Israel gave rewards to their idols, in the offerings presented to them. It is common for those who are stubborn in religion, to be prodigal upon their lusts. Those are reckoned as idolaters, who love a reward in the corn-floor better than a reward in the favour of God and in eternal life. They are full of the joy of harvest, and have no disposition to mourn for sin. When we make the world, and the things of it, our idol and our portion, it is just with God to show us our folly, and correct us. None may expect to dwell in the Lord's land, who will not be subject to the Lord's laws, or be influenced by his love. When we enjoy the means of grace, we ought to consider what we shall do, if they should be taken from us. While the pleasures of communion with God are out of the reach of change, the pleasant places purchased with silver, or in which men deposit silver, are liable to be laid in ruins. No famine is so dreadful as that of the soul.They shall not offer wine-offerings to the Lord - The "wine" or "drink-offering" was annexed to all their burnt-offerings, and so to all their public sacrifices. The burnt-offering (and with it the meal and the wine-offering,) was "the" daily morning and evening sacrifice Exodus 29:38-41; Numbers 28:3-8, and the sacrifice of the Sabbath Numbers 28:9. It was offered, together with the sin-offering, on the first of the month, the Passover, the feast of the first-fruits, of trumpets, of tabernacles, and the Day of Atonement, besides the special sacrifices of that day Numbers 28:11, Numbers 28:15-16, Numbers 28:19, Numbers 28:22, Numbers 28:26, Numbers 28:7, Numbers 28:30; Numbers 29:11, Numbers 29:1-2, Numbers 29:5, Numbers 29:7-8, 12-38. It entered also into private life Leviticus 1; Numbers 15:3, Numbers 15:10. The drink-offering accompanied also the peace-offering Numbers 15:8, Numbers 15:10. As the burnt-offering, on which the offerer laid his hand Leviticus 1:4, and which was wholly consumed by the sacred fire which at first fell from heaven, expressed the entire self-devotion of the offerer, that he owed himself wholly to his God; and as the peace-offering was the expression of thankfulness, which was at peace with God; so the outpouring of the wine betokened the joy, which accompanies that entire self oblation, that thankfulness in self-oblation of a soul accepted by God. In denying, then, that Israel should "offer wine-offerings," the prophet says, that all the joy of their service of God, nay all their public service should cease. As he had before said, that they should be "for many days without sacrifice" Leviticus 3:4, so now, he says, in fact, that they should live without the prescribed means of pleading to God the atonement to come. Whence he adds,

Neither shall they be pleasing to the Lord - For they should no longer have the means prescribed for reconciliation with God. Such is the state of Israel now. God appointed one way of reconciliation with Himself, the Sacrifice of Christ. Sacrifice pictured this, and pleaded it to Him, from the fall until Christ Himself "appeared, once in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Hebrews 9:26. Soon after, when time had been given to the Jews to learn to acknowledge Him, all bloody sacrifices ceased. Since then the Jews have lived without that means of reconciliation, which God appointed. It availed, not in itself, but as being appointed lay God to foreshadow and plead that one sacrifice. So He who, by our poverty and void, awakens in us the longing for Himself, would through the anomalous condition, to which He has, by the orderings of His divine providence, brought His former people, call forth in them that sense of need, which would bring them to Christ. In their half-obedience, they remain under the ceremonial law which He gave them, although He called them, and still calls them, to exchange the shadow for the substance in Christ. But in that they cannot fulfill the requirements of the law, even in its outward form, the law, which they acknowledge, bears witness to them, that they are not living according to the mind of God.

Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners - He had said that they should not sacrifice to God, when no longer in the Lord's land. He adds that, if they should attempt it, their sacrifices, so far from being a means of acceptance, should be defiled, and a source of defilement to them. "All" which was "in" the same "tent" or house with a dead body, was "unclean for seven days" Numbers 19:14. The bread, which they ate then, was defiled. If "one unclean by a dead body touched bread or pottage or any meat, it was unclean" Haggai 2:12-13. In offering the tithes, a man was commanded to declare, "I have not eaten of it in my mourning" Deuteronomy 26:15. So would God impress on the soul the awfulness of death, and man's sinfulness, of which death is the punishment. He does not say, that they would offer sacrifices, but that their sacrifices, if offered as God did not command, would defile, not atone. It is in truman nature, to neglect to serve God, when He wills it, and then to attempt to serve Him when he forbids it. Thus Israel, affrighted by the report of the spies Numbers 14, would not go up to the promised land, when God commanded it. When God had sentenced them, not to go up, but to die in the wilderness, "then" they attempted it. Sacrifice, according to God's law, could only be offered in the promised land. In their captivity, then, it would be a fresh sin.

For their bread for their soul - Or "is for their soul," i. e., "for themselves;" it is for whatever use they can make of it for this life's needs, to support life. Nothing of it would be admitted "into the house of the Lord," as offered to Him or accepted by Him.

4. offer wine offerings—literally, "pour as a libation (Ex 30:9; Le 23:13).

neither shall they be pleasing unto him—as being offered on a profane soil.

sacrifices … as the bread of mourners—which was unclean (De 26:14; Jer 16:7; Eze 24:17).

their bread for their soul—their offering for the expiation of their soul [Calvin], (Le 17:11). Rather, "their bread for their sustenance ('soul' being often used for the animal life, Ge 14:21, Margin) shall not come into the Lord's house"; it shall only subserve their own uses, not My worship.

They, captived for their idolatry and other sins,

shall not offer wine-offerings: these were by the law appointed to be offered with the morning and evening sacrifice; the sacrifice representing Christ, and pardon by him, the wine-offering represented the Spirit of grace. The sacrifice repeated daily continued their peace and pardon; the Spirit of grace supported, guided, comforted, and refreshed; all which shall be withheld from these captives, the law of God forbidding on one account, the law of their conquerors forbidding on another account.

Neither shall they be pleasing unto him; or if any should venture to do it, and think thereby to appease God’s anger, they shall miss their aim, it will not please God.

Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; their eucharistical sacrifices, in which they were used to feast with joy, shall be to them as the bread of mourners, as if they had buried a father or mother, and to comfort or support their saddened spirits did force themselves to some larger allowance and choicer meats; so great should be their grief in midst of their joys. Or else thus, their sacrifices should as much pollute them and displease God as if one mourning for the dead, and forbidden to sacrifice in tears and mourning, should yet venture to do it, and, against the law, sacrifice to his God when polluted by the dead, Numbers 19:11-14 Deu 26:14.

All that eat thereof shall be polluted; so far shall these men’s sacrifices be from expiating and purifying, that they should increase their guilt and danger, and incur the penalty threatened against the polluted, Numbers 19:13.

For; or, surely; the particle is not here causal, but assertive, as in many other places it is.

Their bread for their soul; their mincha or bread, which they always offered and were bound to offer with their sacrifices. Or else the first-fruits of their corn, which were to be brought to the Lord, and which being rightly offered did sanctify and insure the rest to them, with a blessing. This should not be done, they should be at that distance from the temple, and under the confinement of captives, so that they should not be able to do it if they were willing.

Shall not come; be brought in to the priest in the temple, Deu 26:2,3, &c.

They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord,.... This is either a threatening of the cessation of sacrifices, being carried into Assyria, a strange land, where it was not lawful to offer sacrifice, there being no temple nor altar to offer in or at; and so as they would not offer to the Lord when they should, now they shall not if they would: or this respects not, the future time of their exile, but their present time now, as Kimchi observes; and so is a reproof of their present sacrifices, which are forbidden to be observed; because they were offered not in faith, nor in sincerity, but hypocritically, and before their calves: besides, the future tease is sometimes put for the present; and this way goes Schmidt;

neither shall their sacrifices be pleasing unto him; unto the Lord, if they were offered; and is a reason why they should not, because unacceptable to him, and that for the reasons before mentioned:

their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners: all that eat thereof shall be polluted; as all that ate of the bread of such who were mourning for their dead, that partook of their funeral feasts, or ate bread with them at any time during their mourning, were defiled thereby, according to the Levitical law, and were unqualified for service, Leviticus 21:1; so the sacrifices of these people being offered up with a wicked mind instead of atoning for their sins, more and more defiled them; and, instead of being acceptable to God, were abominable to him:

for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord; in the captivity there was no house of the Lord for them to bring it into; and, when in their own land, they did not bring their offerings to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, as they should have done, but offered them before their calves at Dan and Bethel; and which is the thing complained of, that the bread for their souls, that is, the offerings accompanied with the "minchah", or bread offering, for the expiation of the sins of their souls, were not brought into the house of the Lord (the future for the present); or else, this being the case, their sacrifices were reckoned by the Lord as no other than common bread, which they ate for the sustenance of their lives.

They shall not offer {d} wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread {e} for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.

(d) All their doings both with regard to administration and religion, will be rejected as polluted things.

(e) The meat offering which they offered for themselves.

4. They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord] Libations of wine were accompaniments of the burnt-offerings and the peace-offerings, and so are naturally mentioned in connexion with the ‘sacrifices.’ It is implied that wine in general would become ‘unclean’, if a certain measure of it were not devoted to this sacred and sanctifying purpose. The clause is therefore equivalent to this—‘The wine that they drink shall not be pleasing to the Lord’; comp. the following words.

neither shall they be pleasing (lit. sweet) unto him] Strangely enough, the accentuation of the text separates between the verb and its subject; the Sept., Targ., and Peshito preserve the obviously right view of the construction, neither shall their sacrifices be pleasing unto him. The peculiar accentuation was possibly caused by a wish to preclude a misinterpretation of Hosea’s language, viz. that the Israelites would go on sacrificing to Jehovah even when in captivity. But the truth is that the Hebrew zébakh (like ἱερεῖον, see Mahaffy’s Old Greek Life, p. 32) has a twofold meaning: 1, a sacrifice, and 2, a feast of animal food. Fleshmeat was not the habitual food of the Israelites, any more than it is of the Arabs at the present day; to partake of it was a special divinely given privilege (comp. Genesis 9:3), and those who from time to time availed themselves of this privilege had to make an acknowledgment of it by presenting, at the very least, the blood before Jehovah (comp. 1 Samuel 14:32-35). The Book of Leviticus (Leviticus 17:3-4) prescribes that the blood of all slain beasts should be offered to Jehovah at the door of the tabernacle, and though a milder rule is given in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 12:15-16), yet, from what we know of the religious habits of the people, we may safely assume that not only did they worship Jehovah at the ‘high places’, but they also in one way or another presented any animal food of which they partook at the local shrines, as well as at the central sanctuary. Hence we may very probably lay down that in old Hebrew as in old Greek life the conceptions of sacrifice (and presenting the blood was a minor kind of sacrificial act) and of feasting upon animal food were inseparable; indeed, we find in the semi-secular Book of Proverbs two synonymous proverbs, in one of which a feast is described as ‘a stalled ox’, and in the other as ‘sacrifices’ (comp. Proverbs 15:17; Proverbs 17:1). Consequently, we might, in the clause before us, with equal justice render ‘neither shall their sacrifices’, and ‘neither shall their feasts (i.e. meat-meals) be pleasing unto him.’ It must be admitted, however, that the sense is improved if, with Kuenen, we alter a Beth into a Caph, and render, neither shall they lay out their sacrifices before him (upon the altar); comp. Hosea 3:4. Such a mistake in the reading of the text would escape notice the more easily, because the phrase produced by it is so idiomatic (comp. Jeremiah 6:20 b). If we accept this emendation, all that has been said on the connexion of sacrificing and feasting will still retain its explanatory value. We may illustrate this connexion further by Ezekiel 39:17, where Ezekiel is bidden to invite ‘every feathered fowl’ to the ‘sacrifice’ (so A.V.) that Jehovah doth ‘sacrifice for them’; ‘sacrifice’ (zébakh) is here evidently equivalent to ‘feast’ (in the sense described above).

their sacrifices … mourners] Rather, (their bread) shall be unto them as the bread of mourning; the first two words seem to have fallen out of the text. ‘Bread of mourning’ means such as was eaten during the seven days of mourning, when everything in the vicinity of the dead body was regarded as unclean (Numbers 19:14); it is therefore the emblem of utter impurity. Or there may possibly be a more special reference to the funeral feasts, which lingered on among the Israelites, as St Jerome has noticed (see his note on Jeremiah 16:7 and see Deuteronomy 26:14), but which are to be distinguished from the offerings made at intervals (in Sirach’s time) at the grave (Sir 7:33; Sir 30:18). See Ewald, Antiquities, E. T., p. 153, Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, p. 132, Tylor, Primitive Culture, ii. 27.

for their bread for their soul …] Rather, for their bread shall be (only) for their hunger (i.e. to satisfy their appetite); it shall not come into the house of the Lord. They will not have the joy which belongs to those who have duly presented the tithes of their corn, or the firstlings of their flock, or offered their burnt sacrifices—the joy of the sense of the divine favour. They cannot have this, because their food lacks the consecration of ‘the house of the Lord’ (not the temple at Jerusalem, but any of the ‘high places’ dedicated to Jehovah).

Verses 4, 5. - They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them the broad of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted. Having predicted their inability to observe the ritual distinctions between clean and unclean, which the Law prescribed, whether from the tyranny of their oppressors or from scarcity, or from the absence of sanctification by the presentation of the firstfruits, the prophet proceeds to predict their cessation altogether. Such is the prophet's picture of their miserable position in Assyria. It is aptly remarked by Grotius that "they failed to pour out libations to the Lord when they could; now the time shall come when they may wish to make such libations, but cannot." According to the Massoretic punctuation and the common rendering,

(1) which is that of the Authorized Version, the people themselves are the subject of the second verb. They were neither able to offer drink offerings, a part for the whole of the meat offerings and unbloody oblations; nor, if they did, could they hope for acceptance for them away from the sanctuary and its central altar.

(2) Hitzig supplies niskeyhens, their drink offerings, from the foregoing clause, as subject to the verb of the following one, and the verb is explained by some in the sense of "mire." If

(3) we neglect the segholta, and make zibh-chehem the subject, the meaning is clearer, and the contrast between the unbloody and bloody offerings more obvious; thus: "They will not pour out libations of wine to Jehovah, nor will their sacrifices [equivalent to 'bloody oblations'] please him," that is to say, not such as were actually offered, but such as they might feel dis. posed to offer. The same noun may be repeated in next clause; thus, their sacrifices, or rather slaughtered meats, are unto him as bread of mourners, or, what is better, their food (supplied from ke lechem) shall be unto them like bread of mourners. Mourners' bread is that eaten at a funeral feast, or meal by persons mourning for the dead, and which was legally unclean, since a corpse defiled the house in which it was and all who entered it for seven days, as we read in Numbers 19:14, "This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days." Of course, all who partook of the food would be polluted; so with that of Israel in exile, being unsanctified by the offering of firstfruits. For their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord. "Their bread for their soul," that is, for appeasing their appetite, whatsoever their soul lusted after, or bread for the preservation of their life, would not come into the house of the Lord to be sanctified by representative offerings. What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? On such occasions they would feel the misery of their position most keenly. Away in a far foreign land, without temple and without ritual, they would bewail the loss of their annual celebrations, their national festivals and religious solemnities - those holiday-times of general joy and spiritual gladness. The distinction between moed and chag is variously given.

(1) By Grotius and Rosenmüller mood is referred to one of the three annual feasts - Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles; and chug to any of the other feasts, including the new moon.

(2) Others restrict chag to the Feast of Tabernacles, or harvest festival, the most joyous of them all. Keil makes the words synonymous, except that in chag festival joy is made prominent. Hosea 9:4"They will not remain in the land of Jehovah: Ephraim returns to Egypt, and they will eat unclean things in the land of Asshur. Hosea 9:4. They will not pour out wine to Jehovah, and their slain-offerings will not please Him: like bread of mourning are they to Him; all who eat it become unclean: for their bread is for themselves, it does not come into the house of Jehovah." Because they have fallen away from Jehovah, He will drive them out of His land. The driving away is described as a return to Egypt, as in Hosea 8:13; but Asshur is mentioned immediately afterwards as the actual land of banishment. That this threat is not to be understood as implying that they will be carried away to Egypt as well as to Assyria, but that Egypt is referred to here and in Hosea 9:6, just as in Hosea 8:13, simply as a type of the land of captivity, so that Assyria is represented as a new Egypt, may be clearly seen from the words themselves, in which eating unclean bread in Assyria is mentioned as the direct consequence of their return to Egypt; whereas neither here nor in Hosea 9:6 is their being carried away to Assyria mentioned at all; but, on the contrary, in Hosea 9:6, Egypt only is introduced as the place where they are to find their grave. This is still more evident from the fact that Hosea throughout speaks of Asshur alone, as the rod of the wrath of God for His rebellious people. The king of Asshur is king Jareb (striver), to whom Ephraim goes for help, and by whom it will be put to shame (Hosea 5:13; Hosea 10:6); and it is from the Assyrian king Salman that devastation and destruction proceed (Hosea 10:14). And, lastly, it is expressly stated in Hosea 11:5, that Israel will not return to Egypt, but to Asshur, who will be its king. By the allusion to Egypt, therefore, the carrying away to Assyria is simply represented as a state of bondage and oppression, resembling the sojourn of Israel in Egypt in the olden time, or else the threat contained in Deuteronomy 28:68 is simply transferred to Ephraim. They will eat unclean things in Assyria, not only inasmuch as when, under the oppression of their heathen rulers, they will not be able to observe the laws of food laid down in the law, or will be obliged to eat unclean things from simple want and misery; but also inasmuch as all food, which was not sanctified to the Lord by the presentation of the first-fruits, was unclean food to Israel (Hengstenberg). In Assyria these offerings would cease with the whole of the sacrificial ritual; and the food which was clean in itself would thereby become unclean outside the land of Jehovah (cf. Ezekiel 4:13). This explanation of טמא is required by Hosea 9:4, in which a further reason is assigned for the threat. For what we have there is not a description of the present attitude of Israel towards Jehovah, but a picture of the miserable condition of the people in exile. The verbs are pure futures. In Assyria they will neither be able to offer wine to the Lord as a drink-offering, nor such slain-offerings as we well-pleasing to Him. For Israel could only offer sacrifices to its God at the place where He made known His name by revelation, and therefore not in exile, where He had withdrawn His gracious presence from it. The drink-offerings are mentioned, as pars pro toto, in the place of all the meat-offerings and drink-offerings, i.e., of the bloodless gifts, which were connected with the zebhâchı̄m, or burnt-offerings and thank-offerings (shelâmı̄m, Numbers 15:2-15, Numbers 15:28-29), and could never be omitted when the first-fruits were offered (Leviticus 23:13, Leviticus 23:18). "Their sacrifices:" zibhchēhem belongs to יערבוּ־לו (shall be pleasing to Him), notwithstanding the previous segholta, because otherwise the subject to יערבו would be wanting, and there is evidently quite as little ground for supplying נס'כיהם from the preceding clause, as Hitzig proposes, as for assuming that ערב here means to mix. Again, we must not infer from the words, "their slain-offerings will not please Him," that the Israelites offered sacrifices when in exile. The meaning is simply that the sacrifices, which they might wish to offer to Jehovah there, would not be well-pleasing to Him. We must not repeat זבחיהם as the subject to the next clause להם ... כּלחם, in the sense of "their sacrifices will be to them like mourners' bread," which would give no suitable meaning; for though the sacrifices are called bread of God, they are never called the bread of men. The subject may be supplied very readily from kelechem (like bread) thus: their bread, or food, would be to them like mourners' bread; and the correctness of this is proved by the explanatory clause, "for their bread," etc. Lechem 'ōnı̄m, bread of affliction, i.e., of those who mourn for the dead (cf. Deuteronomy 26:14), in other words, the bread eaten at funeral meals. This was regarded as unclean, because the corpse defiled the house, and all who came in contact with it, for seven days (Numbers 19:14). Their bread would resemble bread of this kind, because it had not been sanctified by the offering of the first-fruits. "For their bread will not come into the house of Jehovah," viz., to be sanctified, "for their souls," i.e., to serve for the preservation of their life.
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