Hosea 9:9
They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
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(9) For the reference to Gibeah, see Judges 19.

9:7-10 Time had been when the spiritual watchmen of Israel were with the Lord, but now they were like the snare of a fowler to entangle persons to their ruin. The people were become as corrupt as those of Gibeah, Jud 19; and their crimes should be visited in like manner. At first God had found Israel pleasing to Him, as grapes to the traveller in the wilderness. He saw them with pleasure as the first ripe figs. This shows the delight God took in them; yet they followed after idolatry.They have deeply corrupted themselves - Literally, "they have gone deep, they are corrupted." They have deeply immersed themselves in wickedness; have gone to the greatest depth they could, in it; they are sunk in it, so that they could hardly be extricated from it; and this, of their own deliberate intent; they contrived it deeply, hiding themselves, as they hoped, from God.

As in, the days of Gibeah - When Benjamin espoused the cause of "the children of Belial" who had worked such horrible brutishness in Gibeah toward the concubine of the Levite. This they maintained with such obstinacy, that, through God's judgment, the whole tribe perished, except six hundred men. Deeply they must have already corrupted themselves, who supported such guilt. Such corruption and such obstinacy was their's still.

Therefore "he will remember their iniquity." God seemed for a time, as if He overlooked the guilt of Benjamin in the days of Gibeah, for at first He allowed them to be even victorious over Israel, yet in the end, they were punished, almost to extermination, and Gibeah was destroyed. So now, although He bore long with Ephraim, He would, in the end show that He remembered all by visiting all.

9. as in the days of Gibeah—as in the day of the perpetration of the atrocity of Gibeah, narrated in Jud 19:16-22, &c. They, the people of the ten tribes, prophets, priests, princes, and people, have deeply corrupted themselves, have strangely and horribly debauched one another; beside all their idolatry, there is more than brutish filthiness among them.

As in the days of Gibeah; the story whereof you have Judges 19.

Therefore he, God, who hateth such workers of iniquity,

will remember their iniquity; he will not pardon their iniquity, but charge it upon them: when God saith he will not remember, it is a promise of pardon; When he threatens he will remember, it is a threat of not pardoning.

He will visit their sins; he will punish: see Hosea 9:7.

They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah,.... Not the false prophets and watchmen only; but rather Ephraim, or the ten tribes, through their means became extremely corrupt in principle and practice; they had most sadly degenerated, and were deeply sunk and immersed in all manner of wickedness, and rooted in it, and continued obstinate and incorrigible, so that there was no hope of reformation among them; they had got to as great a pitch of wickedness, and were guilty of the like uncleanness, lewdness, barbarity, and cruelty, as were acted by the men of Gibeah, with respect to the Levite and his concubine, Judges 19:1; for Gibeah of Benjamin is here meant, where the people asked a king, and rebelled against the words of the prophet, as some in Jarchi interpret it:

therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins: that is, God, my God, as the prophet calls him in Hosea 9:8, will not forgive and forget their sins; pardon being often expressed by a non-remembrance of sins; but will make inquiry after them, and visit them in a way of wrath and vengeance, and punish for them as they deserve: they being obstinate and impenitent, and persisting in their sins, like the men of Gibeah and Benjamin.

They {k} have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

(k) This people is so rooted in their wickedness, that Gibeah, which was similar to Sodom, was never more corrupt; Jud 19:22.

9. as in the days of Gibeah] The atrocity described in Jdg 19:22-30, and referred to by Hosea again in Hosea 10:9. All the Benjamites were destroyed except 600 men (Jdg 20:46-48)—a warning for Ephraim!

Hosea 9:9"The days of visitation are come, the days of retribution are come; Israel will learn: a fool the prophet, a madman the man of spirit, for the greatness of thy guilt, and the great enmity. Hosea 9:8. A spy is Ephraim with my God: the prophet a snare of the bird-catcher in all his ways, enmity in the house of his God. Hosea 9:9. They have acted most corruptly, as in the days of Gibeah: He remembers their iniquity, visits their sins." The perfects in Hosea 9:7 are prophetic. The time of visitation and retribution is approaching. Then will Israel learn that its prophets, who only predicted prosperity and good (Ezekiel 13:10), were infatuated fools. אויל וגו introduces, without kı̄, what Israel will experience, as in Hosea 7:2; Amos 5:12. It does not follow, from the use of the expression 'ı̄sh rūăch, that the reference is to true prophets. 'Ish rūăch (a man of spirit) is synonymous with the 'ı̄sh hōlēkh rūăch (a man walking in the spirit) mentioned in Micah 2:11 as prophesying lies, and may be explained from the fact, that even the false prophets stood under the influence of a superior demoniacal power, and were inspired by a rūăch sheqer ("a lying spirit," 1 Kings 22:22). The words which follow, viz., "a fool is the prophet," etc., which cannot possibly mean, that men have treated, despised, and persecuted the prophets as fools and madmen, are a decisive proof that the expression does not refer to true prophets. על רב עונך is attached to the principal clauses, השּׁלּם ... בּאוּ. The punishment and retribution occur because of the greatness of the guilt of Israel. In ורבּה the preposition על continues in force, but as a conjunction: "and because the enmity is great" (cf. Ewald, 351, a). Mastēmâh, enmity, not merely against their fellow-men generally, but principally against God and His servants the true prophets. This is sustained by facts in Hosea 9:8. The first clause, which is a difficult one and has been interpreted in very different ways, "spying is Ephraim עם אלהי" (with or by my God), cannot contain the thought that Ephraim, the tribe, is, according to its true vocation, a watchman for the rest of the people, whose duty it is to stand with the Lord upon the watch-tower and warn Israel when the Lord threatens punishment and judgment (Jerome, Schmidt); for the idea of a prophet standing with Jehovah upon a watch-tower is not only quite foreign to the Old Testament, but irreconcilable with the relation in which the prophets stood to Jehovah. The Lord did indeed appoint prophets as watchmen to His people (Ezekiel 3:17); but He does take His own stand upon the watch-tower with them. Tsâphâh in this connection, where prophets are spoken of both before and after, can only denote the eager watching on the part of the prophets for divine revelations, as in Habakkuk 2:1, and not their looking out for help; and עם אלהי cannot express their fellowship or agreement with God, if only on account of the suffix "my God," in which Hosea contrasts the true God as His own, with the God of the people. The thought indicated would require אלהיו, a reading which is indeed met with in some codices, but is only a worthless conjecture. עם denotes outward fellowship here: "with" equals by the side of. Israel looks out for prophecies or divine revelations with the God of the prophet, i.e., at the side of Jehovah; in other words, it does not follow or trust its own prophets, who are not inspired by Jehovah. These are like snares of a bird-catcher in its road, i.e., they cast the people headlong into destruction. נביא stands at the head, both collectively and absolutely. In all its ways there is the trap of the bird-catcher: i.e., all its projects and all that it does will only tend to ensnare the people. Hostility to Jehovah and His servants the true prophets, is in the house of the God of the Israelites, i.e., in the temple erected for the calf-worship; a fact of which Amos (Amos 7:10-17) furnishes a practical example. Israel has thereby fallen as deeply into abomination and sins as in the days of Gibeah, i.e., as at the time when the abominable conduct of the men of Gibeah in connection with the concubine of a Levite took place, as related in Judges 19ff., in consequence of which the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated. The same depravity on the part of Israel will be equally punished by the Lord now (cf. Hosea 8:13).
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