Hosea 4:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

King James Bible
They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

Darby Bible Translation
they sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oak and poplar and terebinth, because the shade thereof is good; therefore your daughters play the harlot and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.

World English Bible
They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery.

Young's Literal Translation
On tops of the mountains they do sacrifice, And on the hills they make perfume, Under oak, and poplar, and terebinth, For good is its shade.

Hosea 4:13 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Of what particular kinds the trees here mentioned are, cannot be determined with certainty. In regard to אלה ellah, in this place of Isaiah, as well as in Hosea, Celsius (Hierobot.) understands it of the terebinth, because the most ancient interpreters render it so; in the first place the Septuagint. He quotes eight places; but in three of these eight places the copies vary, some having δρυς, the oak, instead of τερεβινθος, the terebinth or turpentine tree. And he should have told us, that these same seventy render it in sixteen other places by δρυς, the oak; so that their authority is really against him; and the Septuagint, "stant pro quercu," contrary to what he says at first setting out. Add to this that Symmachus, Theodotion, and Aquila, generally render it by δρυς, the oak; the latter only once rendering it by τερεβινθος, the terebinth. His other arguments seem to me not very conclusive; he says, that all the qualities of אלה ellah agree to the terebinth, that it grows in mountainous countries, that it is a strong tree, long-lived, large and high, and deciduous. All these qualities agree just as well to the oak, against which he contends; and he actually attributes them to the oak in the very next section. But I think neither the oak nor the terebinth will do in this place of Isaiah, from the last circumstance which he mentions, their being deciduous, where the prophet's design seems to me to require an evergreen, otherwise the casting of its leaves would be nothing out of the common established course of nature, and no proper image of extreme distress and total desolation, parallel to that of a garden without water, that is, wholly burnt up and destroyed. An ancient, who was an inhabitant and a native of this country, understands it in like manner of a tree blasted with uncommon and immoderate heat; velut arbores, cum frondes aestu torrente decusserunt. Ephrem Syr. in loc., edit. Assemani. Compare Psalm 1:4; Jeremiah 17:8. Upon the whole I have chosen to make it the ilex, which word Vossius, Etymolog., derives from the Hebrew אלה ellah, that whether the word itself be rightly rendered or not, I might at least preserve the propriety of the poetic image. - L.

By the ilex the learned prelate means the holly, which, though it generally appears as a sort of shrub, grows, in a good soil, where it is unmolested, to a considerable height. I have one in my own garden, rising three stems from the root, and between twenty and thirty feet in height. It is an evergreen.

For they shall be ashamed "For ye shall be ashamed" - תבושו teboshu, in the second person, Vulgate, Chaldee, three MSS., one of my own, ancient, and one edition; and in agreement with the rest of the sentence.

Hosea 4:13Under oaks - אלון allon, from אלל alal, he was strong. Hence, the oak, in Latin, is called robur; which word means also, strength, the oak being the strongest of all the trees of the forest.

The shadow thereof is good - Their "daughters committed whoredom, and their spouses committed adultery."

1. Their deities were worshipped by prostitution.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Isaiah 1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, and you shall be confounded for the gardens that you have chosen.

Isaiah 57:5,7 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks...

Jeremiah 3:6,13 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done...

Ezekiel 6:13 Then shall you know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, on every high hill...

Ezekiel 16:16,25 And of your garments you did take, and decked your high places with divers colors, and played the harlot thereupon...

Ezekiel 20:28,29 For when I had brought them into the land, for the which I lifted up my hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill...


2 Samuel 12:10-12 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house; because you have despised me...

Job 31:9,10 If my heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door...

Amos 7:17 Therefore thus said the LORD; Your wife shall be an harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword...

Romans 1:23-28 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts...

'Let Him Alone'
'Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.'--HOSEA iv. 17. The tribe of Ephraim was the most important member of the kingdom of Israel; consequently its name was not unnaturally sometimes used in a wider application for the whole of the kingdom, of which it was the principal part. Being the 'predominant partner,' its name was used alone for that of the whole firm, just as in our own empire, we often say 'England,' meaning thereby the three kingdoms: England, Scotland, and Ireland. So 'Ephraim' here
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Beth-El. Beth-Aven.
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

"Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge"
God's favor toward Israel had always been conditional on their obedience. At the foot of Sinai they had entered into covenant relationship with Him as His "peculiar treasure. . . above all people." Solemnly they had promised to follow in the path of obedience. "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do," they had said. Exodus 19:5, 8. And when, a few days afterward, God's law was spoken from Sinai, and additional instruction in the form of statutes and judgments was communicated through Moses, the
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

'The fruit of the Spirit is joy.' Gal 5:52. The third fruit of justification, adoption, and sanctification, is joy in the Holy Ghost. Joy is setting the soul upon the top of a pinnacle - it is the cream of the sincere milk of the word. Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion, arising from the apprehension and feeling of some good, whereby the soul is supported under present troubles, and fenced against future fear. I. It is a delightful passion. It is contrary to sorrow, which is a perturbation
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Cross References
Isaiah 1:29
"You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.

Jeremiah 2:20
"Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

Jeremiah 3:6
During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.

Jeremiah 44:8
Why arouse my anger with what your hands have made, burning incense to other gods in Egypt, where you have come to live? You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a curse and an object of reproach among all the nations on earth.

Ezekiel 6:13
And they will know that I am the LORD, when their people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak--places where they offered fragrant incense to all their idols.

Hosea 2:13
I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the LORD.

Hosea 10:8
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed-- it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall on us!"

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