Hosea 10:9 MEANING

Hosea 10:9
(9) O Israel . . . Gibeah.--Thou didst commence thy obscene transgressions long before the disruption of the kingdom of Rehoboam, even at Gibeah. Gibeah is emblematic of gross and cruel sensuality, in allusion to Judges 19:20, just as Sodom is used for unnatural vice.

There they stood.--Or rather, remained sinning after the same manner. The rest of the verse should be rendered, Shall there not overtake them in Gibeah (used mystically) the war made against the wicked? (Comp. Judges 20) But Dr. Pusey and others take it categorically, implying that though the exterminating war against the men of Gibeah did not overtake them, and has not yet, it shall now, and soon. But the former interpretation is to be preferred.

Verse 9. - O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah. Two explanations given of this clause - namely, that which understands, rain comparatively, that is, "more than" - their sins were greater than those of the Benjamites in the days of Gibeah; and that which refers the sin here spoken of to the appointment of Saul, who was of Gibeah of Benjamin, to be king - must be unhesitatingly rejected. Tile sin of the men of Gibeah was the shameful outrage committed on the Levite's concubine by the men of Gibeah, which with its consequences is recorded in Judges 19. and 20. That sin became proverbial, overtopping, as it did, all ordinary iniquities by its shameless atrocity and heinousness. By along-continued course of sin, even from ancient days, Ephraim has been preparing for a fearful doom. There they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. This portion of the verse is not a little perplexing, and in consequence has called forth considerable diversity of exposition. There is

(1) that which is implied in the Authorized Version, viz. "there they stood," smitten twice but not destroyed, chastened but not killed, the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them then so as utterly to destroy them, but it shall overtake them now. Or if the verb "overtake," which is future, be strictly rendered, the meaning is - Not a battle like that in Gibeah against the children of iniquity shall overtake them, but one much more sanguinary and terrible, resulting, not in the reduction of a single tribe to six hundred men, but in the extirpation of ten tribes.

(2) That of Keil and others, though not the same, is similar. It is: "There, in Gibea, did they remain, persevering in the sin of Gibeah, and yet the war in Gibeah against the sinners has not overtaken them." This makes the meaning of the prophet to be that since the days of Gibeah the Israelites persevered in the same or like sin as the Gibeahites; and, though the Gibeahites were so severely punished, actually destroyed, because of their sin, the ten tribes of Israel, persisting in the same or similar sin, have not yet been resisted with any such exterminating war. Jehovah announces his intention now to visit them with punishment and severest chastisement for all. The meaning which Keil aims at may be better brought out by rendering the latter clause interrogatively; thus: "There they stood - persisting in the criminality of Gibeah - shall there not overtake them, living as they do in Gibeah, the war which exterminated the children of crime?" It is admitted that עמר may have been the meaning of "persevering;" but a better sense

(3) is gained by Wunsche referring the subject of עמדו to the Benjamites; the suffix of תשינם to the בני עולה, or "children of iniquity," that is, their guilty tribesmen in Gibeah; taking the intermediate clause parenthetically; and עמד with על to "stand in defense of;" thus: "Since the days of Gibeah hast thou sinned, O Israel: there they (the Benjamites) stood in defense of the children of iniquity, that the war might not reach them in Gibeah." This gives a satisfactory sense, and intimates that, by a long-continued course of iniquity and crime, the Ephraimites were preparing themselves for a fearful fate. Already from days long gone by grievous guilt cleaved to them; thus in the days of Gibeah they (the Benjamites) stood by their iniquitous brethren that the battle in Gibeah might not reach them. As this was before the disruption, the Benjamites were part and parcel of Israel here represented by them.

(4) Rosenmüller's explanation is the following: "They (the Benjamites) survived (עָמַד, opposed to אָבַד, as in Psalm 102:27) being severely punished, though they did not entirely perish, six hundred being left to revive the tribe." But a still severer punishment awaits the Israelites (the person being changed from the second to the third, and the prophet addressing himself to hearer or reader): not the war waged in Gibeah (or on account of the crime committed there) against the children of iniquity shall overtake them, but a far more deadly and destructive war. The word עלוה is by metathesis for עולה as זְעַוָה for זְוָעָה, commotion; כֶשָׂב for כֶבֶשׂ; and שַׂלְמָה, for שִׂמְלָה.

10:9-15 Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day's work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men's sins bring on them, even in this world!O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah,.... This has no respect, as the Targum, and others, to Gibeah of Saul, of which place he was, and the choosing him to be king; but to the affair of the Levite and his concubine at Gibeah in the days of the judges, and what followed upon it, Judges 19:1; suggesting, that the sins of Israel were not new ones; they were the same with what were committed formerly, as early as the history referred to, and had been continued ever since; the measure of which were now filling up: or, as Aben Ezra and Abarbinel interpret it, "thou hast sinned more than the days of Gibeah"; were guilty of more idolatry, inhumanity, and impurity, than in those times; and yet the grossest of sins, particularly unnatural lusts, were then committed:

there they stood; either the men of Gibeah continued in their sins, and did not repent of them; and stood in their own defence against the tribes of Israel, and the Benjamites stood also with them, and by them; and stood two battles, and were conquerors in them; and, though beaten in the third, were not wholly destroyed, as now the Israelites would be: or the tribes of Israel stood, and continued in, and connived at, the idolatry of the Levite; or rather stood sluggish and slothful, and were not eagar to fight with the Benjamites, who took part with the men of Gibeah; which were their sins, for which they were worsted in the two first battles, and in which the present Israelites imitated them:

the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them; the two first battles against the men of Gibeah and the Benjamites, who are the children of iniquity, the one the actors, and the other the abettors and patrons of it, did not succeed against them, but the Israelites were overcome; and the third battle, in which they got the day, did not overtake them so as utterly to cut them off; for six hundred persons made their escape; but, in the present case prophesied of, it is suggested, that as their sins were as great or greater than theirs, their ruin should be entire and complete: or the sense is, that they were backward to go to battle; they were not eager upon it; they did not at once espouse the cause of the Levite; they did not stir in it till he had done that unheard of thing, cutting his concubine into twelve pieces, and sending them to the twelve tribes of Israel; and then they were not overly anxious, but sought the Lord, as if it was a doubtful case; which backwardness was resented in their ill success at first; and the same slow disposition to punish vice had continued with them ever since; so Schmidt.

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