(1) Empty in the English version is wrong, being inconsistent with what follows. (Comp. LXX. and Vulg.) Read luxuriant. The metaphors of the vintage (comp. also Genesis 49:22, and Introduction to Hosea 9) are still prevalent in the mind of the prophet. Wünsche has powerfully illustrated this wild strong growth of Israel as compared with Judah. Joash prevailed over Amaziah, and plundered Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:12-14). Jeroboam II. extended his power as far as Hamath (2 Kings 14:23-25). The kingdom had resisted the attacks of Syria, and had become insolent as well as idolatrous. The last clause should be rendered, The more abundant his fruit, the more he increased altars; the fairer his land, the fairer the Baal-pillars. On “Baal-pillars,” see W. R. Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, pp. 248, 425. (Comp. 9:1 and 2:5.) Misapprehending the cause of their temporal prosperity, and wilfully ignoring Jehovah’s forbearance and love, they attributed their mercies to the grace of Baal, and multiplied idolatrous shrines (see Romans 2:4.)
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.
Shalman.—The references in the margin are not to the same historic event. The allusion is very obscure. Schrader (Keilinschriften, 2nd ed., pp. 440-2) suggests two theories: one that it refers to an episode in the campaign of Shalmaneser III. to the “cedar country” (Lebanon), in 775 B.C., or to Damascus in 773. He might then have penetrated into the Transjordanic country, and destroyed Arbela, near Pella (Beth-arbel). The other theory, that we have here a mention of the Moabitish king Salmanu, whose name occurs in Tiglath-pileser’s inscription, is far-fetched and improbable. On the other hand, Geiger, following the hint of Jerome, identifies Shalman with Zalmunna (Judges 8:18; comp. Psalm 83:11). The kind of barbarity here referred to is illustrated by 2 Kings 8:12; Psalm 137:8-9.
In the morning.—Should be, in the early morning Hoshea was utterly cut off, leaving neither root nor branch.