Hosea 4:9 MEANING

Hosea 4:9
(9, 10) As the people will be punished, so will the priest. The latter will not be saved by wealth or dignity. And I will visit upon him his ways (observe here the collective singular in the pronoun), and cause his doings to return upon him. The form of the punishment is to be noticed. The eating of the sin of the people shall leave them hungry, and their licentiousness shall leave them childless.

Verse 9. - Like people, like priest. As it had fared with the people who had sinned and had been punished, as is stated in the third and fifth verses; so shall it be with the priest or whole priestly order. He has involved himself in sin and punishment like the people, and that as the consequence of his extreme unfaithfulness; whereas by faithful dealing with the people and discharge of his duty he might have delivered his own soul, as stated by Ezekiel 33:9, "Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." It is well explained by Kimchi as follows: "These two caphs of likeness are by way of abbreviation, and the explanation is - the people are like the priest and the priest is like the people. And the meaning is that, as the people and the priest are equal with respect to sin, so shall they be equal in relation to punishment." And I will visit upon his ways, and his doings I will bring back to him. The retribution here threatened includes the whole priestly order, not people and priest as one man, according to Pusey, who, however, makes the following excellent comment on מעלליו: "The word rendered doings signifies great doings when used of God, bold doings on the part of man. These bold presumptuous doings against the Law and will of God, God will bring back to the sinner's bosom," or rather, down overwhelmingly upon his head. The singular individualizes; so both Aben Ezra and Kimchi: "Upon every one of them."

4:6-11 Both priests and people rejected knowledge; God will justly reject them. They forgot the law of God, neither desired nor endeavoured to retain it in mind, and to transmit the remembrance to their posterity; therefore God will justly forget them and their children. If we dishonour God with that which is our honour, it will, sooner or later, be turned into shame to us. Instead of warning the people against sin, from the consideration of the sacrifices, which showed what an offence sin was to God, since it needed an atonement, the priests encouraged the people to sin, since atonement might be made at so small an expense. It is very wicked to be pleased with the sins of others, because they may turn to our advantage. What is unlawfully gained, cannot be comfortably used. The people and the priests hardened one another in sin; therefore justly shall they share in the punishment. Sharers in sin must expect to share in ruin. Any lust harboured in the heart, in time will eat out all its strength and vigour. That is the reason why many professors grow so heavy, so dull, so dead in the way of religion. They have a liking for some secret lust, which takes away their hearts.And there shall be, like people, like priest,.... No difference between them in their festivals, the one being as greedy of committing intemperance and uncleanness as the other, and in their common conversation of life; though the priests ought both to have given good instructions, and to have set good examples; but instead of that were equally guilty as the people, and so would be alike in their punishment, as it follows:

and I will punish them for their ways; their evil ways, as the Targum; their wicked manner of life and conversation, both of the people and the priests; especially the latter are meant: or, "I will visit upon him his ways" (w); upon everyone of the priests, as well as the people; which visit must be understood in a way of wrath and vengeance:

and reward them their doings; reward them according to their doings, as their sins deserve, and as it is explained in the next verse: or, "I will return their doings to them" (x); bring them back again, when they seemed to be past and gone, and set them before them, and charge them with them, and punish for them.

(w) "et visitabo super eum vias ejus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt. (x) "et opera ejus redire faciam", Zanchius.

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