Hosea 7:14 MEANING

Hosea 7:14
(14) Cried . . . Howled--God discriminates between a heart-cry to Him, and a howl of despair, resembling the yell of a wild beast. A howl upon their bed is not a sob of true repentance.

They assemble themselves.--To supplicate Jehovah for fruitful harvests. This rendering is supported by several eminent authorities. Others follow Ewald in translating," they excite themselves" with dervish-like devices and cries. The LXX. render with great force, "they cut themselves." (Comp. 1 Kings 18:28; Deuteronomy 14:1; Jeremiah 16:6.) This is based on a slightly different reading, contained in some of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., which is not improbably the right one. The charge is that all their simulated penitence is to secure physical comforts, not to show conformity with the Divine will.

Verse 14. - And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. This clause may be more correctly rendered, They did not cry to me in their heart, but howl upon their beds. Their falsehood manifested itself in works as well as words; a practical example is here given. They did not, in reality, seek help from God; if they sought at all, it was insincerely. They cried to God, but that cry did not proceed from their heart. They gave vent to their feelings of distress by howlings upon their beds; but those howlings were the expression of unbelief and despair, not by any means evidences of faith. "They do not cry to me," says Aben Ezra, "as the sick man cries to the physician." The comment of Kimchi is still fuller and more explicit: "They have not cried to me in their heart, because of their notion that I do not see their cry nor know what is good or bad for them; but they howl upon their beds, i.e. when they are upon their bed and when they think of that misfortune which is coming upon them. They howl and weep because of their evil case, and do not think that the evil falls on them from me, because they have broken faith with me." The form of יְיֵלִלִוּ is correctly explained by Gesenius as future Hiph. with preformative put before the third person, the yod of the simple form being superficially taken to belong to the stem. His derivation from אֵל, God, as if a cry to him for help, is incorrect; it is really an onomatopoetic word. They assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. What this

(1) assembling of themselves was does not clearly appear; whether it was in the market-place or elsewhere to purchase corn in time of famine, as some think; or in idol-temples to propitiate their deities, like the Roman supplicatio or lectiosternium, as others suppose; or for the performance of some extra rite of worship to Jehovah; or for the purpose of plunder in a season of scarcity; or generally their assembling in knots and crowds to discuss anxiously and lament despairingly the distressed state of the country; - their chief design and highest aim being a good supply of corn and wine, that is, the supply of mere bodily wants.

(2) The LXX. seem to have read ויתגדדו, as their rendering is κατετεμνόντο, equivalent to "they cut themselves," or" pined for corn and wine;" corresponding to which rendering is Cyril's exposition: "As enthusiasts and fanatics making incisions with steel in their breasts and both hands, and absurdly all but shedding in sacrifice their own blood, perhaps to graven images."

(3) Jerome, taking the verb from גָּרַר, to ruminate, translates accordingly: "super triticum et vinum ruminabant."

(4) The Syriac, tracing it to גוּר, to be afraid, translates: "They feared (or, were fearfully anxious) about corn and wine." The common reading and rendering are clearly preferable; Kimchi's exposition is in harmony therewith: "When corn or new wine comes into the city for sale, they all assemble at (or, round) it on account of the famine which is in the city; and yet they fall away from me." The construction of the last clause is pregnant, that is

(1) "they turn aside (and turn) against me." Here, again

(2) the LXX. seem to have read יִוָּסְרוּ, to which their translation, ἐπαιδεύθησαν ἐν ἐμοί, equivalent to "they were instructed by me," corresponds.

7:8-16 Israel was as a cake not turned, half burnt and half dough, none of it fit for use; a mixture of idolatry and of the worship of Jehovah. There were tokens of approaching ruin, as grey hairs are of old age, but they noticed them not. The pride which leads to break the law of God leads to self-flattery. The mercy and grace of God are the only refuge to which obstinate sinners never think of fleeing. Though they may howl forth their terrors in the form of prayers, they seldom cry to God with their hearts. Even their prayers for earthly mercies only seek fuel for their lusts. Their turning from one sect, sentiment, form, or vice, to another, still leaves them far short of Christ and holiness. Such are we by nature. And such shall we prove if left to ourselves. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.And they have not cried unto me with their heart,.... In their distress, indeed, they cried unto the Lord, and said they repented of their sins, and promised reformation, and made a show of worshipping God; as invocation is sometimes put for the whole worship of God; but then this was not heartily, but hypocritically; their hearts and their mouths did not go together, and therefore was not reckoned prayer; nothing but howling, as follows:

when they howled upon their beds; lying sick or wounded there; or, as some, in their idol temples, those beds of adultery, where they pretended to worship God by them, and to pray to him through them; but such idolatrous prayers were no better than the howlings of clogs to him; even though they expressed outwardly their cries with great vehemency, as the word used denotes, having one letter more in it than common:

they assemble themselves for corn and wine: either at their banquets, to feast upon them, as Aben Ezra; or to the markets, to buy them, as Kimchi suggests; or rather to their idol temples, to deprecate a famine, and to pray for rain and fruitful seasons; or if they gather together to pray to the Lord, it is only for carnal and worldly things; they only seek themselves, and their own interest, and not the glory of God, and ask for these things, to consume them on their lust. The Septuagint version is, "for corn and wine they were cut", or cut themselves, as Baal's priests did, when they cried to him, 1 Kings 18:28; and Theodoret here observes, that they performed the Heathen rites, and in idol temples made incisions on their bodies:

and they rebel against me: not only flee from him transgress his laws but cast off all allegiance to him and take up arms, and commit hostilities against him. The Targum joins this with the preceding clause,

"because of the multitude of corn and wine which they have gathered they have rebelled against my word;''

and to the same sense Jarchi; thus, Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked.

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