This oracle is probably in the beginning of Hoshea’s reign, and deals exclusively with the condition of the northern kingdom.
Without heart.—Better, without understanding.
As their congregation hath heard.—Should be, according to the report to their assembly—i.e., according to what they hear, perhaps from Hosea himself. The threatenings of the Pentateuch (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:13-68; Deuteronomy 32:15-35) find their echoes here.
(13) Though I have redeemed.—Should be, Though I would fain redeem them: an impressive picture of all the insults to longsuffering Divine love.
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.
The “raving insolence of their tongue” may mean the boasts that were made of the friendship of King Shebaka of Egypt, who made Israel his tool. In the land of Egypt they would thus become objects of derision. (Comp. Isaiah’s warning to his countrymen, Isaiah 30:1-8.)