Hosea 8:10
(10) There is much difference of opinion as to the interpretation of this verse. Much depends on the reference of the word "them." We prefer to regard it as referring to Ephraim rather than to the nations (i.e., Assyria and Egypt). Render, I will gather them (Israel) together, so that in a short time they may delay (this translation approved by Ewald, Wnsche, and Simson) to render the tribute burden due to the king of princes (i.e., the Assyrian monarch). "Gather them together," i.e., in restraint, so that they cannot roam so wildly, seeking help (Ewald). This accords with Hosea 2:8-9; Hosea 3:4. Such non-payment of tribute actually occurred a few years later (2Kings 17:4). Others render it: I will gather these nations (of the East) round about her to look scornfully on her ruin, and they shall sorrow a little (used ironically) at the imposition of the king of the princes.

Verse 10. - Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them. Instead of "have hired," "sue" would make the sense more obvious. But who are they of whom it is here said, "I will gather them"?

(1) The nations, among whom Ephraim has been suing for endearments from paramours, shall be gathered together to effect the hurt or ruin of Ephraim; while for this explanation Ezekiel 16:37, is cited as parallel: "Behold, therefore, I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness." But

(2) others maintain that the persons gathered are the Ephraimites whom the Lord will gather, that is to say,

(a) will bring them all together among the nations, leading them thither; and to this exposition Hosea 9:6 is thought to furnish a parallel, at least as far as the meaning of the verb "to gather" is concerned: "Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them."

(b) Or the Ephraimites shall be gathered together to be led away in chains and dispersed among the nations;

(c) or shall be gathered for death and to perish by sword and famine; or

(d) to be gathered together unto Samaria and other fortified cities, in order to be taken to. gather and carried by their enemies away into captivity.

(3) Rashi understands the gathering together of Israel, but in the sense of a promise . "Though they have sued for endearments among the nations, I will gather them out of the nations among which they have been dispersed, as the same verb, קבצ, is used in Isaiah 54. and Jeremiah 31:10, viz. 'I will not delay their deliverance."' This exposition is not in harmony with the context, from which we expect a threat of punishment rather than a promise of reward. Both Kimchi and Aben Ezra favor exposition

(1) "What benefit is it to them, asks the prophet, that they sue among the nations? For soon I will gather the nations against them to carry them into captivity." Thus Kimchi and somewhat similarly Aben Ezra. Whether we take the verb as pointed with daghesh in the tav, and so from נחן, to give, that is, gifts to lovers, or without daghesh, and from חנה equivalent to נָחַן אֶחִנִח, to hire or bargain, makes little difference in the general sense of the clause. And they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes. This fixes with more definiteness the meaning of the foregoing member of the verse. According to

(1) this rendering of יַחֵלוּ (Qeri) Hiph. from הוּל, "a little" would require to be taken Ironically; it is better, therefore, to render it "in a little time." The burden is not that of taxation or even deportation, but of oppression in exile. The oppressor is the monarch of Assyria, who asks boastingly. "Are not my princes altogether kings?" Another

(2) translation is, "They will begin to diminish on account of the burden of the king of princes.' According to this the verb וַיָּהֵלוּ is future of Hiph. חֵחֵל from חלל, to begin, and מְעָט is either an infinitive for מַעט, or rather a verbal adjective: and the sense is that they begin to be or become fewer in consequence of the Assyrian's oppression. But

(3) taking the verb from the same root חלל cognate with Greek χαλάω, loose, set free, Gesenius translates, "And they (the hostile nations) shall presently force them from the burden (i.e. the unpleasant dominion)of the king." The Septuagint

(4) read מִמָּשַׁח instead of מִמַּשּׂא, and a copula between, i.e." and princes;" and render, Καὶ κοπάσουσι μικρὸν τοῦ χρίειν βασιλέα καὶ ἄρχπντας, equivalent to "And they shall cease a little to anoint a king and princes." Our choice must lie between

(1) and

(2) in interpreting this difficult clause; there is a modification of

(1) worth mentioning; it is: "They shall in a little while sorrow for the burden which they pay (i.e. the tribute which they pay) kings and princes," viz. all of them, the two concluding words being thus in apposition to the subject of the verb. On the whole, we prefer there rendering of the clause in the Authorized Version, as both grammatical and supplying a sense consistent with the context. The prophet foretells that Israel would ere long feel painfully the sorrowful consequences of their going to Assyria and suing there for help. Oppressed by a yearly tribute to the Assyrian king, they would smart under the yoke, and long to be free.

8:5-10 They promised themselves plenty, peace, and victory, by worshipping idols, but their expectations came to nothing. What they sow has no stalk, no blade, or, if it have, the bud shall yield no fruit, there was nothing in them. The works of darkness are unfruitful; nay, the end of those things is death. The hopes of sinners will deceive them, and their gains will be snares. In times of danger, especially in the day of judgment, all carnal devices will fail. They take a course by themselves, and like a wild ass by himself, they will be the easier and surer prey for the lion. Man is in nothing more like the wild ass's colt, than in seeking for that succour and that satisfaction in the creature, which are to be had in God only. Though men may sorrow a little, yet if it is not after a godly sort, they will be brought to sorrow everlastingly.Yea, though they have hired among the nations,.... That is, lovers, as before; got into confederacies and alliances with the nations about them, thinking thereby to strengthen their hands, and secure themselves and their kingdom; particular regard may be had to the Egyptians, as distinct from the Assyrians, whom they privately engaged on their side to shake off the Assyrian yoke, or their obligation to send yearly presents to the Assyrian king:

now will I gather them; either the Assyrians against them, to invade their land, besiege their city, and take and carry them captive; or the Israelites in a body into the city of Samaria, and there be cooped up, and taken and destroyed, or carried captive; for this is not to be interpreted of the collection of them out of their captivity, as the Targum and Jarchi, but of the gathering of them together for their destruction:

and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes; the tax or tribute imposed upon them by the king of Assyria, whose princes were altogether kings, Isaiah 10:8; and who used to be called king of kings, being at the head of a monarchy, which had many kings subject to it; as the kings of Babylon were afterwards called, Ezekiel 26:7; this may refer to the yearly present or tribute, which Hoshea king of Israel was obliged to give to the king of Assyria, which he was very uneasy at, and did not pay it, which drew upon him the resentment of the Assyrian king; and that sorrow and uneasiness which that tribute gave the king of Israel and his people were but little and small in comparison of what they after found; it was the beginning of sorrows to them: and so some render the words, "they began" (l); that is, to sorrow and complain "a little"; or this may refer to their burdens and oppressions when in captivity, which were laid upon them by the king of Assyria, and the princes, the rulers, and governors of the several places where the Israelites were carried captive: even the "few that shall remain" (m), as some render it; and not die by famine, pestilence, and sword. Kimchi and Ben Melech think there is a deficiency of the copulative and between king and princes; which is supplied by the Targum, and by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, which read, "the king and princes".

(l) "incipient", Calvin; "ceperunt enim paululum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Zanchius, Drusius, Tarnovius, so Ben Melech. (m) "et remanebunt pauci", Schmidt; a rad. "durare, permanere".

Hosea 8:9
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