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3: Further Charges against Unfaithful Israel (Hosea 10:1-10:15)

4. Prophetic Reaction: Israel Is a Wayward Vine (10:1-8)

Translation

10:1 Israel was a fertile vine

that yielded fruit.

As his fruit multiplied,

he multiplied altars to Baal.

As his land prospered,

they adorned the fertility pillars.

2 Their heart is slipping;

soon they will be punished for their guilt.

The Lord will break their altars;

he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.

3 Very soon they will say, “We have no king

since we did not fear the Lord.

But what can a king do for us anyway?”

4 They utter empty words,

taking false oaths and making empty agreements.

Therefore legal disputes sprout up

like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a plowed field.

5 The inhabitants of Samaria will lament over the calf idol of Beth Aven.

Its people will mourn over it;

its idolatrous priests will wail over it,

because its splendor will be taken from them into exile.

6 Even the calf idol will be carried to Assyria,

as tribute for the great king.

Ephraim will be disgraced;

Israel will be put to shame because of its wooden idol.

7 Samaria and its king will be carried off

like a twig on the surface of the waters.

8 The high places of the “House of Wickedness” will be destroyed;

it is the place where Israel sins.

Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.

Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”

and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

Exegesis and Exposition

In chapter 10, Israel is portrayed with two metaphors: a wayward vine (10:1-8) and a well-trained heifer (10:9-15). Each unit is introduced by a specific address to Israel (vv. 1, 9) and closed with a description of Israel’s certain coming judgment. Verses 9-10 form a distinct sub-unit, which serves as a transition from v. 8 to v. 11, and introduces an additional reason for and statement of Israel’s punishment. Yet its distinct address to Israel and change of emphasis (the Gibeah incident) favor its attachment to the second half of the chapter. As such it forms a fitting inclusio with verses 14 and 15.

The first portion of chapter 10 is the focus of our attention in the following discussion.1 This unit of thought begins with Hosea’s reaction to the Lord’s discourse concerning Israel (9:1-13, 15-16). At the same time it builds upon his own pronouncement in 9:17. The oracle details further reasons why God must reject Israel under the metaphor of a fertile spreading vine, which yielded luxuriant fruit in abundance. Fruit, however, is normally intended for its owner’s use or disposal, but this vine produced fruit solely for itself (cf. MT, NIV, HCSB). The imagery speaks of the prosperity of the Northern Kingdom, which rather than being used in God’s service, was selfishly directed toward the advancement of the goals of the nation. Rather than being thankful to Yahweh, Israel increasingly created altars and pillars sacred to a false deity. Although not specifically mentioned in the Hebrew text, the reference is most likely to Baal and his fertility cults as reflected in the NET. Certainly Baal is the deity consistently singled out by Hosea elsewhere (e.g., 2:8, 13, 17; 11:2; 13:1; cf. 9:10).

Hosea’s depiction of Israel as a vine builds upon a metaphor that was a familiar motif in the Old Testament revelation to depict God’s blessings upon His covenant people (e.g., Ps. 80:8-15; Isa. 5:2-6; Jer. 2:21; Joel 1:11; Mic. 4:3-4; Zech. 3:10). As a nation in covenant relation with Yahweh Israel was to be the recipient of His blessings and therefore to be thankful and faithful to Him. Should they turn from the Lord to other deities they could expect His fierce judgment (Deut. 11:11-17). Unfortunately, this was precisely the situation deserving of punishment that characterized Israelite society in Hosea’s day.

All of this is anticipated in Hosea’s play upon the Hebrew participle translated in the NET as “fertile.” It would appear that the prophet is employing a double entendre here, for the more normal understanding of the Hebrew word carries with it meanings such as “barrenness” or “emptiness.” Accordingly, Hosea emphasizes the fact that although Yahweh blessed His people abundantly, they have consumed His benefits on selfish ends. Worse, they have attributed their successes and prosperity to Baal. Therefore, their commitment toward these ends has violated the covenant with the Lord again and again, and they can expect His judgment. They have been “abundantly blessed” but will now be made “barren” due to God’s judgment (vv. 1).

Hosea goes on to elaborate on this by prophesying Israel’s coming punishment (v.2). Because the hearts of God’s people are straying from the Lord, their covenant altars and fertility pillars will be smashed in the Lord’s judgment and Baal, their supposed benefactor, will be powerless to help. This is because covenant-breaking Israel is guilty of duplicity. They have readily accepted the Lord’s blessings and outwardly kept up His worship, but inwardly their heart is false. They pretended to worship Yahweh but they actually served Baal. As Hubbard observes, “The false heart … underscores the depth of the sin—not accidental but premeditated. And what follows is God’s verdict; now … they must bear their guilt.2

Israel’s waywardness and divided loyalties are further emphasized in their declaration that no real king exists for them—including Yahweh (v. 3). Further, the prevailing opinion appeared to be that a king would do no good anyway. The force of the comments and rhetorical question by Israel’s people is captured well in the HCSB: “In fact, they are now saying: ‘We have no king! For we do not fear the LORD, what can a king do for us?’” (cf. AB). Garrett proposes that the setting for their cynical words is “not after the fall of Samaria but the chaotic years after the death of Jeroboam II, when one Israelite general vied with another for control of the country and none could make any claim to being the legitimate ruling dynasty over Israel.”3

Thus the scene of competing claimants to the throne and the shifting loyalties indicate that both in the political and social realms promises are not kept, false oaths are taken, and meaningless agreements are made (v. 4). From top to bottom, then, the Northern Kingdom is riddled with duplicity, disagreements, and a prevailing air of mistrust. The realm is a scene of instability all because the people have lost sight of Yahweh their true benefactor and scuttled His covenant standards for their lives. It is a condition of chaos and emptiness, which portends the coming dissolution of everything, including all that the people held dear. The unjust Israelite society will harvest God’s just judgment.

The precise meaning of verse 5 is admittedly difficult. The chief problem revolves around the reading and meaning of the Hebrew verb gu‚r (“fear,” “dread,”; see NET text note). Proper guidelines come from McComiskey who cautions “We must not lose sight of the fact that the larger context has to do with Israel’s affluence and her devotion to the elements of pagan worship… . here Hosea singles out the central element of Israel’s syncretistic worship—the calf.”4 Indeed, the inhabitants of Samaria, who revere the calf idol at Bethel, will one day mourn over it. This will be particularly true of the priests who lead the people in their pagan worship rites. They will soon witness the loss of their national idol at the hands of Assyrian invaders who will carry it off as booty (v. 5). “Samaria” doubtless represents not only the citizens of the capital city but the king and leaders as well. Samaria may also serve as a synecdoche for all the people of the Northern Kingdom who follow their leaders.

This fact is further underscored by noting the calf idol will be given to the king of Assyria (v. 6). This will be like adding insult to injury. God’s people will suffer the disgrace of witnessing that their national treasure, which they revered, will not only be unable to watch over them, but the god whose worship was entailed in the idol could not even protect himself. Israel will be doubly shamed for its reliance on a mere “wooden idol.” The Great King, whose favor Israel sought, will also carry off the king of Israel (v. 7). Israel’s titular head will be as helpless as a chip of wood floating “on the surface of the waters.” The simile employed here speaks of the helpless state of Israel’s powerless king. As Garrett remarks, “Such a king is like a stick on water in that he can exercise no control over events. A nation with such leadership is doomed.”5

Hosea brings this oracle to a stinging close by picturing the total destruction and wasting of Israel’s pagan places of worship—“the high places.” The wayward vine (vv. 1-2) has come to its anticipated end as a patch of thorns and thistles (v. 8). The NET rendering (see text note) points to the probability of a double entendre implying a particular underlying reference to Bethel. Indeed, Bethel represents the basic cause for the coming destruction of the Northern Kingdom. For it was there that the national sin of the calf idol set Israel on its course of turning from Yahweh to the harlotry of worshiping a false deity (cf. 2 Kings 17:21-22).

Rather than the fame and glamour of former day’s thorns and thistles will cover these altars (cf. Hos. 9:6). Those who once went to those places and trusted them for direction and protection will in a coming day cry out for a quick end to their fate (cf. Luke 23:27-31; Rev. 6:12-17). “Their cry for death is not a response simply to the destruction of the cult, but is intended to represent a summation of woes… . The miseries endured will be so great that the people will cry desperately for relief—in effect for sudden death and burial under the land’s hills (the very places the high places were set on) from earthquakes or the like.”6

Additional Notes

10:1 The Hebrew participle bo‚qe„q, which the NET translates “fertile” and is often rendered “luxuriant” in many other Bibles (e.g., ESV, NLT, NRSV) is based on an Arabic cognate meaning “be abundant.” Similar renderings may be found in the LXX, Vulgate, and in various modern English and foreign language Bibles (e.g., German, French, Italian, and Spanish). Some English versions (e.g., KJV, NKJV) and commentators (e.g., Sweeney) favor the more common understanding of the Hebrew verb as “be empty” or “be barren.” Garrett suggests that a negative meaning is intended here with the sprawling, spreading vine, which is “a destructive vine in that it takes up valuable soil, crowds out productive plants, and gives benefit only to itself and not to its owner.”7 So understood the underlying verb forms a double entendre. Stuart comes to a similar conclusion in that the vine metaphor stresses both the Lord’s abundant blessing upon Israel as well as Israel’s coming barrenness due to God’s judgment.8

10:2 The Hebrew verb h£a„laq (NET “slippery”) conveys several meanings such as “be smooth,” “be deceptive,” or as a second root “divide.” It is rendered variously in the translations, for example, “fickle” (NLT), “deceitful” (NIV), “devious” (HCSB), “false” (ESV, NRSV), and “divided” (KJV, NKJV). The NASB simply translates ad sensum, “faithless.” Regardless of the proper root intended here, the meaning seems clear enough: God’s people are guilty of duplicity in feigning allegiance to Yahweh while taking His blessings and lavishing them on themselves. Furthermore, they attribute these blessings to Baal whose fertility rites they choose to follow.

10:3 The Hebrew phrase kî àatta„h is understood by some as pointing to a coming future condition (e.g., NET, NIV). Thus McComiskey remarks, “The first action is the nation’s punishment, which will begin when the altars and pillars are demolished. The second action is the acknowledgement of the people that they have no king.”9 The force of the adverb “now,” however, makes the entire phrase best understood with Andersen and Freedman who take it as a present condition and “shows why they are guilty or gives another aspect of their guilt. This fact of wrongdoing precedes the sentence pronounced in v 2.”10 The rhetorical question: “But what can a king do for us anyway?” reflects the general despair and deceit of the period.

10:4 The NET (see text note) captures well the force of the MT: “They speak words”—that is mere words or empty words, which lack truth in substance. The emphasis on oaths and agreements that follows favors the understanding of the NIV that the people multiply empty and false promises. No one anywhere was to be trusted as speaking with integrity or acting honorably.

10:4 Oestreich calls the simile of disputes popping up “like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a plowed field” an absurd simile according to purpose. He explains by saying, “The absurdity consists in the fact that the fields are made to grow grain and other plants that are edible. If poisonous plants grow in the field it has lost its original purpose. The justice in Israel, the prerequisite of flourishing life in society, has been perverted into injustice and thus brings death.”11 The simile may not only depict the treacherous nature of unjust Israelite society, but also the result that such wickedness produces—a just judgment. Thus Andersen and Freedman remark, “Noxious weeds in the farm lands are to be ruthlessly eradicated, and this would be a just thing to do for Israel.”12

10:5 The Hebrew noun translated “idolatrous priests” has a distinctive reference to those priests who officiate in pagan worship services. Although common enough in other Semitic languages, this noun occurs only here and in 2 Kings 22:5 and Zephaniah 1:4 in the OT.13

10:5 The verb translated “wail” normally means “rejoice/exult.” It is often employed to depict the worshiper’s praise of God (e.g., Pss. 9:14; 13:5; Isa. 29:19; Hab. 3:18). Its use here in a context of the worship of the calf idol of Bethel is tied to the thought of the idol being carried into captivity. Although many suggestions and emendations have been proposed,14 it may be simplest to view the verb in its normal meaning, but employed as sarcasm.

10:6 The term “Great King” has been used previously to refer to the king of Assyria (5:13). The title was regularly utilized by the Assyrian kings to signify the power of their vast empire. In earlier days this title was reserved for those kings whose prowess had attracted international recognition. In an interesting sidelight, the Hittite king Hattushilish III chided Adad-nirari I in his bid to appropriate this title for himself and thus to style himself as the Hittite king’s brother (i.e., a king of equal rank). Although Hattushilish recognized Adad-nirari’s recent victories, he refused to grant him the privilege of brotherhood. In a stinging rebuke he writes, “On what account should I write to you about brotherhood? Were you and I born from one mother?”15

10:7 The verbal form nidmeh (“carried off”) appears in Hosea 4:6 where it is used for the destruction of the nation and its people. Although the verb da„ma„h can be understood as “be silent,” “be cut off,” or “destroyed/ruined,” Hosea’s emphasis here is on the seizure of Samaria and the carrying away into captivity of Israel’s king. This prophecy literally came true (cf. 2 Kings 17:6).

10:7 The Hebrew noun qes£ep„ is derived from a verb most commonly used in connection with the idea of wrath or anger. It is even used of the Lord’s righteous anger (e.g., Deut. 29:28; Jer. 21:3).16 The NET translates ad sensum with regard to the noun’s association with the following “surface of the waters” (cf. LXX, Peshitta). The Vulgate reads, quasi spumam super faciem aquae (“like foam upon the face of the waters”; cf. KJV). Accordingly, Laetsch remarks, “‘foam’ is the more drastic figure and suits the verb better; the silver is carried off, the foam annihilated, dissolved into nothingness.”17

10:8 “Thorns and thistles” forms an inclusio with the wayward vine of verses 1-2, plants thus bracketing the entire section. The image of such plants overgrowing scenes of former life and activity appears elsewhere in the prophetic literature to indicate the Lord’s judgment (e.g., Isa. 5:6; 32:13; 34:13). Sweeney suggests that the closing call for the mountains and hills to collapse and provide a “covering” is made by the abandoned altars: “The altars metaphorically appeal for their own suicide or burial as a further sign of their inefficacy and impurity.”18

5. Prophetic Advice: Israel Is a Trained Heifer (10:9-15)

Translation

10:9 O Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah,

and there you have remained.

Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?

10 When I please, I will discipline them;

I will gather nations together to attack them,

to bind them in chains for their two sins.

11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;

I myself put a fine yoke on her neck.

I will harness Ephraim.

Let Judah plow!

Let Jacob break up the unplowed ground for himself!

12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,

reap unfailing love.

Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,

for it is time to seek the Lord,

until he comes and showers deliverance on you.

13 But you have plowed wickedness;

you have reaped injustice;

you have eaten the fruit of deception.

Because you have depended on your chariots;

you have relied on your many warriors.

14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;

all your fortresses will be devastated,

just as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,

when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.

15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel,

because of your great wickedness!

When that day dawns,

the king of Israel will be destroyed.

Exegesis and Exposition

Hosea turns from the lesson on the wayward vine to that of a well-trained heifer. Before recording the metaphor of the well-trained heifer, however, Hosea reveals the Lord’s message of coming judgment upon His perpetually sinning people (vv. 9-10). As noted in the previous section, while serving to bind verses 1-8 to verses 11-15, verses 9-10 have strongest affiliation with the latter half of chapter 10. Nevertheless, the Lord’s words in verses 9-10 constitute a distinct sub-unit and form an important basis upon which Hosea builds his lesson on Israel as a heifer. The mention of a city (Gibeah, v. 9) in connection with the Lord’s judgment also forms a complementary bookending device with another city (Bethel) depicting judgment (v. 15).

The Lord once again brings up the matter of Gibeah (cf. 5:8; 9:9). As in those earlier instances, the atrocities at Gibeah stand as a corollary to contemporary Israelite society. Did Israel consider itself a scene of progressive grandeur? Such is not the case, for current Israelite society is as vile as in those early days in the incident at Gibeah. For immorality, violence, and injustice are rampant throughout the land. The Lord’s rhetorical question in verse 9 emphasizes the fact that war accompanied the evil acts of that time (cf. Judg. 20). It would do so again. The tribes had gathered together against Gibeah in that earlier episode: this time foreign nations will march against Israel and overwhelm it. Its citizens will be bound in chains and taken into captivity (v. 10). Because God’s people have continued in sin since that early period, the sin of present day Israel, like that of ancient Gibeah, would in God’s time and way bring about its downfall.19 As Wolff observes, “Gibeah’s former sin is doubled by Gibeah’s present guilt.”20

Hosea now delivers the Lord’s own metaphor of Israel as a well-trained heifer (v. 11). Extending the metaphor, the Lord points out that Israel once enjoyed threshing the grain. Like an unyoked and unmuzzled ox Israel did not find the work laborious (cf. Deut. 25:4). Unfortunately, Israel has abused her status with God by its sin and self-indulgence. As McComiskey points out, “She was like a playful, unbridled heifer that enjoyed its freedom from the drudgery of hauling heavy loads. Like the heifer in Hosea’s analogy she had not experienced the strictures of divine law; the nation exulted in the unrestrained liberty of the nature cult.”21

Therefore, God declares that He is putting a yoke on heifer Israel. It will be the yoke (chains) of captivity (v. 10). God’s people will no longer go along freely following their own sinful path but will be put to hard forced labor at the hands of their captors.22 From this the people of Judah should be warned. God has put a yoke on Israel, but a yoke can involve a second animal as well. Both sinning kingdoms faced the likelihood of captivity and hard times.

Yet for the present Judah has the opportunity to perform the Lord’s service. In those difficult times it would no longer do the work of the unyoked heifer, but the harder task of plowing the soil. Nevertheless, that labor was still perhaps to be, as Stuart suggests, that of faithful service in obedience to the covenant with Yahweh.23 In the midst of growing international tensions and temptation to compromise its spiritual purity and commitment to God through capitulation to or fascination with foreign deities, Judah must remain true to the Lord and its covenant obligations. Only then would it escape Israel’s fate.

Accordingly, Hosea now seizes upon the thought of laboring for the Lord to urge all of God’s people, Israel and Judah alike, to return to the Lord and live in obedience to Him. Perhaps even now it was not too late for all of God’s people to experience the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness (cf. Joel 2:12-14). Continuing the agrarian imagery Hosea urges the people to “sow righteousness” so that they might yet reap “unfailing love”—that is, the rewards of God’s covenant. It was time to break new ground by seeking the Lord with heartfelt desire and by cultivating His standards as their own (v. 12). In doing so they would experience God’s showers of blessing thereby increasing their righteousness and all the good things attendant to that condition.

Hosea goes on to point out Israel’s prevailing social sins for which God’s people need to repent and seek the Lord (v. 13). Hosea finds Israelite society to be permeated by personal impurity, social injustice, and spiritual and political deception. Rather than sowing the seeds of righteousness, they have plowed and planted evil seeds from which they have reaped and harvested corruption. They now are eating the fruit of their deception. This has manifested itself in their false syncretism and pagan worship rites and given rise to their vacillating civil and foreign policies. Rather than trusting and revering the Lord in truth, God’s people have deceived themselves in supposing that great military power would protect them. In truth, military might had not and would not provide a sufficient safeguard.

Hosea therefore declares that Israel will be overwhelmed in the coming conflict, and its forces and fortresses demolished (v. 14). Israel’s fate is no better than that of Beth Arbel, which Shalman totally devastated without sparing even women and children. This incident, which is otherwise unattested in the ancient records of the ancient Near East, must, however, have been a well-known hideous example of raw, unrestrained, and inhuman exercise of aggression.24 The atrocity and its military aftermath should therefore constitute an urgent reminder to God’s people to turn from reliance on false entities to the One who alone can sustain and deliver them.

Hosea closes this oracle with a strong warning that a similar fate awaits God’s people in the Northern Kingdom (v. 15). For their spiritual wickedness, which began and yet continues in the cult religion at Bethel, has become so degraded that Israel must be annihilated. When that day of reckoning would come, cult centers like that of Bethel would be destroyed and Israel would no longer have a king. It was a sober warning, which could be ignored only with deadly consequences.

Additional Notes

10:9 The NET (cf. NIV) treats the Lord’s rhetorical question as referring to the past. The MT may, however, indicate a future aspect: “Will not war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah” (HCSB; cf. ESV, NRSV). In that regard God’s Word emphasizes the implication of the rhetorical question as a fact by translating, “War will overtake the wicked people in Gibeah.”

10:10 The NET follows the MT in translating the Hebrew ytwab as “When I please” (cf. NIV; see NET text notes). The BHS proposes following the lead of the LXX in emending the text to read: ytab, thus understanding the verb as a prophetic perfect, “I shall come” (cf. NRSV, NJB) or as a present perfect, “I have come” (REB).

10:10 The NET understands the Hebrew be†áa„sra„m as a reference to God’s people being bound when they are carried into captivity. Thus Keil understands the phrase as “at their binding.”25 Some translations (e.g., NLT, LXX) and scholars (e.g., Garrett) take the Hebrew as coming from the verb ya„sar indicating punishment.

10:11 Some suggest that the inclusion of Judah here is a redactional insertion into the original text (e.g., Mays).26 Indeed, Emmerson devotes considerable attention to the examination of Hosean sayings dealing with Judah. She concludes that these texts fall into three broad categories: (1) those that put forward a limited criticism of Judah (cf. 5:10-14; 8:14), (2) those that betray a nostalgia for and confidence in the Davidic dynasty (e.g., 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 12:1), and (3) those that contain a wide-ranging criticism of Judah (cf. 4:15; 5:5; 6:4, 11; 10:11; 12:3). She decides that the first two categories are primary; 10:11 falls into the third reflecting a secondary Judean redaction.27 Yet Judah’s prominence throughout Hosea’s speeches argues for its originality here as well. As McComiskey observes, “The names of Judah and Israel are intertwined in other pericopes28 in Hosea in which the inclusion of Judah is essential to the integrity of the passage.” Further, together with the mention of Ephraim and Jacob the inclusion of Judah serves as yet another example of Hosea’s literary style in listing items in clusters of three.

10:12-13 The shift to second person address in these verses argues for their source to originate with Hosea. Hosea’s advice is expressed in another group of threes: sow, reap, and break-up. Likewise, Israel’s three negative traits are represented in verse 13: wickedness, injustice, and deception, which they have plowed, reaped, and eaten.

10:12 God’s covenant love has appeared previously in Hosea’s oracles (4:1; 6:4, 6; cf. 2:19); Hosea will return to this theme in 12:6.29 Although it is possible that in the two Hebrew words for righteousness (hqdx, qdx) Hosea moves from a general term for righteousness to one that is in accord with God’s covenantal standards (so McComiskey), yet there is considerable overlap between the terms. In any case, synonyms often appear in parallel together. D. J. Reimer proposes that the s£dq group in Hosea appears in “a more theological context, having to do more with Israel’s relationship with Yahweh than within the community.”30

10:14 A fairly strong case can be made for identifying Shalman with the Moabite king Shalmanu who is known from the records of the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III as one of the kings who paid tribute to him.31 Beth Arbel may be identified with modern day Irbid, situated southeast of the Sea of Galilee. 1 Maccabees 9:2 mentions an Arbela in Galilee where the forces of the second century B.C. Syrian king Demetrius II camped on the way to Jerusalem. If the Moabite king Shalmanu is to be equated with Shalman and Beth Arbel located as a Trans-Jordanian town, it is interesting to note that the Moabite king Mesha boasts that during his campaigning against Nebo in Trans-Jordan he “went by night and fought against it from the break of dawn until noon, taking it and slaying all, seven thousand men, boys, women, girls, and maid servants.”32 Hideous atrocities such as these are well documented in the Scriptures (e.g., 2 Kings 8:12; 15:16; Ps. 137:9; Isa. 13:16, 18; Hos. 13:16; Amos 1:11; Nah. 3:10; cf. Matt. 2:16-18) as well as in the records of the ancient Near East.33 Note, for example the boast the Assyrian king Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) that on his first campaign, “The people (lit., subjects) of the city of Hirimme, wicked enemies, I cut down with the sword. Not one escaped. Their corpses I hung on stakes, surrounding the city (with them).”34

10:15 2 Kings 17:4 mentions that Shalmaneser V took Hoshea captive in connection with his invasion of the Northern Kingdom. The Israelite king likely died in captivity.


1 Note the interesting treatment of Hosea 10:1-8 by Cornelis van Leeuwen, “Meaning and structure of Hosea x 1-8,” VT 53 (2003): 367-378.

2 Hubbard, Hosea ,172.

3 Garrett, Hosea, Joel, 207-208.

4 McComiskey, “Hosea,” 165.

5 Garrett, Hosea, Joel, 212.

6 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 163.

7 Garrett, Hosea, Joel, 206.

8 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 159.

9 McComiskey, “Hosea,” 161.

10 Andersen and Freedman, Hosea, 553.

11 Oestreich, “Absurd Similes,” 103.

12 Andersen and Freedman, Hosea, 554-555. Andersen and Freedman go on to remark that this is so even though the simile “seems an incongruous one.” For the possible identity of these plants, see Walton, Matthews & Chavalas, Bible Background Commentary, 758.

13 For a discussion of this rare noun, see Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 273.

14 See, for example, the NET text notes and the discussions in Stuart, Hosea-Jonah , 156, 157; Andersen and Freedman, Hosea, 555.

15 G. Beckman, Hittite Diplomatic Texts, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999), 147.

16 See further, G. B. Struthers, “qs£p,” NIDOTTE, 3:962-963 and the NET text note.

17 Laetsch, Hosea, 82.

18 Sweeney, Twelve Prophets, 1:106.

19 Gibeah has previously been linked with Israel’s current corruption (Hos. 9:9).

20 Wolff, Hosea, 185.

21 McComiskey, “Hosea,” 176.

22 Gert Kwakkel (“‘But I passed by her Fair Neck’: On Threshing and Yoking in Hosea 10:11,” in The New Things: Eschatology in Old Testament Prophecy [Maastricht: Shaker Publishing, 2002], 141-146) suggests that Yahweh, who once spared Israel of the yoke, now will do so in order to impose harder work on His people.

23 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 169.

24 Neither Shalman nor Beth Arbel is known except for Hosea’s mentioning of the event.

25 Keil, Minor Prophets, 1:132.

26 J. L. Mays, Hosea: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969), 145.

27 Grace L. Emmerson, Hosea, JSOTsup 28 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1984). 158-59. For my critical review of Emmerson’s work, see Hebrew Studies 29 (1988): 112-114.

28 McComiskey, “Hosea,” 177. G. A. Smith (The Book of the Twelve Prophets [New York: Doubleday, 1929], 1:233) points out that it would be strange if Judah were not included within the purview of the prophet. This is especially true since Hosea takes great pains to date his prophecy in accordance with the reigns of a broad range of Judean kings (1:1).

29 See the note on Hosea 6:4.

30 David J. Reimer, “s£dq,” NIDOTTE, 3:763. For Reimer’s excellent an extensive treatment of the verbal root and its forms, see pp. 744-769.

31 See ANET, 282; Wolff, Hosea, 188. Many, however, suggest one of the Assyrian kings such as Shalmaneser V who campaigned in Israel in 724 B.C. See for example M. Astour, “841 B.C.: The First Assyrian Invasion of Israel,” JAOS 91 (1971): 383-389. Sweeney (Twelve Prophets, 1:111-112) appears to lean toward identifying Shalman with Shalmaneser III (859-825 B.C.) who campaigned often in Aram and Israel.

32 “The Moabite Stone,” ANET, 320; see further Arnold and Beyer, Readings from the Ancient Near East, 160-162.

33 See further, Walton, Matthews & Chavalas, Bible Background Commentary, 395.

34 D. D. Luckenbill, ARA, 2:117. Many such episodes can be found in the Assyrian Annals. For example, during Ashurbanipal’s sixth campaign the Assyrian king reports that he slit the tongues of those supporters of his rival brother Shamash-shum-ukin who spoke against the god Assur or against Ashurbanipal. “The rest of the people, alive, by the colossi, between which they had cut down Sennacherib, the father of the father who begot me,--at that time, I cut down those people there, as an offering to his shade. Their dismembered bodies (lit.. flesh) I fed to the dogs, swine, wolves, and eagles, to the birds of heaven and the fish of the deep.”