Hosea 6:10
I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the prostitution of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
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(10) House of Israel.—This phrase means Ephraim and Judah subsequently discriminated. The “horrible thing” refers to polluting idolatry. This peculiar word occurs again in Jeremiah. According to the punctuation of the Hebrew the reciter hesitates before pronouncing the “horrible thing” which grated through his teeth.

Hosea 6:10-11. I have seen a horrible thing — Such an apostacy from God as cannot be mentioned without horror. There is the whoredom of Ephraim — Or rather, there, namely, in the house of Israel, BY the whoredom of Ephraim, that is, by the idolatry of Jeroboam, who was of that tribe, and first began the worship of the golden calves; Israel is defiled — The whole ten tribes are corrupted: for they soon all followed the example of Jeroboam in this idolatrous worship. Also, O Judah, he — That is, Ephraim; hath set a harvest for thee — For Ephraim, or Israel, had corrupted Judah by leading them into idolatry, and into the vices connected therewith, in consequence of which they were made ripe for destruction: for that the harvest is often a type of judgment is evident, among many other passages that might be adduced, from those quoted in the margin. When I returned the captivity of my people — Or rather, the Hebrew being in the future tense, when I shall turn, &c., (so the Vulgate,) or, more literally, and as the Seventy render it, in my turning the captivity of my people. According to this interpretation, the phrase of turning the captivity of God’s people is not to be taken in the sense in which the same phrase is generally understood in the Scriptures, namely, for bringing them out of captivity; punishment, and not a blessing, being supposed to be predicted: but the sense of the expression will be, When I shall return to make captives of my people; or, as Archbishop Newcome proposes rendering it, When I lead away the captivity of my people; that is, after I have again caused the Israelites to be carried into captivity. Tiglath-pileser first carried a part of them into captivity; then Shalmaneser carried away the remainder; and after this came Sennacherib, who wasted Judea, and laid siege to Jerusalem. Some eminent commentators, however, are of opinion, that not a judgment, but a blessing, is predicted to be conferred on Judah in this passage. They therefore translate the verse thus: But for thee, O Judah, a harvest is prepared; then when I shall bring back the captivity of my people: see Houbigant and Horsley. Mr. S. Clark’s note on the verse takes in both interpretations, thus: “And as Israel has been drawn to idolatry by Jeroboam, (Hosea 6:10,) so hast thou, Judah, too: and therefore God has prepared a harvest of sorrow and sufferings for thee too, by sending thee into captivity; which yet afterward shall be turned into a harvest of joy, when thou shalt be returned out of captivity again.” 6:4-11 Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man. As Adam broke the covenant of God in paradise, so Israel had broken his national covenant, notwithstanding all the favours they received. Judah also was ripe for Divine judgments. May the Lord put his fear into our hearts, and set up his kingdom within us, and never leave us to ourselves, nor suffer us to be overcome by temptation.I have seen a horrible thing - Literally, "what would make one shudder." God had seen it; therefore man could not deny it. In the sight of God, and amid the sense of His presence, all excuses fail.

In the house of Israel - o: "For what more horrible, more amazing than that this happened, not in any ordinary nation but "in the house of Israel," in the people of God, in the portion of the Lord, as Moses said, "the Lord's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance?" In another nation, idolatry was error. In Israel, which had the knowledge of the one true God and had received the law, it was horror." "There is the whoredom of Ephraim," widespread, over the whole land, wherever the house of Ephraim was, through the whole kingdom of the ten tribes, "there" was its spiritual adultery and defilement.

10. horrible thing—(Jer 5:30; 18:13; 23:14).


I have seen: it may be understood of the prophet speaking what he had seen; or of God, who seeth now, and hath seen,

an horrible thing, a very horrible thing, as some observe from the word, in the house of Israel, the ten tribes.

The whoredom, idolatry,

of Ephraim; which was brought in by an Ephraimite, by Jeroboam the First, two hundred years ago, and it is there still.

Israel is defiled; it hath overspread all Israel, none free, but all defiled greatly with it. I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel,.... Idolatry, the calves set up at Dan and Bethel, which God saw with abhorrence and detestation; or the prophet saw it, and it made his hair stand on end as it were, as the word (g) signifies, that such wickedness should be committed by a professing people:

there is the whoredom of Ephraim; in the house of Israel is the whoredom of Jeroboam, who was of the tribe of Ephraim, and caused Israel to sin, to go a whoring after idols; or the whoredom of the tribe of Ephraim, which belonged to the house of Israel, and even of all the ten tribes; both corporeal and spiritual whoredom, or idolatry, are here meant:

Israel is defiled; with whoredom of both kinds; it had spread itself all over the ten tribes; they were all infected with it, and polluted by it; see Hosea 5:3.

(g) a "pilus".

I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
10, 11. Jehovah is still the speaker. From his heavenly ‘place’ he points indignantly (as Hosea 6:7) to the abominations practised ‘there’, i.e. in the whole land of Israel, for even Judah has not escaped the infection. The structure of the verses becomes more symmetrical, if we attach the concluding words of Hosea 6:10 to Hosea 6:11, and turn Hosea 6:11 thus, altering one vowel-point, Israel is defiled; for thee also, Judah, a harvest is appointed. The Septuagint partly favours this, rendering ἐμιάνθη Ἰσραὴλ καὶ Ἰούδα. The concluding words of Hosea 6:11 should rather be attached to Hosea 6:1 of chap. 7.Verse 10. - I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. The house of Israel comprises

(1) the ten tribes of the northern kingdom, according to some; it seems more correct

(2) to understand it of the whole nation, including both the northern and southern kingdoms, in which case the remainder of the verse relates to the northern kingdom of the ten tribes, and the succeeding verse to the southern kingdom of the two tribes. Further, Israel is not synonymous with the parallel Ephraim, as Keil thinks; the latter is the principal tribe which led the way in Israel's apostasy. The "horrible thing" comprehends every sort of crime and abomination; while the" whoredom," literal or spiritual, is specified as an example thereof. (For the explanation of "there," see on ver. 7.) According to this verse, the words of Daniel, i.e., his prayer from the first day of his seeking to understand the future, and of his self-mortification in sorrow and fasting (Daniel 10:2, Daniel 10:3), was heard of God, and the angel was immediately sent forth by God to convey to him revelations. And, he adds, בּדבריך בּאתי, I am come for thy words, i.e., in consequence of thy prayer, according to it. The בּאתי most interpreters understand of the coming to Daniel; Hofmann (Schriftbew. i. p. 331) and Kliefoth, on the contrary, understand it of the coming of the angel to Persia (Daniel 10:13). According to the matter, both views are correct, but in the form in which they are presented they are incorrect. Against the latter stands the adversative וin ושׂר (but the prince), Daniel 10:13, by which the contents of Daniel 10:13 are introduced; for, according to this, Daniel 10:13 cannot represent the object of the coming. Against the former stands the fact, that the angel does not come to Daniel immediately, but only after having gained a victory over the prince of the kingdom. The בּאתי is again taken up in Daniel 10:14, and must have here the same meaning that it has there. But in Daniel 10:14 it is connected with להבינך, "I am come to bring thee understanding," in Daniel 10:12 with בּדבריך, which only denotes that the "coming" corresponded to Daniel's prayer, but not that he came immediately to him. Daniel had, without doubt, prayed for the accomplishment of the salvation promised to his people, and eo ipso for the removal of all the hindrances that stood in the way of that accomplishment. The hearing of his prayer may be regarded, therefore, as containing in it not merely the fact that God directed an angel to convey to him disclosures regarding the future fortunes of his people, but also at the same time as implying that on the side of God steps were taken for the removal of these hindrances.

The thirteenth verse speaks of this, not as denoting that the angel came to Persia for the purpose of working for Israel, but much rather as announcing the reason of the twenty-one days' delay in the coming of the angel to Daniel, in the form of a parenthetical clause. His coming to Daniel was hindered by this, that the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him twenty-one days. The twenty-one days are those three weeks of Daniel's fasting and prayer, Daniel 10:2. Hence we see that the coming of the angel had its reference to Daniel, for he came to bring him a comforting answer from God; but in order that he might be able to do this, he must first, according to Daniel 10:13, enter into war with and overcome the spirit of the king of Persia, hostile to the people of God. The contents of Daniel 10:13 are hence not to be understood as showing that the angel went to Persia in order that he might there arrange the cause of Israel with the king; the verse much rather speaks of a war in the kingdom of the supernatural spirits, which could not relate to the court of the king of Persia. The prince (שׂר) of the kingdom of Persia, briefly designated in Daniel 10:21 "the prince of Persia," is not king Cyrus, or the collectivum of the kings of Persia, as Hv. and Kran., with Calvin and most of the Reformers, think, but the guardian spirit or the protecting genius of the Persian kingdom, as the Rabbis and most of the Christian interpreters have rightly acknowledged. For the angel that appeared to Daniel did not fight with the kings of Persia, but with a spiritual intelligence of a like nature, for the victory, or precedence with the kings of Persia. This spirit of the kingdom of Persia, whom, after the example of Jerome, almost all interpreters call the guardian angel of his kingdom, is as little the nature-power of this kingdom as Michael is the nature-power of Israel, but is a spirit-being; yet not the heathen national god of the Persians, but, according to the view of Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:20.), the δαιμόνιον of the Persian kingdom, i.e., the supernatural spiritual power standing behind the national gods, which we may properly call the guardian spirit of this kingdom. In the לנגדּי עמד lies, according to the excellent remark of Kliefoth, the idea, that "the שׂר of the kingdom of Persian stood beside the kings of the Persians to influence them against Israel, and to direct against Israel the power lying in Persian heathendom, so as to support the insinuations of the Samaritans; that the angel, Daniel 10:5, came on account of Daniel's prayer to dislodge this 'prince' from his position and deprive him of his influence, but he kept his place for twenty-one days, till Michael came to his help; then he so gained the mastery over him, that he now stood in his place beside the kings of Persia, so as henceforth to influence them in favour of Israel." He who appeared to Daniel, Daniel 10:5, and spake with him, Daniel 10:11, is not "the angel who had his dominion among the nations of the world," or "his sphere of action in the embodiments of the heathen world-power, to which the Jewish people were now in subjection, to promote therein the working out of God's plan of salvation" (Hofm. Schriftbew. i. p. 334). This supposition is destitute of support from the Scriptures. It is rather the Angel of the Lord who carries out God's plans in the world, and for their accomplishment and execution makes war against the hostile spirit of the heathen world-power. The subjugation of this spirit supposes a particular angel ruling in the heathen world just as little as Jehovah's contending against the heathen nations that oppress and persecute His kingdom and people.

In the war against the hostile spirit of the kingdom of Persia, the archangel Michael came to the help of the Angel of the Lord. The name מיכאל, who is as God, comes into view, as does the name Gabriel, only according to the appellative signification of the word, and expresses, after the analogy of Exodus 15:11; Psalm 89:7., the idea of God's unparalleled helping power. Michael is thus the angel possessing the unparalleled power of God. He is here said to be "one of the chief princes," i.e., of the highest angel-princes, - Daniel 10:21, "your prince," i.e., the prince who contends for Israel, who conducts the cause of Israel. The first title points undoubtedly to an arrangement of orders and degrees among the angels, designating Michael as one of the most distinguished of the angel-princes; hence called in Jde 1:9 ἀρχάγγελος, also in Revelation 12:7, where he is represented as contending with his angels against the dragon. The opinion that Michael is called "one of the chief princes," not as in contrast with the angels, but only with the demons of the heathen gods (Kliefoth), is opposed by the words themselves and by the context. From the circumstance that the guardian spirit of Persia is called שׂר it does not follow that שׂרים is not a designation of the angels generally, but only of the princes of the people, who are the spirits ruling in the social affairs of nations and kingdoms (Hofmann, p. 337); and even though this conclusion may be granted, this meaning for השׂרים with the article and the predicate הראשׁנים is undemonstrable. For the Scripture does not place the demon-powers of heathendom so on a line with the angels that both are designated as ראשׁנים שׂרים. The ראשׁנים שׁרים can only be the princes, chiefs, of the good angels remaining in communion with God, and working for the kingdom of God. Though what is said by the angel Michael, for the sake of the Israelitish people, among whom he has the sphere of his activity, may be said for their comfort, yet it does not follow therefrom that that which is said "cannot give disclosures regarding the relation within the angel-world, but only regarding the relation to the great historical nations and powers of the world" (Hofm. p. 338). For as regards the statement adduced in support of this opinion - "the greatness and importance of the work entrusted to him makes him one of the ראשׁנים, not that the work is entrusted to him because he is so" - just the contrary is true. To a subordinate spirit God will not entrust a work demanding special power and greatness; much rather the being entrusted with a great and important work supposes a man exalted above the common mass. And for the comforting of Israel the words, "Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to my help," affirm that Israel is under very powerful protection, because its guardian spirit is one of the foremost of the angel-princes, whereby implic. it is said at the same time that the people, though they be little esteemed before the world, yet cannot be destroyed by the nations of the world. This thought follows as a conclusion from what is said regarding the dignity of their guardian angel, but it does not form the contents of the saying regarding Michael and his place among the heavenly spirits.

But we learn from Daniel 10:21 the reason why the archangel Michael, and no other angel, came to the help of him who was clothed with linen. It was because Michael was the prince of Israel, i.e., "the high angel-prince who had to maintain the cause of the people of God in the invisible spirit-world against opposing powers" (Auberlen, p. 289); and as such he appears also in Jde 1:9 and Revelation 12:7. The coming of Michael to give help does not include in it this, that he was superior in might or in position to the angel that spake, and thus supplies no proof that the angel that spake was Gabriel, or an angel different from him who was clothed with linen. For even a subordinate servant can bring help to his master, and in a conflict render him aid in gaining the victory. Against the idea of the subjection of Michael to the angel that spake, or the man clothed with linen, stands the further unfolding of the angel's message, the statement in Daniel 10:21 and Daniel 11:1, according to which the angel that spake gave strength and help to Michael in the first year of the Median Darius, from which we have more reason to conclude that the angel who spake stood above the angel Michael; see under Daniel 11:1.

In consequence of the assistance on the part of Michael, the Angel of the Lord obtained the place of superiority by the side of the king of Persia. נותר has not here the usual meaning, to be over and above, to remain, but is to be translated after הותיר, Genesis 49:4, to have the pre-eminence, to excel, in the passive signification of the Hiphil: "to be provided with the preference, to gain the superiority." The translation, "I have maintained the place" (Hofm.), cannot be proved. אצל, at the side of, near, is explained from the idea of the protecting spirit standing by the side of his protege. The plural, "kings of Persia," neither refers to Cyrus and Cambyses, nor to Cyrus and the conquered kings living with him (Croesus, etc.), nor to Cyrus and the prince, i.e., his guardian spirit (Hitzig). The plural denotes, that by the subjugation of the demon of the Persian kingdom, his influence not merely over Cyrus, but over all the following kings of Persia, was brought to an end, so that the whole of the Persian kings became accessible to the influence of the spirit proceeding from God and advancing the welfare of Israel.

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