Hosea 13:16
Verse 16. - Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God. Others translate shall atone, i.e. bear guilt or punishment. In the latter sense it is from אֵָשם, to atone or suffer the punishment of contracted guilt; in the former sense it is from שָׁמְם, and it is translated accordingly by ἀφανισθηδεταῖ in the LXX., and pereat by Jerome; so also Aben Ezra: "It shall be laid waste;" Kimchi: "The aleph has seh'wa alone, and the signification 'desolation,' and so the dwellers therein shall be made desolate." He thus intimates that aleph, having sch'aa alone without seghol, does not belong to the root, which is not אשם (for its future would be תֶּךאשׁם), but שָׁמַם. Rashi, however, understands it in the sense of "atone," or "find out her guiltiness;" he says, "From now will her guilt manifest itself." The reason of Samaria being thus mentioned is not only that it was the capital of the northern kingdom, but, as Kimchi says, "it confirmed Israel in the worship of the calves; for if the kings had been good, they would have brought back Israel to what was good." The ki assigns the reason of Samaria's desolation or guilt; it was rebellion against Jehovah, for Samaria was the seat and center of idolatry, and hence it spread throughout the land. They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. The destruction thus described was to be complete. The present population would perish by the sword; the future progeny would be extinguished and all posterity cut off. Not only the children already born, but those unborn, were devoted to destruction; and all this in the most savage and barbarous manner. The word עולֵל (from עלל, to meddle, gratify one's self, indulge one's caprice) presents childhood on the side of playfulness or petulance. The pronominal suffix attached to הרי refers to the city; and the feminine noun itself, forming subject to verbs in the masculine, arises from the fact that the feminine of the imperfect plural becomes rarer; or because the feminine plural only gradually distinguishes itself by a peculiar form from the masculine. The cruelties here specified may have been occasioned by those of the same kind with which Menahem King of Samaria smote Tiphsah. On that occasion "all the women therein that were with child he ripped up" (compare, for the cruel practice, 'Iliad,' 6:58; ,2 Kings 8:12 and 2 Kings 15:16).

13:9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.Samaria shall become desolate,.... With this verse the fourteenth chapter begins in the Hebrew copies, and in the Targum, and in many versions; but seems better to conclude the present chapter; since it is in close connection with Hosea 13:15, and explains the figurative expressions there used. Samaria was the head of Ephraim, Isaiah 7:9; or the metropolis of the ten tribes of Israel; whose desolation is here prophesied of, and was accomplished by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, signified by the east wind; by whom it was not only besieged and taken, but very probably its houses were demolished, its walls broken down, and razed to the very foundation; see 2 Kings 17:5; and, as this was the head city, it may be put for all the rest, and even for the whole land, which was at the same time laid waste. The Targum is,

"Samaria shall be guilty;''

that is, shall be found guilty of many sins; her transgression shall be revealed, as Jarchi, become manifest by the just punishment inflicted on her;

for she hath rebelled against her God; and bitterly provoked him to wrath and anger, as the word (u) signifies; by relinquishing him and his worship, and by serving idols, the calves at Dan and Bethel, Baal and other idols; when the Lord was their God, not only by creation, as of all men, but by the choice he made of them, and the covenant he made with them; by a national adoption of them, attended with various blessings and privileges, and by their profession of him; all which were an aggravation of their rebellion against him;

they shall fall by the sword: the inhabitants of Samaria, and of the land, particularly the men thereof; and especially their armed men, their men of war, that fought for them, and defended them; these should fall by the sword of the Assyrian;

their children shall be dashed to pieces; against stones, walls, and pavements; who should have perpetuated their name to future ages, and inherited their possessions:

and their women with child shall be ripped up; things which are often done by cruel enemies, when cities are sacked and plundered; and which Shalmaneser might be provoked unto by the perfidy of the king of Israel, and by the city of Samaria holding out a three years' siege. This, though we have no account of as done at that time, yet no doubt was; even as the same things are predicted of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, and which were to be done to them, in retaliation for them, though there is no narrative of them; see Psalm 137:8.

(u) "ad amaritudinem concitavit", V. L. "significat amaricare, vel amaritudine replere", Rivet.

Hosea 13:15
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