Hosea 6:7
But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
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(7) Critics differ much as to the interpretation of this verse. The marginal rendering supplies the strongest meaning. God made a covenant with Adam, and promised him the blessings of Paradise on condition of obedience. He broke the condition, transgressed the covenant, and was driven from his Divine home. So Israel had violated all the terms on which the goodly land of conditional promise had been bestowed. For the other references to Adam in the Old Testament see Psalm 82:7; Job 31:33. (See Excursus.)

EXCURSUS B (Hosea 6:7).

Buhl, in Zeitschrift für Kirchliche Wissenschaft, Part 5, 1881, throws some light on the enigmatical phrase keAdam, by pointing out that Adam is employed in many places to express all the other races of mankind as opposed to Israel. Thus, he translates Jeremiah 32:20, “Thou who didst perform wonders in Israel, as well as in Adam.” Similarly Isaiah 43:4, on which Delitzsch remarks that those who do not belong to the chosen people are called Adam, because they are regarded as nothing but descendants of Adam. In this passage the emphatic position of the Hebrew pronoun hemmah lends significance to the contrasted term Adam. The meaning, therefore, is—the Israelites, who should be a chosen race, belong now, through their violation of the covenant, to the heathen: have become, in fact, Lo’Ammi. (Comp. Hosea 1:9.) The word “there” in the last clause may refer to some local sanctuary, notorious for idolatrous corruption. This is confirmed by the mention of localities in the next verse. We prefer, however, to understand it (with the Targum of Jonathan) as referring to the Holy Land.

Hosea 6:7. But they like men have transgressed the covenant — That is, as all corrupt men are prone to do; and as other men, who are not under such strong obligations to keep covenant with me, use to do. In the Hebrew it is, like Adam: and it would have been better, it seems, to have rendered it so; the sense appearing to be, that their transgression of the covenant God had made with them, or of the commandments which he had given them, was very similar to the transgression of Adam in paradise. “As Adam transgressed a plain command, so the Israelites transgressed the plainest and the easiest precepts. As Adam’s crime was not to be excused by any necessity or want, so the Israelites, secure under the protection of Jehovah, had they continued faithful to him, had no excuse in seeking other aids. Adam revolted from God to Satan; so the Israelites forsook God to worship devils. Adam broke that one command, on which the justification of himself and his posterity depended; so the Israelites broke the one precept of charity,” on their observing which depended their continuance in the divine favour, and their right to the blessings of the Mosaic covenant: see Horsley. There have they dealt treacherously against me — There, even in that very delightful and plentiful land, which I gave them to encourage them to obedience, a land like unto Eden itself, they have transgressed my law, as Adam did in paradise, and have behaved themselves falsely and ungratefully toward me; and that even with all the advantages of the prophetic teaching, and in spite of all admonition and all warning.

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.But they like men - Or (better as in the E. M) "like Adam, have transgressed the covenant." As Adam our first parent, in Paradise, not out of any pressure, but wantonly, through self-will and pride, broke the covenant of God, eating the forbidden fruit, and then defended himself in his sin against God, casting the blame upon the woman: so these, in the good land which God had given them, "that they should" therein "keep His covenant and observe His laws" Psalm 105:44, wantonly and petulantly broke that covenant; and then obstinately defended their sin. Wherefore, as Adam was cast out of Paradise, so shall these be cast out of the land of promise.

There have they dealt treacherously against Me - There! He does not say, "where." But Israel and every sinner in Israel knew full well, where. "There," to Israel, was not only Bethel or Dan, or Gilgal, or Mizpah, or Gilead, or any or all of the places, which God had hallowed by His mercies, and they had defiled. It was every high hill, each idol-chapel, each field-altar, which they had multiplied to their idols. To the sinners of Israel, it was every spot of the Lord's land which they had defiled by their sin. God points out to the conscience of sinners the place and time, the very spot where they offended Him. Wheresoever and whensoever they broke God's commands, "there they dealt treacherously against" God Himself. There is much emphasis upon the "against" Me. The sinner, while breaking the laws of God, contrives to forget God. God recalls him to himself, and says, "there," where and when thou didst those and those things, thou didst deal falsely with, and against, "Me." The sinner's conscience and memory fills up the word "there." It sees the whole landscape of its sins around; each black dark spot stands out before it, and it cries with David, "there," in this and this and this, "against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight" Psalm 51:4.

7. like men—the common sort of men (Ps 82:7). Not as Margin, "like Adam," Job 31:33. For the expression "covenant" is not found elsewhere applied to Adam's relation to God; though the thing seems implied (Ro 5:12-19). Israel "transgressed the covenant" of God as lightly as men break everyday compacts with their fellow men.

there—in the northern kingdom, Israel.

I told them by my prophets what I required of them by covenant, but I could not obtain it, they regarded not what I said.

Like men; or, like Adam: some take it for a proper name, and so refer it unto the first man, and his breaking covenant; and, for aught I see, it may well enough refer to him, who forgot or slighted the threat, who judged of what he did by what it appeared, as a small matter; and so these forget and slight my threats, and judge of the place where, and the persons by whom, and the times when, sacrifices are to be offered as no material circumstances, and therefore do choose what places they please, and appoint what priest liketh them best to offer; or else transgress the covenant, as if it were the covenant of a man like themselves.

The covenant; the law of their God, which directed and encouraged their obedience, and which threatened their disobedience, and cursed it.

There; in that very place, the good land, which by covenant I gave them, they have broken my covenant; or in the things in which they thought they kept covenant, in their sacrifices, and observing of feasts, in these things they transgress the covenant.

Dealt treacherously against me; very frowardly, and with wilful resolutions perverted my law; their transgressing was a designed perfidiousness. I told them, Obedience, not sacrifice; they reply, Sacrifice, and stop there; they give no obedience, though they offer many sacrifices.

But they, like men, have transgressed the covenant,.... The false prophets, as Aben Ezra, whom he threatened to cut off and slay, Hosea 6:5; or rather Ephraim and Judah, whose goodness was so fickle and unstable; and who, instead of doing acts of mercy, and seeking after the true knowledge of God and his worship, which are preferable to all sacrifices, they transgressed the law of God, which they promised at Mount Sinai to obey; the precepts of the moral law, even of both tables, which concern both God and man; and also the ceremonial law, by appointing priests to sacrifice who were not of the tribe of Levi, as did Ephraim or the ten tribes under Jeroboam; and by offering sacrifices to their calves, and by not observing the solemn feasts; and the precepts relating to both these laws constitute the covenant made with the children of Israel at Sinai, Exodus 24:3; which they transgressed, either "like Adam" (y) the first man, as Jarchi; who transgressed the covenant of works in paradise God made with him, and all mankind in him: or like the men of old, the former generations, as the Targum; meaning either the old inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites; or the men of the old world at the time of the flood, who were a very wicked and abandoned generation of men; or like men in common, depraved and degenerated, fickle and inconstant, vain and deceitful, and not at all to be depended upon; especially like the lower sort of men, the common people, who have no regard to their word, covenant, and agreement; or particularly like such men that are given to penury, and make no conscience of oaths and covenants ever so solemnly made: or, as others read the words, "but they have transgressed the covenant like man's" (z); making no more account of it than if it was a man's covenant;

there have they dealt treacherously against me; in the covenant they entered into, by breaking it, not performing their promises; and eve in the very sacrifices they offered, and were so fond of, and put their confidence in; either by offering such sacrifices as were not legal, or by offering them to idols, under a pretence of offering them to God, which was dealing treacherously against him; and in all other acts of religion, in which they would be thought to have regard to the covenant of God, his laws and precepts, and to be very serious and devout, yet acted the hypocritical part, were false and deceitful, and devoid of all sincerity: or there, in the promised land, where the Lord had so largely bestowed his favours on them; so Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, agreeably to the Targum, which paraphrases it thus,

"and in the good land, which I gave unto them to do my will, they have dealt falsely with my word.''

(y) "sicut Adam", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Castilio, Grotius, Cocceius. (z) "Tanquam hominis, sub. pectum", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Zanchius.

But they {g} like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.

(g) That is, like small and weak persons.

7. The contrast between Israel’s conduct and Jehovah’s requirements.

But they like men …] Literally, But they—they like (other) men transgress the covenant (or, perhaps, the ordinance, see on Hosea 8:1). The word rendered ‘men’ (’âdâm) means ordinary or less privileged men, as in Psalm 82:7 and most probably Job 31:33, ‘If I covered like (common) men my transgressions.’ It is assumed (as in Job l.c.) that ordinary men are addicted to certain vices, and that such privileged persons as Job or the Israelites ought to act up to a higher standard. The mention of the transgressions of ‘(other) men’ reminds us of Isaiah 24:5, where the inhabitants of the world are said to have ‘transgressed commandments, violated the statute, broken the perpetual covenant’, partly perhaps with reference to the ‘law written in the heart’, and partly to Genesis 9:1-16. The Targum, the Talmud, and the Vulgate (followed by Delitzsch on Job 31:33) render, ‘like Adam’, but the Book of Genesis says nothing of a ‘covenant’ with Adam.

there] Implying a gesture of indignation. The divine speaker points to the northern kingdom as the scene of the unfaithfulness (comp. ‘there’ in Hosea 6:10).

Verse 7. - But they like men (margin, like Adam) have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. This verse is variously rendered.

(1) They like men (that is, men in general, or the rest of mankind, to whom they are in no way superior) have transgressed the covenant.

(2) They are like men who transgress a covenant; according to this rendering the word אדם is otiose, or adds nothing, nor is indeed required.

(3) They like Adam have transgressed the covenant; this rendering, supported by the Vulgate, Cyril, Luther, Rosenmüller, and Wunsche, is decidedly preferable, and yields a suitable sense. God in his great goodness had planted Adam in Paradise; but Adam violated the commandment which prohibited his eating of the tree of knowledge, and thereby transgressed the covenant of his God. Loss of fellowship with God and expulsion from Eden were the penal consequences that immediately followed. Israel, like Adam, had been settled by God in Palestine, the glory of all lands; but, ungrateful for God's great bounty and gracious gift, they broke the covenant of their God, the condition of which, as in the case of the Adamic covenant, was obedience. Thus the comparison projects the shadow of a coming event when Israel would Jose the land of promise. There is still the word "there" to be accounted for. It cannot well be rendered "therein," nor taken as a particle of time equivalent to "the," with Cyril and others. It is local, and points to the place where their breach of covenant and faithlessness had occurred. Yet this local sense is not necessarily so limited as to be referred, with some, to Bethel, as the scene of their apostasy and idolatry. "There, to Israel," says Pusey, "was not only Bethel, or Dan, or Gilgal, or Mizpah, or Gilead, or any or all of the places which God had hallowed by his mercies and they had defiled. It was every high hill, each idol-chapel, each field-altar, which they had multiplied to their idols. To the sinners of Israel it was every spot of the Lord's land which they had defiled by their sin." The word thus acquires a very suggestive significance, reminding Israel of God's goodness on the one hand, and of their own sinfulness and ingratitude on the other. Hosea 6:7The reason why God was obliged to punish in this manner is given in the following verses. Hosea 6:6. "For I take pleasure in love, and not in sacrifices; and in the knowledge of God more than in burnt-offerings. Hosea 6:7. But they have transgressed the covenant like Adam: there have they acted treacherously towards me." Chesed is love to one's neighbour, manifesting itself in righteousness, love which has its roots in the knowledge of God, and therefore is connected with "the knowledge of God" here as in Hosea 4:1. For the thought itself, compare the remarks on the similar declaration made by the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:22; and for parallels as to the fact, see Isaiah 1:11-17; Micah 6:8; Psalm 40:7-9, and Psalm 50:8., in all which passages it is not sacrifices in themselves, but simply the heartless sacrifices with which the wicked fancied they could cover their sins, that are here rejected as displeasing to God, and as abominations in His eyes. This is apparent also from the antithesis in Hosea 6:7, viz., the reproof of their transgression of the covenant. המּה (they) are Israel and Judah, not the priests, whose sins are first referred to in Hosea 6:9. כּאדם, not "after the manner of men," or "like ordinary men," - for this explanation would only be admissible if המּה referred to the priests or prophets, or if a contrast were drawn between the rulers and others, as in Psalm 82:7 - but "like Adam," who transgressed the commandment of God, that he should not eat of the tree of knowledge. This command was actually a covenant, which God made with him, since the object of its was the preservation of Adam in vital fellowship with the Lord, as was the case with the covenant that God made with Israel (see Job 31:33, and Delitzsch's Commentary). The local expression "there," points to the place where the faithless apostasy had occurred, as in Psalm 14:5. This is not more precisely defined, but refers no doubt to Bethel as the scene of the idolatrous worship. There is no foundation for the temporal rendering "then."
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