A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown  at sacred-texts.com
hos 10:1ISRAEL'S IDOLATRY, THE SOURCE OF PERJURIES AND UNLAWFUL LEAGUES, SOON DESTINED TO BE THE RUIN OF THE STATE, THEIR KING AND THEIR IMAGES BEING ABOUT TO BE CARRIED OFF; A JUST CHASTISEMENT, THE REAPING CORRESPONDING TO THE SOWING. (Hos 10:1-15)
The prophecy was uttered between Shalmaneser's first and second invasions of Israel. Compare Hos 10:14; also Hos 10:6, referring to Hoshea's calling So of Egypt to his aid; also Hos 10:4, Hos 10:13.
empty--stripped of its fruits [CALVIN], (Nah 2:2); compelled to pay tribute to Pul (Kg2 15:20). MAURER translates, "A widespreading vine"; so the Septuagint. Compare Gen 49:22; Psa 80:9-11; Eze 17:6.
bringeth forth fruit unto himself--not unto ME.
according to . . . multitude of . . . fruit . . . increased . . . altars--In proportion to the abundance of their prosperity, which called for fruit unto God (compare Rom 6:22), was the abundance of their idolatry (Hos 8:4, Hos 8:11).
hos 10:2heart . . . divided-- (Kg1 18:21; Mat 6:24; Jam 4:8).
now--that is soon.
break down--"cut off," namely the heads of the victims. Those altars, which were the scene of cutting off the victims' heads, shall be themselves cut off.
hos 10:3now, &c.--Soon they, deprived of their king, shall be reduced to say, We have no king (Hos 10:7, Hos 10:15), for Jehovah deprived us of him, because of our not fearing God. What then (seeing God is against us) should a king be able to do for us, if we had one? As they rejected the heavenly King, they were deprived of their earthly king.
hos 10:4words--mere empty words.
swearing falsely in making a covenant--breaking their engagement to Shalmaneser (Kg2 17:4), and making a covenant with So, though covenants with foreigners were forbidden.
judgment . . . as hemlock--that is, divine judgment shall spring up as rank, and as deadly, as hemlock in the furrows (Deu 29:18; Amo 5:7; Amo 6:12). GESENIUS translates, "poppy." GROTIUS, "darnel."
hos 10:5fear because of the calves--that is, shall fear for them.
Beth-aven--substituted for Beth-el in contempt (Hos 4:15).
it--singular, the one in Beth-el; after the pattern of which the other "calves" (plural) were made. "Calves" in the Hebrew is feminine, to express contempt.
priests--The Hebrew is only used of idolatrous priests (Kg2 23:5; Zep 1:4), from a root meaning either "the black garment" in which they were attired; or, "to resound," referring to their howling cries in their sacred rites [CALVIN].
that rejoiced on it--because it was a source of gain to them. MAURER translates, "Shall leap in trepidation on account of it"; as Baal's priests did (Kg1 18:26).
the glory thereof--the magnificence of its ornaments and its worship.
hos 10:6It . . . also--The calf, so far from saving its worshippers from deportation, itself shall be carried off; hence "Israel shall be ashamed" of it.
Jareb--(See on Hos 5:13). "A present to the king (whom they looked to as) their defender," or else avenger, whose wrath they wished to appease, namely, Shalmaneser. The minor states applied this title to the Great King, as the avenging Protector.
his own counsel--the calves, which Jeroboam set up as a stroke of policy to detach Israel from Judah. Their severance from Judah and Jehovah proved now to be not politic, but fatal to them.
hos 10:7(Hos 10:3, Hos 10:15).
foam--denoting short-lived existence and speedy dissolution. As the foam, though seeming to be eminent raised on the top of the water, yet has no solidity, such is the throne of Samaria. MAURER translates, "a chip" or broken branch that cannot resist the current.
hos 10:8Aven--that is, Beth-aven.
the sin--that is, the occasion of sin (Deu 9:21; Kg1 12:30).
they shall say to . . . mountains, Cover us--So terrible shall be the calamity, that men shall prefer death to life (Luk 23:30; Rev 6:16; Rev 9:6). Those very hills on which were their idolatrous altars (one source of their confidence, as their "king," Hos 10:7, was the other), so far from helping them, shall be called on by them to overwhelm them.
hos 10:9Gibeah-- (Hos 9:9; Jdg. 19:1-20:48). They are singled out as a specimen of the whole nation.
there they stood--The Israelites have, as there and then, so ever since, persisted in their sin [CALVIN]. Or, better, "they stood their ground," that is, did not perish then [MAURER].
the battle . . . did not overtake them--Though God spared you then, He will not do so now; nay, the battle whereby God punished the Gibeonite "children of iniquity," shall the more heavily visit you for your continued impenitence. Though "they stood" then, it shall not be so now. The change from "thou" to "they" marks God's alienation from them; they are, by the use of the third person, put to a greater distance from God.
hos 10:10my desire . . . chastise--expressing God's strong inclination to vindicate His justice against sin, as being the infinitely holy God (Deu 28:63).
the people--Foreign invaders "shall be gathered against them."
when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows--image from two oxen ploughing together side by side, in two contiguous furrows: so the Israelites shall join themselves, to unite their powers against all dangers, but it will not save them from My destroying them [CALVIN]. Their "two furrows" may refer to their two places of setting up the calves, their ground of confidence, Dan and Beth-el; or, the two divisions of the nation, Israel and Judah, "in their two furrows," that is, in their respective two places of habitation; Hos 10:11, which specifies the two, favors this view. HENDERSON prefers the Keri (Hebrew Margin) "for their two iniquities"; and translates, "when they are bound" in captivity. English Version is best, as the image is carried out in Hos 10:11; only it is perhaps better to translate, "the people (the invaders) binding them," that is, making them captives; and so Hos 10:11 alludes to the yoke being put on the neck of Ephraim and Judah.
hos 10:11taught--that is, accustomed.
loveth to tread out . . . corn--a far easier and more self-indulgent work than ploughing. In treading corn, cattle were not bound together under a yoke, but either trod it singly with their feet, or drew a threshing sledge over it (Isa 28:27-28): they were free to eat some of the corn from time to time, as the law required they should be unmuzzled (Deu 25:4), so that they grew fat in this work. An image of Israel's freedom, prosperity, and self-indulgence heretofore. But now God will put the Assyrian yoke upon her, instead of freedom, putting her to servile work.
I passed over upon--I put the yoke upon.
make . . . to ride--as in Job 30:22; that is, hurry Ephraim away to a distant region [CALVIN]. LYRA translates, "I will make (the Assyrian) to ride upon Ephraim." MAURER, "I will make Ephraim to carry," namely, a charioteer.
his clods--"the clods before him."
hos 10:12Continuation of the image in Hos 10:11 (Pro 11:18). Act righteously and ye shall reap the reward; a reward not of debt, but of grace.
in mercy--according to the measure of the divine "mercy," which over and above repays the goodness or "mercy" which we show to our fellow man (Luk 6:38).
break . . . fallow ground--Remove your superstitions and vices, and be renewed.
seek . . . Lord, fill he come--Though not answered immediately, persevere unceasingly "till He come."
rain--send down as a copious shower.
righteousness--the reward of righteousness, that is, salvation, temporal and spiritual (Sa1 26:23; compare Joe 2:23 ).
hos 10:13reaped iniquity--that is, the fruit of iniquity; as "righteousness" (Hos 10:12) is "the fruit of righteousness" (Job 4:8; Pro 22:8; Gal 6:7-8).
lies--false and spurious worship.
trust in thy way--thy perverse way (Isa 57:10; Jer 2:23), thy worship of false gods. This was their internal safeguard, as their external was "the multitude of their mighty men."
hos 10:14tumult--a tumultuous war.
among thy people--literally, "peoples": the war shall extend to the whole people of Israel, through all the tribes, and the peoples allied to her.
Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel--that is, Shalmaneser, a compound name, in which the part common to it and the names of three other Assyrian kings, is omitted; Tiglath-pileser, Esar-haddon, Shar-ezer. So Jeconiah is abbreviated to Coniah. Arbel was situated in Naphtali in Galilee, on the border nearest Assyria. Against it Shalmaneser, at his first invasion of Israel (Kg2 17:3), vented his chief rage. God threatens Israel's fortresses with the same fate as Arbel suffered "in the day (on the occasion) of the battle" then well-known, though not mentioned elsewhere (compare Kg2 18:34). This event, close on the reign of Hezekiah, shows the inscription of Hosea (Hos 1:1) to be correct.
hos 10:15So shall Beth-el do unto you--Your idolatrous calf at Beth-el shall be the cause of a like calamity befalling you.
your great wickedness--literally, "the wickedness of your wickedness."
in a morning--speedily as quickly as the dawn is put to flight by the rising sun (Hos 6:4; Hos 13:3; Psa 30:5).