Hosea 13:2

2 And now they sin[a] more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

Hosea 13:2 Meaning and Commentary

Hosea 13:2

And now they sin more and more
Since the times of Jeroboam, and also of Ahab, adding other deities to the calves, and to Baal, as follows; increasing the number of their idols, and their idolatrous sacrifices, rites, and ceremonies: this they did in the times the prophet, who prophesied after the times of as it is common with evil men and seducers to wax worse and worse, and to proceed to more ungodliness, and from evil to evil; such is the way of idolaters, they stop not, but run into greater absurdities and grosser idolatries: and have made them molten images of their silver:
which is to be understood, not of the calves, or of Baal, made of gold, which they purchased with their silver; but of other images they had in their houses, or carried about with them, made of their silver, of their plate, which they melted and cast images of it, of whatsoever shape or form they pleased: [and] idols according to their own understanding;
which were entirely of man's device, and had nothing divine in them, either as to matter or form, but wholly the invention of the human brain; or, "according to their own likeness", as the Targum, and so other Jewish interpreters; after the form of a man, and yet were so weak and stupid as to account them gods: all of it the work of the craftsmen;
of silversmiths and founders, and such like artificers; the same, or of the same sort, with the craftsmen that made shrines for Diana, ( Acts 19:24 Acts 19:38 ) ; and therefore such a work, wrought by such hands, could never be a deity, or have anything divine in it; they must be as stupid and senseless as the work itself to imagine there should: and yet they say of them;
the false prophets, or the idolatrous priests, say of such idols: let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves:
let those that bring their sacrifices, or those that offer them, pay religious worship and adoration to the calves; which they signified by kissing the idols they sacrificed to, either their mouths, or their hands; or, if out of their reach, they kissed their own hands in token of honour to them; which rites were commonly used among the Heathens. Cicero F19 says at Agrigentum, where was a temple or Hercules, where the people not only used to show a veneration to his image by prayers and thanksgivings, but they used to kiss it. So Apuleius F20 speaks of a beautiful virgin, the report of whose beauty brought together a vast number of citizens and strangers; who, amazed at the sight of her, put their right hand to then mouths, the first finger resting upon the thumb erect, and gave her reverence with religious adoration, as if she had been the goddess Venus herself; and Minutius Felix F21 says of Caecilius, that, observing the image of Serapis (probably much like one of these calves), putting his hand to his mouth, according to the superstitious custom of the common people, with his lips smacked a kiss; and so Pliny


F23 observes, in worshipping, the right hand is used for a kiss, turning about the whole body, which to do to the left was reckoned the more religious; hence it is observed F24 of Aemilius, a derider of and scoffer at things divine, that he would never make supplication to any god, nor frequent any temple; and if he passed by any place of worship, he reckoned it a crime to put his hand to his lips by way of adoration, or on account of that; and it seems to have obtained as early as the times of Job among idolatrous people, that, upon the sight of the sun or moon, they immediately with their mouth kissed their hands; see ( Job 31:26 Job 31:27 ) ; hence Lucian F25, speaking of the Indians, says, rising early in the morning, they worship the sun, not as we, who think the prayers are finished when the hand is kissed; and Tertullian F26, addressing the Heathens in his time, thus bespeaks them, most of you, out of an affectation of worshipping the celestial bodies at the rising of the sun, move and quaver your lips; hence kissing is used for the worship of the Son of God, ( Psalms 2:12 ) . Some read the words, "let those that sacrifice a man F1 kiss the calves"; as if it respected the abominable practice of sacrificing men to Moloch; or intimated that men were sacrificed to the calves at Bethel.
F19 In Verrem, l. 4. Orat. 9. c. 13.
F20 Metamorphos. sive de Asino Auero, l. 4. p. 60.
F21 Octavius, p. 2.
F23 Nat. Hist. l. 28. c. 2.
F24 Apuleii Apolog. p. 226.
F25 (peri orchsewv) .
F26 Apolog. c. 16.
F1 (Mda yxbz) "immolatores hominem, [vel] immolantes homines", Vatablus; "sacrificantes hominem", Montanus, Calvin, Schmidt; so some in Abenda. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin render it as an imperative, "sacrifice men"; and the Syriac version, "O ye that sacrifice men".

Hosea 13:2 In-Context

1 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.
3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. they sin...: Heb. they add to sin