Hosea 4:2 . By swearing False swearing seems to be here chiefly intended, which is here, as it is also elsewhere, joined with lying and stealing; because, in the Jewish courts of justice, men that were suspected of theft were obliged to purge themselves by an oath; and they often ventured to forswear themselves, rather than discover the truth. The Hebrew word, אלה , here used, is rendered αρα by the LXX., that is, execration, imprecation, or cursing, as Bishop Horsley renders it. Profane swearing, however, or taking the name of God in vain, is doubtless included. The next word, כחשׁ , rendered lying, means falsehood in general: and especially, as some think, the denying of deposites which had been left in their hands, and which, when the owners came to claim them, they absolutely denied having received. And killing, committing murders, either privately or with open violence. They break out Hebrew, פרצו , they burst out, or overflow, a metaphor taken from rivers breaking their banks, and bearing down every obstacle by the impetuosity of their waters. The meaning is, There is an inundation of all manner of wickedness, and all law and equity is broken through and violated. And blood toucheth blood One murder follows upon another, and many are committed in all parts of the country, and as it were, in a constant series and succession. This was probably spoken with an especial reference to the murder of their kings by those who aspired to succeed them; as Zechariah by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, Pekah by Pekahiah and Hoshea. In such civil broils a great many of their friends and dependants are commonly slain with the kings themselves.
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