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Verse 12

Hosea 4:12. My people ask counsel at their stocks Hebrew, בעצו , at their wood, that is, the images of their idols made of wood; these they consulted as oracles, that they might foretel to them what was to come, or give them advice, what measures to take. And their staff declares unto them They seek to know things by means of rods, by which they think they can divine. This refers to a kind of divination by rods or staves, which was anciently practised in the East, of which different accounts are given by ancient writers. Some say, the person consulting measured his staff by spans, or by the length of his finger, saying as he measured it, “I will go, or I will not go; I will do such a thing, or I will not do it;” and as the last span fell out so he determined. Others, however, as Cyril and Theophylact, give a different account of the matter, and say, it was performed by erecting two sticks, after which they muttered forth a certain charm, and then according as the sticks fell backward or forward, to the right or left, they gave advice in any affair. The same kind of divination seems to be intended with that used by the Chaldeans, concerning which see the note on Ezekiel 21:21. For the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err For their fondness for idolatry hath caused them to fall into all these absurd errors, through the example of the idolatrous nations whom they loved to imitate. They have gone a whoring from their God They have left their God, the true God, and his laws, to follow the worship, customs, and rites of heathen idolaters.

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