Chapter 10

1Israel is a vine devoid of fruit fitting for it. When I increased their good, they increased for the altars; when I increased for their land, they increased pillars.   אגֶּ֚פֶן בּוֹקֵק֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל פְּרִ֖י יְשַׁוֶּה־לּ֑וֹ כְּרֹ֣ב לְפִרְי֗וֹ הִרְבָּה֙ לַמִּזְבְּח֔וֹת כְּט֣וֹב לְאַרְצ֔וֹ הֵטִ֖יבוּ מַצֵּבֽוֹת:
Israel is a vine devoid of fruit fitting for it: Israel resembles a vine that casts off all its good fruit. So did they forsake Me, Who is the good and fitting fruit for them.  
fruit fitting for it: The fruit that is fitting for them and good for them.  
When I increased their good, they increased for the altars: When I lavished good upon them, they made many calves for the altars. Another explanation  
Israel is a plundered vine;: the produce of their deeds brought it about to them. פְּרִי יְשַׁוֶּה לוֹ means ‘will avail them’ to be plundered, for they made the altars and availed their nation for evil. This is the wording of the Targum.  
they increased pillars: Heb. הֵטִיבוּ מַצֵבוֹת.  
2Their heart has parted; now they shall be desolate. That shall demolish their altars, plunder their pillars.   בחָלַ֥ק לִבָּ֖ם עַתָּ֣ה יֶאְשָׁ֑מוּ הוּא יַֽעֲרֹ֣ף מִזְבְּחוֹתָ֔ם יְשֹׁדֵ֖ד מַצֵּֽבוֹתָֽם:
Their heart has parted: from Me.  
now they shall be desolate. That: is the thing that shall demolish (וְעָרְפוּ) their altars, i.e., it will destroy them. This is an expression similar to (Deut. 21:4) “and they shall behead (יַעֲרֹף) ” ; (Ex. 13:13) “and you shall behead it (וְעֲרַפְתּוֹ).” He will break their neck. Another explanation according to Midrash Aggadah: Peace is great, for, even if Israel worships idols, but there is peace among them, Satan does not bring charges against them, as it is said: (above 4:17) “Ephraim is joined: although he worships idols, let him alone.” Strife, however, is hated, as it is said: “Their heart has parted; now they will be guilty.” Satan can open his mouth to bring charges. [from unknown Midrashic source]  
3For now they shall say, "We have no king, for we did not fear the Lord; now what shall the king do for us?   גכִּ֚י עַתָּה֙ יֹֽאמְר֔וּ אֵ֥ין מֶ֖לֶךְ לָ֑נוּ כִּ֣י לֹ֚א יָרֵ֙אנוּ֙ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְהַמֶּ֖לֶךְ מַה־יַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לָּֽנוּ:
For now: when evil befalls them.  
they shall say, We have no king,: Our king, upon whom we relied, saying, “He will go forth at our head and will wage our wars,” is of no avail to us.  
4They spoke words, swearing falsely, forming a covenant, and judgment shall spring up like hemlock on the furrows of the field.   דדִּבְּר֣וּ דְבָרִ֔ים אָל֥וֹת שָׁ֖וְא כָּרֹ֣ת בְּרִ֑ית וּפָרַ֚ח כָּרֹאשׁ֙ מִשְׁפָּ֔ט עַ֖ל תַּלְמֵ֥י שָׂדָֽי:
swearing falsely: Heb. אָלוֹתשָוְא, swearing falsely. אָלוֹת is, in construction, like כָּרֹת, a present tense.  
forming a covenant: with pagan worship. Therefore, judgment of torments and retribution shall spring up upon them.  
like hemlock: which is a bitter grass, springing up on the furrows of the field. And Jonathan renders:  
on the furrows of the field: for the iniquity that they move back the boundaries of the field.  
the furrows: Heb. תַּלְמֵי. The furrow of a plowshare is called תֶּלֶם. Another explanation:  
on the furrows of the field: where they erect their altars, as it is said (below 12:12): “like heaps on the furrows of the field.” There the judgment for their iniquity shall spring up on them. Another explanation:  
swearing falsely: Every covenant they form with one another they break.  
and… shall spring up like hemlock: which springs up on the furrows of the field, which is a bitter grass, so do their judgments spring up and bitterness grows for the poor and needy. Amos, too, says: (6:12) “For you have turned judgment into hemlock.”  
5Because of the calves of Beth-aven, the neighbors in Samaria shall be frightened, for its people shall mourn over it, and its priests, would rejoice over it, because of its glory, for it has been exiled from it.   הלְעֶגְלוֹת֙ בֵּ֣ית אָ֔וֶן יָג֖וּרוּ שְׁכַ֣ן שֹֽׁמְר֑וֹן כִּֽי־אָבַ֨ל עָלָ֜יו עַמּ֗וֹ וּכְמָרָיו֙ עָלָ֣יו יָגִ֔ילוּ עַל־כְּבוֹד֖וֹ כִּֽי־גָלָ֥ה מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
Because of the calves of Beth-aven etc.: Because of the retribution destined to befall the calves in Bethel, called Beth- aven in the Book of Joshua (7:2).  
shall be frightened: Heb. יָגוּרוּ. Its neighbors who were in Samaria shall be frightened over it. Why? For its people mourn over it, and its priests, who would constantly rejoice over it will not mourn over its glory, for it has been exiled.  
6That too shall be carried off to Assyria, a gift to King Yareb; Ephraim shall take shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his counsel.   וגַּם־אוֹתוֹ֙ לְאַשּׁ֣וּר יוּבָ֔ל מִנְחָ֖ה לְמֶ֣לֶךְ יָרֵ֑ב בָּשְׁנָה֙ אֶפְרַ֣יִם יִקָּ֔ח וְיֵב֥וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵֽעֲצָתֽוֹ:
That too shall be carried off to Assyria: This took place in the twelfth year of Ahaz, “And the Lord (sic) aroused the desire of Pul king of Assyria… and they exiled the Reubenites and the Gadites etc.” (I Chron. 5:26), and he took the golden calves that were in Bethel and went away, to fulfill what was said: “That too shall be carried off to Assyria.” [from Seder Olam ch. 22]  
a gift to King Yareb: This is Sennacherib.  
Ephraim shall take shame: Heb. בָּשְׁנָה. Jeroboam, who was from the tribe of Ephraim, shall take shame for himself, that he erected this calf for a deity.  
and Israel shall be ashamed: of that counsel that they took counsel to make them, as it is said: (I Kings 12:28) “The king took counsel and made two golden calves.”  
7The king of Samaria is silenced and is like foam on the surface of the water.   זנִדְמֶ֥ה שֹֽׁמְר֖וֹן מַלְכָּ֑הּ כְּקֶ֖צֶף עַל־פְּנֵי־מָֽיִם:
The king of Samaria is silenced: Heb. נִדְמֶה. The king of Samaria is silenced, and he is like foam on the surface of the water, which is eskoume (ecume) in Old French.  
8The high places of Aven are destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall come up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, "Cover us up," and to the hills, "Fall upon us."   חוְנִשְׁמְד֞וּ בָּמ֣וֹת אָ֗וֶן חַטַּאת֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל ק֣וֹץ וְדַרְדַּ֔ר יַֽעֲלֶ֖ה עַל־מִזְבְּחוֹתָ֑ם וְאָֽמְר֚וּ לֶֽהָרִים֙ כַּסּ֔וּנוּ וְלַגְּבָע֖וֹת נִפְל֥וּ עָלֵֽינוּ:
The high places of Aven: i.e., the high places of Bethel.  
thorns and thistles shall come up on their altars: for their worshippers have gone into exile, and no one turns to them anymore.  
and they shall say: i.e., Israel shall say.  
to the mountains, Cover us up: lest our enemies see our shame.  
9Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel! There they remained; the battle against the haughty did not overtake them in Gibeah.   טמִימֵי֙ הַגִּבְעָ֔ה חָטָ֖אתָ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל שָׁ֣ם עָמָ֔דוּ לֹֽא־תַשִּׂיגֵ֧ם בַּגִּבְעָ֛ה מִלְחָמָ֖ה עַל־בְּנֵ֥י עַֽלְוָֽה:
Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel!: Heb. חָטָאתָ. This word חָטָאת is punctuated weakly, since it is of the feminine gender and of the past tense. Comp. (Lev. 25:21) וְעָשָת, “and it shall produce”; (Gen. 16:8) בָאת, “have you come”; (Deut. 32:36) אָזְלַת, “their power is gone.” From the days of Gibeah of Benjamin, Israel sinned. Since the incident of the concubine in Gibeah (Jud. 19) took place during the time of Othniel the son of Kenaz, who was the first of the judges, at the time of Cushan-rishathaim, and in whose time the image of Micah existed, and all this we find in Seder Olam (ch. 12).  
There they remained: They adhered to that trait since then.  
the battle… did not overtake them in Gibeah: Since the iniquity of idolatry was with them and they were not concerned about it, they were not victorious in the battle of Gibeah against the Benjaminites. Scripture calls them בְּנֵי עַלְוָה, lit. sons of haughtiness, who made themselves superior (עֶלְיוֹנִים) and did not heed their brethren to deliver the people of Gibeah. Jonathan, however, translates this in reference to their request for a king and their crowning Saul. However this does not appear to me to follow the Hebrew wording. Moreover, the context fits the former interpretation.  
10With My will, I chastised them, and nations shall gather about them, when they bind them to their two eyes.   יבְּאַוָּתִ֖י וְאֶסֳּרֵ֑ם וְאֻסְּפ֚וּ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ עַמִּ֔ים בְּאָסְרָ֖ם לִשְׁתֵּ֥י עֽוֹנֹתָֽם (כתיב עֹינֹתָֽם) :
With My will, I chastised them: According to My will, I always chastised them from judge to judge, and I delivered them into the hands of their plunderers.  
and nations shall gather about them, when they bind them to their two eyes: Since Hosea compares them to a heifer as stated further: “Ephraim is a goaded heifer,” he, therefore, compared their chastisement to a cow, which they tire with plowing and they bind it to the yoke of the plowshare, and the pegs of the yoke penetrate it, [i.e., they penetrate the yoke,] one on this side and one on that side, next to the ox’s two eyes. And so did Jonathan render: as one hinds a “padna” on its two eyes.“Padna” is a yoke of oxen.  
11And Ephraim is a goaded heifer that loves to thresh, and I passed over her fair neck; I will cause Ephraim to ride, Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods.   יאוְאֶפְרַ֜יִם עֶגְלָ֚ה מְלֻמָּדָה֙ אֹהַ֣בְתִּי לָד֔וּשׁ וַֽאֲנִ֣י עָבַ֔רְתִּי עַל־ט֖וּב צַוָּארָ֑הּ אַרְכִּ֚יב אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ יַֽחֲר֣וֹשׁ יְהוּדָ֔ה יְשַׂדֶּד־ל֖וֹ יַֽעֲקֹֽב:
And Ephraim is a goaded heifer: Heb. מְלֻמָּדָה, porpojjnte in O.F. punctured, wounded in many places with the oxgoad, which is called agojjlon in O.F. I.e., many chastisements have I brought upon her, yet she has not humbled herself, and he always loves to thresh the grain in a place of food and fat, and she did not subject herself to be plowing, i.e., they did not subject themselves to My Torah, but follow the vision of their heart.  
that loves: Heb. אֹהַבְתִּי. The “yud” is superfluous. Comp. (Gen. 31: 39) “stolen by day (גְּנֻבְתִי).”  
and I passed over her fair neck: Therefore, I bring upon them kings who will weaken their strength.  
I will cause Ephraim to ride, Judah shall plow etc.: If you wish that I would cause Ephraim to ride upon the nations, Judah shall plow, and Jacob יְשַּׂדֶד, shall break his clods with a plowing of good deeds, as Hosea explains and says: plow yourselves a plowing etc.  
12Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap according to loving-kindness, plow yourselves a plowing, and it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and instructs you in righteousness.   יבזִרְע֨וּ לָכֶ֚ם לִצְדָקָה֙ קִצְר֣וּ לְפִי־חֶ֔סֶד נִ֥ירוּ לָכֶ֖ם נִ֑יר וְעֵת֙ לִדְר֣וֹשׁ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֔ה עַד־יָב֕וֹא וְיוֹרֶ֥ה צֶ֖דֶק לָכֶֽם:
Sow righteousness for yourselves: But you have plowed wickedness etc.; therefore, a tumult shall rise in your people.  
plow yourselves a plowing: Engage in the Torah and from there you will learn to go on the good way, to overpower temptation, like a person who plows the field to turn over the roots of grasses which sap the strength of the grain in the summer many days prior to sowing, and you shall set aside a time to seek the Lord, i.e., for the study of the Torah.  
until He comes and instructs you in righteousness: When you toil in it, He will give you to understand to let you know its secrets with righteousness. Another explanation:  
Plow yourselves a plowing: Do good deeds before oppression comes upon you, and that will cause for you that your prayer will be accepted in time of necessity, and then it will be a time fit for you to seek the Holy One, blessed he He, for all your necessities, for then your cry will be heard, and He will cast down (יוֹרֶה) charity to you; i.e., He will rain down charity to you. Comp. (Ex. 15:3) “He cast (יָרָה) into the sea.”  
13You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten fruit of lies, for you have relied on your way, on the abundance of your mighty men.   יגחֲרַשְׁתֶּם־רֶ֛שַׁע עַוְלָ֥תָה קְצַרְתֶּ֖ם אֲכַלְתֶּ֣ם פְּרִי־כָ֑חַשׁ כִּֽי־בָטַ֥חְתָּ בְדַרְכְּךָ֖ בְּרֹ֥ב גִּבּוֹרֶֽיךָ:
you have eaten fruit of lies: You have received the retribution for your deeds.  
14And a tumult shall rise in your peoples, and all your fortresses shall be plundered, as the plunder of a peaceful people by an ambush on a day of war; the mother with the children was dashed to pieces.   ידוְקָ֣אם שָׁאוֹן֘ בְּעַמֶּיךָ֒ וְכָל־מִבְצָרֶ֣יךָ יוּשָּׁ֔ד כְּשֹׁ֧ד שַׁלְמַ֛ן בֵּ֥ית אַרְבֵּ֖אל בְּי֣וֹם מִלְחָמָ֑ה אֵ֥ם עַל־בָּנִ֖ים רֻטָּֽשָׁה:
And a tumult shall rise in your peoples: i.e., a voice shouting, “Flee! Flee!”  
as the plunder of a peaceful people by an ambush: Like plunderers who come upon a tranquil people suddenly with an ambush, for they did not beware of them to flee from before them, and they plunder everything.  
an ambush: Heb. בֵּיתאַרְבֵּאל. Jonathan renders: a place of ambush (בֵּיתמַאֲרָב) , and the “aleph” “lammed” are superfluous. Comp. יִזְרְעֶאל, which is not the name of a city, e.g., (above 2:24) “And they shall answer Jezreel,” and he called it with the expression of a name. Here, too, he called it as a sort of name. In this manner, Menahem (Machbereth Menahem p. 34) classified it, but Dunash (Teshuvoth Dunash p. 49) interprets it as a placename.  
was dashed to pieces: Heb. רֻטָּשָׁה, split. Comp. (Isa. 13:18) “shall dash (תְּרַטַשְנָא) youths” ; (ibid. v. 16) “and their babes shall be dashed (יְרֻטָשׁוּ).” Another explanation of רֻטָּשָׁה is “abandoned,” like נֻטָּשָׁה.  
15So has Bethel done to you because of the evil of your wickedness; at dawn, the king of Israel has been silenced.   טוכָּ֗כָה עָשָׂ֚ה לָכֶם֙ בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל מִפְּנֵ֖י רָעַ֣ת רָֽעַתְכֶ֑ם בַּשַּׁ֕חַר נִדְמֹ֥ה נִדְמָ֖ה מֶ֥לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
So has Bethel done to you: The calf in Bethel has brought about all this retribution upon you.  
the evil of your wickedness: Heb., lit. the evil of your evil. Because of the evil of your wickedness, the sins of your evil intention.  
at dawn the king of Israel has been silenced: Heb. נִדְמֹה נִדְמָה. He has sunk into a deep sleep as though it were night; i.e. he has no strength. Now why has all this come about? For when Israel was young, devoid of all good, I loved him.