Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not - Like Samson, when, for sensual pleasure, he had betrayed the source of his strength and God had departed from him, lsrael knew not how or wherein his alliancs with the pagan had impaired his strength. He thought his losses at the hand of the enemy, passing wounds, which time would heal; he thought not of them, as tokens of God' s separation from him, that his time of trial was coming to its close, his strength decaying, his end at hand. Israel was not only incorrigible, but "past feeling" Ephesians 4:19, as the Apostle says of the pagan. The marks of wasting and decay were visible to sight and touch; yet he himself perceived not what all saw except himself. Israel had sought to strangers for help, and it "had turned to his decay." Pul and Tiglath-pileser had "devoured his strength," despoiling him of his wealth and treasure, the flower of his men, and the produce of his land, draining him of his riches, and hardly oppressing him through the tribute imposed upon him. But "like men quite stupified, they, though thus continually gnawed upon, yet suffered themselves willingly to be devoured, and seemed insensible of it." Yet not only so, but the present evils were the forerunners of worse. Grey hairs, themselves the effects of declining age and tokens of decay, are the forerunners of death. "Thy grey hairs are thy passing-bell," says the proverb .
The prophet repeats, after each clause, "he knoweth not." He knoweth nothing; be knoweth not the tokens of decay in himself, but hides them from himself; he knoweth not God, who is the author of them;. he knoweth not the cause of them, his sins; he knoweth not the end and object of them, his conversion; he knoweth not, what, since he knoweth not any of these things, will be the issue of them, his destruction. People hide from themselves the tokens of decay, whether of body or soul. And so death, whether of body or soul or both, comes upon them unawares. : "Looking on the surface, he imagines that all things are right with him, not feeling the secret worm which gnaws within. The outward garb remains; the rules of fasting are observed; the stated times of prayer are kept; but the heart is far from Me, saith the Lord. Consider diligently what thou lovest, what thou fearest, whereat thou rejoicest or art saddened, and thou will find, under the habit of religion, a worldly mind; under the rags of conversion, a heart of perversion."
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Hosea 7:9:
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