on Hosea 12 :8
I am become rich - They boasted in their riches, notwithstanding the unjust manner in which they were acquired.
In all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me - This is frequently the language of merchants, tradesmen, etc. None are so full of professions of equity and justice, while all the time they are endeavoring to overreach, both in buying and selling. "Sir, I cannot afford it at that price." "It is not mine for that money." "I assure you that it cost me more than you offer." "I am sorry I cannot take your money; but if I did, I should lose by the article," etc., etc., etc. I have heard such language over and over, when I knew every word was false. Truth is a sacred thing in the sight of God; but who regards it as he should? There are, however, many noble exceptions among merchants and tradesmen. Bp. Newcome gives another turn to the subject, by translating: -
"All his labors shall not be found profitable unto him,
For the iniquity wherewith he hath sinned."
on Hosea 12 :8
And Ephraim said, Yet am I become rich - Literally, "I am simply rich." As if he said, "the only result of all this, with which the prophets charge me, is that 'I am become rich:' and since God thus prospers me, it is a sure proof that he is not displeased with me, that 'no iniquity' can be 'found in me;'" the ordinary practical argument of men, as long as God withholds His punishments, that their ways cannot be so displeasing to Him. With the people of this world, with its politicians, in trade, it is the one decisive argument: "I was in the right, for I succeeded." "It was a good speculation, for he gained thousands." "it was good policy, for, see its fruits. An answer, at which the pagan laughed, "the people hisses me, but I, I, safe at home, applaud myself, when the coin jingles in my chest" . The pagan ridiculed it; Christians enact it. But in truth, the fact that God does not punish, is often the evidence of His extremest displeasure.
They shall find none iniquity in me, that were sin - The merchants of Ephraim continue their protest; "in all the toil of my hands, all my buying and selling, my bargains, contracts, they can bring no iniquity home to me," and then, in a tone of simple innocence, they add, 'that' were 'sin,' as though they 'could' not do, what to do were sin. None suspect themselves less, than those intent on gain. The evil customs of other traders, the habits of trade, the seeming necessity for some frauds, the conventional nature of others, the minuteness of others, with their frequent repetition, blind the soul, until it sees no sin, while, with every smallest sale, "they sell their own souls into the bargain" .
on Hosea 12 :8
12:8 I am rich - Whatever is said, yet I get what I aim at. They shall find - Yet he hugs himself in the apprehension of close carriage of his affairs, so that no great crime can be found in him: none, that is sin, that is any great enormity.