on Hosea 7 :14
They have not cried unto me with their heart - They say they have sought me, but could not find me; that they have cried unto me, but I did not answer. I know they have cried, yea, howled; but could I hear them when all was forced and hypocritical, not one sigh coming from their heart?
They assemble themselves for corn and wine - In dearth and famine they call and howl: but they assemble themselves, not to seek Me, but to invoke their false gods for corn and wine.
on Hosea 7 :14
And they have not cried unto him with their heart, when they howled upon their beds - Or, in the present time, "they cry not unto Me when they howl." They did "cry," and, it may be, they "cried" even "unto God." At least, the prophet does not deny that they cried to God at all; only, he says, that they did "not cry to" Him "with their heart." Their cries were wrung from them by their temporal distresses, and ended in them, not in God. There was no sincerity in their hearts, no change in their doings. Their cry was a mere howling. The secret complaint of the heart is a loud cry in the ears of God. The impetuous "cry" of impatient and unconverted suffering is a mere brutish "howling." Their heart was set wholly on their earthly needs; it did not thank God for giving them good things, nor cry to Him truly when He withheld them.
But, it may be, that the prophet means also to contrast the acts of the ungodly, private and public, amid distress, with those of the godly. The godly man implores God in public and in private. The prayer on the "bed," expresses the private prayer of the soul to God, when, the world being shut out, it is alone with Him. In place of this, there was the "howling," as people toss fretfully and angrily on their beds, roar for pain; but, instead of complaining "to" God, complain "of" Him, and are angry, not with themselves, but with God. In place of the public prayer and humiliation, there was a mere tumultuous assembly, in which they clamored "for grain and wine," and "rebelled against God. They assemble themselves;" (literally, "they gather themselves tumultuously together). They rebel against Me ;" (literally, "they turn aside against Me"). They did not only (as it is expressed elsewhere) "turn aside "from" God." "They turn aside against Me," He says, flying, as it were, in the very face of God. This "tumultuous assembly" was either some stormy civil debate, how to obtain the grain and wine which God withheld, or a tumultuous clamoring to their idols and false gods, like that of the priests of Baal, when arrayed against Elijah on Mount Carmel; whereby they removed the further from God's law, and rebelled with a high hand against Him.
: What is to "cry to the Lord," but to long for the Lord? But if anyone multiply prayers, crying and weeping as he may, yet not with any intent to gain God Himself, but to obtain some earthly or passing thing, he cannot truly be said to "cry unto the Lord," i. e., so to cry that his cry should come to the hearing of the Lord. This is a cry like Esau's, who sought no other fruit from his father's blessing, save to be rich and powerful in this world. When then He saith, "They cried not to Me in their heart, etc.," He means, they were not devoted to Me, their heart was not right with Me; they sought not Myself, but things of Mine. They howled, desiring only things for the belly, and seeking not to have Me. Thus they belong not to "the generation of those who seek the Lord, who seek the face of the God of Jacob" Psalm 24:6, but to the generation of Esau."
on Hosea 7 :14
7:14 They assembled - In the houses of their idols.