*5:2 The phrase is literally “for you the judgment” and so is ambiguous. It could simply mean that God's judgment is against these leaders; but it could also mean that the power of judgment belongs to them and they have not exercised this authority wisely.
†5:2 Both Mizpah and Mt. Tabor had particular historical significance for Israel but are now sites of degradation.
‡5:2 Shittim was the last place the Israelites camped before crossing the Jordan (Numbers 25).
§5:6 The mention of herds and flocks indicate that the people were using many sacrifices and offerings, thinking God would be pleased. However, theirs is not a true worship, but is more like pagan worship trying to appease the deity.
*5:7 The word used here of the children is that they are “foreign”—meaning that they are both illegitimate and also the offspring of “foreign” gods.
†5:7 Various explanations of this sentence have been given. The observance of new Moon festivals was part of Israelite worship but had become corrupted (see for example Is. 1:13) so this could be now taken as a symbol for pagan worship. In addition the northern kingdom under Jeroboam had instituted different festivals which were not ordained of God (see 1 Kings 12:33). The main point is the corrupting influence of pagan beliefs on the genuine worship of the true God.
‡5:8 The three places mentioned are on the northern border between Judah and Israel in the territory of the southern tribe of Benjamin.
§5:10 See a similar image in Isaiah 8:5-10 describing the end of the northern kingdom at the hands of the Assyrians.
*5:11 This verse has been linked to the decision of King Menahem of Israel's decision to agree to a huge payment in silver to the Assyrian king as a means of avoiding conflict (see 2 Kings 15:19-20). Others have thought the “human commands” are Jeroboam's institution of calves as images to worship (1 Kings 12). Alternatively the end of this verse could also be translated “determined to follow idolatry.”