8:17 violence. The sins denounced in this chapter are primarily in reference to corrupt religious practice, but not exclusively. Corrupt religion is inevitably accompanied by corrupt relations between people, so that the entire land is described as full of violence or lawlessness. This theme is further developed in 9:9 and 11:6.
branch to their nose. Some Assyrian reliefs show people holding branches before their faces in a gesture of reverence and worship; this may be a reference to that ritual gesture.