Friday, June 2nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged Commentary Critical Unabridged
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hosea 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jfu/ hosea-2.html. 1871-8.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hosea 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
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Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
Israel's spiritual fornication, and her threatened punishment: yet a promise of God's restored favour, when chastisements have produced their designed effect.
Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah - i:e., when the prediction (Hosea 1:11) shall be accomplished, then ye will call one another, as brothers and sisters in the family of God, Ammi and Ruhamah.
Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Plead with your mother, plead - expostulate.
Mother - i:e. the nation collectively. The address is to 'her children' - i:e., to, the individual citizens of the state (cf. Isaiah 50:1, "Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away?") The adulterous mother was the synagogue, the individuals deceived by her were the sons. The latter, when tuned to God, must plead with their mother that she turn also. When involved in her judgments, they must plead with her, and not accuse God. God had not forgotten to be gracious, but she kept not His love (Pusey).
For she is not my wife - she has deprived herself of her high privilege by spiritual adultery.
Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight - rather, 'from her face.'
And her adulteries from between her breasts. Her very countenance unblushingly betrayed her lust, as did also her exposed "breasts."
Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born - (Ezekiel 16:4, "In the day thou wast born, thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water; Ezekiel 23:25-26; Ezekiel 23:28-29, "They shall leave thee naked and bare"). Helpless, uncleansed, uncared for, and cast out. The day of her political 'birth' was when God delivered her from the bondage of Egypt, and set up the theocracy. Set her - literally, 'I will fix her,' so that she shah have no power to free herself, but must remain as a gazing-stock (Pusey).
And make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst - (Jeremiah 6:8; Zephaniah 2:13). Translate, 'make her as the wilderness'-namely, that in which she passed 40 years on her way to her goodly possession of Canaan. With this agrees the mention of "thirst" (cf. Jeremiah 2:6, "the wilderness ... a land of deserts, and of pits ... a land of drought, and of the shadow of death ... a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt").
And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
And I will not have mercy upon her children - not even her individual members shall escape the doom of the nation collectively, because they are individually guilty.
For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
For their mother ... hath done shamefully - literally, hath made shameful. The silence as to what she made shameful is more emphatic than any words. She made shameful everything that she could make shameful,-her acts, her children, and herself (Pusey). A reproach upon one's mother is calculated to rouse the most apathetic. God desires to rouse them from their spiritual torpor.
I will go after - [the Hebrew paragogic he (h) in 'eelªkaah, elongating the future, expresses a settled determination] (Henderson). Pusey translates it, 'let me go,' 'I would go.'
My lovers - the idols which Israel fancied to be the givers of all their goods, whereas God gave all these goods (Hosea 2:8-13: cf. Jeremiah 44:17-19, " We will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth to burn incense unto the queen of heaven ... as we have done ... for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil"). The Hebrew [ mª'ahªbay (H157)] implies intense, passionate, and shameless loves.
That give me my bread and my water - the necessaries of life in food.
My wool and my flax - the necessaries of life, clothing. My wool and my flax - the necessaries of life, clothing.
Mine oil and my drink - perfumed unguents and palatable drinks; the luxuries of Hebrew life. Instead of regarding all these as altogether belonging to God, and at His sole disposal, she regards them as her own, to which she has a right as a matter of course: "My bread, my water, my wool, my flax, mine oil, my drink." A sad but true picture of the tendency of us all, in respect to God's gifts to us.
Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths - (Job 19:18; Lamentations 3:7; Lamentations 3:9, "He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out ... He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone"). The hinderances are referred to which the captivity interposed between Israel and her idols. The Hebrew is, literally, Behold I hedging. It expresses an immediate future, or something which, as being fixed in the mind of God, is as certain as if it were actually taking place. So swift and certain should be her judgments (Pusey).
She shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. The words follow after and seek imply her intense eagerness and diligent search [ wªridpaah (H7291) ... uwbiqshaatam (H1245)]. Since she attributes all her temporal blessings to idols, I will reduce her to straits in which, when she in vain has sought help from false gods, she will at last seek me as her only God and Husband, as at the first (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14, "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you;" Ezekiel 16:8).
Then - before Israel's apostasy, under Jeroboam I. The way of duty is hedged about with thorns; it is the why of sin that is hedged up with thorns. Crosses in an evil course are God's hedges to turn us from it. Restraining grace and restraining providences (even sicknesses and trials) are great blessings when they stop us in a course of sin. Compare the sanctifying effects of chastisement on the prodigal son, when they led him to resolve, Luke 15:14-18, "I will arise, and go to my father;" so here, "I will go, and return," etc.; crosses in both cases being sanctified to produce this effect.
For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil - I; that it was I who gave her corn, not the idols, as she thought: the "lovers" alluded to in Hosea 2:5. "She did not know," because she did not wish to know. Her ignorance of God was the fault of her will, which corrupted the understanding. Compare Romans 1:24-28.
And multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal - i:e., of which they made images of Baal (margin, wherewith they made Baal), or at least the plate-covering of them (Hosea 8:4, "Of their silver and their gold have they made them idols"). Baal, or Bel, was the Phoenician sun-god, answering to the female Astarte, the moon-goddess. His worship was brought into Israel by Jezebel, the daughter of the King of Sidon. The name of the idol is found in the Phoenicaian Hannibal, Hasdrubal. Israel borrowed it from the Tyrians.
Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
Therefore will I return, and take away - i:e., I will take back again, by sending storms, locusts, and Assyrian invaders. I will turn from love to displeasure, and from bestowing the bounties of the earth to withholding them. The Hebrew implies a reversal of God's mode of treating them, in righteous retribution for their not acknowledging the debt of gratitude due to Him as the giver.
My grain ... my wool ... my flax - in contrast to Israel's calling the bread, wool, and flax "my bread ... my wool ... my flax," etc. (Hosea 2:5) God calls them solely His, "My corn, my wool, my flax." Compare also Hosea 2:21-23, on God, as the great First Cause, giving these through secondary instruments in nature: "I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel." "Therefore" - i:e., because she did not acknowledge me as the Giver.
In the time thereof - in the vintage, the olive-gathering season and the harvest time.
And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
And now will I discover her lewdness - [ nablutaah (H5040)], literally, folly, and so foulness. Scripture regards sin and folly as essentially one; and holiness and wisdom as synonymous. Sin, decked out in worldly gauds, and covered with the showy mask of prosperity, looks attractive, and the sinner is in high repute, "for man will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself" (Psalms 49:18). But when, God strips off the prosperity given to "cover" the sinner's "nakedness" (Hosea 2:9), then He "discovers" the sinner's real folly and foulness, and men no longer dazzled by the glitter, despise the unmasked sinner. "The shame of her nakedness;" laying aside the figure, "I will expose her in her state, bereft of every necessary, before her lovers' - i:e., the idols (personified, as if they could see), who, nevertheless, can give her no help. "Discover" is appropriate to stripping off the self-flatteries of her hypocrisy.
I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days - of Jeroboam's appointment, distinct from the Mosaic (1 Kings 12:32, "Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah"). But the feast of tabernacles in Jerusalem was on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and the day of atonement on the tenth day. However, most of the Mosaic feasts, "new moons," and "sabbaths" to Yahweh remained, but to degenerate Israel worship was a weariness; they cared only for the carnal indulgence on them, "Saying, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" (Amos 8:5.)
And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me - "my rewards," my hire as a harlot (Isaiah 23:17-18); "my lovers" - idols; "destroy ... vines ... and I will make them a forest" (Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 7:23-24). Fulfilled in the overthrow of Israel by Assyria (Hosea 9:4-5).
And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
I will visit upon her the days of Baalim - the days consecrated to the Baals, or various images of Baal in different cities; whence the names Baal-gad, Baal-hermon, etc. Also the deified attributes of God were represented by as many idols. Thus Baal-Berith was the Lord of covenants; Baal-Zebul, the Lord of flies; Baal-peor, the Lord over sinful lust.
Wherein she ... decked herself with her earrings - rather, nose-rings (Isaiah 3:21; margin, Ezekiel 16:12), with Wherein she ... decked herself with her earrings - rather, nose-rings (Isaiah 3:21; margin, Ezekiel 16:12), with which harlots decked themselves to attract admirers: answering to the ornaments in which the Israelites decked themselves on the idols' feasts.
She went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord - worse than the nations which had never known God. Israel willfully apostatized from Yahweh, whom she had known. In forgetting Me, she forgat her chief good. The sin of the world is not merely its open opposition to God, but its utter ignoring of Him. It is so taken up with other things, it has no time and no heart for God.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Therefore - rather, Nevertheless (Henderson). The English version gives a more lovely idea of God. That which would provoke all others to unappeasable wrath, Israel's perversity and consequent punishment, is made a reason why God should at last have mercy on her. As the "therefore" (Hosea 2:9) expresses Israel's punishment as the consequence of Israel's guilt; so "therefore" here, as in Hosea 2:6, expresses that when that punishment: has effected its designed end, the hedging up her way with thorns, so that she returns to God, her first love, the consequence, in God's wondrous grace, is, He "speaks comfortably unto her" - literally, speaks to (or ON - i:e., so as to make an impression on) her heart [ `al (H5921) libaah (H3820)] (cf. Judges 19:3, "speak friendly," margin, 'to her heart;' Ruth 2:13).
Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. So obstinate she is, that God has to "allure her" - i:e., so to temper judgment with unlooked-for grace as to win her to his ways. For this purpose it was necessary to "bring her into the wilderness (i:e., into temporal want and trials) first, to make her sin hateful to her by its bitter fruits, and God's subsequent grace the more precious to her by the contrast of the "wilderness." In the Hebrew it is, 'I myself will allure her.' Her who was allured by Satan's false enticements I will allure by making her taste something of the exquisite delights that are in ME, so that she may be henceforth attracted to God as her truest good. Jerome makes the "bringing into the wilderness" to be rather a deliverance from her enemies, just as ancient Israel was brought into the wilderness from the bondage of Egypt: to this the phrase here alludes (cf. Hosea 2:15, "She shall sing ... as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt"). The wilderness-sojourn, however, is not literal, but moral: while still in the land of their enemies locally, by the discipline of the trial rendering the word of God sweet to them, they are to be brought morally into the wilderness-state - i:e., into a state of preparedness for returning to their temporal and spiritual privileges in their own land; just as the literal wilderness prepared their fathers for Canaan: thus the bringing of them into the wilderness-state is virtually a deliverance from their enemies.
And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
And I will give her vineyards from thence - "from thence," when I shall cause her to return from the wilderness. The wilderness itself shall become a fruitful field (Isaiah 32:15). The solitude of the wilderness shall be the means of her regaining her vineyards in her restored inheritance. God gives Israel a fresh grant of Canaan, which she had forfeited; so He promises a renewed grant hereafter (Hosea 2:21-22) of her vineyards, which He is now about to "take away" from her (Hosea 2:9; Hosea 2:12).
And the valley of Achor for a door of hope. "Achor" - i:e., Trouble. As formerly Israel, after their tedious journey through the wilderness, met with the trouble resulting from Achan's crime in this valley, on the very threshold of Canaan, and yet that trouble was presently turned into joy at the great victory at Ai which threw all Canaan into their hands (Joshua 7:1-26; Joshua 8:1-35); so the very trouble of Israel's wilderness-state will be the "door of hope" opening to better days. The valley of Achor, near Jericho was specially fruitful (Isaiah 65:10); so "trouble" and "hope" are rightly blended in connection with it. "Hope:" the word, more fully means 'a patient enduring, longing' (Pusey).
She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of ... Egypt - it shall be a second exodussong, such as Israel sung after the deliverance at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-27: cf. Isaiah 11:15-16); and "the song of Moses" (Revelation 15:2-3), about to be sung by those who through the Lamb overcome the beast, and so stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire, emblems of fiery trial, such as that of Israel at the Red Sea.
There - in "the wilderness," and "in the valley of trouble" (Achor), where God "spake comfortably" to her.
When she came up. When God's people leave the world for Him they are said to go up to God and to heavenly things.
And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
Thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali - `my Husband ... no more, my Lord.' Affection is the, prominent idea in Husband;' rule, in 'Lord.' The chief reason for the substitution of Husband for Lord appears next verse-namely, Baali, the Hebrew for my Lord, had been perverted to express the images of Baal, whose name ought not to be taken on their lips (Exodus 23:13; Zechariah 13:2).
For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name - "Baalim," plural, expressing the various images of Baal, which, according to the places of their erection, received various names, Baal-gad, Baalammon, etc.
And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
And in that day will I make a covenant for them - for their benefit.
Covenant ... with the beasts - not to hurt them (Job 5:23). They shall fulfill the original law of their creation, by becoming subject to man, when man fulfils the law of his being by being subject to God. To be realized fully in millennial times (Isaiah 11:6-9).
And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth - rather, 'out of the land,' i:e., I will break and remove war out of the earth (Psalms 46:9), and 'out of the land' of Israel first (Isaiah 2:4; Ezekiel 39:9-10, "They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons ... the bows and the arrows," etc (of Gog and the invaders of the Holy Land); Zechariah 9:9-10).
And will make them to lie down safely - a reclining posture is the usual one with Orientals when not in action.
Safely - (Jeremiah 23:6, "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel stall dwell safely").
And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness ... I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness. "Betroth" is thrice repeated, implying the intense love of God to His people, and perhaps also the three Persons of the Triune God severally engaging to make good the betrothal. The marriage-covenant will be as it were renewed from the beginning on a different footing; not for a time only, as before, through the apostasy of the people, but "forever," through the grace of God writing the law on their hearts by the spirit of Messiah (Jeremiah 31:31-37).
In righteousness ... judgment. The Hebrew for "in" may be translated "with" [bª-] "righteousness," which He In righteousness ... judgment. The Hebrew for "in" may be translated "with" [bª-] "righteousness," which He makes over to the Bride by imputation for her justification, and by impartation for her sanctification, and with judgment, whereby He vindicates her cause against her adversary: loving-kindness and mercies are the dowry with which He endows her. The "righteousness" of God is as much set forth as His mercies in saving His people; for the way of salvation is not merely a way of pardon, a way of justification (Romans 3:26).
In loving-kindness, and in mercies. Hereby God assures Israel, who might doubt the possibility of their restoration to His favour: low, sunk, and unworthy as thou art I will restore thee, from a regard to my own "loving-kindness," not to thy merits.
Verse 20. In faithfulness - to my new covenant of grace with thee (1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23, "He is faithful that promised").
Thou shalt know the Lord - experimentally, which knowledge of God in Christ is eternal life (John 17:3). This knowledge follows as the effect of loving God, because God first loved us.
And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
In that day - of grace to Israel.
I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth - personification. However many be the intermediate instruments, God is the Great First Cause of all nature's phenomena. God had threatened (Hosea 2:9) He would take back again His corn, His wine, etc. Here, on the contrary, God promises to hearken to the skies, as it were, supplicating Him to fill them with rain to pour on the earth; and that the skies again would hearken to the earth begging for a supply of the rain it requires; and again, that the, earth would hearken to the grain, wine, and oil begging it to bring them forth; and these again would hear Jezreel - i:e., would fulfill Israel's prayers for a supply of them. Israel is now no longer "Jezreel" in the sense God will SCATTER (Hosea 1:4), but in the sense 'God will PLANT,' or give her abundant SEED. Yet the name shall remind her of her former just punishment for her sin, and of her present experience of God's gratuitous mercy (Hosea 1:11).
And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
And I will sow her unto me in the earth - referring to the meaning of Jezreel (Hosea 2:22). Israel restored shall be the source of spiritual, and therefore also of temporal blessings to the millennial of earth. Not merely Judea, but the whole earth shall be the seed-plot wherein Gentile nations shall be the spiritual growth of the Jewish seed sown everywhere (see Micah 5:7; Romans 11:12; Romans 11:15).
And they shall say, Thou art my God - rather, as Hebrew, "my God" simply: my all in all, whose I am, and whom I wish to serve; my portion forever, my salvation, the one thing I long for as my chief good.
(1) When Israel and Judah shall be united to God (Hosea 1:10-11), they shall also become, united to one another as "brethren" and "sisters" in the one blessed family of God (Hosea 2:1). So in the case of the spiritual Israel, all alike being Ammi and rubecula, the people of God and objects of God's gratuitous mercy, cannot but have mutual love one toward the other. Let us test our sonship by this divinely-constituted mark, and seek more and more, as we experience the love of God in Christ, to love one another as brethren in the Lord!
(2) The faithful few in faithless Israel are told, Plead with your mother, plead (Hosea 2:2). So the duty of those who have been brought to know the grace of God is to expostulate with all around them on the awful consequences of unbelief, in order that the whole Church and nation may be brought to put away all unfaithfulness, and so may not be put away by the holy God. The Bride must put away all spiritual adulteries from between her breasts (Hosea 2:2); that is, all attachments to worldly things which alienate the heart from God and Christ, in order that the believing soul's "well-beloved may lie all night between her breasts" (Song of Solomon 1:13).
(3) If the visible Church put off the inward adornments of grace, God will at last strip her naked of the outward privileges which were her boast, but which she failed to use to His glory. The world-powers with whom she committed her spiritual adulteries shall be made, in righteous retribution, the very instruments of her punishment. "These shall make her desolate and naked," and shall strip her of her carnal possessions (Revelation 17:16). Then shall she who was once the garden of the Lord become "as the wilderness," "dry" and barren: she who drank not of the waters of life while they were within her reach, shall have them removed from beyond her reach when "the Lord God will send a thirst not for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). Let us then be diligent in our several spheres to improve present opportunities of grace, because the whole Church is made up of individual members. Though the past generation have bequeathed to us, the children, a legacy of guilt before the God who visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, let us cut off the entail of wrath by repentance and faith; so shall we and the Church escape the sentence, "I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms" (Hosea 2:4). (4) The shameless and perverse alienation of Israel from God appears in this, that, notwithstanding God's warnings by His prophets, instead of turning penitently to Him, she encouraged and emboldened herself in idol-worship, saying, "Come, let me go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink" (Hosea 2:5). Turning her back on Him who would so lovingly have drawn her, she passionately pursues those who draw her not, and attributes to these dead idols the gifts which she owed to God alone, the giver of every good gift. We, too, have our idols, which our natural hearts madly run after, turning away from God. Whatever we make our chief good, outside of God, is an idol. How apt, moreover, we are to take God's gifts, our food, clothing, comforts, and luxuries, as if they were our own by some special right, calling them "my bread, my water, my wool, my flax," and to attribute our possession of them to our gold, our industry, and our talents, making these our gods. Or else, as Israel by the unconscious instinct of human weakness, though she rejected God, was constrained to acknowledge some power above her; so many still, having wandered from the God of revelation, either turn to degrading superstition, or else, professing themselves wise, become fools by virtually deifying the so-called powers and laws of nature, which are nothing but the expression of the will of the omnipresent and omnipotent God.
(5) Though Israel thus dishonoured God, God's mercy still yearns over her. If the sinner were left to himself, and suffered to take his own way without hinderance of cross, he would go on to certain ruin. But God, in order to save, His people, "hedges up their way with thorns" (Hosea 2:6). The pains which by, God's gracious ordinance, often attend sinful pleasure, are the thorny hedge which tear the transgressor in attempting to find his way to his guilty desires. If even this is insufficient to deter him, God makes also a "wall" to cut off His people from the paths to hell. Lot had such a wall interposed between him and destruction in the overthrow of Sodom, the place which in his worldliness he had chosen for a residence; just as previously the vexation to his righteous soul caused by the filthy conversation and unlawful deeds of the people there, was the thorn-hedge keeping him on the narrow way, from which otherwise he had well-nigh strayed.
The result with Israel was to be, she would follow with desperate tenacity after her lovers, but should not find them; then, wearied out at last with her profitless though laborious search, she would finally say, no longer as before, Come, let me go after my lovers (Hosea 2:5), but, Come, let me go and return to the Lord, my first husband; for when I walked in communion with Him it was better with me than now (Hosea 2:7). How often thus those who have been originally joined in church-covenant with the Lord by baptism, afterward search far and wide in worldly pleasure, ambition, and gain, for that satisfying happiness which can never be found in them! Then at last, through the Spirit of God acting on the heart, in concert with his afflictive providences, the prodigal son is brought to feel the contrast between the blessedness of the people of God and the misery of himself in his vain search for good outside of God. How many hired servants of my father have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father (Luke 15:17). Then is there joy in the presence of God over the returning backslider.
(6) When men will not know God as the Giver of all their temporal blessings, they shall be compelled to know Him as the Withholder of them. Yea more, in order to mark His hand the more palpably in the visitation of wrath, He will take away the grain and other fruits of the earth "in the time thereof" (Hosea 2:9), that is, in the harvest time, when they were all but ours, and nothing seemed to remain to be done except to gather them in. It is altogether just that when men claim the grain and wine as their own by right, God should vindicate His right to them, saying, I will take away my grain, my wine, and my wool. Then shall the worldling, stripped of all the temporal prosperity and the gaudy finery (Hosea 2:10; Hosea 2:13) to which he owed his seeming greatness among men, appear in his true foulness and folly. The mask of formal and false religion (such as Jeroboam introduced to serve his ends), and of hypocritical worship, with which conscience was lulled, shall drop off (Hosea 2:11); and the unfaithful professor shall be made to feel that, in forgetting God, he forgot his chief good, and the source of all true blessedness.
(7) Yet such is the marvelous grace of God that the ve ry thing which would provoke all other masters to cut off the (7) Yet such is the marvelous grace of God that the ve ry thing which would provoke all other masters to cut off the transgressor from all hope, is the very reason with God for opening to Israel a "door of hope." Israel's misery, the just fruit of Israel's sin, is what draws forth the tender pity of Israel's God. God therefore has mercy, not because we deserve it, but because we need it. He therefore draws us because we are so deeply sunken (Pusey). (Hosea 2:14.) God speaks to the heart in solitude, by His sweet promises and comforts, alluring and attracting it away from Satan's and the world's enticements. The 'valley of trouble' becomes the door of 'patient longing' after Him (Hosea 2:15). So the cry of trouble is exchanged for the "song" of joy, such as the believer sings in the freshness of newborn spiritual life, or such as Israel, 'in the youth' of her national existence, sang at the Red Sea, after her final deliverance from her cruel oppressors. Then shall every name of idolatry cease from among His people (Hosea 2:17). Peace with God, as not merely our Lord, but also our Husband (Hosea 2:16), peace among men and peace with the very beasts of the field, shall supersede the present disordered state of things, wherein, through man's sin, alienation from God, war, and bloodshed and the raging of wild beasts prevail (Hosea 2:18). Then shall the eternal marriage of God and his people be realized (Hosea 2:19). His "righteousness" and "mercies" His "judgment" and His "loving-kindness," shall be manifested, as brought into lovely harmony in the holy union which shall subsist between Himself and both the literal and spiritual Israel (Hosea 2:19-20).
Above all, His unchanging "faithfulness" to His promises shall appear; and Israel in her own land shall cry to God for the fruits of the earth, and not in vain. All the intermediate links of causes and effects, up to the Great First Cause, shall work in subordination to Him, in order to produce the desired effect of His people's prayers. "I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the grain, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel." Then shall Israel be sown, not scattered (Hosea 2:21-22). Planted in her own land, she shall send forth offshoots into all the lands of the earth; and so not only herself, but all the Gentiles also, who were once not God's people, and had not obtained mercy, shall become "God's people," and shall share His mercy, appropriating Israel's God as their own, and saying MY God! (Hosea 2:23.) May the blessed time, and Christ's world-wide kingdom, soon come in its power! Amen.