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This chapter relates to the history of the kingdom of Israel. Hosea's wicked reign is recorded, and which terminates the Israelitish kingdom; for the captivity takes place in the destruction of Samaria, after a period of about 260 years. A mixture of religions takes place also on the event of the captivity.
The Reader will do well, while reading this chapter, to keep in view what the prophets have said concerning the events recorded in those days. The prophets Isaiah and Hosea particularly merit our closest attention. The latter, in his first and second chapters, hath woefully described this unchurching of Israel; : and at the same time comforted the chosen of the Lord with the sure prospects of their becoming a church again. God had indeed called them by the prophet, Lo-ammi, as being no longer his people; but he still promised that after he had brought them into the wilderness, and pleaded with them there, they should be again the Ammi, the beloved of the Lord. Let the Reader study those sweet chapters while looking at this history of Israel, and indeed the whole of Hosea's prophecy, all of which must have been delivered before the captivity. The siege of three years before Samaria was taken, seemed to speak God's reluctance to give them up; How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? Hosea 11:8 . if the Reader be not thoroughly acquainted with the history of this event of the captivity of Israel, it may not be amiss to observe, that the ten tribes which constituted the kingdom of Israel, were all carried away in this captivity; and though no doubt many of each tribe, as individuals, have been gathered from the general loss, yet never to this hour have they returned. They are, scattered, and perhaps dispersed in every country under heaven; yet a time is promised when the deliverer shall arise from Zion, and to whom, as the glorious Shiloh, the gathering of the people shall be. But from the period of this captivity all the tribes, except Judah and Levi, were taken away and unchurched. Let the Reader consult these precious scriptures which foretell their recovery: Hosea 3:4-5 ; Romans 11:26; Romans 11:26 ; Revelation 7:8; Revelation 7:8 .
Though the Lord is not accountable to any of his creatures for what he doth; yet is he graciously pleased to manifest the equity of his dealings, and to prove, even to the conviction of the sinner himself, that the Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. He appeals, by his servants the prophets, to the minds of men, in proof of this. It was not the king of Assyria that could have ruined Israel, had not the Lord commissioned him. The Assyrian (as Isaiah saith) was the rod of his anger, and the staff in the Assyrian's hand was the indignation of the Lord. It was the Lord that sent the Assyrian against Israel, as an hypocritical nation; and it was the Lord which gave Jacob to the spoil, and Israel to the robbers, against whom Israel had sinned. See Isa_10:5-6; Isa_42:24-25 . Reader! while you peruse these solemn scriptures, and behold God's just judgments executed upon his own people; read with trembling. Though God hath promised in covenant engagements by his dear son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that the redeemed shall not be cast off forever; yet the seed of Jesus, if they break his laws, and keep not his commandments, the Lord will visit their offences with a rod, and their sins with scourges. Psalms 89:30-32 . I do not find in the whole bible a promise to give encouragement to a loose and careless life. But on the contrary, though the church of Christ must stand and shall prevail against all opposition, yet that church may be taken from one spot to flourish more in another. The golden candlestick is a moveable thing in the Lord's house. Revelation 2:5 .
See, Reader! the awful desolation of Samaria! Israel would not love her one true and most gracious God, and a God in covenant with her; therefore she shall here set up a multitude of dunghill gods, as Moses described them, that newly came up, whom their fathers feared not, and had existence before them. Reader! is it possible to behold the human mind capable of such a degradation, and not be convinced of the universal ruin and fall of our nature? Deuteronomy 32:17 ; Hosea 10:1-8
PAUSE, my soul, over this chapter, and behold the awful visitations of God upon his own people. Well may every truly awakened soul take part in what he reads here, and tremble lest, for the wickedness of our own land, the Lord should send similar judgments. Are we better than they? (saith the apostle upon an occasion not unlike this) No, in no wise. For he hath before concluded all under sin. And though from the relation God the Father stands in to his people in his dear Son; though from the ransom he hath received from our Almighty Surety, the everlasting welfare of the regenerate is secure; yet for the honour of his holy name, to prevent the abuse of his covenant-mercy, and for the holiness of his nature, God will correct (and to what extent who shall say) the unhumbled state of his people in their sins and transgressions.
Reader! are you a real follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Hath the Holy Ghost convinced you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment? Hath he led you to the precious Jesus for the whole of your salvation? And if so; can you be unmoved in the view of the present state of the church in this highly favoured land, and behold the languishing condition of Zion among us, unconcerned. How did holy men of old feel on such occasions? My flesh trembleth (saith one of them) for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments! for these things (saith another) weep, mine eyes run down with tears. When I heard (saith a third) my belly trembled, my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones. Are you unmoved! Oh! for grace from him who hath the residue of the Spirit, to be earnest in prayer with him for his sparing mercy!
Precious Jesus! where shall we flee, to whom shall we come, but to thee? We are indeed a guilty, sinful land, a wretched, unworthy people. We are sadly gone away from thee. We are a race of evildoers, children that are corrupters. We have sinned, what shall we say, O thou Preserver of men? But, Lord, help us to return, Let thy grace induce, in all ranks, a spirit of reform. Oh! thou exalted Prince and Saviour! pour out thine ascension gifts of repentance, and remission of sins. Bring us before thee, looking with an eye of faith to thy blood, beholding thee as the Lamb that hath been slain, and wearing thy Priesthood still. And oh! be thou very jealous for this land, and heal thy people. Come, gracious Lord, return to thy people with pardons to bless, with grace to purify, with love to allure; and draw our hearts unto thee. And let us hear those soul reviving words; I am returned to the British Jerusalem in mercy. Then may our souls answer to the words of thy grace, and say; Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage. The Lord will not retain his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again. He will have compassion upon us. He will subdue our iniquities: and thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany