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Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 11

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


We have here a most gracious account of divine love; and a most melancholy account of human ingratitude. There is much of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel in this Chapter.

Hosea 11:1

Though I am free to confess, that what is here said may every Word of it be applied to the calling Israel out of Egypt; yet, as we have the authority of an infallible Expositor, Matthew 2:15 , to assure us that what is here said of the call of God's Son out of Egypt, expressly referred to the Lord Jesus Christ; I hesitate not to consider the whole of Israel's history, as to this event in Egypt, merely typical of Christ, and would wish to lose sight of everything that is said of that history, any further than as it may serve to show how important the call of God's beloved Son from Egypt was, which the Lord thought proper to have represented in figure so many ages before. Here the history of Israel's call from Egypt becomes interesting, very highly so, and we do well to keep it in remembrance, and to make use of it for this end. But we sadly overrate anything, and everything, if we lose sight of Christ in the type, or place the one with the other on the same ground. When Israel was a child, then I loved him, saith Jehovah? When was this? Not surely in the beginning of forming the Church, when coming out of Egypt. When was it then? Not in the first giving the Covenant to Abraham, or the promise to Adam, that the seed of the Woman should bruise the serpent's head. It was long before this! Yea, it was before the foundation of the world. It was at that period in eternity, if any angel of light had a being to count it, when as Jesus himself saith, in the character of Wisdom Mediator, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old; when, as the Lord saith, I was set up from everlasting. Proverbs 8:22 to end. Considered in this light, and what follows is most blessed indeed, the Lord Jesus graciously condescends to take the name of his people; and as graciously allows his people to call themselves after him. See Isaiah 49:3 ; Ephesians 3:14-15 . He is declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:4 . And they are said to be sons of God by adoption and grace. John 1:12 . And if Jesus be called out of Egypt; so are they, by sovereign grace, called out of the Egypt of a fallen bondage nature, and shown thereby to be beloved in Christ by the Father, as the Father hath loved Christ, as God-man-Mediator. John 17:23 . Precious Lord Jesus! how blessed it is to behold thee in all thy pre-eminency!

Verse 2

I beg the Reader, as a further confirmation to what I have observed in the first verse, that the Lord by his servant the Prophet, is here speaking of them, and not as before of him. Whereas, had the first verse referred to Israel in Egypt, there needed no change of numbers here; for the Lord is evidently now speaking of Israel in the plural, even the Lord's Israel the Church. (And this by the way of a change of persons, so frequently to be met with in the sacred writings, ought always to be closely attended to, as a faithful guide to the proper apprehension of the word of God.) The strange propensity of Israel to the worship of the dunghill gods of Egypt, and the nations around need not be mentioned. The Lord makes many gracious expostulations with Israel on this account all the way through; so that it is only to refer to their history everywhere to find instances of it. Reader! what saith the heart of God's Israel even now, after the wonderful calls of grace? Dearest Jesus! how prone are thy people to backslide?

Verse 3

Observe the grace of the Lord, by way of heightening that grace, in the riches of it! It was never for want of education, in any period of the Church, that his people revolted; for the Lord did by them as the affectionate mother doth by her infant child; when in leading strings, she watches over the first attempts of the babe to walk. And thus the Lord doth now. The same grace that calls us from the Egypt of a state of nature, leads, by divine teaching, through all the paths of our pilgrimage, and through the whole state of grace. All thy people shall be taught of the Lord, is an Old Testament promise, and faithfully confirmed under the New Testament dispensation. Isaiah 54:13 ; John 6:45 . Jesus both leads, and carries in his arms, and heals all the diseases of his people, though our ignorance is like that of Israel.

Verse 4

This is a sweet verse, and serves very blessedly to explain the powerful efficacy of the Lord's grace, at the same time the tenderness of the methods made use of is as plainly set forth. The cords of a man; not the yoke of the beast of labour; the bands of love; not the compulsive force of terror and fear. We have several beautiful illustrations of this: Jeremiah 31:3 ; Song of Solomon 1:3-4 ; 2 Corinthians 5:14 . It is a sweet doctrine of the gospel this, and thus graciously set forth. The effect produced is not by human persuasion, or human power; but by divine inducements wrought in the soul. The sinner feels constrained in the contemplation, of Jesus love, like the fragrancy of ointment to the senses, or the allurements of music to the ear. See John 12:32 . And observe, the same Lord that thus drew them to his love, gave them food for their support. Yes! Jesus is both shelter and food; , the teacher and the feeder of his redeemed. He is the bread of life, and the water of life; the garment of salvation, and the whole glory of his people Israel.

Verses 5-7

We have here the sad account of Israel's requital of the Lord's kindness. In which Reader, we shall as sadly mistake the subject if we overlook in Israel's history our own. As Israel threatened to return to Egypt, so often do the Lord's people now look back, and in their hearts too often return to the things of the world. And were it not for divine patience, many that are preserved to be among the cloud of God's witnesses, might have been like the wife of Lot, pillars of salt. Genesis 19:26 ; Hebrews 12:1 . See also Numbers 14:2-4 .

Verses 8-9

Reader! pause over those precious words, and ponder well their gracious meaning. Admah and Zeboim, were the cities the Lord destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. Deuteronomy 29:23 . Now, as the inhabitants of those cities merited punishment, so did Ephraim and Israel, considered in themselves. For, as the Apostle justly reasons upon another occasion, the same doctrine holds equally good here. Are we then better than they? Romans 3:9-20 . But the Lord refers their salvation into himself, and his own unchangeable nature, and unchangeable purposes in Christ. This is the most blessed of all doctrines, and the most gracious to our poor fallen nature. Oh! for grace, to refer all the glory, and all the praise, where alone it is due. The Lord hath himself provided a remedy in the blood and righteousness of his dear Son; and in his own faithful and unchangeable covenant promises, and in the great plan of redemption hath secured the everlasting salvation of his people.

Verses 10-12

Here the promise is sweetly opened, of the blessedness in the Lord's saving of his people; for they shall walk after the Lord; that is, apprehend, after the Lord Jesus Christ. Jehovah saith elsewhere, that he will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name. Zechariah 10:12 . The roaring of the lion is a strong expression, to show the powerful voice of the Lord Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah. And the trembling of the children, implies what blessed effects in conversion the Lord's voice shall have upon them. John 5:25 . And though Ephraim and Israel still carry with them the tokens of their rebellion; yet our glorious Judah is faithful, and his seed the Judahs of the Lord will be preserved in their faithfulness; and shall be kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. 1 Peter 1:5 .

Verse 12


READER! beg with me for grace from God the Holy Ghost, that we may both follow up his merciful design in giving the Church this precious Chapter, and behold the love of God the Father to his dear Son! See how God's own son, when appointed before all worlds, to be Christ, the wisdom of God, and the power of God, for salvation to his body the Church; was beloved in the divine mind in this gracious character! Hence he called him out of the Egypt of this world. Hence, in his divine counsels, he set him up, not in open flesh from the beginning, but subsisting secretly in the mediatorial settlements of eternity. And when the fulness of time was come, he came forth for the salvation of his people. And in all the events of his mysterious life, ministry, and death; we may say concerning him, as the Apostle did in his devout prayer; of a truth Lord, against thine holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people Israel, were gathered together; for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And may we not add from the same authority, in all the works and sufferings of Jesus; thine hand did lead him, and thy right arm did strengthen him. Yea, Lord, the Mediator, in all his soul travail, did cast himself upon thee; and thou didst manifest that he was the very Christ, in making the pleasure of Jehovah to prosper in his hand!

And now, Lord, for his sake, look upon the whole Church, and love them as thou hast loved him. Teach them, Lord! to go, taking all thy little ones by their arms. And though they know not the Lord, as the Lord Rophe, that healeth them, yet draw them with the cords of a man, yea, with the bands of love; and fulfil thy gracious promise to our glorious Head, in making all his people willing in the day of thy power. And though thy people are bent to backsliding, and their heart is prone to wander, yet, Holy Father! how canst thou give them up? How canst thou make them as Admah, or Zeboim; while the One, Holy Man, whose name is Wonderful, is in the Sodom of this our World, to save his people from their sins? Hath he not brought in an everlasting righteousness, with which thou hast declared thyself well pleased. And is not this the very righteousness in which thou beholdest thy People? Oh! most gracious God and Father! we would look up to thee, in, and through the blessed Son of thy love, and say in the language of thy Church: behold, O God, our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed! Hear Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people; for Judah yet ruleth with God and is faithful with the saints!

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Hosea 11". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/hosea-11.html. 1828.
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