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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
That is, as the margin of the Bible renders it, my people; and Ruhamah, or perhaps, more properly Rachamah, having obtained mercy. (See Hosea 2:1) There is a great sweetness in these words, and the translators of our Bible, having retained them in their original language, as they have done, while at the same time giving the English of them in the margin, (as the reader will perceive if he consults his Bible) seem to show their view of the importance of the words themselves, and their wishes that the English reader should, in some measure, be acquainted with them, so as to have some apprehension of their importance.
I do not presume to decide positively upon the subject, yet I venture to believe, that the words themselves were meant to express somewhat of peculiar tenderness. Let the reader observe, that the Lord commands the prophet to call by this name, the brethren and sisters of the church. "Say ye to your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhamah: plead with your mother, plead." And whose brethren and sisters were those but of the Lord Jesus? And were they not the Ammi and Ruhamah of Christ from everlasting? Jesus had a people whom he was not ashamed to call brethren, and whom in the council of peace from the womb of the morning, the Lord JEHOVAH promised to make willing, in the day of Christ's power. (Psalms 110:3) Hence, therefore, as they had been always the Ammi, so had they been the Ruhamah; having obtained mercy, in their glorious and almighty Brother, from everlasting. And to such among them in the church, who in the days of the prophet, felt and rejoiced in their relationship to Christ, and their salvation by Christ, by the lively actings of their faith on Him that was to come; they were commanded to plead with their mother (the Ammah) the church, and to call her from her backsliding, that all her children might enjoy the same privileges. And the close of this same chapter, (if the reader will compare what is there said, with the sixth and ninth verses of the former chapter, he will find) becomes a blessed confirmation of the whole subject, for it explains wherefore it was, that the Lord thus remonstrated with his people. I will say to [to leave out the words,] them which were [for they are in Italics, and are not in the original, and have no business there] not my people, Thou my people, and they shall say, Thou my God; that is, I will put them in mind of the whole cause of my mercy towards them; namely, my covenant relation with them in Christ. And it is worthy the reader's closest consideration, in farther proof of these grand truths, that the putting them away, in consequence of their adulteries, had been done in strict justice, and by right. Such was the law of divorces. I beg the reader to see Deuteronomy 24:1-4. The prophet, therefore, had been commanded, by way of illustrating this doctrine, to take an adulterous woman, and to call the children born of her, Lo Ruhamah, and Lo Ammi; that is, not having obtained mercy, and not my people. And this was following up the law concerning the right of divorce. But though the law made no provision for recovery, the gospel, which was preached to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law, had done this; and the covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law could not disannul. And what was this covenant and promise? Turn to the apostle Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 3:8; Gal 3:17) and compare with Genesis 12:3. where the charter of grace runs in those delightful words, In thee shall nations be blessed. Hence, though the law of divorce, among men, allowed not a return to each other after separation, yet, in the Lord's marriage with his church, the gospel not only allowed a return, but graciously appointed it. "They say" (saith the Lord in one of the sweetest chapters of Jeremiah, and full of the sweetest promises), (Jeremiah 3:1-25) they say, "If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 3:1) What a full proof is here of the whole doctrine. Though put away by reason of her many adulteries, and though committing fornication with the idolatrous nations around, yet the everlasting provision made for herrecovery in Christ, her lawful Husband, must take place; and she shall return to her rightful Lord. Plead, therefore, (saith the Lord) with her (Ammah) mother, plead; work upon her maternal feelings, give her to see, that though by adulteries she is by law justly liable to be divorced for ever, yet the right and interest of her (Ishi) husband, hath never been lost. He claims her as his own. Return again unto me, saith the Lord.
If the reader be led to consider the subject in this point of view, the expressions of Ammi and Ruhamah, with all the doctrine connected with both, become interesting and tender beyond all imagination.
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Ammi'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/a/ammi.html. London. 1828.