Through its apostasy from God, Israel had become like the Gentiles, and had fallen from the covenant of grace with the Lord. Consequently, the re-adoption of the Israelites as children of God was a practical proof that God had also adopted the Gentile world as His children. Moreover, although membership in the nation of the Old Testament covenant rested primarily upon lineal descent, it was by no means exclusively confined to this; but, from the very first, Gentiles also were received into the citizenship of Israel and the congregation of Jehovah through the rite of circumcision, and could even participate in the covenant mercies, namely, in the passover as a covenant meal Exodus There was in this an indirect practical prophecy of the eventual reception of the whole of the Gentile world into the kingdom of God, when it should attain through Christ to faith in the living God.
Even through their adoption into the congregation of Jehovah by means of circumcision, believing Gentiles were exalted into children of Abraham, and received a share in the promises made to the fathers.
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And accordingly the innumerable multiplication of the children of Israel, predicted in Romans 9: This incorporation commenced with the preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles by the apostles; it has continued through all the centuries in which the church has been spreading in the world; and it will receive its final accomplishment when the fulness of the Gentiles shall enter into the kingdom of God. And as the number of the children of Israel is thus continually increased, this multiplication will be complete when the descendants of the children of Israel, who are still hardened in their hearts, shall turn to Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Redeemer Romans What the prophet announced in Hosea 1: The close connection between the contents of the two sections is formally indicated by the simple fact, that just as the first section closed with a summons to appropriate the predicted salvation, so the section before us commences with a call to conversion.
By withdrawing the blessings which they have hitherto enjoyed, and which they fancy that they have received from their idols, He will lead the idolatrous nation to reflection and conversion, and pour the fulness of the blessings of His grace in the most copious measure upon those who have been humbled and improved by the punishment. The threatening and the announcement of punishment extend from Hosea 2: The threatening of punishment is divided into two strophes, viz.
In the first, the condemnation of their sinful conduct is the most prominent; in the second, the punishment is more fully developed. The distinction between mother and children forms part of the figurative drapery of the thought; for, in fact, the mother had no existence apart from the children.
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The nation or kingdom, regarded as an ideal unity, is called the mother; whereas the several members of the nation are the children of this mother. The summons addressed to the children to contend or reason with this mother, that she may give up her adultery, presupposes that, although the nation regarded as a whole was sunken in idolatry, the individual members of it were not all equally slaves to it, so as to have lost their susceptibility for the divine warning, or the possibility of conversion.
Not only had the Lord reserved to Himself seven thousand in Elijah's time who had not bowed their knees to Baal, but at all times there were many individuals in the midst of the corrupt mass, who hearkened to the voice of the Lord and abhorred idolatry. The children had reason to plead, because the mother was no longer the wife of Jehovah, and Jehovah was no longer her husband, i. It was therefore the duty of the better-minded of the nation to ward off the coming destruction, and do all they could to bring the adulterous wife to desist from her sins.
The idolatry is described as whoredom and adultery. Whoredom becomes adultery when it is a wife who commits whoredom. Israel had entered into the covenant with Jehovah its God; and therefore its idolatry became a breach of the fidelity which it owed to its God, an act of apostasy from God, which was more culpable than the idolatry of the heathen.
The whoredom is attributed to the face, the adultery to the breasts, because it is in these parts of the body that the want of chastity on the part of a woman is openly manifested, and in order to depict more plainly the boldness and shamelessness with which Israel practised idolatry.
The summons to repent is enforced by a reference to the punishment. In the marriage referred to, the husband had redeemed the wife out of the deepest misery, to unite himself with her. These gifts, with which the Lord also presented and adorned His wife during the marriage, He would now take away from the apostate wife, and put her once more into a state of nakedness. The day of the wife's birth is the time of Israel's oppression and bondage in Egypt, when it was given up in helplessness to its oppressors.
The deliverance out of this bondage was the time of the divine courtship; and the conclusion of the covenant with the nation that had been brought out of Egypt, the time of the marriage. The dry land is a land without water, in which men perish from thirst. There is hardly any need to say that these words to not refer to the sojourn of Israel in the Arabian desert; for there the Lord fed His people with manna from heaven, and gave them water to drink out of the rock.
The fact that the children are specially mentioned after and along with the mother, when in reality mother and children are one, serves to give greater keenness to the threat, and guards against that carnal security, in which individuals imagine that, inasmuch as they are free from the sin and guilt of the nation as a whole, they will also be exempted from the threatened punishment.
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Now, as the mother and children are identical, if we trace back the figurative drapery to its actual basis, the punishment with which the children are threatened applies to the mother also; and the description of the mother's whoredom serves also to explain the reason for the punishment with which the mother is threatened in Hosea 2: And this also accounts for the fact that, in the threat which follows in Hosea 2: To explain this thought, the coquetting with idols is more minutely described in the second hemistich.
It is impossible, however, that such a thought can ever occur, except in cases where the heart is already estranged from the living God. The reference is to distress and tribulation compare Hosea 5: This thought is carried out still further in Hosea 2: This sad experience awakens the desire to return to the faithful covenant God, and the acknowledgment that prosperity and all good things are to be found in vital fellowship with Him.
The thought that God will fill the idolatrous nation with disgust at its coquetry with strange gods, by taking away all its possessions, and thus putting to shame its delusive fancy that the possessions which it enjoyed really came from the idols, is still further expanded in the second strophe, commencing with the eighth verse. These possessions were the foundation of the nation's wealth, through which gold and silver were multiplied.
Commentaries – Old Testament
Ignorance of the fact that Jehovah was the giver of these blessings, was a sin. That Jehovah had given the land to His people, was impressed upon the minds of the people for all time, together with the recollection of the mighty acts of the Lord, by the manner in which Israel had been put in possession of Canaan; and not only had Moses again and again reminded the Israelites most solemnly that it was He who gave rain to the land, and multiplied and blessed its fruitfulness and its fruits compare, for example, Deuteronomy 7: They had applied their gold and silver to Baal, however, not merely by using them for the preparation of idols, but by employing them in the maintenance and extension of the worship of Baal, or even by regarding them as gifts of Baal, and thus confirming themselves in the zealous worship of that god.
By habba'al we are not simply to understand the Canaanitish or Phoenician Baal in the stricter sense of the word, whose worship Jehu had exterminated from Israel, though not entirely, as is evident from the allusion to an Asherah in Samaria in the reign of Jehoahaz 2 Kings If God suddenly takes away the gifts then, not only is the loss more painfully felt, but regarded as a punishment far more than when they have been prepared beforehand for a bad harvest by the failure of the crop.
Through the manner in which God takes the fruits of the land away from the people, He designs to show them that He, and not Baal, is the giver and the taker also. This punishment is more minutely defined in Hosea 2: Then came the day of the new moon every month, and the Sabbath every week. As a parallel, so far as the facts are concerned, comp.
The Lord will put an end to the festive rejoicing, by taking away the fruits of the land, which rejoice man's heart. The devastation of both of these denotes the withdrawal of the possessions and enjoyments of life cf. The vineyards and fig-orchards, so carefully hedged about and cultivated, are to be turned into a forest, i. In this way will the Lord take away from the people their festivals of joy.
There is no ground for thinking of special feast-days dedicated to Baal, in addition to the feasts of Jehovah prescribed by the law.
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Just as Israel had changed Jehovah into Baal, so had it also turned the feast-days of Jehovah into festive days of the Baals, and on those days had burned incense, i. In the second hemistich this spiritual coquetry with the idols is depicted under the figure of the outward coquetry of a woman, who resorts to all kinds of outward ornaments in order to excite the admiration of her lovers as in Jeremiah 4: There is no ground for thinking of the wearing of nose-rings and ornaments in honour of the idols.
In two strophes we have first the promise of their conversion Hosea 2: And I give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor of tribulation for the door of hope; and she answers thither, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. That the first clause of Hosea 2: The alluring of the nation into the desert to lead it thence to Canaan, presupposes that rejection from the inheritance given to it by the Lord viz.
Commentaries - Old Testament | Biblical Studies
This rejection is represented as an expulsion from Canaan to Egypt, the land of bondage, out of which Jehovah had redeemed it in the olden time. The desert into which the Lord will lead His people cannot be any other than the desert of Arabia, through which the road from Egypt to Canaan passes. Leading into this desert is not a punishment, but a redemption out of bondage. The people are not to remain in the desert, but to be enticed and led through it to Canaan, the land of vineyards. The description is typical throughout. What took place in the olden time is to be repeated, in all that is essential, in the time to come.
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