Hosea 2

CHAPTER II

The prophet exhorts his people to speak and to act as became

those who obtained mercy of God; and to remonstrate strongly

against the conduct of their mother, (Samaria,) whose captivity

is threatened on account of her forsaking God, and ascribing

her prosperity to idols, 1-5.

As an amplification of this threatening, the prophet

ennumerates a series of afflictions which were to befall her

to bring her to a sense of her duty to God; and of her folly

in seeking after idols, and falsely ascribing to them the

blessings of Providence, 6-13.

After these corrections, however, God promises to conduct

Israel safely to their own land; perhaps alluding to their

restoration from the Babylonish captivity, for this prophecy

is supposed to have been delivered about two hundred and fifty

years prior to this event, 14, 15.

He farther engages to deal with them as a tender husband, and

not as a severe master, as were the idols which they served,

16, 17.

The rest of the chapter promises the people of God, the true

Israel, security from every evil, with the possession of every

blessing, under a new covenant; and that in terms full of

beauty, energy, and consolation. Heaven and earth, and whatever

they contain; all nature, and the God of nature, are

represented as uniting to make the people of God happy; so that

if they only breathe a wish, one part of nature, animate or

inanimate, echoes it to another, and all join in sweet harmony

to transmit it to the ear of the Almighty. "I will hear, saith

the LORD, 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."

NOTES ON CHAP. II

Verse 1. Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi] I prefer the

interpretation of these proper names. Say ye unto your brethren,

MY PEOPLE; and to your sisters, who have OBTAINED MERCY.

Verse 2. Plead with your mother] People of Judah, accuse your

mother, (Jerusalem,) who has abandoned my worship, and is become

idolatrous; convince her of her folly and wickedness, and let her

return to him from whom she has so deeply revolted.

Verse 3. Lest I strip her naked] Lest I expose her to infamy,

want, and punishment. The punishment of an adulteress among the

ancient Germans was this: "They shaved off her hair, stripped her

naked in the presence of her relatives, and in this state drove

her from the house of her husband." See on Isa 3:17; and see also

Eze 16:39; 23:26. However reproachful this might be to such

delinquents, it had no tendency to promote their moral

reformation.

And set her like a dry land] The Israelites, if obedient, were

promised a land flowing with milk and honey; but, should they be

disobedient, the reverse. And this is what God here threatens

against disobedient Israel.

Verse 4. They be the children of whoredoms.] They are all

idolaters; and have been consecrated to idols, whose marks they

bear.

Verse 5. That give me my bread] See the note on Jer 44:17, 18,

where nearly the same words are found and illustrated.

Verse 6. I will hedge up thy way with thorns] I will put it out

of your power to escape the judgments I have threatened; and, in

spite of all your attachment to your idols, you shall find that

they can give you neither bread, nor water, nor wool, nor flax,

nor oil, nor drink. And ye shall be brought into such

circumstances, that the pursuit of your expensive idolatry shall

be impossible. And she shall be led so deep into captivity, as

never to find the road back to her own land. And this is the fact;

for those who were carried away into Assyria have been lost among

the nations, few of them having ever returned to Judea. And, if in

being, where they are now is utterly unknown.

Verse 8. For she did not know that I gave her corn] How often

are the gifts of God's immediate bounty attributed to fortuitous

causes-to any cause but the right one!

Which they prepared for Baal.] And how often are the gifts of

God's bounty perverted into means of dishonouring him! God gives

us wisdom, strength, and property; and we use them to sin against

him with the greater skill, power, and effect! Were the goods

those of the enemy, in whose service they are employed, the crime

would be the less. But the crime is deeply engrained, when God's

property is made the instrument to dishonour himself.

Verse 9. Therefore will I return, and take away] In the course

of my providence, I will withhold those benefits which she has

prostituted to her idolatrous services. And I will neither give

the land rain, nor fruitful seasons.

Verse 10. In the sight of her lovers] Her idols, and her

faithful or faithless allies.

Verse 11. Her feast days] Jerusalem shall be pillaged and

destroyed; and therefore all her joyous assemblies, and religious

feasts, &c., shall cease.

Verse 12. These are my rewards] They attributed all the

blessings of Providence as rewards received from the idols which

they worshipped.

Verse 13. Days of Baalim] To visit signifies to inflict

punishment; the days are taken for the acts of idolatrous worship

committed on them; and Baalim means the multitude of false gods

worshipped by them. Baal was a general name for a male idol, as

Astarte was for a female. Baalim includes all the male idols,

as Ashtaroth all those that were female. But the species of idol

was often designated by some adjunct; as Baal-Zebub, Baal-Peor,

Baal-Zephon, Baal-Berith, &c.

Her earrings] nizmah, signifies rather a nose jewel.

These are worn by females in the East to the present day, in great

abundance.

And her jewels] vechelyatah, rings, armlets, bracelets,

ankle-rings, and ornaments of this kind.

Verse 14. I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak comfortably unto her.] After inflicting many judgments

upon her, I will restore her again. I will deal with her as a very

affectionate husband would do to an unfaithful wife. Instead of

making her a public example, he takes her in private, talks to and

reasons with her; puts her on her good behaviour; promises to pass

by all, and forgive all, if she will now amend her ways. In the

meantime he provides what is necessary for her wants and

comfortable support, and thus opening a door of hope for her, she

may be fully reconciled; rejoice as at the beginning, when he

first took her by the hand, and she became his bride. This is most

probably the simple meaning of the above metaphorical expressions.

The valley of Achor was very fruitful; it lay to the north of

Jericho, not far from Gilgal. See Isa 65:10.

Verse 15. She shall sing there] There she shall sing the

responsive song, as on high festival occasions, and in marriage

ceremonies. The Book of Canticles is of this sort.

Verse 16. Thou shalt call me Ishi] That is, my man, or my

husband; a title of love and affection; and not BAALI, my master,

a title exciting fear and apprehension; which, howsoever good in

itself, was now rendered improper to be applied to Jehovah, having

been prostituted to false gods. This intimated that they should

scrupulously avoid idolatry; and they had such a full proof of the

inefficacy of their idolatrous worship that, after their

captivity, they never more served idols.

Verse 18. Will I make a covenant for them] I will make an

agreement between them and the birds, beasts, and reptiles, so

that they shall not be injured by those; their flocks shall not be

destroyed, nor their crops spoiled. I will also prevent every

species of war, that they may no more have the calamities that

arise from that source. They shall also be safe from robbers and

nightly alarms; for I will make them to lie down in safety.

Verse 19. I will betroth thee unto me] The people are always

considered under the emblem of a wife unfaithful to her husband.

In righteousness] According to law, reason, and equity.

In judgment] According to what is fit and becoming.

In lovingkindness] Having the utmost affection and love for

thee.

In mercies.] Forgiving and blotting out all past miscarriages.

Or there may be an allusion here to the dowry given by the husband

to his wife: "I will give righteousness," &c., as a dowry.

Verse 20. In faithfulness] Thou shalt no more prostitute thyself

to idols, but be faithful to him who calls himself thy husband.

Thou shalt know the Lord.] There shall be no more infidelity on

thy part nor divorce on mine; and thou shalt experience me to be

the sole, present, and eternal good of thy immortal spirit: and

when this conviction is fully rooted, then there can be no more

idolatry, for it shall be seen that an idol is nothing in the

world.

Verse 21. I will hear, saith the Lord] The sentence is repeated,

to show how fully the thing was determined by the Almighty, and

how implicitly they might depend on the Divine promise.

I will hear the heavens] The visible heavens, the atmosphere,

where vapours are collected. The clouds, when they wish to deposit

their fertilizing showers upon the earth.

They shall hear the earth] When it seems to supplicate for rain.

Verse 22. Shall hear the corn, and the wine] When they seem to

express a desire to supply the wants of man.

And they shall hear Jezreel.] The destitute people who are in

want of the necessaries of life.

This most elegant gradation in the exertion of the influences of

nature, for the supply of the wants of man, may be considered

thus:-

1. There is a concord, harmony, and mutual influence, which God

has established in the parts of created nature, in reference to

the support and preservation of the human race.

2. God alone is the author of all this; and unless he give his

command, communicate his energetic influence to the different

parts of nature, these effects will not, cannot be produced.

3. Jezreel, the people who have been dispersed for their

iniquities, and now about to be sown or planted in their own land,

will require the most fostering care. See on Ho 2:23.

4. They are heard in desiring oil, wine, and corn. These are

necessary to the support and comfort of life; and to those the

desire of animal life naturally aspires.

5. These products are looked for from the EARTH. On it, and by

it, grass grows for the cattle, and corn for the service of man.

6, The seeds or germs, whence proceed corn, wine, and oil, live

and grow in the earth; but cannot come to perfection, unless the

earth be impregnated with the dews and rains from the clouds. They

are therefore represented as imploring the heavens to collect

their clouds, to pour down their fructifying moisture upon it.

7. The clouds, or materials of which they are composed, not

being able to arrange themselves, nor aggregate themselves so as

to meet those demands, prevent drought, and maintain an effective

vegetation, are represented as calling upon the heavens to form,

arrange, and supply them with the requisite quantity of moisture.

8. God, who is the author of all being and all bounty, dependent

on nothing, comes forward and says, I will hear the heavens, the

clouds which are gathered in the atmosphere; he will arrange the

particles, saturate those that are light, till they become

sufficiently impregnated with the necessary fluid; and then direct

them In his providence where to deposit their contents. And,

9. When brought to the proper place, he will shake them with his

winds, or strike them with his thunder, so as to cause them to

fall down in drops to fertilize the earth with their showers.

Thus then-

1. God works upon the heavens.

2. In them the clouds are collected.

3. The clouds drop their moisture upon the earth.

4. The earth exerts its vegetative influence upon the germs

which it contains.

5. They expand, increase, and become matured, under the genial

influences of the heavens, sun, air, water, from the clouds, &c.

6. Man receives and applies those bounties of Providence, and

variously prepares them for the support and comfort of life.

Take all this in still fewer words:-

As Jezreel or the Israelites are here considered as perishing

for want of food, all inanimate nature is represented as invoking

God in their behalf.

1. The heavens have prayed that they be stored with clouds, that

they may drop down fatness upon the earth.

2. The Lord answers the heavens, and clouds are formed.

3. The earth invokes the clouds, that they may drop down their

fatness into its bosom.

4. The bottles of heaven are, consequently, unstopped for this

purpose.

5. Then the corn, wine, and olive, implore the earth to put

forth its vegetative energy.

6. The earth answers; and corn, wine, and oil are produced.

7. Jezreel cries for the necessaries of life, and the abundance

of the above supplies all his wants.

All these are dependent on each other, as the links are which

constitute a chain; and God has the government of the whole; and

he manages all for the benefit of man. How wondrous is this

providence! How gracious is this GOD!

Here is a series of prosopopoeias together. Corn, wine, oil, the

earth, the clouds and their contents, the heavens, sun, moon, &c.,

are all represented as intelligent beings, speaking to and

influencing each other. GOD is at one end of the chain, and MAN at

the other; and by means of the intermediate links the latter is

kept in a state of continued dependence upon the former for life,

breath, and all things.

Verse 23. I will sow her] Alluding to the import of the name

Jezreel, the seed of God. Then shall it appear that God has

shown mercy to them that had not obtained mercy. Then the covenant

of God will be renewed; for he will call them his people who were

not his people; and they shall call Jehovah their God, who

before had him not for the object of their worship. It does not

appear that these promises have had their fulfilment among the

Jews. They must either be understood of the blessings experienced

by the Gentiles on their conversion to God by the preaching of the

Gospel, or are yet to be fulfilled to the Jews on their embracing

the Gospel, and being brought back to their own land.

The sentences in the latter part of this verse are very abrupt,

but exceedingly expressive; leaving out those words supplied by

the translators, and which unnerve the passage, it stands thus: I

will say to NOT MY PEOPLE, THOU MY PEOPLE; and they shall say, MY

GOD.

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