Hosea 3


By the prophet's taking back his wife, for whom he (her friend

or husband) still retained has affection, though she had proved

unfaithful; by his entering into a new contract with her; and

by his giving her hopes of reconciliation, after she should for

some time prove, as in a state of widowhood, the sincerity of

her repentance; is represented the gracious manner in which God

will restore the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, 1-4.

It is also very strongly intimated that the whole house of

Israel will be added to the Church of Christ in the latter

days, 5.


Verse 1. Go yet, love a woman] This is a different command from

that mentioned in the first chapter. That denoted the infidelity

of the kingdom of Israel, and God's divorce of them. He gave them

up to their enemies, and caused them to be carried into captivity.

The woman mentioned here represents one who was a lawful wife

joining herself to a paramour; then divorced by her husband;

afterwards repenting, and desirous to be joined to her spouse;

ceasing from her adulterous commerce, but not yet reconciled to

him. This was the state and disposition of the Jews under the

Babylonish captivity. Though separated from their own idols, they

continued separated from their God. He is still represented as

having affectionate feelings towards them; awaiting their full

repentance and contrition, in order to renew the marriage

covenant. These things are pointed out by the symbolical actions

of the prophet.

Beloved of her friend] Or, a lover of evil; or, loving

another: for the Hebrew words mean one who loves evil or

a friend: because signifies a friend, or evil, according

as it is pointed. The former seems to be its best sense here;

rea is a friend; ra is evil.

According to the love of the Lord] This woman, who had proved

false to her husband, was still beloved by him, though he could

not acknowledge her; as the Israelites were beloved by the Lord,

while they were looking after other gods. The flagons of wine were

probably such as were used for libations, or drunk in idol feasts.

Others think that the words should be translated cakes of dried

grapes, sweet cakes, consecrated wafers.

Verse 2. Fifteen pieces of silver] If they were shekels, the

price of this woman was about two pounds five shillings.

A homer of barley] As the homer was about eight bushels, or

something more, the homer and half was about twelve or thirteen


Verse 3. Thou shalt abide for me many days] He did not take her

home, but made a contract with her that, if she would abstain from

her evil ways, he would take her to himself after a sufficient

trial. In the meantime he gave her the money and the barley to

subsist upon, that she might not be under the temptation of

becoming again unfaithful.

So will I also be for thee.] That is, if thou, Israel,

wilt keep thyself separate from thy idolatry, and give me proof,

by thy total abstinence from idols, that thou wilt be my faithful

worshipper, I will receive thee again, and in the meantime support

thee with the necessaries of life while thou art in the land of

thy captivity. This is farther illustrated in the following


Verse 4. Many days without a king] Hitherto this prophecy has

been literally fulfilled. Since the destruction of the temple by

the Romans they have neither had king nor prince, nor any civil

government of their own, but have lived in different nations of

the earth as mere exiles. They have neither priests nor

sacrifices, nor urim nor thummim; no prophet, no oracle,

no communication of any kind from God.

Without an image ephod-teraphim] The Septuagint read, ουδεουσης


"Without a sacrifice, without an altar, without a priesthood, and

without oracles;" that is, the urim and thummim. The Vulgate,

Arabic, and Syriac read nearly the same. Instead of

matstsebah, an image, they have evidently read mizbeach,

an altar; the letters of these words being very similar, and

easily mistaken for each other. But instead of either, one, if not

two, of Kennicott's MSS. has minchah, an oblation.

What is called image may signify any kind of pillar, such as God

forbade them to erect, Le 26:1, lest it should be an incitement

to idolatry.

The ephod was the high priest's garment of ceremony; the

teraphim were some kind of amulets, telesms, or idolatrous

images; the urim and thummim belonged to the breastplate,

which was attached to the ephod.

Instead of teraphim some would read seraphim, changing the

tau into sin; these are an order of the celestial hierarchy.

In short, all the time that the Israelites were in captivity in

Babylon, they seem to have been as wholly without forms of

idolatrous worship as they were without the worship of God; and

this may be what the prophet designs: they were totally without

any kind of public worship, whether true or false. As well without

images and teraphim, as they were without sacrifice and ephod,

though still idolaters in their hearts. They were in a state of

the most miserable darkness, which was to continue many days; and

it has continued now nearly eighteen hundred years, and must

continue yet longer, till they acknowledge him as their Saviour

whom they crucified as a blasphemer.

Verse 5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return] Shall

repent of their iniquities, and seek the Lord; lay aside their

mock worship, and serve the true God in spirit and in truth.

And David their king] Or as the Targum, "They shall obey the

Messiah, the Son of David, their King;" and thus look believingly

upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn. And then shall their

long spiritual darkness and dismal captivity have an end; but not

before. The Messiah, as David, is promised in Jer 30:9;

Eze 24:23; 37:22, 24, 25, (where see the notes,) and in this

place of Hosea. Some think that the family of David is intended;

but if we go to the rigour of the letter, the house of Israel was

scarcely ever perfectly submissive to David. And we know that

after the death of Solomon they never acknowledged the house of

David till they were all carried away captive; and certainly never

since. And to say that Zerubbabel is here meant, is not

supportable, as the very short and imperfect obedience of the Jews

to Zerubbabel can never comport with the high terms of this and

similar prophecies. We are obliged, therefore, from the evidence

of these prophecies, from the evidence of the above facts, from

the evidence of the rabbins themselves, and from the evidence of

the New Testament, to consider these texts as applying solely to

JESUS CHRIST, the promised MESSIAH, who has been a light to lighten

the Gentiles, and will yet be the glory of his people Israel.

There is a strange propensity in some men to deny these evidences

of Christianity, while they profess to believe its doctrines.

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