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Ho 12:1-14. REPROOF OF EPHRAIM AND JUDAH: THEIR FATHER JACOB OUGHT TO BE A PATTERN TO THEM.
This prophecy was delivered about the time of Israel's seeking the aid of the Egyptian king So, in violation of their covenant with Assyria (see Ho 12:1). He exhorts them to follow their father Jacob's persevering prayerfulness, which brought God's favor upon him. As God is unchangeable, He will show the same favor to Jacob's posterity as He did to Jacob, if, like him, they seek God.
1. feedeth on wind--
Followeth after vain objects, such as alliances with idolaters and
their idols (compare
2. controversy with Judah--
Judah, under Ahaz, had fallen into idolatry
3. He--Jacob, contrasted with his degenerate descendants, called by
his name, Jacob
He took Esau by the heel in the womb in order to obtain, if
possible, the privileges of the first-born
whence he took his name, Jacob, meaning "supplanter"; and again, by his
strength, prevailed in wrestling with God for a blessing
whereas ye disregard My promises, putting your confidence in idols and
foreign alliances. He conquered God, ye are the slaves
of idols. Only have Jehovah on your side, and ye are stronger than
Edom, or even Assyria. So the spiritual Israel lays hold of the heel of
Jesus, "the First-born of many brethren," being born again of the Holy
Spirit. Having no right in themselves to the inheritance, they lay hold
of the bruised heel, the humanity of Christ crucified, and let not go
their hold of Him who is not, as Esau, a curse
(Heb 12:16, 17),
but, by becoming a curse for us, is a blessing to us.
4. the angel--the uncreated Angel of the Covenant, as God the Son
appears in the Old Testament
5. Lord God--JEHOVAH, a name implying His
immutable constancy to His promises. From the Hebrew root,
meaning "existence." "He that is, was, and is to be," always the same
Re 1:4, 8;
Ex 3:14, 15; 6:3).
As He was unchangeable in His favor to Jacob, so will He be to His
6. thou--who dost wish to be a true descendant of Jacob.
7. merchant--a play on the double sense of the Hebrew,
"Canaan," that is, a Canaanite and a "merchant"
"Thy birth is . . . of Canaan." They who naturally were
descendants of pious Jacob had become virtually
Canaanites, who were proverbial as cheating merchants
Margin), the greatest reproach to Israel, who despised Canaan.
The Phœnicians called themselves Canaanites or
8. And--that is, Notwithstanding.
9. And--rather, "And yet." Though Israel deserves to be cast off for ever, yet I am still what I have been from the time of My delivering them out of Egypt, their covenant God; therefore, "I will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles," that is, to keep the feast of tabernacles again in remembrance of a new deliverance out of bondage. Fulfilled primarily at the return from Babylon (Ne 8:17). Fully and antitypically to be fulfilled at the final restoration from the present dispersion (Zec 14:16; compare Le 23:42, 43).
10. by . . . the prophets--literally, "upon," that is, My spirit
resting on them. I deposited with them My instructions which
ought to have brought you to the right way. An aggravation of your
guilt, that it was not through ignorance you erred, but in defiance of
God and His prophets [CALVIN]. Ahijah the Shilonite, Shemaiah, Iddo,
Azariah, Hanani, Jehu, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Joel, and Amos were "the
prophets" before Hosea.
11. Is there iniquity in Gilead?--He asks the question, not as if the
answer was doubtful, but to strengthen the affirmation: "Surely they are
vanity"; or as MAURER translates, "They are nothing but iniquity."
Iniquity, especially idolatry, in Scripture is often termed "vanity."
"Wealth gotten by vanity," that is, iniquity.
"They are all vanity . . . images." "Gilead" refers to
Mizpah-gilead, a city representing the region beyond Jordan
as "Gilgal," the region on this side of Jordan
In all quarters alike they are utterly vile.
12. Jacob fled . . . served--Though ye pride
yourselves on the great name of "Israel," forget not that your
progenitor was the same Jacob who was a fugitive, and who served for
Rachel fourteen years. He forgot not ME who
delivered him when fleeing from Esau, and when oppressed by Laban
(Ge 28:5; 29:20, 28;
Ye, though delivered from Egypt
and loaded with My favors, are yet unwilling to return to Me.
13. by a prophet--Moses
De 18:15, 18).