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Ho 2:1-23. APPLICATION OF THE SYMBOLS IN THE FIRST CHAPTER.
1. Say . . . unto . . . brethren, Ammi, &c.--that is, When the prediction (Ho 1:11) shall be accomplished, then ye will call one another, as brothers and sisters in the family of God, Ammi and Ruhamah.
3. set her as in the day . . . born--
(Eze 16:4; 23:25, 26, 28, 29).
The day of her political "birth" was when God delivered her from the
bondage of Egypt, and set up the theocracy.
4. her children--Not even her individual members shall escape the doom of the nation collectively, for they are individually guilty.
5. I will go after--The Hebrew expresses a
6, 7. thorns . . . wall--
La 3:7, 9).
The hindrances which the captivity interposed between Israel and her
idols. As she attributes all her temporal blessings to idols, I will
reduce her to straits in which, when she in vain has sought help from
false gods, she will at last seek Me as her only God and Husband, as at
8. she did not know that I--not the idols, as she thought: the "lovers"
alluded to in
9. my corn . . . my wool . . . my flax--in
contrast to "my bread . . . my wool
. . . my flax,"
on God as the great First Cause giving these through secondary
instruments in nature. "Return, and take away," is equivalent to, "I
will take back again," namely, by sending storms, locusts, Assyrian
enemies, &c. "Therefore," that is, because she did not acknowledge Me
as the Giver.
10. lewdness--rather, "the shame of her nakedness"; laying aside the figure, "I will expose her in her state, bereft of every necessary, before her lovers," that is, the idols (personified, as if they could see), who, nevertheless, can give her no help. "Discover" is appropriate to stripping off the self-flatteries of her hypocrisy.
11. her feast days--of Jeroboam's appointment, distinct from the Mosaic (1Ki 12:32). However, most of the Mosaic feasts, "new-moons" and "sabbaths" to Jehovah, remained, but to degenerate Israel worship was a weariness; they cared only for the carnal indulgence on them (Am 8:5).
13. days of Baalim--the days consecrated to the Baals, or various
images of Baal in different cities, whence the names
Baal-gad, Baal-hermon, &c.
14. Therefore--rather, "Nevertheless" [HENDERSON]. English Version gives a more lovely idea of God. That which would provoke all others to unappeasable wrath, Israel's perversity and consequent punishment, is made a reason why God should at last have mercy on her. As the "therefore" (Ho 2:9) expresses Israel's punishment as the consequence of Israel's guilt, so "therefore" here, as in Ho 2:6, expresses, that when that punishment has effected its designed end, the hedging up her way with thorns so that she returns to God, her first love, the consequence in God's wondrous grace is, He "speaks comfortably" (literally, "speaks to her heart"; compare Jud 19:8; Ru 2:13). So obstinate is she that God has to "allure her," that is, so to temper judgment with unlooked-for grace as to win her to His ways. For this purpose it was necessary to "bring her into the wilderness" (that is, into temporal want and trials) first, to make her sin hateful to her by its bitter fruits, and God's subsequent grace the more precious to her by the contrast of the "wilderness." JEROME makes the "bringing into the wilderness" to be rather a deliverance from her enemies, just as ancient Israel was brought into the wilderness from the bondage of Egypt; to this the phrase here alludes (compare Ho 2:15). The wilderness sojourn, however, is not literal, but moral: while still in the land of their enemies locally, by the discipline of the trial rendering the word of God sweet to them, they are to be brought morally into the wilderness state, that is, into a state of preparedness for returning to their temporal and spiritual privileges in their own land; just as the literal wilderness prepared their fathers for Canaan: thus the bringing of them into the wilderness state is virtually a deliverance from their enemies.
15. from thence--returning from the wilderness. God gives Israel
a fresh grant of Canaan, which she had forfeited; so of her vineyards,
(Ho 2:9, 12).
16. Ishi . . . no more Baali--"my Husband . . . no more my Lord." Affection is the prominent idea in "Husband"; rule, in "Lord." The chief reason for the substitution of Husband for Lord appears in Ho 2:17; namely, Baali, the Hebrew for my Lord, had been perverted to express the images of Baal, whose name ought not to be taken on their lips (Ex 23:13; Zec 13:2).
18. for them--for their benefit.
19, 20. "Betroth" is thrice repeated, implying the intense love
of God to His people; and perhaps, also, the three Persons of the
Triune God, severally engaging to make good the betrothal. The
marriage covenant will be as it were renewed from the beginning, on a
different footing; not for a time only, as before, through the apostasy
of the people, but "forever" through the grace of God writing the law on
their hearts by the Spirit of Messiah
21. in that day--of grace to Israel.