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Ho 3:1-5. ISRAEL'S CONDITION IN THEIR PRESENT DISPERSION, SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR RETURN FROM BABYLON, SYMBOLIZED.
The prophet is to take back his wife, though unfaithful, as foretold in Ho 1:2. He purchases her from her paramour, stipulating she should wait for a long period before she should be restored to her conjugal rights. So Israel is to live for a long period without her ancient rites of religion, and yet be free from idolatry; then at last she shall acknowledge Messiah, and know Jehovah's goodness restored to her.
1. Go yet--"Go again," referring to
2. I bought her--The price paid is too small to be a probable dowry wherewith to buy a wife from her parents; but it is just half the price of a female slave, in money, the rest of the price being made up in grain (Ex 21:32). Hosea pays this for the redemption of his wife, who has become the slave of her paramour. The price being half grain was because the latter was the allowance of food for the slave, and of the coarsest kind, not wheat, but barley. Israel, as committing sin, was the slave of sin (Joh 8:34; Ro 6:16-20; 2Pe 2:19). The low price expresses Israel's worthlessness.
3. abide for me--separate from intercourse with any other man, and
remaining for me who have redeemed thee (compare
4. The long period here foretold was to be one in which Israel should have no civil polity, king, or prince, no sacrifice to Jehovah, and yet no idol, or false god, no ephod, or teraphim. Exactly describing their state for the last nineteen centuries, separate from idols, yet without any legal sacrifice to Jehovah, whom they profess to worship, and without being acknowledged by Him as His Church. So KIMCHI, a Jew, explains it. The ephod was worn by the high priest above the tunic and robe. It consisted of two finely wrought pieces which hung down, the one in front over the breast, the other on the back, to the middle of the thigh; joined on the shoulders by golden clasps set in onyx stones with the names of the twelve tribes, and fastened round the waist by a girdle (Ex 28:6-12). The common ephod worn by the lower priests, Levites, and any person performing sacred rites, was of linen (2Sa 6:14; 1Ch 15:27). In the breast were the Urim and Thummim by which God gave responses to the Hebrews. The latter was one of the five things which the second temple lacked, and which the first had. It, as representing the divinely constituted priesthood, is opposed to the idolatrous "teraphim," as "sacrifice" (to Jehovah) is to "an (idolatrous) image." "Abide" answers to "thou shalt abide for me" (Ho 3:3). Abide in solitary isolation, as a separated wife. The teraphim were tutelary household gods, in the shape of human busts, cut off at the waist (as the root of the Hebrew word implies) [MAURER], (Ge 31:19, 30-35). They were supposed to give responses to consulters (2Ki 23:24; Eze 21:21, Margin; Zec 10:2). Saul's daughter, Michal, putting one in a bed, as if it were David, proves the shape to have been that of a man.
5. Afterward--after the long period ("many days,"