compiled by Dee Finney


9-29-04 - DREAM - I was in the office of Juneau Village Garden Apartments in Milwaukee, WI. 
I was helping a short, small Jewish woman who was taking over as manager of the building.

I gave her a new set of keys that hadn't even been cut yet. The locksmith would have to be called to cut the keys for her.

There was also a taller, thinner woman there, who was the current manager. She was leaving the job in three weeks and would be training the Jewish woman to do her job. 

The taller woman told me that she had kicked out everyone I had rented to when I was Manager.

I asked her why she had done that. I told her that many of these people were long-time residents, always paid their rent on time and never caused any problems and for many months at a time the building would be full and there would be no turn-over at all. 

She just shrugged her shoulders. She knew that she had made a mistake. 

I was going to have to trust the woman because she was going to be the one training the Jewish woman. 

I went into the supply and key closet with the Jewish woman and I showed them a folder with gold and white striped socks. 

I gave the smaller Jewish woman the smallest of the socks and I gave the taller woman the longer socks. I didn't need any of these socks because mine were pure white. 

I then helped the woman decorate the office with little Christmas trinkets. They weren't very large, but it was enough to show that they celebrated Christmas.

As I woke up, I heard a booming male voice which said:  "ISRAEL: THE MARRIAGE BOND!"

"Jehovah! Is very hurt. He has built a nation which is being destroyed from inside. He would appreciate help from the United States to turn it around and Christianize it."


God and Israel: The Marriage Metaphor 

The Lord said to me…, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree and there she has played the harlot.” 

And I [God] said, “After she has done all of these things, she will return to Me. But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear. She also went out and committed adultery…

“In spite of this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart but only in pretence”.
Jeremiah 3:6-10


The name “Hosea” is from a familiar root, “Yeshuah,” from which we derive the word, “Salvation,” or the “Lord saveth.” The verb form appears in ch. 1:7, “I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.”

THEME: To declare God’s loving kindness, tender mercy and forbearance with a disloyal people, and His readiness to reverse the calamities caused by their failures, and change the punishment for national sins on the conditions of repentance and return to Him.

 KEY WORDS: This is one of the most dramatic, tragic and pathetic messages of the Old Testament. Its key words are illuminating, — “return,” 24 times; “whore” and “whoredom,” 22 times; “know,” 21 times; “Egypt,” 12 times; and “iniquity,” 10 times; “love,” 16 times; these are among the more important.

 We might divide the message into two main portions:

1. The Divine communications rejected and the ruinous relapse. (Chs. 1-7)

2. The Divine communications received and its resultant repose. (Chs. 8- 14)

 TEACHING: The method of instruction in this prophecy may be indicated as follows:

 Firstly, demonstration in order to assure conviction. Chs. 1-3.

 Secondly, revelation in order to impart knowledge. Ch. 4.

 Thirdly, correction in order to obtain obedience. Ch. 5, also Ch. 11:7‑12.

 Fourthly, education in order to beget discernment. Ch. 11.

 Fifthly, salvation in order to procure deliverance. Ch. 13:1‑6.

 Sixthly, restoration in order to promote testimony. Ch. 14:1‑4.

 Seventhly, submission in order to secure fruitfulness. Ch. 14:5‑9.

 The most grievous form of sin is that of showing infidelity and disloyalty in the face of infinite love with all its sacred bonds of intimacy. On this account the severity of the judgment becomes quite reasonable, even though it appears relentlessly inflexible. The sublimity of God’s love triumphs over the unfaithfulness, and secures again a responsive affection from a people who were prevailed upon to return to the One Who had befriended, bought and blessed them.

 Ch. 1.  The unholiness of the national state is fully disclosed by the opening of the message. God had an exclusive right to His people’s love, for He had redeemed and reconciled them, and through the years had been their Guide and Guardian.

 Ch. 2.  Their unfaithfulness to this dignified relationship is impressively symbolized in the sacred relationship of marriage, which they had despised and disregarded.

 Ch. 3.  The unworthiness Israel displayed of receiving the overtures of the Lord’s love is plainly depicted. Hosea’s marriage with Gomer and its tragic aftermath, is a symbolical transaction that becomes a verbal prophecy.

 Ch. 4.  The unheedfulness of their attitude is summed up in ch. 4:l0, while they pursued a course which is described by the participles, swearing, lying, killing, stealing, backsliding and committing adultery.

 Ch. 5. The unwillingness on the part of the people to repent resulted in God withdrawing from their company, in His warning them of the consequences of their iniquity and in waiting, lest, haply, they might consider their pathetic condition and repent.

 Ch. 6. The unresponsiveness. The pressing invitation is renewed, combined with the sad refrain: “O, Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?” “O, Judah, what shall I do unto thee?”, for their goodness is described as being like the passing of a morning cloud and the melting of the early dew.

 Ch. 7. The unconcernedness.  There is none among them that calleth unto me.” (v. 7)  They have spoken lies about me.” (v. 14)  They consider not in their hearts.” (v. 2)  Woe unto them for they have fled from me.” Notice the sixfold use of “ME,” vs. 13-15.

 Ch. 8. The unmindfulness. Israel had forgotten its maker, v. 14. Turning away from God did not satisfy the heart, so the nation tried to fill the aching void by erecting temples.

 Ch. 9. The unrestrainedness. They have deeply corrupted themselves,” vs. 9 & 10, and this led to a joyless temperament, a senseless tendency and a fruitless testimony.

 Ch. 10. The unproductiveness. Israel is an empty vine.” The nation had sought the spectacular, the sensational and the speculative, but all of these were without foundation and they found themselves devoid of defense or security.

 Ch. 11. The unsteadfastness. My people are bent to backsliding from me:” Yet in spite of I, the rainbow of Divine mercy is clearly seen reflecting His electing, emancipating and enriching grace.

 Ch . 12.  The ungratefulness. I that am the Lord thy God from the Land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.”' (vs. 9, 14) How wonderfully owned and honored His Prophets. (vs. 10, 13)

 Ch. 13.  The undesertedness. Because in the Divine immutability, the insistent Saviour pleaded and entreated with the people in their waywardness. He emphasized that there was no hope in any other direction by declaring, “There is no Saviour beside me.” His absolute authority is also expressed in the ten “I wills” of the chapter.

 Ch. 14. The unresistingness. The 22 appeals to return were eventually responded to, and immediately the forgiving love of God was assured. They heard the gracious words “I will heal,” “I will love,” and “I will be as the dew unto Israel.”

 By virtue of their having previously forsaken God and at this stage having turned away from idolatry, they, as a nation, were in a fatherless condition. This accounts for their pathetic plea, “In Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” (v. 3) God's loving forgiveness and lavish favor instantly followed.

 The figures used are wonderfully instructive and include the freshness of the dew, the fairness of the lily and the fragrance of Lebanon. These gracious benefits replaced the drought, defilement and dearth that had so long blighted their civil and social life.

 Yet such blessings in themselves were not enough to meet the national need. Unless cleansing is followed by constancy, forgiveness combined with fidelity, and faith conjoined with fruitfulness there can be no lasting stability. Therefore their roots were to become strong like the bastions of the Lebanon forests. Their beauty was to be as the olive, they were to revive as the corn and flourish as the vine.

 The corn, wine and oil imply fruit, more fruit and much fruit. He forgave their guilt, and furnished them with gifts.

 Such love is beyond all telling, more perfect it breaks the backs of all words when we attempt to describe it. More majestic than the heavens, more extensive than the firmament, more expansive than the ocean, His love surpasseth knowledge. Hosea dwells more on the love of God than any other Old Testament prophet.

 Who is wise and he shall understand these things, prudent and he shall know them.” (Hos. 14:9)

 The proposition commanded, by which Hosea was directed to marry a woman from unsavory associations.

 The pollution reported, in connection with Gomer's manner of life.

 The partnership contracted, and the commencement of married life.

 The perversity indicated in the matter of Gomer's lapse into unfaithfulness.

 The punishment prescribed which reflects God’s judgment against Israel.

 The proposals resisted that were made by the Lord to an unfaithful nation.

 The penalties inflicted which were intended for corrective discipline.

 The promises intimated that were calculated to encourage a change of behavior.

 The purposes revealed depicting the ultimate design and aim.

 The parable interpreted as being a demonstration of the love of the Lord toward Israel.       


 In the Old .Testament. History there is found no other instance in which a prophet of God is called upon to enter into the deepest degree of agonizing grief and appalling anguish in the sphere of domestic life, in order to demonstrate to a people the grievous way in which they had wounded the love of God.

 The heart of Hosea was appointed to enter the innermost of painful suffering, and to encounter the utmost of serious injury to his sensitive nature. In his compact of love he had entered into relationship with a reclaimed harlot, who later shattered the bond in a most lewd and vulgar manner by returning to her former vice of prostitution for hire.

 Gomer violated the closest companionship, the comeliest virtues, the choicest values, and the costliest vows.

 God chose to take the natural relations associated with courtship, marriage and home life, in order to illustrate the deeper realities of His identification with Israel. Gomer was deflected from the obligations she had agreed to honor, and abandoned herself to the lowest forms of indecency, immorality and social vice.

 God used these tragic happenings to impress upon the nation the regrettable state of apostasy and inconstancy that prevailed through centuries of history.

 Israel had been called to enter into a spiritual union of the most intimate nature with an immortal Lover. She was, therefore, responsible to rightly represent the One Who had chosen her to fill so dignified a relationship, and to reflect, in some degree, the glories of His name and beauties of His nature.

 God had lavished upon Israel all the moral gifts and spiritual graces that were essential to holiness of life, and had frustrated the forces that sought to prevent the fulfillment of His purpose.

 Hosea summons many facts from the nation’s previous history in support of the golden opportunity God had given to Israel. Side by side with these, he recounts the fickleness and failure that had hindered her from rising to the occasion to fulfill her obligations.


 The object lesson dealt with here commands the attention of the apostles of the New Testament. For instance, Paul speaks of Lo-ruhamah as implying “not beloved” in Rom. 9:25, while Peter refers to the same name as indicating “hath not obtained mercy,” I Pet. 2:10. The word, as used in Hosea, is in the intensive form, therefore, both “loved” and “mercy” are contained in its meaning, which expresses the deep, tender yearning of the innermost soul over the one loved. A suggestion of this attitude is reflected in the word “pitieth,” which means to “yearn over” as used in Psa. 103:13.

 The name Gomer is derived from a root meaning, “to finish” or “complete,” “to come to an end” is the rendering in Psa 7:9, and again “ceaseth” Psa. 12:1, etc., etc.  Does this mean that Gomer had filled up her cup of iniquity, or does it suggest that God would perfect that which concerned both her and Hosea? We would suggest the latter in the light of Rom. 9:28. The God Who had invited Israel to become His very own, and Who bestowed rare and remarkable gifts upon her, was at this time being wholly ignored. She had become another’s, which clearly describes her adultery.

 The Pleading Voice appeals, v. 2. Following the fall from fidelity she next becomes faithless, and as in Tennyson's Idylls, the guilty Queen Guinevere failed to appreciate the friendly kindness shown to her.

 The Warning Voice arrests, vs. 3-4. When a nation deserts God, dullness, dryness, and deadness are the result. In the description of the outcome in this case Israel is stripped of apparel and adornment, scorched like an arid desert, and slain as an abandoned delinquent.

 The Correcting Voice accuses, v. 5. The more stringent the restrictions that are placed in the path of the wayward, the greater the evidence of God's loving intent for the wanderer. When the gardener makes the fence secure, it is in order to prevent the plundering destroyer from doing his work of spoilation. Those who accept the false friend and abandon the true, forge for themselves a lifelong trouble. The fickle lover may appear to be glamorous and generous, but the Faithful One is graciously and gloriously genuine. The choice of the false is always costly and will, in future days, exact tribute. The call of the true requires chastity in behavior, but yields bountiful treasure in return. “The pure in heart ... shall see God,” everywhere, in the great events or small.

 The period of the prophetic ministry of Hosea ranged from King Uzziah to Jeroboam II, therefore, his active service at the very minimum lasted for over sixty years. The Northern Kingdom had become notorious for nullifying foreign alliances with adjacent nations, and many forms of corrupt worship had been introduced into the land from the surrounding countries. The darkest days to the history of the Ten Tribes were running their course. Decadence was never more pronounced, nor the downward trend more gloomy. The administration was swayed by selfishness, and party passion was steeped in sordid political intrigue, causing the country to sink lower and lower in moral ruin.

 Hosea realized the one available source of strength, and was therefore able to say with David, “My help cometh from the Lord.” He certainly knew the secret of real comfort and good hope through grace.

 The truth of this realization is both suggested and supported by the meaning of his father's name. “Beeri” means “Well of Jehovah,” and is derived from a root implying, “to dig,” “to write,” or “to declare.” The only occurrences of the verb form are found in Deut. 1:5; 27:8; and Neh. 2:2. The noun is derived from “a well,” or “a pit,” or as rendered in Jer 2:13, “cistern.” Surely then “Beeri” speaks of the well spring of life, the fountain from which the prophet drew his strength, Isa. 12:3. This picturesque future reminds us of the Source of our satisfaction.


 The nation of Israel had been specially selected and separated to function as a vessel sanctified and meet for Jehovah's use. Her unwarrantable unchastity and shameful selfishness brought upon the tribes the swift and severe chastisement of God. The character of this chastisement is described in Hos. 2:6-13. The Lord placed a hindering difficulty in the way to retard the nation’s downward course. He prevented the realization of the projects planned by causing the harassing disappointment of v. 7. He also promoted the embarrassing circumstances that helped to deprive Israel of her requisites, vs. 8-9. He purposely withheld supplies because they were being used to facilitate indecencies, and eventually brought about her humiliating disgrace, v. 19. The Lord also prevented further participation in the normal, reasonable and seasonable festivals and functions, and precipitated the whole community into a hapless plight of distress, v. 11. He likewise pronounced the destruction of the fruits of the earth to bring upon this comely heritage, harmful desolation, v. 12. In addition to all these things, He pledged a suitable recompense for their misbehavior in the idolatrous courts of Baal in order to bring the wayward to the place of hopeless despair, v. 13.

 The eight “I wills” in this section, vs. 6-13, should be particularly noted, for when God determines discipline of this nature, no one can escape, “none shall deliver out of My hand,” v. 10. All the while this wickedness was going on, Israel kept up an outward semblance of piety. The new moons, Sabbaths and solemn feasts were all regularly celebrated, v. 11. God refuses to tolerate fickle piety, false joy, and feigned loyalty, and so he framed a decree to frustrate, once and for all, the possibility of such festivals being continued. For the sake of brevity we have confined each of these seven deplorable features to the compass of a sentence, but when combined, they reflect a decadence that staggers the imagination.


 The worst form of infidelity is that which outwardly professes faithfulness, while, inwardly, disloyalty reigns. The sham and show of a formal pretence had long since faded from Gomer's manner of life. She had become openly reprobate, and had not only forsaken her true lover, but was publicly fraternizing with the fallen who had stained their honor and soiled their purity. Habits of sin lead to hardness of heart which makes it impossible for the soul to hate evil, “Neither doth he abhor that which is evil.” Even the dearest recollections of the deepest degree of fellowship that has existed in the past, deters no longer.

 A time came in Israel's history when she not only secretly, but flagrantly and openly as a nation, violated the law of love and Lordship she had formerly revered. Worse than that, she held in veneration the hideous gods of idolatrous shrines.

 Of all sin this is ugliest and most hateful — that a people brought into right relationship with God should not only ignore the high and holy bond of union, but go out to commit spiritual adultery. Better far never to have known the sanctity of God's stately and sensitive love, than, having experienced its fair and fragrant sincerity, to willfully wound it by acts of basest lewdness.

 The baneful vulgarity of heathenish corruption is by no means as infamous as sin against infinite love. Most clearly, then, does Hosea depict the principle that God’s faithful love never inflicts judgment unless the grievousness of sin demands it. We cannot minimize the enormity of unfaithfulness in the face of such perfect love. Surely there is no defilement so desperate, and no debasement so despicable, as that of women abandoning themselves to prostitution for hire at the shrines of sensual worship, Hos. 4:14. A real need exists of making application of some of these truths to the church of our own day. All too frequently, divinely-bestowed gifts are being used for unchrist-like ambitions, and in God's name activities are carried on which cause a good deal of blatant criticism to arise among labor unions and workers' organizations. No form of treachery is as despicable as that of Ahithophel and Judas in their betrayal of beneficent friendship and bountiful generosity.

 ReversingThe Valley of Achor with its awful memories of ignominious defeat is to be turned into a stronghold of radiant hope. The mercies of the moment are not to be minimized by the haunting memories of the past, but mingled with the merit of a mighty Lover. Achor has become proverbial as the place of trouble and tragedy; it is now to be transformed into a distinguished triumph with a desirable trophy. The heartbreaking treachery of Achan takes us back to the dawn of national deliverance. He was a man whose wickedness was characterized by weakness and willfulness. Having already shared the society, security and surety of the redeemed of the Lord, he played traitor to his people and brought upon them shameful dishonor and serious disaster. Such misconduct marred all relationship and debarred the culprit from sharing the blessings of the kingdom. The misbehavior of Israel had merited law and justice, not love and justification. But God was out to reverse past history. The rough rocks, steep slopes and frowning foes were to move out of the picture and give place to the queenly qualities of hope. The word “allure” is used in the Scripture fourteen times and is associated with the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Here God uses the method adopted by the enemy, but with Holy intent. The deepest experiences of spiritual discipline are best suited to solitude. The fact of allurement into the wilderness shuts out all other listeners. The list of the violations of love confessed will never be published for there are no reporters there so the sharp spear of deadly gossip is forever stilled. Nor can the defilements, discords, dangers and disturbances of the old surroundings of the valley-of trouble intrude into the sacredness of the interview.

 While I was working with Dr. Walter L. Wilson of Kansas City, a young married woman with her two little girls called at the surgery. Upon entering the consulting room, she left the children in the waiting lounge. Her story was of the usual type. Her husband had found someone who gave him more time and attention, and when she had completed her story of woe, the Doctor looked at her, and said, “Yes, and you are largely to blame.” He asked the young wife if she did her best when preparing meals, to select the food she knew her husband liked best. “No,” said she, “I would not put myself out for him, to prepare anything he liked.” “And was that always your attitude?" asked the Doctor. “No,” said she. “At one time I prepared everything that he said he liked, but I would not do it for him now.” “And do you ever go out to meet him when he is returning from the office?” asked the Doctor. “No” she said, “I have long since given over that practice. He prefers other company to mine.” “Very well,” he said, “I will now tell you what to do. This paramour is giving him all the time he wants, she is meeting his wishes at every turn, and the only way to rectify the situation is for you to go one better. Ask him tomorrow morning when he leaves for work what time he will be home, and what he would like most for his dinner. Dress the two children in their newest, prettiest frocks; dress yourself in your very best; be ready at the corner when he turns into your street. Say to him as he approaches, ‘Daddy, we are so glad that you've come home,’ and let him take the hand of each child as he walks to the house. When you get inside greet him the way you used to do, and tell him you have something nice for his dinner. Practice this for a week, and come back and tell me the result.” She replied, “I don't know whether I could do it, Dr. Wilson.” “Did you once do it?” he asked. “Oh, yes,” she said, “I was in the habit of doing it once.” Then he said, “You do it again.” The remedy was crucial, exasperating, but she faced it, and did it and in three weeks' time returned, with a new light in her eyes, and the care‑worn appearance gone. She said to Dr. Wilson, with tears streaming from her eyes, O Doctor, it worked so wonderfully. I cannot tell you all, but we had the matter out in solitude, and everything is now put right. Thank you so much for the advice.”

RevealingAnd the Lord took Israel aside,” and, in the solitude, loftier heights than the cliffs of Achor loomed on the landscape, a society of Holy fellowship, set in the surroundings of spiritual sacredness, with a distant outlook of greater and more radiant glory, greeted her. Achor was to become a fresh spring for the renewal of courage to stiffen character and sustain in conflict. Well may we repair again to the valley, reflect on the adversary who was inflicted with ignominious defeat, and then recall the secret of victorious recovery. The place of rebuke and retreat will then become the place of revelation, rapture, and rejoicing.

The southernmost Cape in Africa had for centuries been called the Cape of Death because the ships that tried to negotiate the treacherous currents seldom returned. At length in 1487 the great Portuguese sailor, Admiral Diaz, turned the prow of his vessel into the teeth of the gale and succeeded in navigating the turbulent waters. To his amazement on the eastern side he discovered a vast placid ocean, whereupon it was considered appropriate to rename the African promontory, and change it from the Cape of Death, to the Cape of Good Hope. Vasco da Gama followed the course ten years later, and landed at Goa on the west coast of India. So likewise the Valley of Achor with its humiliation was transformed into a vision of hope with prospective triumph.

Responding  Thou shalt call him Ishi, my husband.” This is consistent with the great prophet Isaiah, and corresponds to his declaration in Isa. 62:4-5. God requires from His people whole-hearted and utter, unreserved committal. How close He draws: Into what a degree of intimacy He initiates us, and invites our participation, yet He will not share a title or a treasure with another. He refuses the double heart and cannot accept such. Love is one for one. To love is to live. To love earnestly is to live effectively; to love endearingly is to live enduringly; to love evermore is to live eternally.

God will not tolerate any longer the more common name for husband, “Balli,”  meaning “Master,” for this title had been prostituted to evil associations, it savored too much of Baal-peor, Baal-zephon, Baal-gad, Baal-zebub, and a score of others. “I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth,” v. 17. What a cleansing! To have the very remembrances of the former lewd, licentious lapses obliterated so that the slightest degree of recollection is lost to all consciousness.

Ratifying — The confirming of the covenant ratifies the relationship forever, v. 18. The world of nature is so harmonious that the harassing things become harmless. The hostile factors are now a help; forces that frustrated hopes are now listed among the friendly aids. The noxious things become innoxious; in place of the perturbation of war, there is prevailing peace. All hostility is transmuted into harmony. The Septuagint Version of the last line of v. 10, reads, “I will make thee to lie down in hope.” It is rendered “in safety,” Psa. 4:8, Deut. 33:12,28. The figure is that of reclining restfully and safely in the delectable field of hope where perfect peace prevails, all this because the glorious Bridegroom is now both Guardian and Guide. The Shepherd-lover has secured His objective. Creation itself contributes to the charm of the contentment shared in His companionship.   

Reinstating, vs. 19-20 — As the beauties of earth and bounties of heaven combine in blessing the betrothed, so, nearer and nearer, dearer and dearer, becomes the relationship. The immutables of the triune God are indicated and intimated in the three-fold testament of intention —“I will betroth,” “I will betroth,” “I will betroth.” Let us consider carefully the character of this changeless covenant, for no neutral tints appear here. The colors are flaming, gorgeously brilliant and intense.

 Firstly. — It is contracted “for ever,” indicating the unending durability of this most intimate of all bonds of sacred fellowship.

 Secondly. — It is “in righteousness” — signifying the untainted dignity of both the Bridegroom and the betrothed.

 Thirdly. —  It is “in judgment” — verifying the unassailable decorum and rectitude of the contracting parties, so that no lawful accusation can be raised by anyone. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?”

 Fourthly. — It is “in loving kindness” — certifying to the unblemished disposition, devoid of even a shadow or sensation of inconstancy.

 Fifthly. — It is “in mercy” — indicating the undeniable desirability of the companionship in which every kindly considerateness is expressed and enjoyed.

 Sixthly. — It is “in faithfulness” — guaranteeing through an abiding, unchangeable decree, all necessary maintenance, in demonstration of the Spirit of mutuality, amity and unity.

 Seventhly. — It is a full recognition, “Thou shalt know the Lord,” in a sublimely complete realization. This unqualified discernment of the inherent virtue and inestimable value of the character of the Beloved will forever exclude all misapprehension and misunderstanding.

 The forecast of the union here given describes the full comprehension and the highest realization of the sublime environment, supreme endowment, and serene endearment of love between God and the soul. The inestimable and incomparable features that are embraced in the pledge and privilege of this immutable decree certify to the love which makes us one. Inestimable beauty, impregnable integrity, instinctive mutuality, imperishable sympathy, infinite fidelity, and intelligent sensibility — against such there is no law. In this astounding mystery of grace, God bends and stoops in mercy, to seek, select and sanctify a bride from fallen humanity. With our finite minds we cannot plumb the heights, fathom the depths, scan the expanse, or gauge the degree of love so affable, ineffable and adorable. He Who sways unparalleled dominion demonstrates His unselfish devotion by issuing a decree to deliver from the disgrace of sin, and exalt to the society of Heaven, a redeemed and regenerated humanity.

 Reciprocating, vs. 21-22 — The figure of reconciliation visualized in the heavens answering the earth pictures harmony restored, and the will of God swaying the earth with the same sceptre that rules the heavens. Heaven is regulated and earth ruled by the will of God, which gives us a foreview of what is to be enjoyed when the prayer Christ taught His disciples is fulfilled, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” The description given shows heaven, as it were, appealing to earth to receive the showers of blessing, and earth answering by appropriating the refreshing, and renewing rain. Then again, earth is seen approaching heaven with adoring praise, and heaven accepting the tribute of earth’s ascription. Material figures are used to illustrate the features of profounder spiritual realities. The earth must first be right with God, and then the whole order of the universe will be right with man. The beauty of the panorama baffles comprehension. The Apostle Paul declared that God had “made known to us the mystery of His will,” which, as we noted, is the main subject of this section, wherein it is used fourteen times. Paul goes on to say that “In the new order of the fullness of times He will gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven and which are in earth even in Him.” What an amazing unity this represents! What astounding uniformity! What absolute harmony is purposed by the will of God in Christ Jesus! No wonder in that same epistle the innermost meaning of wedlock is adopted as a miniature metaphor to prefigure the eternal union of Christ and His Church. Eph. 5:26, 27, 32.

 The means Hosea adopts is that of using temporal sustenance as a type and from it he denotes the measureless spiritual substance assured by the covenant. The corn, wine and oil signify the bread of life, the wine of love, and the oil of joy, or we may speak of these as being the sustaining corn, the gladdening wine, and the anointing oil. The main point emphasized is that all things are adjusted so as to amplify and animate the life and love of the newly‑entered society established in holiness. When the soul is fully assured of heaven's provision and protection, there is no need to fret or fear about hell's power.

 Realizing, v. 23 — The rementioning at this stage of the names of Hosea's three children is profoundly important. Jezreel is used as a figure of scattering the nation in ch. 1, but by variation of the vowel points, the meaning is changed in this case to “sowing.” They are to be planted or set in the kingdom for development and dominion in contrast to being scattered in the world for disharmony and dishonor.   

Lo-ruhamah — “not having obtained mercy,” is changed to Ruhamah, “having obtained mercy,” and Lo-ammi — “not my people” — is changed to Ammi “my people.” This culmination is the outcome of a great reversal, and notice that the last verse in ch. 2 is a repetition of the first verse of the same chapter, as if used as a refrain to communicate an achieved aim. Therefore, the truth of Isaiah is demonstrated, viz., declaring the end from the beginning, Isa. 46:10.

   Remembering, ch. 3:1 — Israel was not chosen as a people because of being affable and lovable, Deut. 7:6-9. God’s faithfulness to His promise made to the fathers is given as the reason why He so resolutely and readily honored His word. The enormity of Gomer’s guilt and the indecency of her iniquitous behavior did not quench Hosea's love, nor did the floods of ingratitude drown it.  Notice how this fact is clearly indicated in the use made of the words, “Beloved of her friend,” Hos. 3:1. The sensual appetite that longed for flagons of wine and cakes of raisins was stronger than spiritual apprehension and adoration. Here in the two parts of a vitally-connected symbolism supply the illustration of the truth which is presented in the prophecy, while the prophecy itself is the explanation of the symbolical transaction. In other words, the single truth is submitted first in illustration and then by explanation. The explanation of the meaning of the illustration is stated in the words “according to the love of the Lord for the children of Israel,” v. 1. The theme is so lovely and lofty in beauty that it is worthy of more careful consideration and space than we can devote to it. Hosea previously went to a certain section of the community to win the fallen, he is now bidden to go promptly to the same society and win back the faithless.

 Redeeming  So I bought her,” ch. 3:2. The root of this word is rendered “digged” in eleven instances, of which Gen. 26:25; 50:5; also Job 6:27 are examples. On two occasions the word is rendered “buy,” and here “bought.” See also Jer. 1:20, 22; Psa. 57:6; 119:85. A matter of importance for each one of us is to remember the pit from whence we have been digged. To use a colloquialism, Hosea was sent to dig Gomer out.

 The conclusion of this illustrative story is indicated in a sentence. “According to the love of the Lord toward the Children of Israel.” The true quality of friendship is interpreted as being the attachment of love, while the quintessence of that friendship is the adherence of loyalty. True love is not an attitude which stands hard by when the sea is smooth, the sky blue, the supplies plentiful, and the strength vigorous, but forsakes when the way is rough, the task rugged, the provision restricted, and the weather rigorous. The best friend is better far than a thousand butterflies that flit from flower to flower in the sunshine, but fly away when the storm begins to gather on the horizon.

 The Lord fondly loved Israel in all the fervor of His sympathetic strength and steadfastness. Such knowledge is wonderful in the extreme. Yea, He faithfully loved without variableness or shadow of turning. He freely loved and furnished all requisites for redemption, rest, and rejoicing. He feelingly loved and was most considerate in His care, courteous in His gentleness, and generous in His gifts. He familiarly loved and refused to be treated as an absentee or as one distant. The constant demonstration of His nearness and intimacy was exhibited by His dwelling in the midst of the nation. The Lord faithfully loved and remained unchanged in the presence of ungratefulness and unbelief, although His name was profaned and His patience provoked.   

ReviewingNothing in history is so problematical as the persistent persecution of the Jews and yet, withal, their perpetual preservation. Although they are citizens in every country in the world, they are denied citizenship in a national home. Although banished, buffeted and bereaved, and forbidden the rights of a country with their own governing policy, they, nevertheless, flourish and are maintained in undiminished hope and in an unbroken spirit of expectancy. They still await the call of the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah. No other people possess a line of descendants that witnessed the golden age of Egypt, the greatness of Nineveh, the grandeur of Babylon, the growth of Medo-Persia, the Grecian conquests, and the glory of Rome. These, and many other features, form a definite proof that they are being preserved through the centuries to participate in the ultimate consummation revealed in ch. 2. They are yet to return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King. We sometimes overlook that the meaning of David is “beloved,” and the voice from the excellent glory actually said, “This is my son David in whom I am well pleased.”


 The first cause is declared three times to be lack of knowledge, vs. 1-6. The divine light was shining so brightly, and the love was evidenced so clearly they should certainly have known their Preserver and Protector. The word rendered “rejected” in v. 6, is also translated “despised,” Lev. 26:43, Num. 11:22. Righteousness had departed from the administration, and in its stead, swearing, lying, killing, and stealing, were the order of the day, v. 2. When the affections are alienated from God every activity is likewise affected. Reproof was now resented, and prince, priest, and prophet were embroiled in the charges laid.  See Hos. 3:4; 4:4, 5. The result was they were smitten with sorrow, stricken with silence, and subjected to stumbling, vs. 3-5. All interference with the inflicting of the sentence was forbidden, v. 4.

   The Lord is said to have a controversy with the nation, which implies a legal cause with a lawful charge attached. The purpose of this is to demonstrate that Jehovah had righteous claims which were being wholly ignored, and in order to prevent misunderstanding among the surrounding nations and all future posterity, God exposed the crime and expressed the sentence. In ch. 4 charges are laid, the conduct is described, and the condemnation passed upon the offenders.

 Every rank is rebuked, every class censured and every association accused. The common practice was to forget the law, so God pledged to forget those whom they loved. The state of the soul is extremely sad. The array of accusation is alarming. They were unmindful of the lLaw, unfaithful in their love, unfruitful in their lust and unheedful toward their Lord, v. 6-10.

 The word for “sin” and “sin-offering” in Hebrew is one and the same, and the implication of v. 8 is that the priests encouraged the people to sin for the sake of having sin-offerings brought to them to indulge their own selfishness. On their iniquity they set their soul. Sensual indulgence causes grave injury to spiritual insight.

 In spite of the costliest benefits conferred, the people were unconscious of their responsibility to reciprocate, were unconcerned about obligations of obedience, and were unconstrained by gratitude to acknowledge their indebtedness to their Lord and Master. To make the case even more critical they dishonored divine decrees, and made defiant demands to gratify indulgence. The handiwork of God was ignored, the holiness of the Most High disregarded, and the honor of the lofty One impinged.

 The excellent sublimities of Jehovah should cause everyone to magnify His goodness. The summits of His sanctuary are all fairness in beauty and purity, and His personal perfections transcend His noblest works. But Israel rejected knowledge, and in return was rejected, v. 6, because she had left off taking heed to Jehovah, v. 10. Where had she been as a nation, but for His majestic instancy and faithful constancy?

 ISRAEL’S IDOLATRY Ch. 4:11- Ch. 5

 The undeniable offence is not merely obvious to the omnipotent One, but so openly flagrant that the casual observer can not help but see it. The hills, mountains, oaks, poplars, and elms were witnesses to the whoredoms perpetrated. The wanton wickedness and disgusting demeanor are summed up under the woeful figures of wine and women wrecking the heart, vs. 11 & 14.

 How unwise for an enlightened people to approach and consult idols of wood, to adopt divining rods, and to credit to such the ability to advise and counsel. As if to worsen matters, they invoked the holy name of the Most High while engaged in their worship, v. 15. Pietistic pretence is worse than public prostitution. The hideous hypocrisy they practiced was more heinous than their vice. Where is there a slave that can mollify such mockery? Idolatry innoculates the soul with the virus of immorality and intemperance, so that sensuality becomes linked with superstition and is followed in turn by every thing of crudity and cruelty. No state can be more undesirable, no social life more unclean, and no sentiment more unholy than these abysmal depths into which Israel had sunken. The majority of the ten tribes did not even wish to understand the enormity of their crimes and were therefore dispersed.

 “Ephraim is joined unto idols, let him alone.” What! Ephraim entwined with evil, wedded to wickedness, linked with lewdness, covenanted to corruption, married to Molech! What an evil state! Ephraim heard, but did not heed the warning, and so hazarded his soul. The beginning was so harmless and inoffensive. They were simply worshipping God through representation that was merely intended to grip and hold their attention. From this unsuspecting initiation they were eventually led into idolatry.

 The Prophets warned of this very peril, but without avail. How dangerous it becomes to dabble in such a practice just because some relative indulges in it! The mightiest messenger, Elijah, failed to frustrate the practice in Israel. When we reject reproof, hardness of heart results, and hardness is followed by haughtiness, and haughtiness by hypocrisy. But we should remember that the careless, heedless, reckless life that despises instruction is doomed.

 Chapter 5 — The controversy continues and the charge is laid against all ranks. Priests, kings, and people were involved in idolatry. The sinister nature of such sin is that it first entices, then it enslaves, and eventually exposes the victim to the wrath of God.

 The unholy union Israel contracted caused God to withdraw His company from them in utter disgust, v. 6. Notice the nature of the nation’s deportment. The charge has included in it deceit v. 1, revolt v. 2, insult v. 3, guilt v. 4, conceit v. 5, cant v. 6, incest v. 7, and tumult v. 8. Ancient Jewish tradition teaches that at Mizpah and Tabor, which were centers of idolatry, groups of men hid themselves beside the highways and suddenly rushed out to ensnare those who were proceeding to Jerusalem for worship. The word “slaughter” is nearly always used of slaying the sacrifices in the book of Leviticus, but here, all too often, pilgrims were the victims.    

The vagrancy and villainy that idolatry breeds violates every vestige of spiritual virtue. In themselves, idols lack the qualities that entitle them to the respect and reverence or all such as are just and upright. Somehow there is a strong tendency in the human heart to want something to behold rather than something to believe. Gaudy glitter is considered preferable to the glorious grace of God. Tawdry tinsel is esteemed more highly than trust in truth. Sensuous séances are sought after more eagerly than spiritual secrets. These people vaunted their vulgarities to such an extent that God withdrew Himself. The word may be rendered, “He delivered or freed Himself from them.” The priests, clad in the saintly robes of the sanctuary, cloaked their corruption, participated in outrage, while the state policy connived and condoned idol worship. The spirit of idolatry motivates its votaries equally as does the immortal Spirit of God move and energize those who venerate God.

 The rulers of the State were under the awful spell of evil, v. 4. Impartial justice, imperial righteousness, and immortal goodness of God were ignored.  Because of a warped disposition, the nation deliberately dispensed with reality and substituted sorcery. The speed with which they are to be severed from their ill‑gotten gains by the execution of the sentence upon them is suggested in the word “month.” Within four weeks everything would be gone, v. 7. God was no longer their portion; compare Psa. 16:5; 71:26; 119:57; 142:5; Lam. 1:24.

 After the destruction of Ephraim, the judgment was also to overtake Benjamin. The former had walked in the commandments, not of God, but of Jeroboam who initiated the idolatry into Israel, v. 11. God plainly declares what His attitude will be.

“I will be unto Ephraim as a moth.”

“I will be unto Ephraim as a lion.”

                                                                         -vs.  12,14.

         The change in the divine attitude must have been startling and acute enough to shock their susceptibilities had Israel not looked upon Assyria and Egypt as nations that were outside the boundaries of the administration of the Almighty, while they themselves constituted the inner circle of His intimate associates.

         How staggering the thought that the Lord would work invisibly and invidiously as a moth, and as rottenness from within for their destruction, and as an obvious overbearing oppressor from without, for their devastation. The lion pounces upon its prey regardless of pity, so would Assyria devastate the land. “The Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.” Isa. 7:18.

         The moth may come out of a folded mantle, the fly may emerge from a festering carcass, the bee may appear from the far-flung forest, yet these are within the orbit of omnipotence for Him to use when and how He will. Mysterious powers may be hidden away that God can harness to fulfill His plan. The Lord's controlling purpose and comprehensive providence are untrammeled by the limitations of human thinking. Are we in the habit of confining God's activity to the smallness of parochial perimeters and circumscribed circles? Momentous movements that fashion the forces exercised in national judgments and which in turn determine destinies often have a very insignificant origin. We may well ask. “What can a moth or a fly or a bee achieve?”


 Some at least realized the separation sin had wrought, but their resolution to return lacked sincerity. This fact is indicated in the immediate context:

 “They consider not in their hearts."

“They have not cried unto Me with their heart." 

                                                                               ch. 7:2,14.

 Ripples of regret are soon ruled out; rumblings of remorse may roll across the soul without effecting a real deep repentance. Although at times baffled and burdened, the nation failed to bring the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. The seven-fold use of the third personal pronoun, “He,” should be noted in vs. 1‑3. In their recognized distance from God they did not dare use the pronoun “Thou,” yet they still possessed a clear-cut recollection of the majesty of divine mercy. Had they not experienced His help and healing centuries before? Exo. 15:26. They well remembered the delicate sympathy of God's disposition, but lacked that decidedness and devotedness that would otherwise have secured to them the recovery, revival, and refreshment they so desperately needed.

 Faith in the faithfulness of God's promises that expects believingly, relies trustfully and depends confidently was wholly absent. Could they possibly ignore the many mercies, the mighty deeds, the miraculous protection, the marching arrangements, the measureless provision, the memorable deliverances, the magnificent kindness, and the manifest beauty of the Lord?

 Hosea 6:3  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

The Responsive Complaint, v. 4 —  The sorrows of an almighty Lover are expressed in vs. 4-11.

“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?”

“O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?”

         Love mourns when all possible resources for restoration are exhausted without the designed recovery being effected. God bemoaned that their goodness was as a morning cloud which looked so promising at dawn, but dwindled away as the day developed.

 The seven-fold use of the pronoun “I” in the divine response should be clearly marked.

   The Reproving Chastisement, v. 5 — The words of the Prophet had flashed fire when denouncing the social sins of the nation. The accusations, however, were blended with appeals. “My judgment is as the light that goeth forth,” which signifies God's judgment as being clear and convicting and impossible of being challenged or obstructed. Today the perverted codes of national morality in public, politic, and civic life which cater for loose living, need the same vigorous protest of the prophet's voice.

   The Regrettable Cause, v. 6 — “I desired mercy, and not sacrifice.” The unmerciful methods practiced, and the unmitigated murder of spiritual aspiration were intermingled with the many sacrifices of the Mosaic order. Such behavior was blasphemous and utterly incongruous. Why devote a sacrifice to God while their own hearts were devoid of sympathy toward their fellows whom they were slaughtering instead of saving? The priests themselves instead of accepting sacrifices for the salvation of the people were making them idolaters and teaching them to commit lewdness, whereas they should have taught them the knowledge of God.

   The Repressed Covenant, v. 7 — “They like men have transgressed the covenant.” Solemn vows were violated, sacred contracts were cancelled without concern. Sacrificial pledges were prostituted, stipulated instructions were ignored, steadfast bonds were broken, statutory resolves were repudiated, while selfish indulgences and sinful impunities were greedily and flagrantly perpetrated. Some people are like snails, they leave a slime track wherever they go.

 The Renegade City, v. 8 —  Ramah of Gilead was one of the shelter cities of refuge but had become a harmful peril instead of a hallowed place of security. The city of refuge was changed to a center for robbers. The worst is always the prostitution of the best. The priests who should have been the exemplars of morals were encouraging murders by overthrowing the people's faith in the true God. Little wonder that Jeremiah said, “Is there no balm in Gilead: is there no physician there?” (Jer. 8:22)

 The Revealed Crime, v. 10 — This ugly, unseen ulcer that was sapping away the very strength of social and spiritual life was uncovered. Irrespective of how clever the device no man can so conceal craftiness, as to deceive God. “There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed,” said our Lord. Congested corruption and clotted crime had been cloaked under religious garb, and the Lord tore away the covering and exposed the vicious viper concealed there. Compare also Jer. 5:13-31.

 The Renewed Caution, v. 11 — The harvest is stated as having already been appointed and is sure of being reaped if sin be persisted in. In view of the tendencies of Judah, the warning is renewed. Was the harvest to be similar to that of Isa. 17:11? The prophet had similarly warned Babylon, Jer. 51:23.


 In the opening three verses, God declares that Ephraim forfeited favor because of their wretched falsehood, and their depravity, danger and disgrace are exposed. The Lord would have changed their unhappy lot, cleansed away their stain, and cared for their interests but they were wholly insensible to His intentions, and ignored His desire and design. Their flatteries and follies secured to them acceptance with the king, who delighted in seeing his subjects submit to his wicked laws, yet, at the same time, they refused to acknowledge the rites and claims of God, and expressed their antipathy deliberately, positively, and willfully.      

The national attitude is made clear by the use of eight negatives in the chapter: “They consider not,” v. 2; “none calleth unto Me,” v. 7; “he knoweth it not,” v. 9; “they do not return,” v. 10; “nor seek Him for all this,” v. 10; “without heart,” v. 11; “they have not cried unto Me,” v. 14; “they return, but not to the most High," v. 16. Their falsity and flattery were aggravated by their friendship with scorners, v. 5. The fires of lust were well supplied with fuel, v. 6, and the New Testament description, “They burned in their lust, one toward another,” is very applicable. Fraternity with strangers had depleted their strength so that they became flaccid as dough on one side, and hard as a cinder on the other, vs. 8, 9. Failing vigor and decay of devotion signified by gray hairs, together with the folly demonstrated in being as a silly dove, and seeking help from Egypt and Assyria, illustrated their unhappy plight, vs. 9-11.

 Faithlessness was most pronounced in their turning away from God and transgressing against Him, v. 13. The sixfold use of the pronoun “Me” at the close of the chapter should be noted — “Fled from Me,” “transgressed against Me,” “spoken lies against Me,” “they have not cried unto Me,” “they rebel against Me,” “they imagine mischief against Me,” “they return, but not unto the most High,” vs. 13‑16. In the light of such an attitude the stupendous nature of His love is overwhelming. The most startling accusation of the whole book is found in v. 4, “They are all adulterers.” The charge comprised a terrible accusation, severe in its scathing and scorching condemnation. The spiritual significance denotes unfaithfulness in relationship. The nation was implicated in fraternizing false systems and following idolatrous ways, which led to mendacity and robbery. During our Lord's ministry He charged the Pharisees with these two indictments, "All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers," John 10:8. “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,” Matt. 12:39. The rulers had requested a sensational and spectacular sign as a proof of His claims; He immediately directed them for confirmation to evidence in their own history which they refused to investigate, ignoring His instruction and insinuating evasion. In the light of the charge against the nation, the chosen people of God, as being adulterous, what are we to say of church leaders in many quarters today who resort to all manner of associations because of the social prestige they think is gained by so doing?

 We should take particular notice of the five figures that are used in the chapter to illustrate the nation's character and indicate its conduct. These comprise “the flaming fire,” v. 4; “the cake not turned,” v. 8; “the gray hairs undiscerned,” v. 9; “the silly dove,” v. 11; and “the deceitful bow,” v. 16.

 UncontrollableThe flaming fire.” The course pursued was one of unrestrained, unbridled indulgence. This is one of the most awful figures of sin's passion and lust to be found in the Scripture. The Devil is depicted as the baker, the sinner's heart the oven, the leavening substance in the dough is the impelling desire of covetous ambition, revengeful envy, and jealous malignity that devises its diabolical plots. The L.X.X. version renders the passage, "They are committing adultery like an oven burning." The devilish devices furnish the fuel that works the destructive havoc among innumerable lives. Israel had become a snare to the surrounding nations instead of a symbol of salvation, a menace to moral standards instead of a medium to establish righteousness.

 UndesirableThe cake not turned.” The unattractive, uninviting, invidious position of the nation indicates that, as a people, they were useless to both God and man. This insipid state is descriptive of a disposition that disregards obligations to a faithful Friend, and at the same time is repulsive to the false and fickle friends. The nation was displeasing to God because of duplicity, and distasteful to man because of their disgusting behavior. They were as flaccid as dough in their vacillation, and as gritty as a cinder in violating the susceptibilities of others. On the one hand their outward appearance was like that of a whitewashed humbug, and like that of a hateful hypocrite on the other. Neither in motive nor method had they any attractive charm, and were a veritable contradiction.

 UnreasonableGrey hairs and knoweth it not.” The unobservant, unbecoming condition of having manifest evidences of decline and decay without any intelligent discernment as to their true state, expresses a deplorable degeneracy. On account of their lack of love, mixed motives had caused their loyalty to languish. They had become too plausible to be effective, and their incompetence grew out of their indiscretion and indifference. They were unconsciously drifting because they had ignored self-judgment, and were wholly unaware that their usefulness as a witness had vanished.

 Unstable As a silly dove.” In their unsatisfactory, undecided demeanor they were totally undeserving of the Lord's confidence and equally untrustworthy. Entering into unholy alliances and undesirable company had belittled the dignity conferred on them, and the honor that God Himself had bestowed. All this was the outcome of a divided heart. Their real security consisted in staying themselves upon God, which they failed to do, whereas their senseless action of seeking Assyrian help left them exposed and unprotected.

 UnreliableA deceitful bow,” is a symbol of an unadaptable and unsuitable instrument, incapable of fulfilling the function to which they were called. The confidence reposed in them was misplaced. They betrayed their Benefactor in the critical hour when He relied on them as a weapon of war against evil, and were harmful as a hindering factor instead of being helpful. How alike this is to the action of a faulty ally who feigns allegiance, but acts treacherously. Instead of proving a defensive weapon in spiritual conflict, they were deceitful, and devoid of all reality, utility and ability.

 Can we comprehend the grievous injury such behavior caused the perfect sensitiveness of infinite love? Why this listless apathy toward the royal and loyal affection of their true Friend? His society is forever extremely affable, His sympathy is enduringly affectionate, and His sincerity is eternally amiable.

 The prophet Ezekiel discloses how this Prince of celestial renown takes as the object of His love an insignificant people who are likened to an abandoned infant. Foreknowing the taint and tendency of this immature child, and how that in maturer years she would treacherously repel every overture of tender care and true kindness, He nevertheless chose her with the intent of lifting her to queenly status. (Read Ezek. 16:6-13.)

         Ezekiel described Jerusalem's undignified birth, Eze. 16:1-5, her unmerited covenant, vs. 6‑14, and her unseemly behavior, vs. 15-34.Yet withal the divine beneficence bestowed upon her the supreme treasure in the gift of life, v. 6, the sublime trousseau in the gift of love, vs. 7‑12, and the stately throne in the gift of liability, longevity and liberty. “Thou didst prosper as a kingdom,” v. 13.

         For a people to forsake the fathomless felicities of divine faithfulness for the frivolous fancies of idolatry is an inscrutable moral mystery.

         Remember that the city is a symbol of the maximum of society, therefore ultimately the Holy City, New Jerusalem, is destined to descend from God out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband, Rev. 21:10. Isaiah also depicts the perfected society, the new name, and queenly dignity, all of which are divinely bestowed, Isa. 62:1-9. Surely the appeal of this amazing aim should win and woo the soul to abide in steadfast constancy, in relation to a Bridegroom of such dignity, majesty and glory.

The Stirring Invitation
  Chs.  8-11

 At this juncture we arrive at the turning point in the prophecy. The attention of Israel is at last arrested, and as a last resource the nation is constrained by a yet more wonderful demonstration of divine patience to consider her desperate state. The attention is first called to a further list of follies that were proving fatal to all that was desirable in chastity, comradeship and co-operation. Moral corruption had already crippled every phase of devotion while commercial prostitution had paralyzed all semblance of dominion. Because of disbelief, the nation had become more valueless and dangerous than a drifting derelict in a whirlpool. Sins of perversity have always been linked with sin's penalty by a strongly-forged chain which makes their punishment inevitable and irrevocable, yet there stands out from the somber gray background of national guilt, in glistening neon letters, the prophetic notice-board announcing God's sovereign sympathy together with His readiness to receive all who turn from their wickedness and seek Him. What could be more winsome than the resolute patience of God pledging deliverance and pardon to all who return? What is more wonderful in reassurance than making repentance possible even to the worst offenders? What news is more welcome to the rebellious than hearing that retributive penalty is conditional and will only be administered in the case of those who obdurately resist mercy? Where shall we find a more wooing proclamation than that the redemptive power of God is able to snap the awful chain that binds the sinner to his judicial sentence of punishment? When we discover in the Word of God that the righteousness provided for our acceptance is from above and not from human sources, is it possible for anyone to disregard the Lord's loving invitation to return? These are but some of the many beauties in the beneficent mercy of God associated with the renewed entreaty made to encourage Israel to come back to the former attitude of fidelity.      


 Not only did Israel forget the faithfulness of God, but insolently flung away His gifts and repudiated His goodness. The nation sought tranquility by ignoring reality. The causes of their faithlessness and fickleness are clearly indicated, and include the transgressing of the covenant, her thrusting aside of all good, the toleration of idolatry, while trading in illegal things and utilizing the gold and silver in sacrilege, also in trafficking with Assyria and coquetting with hired helpers, temporizing with the sacred law and traducing the holy things of sacrifice. Most tragic of all was the turning away from the truth and the forgetfulness of their Maker.      

Every aspect contributes fresh evidence against the sinning nation as being the offending party. The charges made declared in plainest terms the stark inconsistency of the national attitude. When, in earlier history, the nation was faced with the facts of the covenant, they wholeheartedly resolved to render allegiance, but were now flagrantly rebelling against it. The trouble did not involve some trifling detail, but the whole mediatorial contract was violated.

 Israel disregarded the divine authority, dishonored God's name, defied the law, disgraced the privileges of sacred relationship, and determined to select kings without referring the matter to the Lord. Is there any experience more to be deplored than to be deserted by those who hold nearest relationship?

 James II, who came to the throne of England in 1685, soon evinced his vassalage to foreign powers, and because of this descended to depths of shameful abasement. With a haughty self-assertive spirit he persisted in religious celebrations that were under the ban of severe penal statutes.  In his Declaration of Indulgence, in l688, which commenced as follows — “We have thought fit by virtue of our royal prerogative,” he falsely assumed the exercise of divine authority, while in his declaration to Scotland, he said, “We, by our sovereign authority, prerogative royal, and absolute power, do hereby give and grant our royal toleration ... God has given me the dispensing power, and I will maintain it.” This claim is as preposterous as that which was formerly made by the Emperor of Japan, whom General McArthur compelled to disavow such prerogatives.

 The English king could face the most abject plea for mercy unmoved. Even at an hour of disaffection throughout the whole realm, when deserted by his armies and despised by former supporters, he pursued his course unflinchingly. However, when it came to members of his household departing from him, hard as he was, he wept in bitter emotion and cried, “God help me, my children have forsaken me.”

 In broad contrast, the Lord had been infinite in His kindness toward Israel, tender in His compassion, and constant in His wondrous care through long centuries. Can we then comprehend the measure of His agonizing grief when His own children dishonored and deserted Him? What incongruous ingratitude!

 To forsake good and foster evil is the surest way of frustrating the grace of God. The Northern Kingdom rebelled against the House of David, resorted to conspiracy, removed reigning princes, re-established selfish policies, respected pernicious idolatry, and relapsed from obeying the law. The issue of all this led to Menahan appealing for foreign support, which he obtained at a ruinous cost to the country.

 Uzziah, in the Southern Kingdom, built fortified cities to ensure safety from the threatening Assyrian invasion, but all was without avail for they had deserted their God. No other prophet penetrated so deeply into the heart of things and saw the ugly nastiness of appalling sin, nor understood more clearly the urgent necessity for astounding judgment, nor did any other so fully comprehend the unique nature of amazing love.


The word joy in v. 1 means “exultation” and implies “leaping for very joy.” This is the only occurrence of the word in the prophecy, although the cognate verb occurs in ch. 10:5. The noun form is traceable but ten times over the whole range of Scripture from Job 3:22 to Dan. 1:10. This exultant bridal joy had been hindered by a history that was blighted with unfaithfulness and intemperance. On this account, fellowship, felicity, and fruitful growth had ceased entirely.

 The joyless experience of superficiality was marked by backsliding, bankruptcy, and bondage, vs. 1-3. The prospects of hopeful desire and healthful delight had become benighted, and were to be followed by sore bondage, vs. 2-6. The people were destined to be driven back to their former state where in bankruptcy they would again eat the bread of mourners, namely, “the unclean things pertaining to the house of the dead;” all permission of access to the presence of God was forbidden.

 Thus the beauty and bounty of the bridal banquet was entirely reversed, and the mirthful delight that should have been their lasting portion was turned to a mournful dirge. The Northern Kingdom had imbibed the idolatry of Egypt, and adopted the calf worship; therefore they were consigned to be taken again to taste Egyptian bondage, vs. 3,6,17.

 The senseless escapade of selfishness led to bitterness, barrenness, and baseness, vs. 7‑10. This course may all be traced to a disregard for the Word of God, v. 17. However, there can be no ignoring of the avalanche of approaching judgment, “The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come, Israel shall know it,” v. 7.

 Seven references to the word “prophet” occur in the entire message, and in v. 7 the office is connected with the “spiritual man” or “man of the spirit,” which, in this case is the title which the false prophets had taken to themselves.

 Ephraim had once been a watchman with God, an expression indicating the function to which they were formerly called, but probably the use made here is blended with a dash of satire. How awful is this figure, to be accounted “hatred” itself in the house of worship. Dr. Pusey points out that there is a similar use made of the word “prayer” as being personified in Psa. 109:4, “But I prayer.”

 The use made of the word in Genesis in relation to Jacob and Joseph speaks of flesh hatred against the spirit, Gen. 27:41; 40:23; 50:15. Having consecrated themselves to the shameful thing which is called the whoredom of idolatry, they had become Nazarites of corruption. In the Old Testament, the cognate noun of “separate” is used 25 times: 14 of these refer to the Nazarites; so they became separated to shame, and were fashioned in similar likeness to the thing they loved. The fruitless energy of selfishness resulted in bereavement, banishment and blasting.

 The mention of Ephraim's fruitlessness is increased forcefully when we remember that his name means “double fruitfulness.” The wickedness that wrought this havoc extended to Gilgal, which had formerly been the center of solemn blessing. The place was now a sphere of idolatrous rites.

 Every one of us exercises some influence for good or evil on our posterity. Ephraim's behavior was to be detrimental to future generations. When we consider Abraham's act of unbelief that resulted in the birth of Ishmael, from whom came the Arabs, and from whence arose Mohammed, we comprehend how many millions have been affected.  On the other hand, by Abraham's act of faith in believing God's promise of an heir, Isaac was born; through Isaac the Jewish race, and by this line Christ was manifested, and influenced the world for its very best.

 The joyless, senseless course brought in its train drudgery, adversity and insecurity. Some years ago the only daughter of a renowned evangelist of this Commonwealth was married to a Christian builder and contractor. He provided her with a magnificent home and every facility that heart could desire. After the birth of their first-born, the wife said that she was no longer strong enough to attend to the cooking, washing, cleaning and other household matters, and asked for more servants to attend to these things. She also maintained that she lacked the necessary strength to have any more children. Four years later she became fascinated with another man and deserted the husband who had provided her with every comfort and luxury. The paramour was a worker in much poorer circumstances and the unfaithful woman soon found herself in the university of hard knocks. Within the five years that followed she had three additional children, a full quota of housework without help, a meaner dwelling, and yet submitted to the drudgery. Israel, as a nation was in similar plight.      


 The iniquities and idolatries of the people weighed heavily on the prophet’s heart. He realized how needful it was for the disease to be thoroughly diagnosed ere it could be effectively dealt with. The inspired eloquence with which Hosea emphasized the essential need for God's judgment to be meted out is arresting. Obelisks and pillars had been erected to false gods all over the land, but one decisive blow and all were to be broken amid a holocaust of confusion and devastation.

 The Valueless Character Israel had become very conspicuous and is represented as a luxurious vine, but the greater the crop the graver her corruption, and the better the harvest the bigger the idolatrous pillars erected. Sad indeed that toward God this vine was valueless.

 The Virtueless CovenantThe covenant pledges that had been made, accompanied by solemn vows were considered null and void, because the heart of the people lacked virtue.

 The Vulgar Ceremonies The calves of Bethaven, a name meaning “house of vanity,” led to degrading worship, associated with disgusting rites that were corrupt and vulgar, v. 5.

 The Vague Counsels The counsel given lacked kingly authority, and therefore the administration became incompetent and vague, vs. 6-7.

 The Vanished Citadel The cries for cover to shield them from the rumblings of retributive justice were wholly unavailing, v. 8. The obvious reason is given. The conditions of corruption had continued to characterize the nation through the centuries since the days of Gibeah. On that memorable occasion a few hundred had escaped the judgment; this time they were to be totally vanquished.

 The Verdict Conveyed The considerateness of God toward Ephraim is now to be reversed and replaced by a tyrant who will make the nation his victim, vs. 10-11. The conduct of Israel is next graphically described under the figures of sowing and reaping. The picture shows that the very thing produced becomes the penalty, and this is to be accompanied by the announcement of the ultimate verdict, vs. 12-13.

 The Vengeance CitedThe cruelty of Assyria is to be experienced in the place of the compassion of the Almighty, and the invasion of the land by Shalmanezer will be the occasion of vengeance.

 God is love, and God is one. The unity and immutability of His character are stated at the commencement of Israel's national history, Deut. 6:4. Their life in reality is directed by law, in simplicity, “Thou shalt love,” “Thou shalt love.” True love observes and obeys. Life is made virtuous by a single aim and becomes vocal by reason of a supreme affection. Vigorous activity is the sure result, because the mind, motives, and the movements are constrained by love. A glad submission makes a joyous disposition, and leads to a fragrant expression of God's virtue in witness.

 The cause of inconstancy and corruption may be traced to a double mind, a divided heart, and a deceitful soul, vs. 2, 4. Such features are symptomatic of a malignant moral disease.

 The violation of Divine love constitutes the heinousness of sin in every age. The only way to compensate God for His goodness is by rendering to Him the obedience of love. The grave warning given to this nation at the beginning is clear and explicit, “Beware lest thou forget the Lord,” Deut. 6:12. In this prophecy Israel is charged with the guilt of this very sin, Hos. 8:14.       


 The whole argument of the book may well be epitomized in the early verses of this chapter. The poor, unlovely child had nothing to attract. Israel was born in slavery, forlorn and oppressed, and was compelled to labor in the brick kilns of Egypt. Yet, withal, God’s gracious compassion cared for and called them out, conferred an inheritance upon them, conducted a campaign of conquest in their interest, consolidated their kingdom, commissioned prophets and kings to steer the ship of state, and centered their national life in a magnificent temple. The calendar given for their guidance and good contained seven nationwide holidays a year, one of which lasted 14 days. These were combined with ceremonial feasts and sabbaths which were designed to furnish society with every spiritual privilege and benefit.

 Yet in the face of all this, God's wounded love was compelled to witness against them in the sad statement, “My people are bent on backsliding from Me.” By virtue of the centuries of guardianship during which time prolific bounty, patient care, and providing love had been lavished without stint, the Lord in reviewing it all, exclaimed, “O Ephraim, how shall I give thee up?” The clear, bright, steady flame of eternal love bursts through the dark background of Israel's ingratitude and inconstancy and is all the brighter because of the dismal surroundings. Notice the seven-fold sovereignty and sympathy which is expressed in vs. 1-4.

 God's Electing GraceWhen Israel was a child I loved him.” The occasion refers to a condition of immaturity and incompetence at a time when the nation was untutored and undeveloped. The picture figures the people as being without strength, without sustenance, and without security, needing constant attention, considerate affection, and custody through adoption into the family of God. In their child-condition they required to be cherished, nourished and caressed.

 God's Emancipating GraceAnd called my son out of Egypt.” This implies that God broke the yoke of bondage, opened a way out from the jaws of oppression, directed the departure for Canaan, by freeing them from all fear of the foe. Yea, more, they were called to share the divine company, and the Lord became as a faithful Father to a newly-formed family of sons and daughters. By virtue of His infinite resource He was able to endow, enrich and ennoble them as a community.

 God's Edifying GraceI taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms.” The Lord not only trained and tended the nation, but nurtured them even as a nurse, and matured them even as a mother. He made a way where there was no way, and took them step by step until they were strong and sturdy, and in times of emergency threw His protecting arms around them to shield from attack. (Deut. 2:11-12)

  God's Endearing GraceBut they knew not that I healed them.” God ministered to the moral maladies of the soul, the mental immaturities of the spirit, as well as the many forms of physical frailty. In His patience He perfected that which concerned them, although they were unmindful of His mercy and ungrateful for His unfailing faithfulness.

 God's Entrancing Grace I drew them with the cords of a man, and with the bands of love.” Gently, lovingly, appealingly, He drew them with the charming attractiveness of silken cords and bridal love. Also the bands of marriage, which were intended to culminate in an unending union in bliss, were published.

 God's Ensuing GraceI was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws.” This may mean that as a merciful master He placed His yoke upon them, a yoke which is easy, in the place of the galling yoke of slavery. Strange to say they regarded the respite He gave them as being an irksome restraint. The freedom obtained from the fetters of Egypt seemed to beget in them a longing for license to do as they pleased instead of seeking to please Him.

 God's Enriching GraceI laid meat before them.” The manifold manna in its plenitude, and the systematic supply provided by a faithful Father's hand were not appreciated. Wells of water in a wilderness! Abundance of bread in surroundings of barrenness! Seeing that He furnished their food in such fruitless territory, could He not feed them on the fittest of wheat in a fertile land?

 How personal the divine pleading becomes at this point:

          How shall I give thee up?  
            How shall I deliver thee?”  
            How shall I make thee?”  
          How shall I set thee?” v. 8.

 God is strangely moved to the deepest degree of His infinite heart of compassion, and does not wait for a reply, but promptly answers His own questions in four negatives.

 “I will not,” “I will not,” “I’m God, and not man,” “I will not,” v. 9.

 The chapter ends in a four-fold use of the word “with,” which should be particularly noted. The passage impresses us most deeply that in the direst age and darkest day, God will not, and does not, leave Himself without direct witness and devout worship. He ever draws but does not drive, yea, and He is still drawing to Himself. He drew Moses, Exo., 2:10; He drew David, Psa. 18:16; He drew His bride, Song of Sol., 1:4; He drew Israel, Jer. 31:3. He still adopts the same method in drawing men, John 6:46; 12:32.

 What wonderful cords and hands are these. — The cord of sympathy in sorrow as in v. 4, or as demonstrated in the case of Naomi and Ruth.

 The cord of gratitude for goodness, which is expressed by the willing slave, "I love my master.” Exo. 21:5.

 The cord of bridal belovedness, as in the case of Isaac and Rebekah, Gen. 24:58, or Christ and His church, Eph. 5:25.

 The cord of faithful friendship, like that which knit the soul of David and Jonathan, I Sam. 1:1, cf. Prov. 17:17.

 The cord of the Babe of Bethlehem, “Unto us a child is born,” Isa. 9:6; Matt. 2:6.

 The cord of a merciful ministry, Mark 9:23; John 13:45.

 The cord of a confirmed covenant, “This is the blood of the new covenant,” Luke 22:20; Heb. 13:20.

 The cord of a crucial cross, Matt. 27:42; II Cor. 5:22.

 The cord of an all-glorious ascension, Mark 16:19; Acts 1:11.

 The cord of an interminable intercession, Acts 7:56; Heb. 1:11.

 In the light of all this, can we not enter in to the confident joy of the apostle Paul when he exclaims, “I am persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor authorities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall he able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Such love is a revelation whether it be in redemption, reconciliation, regeneration, or re-creation. More and more we become convinced that the subject of this prophecy is the infinite, incomprehensible and ineffable love of God.

    “Loved with everlasting love,  
     led by grace that love to know  
    Spirit, breathing from above,  
   Thou hast taught me it is so!  
      Oh, this full and perfect peace!  
   Oh, this transport all Divine!  
    In a love which cannot cease,  
I am His and He is mine.”


 Where, in all literature, is there any instance of an integrity so steadfast toward the inconsistent? Think once again of the insistent pleading and impassioned intreaty that are co-mingled here with the overtures of an infinite love. Although their vision was so blurred that the beauty of the Lord's kingliness was unobserved, and the bounty of His kindliness unrecognized, He continued to befriend them.

 He was generous to the remotest bound, and gracious to the uttermost degree possible. How matchless was His mercy, how priceless His patience, and how boundless His blessing! As the Shepherd of Israel He was charmingly constant in faithfulness and sympathetically sensitive in His considerateness of national need.

 In spite of the unlovable willfulness and undesirable waywardness of the people, the Lord remained the same in His attitude, invariable in His care, and unchangeable in His compassion.  

The Saving Illumination
Chs. 12 - 14

 The entreaties of grace do more than merely invite — they instruct, illumine and intreat. Did the Lord not lay His finger on the delicate spot when He said earlier in the message, “My people perish through lack of knowledge.”? (ch. 4:6) Again, “She did not know that I gave her corn.” (ch. 2:8) “Grey hairs are here and there upon him, and he knoweth it not.” (ch. 7:9) “Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not.” (ch. 7:9) “They knew not that I healed them.” (ch. 11:3)

 Of the fourteen occurrences of the word “know” in the prophecy, we should take particular notice of the three usages in this closing section. The first is, “Thou shalt know no God but me, for there is no Saviour beside me;” (ch. 13:5) “Who is wise and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right.” (ch. 14:9)


 We might place as a superscription upon this portion — “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.” Renewal of the invitation at this stage marks the grandeur of God's goodness and the generosity of His grace to a greater degree than any other occasion in the history of Israel. The vacillation she had shown by her variable temper, and the vaunting self-sufficiency of her pride, were quite enough to merit her being abandoned.

 The national heart was so wayward, so wanton, and so willful that God likened the people to those that were steeped in whorish vices, abusing rights, prostituting resources, and ignoring responsibilities. Yet withal, the Lord's goodness deigns, and His grace designs, to make each renegade soul a pleasant and prolific garden. Let us note carefully how the Lord achieved this end if, perchance, we might discover the nature of His unwearying patience when dealing with the crookedness of Jacob. (ch. 2:2,12)

 The great legal indictment, with its series of serious charges, begins with the closing verses of ch. 11.      

The Lord's Controversy

 1st Charge:Untruthfulness  Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the House of Israel with deceit.” Dishonesty and deceit lead to false worship, express themselves in unreal repentance and show evidence in a divided heart. God said He desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings, but they, like Adam, transgressed His covenant which led to their treacherous dealings. (ch. 6:6‑7) What a contemptible attitude to show toward a God Who cannot lie! (Tit. 1:2) How essential is a full knowledge of the truth to enable us to live our earthly life, yet they rejected this very requisite. (ch. 4:6) We can only rightly avail of the earthly as we are adjusted to the Heavenly. Trials in this life are clearly understood when we possess a comprehensive knowledge of the end and purpose. When the beauty of truth operates in practical life, and God-consciousness governs the mind, we are in possession of the greatest security against sin, and discover the grandest stimulus to holiness.      

  2nd Charge:Unfaithfulness  Israel lapsed when she lost the consciousness of the immediateness of her Defender and Deliverer. Inconstancy is usually enacted at a distance from right relationship, and in darkness which is the occasion of evil. When a soul is environed with a real sense of God, there is a reverence for His rights and regard for His righteousness which makes it easy to do right and hard to do wrong.

   3rd Charge:Unsteadfastness A marginal rendering of the last portion of v. 12 reads as follows: “Judah is yet unsteadfast with God and with the Holy One who is faithful.” The verb employed here is used of cattle when they have broken loose, or as yet have not been fastened or tethered. They are still in a condition and position to ramble about. This is a very apt picture of roaming, roving Christians. Far too many are living lives that are unbridled, unruly, uncurbed, yea, unsubmitted to the yoke, like animals that have not been broken in. How many are living God-ignoring lives, ranging wherever they like, to gratify self-will. During the reigns of Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah, the people of Israel seemed willing to submit to “the yoke that is easy” and to the One Whose “burden is light,” but how soon they broke loose again. The unsteadfastness is aptly described in the following chapter where they are spoken of as a cloud, as dew, as chaff, and as smoke. (ch. 13:3) These figures suggest all that is unstable, unreliable, undesirable and unsociable. We need these Heavenly estimates of our purposeless living to curb and counteract instability. Veneer cannot hide vanity, nor can cosmetics cover up contrariety. Surface repentance is usually a device, or a decoy to deceive.

   4th Charge:Ungodliness Ephraim feedeth on wind.” This figure suggests a self‑deluded, self-deceived condition of life. Oh, “the deceitfulness of sin,” which results in the soul striving after glamour, tinsel, vagaries, and vanities that are nothing but an empty show. The cast wind that is mentioned is scorching and withering, and creates a craving thirst, but never refreshes, never satiates, and never suffices. When God is displaced no substitute can secure contentment.

   5th Charge:Unbelief Covenant‑making with Assyria and Egypt, instead of confiding in God, is a very costly business, and gallons of rich oil, one of the real requisites and foods of the people, were carried to Egypt as the price of ratification for unholy alliances. They were trusting in the arm of flesh instead of resting on the everlasting arms. Unbelief and compromise lie at the root of so much Christian failure, and that is why the exhortation of James is given in such clear and explicit language. Jas. 4:4. We reap what we sow, and Jacob is promised recompense for his renegade activities.

     The Lord's Compassion, vs. 3-6 — The prominence given to Jacob in this passage and the play made upon the meaning of his name, are strikingly suggestive, yet what mercy was shown him, this man of supplanting disposition who prevailed by tearful pleading. Penitence and faith lay behind his prayer as an encouragement to all Jacobs who are moved to tears when their trickery or treachery has been discovered. Tears frequently turn the tables in the favor of those who shed them. The tears of the child in the bulrushes touched a tender spot in the heart of Pharaoh's daughter; the tears of Ishmael, the outcast, when as a boy perishing in the wilderness, his very weeping led to a springing well being disclosed to him; when David was reflecting upon such occasions of grief in his own experience, he addressed the Almighty, petitioning Him in the words, “Put my tears into Thy bottle,” Psa. 56:8; but the crisis in Jacob's history was not merely attended with mercy, but marked the time when a lasting memorial was erected, for it was on that occasion he saw God's host encamped about his own company for protection against Esau's approaching host; the same angelic host which undoubtedly had delivered him from Laban's band of retainers that had been turned back to its base. Jacob's experience at that time led to the coining of the new name, “The Lord of Hosts,” a memorial throughout all generations and one which marked the moment of the great change that came to Jacob's character and made him Israel, “God is Prince.” Note particularly that his power with God, and prevailing over the angel, were not wrought by wrestling, but by weeping. The eventual message of these events is stated in v. 6, “Therefore turn thou to thy God.” He is still thine and through this representative man He spake with us, v. 4. What a relationship! What a responsibility, what a resource, and all that is required is true repentance. Turn thou, although a very Jacob in nature and practice there is nothing to hinder us having the same wonderful experience, even to the extent of being transformed into an Israel.

The Lord's Constancy, vs. 7-11 — As the picture unfolds, conditions become sad in the extreme. In the face of infinite generosity, Ephraim turns to defraud and deceive, and devote heart‑interests to the gaining of wealth. In other words, he makes pleasure, treasure, and leisure life's objective. The word rendered “substance” in v. 8, is the same as “strength” in v. 3. Combined with this spirit of presumption and prostitution, mark the use he makes of the pronoun “I” in v. 8. To counteract Ephraim's perverseness, God uses the same pronoun emphatically three times over in vs. 9-10, but how gracious the emphasis, recalling the bondage of Egypt, recounting the redemption wrought for their deliverance, and reminding of the innumerable benefits and blessings brought to the nation by the prophetic ministry. Did not that very ministry present God in the reality of His loving-kindness, ready to receive and forgive, ready again to reestablish the Feast of Tabernacles with its matchless joy accompanying the bounty of harvest? They had lost the enjoyment of these festivities because of their unfaithfulness, ch. 1:1-2. (See also ch. 2:9-11) Nevertheless His love is willing to do this work all over again. His constancy is the more effectively demonstrated by virtue of His maintaining communication with them in their unfaithfulness. Through the medium of the prophets He had kept up correspondence although they had long since ceased to reply. Had it not been His habit all through the years to send His messengers to make advances and to seek for any trace of a desire that might be awakened in their heart to return to their true Lover?

The Lord's Care, vs. 12,14 — The defending of Judah in his dilemma, the direction of Israel in his difficulty, the deliverance from the dinners of Egypt, were all providential dealings which witnessed to His watchful care. These activities were not undertaken by an array of armies controlled by great generals, but were effected by the prophets, a method that God has continued to adopt through the centuries. In the bitter days of Charles I He called Oliver Cromwell from a little farm in Huntington. He summoned John Knox for the deliverance of Scotland, and Whitfield and Wesley to save England from revolution. He is still mindful of His unfaithful bride. For till this day the church of God demonstrates her infidelity in her resorting to scientific deductions and modernistic tendencies while ignoring His ineffable love.   


 What sullen reticence on the part of Israel is displayed in the light of these communications, but what insistence and persistence from God's side, as He urges the re-consideration and acceptance of His invitation.  

Forwardness of Pride, vs. 1-2 —The opening verse implies there was a time when Ephraim walked with God, and his authority caused people to tremble. His power had been paramount, but pride and presumption paralyzed his ability to rule, and his dignity was degraded to such a depth that all spiritual aspiration perished. “He died,” reminding of our Lord's statement, “This my son was dead.” (Luke 15:24) The description given recalls that the great warrior-leader Joshua was born of this tribe and subdued the heathen nations of the Promised Land. When the tribe in its haughtiness of pride resorted to incipient idolatry, homage was given to calves, which were relics of Egyptian worship, with the inevitable outcome that Ephraim was humiliated.

 The next downward step came when Baal worship was added by Ahab, and following this, their perverted affections venerated the calves by kissing them. How very strange that wherever idolatry prevails, kissing of the figures, or fingers, or feet of the creatures worshipped persist to this very day. Church history tells us that the Roman Princess Honoria sent the barbaric Hun, Attila, who was the greatest foe of her family and country, her ring and proffered him her love.      

The Fickleness of Petulance, vs. 3-6 — The Shepherd of Israel knew His sheep, “I knew thee in the wilderness,” v. 5. This truth was emphasized by Christ, the good Shepherd, who said, “I know my sheep and am known of mine.” (John 10:14)

 How grandly the Lord had made for them a way in the wilderness where there was no way! Patiently, He endured their provocations; prolifically, He showered His provision upon them in the manna, and with protective care He shielded them. The gods of Egypt had never succored them, nor had those of Syria saved them. They could give no example of the heathen deities having sustained them, then why intrude such gods. Very truthfully the Lord was able to say, “There is no Saviour beside me” v. 4. He had been a friend in trial, a guide in trouble, and the Saviour that triumphed over the enemy, therefore what folly it was to forsake Him. How transient had been their apparent prosperity! They were devoid of sincerity, divested of safety, and denuded of security. The figures used of their character and conduct are suggestive of vacillation and independability.       

The Fierceness of Punishment, vs. 7-14 — The seven-fold use of "I will" in this section, indicates the Divine determination to dispense justice to a degree that their defiance and decadence warranted. The four beasts that are figurative of the true nature of Gentile dominion are suggestive of characteristics of administration in the kingdoms represented. The lion suggested supreme power without pity; the leopard expressed snarling ferocity without feeling; the bear symbolized superior might without mercy; and the wild beast portrays severe cruelty without conscience. These combined, forecast the ambitious forces that were being prepared as a scourge of correction to cleanse the people of their corruption. The prophecy of Joel describes these powers as comprising a great army, and likens them to the palmerworm, locust, cankerworm, and caterpillar. The book of Daniel reveals these same powers with a more detailed description, in order to set out in broad contrast the great difference between the beastly powers of human administration, and the beneficent rule of the Divine authority. The grim picture of threatening distress and disaster grows denser and darker as we proceed, yet withal, there is a rift in the dark cloud, and a gleam of light and hope flashes from the distant horizon, “I will ransom thee from the hand of the grave, I will redeem them from death,” v. 4. But in the meantime sounds forth the pathetic wail, “O death where be thy plagues, O grave where be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from thine eyes,” v. 14. So, in the midst of these rapids of retribution there is a rock of hope. A mount of mercy towers above the landscape, its gleaming summit rising from the midst of an avalanche of misery. The nation had withdrawn all allegiance from serving the Lord, so the Lord had withdrawn all assurance of safeguarding Israel, Hos. 5:6. The sowing and reaping is the inevitable working of God’s righteous and irrevocable law. This caused the Lord to say, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself but in me is thine help.”  Where is thy king? v. 9. The last of the kings of the ten tribes was already a prisoner to the Assyrians, II Kings 17:3- 4. The first twenty-three verses of the chapter should be read with care in the light of Hosea ch. 13. Had the Prophet not warned the nation that the time would come when they would no longer obtain mercy from God, and would not be owned as His people? (ch. 1:6-9)

   The Fatalness of Peversity, vs. 15,16 —  The word “shall” is used nine times in these two verses to describe the utter desolation that would destroy Samaria. There is no longer any reprieve. The hour of doom has struck. Nevertheless, the words of Moses ring out over the centuries, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God thou shalt find Him.” When we allow Him to have the mastery He deals with the deepest malady of the soul, and proves Himself a comforter for heart troubles, and a physician for spiritual agonies. “Where is there any other that may save thee?” (v. 10)


 The essence of a true return to God, and the essentials of real repentance, are set forth in this prayer which Israel is exhorted to offer. The word “return” is used in the first two verses for the 22nd and 23rd times in the book.

 The Lord accepted the acknowledgment of their iniquity because He discerned the genuine grief, sincere sorrow and real repentance that were combined with a heart‑hunger to be reinstated in the divine favor. How discriminative His discernment and how comprehending is His compassion! We should remember that He is the Father of mercies, the Fountain of loving‑kindness, as well as the Forgiver of all iniquity. No imprecatory charge of violating love is rehearsed in their hearing, no indictment of having infringed the laws of devotion is placarded before their eyes, nor do their past deflections from duty meet with a single expression of severe denunciation.

 The impressive word-picture Christ presented of the Father receiving the prodigal has its national setting in this chapter. God does not unveil to the returning penitent any sense of a wounded spirit or offended love, but displays a readiness to receive and willingness to welcome him home. The Nation had pledged to offer to God what David did in his day of repentance, namely, the sacrifice of praise, which is the rendering in the Septuagint Version of the expression, “calves of our lips.” (See also Heb. 13:15.)


 This amazing climax, when considered in the light of the early conduct of the case, reveals the complete conquest of love. The final movements are dramatic, the apt metaphors used are most specific, while the ultimate issues are in every sense romantic. The nation has become convinced of the folly of its faithless behavior which finally leads to abandoning the heartless course of base ingratitude.    

The FatherlessWith thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” The nation had long‑since forsaken the God of Israel for idolatry, and now at this stage they jettison the idols of heathenism and are therefore pictured as being in a fatherless state. God had commanded the nation to show sympathy to the fatherless, Deut. 24:17‑22, and they knew that He would not do less for them than He commanded that they should do for others. In their confession they repeat the expression, “We will, we will, we will,” vs. 2 & 3, and receive the ready response from God, “I will, I will, I will,” vs. 4 & 5, which was all so reminiscent in character of the promises made to the Fathers.

The Forgiveness — “I will heal their backsliding,” v. 4. This is one of the singularly wonderful features of the divine dealing with Israel, and one of the most momentous displays of the divine disposition in activity. National forgiveness is assured in the high hour of failure when the absolute futility of unfaithfulness has been impressed upon the heart. Their attitude of approach and acknowledgment of wrong indicates a confidence in the fidelity of God to Whom they were now repairing. Besides all this, they received a clearer conception of the falsity of the system they were about to relinquish. Where is the arbiter who is in a position to determine the degree of guilt which caused such injury to be inflicted on the infinitely tender heart of their age-long Benefactor Whose love they had outraged, Whose name they had dishonored, Whose law they had disregarded, Whose worship they had discarded, and Whose goodness they had despised?

 Yet, right here, immediately following their confession, we behold in material and physical expressions, the evidence of their spiritual experience in forgiveness. The dew distils for their refreshment and fertility, while the development of roots, as Lebanon, assured sustentation. The delicate features of beauty figured in the fresh verdure and vigorous growth, their delightful dwelling place beneath shady bowers, the diffusing of redolent perfume in the clear crisp air, the display of abundance of fruit, and together with all these evidences of renewed life, combined with the desertion of idol-worship and the discernment that caused them to recognize the heart of God that had purposed their restoration, and the hand of God that had wrought the recovery.      

The Fullness I will love them freely.” This is without limitation. Heavenly affection is immune from human limitation and, measured in the immeasurable favor shown is one of the hallmarks of the divine God's unchanging faithfulness. They were immediately made conscious of the Lord's gracious nearness and Fatherly tenderness, a wealth of perfect love cast out all fear, the charm and calm of contentment immediately became their heritage because of the divine complacency finding perfect rest in love's sure character.

         What does it mean to be assured of the love of the altogether lovely One? Does it not speak of stability, for He is steadfast; does it not impart fidelity, for He is faithful; does it not convey constancy, for He is changeless; does it not assure strength, for He is the strong Son of God? The whole range of grace emanates from Him, for this is He Who is the loftiest and lowliest; the highest and humblest, the greatest and gentlest, the truest and tenderest, the mightiest and meekest, the noblest and nearest, yea, the kingliest and kindliest. It is well for us to remember that “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him.”

The FreshnessI will be as the dew unto Israel.” The high ranges of northern Palestine, including Mount Hermon with its perpetual snow, the humidity in the low lying Jordan Valley with its bountiful evaporation at the Dead Sea, and the proximity of the Mediterranean, are physical features that assure the distillation of dew to the otherwise dry Land of Promise. In poetic and picturesque array Hosea assembles a wealth of aptly chosen features from the scenic environs of the land to express his prophetic forecast for the encouragement of the repentant nation. The figures are drawn from the fields, the flowers, the fruits, the foliage, and the forests, all of which are familiar to the country folk. These are used also as a medium for expressing the spiritual substance of virtue and fidelity characteristic of the new life, which results from repentance and renewal. When the earthly fountain of human resource fails, the freshness of the dew-drenched life prevails. We do well to consider the manner of its congealing, for dew distils silently, gently, suddenly, and invisibly from the surrounding atmosphere above. The wise man of Israel, whose counsel was said to be as the oracle of God, gave expression to the words, “We will light upon him as the dew falleth upon the ground.” (II Sam. 17:12) What a figure of considerateness when God descended in manifestation in Christ. It is written of Him, “A bruised reed shall He not break,” (Isa. 42:3) How delicately and softly the dew descends without doing the slightest damage to the tenderest petal of a sensitive plant! What sparkling beauty bedecks the dew-bespangled shrubs, what a still calmness prevails and presides o'er the landscape as it settles, what jewel-like flashes of scintillating light reflect from the flowers as the early rays of light cause the dew-drops to sparkle!

The Fairness He shall grow as the lily.” The purity, symmetry, and modesty of the lilies have become proverbial universally, and when in the morning light its bedewed loveliness is reflected, we have a glimpse of perfect beauty. Such characteristics in the restored life are sustained by communion with God. Dew is the purest of water and leaves no spot nor stain behind it, no, not even on the translucent petal of the most delicate flower. This fact reminds us of what our Saviour has purposed doing for His redeemed people when He “presents them faultless before the presence of His glory,” without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

 Purity assures strength, secures sweetness and procures steadfastness, so that the glamorous snare and glistening subtleties of sensuous delights lose their power of attractiveness, and appeal to the pure soul in vain. What have we to do any more with idols? The vantage ground of virtue gained enhances vision, for the pure in heart shall see God. The fairness which is suggested here is combined with fragrance, v. 6. The cleansed character becomes so chaste and comely and it is forever suited to the company and communion of the Holy One of Israel. Refinement of this nature rectifies the entire life, soothes the soul, stimulates service, renews the mind, and revives the heart. All discordant notes are changed to harmonious praise, deflections from the path of righteousness are changed to integrity of purpose, while defiling moods are replaced by pure motives.       

The FaithfulnessHe cast forth his roots as Lebanon, His branches shall spread.” The fairness of purity by itself is inadequate. Instability and infidelity had long held a prominent place among the ugly traits of national iniquity to which Israel at this stage confessed, v. 2. The time had arrived when constancy and loyalty were to replace all forms of duplicity.

 The association of roots and branches with Lebanon is suggestive of the cedar forests that once spread over those majestic ranges. On one occasion, when a devout soul was meditating on the worthiness of God, and considered the inadequacy of any sacrifice that he could offer, he exclaimed, “Lebanon is not sufficient to burn.” (Isa. 40:10) The strong roots of those sturdy monarchs of the mountains supply a most fitting figure of steadfast reliability. We may recount that the Hebrew word for “cedar” is linked with strength, and is their emblem of endurance. The massive root enables the mighty tree to stand steadfast in the storm, strong alike to resist the chilly blast in winter, and the scorching heat in summer, so here we find beauty and purity merged with dignity and stability, the very characteristics of God's own character. Therefore, let us “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”      

The FearlessnessThey that dwell under His shadow shall return,” v. 7. From a state of timidity and from by-ways of obscurity the people return to the Lord and enter unafraid into His very presence to dwell there as in a permanent abode. The polluted things that paralyze are purged away; the habits and haunts that defile are discarded, while the forces and follies that prevented progress are frustrated forever.

 The glorious Lord can transfigure the meanest soul, transform the basest heart, and garnish the regenerated life with spiritual virtues fitted to share His own society. On one occasion at the Canadian Keswick Conference, soon after the tragic slump of l929-32, Mr. Boggs, of Philadelphia, who was at that time Chaplain of the Gideons, told me he was passing through the most painful crisis of his life. His carpet‑manufacturing business had already been taken over by the bailiffs, and it looked as though his home and furniture would also be absorbed and sold to help meet the grave financial loss. In rehearsing the story he said he did not falter when the business went, but would find it more heartrending to suffer the loss of his home and furniture, for, said he, “I can picture in one corner of the sitting-room that great missionary statesman of China, Hudson Taylor, in the armchair I can visualize the form of Dr. Grattin Guinness, Dr. Samuel Zwemer, and a long list of other worthies we have entertained. It is not so much the material home but the fact that it has been the memorable meeting place with so many of the mighty messengers of God that will make the loss so regrettable.” Then he added, “I have been meditating of late on Hosea ch. 14, where it is written, ‘They that dwell under His shadow shall return;’ I stand in need of His overshadowing right now. Ere I leave the Conference in a day or two to go back and face the issues in Philadelphia, I would like you to do one thing for me, frame an outline on this one precious feature, ‘His shadow.’” After assenting to his request I retired to my room, and handed to him the next morning a sheet of paper bearing the following outline —

1. THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGSBecause Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psa. 63:7) This shadow is for daily troubles.

2. THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTYHe that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide (or pass the night) under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psa. 91:1; c.f. Isa. 26:3) This shadow is for daily trust.

3. THE SHADOW OF A GREAT ROCKBehold a king shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment, and a man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covet from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isa. 32:1, 2) This shadow is for daily thirst.

4. THE SHADOW OF HIS HANDHe hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant.” (Isa. 49:2) This shadow is for daily tasks.

5.  THE SHADOW OF HIS PRESENCE — I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Sol. 2:3) This shadow is for daily teaching.   

6.  THE SHADOW OF HIS TABERNACLEAnd there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isa. 4:6) This shadow is for daily trials.

 7.  THE SHADOW OF HIS BOUNTYThey that dwell under His shadow shall return, they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine.” (Hos. 14:7) This shadow is for daily triumph.

 The seven combined cover the wide field of comfort, communion, confidence, competence, companionship, contentment and constraint.

The FruitfulnessHis beauty shall be as the olive tree ... they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine.” How amiable life becomes when we abide in Him, yea, and how abundantly prolific. When wickedness and lawlessness prevailed, the nation was likened to chaff which as a symbol, indicates everything that is dry, rootless, lifeless and fruitless, ch. 13:3. The corn, wine and oil are representative, metaphors that convey the ideal of all-round sustenance, assuring the soul of nourishment, enjoyment and contentment. The picture of prosperity painted in fair colors, figures vigorous energy in the corn, virtuous enthusiasm in the wine, and victorious endeavor in the oil, and these three are entirely in harmony with God's will and pleasure. The vitality of such a life makes it free from superficial trifling and all sentimental trash.

The FriendlinessFrom me is thy fruit found.” The One Who seeks to set restrictions to hedge up our way, ch.2:6, does so in order to hinder the soul from setting out on a profitless venture and worthless course. He Himself has a definite intent in so doing, for He is waiting to give to His loved ones who answer His call fresh unveilings that are aflame with glory, vaster visions, more radiant with beauty and greater glimpses of the infinite reality of that coming Kingdom. His own perfect loveliness is sufficient to ravish the heart and satisfy the longing soul with goodness. Ephraim, which means “double fruitfulness,” a name designated by Joseph in Egypt, will then say most feelingly and emphatically, “What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard and observed Him.” Let us remember that the Son of God said to His disciples, “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, no more can ye except ye abide in me,” and again, “If a man love me he will keep my sayings, and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” “Who is wise and he will understand these things, prudent and he shall know them, for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk therein?"


 Notice particularly that the just are those who have been justified. All taint of the old transgressions is obliterated, all impression of former iniquities erased, all scars of former sins removed, yea, the very inclinations of the mind transformed, and the image of the whole being transfigured. No scar remains where His holy glance falls, no remembrance of former failure embarrasses, no accusing voice of conscience for past perversities assails, no fault, no frown, no fear disfigures the perfected soul. Heaven, home and holiness are sure for evermore. Heaven is the radiance of effulgent light, there is no need of the sun to shine, for the Lamb is the light thereof; home is the residence of essential likeness, “When we see Him we shall be like Him.” “His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4) Holiness is the resplendence of eternal love, “Love never faileth,” or as another translator rendered it, “Love's flower petals never fall.” So in the message of this book, there lies embedded a replica of the most rare and remarkable romance of all revelation.


The Marriage Contract

There was once a king—relates the Midrash—who went off on a distant journey and left his bride with her maidservants. Because of the promiscuity of the maidservants, rumors began circulating about the king's bride. The king heard of this and wished to kill her. When the bride's guardian heard this, he tore up her marriage contract, saying: "Should the king say, 'My wife did such and such,' we shall say to him, 'She's not your wife yet.'"[9]

 The king in this parable—the Midrash goes on to explain— is G-d, the bride is the nation of Israel, the corrupt maids are the eirev rav (the "mixed multitude" who had joined the Jewish people at the Exodus and were responsible for the making of the Golden Calf), the bride's guardian is Moses, and the marital contract is the Torah. When G-d wished to destroy Israel because of their involvement in the worship of the Golden Calf, Moses broke the Tablets upon which G-d had transcribed the essence of His covenant with them, thereby dissolving the marriage-bond that Israel had allegedly violated and leaving G-d no grounds on which to punish His bride's unfaithfulness.

And this the Torah considers to be Moses' highest virtue: his unequivocal loyalty to the Jewish people, a loyalty even greater than his loyalty to the Torah. When the very existence of the Jewish people was threatened, Moses tore up the wedding contract in order to save the bride.

When the existence of Israel was in jeopardy, Moses did not consult with anyone, not even with G-d. When Moses had to choose between the Torah and Israel, his devotion to Israel superseded all—including that which defines the very essence of his own being.

It is for this reason that Moses' breaking of the Tablets was the greatest deed of his life. In everything else he did, he was acting on a clear mandate from G-d: G-d had instructed and empowered him to take the Jews out of Egypt, to split the Red Sea, and to transmit His wisdom and will to humanity. Always it was G-d's desire that he followed. Here, it was his own initiative. Here, he wrestled with G-d, "grabbing hold" of the Tablets to save the people of Israel.

In breaking the Tablets, Moses was acting on his own, contrary to his divine mission to deliver G-d's Torah to the world. In breaking the Tablets, Moses, who could not presume that G-d would replace the first Tablets with a second pair, was eradicating his very being, his very raison d'être, for the sake of his people.

And Moses did not go off to a corner to carry out the most painful and potentially self-destructive act of his life. He broke the Tablets "before the eyes of all Israel"—a fact which the Torah repeatedly emphasizes, and then reiterates in its concluding words. For Moses wished to demonstrate to all of Israel, and to all generations to come, the duty of a leader of the Jewish people: to be prepared not only to sacrifice his physical life for his flock, but his very soul and spiritual essence as well.

First Among Firsts

Not only does the Torah record that G-d endorsed Moses' breaking of the Tablets; not only does it proclaim that Moses' greatest deed was his placing the preservation of Israel above the integrity of their "marriage contract"; it also chooses to make this its own culminating message. With its closing words the Torah establishes that it sees its own existence as secondary to the existence of the people of Israel.

The Midrash says it thus:

Two things preceded G-d's creation of the world: Torah and Israel. Still, I do not know which preceded which. But when Torah states 'Speak to the Children of Israel...,' 'Command the Children of Israel...'—I know that Israel preceded all.[10]

 In other words, since the purpose of G-d's creation of the universe is that the people of Israel should implement His will as outlined in the Torah, the concepts of "Israel" and "Torah" both precede the concept of a "world" in the Creator's "mind." Yet which is the more deeply rooted idea within the divine consciousness, Torah or Israel? Does Israel exist so that the Torah may be implemented, or does the Torah exist to serve the Jew in the fulfillment of his mission and the realization of his relationship with G-d?

Says the Midrash: if the Torah describes itself as a communication to Israel, this presumes the concept of Israel as primary to that of Torah. Without the people of Israel to implement it, there cannot be a Torah, since the very idea of a Torah was conceived by the divine mind as a tool to facilitate the bond between G-d and His people.

Hence, when the Torah speaks of the shattering of the Tablets, it speaks not of its own destruction, but, ultimately, of its preservation: if the breaking of the Tablets saved Israel from extinction, it also saved the Torah from extinction, since the very concept of a "Torah" is dependent upon the existence of the people of Israel.[11]

Pressing for Redemption

Moses' self-negating devotion to his people characterized his leadership from its very start. When G-d first appeared to Moses in the burning bush and commanded him to take the Jewish people out of Egypt, Moses refused. For seven days and nights Moses argued with G-d. Don't send me, pleaded Moses, "Send the one whom You will send."[12]

"G-d's anger raged against Moses," the Torah tells us.[13] Understandably so: the people of Israel are languishing under the Egyptian whip, and G-d's chosen redeemer is refusing his commission? Still Moses argued with G-d to "Send the one whom You will send" instead of himself. Why did Moses refuse to go? Was it his humility? True, the Torah attests that "Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth."[14] But surely Moses was not one to allow his humility to interfere with the salvation of his people.

Our sages explain that Moses knew that he would not merit to bring Israel into the Holy Land and thereby achieve the ultimate redemption of his people.[15] He knew that Israel would again be exiled, would again suffer the physical and spiritual afflictions of galut. So Moses refused to go. Do not send me, he pleaded; send now the one whom You will send in the end of days. If the time for Israel's redemption has come, send Moshiach, through whom You will effect the complete and eternal Redemption.[16] For seven days and nights Moses contested G-d's script for history, prepared to incur G-d's wrath upon himself for the sake of his people.

Nor did Moses ever accept the decree of galut. After assuming, by force of the divine command, the mission to take Israel out of Egypt, he embarked on a lifelong struggle to make this the final and ultimate Redemption. To the very last day of his life, Moses beseeched G-d to allow him to lead Israel into the Holy Land, which would have settled Israel in their land, and G-d in Israel's midst, for all eternity;[17] to his very last day he braved G-d's anger in his endeavor to effect the ultimate Redemption. In Moses' own words: "I beseeched G-d at that time, saying: …'Please, let me cross over and see the good land across the Jordan, the good mountain (Jerusalem) and the Levanon (the Holy Temple).' And G-d grew angry with me for your sakes... and He said to me: 'Enough! Speak no more to Me of this matter.…'"[18]

G-d said "Enough!" but Moses was not silenced. For Moses' challenge of the divine plan did not end with his passing from physical life. The Zohar tells us that every Jewish soul has at its core a spark of Moses' soul.[19] So every Jew who storms the gates of heaven clamoring for redemption continues Moses' struggle against the decree of galut.

Based on the Rebbe's talks on Simchat Torah of 5747 (1986) and on other occasions[20]



Events in the world are fulfilling End of the Age prophecies.  But, he continues to print Conventional Wisdom about a conflict between America, Russia, and China, even though all the evidence from New World Order writings, and Biblical prophecy, dictate an intimate cooperation!  The Bible predicted great "harmony" between End of the Age national leaders [Revelation 16-17], and it even states that the End of the Age is going to be characterized by two distinct ideologies that would enter into a marriage bond, even though they were so very different [Daniel 2:41-44, Amplified Bible Commentary]

[Table of Contents]
Matthew Henry
Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712)

H O S E A.


      The mind of God is revealed to this prophet, and by him to the people, in the first three chapters, by signs and types, but afterwards only by discourse. In this chapter we have, I. The general title of the whole book, ver. 1. II. Some particular instructions which he was ordered to give to the people of God. 1. He must convince them of their sin in going a whoring from God, by marrying a wife of whoredoms, ver. 2, 3. 2. He must foretel the ruin coming upon them for their sin, in the names of his sons, which signified God's disowning and abandoning them, ver. 4-6, 8, 9. 3. He must speak comfortable to the kingdom of Judah, which still retained the pure worship of God, and assure them of the salvation of the Lord, ver. 7. 4. He must give an intimation of the great mercy God had in store both for Israel and Judah, in the latter days (ver. 10, 11), for in this prophecy many precious promises of mercy are mixed with the threatenings of wrath.

The Time of Hosea's Prophecy. B. C. 768.

      1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

      1. Here is the prophet's name and surname; which he himself, as other prophets, prefixes to his prophecy, for the satisfaction of all that he is ready to attest what he writes to be of God; he sets his hand to it, as that which he will stand by. His name, Hosea, or Hosea (for it is the very same with Joshua's original name), signifies a saviour; for prophets were instruments of salvation to the people of God, so are faithful ministers; they help to save many a soul from death, by saving it from sin. his surname was Ben-Beeri, or the son of Beeri. As with us now, so with them then, some had their surname from their place, as Micah the Morashite, Nahum the Elkoshite; others from their parents, as Joel the son of Bethuel, and here Hosea the son of Beeri. And perhaps they made use of that distinction when the eminence of their parents was such as would bring honour upon them; but it is a groundless conceit of the Jews that where a prophet's father is names he also was a prophet. Beeri signifies a well, which may put us in mind of the fountain of life and living waters from which prophets are drawn and must be continually drawing. 2. Here are his authority and commission: The word of the Lord came to him. It was to him; it came with power and efficacy to him; it was revealed to him as a real thing, and not a fancy or imagination of his own, in some such way as God then discovered himself to his servants the prophets. What he said and wrote was by divine inspiration; it was by the word of the Lord, as St. Paul speaks concerning that which he had purely by revelation, 1 Thess. iv. 15. Therefore this book was always received among the canonical books of the Old Testament, which is confirmed by what is quoted out of it in the New Testament, Matt. ii. 15; ix. 13; xii. 7; Rom. ix. 25, 26; 1 Pet. ii. 10. For the word of the Lord endures for ever. 3. Here is a particular account of the times in which he prophesied--in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. We have only this general date of his prophecy; and not the date of any particular part of it, as, before, in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and, afterwards, in Haggai and Zechariah. Here is only one king of Israel named, though there were many more within this time, because, having mentioned the kings of Judah, there was no necessity of naming the other; and, they being all wicked, he took no pleasure in naming them, nor would do them the honour. Now by this account here given of the several reigns in which Hosea prophesied (and it should seem the word of the Lord still came to him, more or less, at times, throughout all these reigns) it appears, (1.) That he prophesied a long time, that he began when he was very young, which gave him the advantage of strength and sprightliness, and that he continued at his work till he was very old, which gave him the advantage of experience and authority. It was a great honour to him to be thus long employed in such good work, and a great mercy to the people to have a minister so long among them that so well knew their state, and naturally cared for it, one they had been long used to and who therefore was the more likely to be useful to them. And yet, for aught that appears, he did but little good among them; the longer they enjoyed him the less they regarded him; they despised his youth first, and afterwards his age. (2.) That he passed through a variety of conditions. Some of these kings were very good, and, it is likely, countenanced and encouraged him; others were very bad, who (we may suppose) frowned upon him and discouraged him; and yet he was still the same. God's ministers must expect to pass through honour and dishonour, evil report and good report, and must resolve in both to hold fast their integrity and keep close to their work. (3.) That he began to prophesy at a time when the judgments of God were abroad, when God was himself contending in a more immediate way with that sinful people, who fell into the hands of the Lord, before they were turned over into the hands of man; for in the days of Uzziah, and of Jeroboam his contemporary, the dreadful earthquake was, mentioned Zech. xiv. 5 and Amos i. 1. And then was the plague of locusts, Joel i. 2-4; Amos vii. 1; Hos. iv. 3. The rod of God is sent to enforce the word and the word of God is sent to explain the rod, yet neither prevails till God by his Spirit opens the ear to instruction and discipline. (4.) That he began to prophesy in Israel at a time when their kingdom was in a flourishing prosperous condition, for so it was in the reign of Jeroboam the second, as we find 2 Kings xiv. 25, He restored the coast of Israel, and God saved them by his hand; yet then Hosea boldly tells them of their sins and foretels their destruction. Men are not to be flattered in their sinful ways because they prosper in the world, but even then must be faithfully reproved, and plainly told that their prosperity will not be their security, nor will it last long if they go on still in their trespasses.

The Prophet's Marriage; Threatenings against Israel; Intimation of Mercy to Judah. B. C. 768.

      2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.   3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.   4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.   5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.   6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.   7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

      These words, The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, may refer either, 1. To that glorious set of prophets which was raised up about this time. About this time there lived and prophesied Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Obadiah, and Isaiah; but Hosea was the first of them that foretold the destruction of Israel; the beginning of this word of the Lord was by him. We read in the history of this Jeroboam here named (2 Kings xiv. 27) that the Lord had not yet said he would blot out the name of Israel, but soon after he said he would, and Hosea was the man that began to say it, which made it so much the harder task to him, to be the first that should carry an unpleasing message and some time before any were raised up to second him. Or, rather, 2. To Hosea's own prophecies. This was the first message God sent him upon to this people, to tell them that they were an evil and an adulterous generation. He might have desired to be excused from dealing so roughly with them till he had gained authority and reputation, and some interest in their affections. No; he must begin with this, that they might know what to expect from a prophet of the Lord. Nay, he must not only preach this to them, but he must write it, and publish it, and leave it upon record as a witness against them. Now here,

      I. The prophet must, as it were in a looking-glass, show them their sin, and show it to be exceedingly sinful, exceedingly hateful. The prophet is ordered to take unto him a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms, v. 2. And he did so, v. 3. He married a woman of ill fame, Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, not one that had been married and had committed adultery, for then she must have been put to death, but one that had lived scandalously in the single state. To marry such a one was not malum in se--evil in itself, but only malum per accidens--incidentally an evil, not prudent, decent, or expedient, and therefore forbidden to the priests, and which, if it were really done, would be an affliction to the prophet (it is threatened as a curse on Amaziah that his wife should be a harlot, Amos vii. 17), but not a sin when God commanded it for a holy end; nay, if commanded, it was his duty, and he must trust God with his reputation. But most commentators think that it was done in vision, or that it is no more than a parable; and that was a way of teaching commonly used among the ancients, particularly prophets; what they meant of others they transferred to themselves in a figure, as St. Paul speaks, 1 Cor. iv. 6. He must take a wife of whoredoms, and have such children by her as every one would suspect, though born in wedlock, to be children of whoredoms, begotten in adultery, because it is too common for those who have lived lewdly in the single state to live no better in the married state. "Now" (saith God) "Hosea, this people is to me such a dishonour, and such a grief and vexation, as a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms would be to thee. For the land has committed great whoredoms." In all instances of wickedness they had departed from the Lord; but their idolatry especially is the whoredom they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone is such an injury and affront to God as for a wife to embrace the bosom of a stranger is to her husband. It is especially so in those that have made a profession of religion, and have been taken into covenant with God; it is breaking the marriage-bond; it is a heinous odious sin, and, as much as any thing, besots the mind and takes away the heart. Idolatry is great whoredom, worse than any other; it is departing from the Lord, to whom we lie under greater obligations than any wife does or can do to her husband. The land has committed whoredom; it is not here and there a particular person that is guilty of idolatry, but the whole land is polluted with it; the sin has become national, the disease epidemical. What an odious thing would it be for the prophet, a holy man, to have a whorish wife, and children whorish like her! What an exercise would it be of his patience, and, if she persisted in it, what could be expected but that he should give her a bill of divorce! And is it not then much more offensive to the holy God to have such a people as this to be called by his name and have a place in his house? How great is his patience with them! And how justly may he cast them off! It was as if he should have married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who probably was at that time a noted harlot. The land of Israel was like Gomer the daughter of Diblaim. Gomer signifies corruption; Diblaim signifies two cakes, or lumps of figs; this denotes that Israel was near to ruin, and that their luxury and sensuality were the cause of it. They were as the evil figs that could not be eaten, they were so evil. It intimates sin to be the daughter of plenty and destruction the daughter of the abuse of plenty. Some give this sense of the command here given to the prophet: "Go, take thee a wife of whoredoms, for, if thou shouldst go to seek for an honest modest woman, thou wouldst not find any such, for the whole land, and all the people of it, are given to whoredom, the usual concomitant of idolatry."

      II. The prophet must, as it were through a perspective glass, show them their ruin; and this he does in the names given to the children born of this adulteress; for as lust, when it has conceived, brings forth sin, so sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

      1. He foretels the fall of the royal family in the name he is appointed to give to his first child, which was a son: Call his name Jezreel, v. 4. We find that the prophet Isaiah gave prophetical names to his children (Isa. vii. 3; viii. 3), so this prophet here. Jezreel signifies the seed of God (so they should have been); but it signifies also the scattered of God; they shall be as sheep on the mountains that have no shepherds. Call them not Israel, which signifies dominion, they have lost all the honour of that name; but call them Jezreel, which signifies dispersion, for those that have departed from the Lord will wander endlessly. Hitherto they have been scattered as seek; let them now be scattered as chaff. Jezreel was the name of one of the royal seats of the kings of Israel; it was a beautiful city, seated in a pleasant valley, and it is with allusion to that city that this child is called Jezreel, for yet a little while and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, from whom the present king, Jeroboam, was lineally descended. The house of Jehu smarted for the sins of Jehu, for God often lays up men's iniquity for their children and visits it upon them. It is the kingdom of the house of Israel, which may be meant either of the present royal family, that of Jehu, which God did quickly cause to cease (for the son of this Jeroboam, Zechariah, reigned but six months, and he was the last of Jehu's race), or of the whole kingdom in general, which continued corrupt and wicked, and which was made to cease in the reign of Hoshea, about seventy years after; and with God that is but a little while. Note, Note, Neither the pomp of kings nor the power of kingdoms can secure them from God's destroying judgments, if they continue to rebel against him. (2.) What is the ground of this controversy: I will revenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, the blood which Jehu shed at Jezreel, when by commission from God and in obedience to his command, he utterly destroyed the house of Ahab, and all that were in alliance with it, with all the worshippers of Baal. God approved of what he did (2 Kings x. 30): Thou has done well in executing that which is right in my eyes; and yet here God will avenge that blood upon the house of Jehu, when the time has expired during which it was promised that his family should reign, even to the fourth generation. But how comes the same action to be both rewarded and punished? Very justly; the matter of it was good; it was the execution of a righteous sentence passed upon the house of Ahab, and, as such, it was rewarded; but Jehu did it not in a right manner; he aimed at his own advancement, not at the glory of God, and mingled his own resentments with the execution of God's justice. He did it with a malice against the sinners, but not with any antipathy to the sin; for he kept up the worship of the golden calves, and took no heed to walk in the law of God, 2 Kings x. 31. And therefore when the measure of the iniquity of his house was full, and God came to reckon with them, the first article in the account is (and, being first, it is put for all the rest) for the blood of the house of Ahab, here called the blood of Jezreel. Thus when the house of Baasha was rooted out it was because he did like the house of Jeroboam, and because he killed him, 1 Kings xvi. 7. Note, Those that are entrusted with the administration of justice are concerned to see to it that they do it from a right principle and with a right intention, and that they do not themselves live in those sins which they punish in others, lest even their just executions should be reckoned for, another day, as little less than murders. (3.) How far the controversy shall proceed; it shall be not a correction, but a destruction. Some make those words, I will visit, or appoint, the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, to signify, not as we read it the revenging of that bloodshed, but the repeating of that bloodshed: "I will punish the house of Jehu, as I punished the house of Ahab, because Jehu did not take warning by the punishment of his predecessors, but trod in the steps of their idolatry. And after the house of Jehu is destroyed I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel; I will begin to bring it down, though now it flourish." After the death of Zechariah, the last of the house of Jehu, the kingdom of the ten tribes went to decay, and dwindled sensibly. And, in order to the ruin of it, it is threatened (v. 5), I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel; the strength of the warriors of Israel, so the Chaldee. God will disable them either to defend themselves or to resist their enemies. And the bow abiding in strength, and being renewed in the hand, intimates a growing power, so the breaking of the bow intimates a sinking ruined power. The bow shall be broken in the valley of Jezreel, where, probably, the armoury was; or, it may be, in that valley some battle was fought, wherein the kingdom of Israel was very much weakened. Note, There is no fence against God's controversy; when he comes forth against a people their strong bows are soon broken and their strong-holds broken down. In the valley of Jezreel they shed that blood which the righteous God would in that very place avenge upon them; as some notorious malefactors are hanged in chains just where the villainy they suffer for was perpetrated, that the punishment may answer the sin.

      2. He foretels God's abandoning the whole nation in the name he gives to the second child. This was a daughter, as the former was a son, to intimate that both sons and daughters had corrupted their way. Some make to signify that Israel grew effeminate, and was thereby enfeebled and made weak. Call the name of this daughter Lo-ruhamah--not beloved (so it is translated Rom. ix. 25), or not having obtained mercy, so it is translated 1 Pet. ii. 10. It comes all to one. This reads the doom of the house of Israel: I will no more have mercy upon them. It intimates that God had shown them great mercy, but they had abused his favours, and forfeited them, and now he would show them favour no more. Note, Those that forsake their own mercies for lying vanities have reason to expect that their own mercies should forsake them, and that they should be left to their lying vanities, Jonah ii. 8. Sin turns away the mercy of God even from the house of Israel, his own professing people, whose case is sad indeed when God says that he will no more have mercy upon them. And then it follows, I will utterly take them away, will utterly remove them (so some), will utterly pluck them up, so others. Note, When the streams of mercy are stopped we can expect no other than that the vials of wrath should be opened. Those whom God will no more have mercy upon shall be utterly taken away, as dross and dung. The word for taking away sometimes signifies to forgive sin; and some take it in that sense here: I will no more have mercy upon them, though in pardoning I have pardoned them heretofore. Though God has borne long, he will not bear always, with a people that hate to be reformed. Or, I will no more have mercy upon them, that I should in any wise pardon them, or (as our margin reads it) that I should altogether pardon them. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected, for that opens the door to all the rest. Some make this to speak comfort: I will no more have mercy upon them till in pardoning I shall pardon them, that is, till the Redeemer comes to Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The Chaldee reads it, But, if they repent, in pardoning I will pardon them. Even the greatest sinners, if in time they bethink themselves and return, will find that there is forgiveness with God.

      III. He must show them what mercy God had in store for the house of Judah, at the same time that he was thus contending with the house of Israel (v. 7): But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah. Note, Though some are justly cast off for their disobedience, yet God will always secure to himself a remnant that shall be the vessels and monuments of mercy. When divine justice is glorified in some, yet there are others in whom free grace is glorified. And, though some through unbelief are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. It aggravates the rejection of Israel that God will have mercy on Judah, and not on them, and magnifies God's mercy to Judah that, though they also have done wickedly, yet God did not reject them, as he rejected Israel: I will have mercy upon them and will save them. Note, Our salvation is owing purely to God's mercy, and not to any merit of our own. Now,

      1. This, without doubt, refers to the temporal salvations which God wrought for Judah in a distinguishing way, the favours shown to them and not to Israel. When the Assyrian armies had destroyed Samaria, and carried the ten tribes away into captivity, they proceeded to besiege Jerusalem; but God had mercy on the house of Judah, and saved them by the vast slaughter which an angel made, in one night, in the camp of the Assyrians; then they were saved by the Lord their God immediately, and not by sword or bow. When the ten tribes were continued in their captivity, and their land was possessed by others, they being utterly taken away, God had mercy on the house of Judah and saved them, and, after seventy years, brought them back, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, Zech. iv. 6. I will save them by the Lord their God, that is, by myself. God will be exalted in his own strength, will take the work into his own hands. That salvation is sure which he undertakes to be the author of; for, if he will work, none shall hinder. And that salvation is most acceptable which he does by himself. So the Lord alone did lead him. The less there is of man in any salvation, and the more of God, the brighter it shines and the sweeter it tastes. I will save them in the word of the Lord (so the Chaldee), for the sake of Christ, the eternal word, and by his power. I will save them not by bow nor by sword, that is, (1.) They shall be saved when they are reduced to so low an ebb that they have neither bow nor sword to defend themselves with, Judg. v. 8; 1 Sam. xiii. 22. (2.) They shall be saved by the Lord when they are brought off from trusting to their own strength and their weapons of war, Ps. xliv. 6. (3.) They shall be saved easily, without the trouble of sword and bow, v. 7. Isa. ix. 5, I will save them by the Lord their God. In the calling him their God, he upbraids the ten tribes who had cast him off from being theirs, for which reason he had cast them off, and intimates what was the true reason why he had mercy, distinguishing mercy, for the house of Judah, and saved them: it was in pursuance of his covenant with them as the Lord their God, and in recompence for their faithful adherence to him and to his word and worship. But,

      2. This may refer also to the salvation of Judah from idolatry, which qualified and prepared them for their other salvations. And this is indeed a salvation by the Lord their God; it is wrought only by the power of his grace, and can never be wrought by sword or bow. Just at the time that the kingdom of Israel was utterly taken away, under Hoshea, the kingdom of Judah was gloriously reformed, under Hezekiah, and was therefore preserved; and in Babylon God saved them from their idolatry first, and then from their captivity.

      3. Some make this promise to look forward to the great salvation which, in the fulness of time, was to be wrought out by the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save his people from their sins.

Temporary Rejection of Israel; Promises of Mercy. B. C. 768.

      8 Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.   9 Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.   10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.   11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

      We have here a prediction,

      I. Of the rejection of Israel for a time, which is signified by the name of another child that Hosea had by his adulterous spouse, v. 8, 9. And still we must observe that those children whose names carried these direful omens in them to Israel were all children of whoredoms (v. 2), all born of the harlot that Hosea married, to intimate that the ruin of Israel was the natural product of the sin of Israel. If they had not first revolted from God, they would never have been rejected by him; God never leaves any till they first leave him. Here is, 1. The birth of this child: When she had weaned her daughter, she conceived and bore a son. Notice is taken of the delay of the birth of this child, which was to carry in its name a certain presage of their utter rejection, to intimate God's patience with them, and his unwillingness to proceed to extremity. Some think that her bearing another son signifies that people's persisting in their wickedness; lust still conceived and brought forth sin. They added to do evil (so the Chaldee paraphrase expounds it); they were old in adulteries, and obstinate. 2. The name given him: Call him Lo-ammi--Not my people. When they were told that God would no more have mercy on them they regarded it not, but buoyed up themselves with this conceit, that they were God's people, whom he could not but have mercy on. And therefore he plucks that staff from under them, and disowns all relation to them: You are not my people, and I will not be your God. "I will not be yours (so the word it); I will be in no relation to you, will have nothing to do with you; I will not be your King, your Father, your patron and protector." We supply it very well with that which includes all, "I will not be your God; I will not be to you what I have been, nor what you vainly expect I should be, nor what I would have been if you had kept close to me." Observe, "You are not my people; you do not act as becomes my people; you are not observant of me and obedient to me, as my people should be; you are not my people, but the people of this and the other dunghill-deity; and therefore I will not own you for my people, will not protect you, will not put in any claim to you, not demand you, not deliver you out of the hands of those that have seized you; let them take you; you are none of mine. You will not have me to be your God, but pay your homage to the pretenders, and therefore I will not be your God; you shall have no interest in me, shall expect no benefit from me." Note, Our being taken into covenant with God is owing purely to him and to his grace, for then it begins on his side: I will be to them a God, and then they shall be to me a people; we love him because he first loved us. But our being cast out of covenant is owing purely to ourselves and our own folly. The breach is on man's side: You are not my people, and therefore I will not be your God; if God hate any, it is because they first hated him. This was fulfilled in Israel when they were utterly taken away into the land of Assyria, and their place knew them no more. They were no longer God's people, for they lost the knowledge and worship of him; no prophets were sent to them, no promises made to them, as were to the two tribes in their captivity; nay, they were no longer a people, but, for aught that appears, were mingled with the nations into which they were carried, and lost among them.

      II. Of the reduction and restoration of Israel in the fulness of time. Here, as before, mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath; the rejection, as it shall not be total, so it shall not be final (v. 10, 11): Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea. See how the same hand that wounded is stretched forth to heal, and how tenderly he that has torn binds up; though God cause grief by his threatenings, yet he will have compassion, and will gather with everlasting kindness. They are very precious promises which are here made concerning the Israel of God, and which may be of use to us now.

      1. Some think that these promises had their accomplishment in the return of the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon, when many of the ten tribes joined themselves to Judah, and took the benefit of the liberty which Cyrus proclaimed, came up in great numbers out of the several countries into which they were dispersed, to their own land, appointed Zerubbabel their head, and coalesced into one people, whereas before they had been two distinct nations. And in their own land, where God had by his prophets disowned and rejected them as none of his, he would by his prophets own them and appear for them as his children; and from all parts of the country they should come up to the temple to worship. And we have reason to think that, though this promise has a further reference, yet it was graciously intended and piously used for the support and comfort of the captives in Babylon, as giving them a general assurance of mercy which God had in store for them and their land; their nation could not be destroyed so long as this blessing was in it, was in reserve for it.

      2. Some think that these promises will not have their accomplishment, at least not in full, till the general conversion of the Jews in the latter days, which is expected yet to come, when the vast incredible numbers of Jews, that are now dispersed as the sand of the sea, shall be brought to embrace the faith of Christ and be incorporated in the gospel-church. Then, and not till then, God will own them as his people, his children, even there where they had lain under the dismal tokens of their rejection. The Jewish doctors look upon this promise as not having had its accomplishment yet. But,

      3. It is certain that this promise had its accomplishment in the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, by the preaching of the gospel, and the bringing in both of Jews and Gentiles to it, for to this these words are applied by St. Paul (Rom. ix. 25, 26), and by St. Peter when he writes to the Jews of the dispersion, 1 Pet. ii. 10. Israel here is the gospel-church, the spiritual Israel (Gal. vi. 16), all believers who follow the steps, and inherit the blessing of faithful Abraham, who is the father of all that believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, Rom. iv. 11, 12. Now let us see what is promised concerning this Israel.

      (1.) That it shall greatly multiply, and the numbers of it be increased; it shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. Though Israel according to the flesh be diminished and made few, the spiritual Israel shall be numerous, shall be innumerable. In the vast multitudes that by the preaching of the gospel have been brought to Christ, both in the first ages of Christianity and ever since, this promise is fulfilled, thousands out of every tribe in Israel, and out of other nations, a multitude which no man can number, Rev. vii. 4, 9; Gal. iv. 27. In this the promise made to Abraham, when God called him Abraham the high father of a multitude, had its full accomplishment (Gen. xvii. 5), and that Gen. xxii. 17. Some observe that they are here compared to the sand of the sea, not only for their numbers, but as the sand of the sea serves for a boundary to the waters, that they shall not overflow the earth, so the Israelites indeed are a wall of defence to the places where they live, to keep off judgments. God can do nothing against Sodom while Lot is there.

      (2.) That God will renew his covenant with the gospel-Israel, and will incorporate it a church to himself, by as full and ample a charter as that whereby the Old-Testament church was incorporated; nay, and its privileges shall be much greater: "In the place where it was said unto them, You are not my people, there shall you be again admitted into covenant, and owned as my people." The abandoned Gentiles in their respective places, and the rejected Jews in theirs, shall be favoured and blessed. There, where the fathers were cast off for their unbelief, the children, upon their believing, shall be taken in. This is a blessed resurrection, the making of those the people of God that were not a people. Nay, but the privilege is enlarged; now it is not only, You are my people, as formerly, but You are the sons of the living God, whether by birth you were Jews or Gentiles. Israel under the law was God's son, his first-born, but then they were as children under age; now, under the gospel, they have grown up both to greater understanding and greater liberty, Gal. iv. 1, 2. Note, [1.] It is the unspeakable privilege of all believers that they have the living God for their Father, the ever-living God, and may look upon themselves as his children by grace and adoption. [2.] The sonship of believers shall be owned and acknowledged; it shall be said to them, for their comfort and satisfaction, nay, and it shall be said for their honour in the hearing of the world, You are the sons of the living God. Let not the saints disquiet themselves; let not others despise them; for, sooner or later, there shall be a manifestation of the children of God, and all the world shall be made to know their excellency and the value God has for them. [3.] It will add much to their comfort, very much to their honour, when they are dignified with the tokens of God's favour in that very place where they had long lain under the tokens of his displeasure. This speaks comfort to the believing Gentiles, that they need not go up to Jerusalem, to be received and owned as God's children; no, they may stay where they are, and in that place, though it be in the remotest corner of the earth, in that place where they were at a distance, where it was said to them, "You are not God's people," but are separated from them (Isa. lvi. 3, 6), even there, without leaving their country and kindred, they may by faith receive the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with their spirits that "they are the children of God."

      (3.) That those who had been at variance should be happily brought together (v. 11): Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together. This uniting of Judah and Israel, those two kingdoms that were now so much at variance, biting and devouring one another, is mentioned only as a specimen, or one instance, of the happy effect of the setting up of Christ's kingdom in the world, the bringing of those that had been at the greatest enmity one against another to a good understanding one of another and a good affection one to another. This was literally fulfilled when the Galileans, who inhabited that part of the country which belonged to the ten tribes, and probably for the most part descended from them, so heartily joined with those that were probably called Jews (that were of Judea) in following Christ and embracing his gospel; and his first disciples were partly Jews and partly Galileans. The first that were blessed with the light of the gospel were of the land of Zebulun and Naphtali (Matt. iv. 15); and, though there was no good-will at all between the Jews and the Galileans, yet, upon their believing in Christ, they were happily consolidated, and there were no remains of the former disaffection they had to one another; nay, when the Samaritans believed, though between them and the Jews there was a much greater enmity, yet in Christ there was a perfect unanimity, Acts viii. 14. Thus Judah and Israel were gathered together; yet this was but a type of the much more celebrated coalition between Jews and Gentiles, when, by the death of Christ, the partition-wall of the ceremonial law was taken down. See Eph. ii. 14-16. Christ died, to gather together in one all the children of God that were scattered abroad, John xi. 51; Eph. i. 10.

      (4.) That Jesus Christ should be the centre of unity to all God's spiritual Israel. They shall all agree to appoint to themselves one head, which can be no other than he whom God has appointed, even Christ. Note, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, the one only head of it, not only a head of government, as of the body politic, but a head of vital influence, as of the natural body. To believe in Christ is to appoint him to ourselves for our head, that is, to consent to God's appointment, and willingly commit ourselves to his guidance and government; and this in concurrence and communion with all good Christians that make him their head; so that, though they are many, yet in him they are one, and so become one with each other. Qui conveniunt in aliquo tertio inter se conveniunt--Those who agree with a third agree with each other.

      (5.) That, having appointed Christ for their head, they shall come up out of the land; they shall come, some of all sorts, from all parts, to join themselves to the church, as, under the Jewish economy, they came up from all corners of the land of Israel to Jerusalem, to worship (Ps. cxxii. 4), Thither the tribes go up, to which there is a plain allusion in that prophecy of the accession of the Gentiles to the church (Isa. ii. 3), Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. It denotes not a local remove (for they are said to be in the same place, v. 10), but a change of their mind, a spiritual ascent to Christ. They shall come up from the earth (so it may be read); for those who have given up themselves to Christ as their head take their affections off from this earth, and the things of it, to set them upon things above (Col. iii. 1, 2); for they are not of the world (John xv. 19), but have their conversation in heaven. They shall come up out of the land, though it be the land of their nativity; they shall, in affection, come out from it, that they may follow the Lamb withersoever he goes. Thus the learned Dr. Pocock takes it.

      (6.) That, when all this comes to pass, great shall be the day of Jezreel. Though great is the day of Jezreel's affliction (so some understand it), yet great shall be the day of Jezreel's glory. This shall be Israel's day; the day shall be their own, after their enemies have long had their day. Israel is here called Jezreel, the seed of God, the holy seed (Isa. vi. 13), the substance of the land. This seed is now sown in the earth, and buried under the clods; but great shall be its day when the harvest comes. Great was the church's day when there were added to it daily such as should be saved; then did the Almighty do great things for it.


[Table of Contents]Matthew Henry
Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712)


A Tale of Two Sisters
By Bonnie Wheat

Except for a few age spots, Sally still looks the same as she did the year I stitched her up and placed her under the Christmas tree beside her sister. Her red yarn hair is still bright and stringy. Her stenciled face still smiles. Her red-and-white-striped socks and black cotton shoes still dangle beneath her long bloomers and white pinafore.

Although Sally has been with us for many years now, I just recently learned the story behind her name. Even though Sally and her famous sister were both cut from the same fabric and stuffed with the same stuffing, Sally was destined to become the rag doll of a younger sibling. In spite of being loved just as much and dragged around more than her twin, Sally never received the recognition that she deserved. Even the authentic red heart tattooed on her chest wasn’t enough to stop an older sister’s decree that there just couldn’t be two dolls named Raggedy Ann. With only a three year old to defend her against the dictates of a six-year-old authoritarian, Sally never got the name she deserved. She was given a second-best name, Sally.

I’m glad that God doesn’t care what names his children are given at birth. The apostle Peter tells us that God loves and accepts all of us in spite of our names. Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35 KJV)

To God, a Sally is just as important as a Raggedy Ann. He places His mark of identity upon the hearts of all those who are willing to receive Him.

WHITE - Spirit, innocence, protection, peace, purity, gentleness, perfection, maiden, illumination

GOLD - masculine energy, enlightenment

The Sinai Covenant

Arafat is not an Arab - He is Egyptian


Sirius, Annunaki, Pyramid, Ark of the Covenant. The following ... powerful. ~~~~. REMOTE-VIEWING THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. Psychic ... -

SPIRIT SPEAKS ABOUT THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. A MESSAGE RECEIVED. by Dee Finney. 5-2-2001. ... We will begin! It is known that you wish to find the Ark of the Covenant ... -

Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia? Part I. 01/22/1999. ... My web site: ~~~~ Vendyl Jones And The Ark Of The Covenant. ... -

STRUGGLING WITH 11:11. THE ROD OF AARON. THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. STRUGGLING WITH 11:11. ... This IS The Ark of the Covenant. in Hebrew A-ROn HABER - RIT. ... -

... The Spear used to pierce the side of Christ. The Ark of the Covenant re-appears. ... total numerical value (in Hebrew) = 222 + 2 = 224. The Ark of the Covenant. ... -

... ABRAHAM'S COVENANT. To go back to the Old Testament history we have God's Covenant with Abraham stamped with this number of Divine perfection (Gen 15). ... -

... The Sinai peninsula years 3200 ago: a nomadic tribe drags a mysterious object across the desert - the Ark of the Covenant Jerusalem 2900 years ago: a ... -

... In one of my theories about the Bible, this is expressed in Daniel 9:27, where a covenant is made with many for one week, and for half of the week . . . ...

The 216 - 3:16's of the Bible
... Jeremiah 3:16 -, And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they shall no more say, "The ark of the covenant of the ...
... See automatic writing for today Topic is the Ark of the Covenant. "DAY OF TRUTH" - CALL FOR A GLOBAL FESTIVAL FOR SEPTEMBER 17, 2001 ...

... with her seductive words,. 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. [1]. 18 For her ... -

... Isaiah 28:15 Because ye have said , We have made a covenant with death , and with Sheol are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through ... -

... which I've seen several times over the last couple of days in recent crop circles and the Nazca lines and the front of the Ark of the Covenant which was I saw ... -

... Leviticus 2:13 `And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking ... -

Prophecy / Bible Prophecy / End Time Events
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int'l. "Sound the Shofar in Zion and sound the alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of ...

... I see a couple things … God is calling for close partnership, for a covenant relationship to be modeled between foundational ministers at this time. ... -

... of the seven chakras as, ". . . a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week . . .". I sent my hand-written ... -

... of this in his portrayal of the terrible beauty and potentially destructive energy of the Seraphim that were released from the Ark of the Covenant at the end ...
... Understand clarity exists in the mind. While our words may be unclear and without precise ‘covenant’ meaning, their abstraction leads to the truth. Okay. ...

... their heads. There is a Covenant between God and his people, through the 'B'nai Or', and the 'Brotherhoods of Light'. Through these ... -

... God's glory. Cherubim were also guardians of the garden of Eden and guardians of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. Here ... -

... 4. Does America and England have a special role leading the world in terms of being the covenant tribes descended from Joseph the 11th son of Jacob? ...

... And to God the judge of all (7), 15. And to the spirits of just men made perfect (8), 16. And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (9), 17. ... -

... system. ~~~~. Some suggest the Ark of the Covenant is hidden somewhere near the Dead Sea, on the Jordan's west bank. According ...

Revelation 19 - War of Armegeddon
... Notification of the coming Shiloh or Messiah and the requirement of obedience predates the Mosaic law code as does the Abrahamic covenant, just as the ... -

The Bleeding Heart of Jesus - My Funny Nose -

The American Tragedy: A Symbolic Event, Manifest Revelation
... The two olive trees of Revelation 11, also called lampstands and prophets, represent Great Britain and the USA, as the Tribes of the covenant passed down from ... -

... 6. Daniel 9:27 - "And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon ...
... that Adam’s creation and fall came is in the Age of Cancer 8850 BC, then Noah in Gemini 6690 BC, Abram in Taurus 4530 BC, Abraham’s covenant in Aries 2370 ...

... And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly..... And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land ... -

... ETHIOPEAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Evangelical Covenant. Greek-Russian. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Lutheran Church ...

... earth. 9:11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. 9 ... -

... The scriptures say their plots shall utterly fail, their Empire shall be dissolved, their covenant and agreement with hell disannulled, and they "shall utterly ...

... away ungodliness from Jacob. (27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Zeph. 1:14 - "The great ... -

... See automatic writing for today Topic is the Ark of the Covenant. ... God requires obedience, whether one is under the old or the new covenant. ...
The Psalms
... 25:10 All the paths of Yahweh are loving kindness and truth To such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. ... He will show them his covenant. ...

and. LIFE BEYOND. compiled by Dee Finney. STRUGGLING WITH 11:11 - PART I. STRUGGLING WITH 11:11 - AARON'S ROD - ARK OF THE COVENANT. Yggdrasil Tree. ...
... And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast ...
SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS HOPSCOTCH. THE DREAM AND THE REALITY. compiled by Dee Finney. 8-16-2001. 8-16-2001 - VISION - I saw a vision ...

... He has come as the long-awaited Maitreya to guide humanity into the Everlasting Covenant with God. ©2001 Louix Dor Dempriey. ...

The American Tragedy: A Symbolic Event, Part Two
... I read the verse when I arrived home. A footnote refers to Daniel 9:27, which I then read: "And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for ... -

Sacred Numbers to Resuscitate the Dead - Lazarus and Awakening the ...
... Greek Temple of Delphi; or to the "Even Shetiyah Stone" ["Jacob’s Pillar-Stone"], which was the base stone upon which set the "ark-of-the-covenant" in the ...

... 15. Because ye have said, 1 We have made 1 a covenant with death, and with hell are we at 1 agreement; when the overflowing 6 scourge 7885 shall pass through, 4 ... -

Cinnamon Buns and the BeaST
... Techniques for Shadow Dancers. -----end quote-----. Also See: Arc of the Covenant. -----Excerpt from:----. ...

... Metatron is usually shown holding a scroll in his hand. In some traditions, the Supreme Angel, Angel of the Covenant and Heavenly Scribe. ... -

... However venial sin does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with God. ... -

... But for those who obey and accept the call of God, my covenant is with them."Calamities and disaster from one place to another will continue to rise to warn My ... -


End Times Prophecy at Fatima
... goods. The path to peace is found only in God's mercy. "In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today ... -

... Isaiah 56:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; ...
STRUGGLING WITH 11:11. Compiled by Dee Finney. Barbara Garrick (Allison Perkins) from "One Life to Live". DREAM: STRUGGLING WITH 11:11. ...

... Daniel 9:27 - "And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon ... -

... Catechism of the Catholic Church: 66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public ... -

Humanity On The Pollen Path - Part Six
... suggested. Daniel 9:27 says a covenant with many was made for one week, and for half of the week the dessolating sacrilege would come. ...

... The print was in blue color but some of the words that were important were highlighted in brilliant gold. The one word I noticed in particular was COVENANT. ... -

... lose faith in the life I shall give you, you may come and live with me." The Hopi and all who were saved from the great flood made a sacred covenant with the ...

The American Tragedy: A Symbolic Event, Part One
... brothers. Their substitute mother was a she-wolf. This fits with some of the same ideas concerning the brothers of the covenant. Rome's ... -

Revelation 11:11
... There is a footnote reference to Daniel 9:27, which I then read: "And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall ... -

... by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." (Heb.2:3) "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if ...

... 9. The re-discovery of the Ark of the Covenant, and the implications to the Jewish people regarding the discovery of their Messiah's blood on the mercy seat ... -

... and almighty God;[2] having his being in and of himself,[3] and giving being to all his words [4] and works:[5] and that he is a God in covenant, as with ... -

... earth. (Ezekiel's experience of the wheel within the wheel). It establishes a covenant of Light with the higher Beings of Light. It ... -

... And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous." Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "As for me, this is ... -

... 12 If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant and follow the decrees that I teach them, then your royal line will never end." 13 For the LORD has chosen ...