Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Hosea 2

Verses 2-23

The Discipline and Restoration of Faithless Israel

The unfaithful conduct of Gomer and the prophet's gentle treatment of her are regarded as an analogue of the nation's faithlessness and God's gentle correction, a proof of the love which will triumph in the end. But the acted parable and its interpretation are so blended that they cannot always be separated; and frequently the prophet's personal experience is overshadowed by the larger thought of God's dealings with His people.

2. Plead] addressed to Gomer's sons. The people Israel in this acted allegory are sometimes the sons, as in Hosea 2:1, but more generally the wife. When as here distinguished we may suppose that the prophet is appealing to those willing to hear to remonstrate with the faithless majority. There is a somewhat similar mixture of figure in Isaiah 62:5. She is not my wife] The people by their idolatry had put themselves into a false relation with Jehovah. He was no longer their God, nor they His people: cp. Hosea 1:9.

3, 4. As a punishment for her faithlessness, the country would be made desolate by an invading enemy, and the inhabitants slain with the sword. So would she be put to shame.

Children of whoredoms] By their idolatries the people had proved themselves to be children of other gods, the lovers of Hosea 2:5.

5. They worshipped the gods of the land—the local deities who were supposed to give abundant crops if propitiated. See Intro. They did not ascribe the fertility of the land to Jehovah, but to the local Baalim, who were personifications of the reproductive powers of nature, and in whose worship they had practically merged the worship of Jehovah.

6, 7. Through the disasters brought by a foreign enemy, including the siege of their cities, the people would discover the impotence of their idols, and seek Jehovah in earnest: cp. Hosea 14:3, etc. Make a wall] RV 'make a fence against her.'

7. Lovers] i.e. the Baalim.

8. They prepared for Baal] RM 'made into the image of Baal.' How absurd and how insulting to use God's gift in this way!

9. Will I.. take away] RV 'will I take back.' In the time thereof] i.e. when it should be ripe, the crop would fail. God would thus punish them for the abuse of His gift.

10. Her lovers] The idols would be ashamed, unable to help their devotees, when the land was laid waste. 11. Jehovah would put an end to her religious feasts of all kinds. New moons and sabbaths were the most distinctive feasts in connexion with the worship of Jehovah in the N. (1 Samuel 20:5; 2 Kings 4:23).

12. Rewards] RV 'hire': the bribe for which Israel had worshipped the idols (lovers) under the mistaken belief that they gave them these things: see on Hosea 2:5.

13. Baalim] RV 'the Baalim,' i.e. the images of Baal: cp. Hosea 2:8. The allusion here is to heathen or heathenish festivals looked upon as acts of faithlessness to Jehovah. They are spoken of as past in relation to the future judgment which Hosea has in mind, or because idolatry had from the first been the besetting sin of the northern kingdom.

14. Therefore, etc.] 'This being her miserable condition, I will entice her to repent by gentle discipline.' The key to such expressions lies in the tenderness felt by Hosea for his sinning wife (see Intro.). The wilderness] either the land of captivity in which she realises her sin and turns to God, or the land wasted by the enemy. Men allure to destruction: God allures to punishment, to make the outpouring of love possible. Comfortably] Heb. 'to her heart,' as in Isaiah 40:1, etc.

15. I will give] The vineyards destroyed by the enemy (Hosea 2:12) would be restored. Achor] i.e. trouble. Achor was the valley where Achan was stoned for his sin (Joshua 7:26). It was on this account called the valley of Achor, or trouble. What is meant by its use here is that, while the Israelites would find that as of old sin would be followed by punishment, the punishment was meant to purify and discipline, and the 'trouble' was thus the 'door of hope.' Though Israel had been again unfaithful, God was still 'plenteous in mercy.' Sing] RV 'make answer,' i.e. listen to the call of God.

16. Ishi.. Baali] Both words were used by a wife to her husband. The first, 'my man,' implied a relation of intimacy: the second, 'my lord,' that of servitude, or at least ownership. But the passage seems to imply that Baal, a common name for all heathen gods, had in common practice been used also of Jehovah. This would account for its appearing in several place-names, such as Baal-Hamon, Baal-Shalisha.

17. Baalim] RV 'the Baalim.' Whether they represented Jehovah or heathen gods, the names with their debasing associations would be utterly discarded.

18. Make a covenant] Jehovah is here represented poetically as making an agreement with, or laying a command upon, noxious animals, that they will not, it may be supposed, hurt either man or the fruits of his labours: cp. Isaiah 11:9. Break the bow, etc.] destroy the weapons of warfare no longer needed in a land of security: cp. Isaiah 9:5 (RV).

19, 20. The idols had hired Israel's love with gifts of worldly prosperity, and even these they could not really give (Hosea 2:12). Jehovah would woo Israel in the first place with much higher gifts, righteousness, judgment, etc.

21, 22. I will hear, etc.] The natural order of thought is reversed, because Jehovah (through the prophet) is speaking of His work. The whole thought is highly poetical. Jezreel ('God-soweth,' used for Israel, for the sake of the play on the word) cries for the com and wine and oil. These cry to the earth to produce them. The earth in its turn cries to the heaven for rain, and the rain cries to Jehovah to send it. Jehovah hears the cry, and so the heart's desire of the people is granted, even without their expressly asking Jehovah for it.

23. I will sow] With reference to the name Jezreel see on Hosea 1:4. Jehovah promises the renewed increase of the population: cp. Jeremiah 31:27.

I will have mercy] a repetition of the promises of Hosea 1:10; Hosea 2:1.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 2". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.