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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Hosea 6

Verses 1-11

Hosea 6:2 . After two days will he revive us. The Chaldaic paraphrase gives a double acceptation to this text, that the Messiah should raise the dead, and that he should also revive and heal the church. Day is here understood in a figurative sense for age or dispensation. Israel saw a fine day compared with her captivity, when Cyrus restored them to their own country, and with gifts of gold. Israel saw a second day when the light of the glorious gospel of God our Saviour burst upon a beclouded age. It was, says Eusebius, like the sun enlightening the world at once. But whatever reviving the world received on the promulgation of the gospel, the third day, or glorious millennium, when Israel shall be restored, surpasses in excellence; for they shall be raised up to live in his sight, to enjoy his smiles, and to walk in the light of his countenance. Then all the wounds of Jacob shall be healed with the health of eternal life. But this passage may and ought to be understood of our Saviour’s resurrection. So St. Paul, and so the christian fathers apply the text, and with just propriety and force.

Hosea 6:3 . As the latter rain. Christ was to descend as the rain on the mown grass. The first rain watered the seeds in the apostles’ days. The latter rain, called the residue of the Spirit, shall fall just before the gentile harvest or fulness is gathered in. Thus the two seasons of the rain are improved to designate the economy of the Spirit.

Hosea 6:4 . Your goodness is as a morning cloud. See Psalms 133:3. The force of the words lies in the contrast between the Lord’s goodness, which is as the rain, and Ephraim’s repentance, which passed away as the morning cloud.

Hosea 6:6 . I desired mercy, and not sacrifice. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and a contrite heart. When Zaccheus proposed to give the half of his goods to the poor, it was more pleasing than whole burnt- offerings. Charity in the eyes of God, who is love, outshines all the ritual of exterior worship.

REFLECTIONS.

The prophet opens here a new discourse of invitations, of arguments, of sententious reasonings. Come, let us return to the Lord; he has torn us with wars, as the wild beasts tear the flocks; but his strokes are paternal, they have not destroyed us. In him is the refuge from the rod. Let us no more go to Pul, nor to Tiglath with presents; that would be to reproach the Lord, as though his arm could not save, as though he were faithless to his covenant.

The prophet, in the time of trouble, when Israel was torn and bleeding with wounds, springs into the arms of his Redeemer and suffering Saviour. The Lord hath torn, and he will heal us: after two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up. In this manner all the prophets fled to him in the time of trouble. Isaiah promised the virgin’s son to heal Judah when her armies were slain, and her cities burned: chap. 7, 8, 9. So the Eternal, the God of ages, was promised to become incarnate, to be born in Bethlehem when the judge of Israel was smitten with a rod on the cheekbone. Micah 5:2. It was the birthday of the church, when “Christ rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures.” The identical words of Hosea are cited by Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:4. To this refuge let us ever run; for he is a covert from the tempest, and the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

But let not our devotion be transient, as in former days, nor as the morning cloud, which gives illusive hopes of rain, and is followed by a scorching sun. What can afflict us more than to see a man rise from a bed of sickness, and return to all his former sins. To this vacillating character, the Lord will soon come with a rod of vengeance, as he came to Samaria with a sword. The priests who trifle with such a man’s conscience, resemble Baal’s priests, who are justly compared to troops of robbers.

In a word, nothing but the terrors of an angry God can touch the hearts of men whose sins are confirmed by habit. Oh Judah, “he hath set a harvest in the midst of thee.” The corn will soon be ripe. He is about to give the word to the Assyrian reapers, “Thrust in the sickle, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Therefore, oh Israel, return to the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hosea 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/hosea-6.html. 1835.