Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 3

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-5

Hosea 3:0

The Love which Jehovah preserves towards the “Adulterous” People, and the Chastening in Love which He undertakes for their Conversion, again symbolically represented.

1 Then said the Lord [And Jehovah said] unto me, Go yet,1 love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord [Jehovah] toward the children of Israel, who look [and they turn] to other gods, and love flagons of wine2 [raisin-cakes]. 2So I bought her3 to me for a homer of barley and a half-homer of barley. 3And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide [remain quiet] for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. 4For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. 5Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord [Jehovah] their God, and David their king, and shall fear4 the Lord and his goodness in the latter days [shall tremble towards Jehovah and towards his goodness at the end of the days ].


Chapter 3 narrates a second symbolical action, in which the prophet has again to represent by his relations to a women the relation of God to Israel. But as regards this relation, that which is to be presented to the senses is essentially different from that which the symbolical action of chap. 1 was to present. There the sin of Israel was to be symbolized, with the judgment which Jehovah would inflict upon Israel for their idolatry. Here there is no distinct reference to these. It might be assumed of itself that a simple repetition of the comparison would be inadmissible. We must rather expect an advance. This is found when we consider that we are no longer at the beginning as in chap. i, but that the whole exposition, from Hosea 2:1 onwards, lies between, and especially the section Hosea 2:4 ff., where it is clearly stated that Israel will be deservedly punished, but only because of God’s love in order that they may by chastisement be led to return and secure his favor. This announcement is presupposed in our chapter, which naturally stands in close relation to chap. 1. But as the latter chapter forms a beginning, so also does it form a conclusion. For here we have not to do with the judgment, as such, which Israel has to suffer, the judgment of rejection, but with the symbolical declaration, that God loves Israel, must chasten them, but does so only out of love, only because He will not cast them off. The symbolizing of this love of God is shown expressly in Hosea 3:1, to be the main object of this purely symbolical transaction, and the emphasis is therefore placed upon the command, to “love,” laid upon the prophet, which is inserted designedly. The sequel shows of what kind this love is, and what is its aim. Hosea 3:1-3 describe the symbolical action. Hosea 3:4-5 afford its explanation and inform us of its object.

Hosea 3:1. And Jehovah said to me: go once more, etc. The reference to Hosea 1:2 is clear even by the collocation of עוֹד and לֵךְּאֱהַב is essential, as already hinted, and therefore cannot be modified into a mere קח (Hosea 1:2) [=take], on account of the עֹד לֵךְ, which expresses the repetition of the former action. It is only the הָלַךְ that needs to be repeated, in relation to the woman. But what the prophet is to do this time in respect to the woman is אהב. This must express not merely a disposition to love (for a command, and especially the command לֵךְ, would not agree with this, expressing as it does an outward act), but an attestation or effectuation of love. Yet this presupposes an inclination to love; in so far it is demanded of the prophet. For he is to represent the conduct of God, and in that his displays of love spring from a loving mind. The prophet is to love a woman who is not in the least worthy of love—to love whom one feels and can feel no desire. אשָׁה אהֻבת רֵעַ וּמנָאֶפֶת. Looking to the second epithet the sense is clear: committing adultery. Thus the prophet must marry an adulterous woman. This can scarcely be a woman who has been unfaithful to her marriage with another. It might be supposed, indeed, that she had been separated from her husband, and it would be difficult to love such a woman, as she gives no guarantee of her fidelity. But nothing is said of any such separation from another, and the tertium comparationis is just the fact that the prophet acts after the analogy of God, and therefore must love a woman who is unfaithful to her marriage with himself. But the difficulty lies in the indefiniteness of the time indicated by the part. מנאפת. Keil takes it to be future = who will become adulterous: naturally, if the woman is one who is first married to the prophet. But the difficulties which attend the explanation as future are less patent with Keil, for he regards קַח=אֱהַב, which, however, is arbitrary. If we take אֱהַב as אֱהַב, it is felt immediately that it cannot be simply a future adultery that is here meant. It is meant that love coexists with adultery at present existing, by which love is not destroyed, but rather is displayed to the adulteress as that which she had trifled with by her infidelity. Hence love is here rather something that is to follow. Only so is it the representative of the attitude of God which is here depicted. For God has indeed loved Israel, though He knew they would afterwards be unfaithful to Him. But it is not that which happened once that is to be exhibited by the prophet, but that which is now transpiring, the present conduct of God towards Israel (as in chap. 1 the present conduct of Israel towards God, as Keil there correctly remarks; see above). It is this, that God does not withdraw his love from a spouse who has been and still is unfaithful. Besides, the supposition of a future adultery on the part of a wife whom the prophet is to take, is not admissible according to what follows. For the prophet in fulfilling the command makes this impossible for her (Hosea 3:3). And to suppose that she commits adultery in spite of this prohibition in Hosea 3:3 is against Hosea 3:4; for there a condition of Israel is described in which there is no longer adultery (idolatry). Finally, we may ask more generally, how we can call a woman who is to commit adultery at some future time, ?אּשָׁה מְנָאֶפֶת Therefore מנאפת is to be taken as a preterite or as a present = a woman who has been or is unfaithful to thee. And the conclusion is a necessary one, that a woman is supposed with whom the Prophet was already united. It would then be surprising, if it were quite forgotten in chap. 3 that a marriage of the prophet had already been described, and a new one were introduced. Such a broken, atomizing method of representation can hardly be imputed to a prophetic writer, especially as there is absolute necessity for understanding a reference to chap. 1 in the very matter in question. No, as our chapter presupposes the preceding in a general way, it presupposes chap. 1 specially; yet it naturally is not a repetition of the image, but an extension of it. There the prophet was commanded to marry a lewd woman (and to beget children by her). When such a woman is married she is no longer a whore, but an adulteress. For a woman, once characterized as אֵשֶׁת זְנוּנים, naturally retains that character, and when married will be אִשָׁה מְנָאֶפֶת. It is thus that she appears in chap. 3. And as first the prophet was to marry a whorish woman, so now he is to love the whorish woman as married, i.e., an adulterous wife. Compared with the other this is something higher, something new. The former was to exhibit a disturbed actual condition of things,—the existing inversion of the normal relations between God and Israel (and in the children the deserved punishment); the latter a comforting truth, the desired restitution of those relations. (We might add: As the unpropitious names of the children have been changed into their opposites, the same thing happens in a certain sense in the unpropitious marriage. There it was said: Thou must take a wife just because she is a whore, and so testify against Israel’s sin and of their rejection, and now: Thou must love her although she is an adulteress, and so testify of Israel’s hope). And as something essentially different is to be symbolized by this relation of the prophet to his wife, it is not to be wondered at—which cannot be denied,—that the form of the discourse is such that something altogether new appears to begin, or that it appears as though the prophet were now for the first time being brought into relations with this woman. We have here again an indication that we have not to do with real, actual events. A narrative of an actual marriage of the prophet is not given; he is only conceived of as standing in that relation, and since it is only a feigned condition of things, it can very well be viewed first from one side, and then, without any preparation, from another. The woman is naturally called אִשָּׁה, not חָאִשָּׁה. For the emphasis lies upon the predicates; his wife appears here as an adulterous woman = love (in thy wife) an adulterous woman. The absence of the article can therefore not be urged against the identity of this woman with the former. This identity is, in fact, only presupposed in the command of our chapter. The main point is that the Prophet may be thought of (1) as being already married, (2) as experiencing his wife’s adultery. No importance is attached to the person of the woman, for no actual event is described. If this were the case, a woman, living in wedlock with the Prophet, could not be spoken of as this one is here described. From this it is evident that we have here only the symbolizing of religious truth; as soon as this is accomplished the person of the woman possesses no further interest.

The suffix in אֶכּרֶהָ (Hosea 3:2), also appears to allude to a well known woman, and this cannot be disposed of by Keil’s remark that the suffix refers simply to the woman mentioned in Hosea 3:1. For according to Keil’s view a woman is only described in Hosea 3:1; it is only said what kind of woman she is. This mere predicate of a woman whose person is as yet undefined cannot afterwards be supplied by a personal pronoun but only by: such a woman, or, since that expression is unknown to the Hebrew, by repeating the whole predicate: a woman beloved, etc., if her name were not to be given. The pers. pron. would presuppose that the person named in Hosea 3:1 was already well defined, and not simply a person of the kind described. But this woman is further described as אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ, and that before the other predicate. The sense has been taken differently: (1) = beloved by a paramour, and therefore parallel with מנאפת, or the latter would express its consequence: beloved by a paramour, and so committing adultery. (2) “Since רֵע in Jeremiah 3:20 denotes a husband but never an adulterous paramour,” the phrase is supposed = beloved by a husband and yet practicing adultery. But it is certainly incorrect to say that רע can be understood only of a husband and not of a paramour. It means paramour in Jeremiah 3:1, at all events. It means simply: one with whom one has intercourse, a companion, and specially in the relations of love: one beloved (see the lexicons). The word does not determine whether the intercourse be lawful or not. Therefore the notion of the marriage relation must not be imported into the word, and we must remain by the sense: beloved one (friend, companion). If the marriage relation is indicated, רֵעַ is abstracted from this relation as such, and only its inner side, so to speak, the love that is felt in the married state, is brought into view. Now it is just this disposition of love that is to be emphasized in this connection, and therefore רֵעַ is chosen designedly. The word would thus be just as suitable used of illicit as of conjugal love. But it is especially in favor of the latter that, so far as the conduct of the woman is brought before us, she appears as the (guilty) subject of a love directed towards another, and is therefore to be represented actively, not passively, as the object of a love displayed by another; hence the passive expression: אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ, would give an unsuitable sense if it should mean: beloved by a paramour. Israel is essentially one who turns to paramours, runs after them unremittingly, while, on the other hand, Israel is the object of the Husband’s love from the beginning, and is here represented as receiving it. Therefore in the figurative presentation also the love is regarded as coming from, and being bestowed by the husband upon the wife. (It would be otherwise if we had a different punctation: אֹהֶבֶת). Hence the sense is: Love a woman, who, although beloved by her friend, has yet become an adulteress. Her sin is thus sharply stigmatized, that the love enjoined may appear in greater contrast to it and as something unmerited. This view of אִַהֻבַת רֵעַ shows all the more the untenableness of any reference to a woman whom the Prophet must now marry. For that phrase would then allude to some person who now appears for the first time. But what meaning would there be in the command: love a woman who will or is to be beloved by her husband, i.e., by thee? The notion would be more tolerable only if אהב be (with Keil) modified into קַח which is, however, certainly inadmissible. The words: as Jehovah loves the children of Israel, etc., indicate expressly that what the prophet is to do has a symbolical meaning, and declares also what that meaning is. For they are plainly not merely to be connected (Keil) with אהבת רע ומנאפת = (love) a woman who, although beloved by her husband, commits adultery, and who acts as does Israel, who was loved by God and yet, etc. It is more natural to refer them to the command which the prophet received. This command of God, in itself so surprising and exacting, receives by them its symbolical explanation. It is laid upon him only that he may thus exhibit the love of God, who loves his people and manifests that love, in spite of their unfaithfulness, and by the love enjoined upon him he is to represent and assure to the people this love of God. כְּאַחְבַת does not merely indicate the reason why the prophet is to love this woman, but it declares also how he is to do so: he must not merely “love” in the general, but must love after that definite manner in which Jehovah loves the children of Israel (which is shown immediately thereafter). And love raisin-cakes. These must have been connected in some way with idolatrous worship: they probably belonged to the offerings presented to the idols, and eaten at the idol-festivals. Hence we are to understand first an image of idol-worship, whose enticing dainties are contrasted with the hard and healthy fare of the serious religion of Jehovah. But this special feature of the worship is chosen in order to show the service to be something agreeing with the flesh, satisfying the sensual nature; which explains the more easily Israel’s apostasy, and at the same time includes a bitter reproach: “They forget their God for the sake of dainties.”

Hosea 3:2-3. Then I purchased her for myself for fifteen silverlings, etc. In Hosea 3:2 we necessarily find the fulfillment of the command of Hosea 3:1, the אהב there enjoined. This is a guide to the exposition. With כֶּסֶף we must supply שֶׁכֶל:fifteen shekels of silver. Homer is the name of a dry measure = a cor, or ten baths or ten ephahs (see Ezekiel 45:11), לֶתֶךְ = a half homer. Together = a homer and a half or fifteen ephahs. The money value of this quantity of barley cannot be determined; for it is arbitrary to suppose, because fifteen ephahs are mentioned along with fifteen shekels of silver, that therefore they are of equal value, and that an ephah of barley was worth an ephah of silver. An agreement of the numbers would then have been avoided; nothing would have been said of the fifteen ephahs, and an altogether different measure would have been given. Nothing is to be concluded from 2 Kings 7:1-18, nor from Exodus 21:32, if, indeed, the latter can be at all connected with this verse. It is supposed that the passage in Exodus affords the key to the understanding of our passage, and the thirty pieces of silver are sought here the more earnestly. Thirty pieces of silver are there stated to be the price of a slave, and it is supposed that the Prophet paid the same sum for the woman in order to symbolize the state of bondage from which God redeemed Israel. But Kurtz rightly rejects this explanation of the passage and its application to our verse, on the ground that there it is not the price of a slave that is alluded to, but the compensation allowed for a slave killed on account of the carelessness of another. In the latter case it was just as allowable and fitting to fix one and the same price without respect to age, sex, and constitution, as it would have been wrong and foolish to fix the market price under the same conditions. For in the former case (of killing) the responsibility was just the same no matter who the slave might be, a strong man, or a woman, or a decrepit or aged person. Zechariah 11:12 might better be compared. But this passage does not speak of the price of a slave, and besides, it is an arbitrary assumption that our passage speaks of thirty shekels’ worth. So we are shut up to an explanation of our passage from itself alone, and we have no sure ground for believing that a redemption from bondage is alluded to. On the other hand, we are not justified in assuming a purchase of the woman from her parents with the pieces of silver, etc., for “it cannot be shown that it was a custom with the Israelites to purchase the bride from her parents” (Keil). Keil therefore holds that the fifteen silverlings, etc., are something given to the woman. Of course it cannot be meant that the pieces of silver, etc., were given to the present paramour of the woman. Such an offering would be itself surprising: but we must also remember that the woman is not conceived of as being adulterously connected with a paramour. What now does וָאֶכְּרֶהָ mean? It is clear that the meaning “dig” is unsuitable here, for the explanation of Hengstenberg, from Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17, is strange and awkward. In Genesis 50:5; Deuteronomy 2:6; Job 6:27; Job 40:30, it has the meaning: purchase, make a bargain; in the last two passages with עַל of the person or thing for or about which the bargain was made: in the first two with an accusative = to purchase, buy; in the first with לְ, of the person who is bought: in the second with בְּ, of the price paid. So also here: I purchased her to me for, etc. This certainly appears not to agree with our explanation of chap. 3, which we hold is concerned with a woman with whom the prophet is already married; but this contradiction is only apparent. For, though the woman is married to the prophet, she is yet an adulterous wife, and has therefore renounced her husband (compare Israel’s attitude towards God). If he “loves” her still, and would prove to her his enduring love, he must act towards her as one who weds a wife, he must purchase her, like a stranger, with a bridal gift. If this points to the guilt, the extreme estrangement of the woman, it shows also directly the endurance of the husband’s love that he should act thus, that he should treat as a bride a degraded, adulterous wife, from whom it would he most natural to cut himself entirely loose, that he should even give her a bridal present in opposition to all natural inclinations! Yet this is not a blind love, but it corresponds to the circumstances of the case (compare God’s attitude towards Israel), a love which involves a beneficial chastening. This is indicated in our verse. It is assuredly not without design that a production of nature forms part of the gift. It shows that it was intended for the support of life. It is probably indicated that the woman is not yet taken into the husband’s house; for such a gift would then have no meaning. Further, the bridal gift is such a one as the wife had the least right to claim or expect: a token that her husband loves her still and will not cut himself off wholly from her. And if this cannot be maintained with certainty, it is still probable (barley was among the ancients a food but little esteemed) that this whole present was not at all a rich one, but only barely sufficient, especially if we can assume that it was to last “many days.” Hosea 3:3 gives additional information as to the action of the prophet described in Hosea 3:2, יָמים רַבִּים, an indefinite period of long duration: the end will depend upon the conduct of the wife. תֵּשְׁבִי לִי. יָשַׁב=to sit, i.e., “to keep quiet. The לִי shows that such conduct was to be observed with reference to the husband, that he so disposes of her from love to her, in order to improve her and educate her to become his faithful wife.” יָשַׁב לִי therefore does not mean: dwell with me. What was remarked in Hosea 3:2 proves this already, and the meaning of ver 4, especially, would not suit such a sense, for a relation of communion with God is here denied. The difficult words וְגַם אֲני אֵלַיךְ, are probably to be explained in a corresponding manner with the recent expositors: and I will be so towards thee, namely, observe the same conduct towards thee, i.e., have no conjugal intercourse with thee. Another explanation is: and I also will hold myself ready for thee, wait for thee, i.e., not take any other wife. This is possible in itself, but not suitable to Hosea 3:4, which contains the explanation of Hosea 3:3. For this verse contains only a negative thought (see on Hosea 3:4). Therefore the sense of the whole is: The Prophet displays unmerited love towards his adulterous wife, according to the command אֱהַב for, like a bridegroom he again acquires her with a bridal gift. But this love has also for its object the improvement of the wife, and he therefore manifests his love in such a manner as to secure that end. He cares for her support, but limits her allowance that she may learn salutary humility. He naturally interdicts her adulterous habits, but does not at once resume his conjugal intercourse with her. This is therefore a manifestation of love of a disciplinary character, but still essentially of love,—just as is that of God toward Israel.

Hosea 3:4. For many days will the children of Israel sit, etc. Hosea 3:4 is the explanation (כִּי=for) of Hosea 3:3. Three pairs of objects are named of which the children of Israel shall be deprived. King and prince—holders of the civil government, which will therefore cease in Israel. Also the worship will cease with it. This is represented by the two following, זֶבַח, sacrifice, and מַצֵּבָה, statues, defining the sense more closely. Besides these, two objects used as oracles are mentioned: the ephod, which was strictly the High-priest’s shoulder-garment, with the Urim and Thummim, which was put on or brought out when oracles were given. It is brought into view here evidently not in relation to the High-priest, but on account of its connection with oracles in general, as its use was imitated even by idolaters in worship (Judges 17:5; Judges 18:14; Judges 18:17-18; Judges 18:20). The תְּרָפִים were also used for the same purpose. They are equivalent to Penates (comp. Zech. 19:2; Ezekiel 21:26), and in the passage cited from Judges are mentioned along with the ephod. Whether the sense is that Israel will have neither the worship of Jehovah nor idolatry, remains doubtful. For, according to what has been said, the ephod does not directly imply the worship of Jehovah; still less does זֶבַח. Probably the distinction between the two is not implied, but worship simply indicated. The condition of things is described as one of the deprivation of that which had been Israel’s support (king and prince) and joy and consolation (sacrifice, etc.); and the important fact is that idolatry should cease. This should be effected against Israel’s desire, would be a punishment like the cessation of their own government, civil independence; but the punishment is a chastening in love, a token that God had not forgotten Israel. It is true that this positive truth, of a manifestation of love, lies in the background in our verse, which wears a negative aspect. But this love was declared in Hosea 3:1 to be the main thought, and in Hosea 3:5 (whose purport, moreover, transcends the symbol) it appears quite clearly by the issue to be the object in view.

Hosea 3:5. Afterwards will the children of Israel return:a post hoc which includes, however, clearly a propter hoc, i.e., the situation described in Hosea 3:4 is an essential coöperating factor. Will seek Jehovah their God and David their king. “Seeking Jehovah their God is connected with seeking David their king. For as the apostasy of the ten tribes from the kingdom of David was only the consequence and result of its inner apostasy from Jehovah, so the true return to God could not take place without a return to their king David, since God had promised the kingdom to David forever in his seed (2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16); thus David is the only true king of Israel—their king” (Keil). The family of David is probably primarily meant, and more strictly, a king of that family. The conclusion, “at the end of the days,” alludes to the Messianic period, according to prophetic usage elsewhere; hence we are justified in assuming the Messiah to be also meant here. Will tremble towards Jehovah.פָּחַד, to tremble; with אֶל it forms a pregnant expression: tremble hastening towards. It is a stronger expression for the preceding בִּקִּשׁ = seek with anxiety, since the needed help is found in the One sought; therefore sought with solicitude, although He assuredly will be found, because He is the seeker’s only dependence. This is thus the direct contrast to the former abandonment of Jehovah and seeking help in idols. What is sought in God is his goodness, especially in his gifts, of which they had been deprived (comp. Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:17). On the end of the days see the preceding remarks. This is therefore the end of the “many days,” or the fuller explanation of אַחַר.

[The discussion given above of this chapter is so full and able, both as to its general purport and as to its special features, that no additions are necessary from any writer holding the identity of the woman here described with that of chap. 1. The force of some of the arguments employed is over-estimated, and others, as is readily perceived, are too largely based on mere speculation, yet the general results go to show the strong probability of the correctness of this hypothesis and of its consequences, where they affect the interpretation of individual passages. The recent English commentators agree with the majority of the moderns in holding this view. Newcome adopts the old opinion that the Prophet’s former wife (Gomer) had died in the interval. Noyes thinks that it is immaterial whether the women are identical or not. The fullness of the discussion of the several minor features of this short chapter precludes the necessity of additions from the remarks of Anglo-American expositors, which are, moreover, usually of a comparatively general nature. On some points, as, for example, the object of the “purchase” of the woman, and its symbolical meaning, the difficulties cannot be said to be yet satisfactorily solved.—M.]


1. On the love of Jehovah to Israel, which endures in spite of all unfaithfulness, but does not forget to chasten, see the Introduction, and especially No. 1 in the Doctrinal and Ethical section attached to chap. 2.

2. A condition of things, such as that threatened in Hosea 3:4, characterized the kingdom of the ten tribes when they were led away into exile by Assyria; and in this we can see a fulfillment, although nothing is said of any captivity, and in fact nothing of the manner in which the kingdom and worship should cease. It is very doubtful, to say the least, whether we can claim for the threatening a wider range, and make it apply also to the kingdom of Judah. Nothing can be adduced from the resemblance to the threatening which the Prophet Azariah uttered against Judah in the days of Asa (2 Chronicles 15:2; 2 Chronicles 15:4). For Hosea 3:5 of our chapter points too clearly to the kingdom of the ten tribes, and no judgments are pronounced against Judah until the later chapters, which belong to a later period. The threatening goes hand in hand with the promise. The latter holds out, first of all, a return, which, according to the words: shall seek Jehovah their God, is to be taken as a contrast to the resort made to other gods (Hosea 3:1). According to the promise they will also seek David their king. [See the passage quoted from Keil in the exegetical section.] The house of David is naturally the primary object of the reference. For in returning thither they acknowledge the divine right of David to the kingdom. This promise is shown here indubitably to be Messianic by the expression: “at the end of the days,” which “does not denote the future in general, but always the coming consummation of the kingdom of God, which begins with the advent of the Messiah.” (Keil.) We cannot, therefore, find the fulfillment in that which happened in the return from the Babylonian exile, apart from the consideration that that event affected mainly the kingdom of Judah, while here the kingdom of Israel is the subject of discourse; thus the promise was not then fulfilled. Hence the question is suggested here also: Since this promise was not fulfilled to Israel even with the coming of the Messiah, has it fallen to the ground, or is the fulfillment yet to be expected? According to what has been remarked under chap. 1, both questions are to be answered in the negative, and the answer rather is: The fulfillment has already begun in Him, in whom all the promises of God are Yea and Amen, but in another and far higher sense than the Prophet imagined, who saw the people of God in Israel alone. Separating the kernel from the husk, we must, upon the ground of the New Covenant, see the fulfillment in the gathering of a people of God around a descendant of David who was greater than David’s son,—around Christ. And so, though this is not the literal meaning of the promise, “King David” that one of David’s family who was to be sought after, is the Messiah. In this Son of David it is fulfilled, though not yet completely. The promise is still in course of fulfillment, and to its perfect fulfillment is specially necessary the universal conversion of Israel to Christ, but, as is natural, not merely the people of the ten tribes, here literally indicated.


Hosea 3:1. Luther: Let us cease to fear the wrath and judgment of God on account of our sins, and believe what the Prophet says, that God is like a husband who, although he has been deserted by an adulterous wife and is angry thereat, is yet more impelled by mercy, than urged by the sin of the adulteress, and wins her back to hislove. And truly has the Prophet in two respects set forth great things. For, in the first place, he could not describe sin as being more dreadful than he here pictures it in the sin of the adulteress. And, again, he extols highly the love of God by this image, when he says that He is animated by love towards the adulteress.

[Pusey: His love was to outlive hers, that He might win her at last to Himself. Such, God says, is the love of the Lord for Israel.—M.]

[Hosea 3:2. Matthew Henry: Those whom God designs honor and comfort for He first makes sensible of their own worthlessness, and brings them to acknowledge with the prodigal: “I am no more worthy to be called thy son.” Poverty and disgrace sometimes prove a happy means of making great sinners penitent. Comp. the Exegetical remarks.—M.]

Hosea 3:4. Although it is a great punishment of God, that a government should be cast down, it is yet a much greater punishment that liberty should be taken away to serve God and teach his Word.

Luther: Hosea 3:5. These are glorious words of the Prophet who thus combines God and Christ in worship, so that, when we call upon God, we should do so through Christ; when we hope in the mercy of God we hope through Christ that God would have mercy on us.

[Pusey: So God’s goodness overflows with beneficence and condescension, and graciousness and mercy and forgiving love, and joy in imparting Himself, and complacence in the creatures which He has reformed, and refound, redeemed, and sanctified for his glory. Well may his creatures tremble towards it with admiring wonder that all this can be made theirs!—M.]


Hosea 3:1; Hosea 3:1.—עוֹד might, especially to gain a relation to תְּחִלַּת (Hosea 1:2), be connected with וַיּאֹמֶר. But there is no sufficient ground for a change in the accentuation. The reference to Hosea 1:2 is clear by the connection with לֵךְ.

[2][Hosea 3:1.—The translation of the last two words of Hosea 3:1, in E. V.: “flagons of wine,” which is that of Junius, Tremellius, and others, and the various other renderings, have not been due to different readings, but to misconceptions of the meaning of אַשִׁישֵׁי. The only variation of reading seems to have been that held by Aquila, who translates: παλαιὰ, having read יְשִׁישֵׁי.—M.]

[3][Hosea 3:2.—וָאֶכְּרֶהָ has here daghesh-forte separative. See Green, Gr., § 24 b; Ewald, § 90 c (b); Böttcher, § 229, 3; 399 b (1). Note the repetition of שְׂעֹרִים as characteristic of the Hebrew. It might be better to avoid the like construction in English, as many have done, by rendering: a homer-and-a-half of barley. See the exposition.—M.]

Hosea 3:5; Hosea 3:5.—פחדו וג is a pregnant construction: tremble (and come) toward Jehovah and toward his goodness.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Hosea 3". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/hosea-3.html. 1857-84.
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