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This Chapter is a very proper continuance to the subject in the former. The Lord had said that Ephraim should be let alone, having joined himself to idols; and here is related the sad consequences. The Chapter closes, however, with the prospect of mercy.
It should seem, that in the days of the Prophet, such was the general defect in the pure worship of the God of Israel, that even the priests and the great men openly opposed the truth. Mizpah and Tabor were places that lay in the path between Samaria and Jerusalem, so that if any poor Israelite ventured to go up to worship the Lord, those priests watched out to oppose him. Reader! think it not strange, such conduct, for the true spiritual followers of the Lord in every age are dealt with in like manner, and by the like people. The bitterest enemies of Christ's people are among the professors of Christ. The offence of the cross hath not ceased!
The Prophet Hosea useth many similitudes, in order to convey yet more forcibly his divine truths; but the whole of what is here said, is much to one and the same purpose; namely, the defection of Israel, and the Lord's displeasure. This is a time of Jacob's trouble. None but the Lord can bring him out of it.
If we read those scriptures spiritually, and with an eye to Christ, (and in this sense will they be particularly profitable,) we discover in them the weakness of all human attainments, and all human strength, to recover from the ruins of the fall. Jareb, the Assyrian, is a type of the inefficacy of all human means to cure soul-sickness, and to heal the wounds of sin. None can rescue or deliver, neither can any remedy be found, until the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is known, and felt, in the sovereignty of his power, and formed in the heart the hope of glory.
MY soul dost thou behold in this Chapter, the false teachers here described? Ponder well the awfulness of such characters, who to please men, and find favor with the great, set their nets in the Mizpahs, and Tabors, of the present hour, to harass and afflict the people of God. Whatever Hosea knew of this in his day, he could not know more than the present time affords, of such deceivers and antichrists. Surely there never was a period of the Church, when in what is called the Church itself, so little is known, and so little proclaimed, of the person, work, office, and character, of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Christ, if at all spoken of, is for the most part spoken of by such men, not as He really is, the whole sum and substance of the Bible the whole of ordinances; and of means of grace; but seen only in the back ground of the subject, and cautiously mentioned, and as cautiously recommended to the people. Reader! observe the Lord's jealousy, I beseech you, in this chapter, and mark it well. Oh! for grace to make Christ what God the Father makes him: the whole, substantially so, of all the covenant; yea, the very covenant itself. Jesus is the first, and the last; the author and finisher; the object, means, and end, of everything that concerns salvation. If we seek for pardon, where shall we seek it, but in Christ? If for peace, He, and he alone is our peace, when the Assyrian shall come up into our land. Need we a promise? Jesus is the sum of all, yea, himself the promise. He is the whole of the law; the substance of all the types, and shadows; the body of all the prophecies: to him give all the prophets witness. My soul! see that thou draw improvement from every scripture, in discovering Jesus in that scripture: for, until thou hast found Him, to whom all scriptures witness, and of whom all scriptures testify; thou knowest nothing yet, as thou oughtest to know. Blessed Lord! grant this, both to Writer and Reader, if it be thy blessed will, that we may know thee, whom truly to know is life eternal! Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Hosea 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25