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Nave's Topical Bible - Gentiles; God Continued...; Israel, Prophecies Concerning; Jesus, the Christ; Prophecy; Quotations and Allusions; Scofield Reference Index - Christ; Wife; Thompson Chain Reference - Conversion; Gentiles; Missions, World-Wide; The Topic Concordance - Mercy; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Adoption; Mercy of God, the;
Verse Hosea 2:23. I will sow her — Alluding to the import of the name Jezreel, the seed of God. Then shall it appear that God has shown mercy to them that had not obtained mercy. Then the covenant of God will be renewed; for he will call them his people who were not his people; and they shall call Jehovah their God, who before had him not for the object of their worship. It does not appear that these promises have had their fulfilment among the Jews. They must either be understood of the blessings experienced by the Gentiles on their conversion to God by the preaching of the Gospel, or are yet to be fulfilled to the Jews on their embracing the Gospel, and being brought back to their own land.
The sentences in the latter part of this verse are very abrupt, but exceedingly expressive; leaving out those words supplied by the translators, and which unnerve the passage, it stands thus: I will say to NOT MY PEOPLE, THOU MY PEOPLE; and they shall say, MY GOD.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hosea-2.html. 1832.
Unfaithful Israel (2:2-23)
In Chapter 2 Hosea’s sons are apparently now grown up and Hosea asks them to plead with their mother to return to him. In the same way the minority of faithful believers in Israel plead with the faithless nation to return to God (2).
Israel’s adultery was to follow Baal instead of Yahweh. The people believed that Baal was the god of nature and he would give them happiness. Just as a husband could strip his unfaithful wife and send her away naked, so God will, by drought and conquest, strip Israel’s land, leaving it bare and fruitless (3-5).
God creates other hindrances designed to stop Israel from going after Baal and to help her return to him, but she persists in pursuing Baal. Only when she cannot get what she wants from Baal does she selfishly turn back to Yahweh, hoping he can do better for her (6-7).
In his grace God receives unfaithful Israel back, but by ruining the productivity of the land he will show her that he, not Baal, is the controller of nature (8-9). As an adulterous wife is shamed by being stripped naked, so the nation that is committing spiritual adultery with Baal will be shamed as her land is stripped bare (10-13).
After she acknowledges her wrong, God will win Israel back to himself. When Israel first entered her land, the Valley of Achor (GNB: Trouble Valley) brought warnings of judgment (see Joshua 7:22-26), but when she returns it will bring hope (14-15). No longer will she try to follow both Yahweh and Baal. Yahweh will be her only husband. In fact, she will be so determined to avoid any identification of Yahweh with Baal, that she will refuse to use the word baal when speaking of Yahweh as her husband or master. She will use the alternative word ish (16-17). Yahweh will protect her from all dangers, whether from the world of nature or from the world of people. He is God of nature and God of history (18).
The ‘re-marriage’ will be based on God’s standards and maintained by his loving faithfulness to the marriage covenant. Israel will know Yahweh and be inseparably united with him (19-20). He, the only God of nature, will then give to Israel the blessings of nature that she desired. The curses signified by the names of Hosea’s three children will then be turned into blessings (21-23).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/hosea-2.html. 2005.
"And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them that were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."
"I will sow her unto me in the earth ..." The double meaning of Jezreel again appears here, the term meaning either "God will scatter," or that "God will plant" (in the sense that God scatters seeds). Of course, it applies to both Israels. God will scatter the old Israel, but he will plant the new Israel all over the world. The dual prophecy inherent in this has been remarkably fulfilled throughout two millenniums!
"That had not obtained mercy ..." This verse also is a bold and definite prophecy of the receiving of the Gentiles into the New Covenant. Paul quoted both this verse and Hosea 1:10 in Romans 9:25-26, applying both passages to the current dispensation of Christ. For the same purpose, Peter also used the terminology of both these passages in 1 Peter 2:10. Thus, there can be no valid question of the Messianic import of this remarkable prophecy.
Despite the terrible judgment that fell upon the whore, no true Israelite was left out of these glorious promises:
"The same words promised the same mercy to both Jews and Gentiles, that all should be one in Christ, all one JEZREEL, one SPOUSE to Himself, one Israel of God, one Beloved; and that all with one voice of Jubilee should cry unto Him, My Lord and my God."
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/hosea-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
And I will sow her unto Me in the earth - She whom God sows, is the Church, of whom God speaks as her, because she is the Mother of the faithful. After the example of her Lord, and by virtue of His Death, every suffering is to increase her. “The blood of Christians was their harvest-seed” . “The Church was not diminished by persecutions, but increased and the field of the Lord was even clothed with the richer harvest, in that the seeds, which fell singly, arose multiplied” .
In the earth - “o He does not say “in their own land,” i. e., Judea, but “the earth.” The whole earth was to be the seed-plot of the Church, where God would sow her to Himself, plant, establish, cause her to increase, and multiply her mightily.” As he said, “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the pagan for Thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for Thy possession” Psalms 2:8. Of this sowing, Jews were the instruments. Of them according to the flesh, Christ came; of them were the Apostles and Evangelists and all writers of Holy Scripture; of them was the Church first formed, into which the Gentiles were received, being, with them; knit into one in Christ.
I will ... have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy - This which was true of Israel in its dispersion, was much more true of the Gentiles. These too, the descendants of righteous Noah, God had cast off for the time, that they should be no more His people, when he chose Israel out of them, to make known to them His Being, and His will, and His laws, and, (although in shadow and in mystery,) Christ who was to come. So God’s mercies again overflow His threatenings. He had threatened to Israel, that he should be “unpitied,” and no more His people; in reversing His sentence, He embraces in the arms of His mercy all who were not His people, and says of them all, that they should be “My people and beloved.” At one and the same time, was Israel to be thus multiplied, and “pity” was to be shown to those not pitied, and those who were “not God’s people,” were to become “His people.” At one and the same time were those promises fulfilled in Christ; the one through the other; Israel was not multiplied by itself; but through the bringing in of the Gentiles. Nor was Israel alone, or chiefly, brought into a new relation with God. The same words promised the same mercy to both, Jew and Gentile, that all should be “one in Christ,” all one Jezreel, one Spouse to Himself, one Israel of God, one Beloved; and that all, with one voice of jubilee. should cry unto Him, “my Lord and my God.”
And they shall say, Thou art my God, - (or rather, shall say, my God) There seems to be more affectionateness in the brief answer, which sums up the whole relation of the creature to the Creator in that one word, “Elohai, my God.” The prophet declares, as before, that, when God thus anew called them His people, they by His grace would obey His call, and surrender themselves wholly to Him. For to say, “my God,” is to own an exelusive relation to God alone. It is to say, my beginning and my end, my hope and my salvation, my whole and only good, in whom Alone I will hope, whom alone I will fear, love, worship, trust in, obey and serve, with all my heart, mind, soul and strength; my God and my all.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hosea-2.html. 1870.
The Prophet here takes the occasion to speak of the increase of the people. He had promised a fruitful and large increase of corn, and wine, and oil; but for what end would this be, except the land had numerous inhabitants? It was hence needful to make this addition. Besides, the Prophet had said before, ‘Though ye be immense in number, yet a remnant only shall be preserved.’ He now sets God’s new favor in opposition to his vengeance, and says, that God will again sow the people.
From this sentence we learn that the allusion in the word, Jezreel, has not been improperly noticed by some, that is, that they, who had been before a degenerate people and not true Israelites shall then be the seed of God: yet the words admit of two senses; for זרע saro, applies to the earth as well as to seed. The Hebrews say, ‘The earth is sown,’ and also, ‘The wheat is sown,’ or any other grain. If then the Prophet compares the people to the earth, the sense will be, I will sow the people as I do the earth; that is, I will make them fruitful as the earth when it is productive. It must then be thus rendered, I will sow her for me as the earth, that is, as though she were my earth. Or it may be rendered thus, I will sow her for myself in the earth, and for this end, that the earth, which was for a time waste and desolate, might have many inhabitants, as we know was the case. But the relative pronoun in the feminine gender ought not to embarrass us, for the Prophet ever speaks as of a woman: the people, we know, have been as yet described to us under the person of a woman.
And he afterwards adds, לא רוחמה, La-ruchamae. He speaks here either of La-ruchamae, an adulterous daughter, or an adulterous woman, whom a husband takes to himself. As to the matter itself, it is easy to learn what the Prophet means, which is, that God would diffuse an offspring far and wide, when the people had been brought not only to a small number, but almost to nothing: for how little short of entire ruin was the desolation of the people when scattered into banishment? They were then, as it has been stated, like a body torn asunder: the land in the meantime enjoyed its Sabbaths; God had disburdened it of its inhabitants.
We then understand the meaning of the Prophet to be, that God would multiply the people, that the small remnant would increase to a great and almost innumerable offspring. I will then sow her in the earth, that is, throughout the whole land; and I will have mercy on La-ruchamae, that is, I will in mercy embrace her, who had not obtained mercy; and I will say to the no-people, Ye are now my people We see that the Prophet insists on this, — That the people would not only seek the outward advantages of the present life, but would make a beginning at the very fountain, by regaining the favor of God, and knowing him as their propitious Father: for this is the meaning of the Prophet, of which something more will be said to-morrow.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hosea-2.html. 1840-57.
Say to your brethren ( Hsa Hosea 2:1 ),
And here he leaves out the Lo, which is the negative.
Say to your brethren, My people; and to your sister, Ruhamah ( Hsa Hosea 2:1 ).
Or, "having obtained mercy."
So the negative Lo is taken away in chapter 2.
And say to your brother, my people; and to your sister, having obtained mercy. Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her in a dry land, and slay her with thirst. And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, and my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up the way with thorns, and make a wall, and she shall not find her path. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but she shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for it was better with me than now ( Hsa Hosea 2:1-7 ).
So Israel's period of desolation, the period of wondering and wandering until she says, "I'm gonna return to my first husband. I'll return to God. It was at least better for me then that it is now."
For [the Lord said,] she did not know that I gave her the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness ( Hsa Hosea 2:8-9 ).
Failed to realize that their blessings had come to them from God. So often, as a nation is blessed of God, they forget the source of blessing. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee." But we forget that. We begin to extol the merits of democracy, the value of the free enterprise system. And we begin to attribute the greatness of America to many other things, forgetting that it was God who gave us the corn, the oil, and the wine, the gold, the silver; it was God that made us great. And we're prone to forget these things. And when you forget the true source of the blessing in your life, the result is the misuse of those blessings. Taking those very blessings that God has bestowed and misusing them, using them against God.
So the children of Israel were taking the wine, the oil that God had given, and they were offering it as a sacrifice unto Baal. They took the gold and the silver that God had blessed them with and they made little pagan idols of Baal or Molech and they worshipped them, taking the very blessings of God and turning them against God, as we so often see today. People who have been talented by God, given beautiful voices to sing with, and yet they are singing songs of blasphemy, suggestiveness. People have a marvelous talent for writing and they're writing pornographic material. Taking the very assets that God has given to them and using them against the Lord. Men that God has endowed with great brilliance, powerful intellects, and they use that intellect to try to prove that there isn't a God or to destroy the faith of others who may believe in God. Taking the very blessings of God and turning them against the Lord.
Now this, of course, God said, "I'll come and take I'll take away the corn in its time." You see, if you abuse those blessings of God, God will take them away. How many have lost those very things that God had given to them because of their misuse of them?
Now God said,
I will discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of my hand. I will also cause her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all of her solemn feasts. And I will destroy her vines, her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them ( Hsa Hosea 2:10-13 ),
Baalim, of course, being the plural of the Baals, the various lords, the various gods that they were burning incense to.
and she decked herself with earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me, saith the LORD ( Hsa Hosea 2:13 ).
And thus, God's indictment against Israel worshipping all these false gods, going after these false gods and forgetting the Lord.
Therefore, behold, [the Lord said,] I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her ( Hsa Hosea 2:14 ).
This is a prophecy of that time when during the Great Tribulation God will bare a portion of the nation of Israel down to the wilderness where He will protect them for the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation period. In Revelation, chapter 12, we read where God will give them wings of an eagle that they might be born to the wilderness place where they will be nourished for three and a half years. Jesus mentioning this said, "When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, flee into the wilderness. Don't bother to go back to your house to get your coat" ( Matthew 24:15-18 ). And God will preserve them and keep them. Isaiah 26 , "He will hide them until the tribulation is over, until the indignation is overpast" ( Isaiah 26:20 ).
"Therefore, behold," the Lord said, "I will allure her." God is going to begin to deal again with the nation of Israel as He preserves them from the man of sin during the Great Tribulation period. "I will bring her into the wilderness, and there I will speak comfortably to her."
And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope ( Hsa Hosea 2:14-15 ):
Now the valley of Achor is that valley that comes from Jericho up through to Bethel. It was in the valley of Achor the trouble (the word Achor is "trouble") is where, when they had conquered the city of Jericho and the children of Israel were moving into the land where there was this little town of Ai, and some of Joshua's men said, "Hey, don't send the whole army. We'll go over and we'll wipe out Ai and we'll bring you all of the loot." And so they went over and the men of Ai came out against them and began to defeat them. They came running back to Joshua and Joshua fell on his face and began to pray and the Lord says, "Why are you crying unto Me? Why are you praying now? If everything was all right you would have had victory, but there's sin in the camp." And so the Lord revealed that Achan, one of the men of Israel, had taken some of the loot from Jericho, which was all to be given to the Lord. He said, "You know, the first belongs to Me. The rest, as you go into the land, you can divide among yourself, but the first belongs to Me." Firstfruits always unto God. Jericho, the firstfruit, as they conquer the land, all belongs to God.
Well, Achan saw this beautiful Babylonish garment and he hid it in his own tent and all. And so the Lord reveals the sin of Achan, and it was dealt with there in the valley of Achor, the valley of trouble. They called the place Achor after the trouble that Achan, he said, "For you have troubled Israel." And so this valley where Israel was troubled, of course, coming up out of the Jordan valley into the land again will be the door of hope to the people.
and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt ( Hsa Hosea 2:15 ).
As in, after the Great Tribulation period when the Lord returns and these people then come from the wilderness, they will make their way back up into Israel through this valley of Achor and there they will be singing as they did years ago in the times of Joshua as they were coming into the land that God had promised, with singing and rejoicing. So, therefore, they shall come and sing in the heights of Zion and this glorious day in the future.
And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [that is, my husband]; and no longer Baali ( Hsa Hosea 2:16 ).
Now Baali is, of course, is lord but it is using that pagan term Baal. So you don't call him, "My Lord," but you'll be calling him, "My husband."
For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and I will make them to lie down safely ( Hsa Hosea 2:17-18 ).
That's equivalent to Isaiah's prophecy where they will beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks and all. And they will make a covenant with the animals. The animals will no longer be vicious. The lion will lie down, or the lion will eat grass with the ox and a little child shall lead them. The animal kingdom will again be at peace. In those days you women won't have to have that abhorrence of snakes or all anymore or worried spiders or things of this nature. God is going to bring peace over the whole earth. No more wars and people will lie down in peace and in safety.
And I will betroth thee unto me for ever ( Hsa Hosea 2:19 );
God is going to just restore forever.
yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. And I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD ( Hsa Hosea 2:19-20 ).
This is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. Still in the future when this glorious work of God is wrought upon the people of Israel and upon that nation.
And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God ( Hsa Hosea 2:21-23 ).
And so the restoration. And this of course, you remember, as Peter was speaking in the book of Acts, he said, "As the scripture in all places speaks of the restitution of all things" ( Acts 3:21 ). This is that restitution that Peter was speaking about. Not a universal restitution of all men, but the restitution of the nation of Israel to God and the restitution of this relationship where they say, "You are my God," and God says, "You are My people." And God betroths them again in faithfulness and in love and in mercy and all. This undying love that God has for these people. God's incurably in love with them. In this glorious time when they are restored, when they acknowledge God, He acknowledges them. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hosea-2.html. 2014.
2. Renewed fertility and restored favor 2:21-23
This message stresses the renewed fertility and restored favor that Israel could anticipate because Yahweh would reach out and save her in the future.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hosea-2.html. 2012.
The Lord would also plant Israel in the Promised Land; He would plant her there securely where she would grow under His care and blessing. He would show compassion to the people whom He formerly said were "not loved," and He would reclaim as His own the people whom He formerly called "not my people" (cf. Hosea 1:6; Hosea 1:9). They would then acknowledge Yahweh as their God, not Baal. The names of all three of Hosea’s children come together again in Hosea 2:22-23.
"Hosea 2:23, along with Hosea 1:10, is quoted in Romans 9:25-26 and 1 Peter 2:10. Paul quoted those Hosea passages to say that both Jews and Gentiles will be converted during the Church Age (cf. Romans 9:24). This does not mean, however, that he equated the Gentiles with Israel and regarded the conversion of Gentiles as a direct fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy. Paul clearly taught that national Israel would be saved as well (Romans 11). Rather, Paul extracted from Hosea’s prophecy a principle concerning God’s gracious activity . . ." [Note: Chisholm, "Hosea," p. 1387.]
3. The restoration of Hosea’s and Yahweh’s wives ch. 3
Like the first section in this series of messages that develop the figure of marital unfaithfulness (Hosea 2:2-8), this last section also blends the prophet’s personal experience with that of Yahweh. This is the strongest affirmation of Gomer’s and Israel’s restorations. Chapter 3 is probably a separate cycle of judgment and restoration speeches from Hosea 2:2-23. [Note: Charles H. Silva, "The Literary Structure of Hosea 1-3," Bibliotheca Sacra 164:654 (April-June 2007):181-97.]
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hosea-2.html. 2012.
And I will sow her unto me in the earth,.... That is, Jezreel, or the people of God, the church betrothed; this is another blessing following upon the marriage relation between Christ and his people, both Jews and Gentiles, in the latter day, a multiplication of a spiritual seed and offspring. So Kimchi and Aben Ezra observe, that the words signify that the people of Israel shall increase and be fruitful as the seed of the earth. These now are good seed which the Lord sows; such as are born not of corruptible but incorruptible seed; are quickened by the Spirit of God; have a good work of grace begun in them; and though they may lie for some time under the clods in darkness and obscurity, yet shall rise up in the green blade of a lively profession, and bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Seed for sowing is the choicest and most precious, and of greatest esteem and value, and is separated from the rest for that use, though but little and small in quantity in comparison of it; all which is applicable to the people of God. This is said to be sown "in the earth or land"; either in their own land, the land of Israel, into which they shall now be brought, Ezekiel 21:22 or in the field of the world, the nations and people of the earth, according to Zechariah 10:9 or rather in the churches of Christ on earth, the churches in the Gentile world, into which the Jews, when converted, shall be brought, and increase and multiply; and this will be all the Lord's doing.
I will sow her: he will quicken and convert them, and place and plant them in Gospel churches, though ministers may be instruments in his hands; and all their fruitfulness and increase will be "unto him", for his service, the promotion of his interest, and for his honour and glory. The Targum is,
"I will establish you before me in the land of my Shechinah or majesty.''
And I will have mercy on her that had not obtained mercy; upon Loruhamah, or the people of Israel, signified by her, Hosea 1:6 and also the Gentiles, for to both Jews and Gentiles the apostle applies the words in Romans 9:24 and they were fulfilled in part in his time, by the conversion of some of the Jews, and by the calling of the Gentiles; but will have a larger accomplishment in the latter day, when all Israel shall obtain mercy, and be saved; see Romans 11:26 and are applicable to the people of God at all times, when called by grace; for though before conversion there is mercy for them in the heart of God, which is from everlasting; and in his purpose and resolution to bestow; and which is displayed in his choice of them, considered in the decree of the means as fallen creatures, and so vessels of mercy; and which is laid up in covenant for them, which is full of the sure mercies of David; and appears in the mission of Christ, and their redemption by him; and in sparing and saving them before calling; as well as in their regeneration, which is the fruit of abundant mercy; yet is not manifested to them till converted, when they openly obtain it: the Lord has mercy on them, and brings them out of the horrible pit of the state of nature; plucks them as brands out of the burning; opens the prison doors, knocks off their fetters, and sets them free; feeds their hungry and clothes their naked souls; heals their diseases, and pardons their iniquities, and saves them with an everlasting salvation.
And I will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people; or to "Loammi", the people of Israel, signified by the prophet's child of that name, Hosea 1:9, who should no more be called so, but "Ammi", my people, Hosea 2:1, which, as before observed, was in part fulfilled in the first times of the Gospel; but will be more fully accomplished at the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles; who though chosen to be the people of God, and are so federally, and were given in covenant to Christ as such, and so redeemed and saved by him from their sins; yet are not till conversion laid hold on by the Lord, and formed as his people for himself, and are without knowledge of him, and communion with him: nor are they called his people by themselves or others; but, when converted, they have the characters, and enjoy the privileges, of God's people; they have the witness of the relation to themselves by the Spirit of God, and are known and acknowledged by others; the Lord says this unto them, and avouches them for his people:
and they shall say, thou art my God; in the strength of faith, under the testimony of the Spirit of God, they shall claim their interest in God, as their covenant God in Christ; which is made known in effectual calling by the work of grace on their hearts; by the blessings of grace bestowed on them; and by the Lord's dwelling among them, and his protection of them.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hosea-2.html. 1999.
|Promises of Mercy.||B. C. 764.|
14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. 15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. 16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
The state of Israel ruined by their own sin did not look so black and dismal in the former part of the chapter, but that the state of Israel, restrained by the divine grace, looks as bright and pleasant here in the latter part of the chapter, and the more surprisingly so as the promises follow thus close upon the threatenings; nay, which is very strange, they are by a note of connexion joined to, and inferred from, that declaration of their sinfulness upon which the threatenings of their ruin are grounded: She went after her lovers, and forgot me, saith the Lord; therefore I will allure her. Fitly therefore is that therefore which is the note of connexion immediately followed with a note of admiration: Behold I will allure her! When it was said, She forgot me, one would think it should have followed, "Therefore I will abandon her, I will forget her, I will never look after her more." No, Therefore I will allure her. Note, God's thoughts and ways of mercy are infinitely above ours; his reasons are all fetched from within himself, and not from any thing in us; nay, his goodness takes occasion from man's badness to appear so much the more illustrious, Isaiah 57:17; Isaiah 57:18. Therefore, because she will not be restrained by the denunciations of wrath, God will try whether she will be wrought upon by the offers of mercy. Some think it may be translated, Afterwards, or nevertheless, I will allure her. It comes all to one; the design is plainly to magnify free grace to those on whom God will have mercy purely for mercy's sake. Now that which is here promised to Israel is,
I. That though now they were disconsolate, and ready to despair, they should again be revived with comforts and hopes, Hosea 2:14; Hosea 2:15. This is expressed here with an allusion to God's dealings with that people when he brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness to Canaan, as their forlorn and deplorable condition in their captivity was compared to their state in Egypt in the day that they were born,Hosea 2:3; Hosea 2:3. They shall be new-formed by such miracles of love and mercy as they were first-formed by, and such a transport of joy shall they be in as they were in then. It is hard to say when this had its accomplishment in the kingdom of the ten tribes; but it principally aims, no doubt, at the bringing in both of Jews and Gentiles into the church by the gospel of Christ; and it is applicable, nay, we have reason to think it was designed that it should be applied, to the conversion of particular souls to God. Now observe,
1. The gracious methods God will take with them. (1.) He will bring them into the wilderness, as he did at first when he brought them out of Egypt, where he instructed them, and took them into covenant with himself. The land of their captivity shall be to them now, as that wilderness was then, the furnace of affliction, in which God will choose them. See Ezekiel 20:35; Ezekiel 20:36, I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you. God had said that he would make them as a wilderness (Hosea 2:3; Hosea 2:3), which was a threatening; now, when it is here made part of a promise that he would bring them into the wilderness, the meaning may be that he would by his grace bring their minds to their condition: "They shall have humble hearts under humbling providences; being poor, they shall be poor in spirit, shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity, and then they are prepared to have comfort spoken to them." When God delivered Israel out of Egypt he led them into the wilderness, to humble them and prove them, that he might do them good (Deuteronomy 8:2; Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 8:15; Deuteronomy 8:16), and so he will do again. Note, Those whom God has mercy in store for he first brings into a wilderness--into solitude and retirement, that they may the more freely converse with him out of the noise of this world,--into distress of mind, through sense of guilt and dread of wrath, which brings a soul to be quite at a loss in itself and bewildered, and by those convictions he prepares for consolations,--and sometimes into outward distress and trouble, thereby to open the ear to discipline. (2.) He will then allure them and speak comfortably to them, will persuade them and speak to their hearts, that is, he will by his word and Spirit incline their hearts to return to him, and encourage them to do so. He will allure them with the promises of his favour, as before he had terrified them with the threatenings of his wrath, will speak friendly to them, both by his prophets and by his providences, as before he had spoken roughly, Isaiah 40:1; Isaiah 40:2. By the hand of my servants the prophets I will speak comfort to her heart; so the Chaldee. This refers to the gospel of Christ, and the offers of divine grace in the gospel, by which we are allured to forsake our sins and to turn to God, and which speaks to the heart of a convinced sinner that which is every way suited to his case, speaks abundant consolation to those that sorrow for sin and lament after the Lord. And when by the Spirit it is indeed spoken to the heart effectually, and so as to reach the conscience (which it is God's prerogative to do), O what a blessed change is wrought by it! Note, The best way of reducing wandering souls to God is by fair means. By the promise of rest in Christ we are invited to take his yoke upon us; and the work of conversion may be forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions. (3.) He will give her her vineyards thence. From that time and from that place where he has afflicted her, and brought her to see her folly and to humble herself, thenceforward he will do her good; not only speak comfortably to her, but do well for her, and undo what he had done against her. He had destroyed her vines (Hosea 2:12; Hosea 2:12), but now he will give her whole vineyards, as if for every vine destroyed she should have a vineyard restored, and so be repaid with interest; she shall not only have corn for necessity, but vineyards for delight. These denote the privileges and comforts of the gospel, which are prepared for those that come up out of the wilderness leaning upon Christ as their beloved,Song of Solomon 8:5. Note, God has vineyards of consolation ready to bestow on those who repent and return to him; and he can give vineyards out of a wilderness, which are of all others the most welcome, as rest to the weary. (4.) He will give her the valley of Achor for a door of hope. The valley of Achor was that in which Achan was stoned; it signifies the valley of trouble, because he troubled Israel, and there God troubled him. This was the beginning of the wars of Canaan; and their putting away the accursed thing in that place gave them ground to hope that God would continue his presence with them and complete their victories. So when God returns to his people in mercy, and they to him in duty, it will be to them as happy an omen as any thing. If they put away the accursed thing from among them, if by mortifying sin they stone the Achan that has troubled their camp, their subduing that enemy within themselves is an earnest to them of victory over all the kings of Canaan. Or, if the allusion be to the name, it intimates that trouble for sin, if it be sincere, opens a door of hope; for that sin which truly troubles us shall not ruin us. The valley of Achor was a very fruitful pleasant valley, some think the same with the valley of Engedi, famous for vineyards, Song of Solomon 1:14. This God gave to Israel as a pattern and pledge of the whole land of Canaan; so "God will by his gospel give to all believers such gifts, graces, and comforts in this life, as shall be a taste of those more perfect good things of the kingdom of heaven, and shall give them as assured hope of a full possession of them in due time." So the learned Dr. Pocock expounds it; and, to the same purport, this whole context.
2. The great rejoicing with which they shall receive God's gracious returns towards them: She shall sing there as in the days of her youth. This plainly refers to that triumphant and prophetic song which Moses and the children of Israel sang at the Red Sea,Exodus 15:1. When they are delivered out of captivity they shall repeat that song, and to them it shall be a new song, because sung upon a new occasion, not inferior to the former. God had said (Hosea 2:11; Hosea 2:11) that he would cause all her mirth to cease, but now he would cause it to revive: She shall sing as in the day that she came out of Egypt. Note, When God repeats former mercies we must repeat former praises; we find the song of Moses sung in the New Testament, Revelation 15:3. This promise of Israel's singing has its accomplishment in the gospel of Christ, which furnishes us with abundant matter for joy and praise, and wherever it is received in its power enlarges the heart in joy and praise; and this is that land flowing with milk and honey which the valley of Achor opens a door of hope to. We rejoice in tribulation.
II. That, though they had been much addicted to the worship of Baal, they should now be perfectly weaned from it, should relinquish and abandon all appearances of idolatry and approaches towards it, and cleave to God only, and worship him as he appoints, Hosea 2:16; Hosea 2:17. Note, The surest pledge and token of God's favour to any people is his effectual parting between them and their beloved sins. The worship of Baal was the sin that did most easily beset the people of Israel; it was their own iniquity, the sin that had dominion over them; but now that idolatry shall be quite abolished, and there shall not be the least remains of it among them. 1. The idols of Baal shall not be mentioned, not any of the Baals that in the days of Baalim had made so great a noise with, O Baal! hear us; O Baal! hear us. The very names of Baalim shall be taken out of their mouths; they shall be so disused that they shall be quite forgotten, as if their names had never been known in Israel; they shall be so detested that people will not bear to mention them themselves, nor to hear others mention them, so that posterity shall scarcely know that ever there were such things. They shall be so ashamed of their former love to Baal that they shall do all they can to blot out the remembrance of it. They shall tie themselves up to the strictest literal meaning of that law against idolatry (Exodus 23:13), Make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth, as David, Psalms 16:4. Thus the apostle expresses the abhorrence we ought to have of all fleshly lusts: Let them not be once named among you,Ephesians 5:3. But how can such a change of the Ethiopian's skin be wrought? It is answered, The power of God can do it, and will. I will take away the names of Baalim; as Zechariah 13:2, I will cut off the names of the idols. Note, God's grace in the heart will change the language by making that iniquity to be loathed which was beloved. Zephaniah 3:9, I will turn to the people a pure language. One of the rabbin says, This promise relates to the Gentiles, by the gospel of Christ, from the idolatries which they had been wedded to, 1 Thessalonians 1:9. 2. The very word Baal shall be laid aside, even in its innocent signification. God says, Thou shalt call me Ishi, and call me no more Baali; both signify my husband, and both had been made use of concerning God. Isaiah 54:5, Thy Maker is thy husband, thy Baal (so the word is), thy owner, patron, and protector. It is probable that many good people had, accordingly, made use of the word Baali in worshipping the God of Israel; when their wicked neighbours bowed the knee to Baal they gloried in this, that God was their Baal. "But," says God, "you shall call me so no more, because I will have the very names of Baalim taken away." Note, That which is very innocent in itself should, when it has been abused to idolatry, be abolished, and the very use of it taken away, that nothing may be done to keep idols in remembrance, much less to keep them in reputation. When calling God Ishi will do as well, and signify as much, as Baali, let that word be chosen rather, lest, by calling him Baali, others should be put in mind of their quondam Baals. Some think that there is another reason intimated why God would be called Ishi and not Baali; they both signify my husband, but Ishi is a compellation of love, and sweetness, and familiarity, Baali of reverence and subjection. Ishi is vir meus--my man; Baali is dominus meus--my lord. In gospel-times God has so revealed himself to us as to encourage us to come boldly to the throne of his grace, and to use a holy humble freedom there; we ought to call God our Master, for so he is, but we are more taught to call him our Father. Ishi is a man the Lord (Genesis 4:1), and intimates that in gospel-times the church's husband shall be the man Christ Jesus, made like unto his brethren, and therefore they shall call him Ishi, not Baali.
III. That though they had been in continual troubles, as if the whole creation had been at war with them, now they shall enjoy perfect peace and tranquillity, as if they were in a league of friendship with the whole creation (Hosea 2:18; Hosea 2:18): In that day, when they have forsaken their idols, and put themselves under the divine protection, I will make a covenant for them. 1. They shall be protected from evil; nothing shall hurt them, nor do them any mischief. Tranquillus Deus tranquillat amnia--When God is at peace with us he makes every creature to be so too. The inferior creatures shall do them no harm, as they had done when the beasts of the field ate up their vineyards (Hosea 2:12; Hosea 2:12) and when noisome beasts were one of God's sore judgments,Ezekiel 14:15. The fowl and the creeping things are taken into this covenant; for they also, when God makes use of them as the instruments of his justice, may be come very hurtful, but they shall be no more so; nay, by virtue of this covenant, they shall be made serviceable to them and brought into their interests. Note, God has the command of the inferior creatures, and brings them into what covenant he pleases; he can make the beasts of the field to honour him (so he has promised, Isaiah 43:20) and to contribute to his people's comfort. And, if the inferior creatures are thus laid under an engagement to serve us, it is our part of the covenant not to abuse them, but to serve God with them. Some think that this had its accomplishment in the miraculous power Christ gave his disciples to take up serpents,Mark 16:17; Mark 16:18. It agrees with the promises made particularly to Israel, in their return out of captivity (Ezekiel 34:25, I will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land), and the more general ones to all the saints. Job 5:22; Job 5:23, The beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee; and Psalms 91:13, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder. But this is not all; men are more in danger from one another than from the brute beast, and therefore it is further promised that God will make wars to cease, will disarm the enemy: I will break the bow, and sword, and battle. He can do it when he pleases (Psalms 44:9), and will do it for those whose ways please him, for he makes even their enemies to be at peace with them,Proverbs 16:7. This agrees with the promise that in gospel-times swords shall be beaten into plough-shares,Isaiah 2:4. 2. They shall be quiet from the fear of evil. God will not only keep them safe, but make them to lie down safely, as those that know themselves to be under the protection of Heaven, and therefore are not afraid of the powers of hell.
IV. That, though God had given them a bill of divorce for their whoredoms, yet, upon their repentance, he would again take them into covenant with himself, into a marriage-covenant, Hosea 2:19; Hosea 2:20. God's making a covenant for them with the inferior creatures was a great favour; but it was nothing to this, that he took them into covenant with himself and engaged himself to do them good. Observe,
1. The nature of this covenant; it is a marriage-covenant, founded in choice and love, and founding the nearest relation: I will betroth thee unto me; and again, and a third time, I will betroth thee. Note, All that are sincerely devoted to God are betrothed to him; God gives them the most sacred and inviolable security imaginable that he will love them, protect them, and provide for them, that he will do the part of a husband to them, and that he will incline their hearts to join themselves to him and will graciously accept of them in so doing. Believing souls are espoused to Christ, 2 Corinthians 11:2. The gospel-church is the bride, the Lamb's wife; and they would never come into that relation to him if he did not by the power of his grace betroth them to himself. The separation begins on our side; we alienate ourselves from God. The coalition begins on his side; he betroths us to himself.
2. The duration of this covenant: "I will betroth thee for ever. The covenant itself shall be inviolable; God will not break it on his part, and you shall not on yours; and the blessings of it shall be everlasting." One of the Jewish rabbin says, This is a promise that she shall attain to the life of the world to come, which is absolute eternity or perpetuity.
3. The manner in which this covenant shall be made. (1.) In righteousness and judgment, that is, God will deal sincerely and uprightly in covenant with them; they have broken covenant, and God is righteous. "But," says God, "I will renew the covenant in righteousness." The matter shall be so ordered that God may receive even these backsliding children into his family again, without any reflection upon his justice, nay, his justice being satisfied by the Mediator of this covenant very much to the honour of it. But what reason can there be why God should take a people into covenant with him that had so often dealt treacherously? Will it not reflect upon his wisdom? "No," says God; "I will do it in judgment, not rashly, but upon due consideration; let me alone to give a reason for it and to justify my own conduct." (2.) In lovingkindness and in mercies. God will deal tenderly and graciously in covenanting with them; and will be not only as good as his word, but better; and, as he will be just in keeping covenant with them, so he will be merciful in keeping them in the covenant. They are subject to many infirmities, and, if he be extreme to mark what they do amiss, they will soon lose the benefit of the covenant. He therefore promises that it shall be a covenant of grace, made in a compassionate consideration of their infirmities, so that every transgression in the covenant shall not throw them out of covenant; he will gather with everlasting lovingkindness. (3.) In faithfulness. Every article of the covenant shall be punctually performed. Faithful is he that has called them, who also will do it; he cannot deny himself.
4. The means by which they shall be kept tight and faithful to the covenant on their part: Thou shalt know the Lord. This is not only a promise that God will reveal himself to them more fully and clearly than ever, but that he will give them a heart to know him; they shall know more of him, and shall know him in another manner than ever yet. The ground of their apostasy was their not knowing God to be their benefactor (Hosea 2:8; Hosea 2:8); therefore, to prevent the like, they shall all be taught of God to know him. Note, God keeps up his interest in men's souls by giving them a good understanding and a right knowledge of things, Hebrews 8:11.
V. That, though the heavens had been to them as brass, and the earth as iron, now the heavens shall yield their dews, and by that means the earth its fruits, Hosea 2:21; Hosea 2:22. God having betrothed the gospel-church and in it all believers to himself, how shall he not with himself and with his Son freely give them all things, all things pertaining both to life and godliness, all things they need or can desire? All is theirs, for they are Christ's, betrothed to him; and with the righteousness of the kingdom of God, which they seek first, all other things shall be added unto them. And yet this promise of corn and wine is to be taken also in a spiritual sense (so the learned Dr. Pocock thinks): it is an effusion of those blessings and graces which relate to the soul that is here promised under the metaphor of temporal blessings, the dew of heaven, as well as the fatness of the earth, and that put first, as in the blessing of Jacob, Genesis 27:28. God had threatened (Hosea 2:9; Hosea 2:9) that he would take away the corn and the wine; but now he promises to restore them, and that in the common course and order of nature. While they lay under the judgment of famine they called to the earth for corn and wine for the support of themselves and their families. Very gladly would the earth have supplied them, but she cannot give unless she receive, cannot produce corn and wine unless she be enriched with the river of God (Psalms 65:9); and therefore she calls to the heavens for rain, the former and latter rain in their season, grapes for it, and by her melancholy aspect when rain is denied pleads for it. "But," say the heavens, "we have no rain to give unless he who has the key of the clouds unlock them, and open these bottles; so that, if the Lord do not help you, we cannot." But, when God takes them into covenant with himself, then the wheel of nature shall be set a-going again in favour of them, and the streams of mercy shall flow in the usual channel: Then I will hear, saith the Lord; I will receive your prayers (so the Chaldee interprets the first hearing); God will graciously take notice of their addresses to him. And then I will hear the heavens; I will answer them (so it may be read); and then they shall hear and answer the earth, and pour down seasonable rain upon it; and then the earth shall hear the corn and vines, and supply them with moisture, and they shall hear Jezreel, and be nourishment and refreshment for those that inhabit Jezreel. See here the coherence of second causes with one another, as links in a chain, and the necessary dependence they all have upon God, the first Cause. Note, We must expect all our comforts from God in the usual method and by the appointed means; and, when we are at any time disappointed in them, we must look up to God, above the hills and the mountains,Psalms 121:1; Psalms 121:2. See how ready the creatures are to serve the people of God, how desirous of the honour: the corn cries to the earth, the earth to the heavens, the heavens to God, and all that they may supply them. And see how ready God is to give relief: I will hear, saith the Lord, yea, I will hear. And, if God will hear the cry of the heavens for his people, much more will he hear the intercession of his Son for them, who is made higher than the heavens. See what a peculiar delight those that are in covenant with God may take in their creature-comforts, as seeing them all come to them from the hand of God; they can trace up all the streams to the fountain, and taste covenant-love in common mercies, which makes them doubly sweet.
VI. That whereas they were now dispersed, not only, as Simeon and Levi, divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel, but divided and scattered all the world over, God will turn this curse, as he did that, into a blessing: "I will not only water the earth for her, but will sow her unto me in the earth; her dispersion shall be not like that of the chaff in the floor, which the wind drives away, but like that of the seed in the field, in order to its greater increase; wherever they are scattered they shall take root downward and bear fruit upward. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. I will sow her unto me." This alludes to the name of Jezreel, which signifies sown of God, or for God; as she was scattered of him (which is one signification of the words) so she shall be sown of him; and to what he sows he will give the increase. When in all parts of the world Christianity got footing, and every where there were professors of it, then this promise was fulfilled, I will sow her unto me in the earth. Note, The greatest blessing of this earth is that God has a church in it, and from that arises all the tribute of glory which he has out of it; it is what he has sown to himself, and what he will therefore secure to himself.
VII. That, whereas they had been Lo-ammi--not a people, and Lo-ruhamah--not finding mercy with God, now they shall be restored to his favour and taken again into covenant with him (Hosea 2:23; Hosea 2:23): They had not obtained mercy, but seemed to be abandoned; they were not my people, not distinguished, not dealt with, as my people, but left to lie in common with the nations. This was the case with the rejected Jews; and the same, or more deplorable, was that of the Gentile world (to whom the apostle applies this, Romans 9:24; Romans 9:25), that had no hope, and was without God in the world; but when great multitudes both of Jews and Gentiles were, upon their believing in Christ, incorporated into a Christian church, then, 1. God had mercy on those who had not obtained mercy. Those found favour with God, and became the children of his love, who had been long out of favour and the children of his wrath, and, if infinite mercy had not interposed, would have been for ever so. Note, God's mercy must not be despaired of any where on this side hell. 2. He took those into a covenant-relation to himself who had been strangers and foreigners. He says to them, "Thou art my people, whom I will own and bless, protect and provide for;" and they shall say, "Thou art my God, whom I will serve and worship, and to whose honour I will be entirely and for ever devoted." Note, (1.) The sum total of the happiness of believers is the mutual relation that is between them and God, that he is theirs and they are his; this is the crown of all the promises. (2.) This relation is founded in free grace. We have not chosen him, but he has chosen us. He first says, They are my people, and makes them willing to be so in the day of his power, and then they avouch him to be theirs. (3.) As we need desire no more to make us happy than to be the people of God, so we need desire no more to make us easy and cheerful than to have him to assure us that we are so, to say unto us, by his Spirit witnessing with ours, Thou art my people. (4.) Those that have accepted the Lord for their God must avouch him to be so, must go to him in prayer and tell him so, Thou art my God, and must be ready to make profession before men. (5.) It adds to the comfort of our covenant with God that in it there is a communion of saints, who, though they are many, yet here are one. It is not, I will say to them, You are my people, but, Thou art; for he looks upon them as all one in Christ, and, as such in him, he speaks to them and covenants with them; and they also do not say, Thou art our God, for they look upon themselves as one body, and desire with one mind and one mouth to glorify him, and therefore say, Thou art my God. Or it intimates that such a covenant as God made of old with his people Israel, in general, now under the gospel he makes with particular believers, and says to each of them, even the meanest, with as much pleasure as he did of old to the thousands of Israel, Thou art my people, and invites and encourages each of them to say, Thou art my God, and to triumph therein, as Moses and all Israel did. Exodus 15:2, He is my God, and my father's God.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Hosea 2:23". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/hosea-2.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30