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The state to which these Israelites shall be restored, shall not only be a goodly temporal estate, in their own land, (as intimated v. 11,) but also a gracious spiritual conversion: so that they shall be truly called " God's people," and "sons of the living God;" though before they were said not to be his people.
The steps by which they shall attain to this are,-first, the ten tribes being converted, they with the two tribes shall be "gathered together;" secondly, they shall "appoint themselves one head," in common over them all; thirdly, "they shall come up out of the land" (or from the earth, where ever they were scattered; fourthly, they must return into their own land, even to Jezreel, &c. named in the text. Concerning these two last steps Vatablus notes well, "that they who returned from captivity were said to ascend up out of the earth, or land of their captivity."
Concerning the head they shall appoint over both, most are led away by the aptness of the term, (and truth of the thing in one sense,) to suppose that Christ is intended: but I doubt this to be the sense of the Prophet. For, by the order of the text, they would all have Christ for their spiritual head before, being by his means made the sons of God."k And secondly, this head is but to lead them up from their dispersion, in opposition to the way-laying Turk, that they may come into their own country, there to sit down under Christ's rule in his visible kingdom. Whether in this expedition Christ will be personally visible, either as a conductor or otherwise, I do not know if he is to be, I am disposed to think the struggle against the Jews' enemies need not to be so long as 45 years. The Chaldee paraphrase saith, that this head shall be a prince, or chieftain of the house of David-R. Jarchi says David himself. Grotius says Zorobabel; Abenezra names another, and Alapide another. Our new Annotations speak cautiously, to the effect that "hereby is principally meant the Messiah Christ, the head of the Church." I confess, I think no other to be here meant, than some worthy fit man who is to be their commander in chief, subordinate to Messiah.
The eminency of this expedition is, "that great shall be the
k Acts iv, 12; John i, 12.
day of Jezreel;" which is brought in as a reason and proof because great shall be the day of Jezreel:"* that is, Whereas (saith the Lord) I took away the kingdom of Israel for the blood shed in Jezreel; (the blood of Naboth by Jezebel, and the blood of Jezebel by Jehu, who shed it extra-judicially, for his own ends ;) great shall now be the day of delivering Jezreel. This means the deliverance of Israel; first, by a synechdoche, or a part for the whole, Jezreel being the royal city of Israel: and secondly, by the notation of the word Jezreel, which Jerome interprets the seed of God; for such the Israelites shall be through Christ. Others interpret it, the sowing, or scattering, of God: in which case Jezreel shall be Israel, who have been sown or scattered into all countries, as seed into so many fields; and shall be brought together in the granary of their own country, as seed grown up to ripe corn at the time of harvest. Thus the Chaldee renders it,—Great shall be the day of their gathering together.+
Now chuse which interpretation you will, and show, if you can, that this text has been duly fulfilled, according to the purport thereof, since the first scattering of the ten tribes. When was there such a multitude of Israel, like the sands of the sea, &c., gathered from all the earth, and called "the sons of the living God?" When did they and Judah put themselves under one head, and returning to their own country settle in Christ's visible kingdom? The apostle Paul tell us, that up to his time, at least, "blindness in part was happened to Israel;" so that the conversion of the fulness of them was then still behind. It is true, that two chapters before the Apostle cites this very place of Hosea;m but the object is to show us "the riches of God's glory on the vessels of mercy, in them whom he calls, not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles, as he saith in Hosea;"
*Heb., Chaldee 8, Sept. òrı, Latin quia.
+ It may be well to notice here, once for all, that extracts from contemporary or recent authors are occasionally omitted, when they merely repeat the sentiments of Dr. Homes, and do not cast any new light upon the text. However desirable such quotations might have been to shield the author in his own day from the charge of novelty; yet those names would not prevail against the prejudice of the present generation; and in the instances in which they are passed over, they add nothing to the argument. ED.
1 Rom. xi, 25.
m Rom. ix, 25, 26.
wherein it is evident, (let some authors say what they please,) that the Apostle minds chiefly the call of the Jews; insomuch, that he feared lest others should suspect him to mean only the Jews for so the very phrase "Not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles" plainly indicates. For, verse 1, he begins, as passionately affected for the conversion of the Jews, ready even to wish himself accursed for their salvation; and continues to regard them to verse 16, never mentioning or hinting at the Gentiles but twice in all the chapter, viz. verses 24 and 30. And in the two following chapters, he is chiefly upon the state of the Jews. And when he quoted this place of Hosea, it is most evident he did not think it was then commensurately fulfilled for after he had said, (ver. 24,)" that God hath shewed the riches of his glory, even on us whom he hath called, not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles;" he closes the chapter with a narrative, how Israel had not attained to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; and begins the next chapter by declaring, that his "desire and prayer to God was, that Israel might be saved ;" and again closes that chapter with the complaint, that God hitherto had stretched forth his hand to Israel in vain ;" whilst the subject of the eleventh chapter is Paul's prophecy, that in after times all Israel shall be saved, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come.
Chapter iii, 4, 5.
"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and with"out an image, (or statue,) and without an ephod, and without "teraphim afterwards shall the children of Israel return, "and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and shall "fear the Lord and his goodness, in the latter days.”
Note in the first place, that this also is prophesied of Israel; on which Lyra speaks well: viz. "After the call of the Gentiles is prophesied the final conversion of the Jews in general.”
Next consider the condition in which the people of whom the Prophet speaks shall be; and how long they shall remain in it ere they be delivered. 1st. They shall be MANY DAYS
without a king, and without a prince; i.e. without any civil polity, either monarchical or aristocratical, of their own nation. Grotius well observes, that they shall not only have no king, but no man of their own nation endowed with any jurisdiction. The Septuagint therefore rightly render by Apxovra a ruler ; and the Chaldee paraphrases it by-" without any that takes the rule over Israel." 2dly. They shall so long be without a sacrifice, and without a Mattzebah (2;) which, though our English renders it image, is by Jerome, Grotius and our ordinary Septuagint rendered altar.* They shall also be without an ephod, (which was part of the high priest's vestments, worn upon his shoulders; and it is put here synecdochically to signify all his glorious garments,†) and without teraphim. The singular is taraph, which in itself signifies no more than an image in general, and (as Grotius and Calvin observe) is a word of a middle nature, or acception. For as it is used to signify Laban's and Micah's images; so also to signify the image which Michal made and put into her bed to resemble David.n Yea, it may here signify (as Jerome and Grotius note) the Cherubim. These had wings and faces, and were stretched over the mercy-seat, looking one upon another; under which was the ark, from whence was the oracle, or answer of God by voice. The Septuagint accordingly in some copies has ovde δηλων, without manifests; in others ουδε δηλωσεως, without manifestation: and Aquila (as Jerome asserts) translates it porioμovs illuminations. I cannot at all imagine (as many do) that any thing idolatrous or superstitious is intended, in any one particular of this second part of their destitute state. For some of the things named are evidently good and lawful, as the sacrifice and ephod; to mingle which with what was impious and evil appears incongruous. But still more irreconcileable is the notion of any thing idolatrous with the circum
*To justify this latter translation I have this to observe, that Mattzebah signifies a pillar or stone, erected in honor to God: and the Hebrews put only this difference between it and Mitzbach, (3) an altar; viz. that the pillar consisted of one stone, the altar of many. The pillar was erected for the offering, or pouring out of oil upon it; the altar was for sacrifice. See Gen. xxviii, 18, 22; xxxi, 13, 45, 51, 52; and xxxv, 14, 20.
†The Septuagint renders without an ephod, by edɛ sons iɛpareas without a priesthood.
o Exod. xxv.
n 1 Sam. xix, 13.
stance, that the being deprived of these things is threatened as a punishment. For it is no loss to be deprived of idols; but to lose the privileges connected with their civil polity and church administrations, was a grievous affliction.
Out of all arises a sure explication of the MANY DAYS wherein they shall be without these. For, as Paræus (referring to the period of Babylonish captivity) well observes, more than seventy years of days must be meant to which Jerome himself (though an adversary to our main position) rationally agrees; for he says, "Some of the Jews expound this chapter "of the Babylonian captivity, in which for seventy years the "Temple lay waste, and at last under Zorobabel it was restored "to its former condition. But we refer it to a future time, see"ing no other cause can be found why they were forsaken so long
a time, but their putting to death the Saviour." But not to show you men, but demonstration; First, in their time of captivity in Babylon, they were not altogether without a king of their own nation. For Jehoiakim lived many years in the time of that captivity, and was raised to a throne.P Of Jehoiachin, alias Jeconiah, came Salathiel, a prince; 9 and so downward the sceptre doth not utterly depart from Judah till Shiloh comes.r Secondly, they were not without a priest in that captivity; nor after unto Christ's time. Jeremiah and Ezekiel were both of them priests;s and after them, in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, was famous Mattathias; and after him Judas Maccabeus ;t and in Christ's time there were priests, and highpriests, and sacrifices, &c." We conclude therefore, that it is impossible to understand these "many days" to signify the time of Judah's captivity in Babylon; or (as our new annotations would have it) the time since Judah's return from Babylon till Christ's ascension but they must be extended to the still future conversion of all Israel. Dr. Mayer says; "Calvin ingenuously "confesses, that by David, spoken of in the prophets, Christ is "is always set forth; and therefore this long time of the Jews "being without a king, &c., must be understood of the time "immediately previous to their embracing the faith of Christ,
p 2 Kings xxv, 27. r Gen. xlix, 10. u Luke i, 8; ii, 24;
q Jer. xxix, 2; 1 Chron. iii, 17; Matt. i, 12. s Jer. i, 1; Ezek. i, 3. t 1 Maccab. ii, 1—5; iii, 1. Matt. xxvi, 3; John ii, 13, 14, &c.