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HOSEA. I. 2. “ The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms : for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.”]—When God first revealed his will to Hosea, and gave to him his first charge, the Lord said unto him, Thy very person and thine actions are prophetical, and thou therein shalt carry a type of the relation betwixt me and the Church of Israel: go therefore; and, for a resemblance of my respects to sinful Israel, take unto thee a wife that hath therefore been noted for unchastity, howsoever now reclaimed; and beget children of that wife, which was once blemished with known fornication : for such is the state of Israel towards me; the land hath been notorious for her spiritual whoredoms, departing from the Lord to abominable idols.
3. “So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.”]—So, in obedience to the command of God, and for a sign to Israel, the prophet went and took to wife Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, a woman formerly noted for incontinency; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4. “And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.”]—And the Lord said unto the prophet Hosea, Call his name Jezreel; for ere long I will avenge upon the posterity of Jehu the blood which he in his cruelty and ambition shed in
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Jezreel: which slaughter, however, in my just judgment, it were deservedly executed, yet, as it was the act of treachery and undue affectation of dominion in the chief agents therein, shall be accordingly punished; for Zacharias, the son of Jeroboam, the last of that line, shall, after six montlıs’ reign, lose both his life and his kingdom by the hand of Shallum; and with him the posterity of Jehu shall be extinguished.
5. “And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”]-And from that day I will cause the state of Israel to impair and sink more and more; till at the last I shall cause the kingdom thereof to cease by the hand of Shalmaneser, king of the Assyrians, and shall utterly overthrow all the strength of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
6. “And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.”]-Now Israel, thus wasted, shall be as it were changed to the condition of a weak and womanish remnant: for the signification whereof, the prophets once infamous wife conceived again, and bare a daughter; and God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah, Not obtaining mercy; for Israel, being thus given over by me, shall receive no further mercy from me, but I will utterly leave them to spoil and dispersion, neither shall they be any more a kingdom.
7. “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.”] -But as for the house of Judah, I will have mercy upon them, and repair their kingdom; not by any force of arms, nor by the power of any warlike assistance, but by my own effectual inclination of the heart of Cyrus, the king of Persia, whose favour shall reestablish them in their country.
8. “Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.”]-Now, when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, and God had for some years expected the amendment of his people Israel, Gomer conceived, and bare a son.
9. “Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.”]-Then said God, Call his name, Not my people; for I had before cast off Israel from being a kingdom: now I will cast them off from being at all any people of mine; I will not own them for mine any more.
10. “ Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."]—Yet, for all this, know that I will make good that promise which I made to Abraham concerning the number of his seed, no less innumerable than the sand of the sea; for to my spiritual Israel, which are the true seed of the promise, shall this word be surely fulfilled: they shall be happily increased ; and of them, whereas there was no face of a Church, no appearance of a people of God, now it shall be clearly manifest that they are a chosen generation, and a peculiar people unto me.
11. “Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land : for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”]-Then shall my Church be gathered out of all coasts; and out of both Israel and Judah, out of Jews and Gentiles, shall mine elect be called by the voice of the Gospel ; and shall submit themselves to one head, Christ Jesus; and shall be gathered into one Jerusalem, which is above, the mother of us all : O how great and glorious shall that day be, wherein, deing delivered from the servitude and captivity of sin, they shall be adopted for the sons of God and heirs of glory!
II. 1. “Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah."]—Ye prophets of God, say ye unto those few of Israel which are as yet mine, and those to whom I have yet showed mercy in withholding them from the wickedness of their fellows,
2, 3. “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 like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.”]—Lay before the face of this Church of Israel, your common mother, boldly and freely, her notorious sins; and enforce them against her: let her know that this demeanour of hers is not such as is fit for my wife; neither will I be to her as an husband: charge and advise her to repent of all her wickedness; to put away all those her spiritual fornications wherewith she hath defiled herself; lest I strip her naked of all those blessings wherewith I have endowed her, and leave her in that forlorn state wherein she was ere I chose her for my Church; lest I give her up to utter desolation and barrenness, leaving her destitute of all hope and comfort.
4. “And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.”]-As for those several persons which appertain unto her, and are as it were the sons of her womb, I will not have mercy upon them in forbearing their punishment; for they are bred and born in the practice of gross idolatry.
5. “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, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”]-For their mother the Church of Israel hath given herself over to spiritual fornications; and hath said, I will follow the fashions of the Egyptians and Assyrians, to whose league and friendship I have betaken myself, and from whose bountiful gods I have received my maintenance.
6. “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.”]—Therefore, behold, I will take a course to prevent thy gadding after these thy adulterous mates : I will set an hedge of thorns in thy way, restraining thee by mine afflicting hand; yea, I will wall up
her passage by the siege of an enemy.
7. “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.”]—I will frustrate all her hopes and desires; so as, howsoever she be affected to her idols and her heathenish confederates, yet she shall not be able to make any use of them : then when she is throughly crossed and humbled by my afflictions, she shall begin to entertain penitent thoughts; and shall say within herself, I will return to my God whom I have offended; for it was better with ine while I kept me to his sincere and holy service than it is now.
8. “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.”]-For while she took these lewd courses, she had not the grace to consider that it was I, her God, to whom she was beholden for all those blessings which she enjoyed; even for her wine and oil ; yea, for that very silver and gold which she wickedly bestowed upon her idols.