John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 1
After the general inscription of the book, in which the author, penman, and time of this prophecy, are expressed, Hosea 1:1, the people of Israel are reproved for their idolatry, under the representation of a harlot the prophet is bid to marry, which he is said to do, Hosea 1:2, and their ruin and destruction are foretold in the names of the children he had by her, and by what is said on the occasion of the birth of each, Hosea 1:4, but mercy and salvation are promised to Judah, Hosea 1:7 and the chapter is concluded with a glorious prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews in the latter day; and of the union of Judah and Israel under one Head and Saviour, Christ; and of the greatness and glory of that day, Hosea 1:10.
The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea,.... Whose name is the same with Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a saviour; he was in some things a type of Christ the Saviour, and prophesied of him, and salvation by him; and was the instrument and means of saving men, as all true prophets were, and faithful ministers of the word are: to him the word of the Lord, revealing his mind and will, was brought by the Spirit of God, and impressed upon his mind; and it was committed to him to be delivered unto others. This is the general title of the whole book, showing the divine original and authority of it:
the son of Beeri; which is added to distinguish him from another of the same name; and perhaps his father's name was famous in Israel, and therefore mentioned. The Jews have a rule, that where a prophet's father's name is mentioned, it shows that he was the son of a prophet; but this is not to be depended upon; and some of them say that this is the same with Beerah, a prince of the Reubenites, who was carried captive by Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, 1 Chronicles 5:6, but the name is different; nor does the chronology seem so well to agree with him; and especially he cannot be the father of Hosea, if he was of the tribe of Issachar, as some have affirmed:
in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel; from whence it appears that Hosea prophesied long, and lived to a great age; for from the last year of Jeroboam, which was the fifteenth of Uzziah, to the first of Hezekiah, must be sixty nine years; for Jeroboam reigned forty one years, and in the twenty seventh of his reign began Uzziah or Azariah to reign over Judah, and he reigned fifty two years, 2 Kings 14:23, so that Uzziah reigned thirty seven years after the death of Jeroboam, through which time Hosea prophesied; Jotham after him reigned sixteen years, and so many reigned Ahaz, 2 Kings 15:23, so that without reckoning any part, either of Jeroboam's reign, or Hezekiah's, he must prophesy sixty nine years, and, no doubt, did upwards of seventy, very probably eighty, the Jews say ninety; and allowing him to be twenty four or five years of age when he begun to prophesy, or only twenty (for it is certain he was at an age fit to marry, as appears by the prophecy), he: must live to be upwards of a hundred years; and in all probability he lived to see not only part of Israel carried captive by Tiglathpileser, which is certain; but the entire destruction of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, which he prophesied of. Jeroboam king of Israel is mentioned last, though prior to these kings of Judah; because Hosea's prophecy is chiefly against Israel, and began in his reign, when they were in a flourishing condition. It appears from hence that Isaiah, Amos, and Micah, were contemporary with him; see Isaiah 1:1, within this compass of time Hosea prophesied lived Lycurgus the famous lawgiver of the Lacedemonians, and Hesiod the Greek poet; and Rome began to be built.
The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea,.... Or "in Hosea"
and the Lord said to Hosea, go, take thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms; a woman given to whoredom, a notorious strumpet, one taken out of the stews, and children that were spurious and illegitimate, not born in lawful wedlock. Some think this was really done; that the prophet took a whore, and cohabited with her, or married her which, though forbidden a high priest, was not forbid to a prophet; and had it been against a law, yet the Lord commanding it made it lawful, as in the cases of Abraham's slaying his son, and the Israelites borrowing jewels of the Egyptians; but this seems not likely, since it would not only look like countenancing whoredom, which is contrary to the holy law of God; but must be very dishonourable to the prophet, and render him contemptible to the people; and, besides, would not answer the end proposed, to reprove the spiritual adultery or idolatry of Israel, but rather serve to confirm in it; for how should that appear criminal and abominable to them, which was commanded the prophet by the Lord? others think that the woman he is bid to marry, though before marriage a harlot, was afterwards reformed; but this is directly contrary to Hosea 3:1 and besides, the children born of her, whether reformed or not, yet in lawful wedlock could not be called children of whoredom; nor would the above end be answered by it, since such a person would be no fit representative of Israel committing spiritual adultery or idolatry, and continuing in it; and moreover, whether this or the former was the case, the prophecy must be many years delivering; it must be near a year before the first child was born, and the same space must be between the birth of each; so that here must be a long and frequent interruption of the prophecy, which does not seem likely: nor is it probable that he took his own wife, which is the opinion of others, and gave her the character of a whore, and his children with her, and called them children of whoredom, in order to represent and reprove the idolatry of Israel: what Maimonides
"go, prophesy a prophecy against the inhabitants of the idolatrous city, who add to sin:'
for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord; or
"for the inhabitants of the land erring, erred from the worship of the Lord,'
as the Targum; that is, the inhabitants of the land of Israel have committed idolatry, which is often in Scripture signified by adultery and whoredom; as an adulterous woman deals treacherously with her husband, so these people had dealt with God, who stood in such a relation to them; see Jeremiah 3:1, this interprets the parable, and shows the reason of using the following symbols and emblems.
So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim,.... In the course of prophesying he made mention of this person, who was a notorious common strumpet; and suggested hereby that they were just like her; or these were fictitious names he used to represent their case by Gomer signifies both "consummation" and "consumption"
which conceived and bare him a son; whose name, and what he was an emblem of, are declared in the following verse. The Targum is,
"and he went and prophesied over them, that if they returned, it should be forgiven them: but, if not, as fig tree leaves drop off, so should they; but they added, and did evil works.'
And the Lord said unto him call his name Jezreel,.... Which some interpret the "seed of God", as Jerom; or "arm of God", as others; and Kimchi applies it to Jeroboam the son of Joash, who was strong, and prospered in his kingdom; but it rather signifies "God will sow", or "scatter"
for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu; not the blood of Naboth the Jezreelite, that was shed by Ahab; but the blood of Joram the son of Ahab, and seventy other sons of his, and all his great men, kinsfolks and priests, shed by Jehu in this place; and though this was done according to the will of God, and for which he received the kingdom, and it was continued in his family to the fourth generation; yet, inasmuch as this was not done by him from a pure and hearty zeal for the Lord and his worship, and with a sincere view to his glory, but in order to gain the kingdom, increase his power, and satiate his tyranny and lust; and because, though he destroyed one species of idolatry, the worship of Baal, yet he continued another, the worshipping of the calves at Dan and Bethel, and regarded not the law of the Lord, and so his successors after him; and were the means of causing many to sin, and so consequently of the ruin of many souls, whose blood would be required of them, which some take to be the meaning here; this is threatened; see 2 Kings 9:24. It may be observed, that God sometimes punishes the instruments he makes use of in doing his work; they either over doing it, exercising too much cruelty; and not doing it upon right principles, and with right views, as the kings of Assyria and Babylon, Isaiah 10:5. It is here said to be but a little while ere this vengeance would be taken, it being at the latter end of Jeroboam's reign when this prophecy was delivered out; and his son Zachariah, in whom the kingdom as in his family ceased, reigned but six months, being conspired against and slain by Shallum, who reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 15:8. The Targum is,
"for yet a little while I will avenge the blood of those that worship idols which Jehu shed in Jezreel, whom he slew because they served Baal; but they turned to err after the calves which were in Bethel; therefore I will reckon that innocent blood upon the house of Jehu:'
and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel; that is, in the family of Jehu; Zachariah the son of the then reigning prince being the last, and his reign only the short reign of six months; unless this has reference to the utter cessation of this kingdom as such in the times of Hoshea by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6.
And it shall come to pass at that day,.... When the Lord shall take vengeance on the family of Jehu, and deprive them of the kingdom of Israel, and shall punish the idolatrous kings that succeed:
that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel; of which valley see Joshua 17:16. It is now called the plain of Esdraelon; as it is in the Apocrypha:
"And to those among the nations that were of Carmel, and Galaad, and the higher Galilee, and the great plain of Esdrelom,' (Judith 1:8)
the great plain of Esdraelon; according to Adrichomius,
"I will break the strength of the warriors of Israel in the valley of Jezreel;'
which seems to confirm the same conjecture. Some render it, "because of the valley of Jezreel"
And she conceived again, and bare a daughter,.... One of the weaker sex; denoting the weaker state of the kingdom of Israel after Jeroboam, as Kimchi thinks; Zachariah his son reigning but six months, and Shallum the son of Jabesh, his successor, reigned but one month, 2 Kings 15:8,
and God said unto him, call her name Loruhamah; which signifies, "she hath not obtained mercy": and what follows explains it to the same sense. The Targum is,
"and they added and did evil works; and he said unto him call their name, who obtained not mercy by their works:'
for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; as he had heretofore, sparing them time after time, though they continued to sin against him; but now he would spare them no longer, but deliver them up into the hands of their enemies, as he did a part of them, first into the hands of Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and then to Shalmaneser, 2 Kings 15:29, otherwise, in the latter day, mercy will be shown them again, especially in a spiritual way, when they shall be converted, and believe in Christ, and all Israel shall be saved, as well as possess their own land again; see Hosea 1:10,
but I will utterly take them away; out of their land, from being a kingdom and nation, which was done by Shalmaneser, another king of Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6, or, "bringing I will bring into them", or "against them"
"but if they return, pardoning I will pardon them;'
which will be done in the latter day.
But I will have mercy on the house of Judah,.... The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which retained the true worship of God among them; see Hosea 11:12 and though they often sinned against the Lord, he showed them mercy, and spared them longer than the ten tribes; and though he suffered them to be carried captive into Babylon, he returned them again after seventy years: this is mentioned as an aggravation of the punishment of Israel, that Judah was spared, when they were not; and to show that God will have a people to seek and serve him, and, when he rejects some, he will make a reserve of others:
and will save them by the Lord their God; by his own arm and power, and not theirs, or any creature's; nor by any warlike means or instruments whatever, as follows:
and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen: which may respect either the deliverance of the Jews from the invasion and siege of Sennacherib's army; which was done without shooting an arrow, or drawing the sword, or engaging in a pitched battle, or by a cavalry rushing into his camp, discomfiting his army, and pursuing them; but by an angel sent from heaven, which in one night destroyed a hundred and fourscore and five thousand, 2 Kings 19:35 or else refers to Cyrus being stirred up by the Lord to issue forth a proclamation, giving liberty to the Jewish captives to go free, without price or reward; and so was brought about, not by the might and power of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord; see Ezra 1:1 though a greater salvation is pointed at, or at least shadowed forth, by this, even the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by Christ; which is the fruit of mercy, and not the effect of the merits of men; is obtained not by human power, or by man's righteousness; but by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah our righteousness, the Lord God of his people; who stands in a relation to them prior to his being the Saviour of them; to which work and office he is equal, being the eternal Jehovah, and the true and living God. So the Targum,
"and I will save them by the Word of the Lord their God;'
the eternal Word, that was with God, is God, and became incarnate, God in our nature.
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah,.... That is, when Gomer had weaned her daughter of this name, Hosea 1:6. This some interpret of the people of Israel being deprived of the word and ordinances, compared to milk and breasts, having a famine of them; and so were like children weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts; though others think this is expressive of the patience of God in bearing with this people, after he had before threatened them with the subversion of their kingdom and state; and even after the prophecy had took place in part, in causing the kingdom to cease in the house of Jehu, he bore with them about forty years before they were entirely carried captive; suckling and weaning, before the conception and birth of another child, denoting some stop and stay; but rather this intends the taking away some part of the land of Israel, as a child when weaning is taken away from its mother; and may respect the carrying captive many of the Israelites in divers parts, particularly out of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, by Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, 2 Kings 15:29. This cannot be understood of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, as Cocceius; for this is a resumption and continuation of the prophecy concerning the ten tribes, after inserting a promise of the salvation of Judah, in the preceding verse:
she conceived and bare a son: according to Kimchi, as the weaning of Loruhamah points at the times of weakness, from Zachariah the son of Jeroboam to the times of Pekahiah, when the reigns were short and troublesome; so this son conceived and born represents the state of the nation in the times of Pekah; who reigned twenty years, and was too powerful for the kingdom of Judah, slew multitudes of them, and carried others captive, and assisted Rezin king of Syria against Ahaz king of Judah: but, according to the series of the prophecy, it seems best to agree with the times of Hoshea king of Israel, who was not so bad as some of his predecessors; was a man of spirit and courage; cast off the Assyrian yoke, and neglected to give presents to the king of Assyria; and Samaria in his time held out a three years' siege against that king, 2 Kings 17:1. The Targum is,
"and the generation of them who are carried captive among the nations are found not to have obtained mercy by their works, but they added and did evil works.'
Then said God, call his name Loammi,.... Which Aben Ezra interprets of the children of the ten tribes horn in captivity, who never returned; but it rather signifies the ten tribes themselves, who were carried captive and had this name given them for the reason following:
for ye are not my people; though he had chosen them to be his people above all people, and had distinguished them from others by various blessings and privileges; yet they did not behave as such to him; they did not serve, obey, and worship him, but the calves at Dan and Bethel; and therefore did not deserve the name of his people: hence he says,
and I will not be your or "yours"
"for ye are not my people; because ye do not confirm the words of my law, my word shall not be your help.'
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered,.... Though called Loammi, and rejected from being the people of God; yet there is a time when their number, according to the promise made to Abraham, shall be as the sand of the sea, and the stars of heaven; which, as the one cannot be measured, the other cannot be numbered; which was to be not at the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, when some of the ten tribes of Israel returned with them, as Theodoret and others think; for they were but few that then returned: but rather at the first times of the Gospel, when multitudes that came from various parts of the world were converted at the day of Pentecost, and greater numbers; who were met with in the ministry of the word, in the various parts of the world, where they were dispersed, and the Gospel came, to whom Peter and James wrote their epistles; and not these only are meant, but the vast numbers of Gentiles, who were effectually called by grace everywhere, and were true Israelites, the spiritual seed of Abraham; and to whom the Apostle Paul applies these words, producing them as a testimony of the election and calling, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, Romans 9:24, and which will have a further accomplishment in the latter day, when the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in, the Jews will be converted, and all Israel saved, Romans 11:25, then the numbers of the Israel of God, both of Jews and Gentiles, will be as the sand of the sea indeed!
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; that is, in such places where it used to be said, here live Pagans, Turks, or Jews, who worship not the true God, or at lease not aright, nor believe in Christ, and profess his name; "there it shall be said to them", by the Lord himself, by his Spirit witnessing their relation to them, and by all good men, and even by the world in general; not only that they are "the people of God", but have a superior privilege, a greater character, and a higher relation, the sons of the living God; the sons of God, not by nature, as Christ; nor by creation, as angels; nor by office, as civil magistrates; or by profession merely, as nominal Christians; but by adopting grace; which exceeds all other blessings, even of sanctification and justification; makes men honourable; is attended with various privileges, and always continues. The epithet "of the living God" is not without cause put; it stands in opposition to dead idols before worshipped by some who will now be the children of God; and who, as he has life in himself, gives it to others; to all natural life and breath, and to his children spiritual and eternal life; and, as he lives forever, so shall they his sons likewise. The Targum is,
"and it shall be in the place where they have been carried captive, when they transgressed the law; and it was said to them, ye are not my people; there they shall be converted and increased (or made great); and it shall be said to them, O ye people of the living God.'
Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together,.... Not at the return from the Babylonish captivity; for, though some of the ten tribes might be mixed with the Jews when they went into captivity, and came out with them, and others might join them from the various nations where they had been dispersed; yet they did not gather together with them in a body, only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, those were the chief; of the children of Israel, but few, Ezra 1:5. Some refer this to the first times of the Gospel, when the Galileans were gathered to Christ by his ministry, who inhabited the countries where some of the tribes of Israel dwelt; and who might, at least some of them, descend from them: and when those in Jerusalem and in Judea, who also believed in Christ, united with them in their profession of him, and in affection to one another; or to the time of Christ's death, by which the whole Israel of God, who were scattered abroad, were gathered together in one; and even Jews and Gentiles were made one body, and one new man in Christ, the partition wall being broken down: or to the times of the apostles, who were successful in the conversion and gathering of many of the Jewish nation, and also of the Samaritans; and of forming churches in Judea and Samaria under one head, in whom they agreed; and likewise of many others, both Jews and Israelites, in the various parts of the world, where they carried the Gospel; and who coalesced with the believing Gentiles in one church state, under Christ their head: though it seems best to interpret this of the latter day, when the children of Israel and Judah shall join together in seeking the Lord their God, and the true Messiah, and shall be turned, and gathered to him; when they shall be no more two kingdoms or two nations, but be one under the Messiah, who shall he their King and Prince; when all their animosities shall be laid aside, and they shall no more envy or vex one another; but shall meet together in the same church state, and worship the Lord with one shoulder and consent, being of one mind and sentiment in religious things, and when all Israel shall be saved, Jeremiah 1:4 Isaiah 11:13
and appoint themselves one head; not Sennacherib, as Aben Ezra, very absurdly; nor Hezekiah, nor Josiah, as others; nor Elijah the prophet, as some in Kimchi; nor Zerubbabel, to which the Targum seems to incline, paraphrasing it,
"one head of the house of David;'
but better, as Jarchi, David their King; that is, the Messiah, as Kimchi and Ben Melech expressly interpret it; and so Abarbinel
and they shall come up out of the land; not of Israel, as Schmidt, who interprets this of the apostles going out from thence, and spreading the Gospel in the world; but out of each of the lands and countries where Israel and Judah have been dispersed, and return to their own land; see Jeremiah 3:18. So the Targum,
"and they shall come up out of the land of their captivity:'
or it may be understood, figuratively and spiritually, of their coming up out of their captivity to sin, Satan, the law, and the world, as well as out of their present temporal captivity:
and out of the earth
for great shall be the day of Jezreel; or, though great has been or is the day of Jezreel
"for great will be the day of their gathering.'
It respects the latter day glory, when will be the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles; when there will be great peace and prosperity; great love and unity; great holiness and purity; great light and knowledge; great enjoyment of God, and of the presence of the Redeemer great glory upon the churches, and upon that a defence: in short, all the great and glorious things spoken of will now be completed; perfect deliverance from all afflictions and troubles; an entire destruction of all enemies; and a full enjoyment of the word and ordinances, in the purity of them, and large conversions everywhere.
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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Hosea 1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25