Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
CONCLUSION OF THE
WAYS, BUT THE
1. fallen by thine iniquity--
(Ho 5:5; 13:9).
2. Take with you words--instead of sacrifices, namely, the words of
penitence here put in your mouths by God. "Words," in Hebrew, mean
"realities," there being the same term for "words" and "things"; so God
implies, He will not accept empty professions
He does not ask costly sacrifices, but words of heartfelt
receive us graciously--literally "(for) good."
calves of our lips--that is, instead of sacrifices of
calves, which we cannot offer to Thee in exile, we present the
praises of our lips. Thus the exile, wherein the temple service
ceased, prepared the way for the gospel time when the types of the
animal sacrifices of the Old Testament being realized in Christ's
perfect sacrifice once for all, "the sacrifice of praise to God
continually that is the fruit of our lips"
takes their place in the New Testament.
3. Three besetting sins of Israel are here renounced, trust in Assyria,
application to Egypt for its cavalry (forbidden,
Ho 7:11; 11:5; 12:1;
Isa 30:2, 16; 31:1),
fatherless--descriptive of the destitute state of Israel, when
severed from God, their true Father. We shall henceforth trust in none
but Thee, the only Father of the fatherless, and Helper of the destitute
(Ps 10:14; 68:5);
our nation has experienced Thee such in our helpless state in Egypt,
and now in a like state again our only hope is Thy goodness.
4. God's gracious reply to their self-condemning prayer.
backsliding--apostasy: not merely occasional backslidings. God can
heal the most desperate sinfulness [CALVIN].
freely--with a gratuitous, unmerited, and abundant love
So as to the spiritual Israel
Ro 3:24; 5:8;
5. as the dew--which falls copiously in the East, taking the place of
the more frequent rains in other regions. God will not be "as the early
dew that goeth away," but constant
(Ho 6:3, 4;
the lily--No plant is more productive than the lily, one root
often producing fifty bulbs [PLINY, Natural
History, 21.5]. The common lily is white, consisting of six leaves
opening like bells. The royal lily grows to the height of three or four
alludes to the beauty of its flowers.
roots as Lebanon--that is, as the trees of Lebanon (especially the
cedars), which cast down their roots as deeply as is their height
upwards; so that they are immovable [JEROME],
Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root which is out
6. branches--shoots, or suckers.
beauty . . . as the olive--which never loses its
verdure. One plant is not enough to express the graces of God's elect
people. The lily depicts its lovely growth; but as it wants
duration and firmness, the deeply rooted cedars of Lebanon are added;
these, however, are fruitless, therefore the fruitful, peace-bearing,
fragrant, ever green olive is added.
smell as Lebanon--which exhaled from it the fragrance of odoriferous
trees and flowers. So Israel's name shall be in good savor with all
7. They that used to dwell under Israel's
shadow (but who shall have been forced to leave it), shall
return, that is, be restored
Others take "His shadow" to mean Jehovah's (compare
Ps 17:8; 91:1;
Ho 14:1, 2
("return unto the Lord," &c.) favor. But the "his" in
refers to Israel, and therefore must refer to the same here.
revive as . . . corn--As the corn long buried in the
earth springs up, with an abundant produce, so shall they revive from
their calamities, with a great increase of offspring (compare
scent thereof--that is, Israel's fame. Compare
"His smell as Lebanon";
"Thy name is as ointment poured forth." The Septuagint
favors the Margin, "memorial."
as the wine of Lebanon--which was most celebrated for its aroma,
flavor, and medicinal restorative properties.
8. Ephraim shall say--being brought to penitence by God's goodness,
and confessing and abhorring his past madness.
I have heard . . . and observed him--I Jehovah have
answered and regarded him with favor; the opposite
of God's "hiding His face from" one
It is the experience of God's favor, in contrast to God's wrath
heretofore, that leads Ephraim to abhor his past idolatry. Jehovah
heard and answered: whereas the idols, as Ephraim now sees,
could not hear, much less answer.
I am . . . a green fir--or cypress; ever green, winter and summer
alike; the leaves not falling off in winter.
From me is thy fruit found--"From Me," as the root. Thou needest go
no farther than Me for the supply of all thy wants; not merely the
protection implied by the shadow of the cypress, but that which
the cypress has not, namely, fruit, all spiritual and temporal
blessings. It may be also implied, that whatever spiritual graces
Ephraim seeks for or may have, are not of themselves, but of God
Joh 15:4, 5, 8;
God's promises to us are more our security for mortifying sin than our
promises to God
summing up the whole previous teaching. Here alone Hosea
uses the term "righteous," so rare were such characters in his day.
There is enough of saving truth clear in God's Word to guide those
humbly seeking salvation, and enough of difficulties to confound those
who curiously seek them out, rather than practically seek salvation.
fall--stumble and are offended at difficulties opposed to their
prejudices and lusts, or above their self-wise understanding (compare
1Pe 2:7, 8).
To him who sincerely seeks the agenda, God will make plain the
credenda. Christ is the foundation-stone to some: a stone of
stumbling and rock of offense to others. The same sun softens wax and
hardens clay. But their fall is the most fatal who fall in the ways of
God, split on the Rock of ages, and suck poison out of the Balm of