- The prophet charges the people with their idolatry, and threatens them with the judgments of God, verse 1-13.
- Promises of mercy, verse 14-23.
Ye - Who of no people are made a people, who were once unpitied, but now have obtained mercy. Your brethren - To those of the ten tribes, who are your brethren. Ammi - Let them know that yet they are the people of God, they are still within the covenant of their father Abraham, if they will as their father, walk with God, all shall be well.
Your mother - The whole body of the people Israel, which were typified in Gomer. Plead - Ye that are sons and daughters of God amidst this idolatrous nation. Not my wife - For by her adulteries she hath dissolved the marriage-covenant.
Strip her - As was usually done by incensed husbands, divorcing impudent adulteresses. As a wilderness - Barren and desolate.
That give me - Whereas every mercy she enjoyed was God's gift, a fruit of his covenant, love and faithfulness towards her; yet she denies all his kindness, and ascribes to her idols, the bread she ate, the water she drank, and the clothes she wore.
Hedge up - I will compass thee in with wars, and calamities, that tho' thou love thy sinful courses, thou shalt have little pleasure in them. Make a wall - Yea, I will make the calamities of this people as a strong wall, which they cannot break. Her paths - Wherein thou didst go when thou wentest to Egypt, or Syria for help; but by my judgments, and thine enemies power, thou shalt be so guarded, thou shalt not find how to send to them for relief.
Her lovers - Idols and idolaters. Overtake them - But shall never overtake their desired help. To my first husband - God who had married Israel to himself.
Did not know - Did not consider. They - The body of the Jews. Prepared - Dedicated to the service of the idol.
Take away - I will resume all I gave. In the time thereof - When they should gather it in, as being ripe.
Her lewdness - Folly and wickedness.
Her feast days - Though apostate, Israel was fallen to idolatry, yet they retained many of the Mosaic rites and ceremonies. Her solemn feasts - The three annual feasts of tabernacles, weeks, and passover, all which ceased when they were carried captive, by Salmaneser.
My rewards - They gave the praise of all their abundance to idols. Them - Their vine-yards and olive-yards, and the places where they planted their fig-trees, and other fruit-trees.
Visit - Punish. The days - The sins of those days. Of Baalim - Baal was the great idol of the ten tribes; here it is plural Baalim, to denote the multitude of idols which they worshipped, all called by this one name. Decked herself - To put the greater honour on the idol.
I will allure - I will incline her mind to consider what I propose. Into the wilderness - Deep distress.
Her vineyards - Many blessings. From thence - From the time of their repentance. Valley of Achor - Which was a large, fruitful and pleasant valley near Jericho, on the very entrance into the land of Canaan. A door of hope - That valley was a door of hope to Israel of old. And such a door will God give to repenting Israel. As in the days of her youth - When I espoused her.
Thou shalt call - Both by words, affections, and obedience, shall own me as thy husband, and delight to call me so. Baali - That is, my Lord.
For - I will abolish the memory of Baalim. Baalim - This great idol for all others. And they - These false gods. By their name - Their names perishing with them.
For them - The Israel of God. With the beasts - With all the creatures that might either serve or hurt them. It is a full and gracious promise of abundance of peace, safety, and love, through the creation. Safely - This was in some measure made good to the Jews returning out of captivity. But the full accomplishment will be to the church of Christ.
In that day - In the day of gospel-grace. I will hear - God the first and universal cause will influence the heavens, he will command their dew, and showers. When the earth is dry, it does as it were, cry to the heavens for refreshing showers, when the seed sown, the vines and olives planted, are at a stand, they cry to the earth for its kindly influences, that they may spring up, and yield fruit for Jezreel, which may call, and cry, but never will be satisfied if God does not hear them, and command his blessing which he promises to his people on renewing covenant with them. Now their repentance shall be blest with plenty, and God will set the frame of heaven and earth in due order to effect this; there shall be an harmony, between all subordinate causes moved by God the first great cause, whence expected events and fruits shall be produced for their good and comfort.
I will sow - I will bless them with a wonderful increase of people, exprest with allusion to seed sown in the earth. So the Jews multiplied after the Babylonish captivity, but much more are the numbers increased since the preaching of the gospel.