Hosea 3:1. Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman This is the literal meaning of the Hebrew עוד לךְ אהב אשׁה , and is the sense in which It is understood by the LXX., who read, ετι πορευθητι , και αγαπησον γυναικα ; and by the Vulgate, which renders it, Adhuc vade et dilige mulierem. A different woman from the person whom he had espoused before seems evidently to be intended. Thus St. Jerome and St. Cyril of Alexandria understand the words, considering the connection here spoken of as a new one, formed after the dismission of Gomer; in which opinion they are followed by Estius, Menochius, Tirinus, and many other expositors. The injunction, Archbishop Newcome supposes, was given after the death of Hosea’s former wife. But if not, it was undoubtedly given after she was divorced, for her unfaithfulness to her husband; in consequence of which, according to the law, he could not take her back again. Beloved of her friend That is, her husband. But the LXX. render the words, αγαπωσαν πονηρα , loving evil things; a reading which accords with that of the Arabic and Syriac, and is approved both by Archbishop Newcome and Bishop Horsley; the former of whom renders the clause, A lover of evil, and the latter, addicted to wickedness, observing, “I adopt the rendering of the LXX. and Syriac, which nothing opposes but the Masoretic pointing.” And an adulteress That is, who had been such, and that not only in the spiritual sense, of forsaking God, but according to the carnal meaning of the term. According to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel After the manner of Jehovah’s love for the children of Israel, who look to other gods, or, although they look to other gods, and are addicted to goblets of wine. So Bishop Horsley, who observes, that “children of Israel, and house of Israel, are two distinct expressions, to be differently understood. The house of Israel, and sometimes Israel by itself, is a particular appellation of the ten tribes, a distinct kingdom from Judah. But the children of Israel, is a general appellation for the whole race of the Israelites, comprehending both kingdoms. Indeed it was the only general appellation, before the captivity of the ten tribes; afterward, the kingdom of Judah only remaining, Jews came into use as the name of the whole race, which before had been the appropriate name of the kingdom of Judah. It occurs, for the first time 2 Kings 16:0., in the history of Ahaz. It is true, we read in Hosea 1:11, of the children of Judah, and the children of Israel; but this is only an honourable mention of Judah, as the principal tribe, not as a distinct kingdom. And the true exposition of the expression is, ‘the children of Judah, and all the rest of the children of Israel.’ We find Judah thus particularly mentioned, as a principal part of the people, before the kingdoms were separated: see 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Kings 4:20; 1 Kings 4:25. And yet, at that time, Israel was the general name, 1 Kings 4:1.” The expression, And love flagons of wine, implies, that they loved to drink wine in the temples of their idols. They were wont to pour out wine to their false gods, and, it is probable, drank the remainder even to excess. The festivity, or rather dissoluteness, which was used by the heathen in the worship of their gods, seems to have been one principal thing that made the Israelites so fond of their rites of worship. Some think that the words, rendered here flagons, or goblets, of wine, should be translated cakes of dried grapes. The expression, according to the love of the Lord, &c., means, Let this be an emblem of my love to the children of Israel; or, By this I intend to let Israel know how I have loved them, and what returns they have made for my love. How great and constant my love has been to them, and how inconstant and insincere theirs has been to me. The words seem, in general, to express their leaving the service of the true God, and imitating the idolaters, in following after false gods, bodily delights and pleasures, as gluttony, drunkenness, and the like, which the service of idols did not only permit, but require.
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