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Verse 1

Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child, &c. “The Israel of this chapter is the whole people, composed of the two branches, Judah and the ten tribes. But the house of Israel is the kingdom of the ten tribes, as distinct from the other branch.” Horsley. By the time of Israel’s childhood is meant the patriarchal age, and the time of their continuance under the Egyptian bondage. Then I loved him Manifested a tender and paternal affection to him, increasing him in numbers, wealth, and honour. And called my son out of Egypt Namely, by Moses, whom God commanded to acquaint the Israelites that they must remove out of Egypt. Israel is called God’s son, and his firstborn, Exodus 4:22-23; and therein was an eminent figure of the Messiah, in whom all God’s promises were fulfilled. This prophecy, therefore, is applied by St. Matthew 2:15, to our Lord’s return out of Egypt, after his being taken thither by his parents in his infancy, and kept there some time for fear of Herod. And the strict, literal sense of the words, more properly belongs to him than to Israel. And this is observable in many other prophecies, which can but improperly be applied to those of whom they were at first spoken; and, taking them in their strict, literal sense, are only fulfilled in Christ: see particularly Psalms 22:16; Psalms 22:18. “Although the son,” says Bishop Horsley, “here immediately meant, is the natural Israel, called out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron; there can be no doubt that an allusion was intended by the Holy Spirit to the call of the infant Christ out of the same country. In reference to this event, the passage might be thus paraphrased: ‘God in such sort set his affection upon the Israelites, in the infancy of their nation, that, so early as from their first settlement in Egypt, the arrangement was declared of the descent of the Messiah from Judah, and of the calling of that son from Egypt.’”

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