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Hosea 2:19-20 -

Much as was included in these promises, more and better was to follow. The divorced wife was to be taken back; the marriage contract, which her shameful adultery had vitiated, was to be renewed, and past offences condoned. This certainly evidenced extraordinary forbearance and affection. But it was not all. A new and higher relationship was to be entered on; so entirely had God forgiven and forgotten, if we may so say, all the multiplied and aggravated transgressions of Israel against him, that that people is not to be received back as a repudiated wife, but to be henceforth regarded and treated as a chaste virgin, and in that capacity betrothed unto the Lord. And I will betroth thee unto me is the gracious promise thrice repeated, and each time with an additional element of mercy; nor is this betrothal of a temporary character and of short continuance, like the previous marriage compact which the wife's guilt a short time had rendered null and void. It is a durable betrothal, lasting forever. Next to the time during which this betrothal shall continue is the manner in which it is effected, or rather, the basis on which it is established. Justice and judgment present righteousness under two aspects—subjective and objective. Tsedeq, equivalent to tsedaqah, being right, is subjective righteousness and an attribute of God. Mishpat, equivalent to objective right, either as executing judgment or as existing in fact Some attribute these characteristics to God and some to Israel, while others to both. Rashi and Kimchi understand both words tsedeq and mishpat, subjectively and in relation to the Israelites. The former: "In righteousness and judgment wherein ye shall walk;" the latter: "In righteousness which the Israelites shall practice." Wunsche and Hengstenberg understand the righteousness and judgment of God's doing justice and faithfully fulfilling his covenant obligations to Israel. The latter has well remarked in relation to mishpat when distinguishing it from tsedeq , that a man may render what is right to persons and yet not be righteous; that is, there may be objective apart from subjective righteousness. Keil attributes the attributes in question, not only to God fulfilling his covenant engagements to his people, but purifying them through just judgment, and thus providing for their righteousness. That God possesses these is undeniable, but it is equally obvious that he bestows righteousness on his people both by imputation and impartation; he also executes righteousness in their case, purifying them by salutary chastisement, his object being, not only to cleanse, but to keep clean. And yet such is the frailty of man's fallen nature, and so many are the faults and the failings to which he is liable, that loving-kindness (God's condescending love, chesed, equivalent to ἀγάπη ) and mercies (inmost compassion on man's weakness, rachamim, σπάχγνα ) on God's part must be added to righteousness and judgment in order to secure the stability of those whom he takes into covenant, and the continuance of the contract. Nay; for the attainment of the desired end still more is requisite, for, after all his bestowments and all his discipline, and in addition to all his favor and forbearance, his faithfulness (unwavering steadfastness, emunah, corresponding as the reverse side to and securing the leolam ) is indispensable to Israel's perseverance; and thus, notwithstanding Israel's failures, Jehovah's faithfulness guarantees ultimate and lasting success. The special quality on Israel's side is true knowledge of God.

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