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Hosea taketh Gomer, and her children, Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah and

Lo-ammi. 2 The beginning of the word 7 But I will have mercy upon of the Lord by Hosea. And the house of Judah, and will save the Lord said to Hosea, Go, them by the LORD their God, take unto thee a wife of whore- and will not save them by bow, doms and children of whore- nor by sword, nor by battle, by doms: for the land hath commit- horses, nor by horsemen. ted great whoredom, departing 8 Now when she had weaned from the LORD.

Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and 3 So be went and took Gomer bare a son. the daughter of Diblaim; which 9 Then said God, Call his name conceived, and bare him a son. Lo-ammi: for yeare not my peo

4 And the Lord said unto ple, and I will not be your God. him, Call his name Jezreel; for 10 Yet the number of the chilyet a little while, and I will dren of Israel shall be as the avenge the blood of Jezreel up- sand of the sea, which cannot be on the house of Jehu, and will measured nor numbered; and it cause to cease the kingdom of shall come to pass, that in the the house of Israel.

place where it was said unto 5 And it shall come to pass at them, Ye are not my people, that day, that I will break the there it shall be said unto them, bow of Israel in the valley of Ye are the sons of the living Jezreel.

God. 6 And she conceived again, and 11 Then shall the children of bare a daughter. And God said Judah and the children of Israel unto him, Call her name Lo- be gathered together, and apruhamah: for I will no more point themselves one head, and have mercy upon the house of they shall come up out of the Israel ; but I will utterly take land : for great shall be the day

of Jezreel.

them away.

LECTURE 1389. Of thanking God for our Christian calling. The idolatry of God's people is commonly rebuked by the prophets in language which describes it as fornication or adultery. Here we find Hosea directed to take to wife a woman of this wicked character, either one who had been so already, or one who would prove so afterwards, in order by this connexion to illustrate more forcibly the wickedness of the Israelites in departing from the Lord. It is as if God had said unto the prophet, In this violence to be done to thy affections, let my people see what a wrong they offer unto Me, what an affront they put upon my divine majesty, by proving unfaithful to my covenant, and bowing down to false gods and senseless idols. It is as if God said to us by the prophet, Language is not strong enough to move you, figures of speech will not work upon your obdurate hearts, see therefore

and be astonished at this action, so abhorrent from my ways, yet done by my command, on purpose to harrow up your souls, and to make you feel heartily ashamed, and utterly confounded, whatsoever idolatry you are guilty of.

“ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.” This son then was born to the prophet. Not so the daughter and son which followed. They are not said to have been born to “him.” They were doubtless the “children of whoredoms.” The first born son was named by God's commandment “ Jezreel," a name signifying, The seed of God, or holy seed. This child was a type of those amongst the Israelites who were faithful worshippers of the Lord. And since many such had been slain by the successive kings of Jehu's family, God here takes occasion to declare, that He will avenge their blood upon the house of Jehu, and put an end to the kingdom of Israel, even causing the Israelites to be signally defeated in the valley called by the same holy name. The next child of the prophet's faithless wife had for its name Lo-ruhamah; a word which means, as we read in the margin of the Bible, “ I will not add any more to.” And God, in ordering this name to be given, signified, that He would no more have mercy upon “ the house of Israel;” that is to say, on the kingdom of the ten tribes. This child then represented the apostate people of the ten tribes, the great multitude amongst them who had altogether departed from serving the living God.

But whilst the rejection of the house of Israel” is thus fearfully denounced, the voice of mercy is heard in favour of the house of Judah,” and a great salvation is foretold in their behalf. And for them too there is judgment as well as mercy. For the next child born by Hosea's faithless wife is probably to be looked upon as a type of Judah whilst idolatrous. And his name, “ Loammi,” means that which God had to say to them also, “

ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” They too must go into captivity for their sins. Their kingdom must be overthrown; their temple too and their church cast down. Nevertheless they should be restored for a time, even until the coming of the Saviour whom they are here taught to look for. Then should the number of the children of Israel," the Israelites in general, be greatly multiplied; the first converted Jews being the means chiefly used by God in gathering in the early churches of the Gentiles. Then should it come to pass, " that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall it be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” Let us thank God that it has been so said unto ourselves. Let us heartily give Him thanks for our Christian calling. And let us heartily pray, that all the children of Judah, yea all the children of Israel, throughout the world, may soon be gathered together under the same Head, and partake of the same joy and glory, with ourselves.

The sins, judgments, and redemption of Israel. 1 Say ye unto your brethren, lovers, and none shall deliver Ammi; and to your sisters, Ru- her out of mine hand. hamah.

11 I will also cause all her 2 Plead with your mother, mirth to cease, her feast days, plead: for she is not my wife, her new moons, and her sabneither am I her husband : let baths, and all her solemn feasts. her therefore put away her 12 And I will destroy her vines whoredoms out of her sight, and and her fig trees, whereof she her adulteries from between her hath said, These are my rewards breasts;

that my lovers bave given me : 3 Lest I strip her naked, and and I will make them a forest, set her as in the day that she was and the beasts of the field shall born, and make her as a wilder- eat them. ness, and set her like a dry land, 13 And I will visit upon her and slay her with thirst.

the days of Baalim, wherein she 4 And I will not have mercy burned incense to them, and she upon her children; for they be decked herself with her earrings the children of whoredoms. and her jewels, and she went

5 For their mother hath played after her lovers, and forgat me, the harlot: she that conceived saith the LORD. them hath done shamefully : for 14 Therefore, behold, I will she said, I will go after my allure her, and bring her into lovers, that give me my bread the wilderness, and speak comand my water, my wool and my fortably unto her. fax, mine oil and my drink. 15 And I will give her her

6 Therefore, behold, I will vineyards from thence, and the hedge up thy way with thorns, valley of Achor for a door of and make a wall, that she shall hope: and she shall sing there, not find her paths.

as in the days of her youth, and 7 And she shall follow after her as in the day when she came up lovers, but she shall not overtake out of the land of Egypt. them; and she shall seek them, 16 And it shall be at that day, but shall not find them : then saith the LORD, that thou shalt shall she say, I will go and return call me Ishi; and shalt call me to my first husband; for then no more Baali. was it better with me than now. 17 For I will take away the

8 For she did not know that I names of Baalim out of her gave her corn, and wine, and oil, mouth, and they shall no more and multiplied her silverand gold, be remembered by their name. which they prepared for Baal. 18 And in that day will I make

9 Therefore will I return, and a covenant for them with the take away my corn in the time beasts of the field, and with the thereof, and my wine in the fowls of heaven, and with the season thereof, and will recover creeping things of the ground: my wool and my flax given to and I will break the bow and cover her nakedness.

the sword and the battle out of 10 And now will I discover the earth, and will make them her lewdness in the sight of her to lie down safely.

19 And I will betroth thee unto and they shall hear the earth ; me for ever; yea, I will betroth 22 And the earth shall hear the thee unto me in righteousness, corn, and the wine, and the oil ; and in judgment, and in loving- and they shall hear Jezreel. kindness, and in mercies.

23 And I will sow her unto me 20 I will even betroth thee un- in the earth; and I will have to me in faithfulness : and thou mercy upon her that had not shalt know the LORD.

obtained mercy; and I will say 21 And it shall come to pass in to them which were not my peothat day, I will hear, saith the ple, Thou art my people; and LORD, I will hear the heavens, they shall say, Thou art my God.

LECTURE 1390. The blessedness of the Gospel dispensation. The faithful among the Israelites are here first exhorted to address the whole nation as the common parent of themselves and of the unfaithful, and to plead with this their mother to repent and to amend. Her great offences are then set forth, the love of false gods, and an unthankful forgetfulness of all that Jehovah had done in her behalf. Next the judgments which would follow are denounced. And finally the door of hope is opened, and a prospect is held out of future restoration to peace and to prosperity, in terms which we cannot hesitate to apply to the dispensation of the Gospel. The return from the captivity in Babylon may bave somewhat resembled the deliverance out of Egypt here alluded to. But both are types of a greater redemption. A greater than Moses is here; a greater than Ezra, Nehemiah, or Zerubbabel. Idolatry is to cease ; and not only so, but also God is to be reverenced and loved. “ The names of Baalim” are to be no more pronounced; and peace is proclaimed between man and man, whose wars are often more hard to stay than those between man and savage animals. An union, close as that of marriage, is to be formed with mankind by God, in faithfulness on man's part, and on God's “in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.” What a striking description is here of the Gospel covenant ! And what apt figures of the blessings which the Gospel offers to us all are these which follow : “I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel!” The prayers of the faithful seed of God shall prevail. The blessings of nature shall be combined with those of grace. And the whole shall be crowned by the gracious assurance, " Thou art my people,” addressed to those who heretofore had not been so; they answering, “ Thou art my God.” May He, who has long since sown this blessed seed in the world, make it to bear fruit more and more abundantly! May the heavens herein hear the earth, and the earth hear the joyful sound of an abundant harvest, in the multitude of sinners saved, even of saints gathered into the garner of the Lord !

Hosea espouseth an adulteress for a sign unto Israel. i Then said the LORD unto and thou shalt not be for another me, Go yet, love a woman be- man: so will I also be for thee. loved of her friend, yet an adul- 4 For the children of Israel teress, according to the love of shall abide many days without the Lord toward the children a king, and without a prince, of Israel, who look to other gods, and without a sacrifice, and and love flagons of wine. without an image, and without 2 So I bought her to me for an ephod, and without teraphim: fifteen pieces of silver, and for 5 Afterward shall the children an homer of barley, and an half of Israel return, and seek the horner of barley :

LORD their God, and David 3 And I said unto her, Thou their king; and shall fear the shalt abide for me. many days; LORD and his goodness in the thou shalt not play the harlot, latter days.

LECTURE 1391. That all Scripture must be consistent with God's holiness. There is a great variety of opinions as to the commands given to the prophet, both here and in the first chapter; it being thought difficult to conceive, that God would require of his prophet such a sacrifice of his own feelings, and even violation of his principles, as may seem to be implied in these injunctions. Hence some have supposed, that it was never meant that he should love or marry such wicked women as these; but only that he should speak to the Israelites of doing so, as a figurative way of representing their faithless conduct towards God. Others imagine, that “ an adulteress” means an idolatrous woman. But both these explanations appear forced; and such as never would have occurred to any one upon reading the plain statements in the text, except as expedients to avoid a consequence supposed to be objectionable. Some again have supposed that the woman mentioned in the first chapter had not transgressed before the prophet took her to wife, but became afterwards such as there described. And yet the words look more as if the prophet was enjoined to take to wife a woman of abandoned character, one who either had borne or would bear children, whose father was not her husband. See ch. 1. 2. So again some consider the adulteress in the chapter before us as the same person with the wife mentioned in the first chapter. And yet the text rather leads us to suppose, that this is a distinct transaction; and that the prophet had to form a connexion of this objectionable kind more than once. And if so, it is better to understand these injunctions of the Lord, and the corresponding actions of the prophet, in their plain literal meaning; and then to examine reverently how they may best be reconciled with the goodness and holiness of God; well assured, that they are thoroughly consistent therewith, whether we understand how, or not.

Be it observed then, that however great a sinner the woman might be, it does not follow that the prophet committed sin in

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