Ho 11:1-12. God's Former
Benefits, and Israel's Ingratitude Resulting in Punishment, Yet Jehovah
Promises Restoration at Last.
Ho 11:5 shows
this prophecy was uttered after the league made with Egypt (2Ki 17:4).
1. Israel … called my son out of
"From the time that he (Israel) was in Egypt, I called
him My son," which the parallelism proves. So Ho 12:9 and Ho
13:4 use "from …
Egypt," for "from the time that thou didst sojourn in Egypt."
Ex 4:22 also shows that Israel was called
by God, "My son," from the time of his Egyptian sojourn (Isa 43:1). God is always said to have led
or brought forth, not to have "called," Israel from Egypt. Mt 2:15, therefore, in quoting this
prophecy (typically and primarily referring to Israel, antitypically
and fully to Messiah), applies it to Jesus' sojourn in Egypt,
not His return from it. Even from His infancy, partly spent in
Egypt, God called Him His son. God included Messiah, and Israel for
Messiah's sake, in one common love, and therefore in one common
prophecy. Messiah's people and Himself are one, as the Head and the
49:3 calls Him "Israel." The
same general reason, danger of extinction, caused the infant Jesus, and
Israel in its national infancy (compare Ge
42:1-43:34; 45:18; 46:3, 4; Eze 16:4-6; Jer 31:20) to sojourn in Egypt. So He, and His
spiritual Israel, are already called "God's sons" while yet in the
Egypt of the world.
2. As they called them—"they," namely,
monitors sent by Me. "Called," in Ho 11:1, suggests the idea of the many
subsequent calls by the prophets.
went from them—turned away in contempt
Baalim—images of Baal, set up in
3. taught … to go—literally, "to
use his feet." Compare a similar image, De 1:31; 8:2, 5, 15; 32:10, 11; Ne 9:21; Isa 63:9; Am
2:10. God bore them as a
parent does an infant, unable to supply itself, so that it has no
anxiety about food, raiment, and its going forth. Ac 13:18, which probably refers to this passage
of Hosea; He took them by the arms, to guide them that they might not
stray, and to hold them up that they might not stumble.
knew not that I healed them—that is,
that My design was to restore them spiritually and temporally (Ex 15:26).
4. cords of a man—parallel to "bands of
love"; not such cords as oxen are led by, but humane methods,
such as men employ when inducing others, as for instance, a father
drawing his child, by leading-strings, teaching him to go (Ho 11:1).
I was … as they that take off the yoke on
their jaws … I laid meat—as the humane husbandman
occasionally loosens the straps under the jaws by which the yoke is
bound on the neck of oxen and lays food before them to eat. An
appropriate image of God's deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian
yoke, and of His feeding them in the wilderness.
5. He shall not return into …
Egypt—namely, to seek help against Assyria (compare Ho 7:11), as Israel lately had done (2Ki 17:4), after having revolted from
Assyria, to whom they had been tributary from the times of Menahem
15:19). In a
figurative sense, "he shall return to Egypt" (Ho 9:3), that is, to Egypt-like bondage; also
many Jewish fugitives were literally to return to Egypt, when
the Holy Land was to be in Assyrian and Chaldean hands.
Assyrian shall be his king—instead of
having kings of their own, and Egypt as their auxiliary.
because they refused to return—just
retribution. They would not return (spiritually) to God, therefore they
shall not return (corporally) to Egypt, the object of their desire.
6. abide—or, "fall upon" [Calvin].
branches—that is, his villages, which
are the branches or dependencies of the cities [Calvin]. Grotius
translates, "his bars" (so La 2:9), that
is, the warriors who were the bulwarks of the state. Compare Ho 4:18, "rulers" (Margin),
"shields" (Ps 47:9).
because of their own counsels—in
worshipping idols, and relying on Egypt (compare Ho 10:6).
7. bent to backsliding—Not only do they
backslide, and that too from Me, their "chief good," but they are bent upon
it. Though they (the prophets) called them (the Israelites) to the
Most High (from their idols), "none would exalt (that is, extol or
honor) Him." To exalt God, they must cease to be "bent on
backsliding," and must lift themselves upwards.
8. as Admah … Zeboim—among the
cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah, irretrievably overthrown (De 29:23).
heart is turned within me—with the
deepest compassion, so as not to execute My threat (La 1:20; compare Ge 43:30; 1Ki 3:26). So the phrase is used of a new turn
given to the feeling (Ps 105:25).
repentings—God speaks according to
human modes of thought (Nu 23:19). God's seeming change is in
accordance with His secret everlasting purpose of love to His people,
to magnify His grace after their desperate rebellion.
9. I will not return to destroy
Ephraim—that is, I will no more, as in past times, destroy
Ephraim. The destruction primarily meant is probably that by
Tiglath-pileser, who, as the Jewish king Ahaz' ally against Pekah of
Israel and Rezin of Syria, deprived Israel of Gilead, Galilee, and
Naphtali (2Ki 15:29).
The ulterior reference is to the long dispersion hereafter, to be ended
by God's covenant mercy restoring His people, not for their merits, but
of His grace.
God, … not man—not dealing as
man would, with implacable wrath under awful provocation (Isa 55:7-9;
Mal 3:6). I do not, like man,
change when once I have made a covenant of everlasting love, as with
23:19). We measure God by the
human standard, and hence are slow to credit fully His promises; these,
however, belong to the faithful remnant, not to the obstinately
in the midst of thee—as peculiarly thy
not enter into the city—as an enemy:
as I entered Admah, Zeboim, and Sodom, utterly destroying them, whereas
I will not utterly destroy thee. Somewhat similarly Jerome: "I am not one such as human dwellers in a
city, who take cruel vengeance; I save those whom I correct." Thus
"not man," and "in the midst of thee," are parallel to "into the city."
Though I am in the midst of thee, it is not as man entering a
rebellious city to destroy utterly. Maurer needlessly translates, "I will not come in
10. he shall roar like a lion—by awful
judgments on their foes (Isa 31:4; Jer 25:26-30; Joe
3:16), calling His dispersed
"children" from the various lands of their dispersion.
shall tremble—shall flock in eager
agitation of haste.
from the west—(Zec 8:7). Literally, "the sea." Probably the
Mediterranean, including its "isles of the sea," and maritime coast.
Thus as Ho
11:11 specifies regions of
Africa and Asia, so here Europe. Isa 11:11-16, is parallel, referring to the very same
regions. On "children," see Ho 1:10.
11. tremble—flutter in haste.
dove—no longer "a silly dove" (Ho 7:11), but as "doves flying to their
windows" (Isa 60:8).
in their houses—(Eze 28:26). Literally, "upon," for the Orientals
live almost as much upon their flat-roofed houses as in
joins this verse with the twelfth chapter. But as this verse praises
Judah, whereas Ho 12:2
censures him, it must belong rather to the eleventh chapter and a new
prophecy begins at the twelfth chapter. To avoid this, Maurer translates this verse as a censure, "Judah
wanders with God," that is, though having the true God, he wanders
after false gods.
ruleth with God—to serve God is to
reign. Ephraim wished to rule without God (compare 1Co 4:8); nay, even, in order to rule, cast off
God's worship [Rivetus]. In Judah was
the legitimate succession of kings and priests.
with the saints—the holy priests and
Levites [Rivetus]. With the fathers and
prophets who handed down the pure worship of God. Israel's apostasy is
the more culpable, as he had before him the good example of Judah,
which he set at naught. The parallelism ("with God") favors Margin, "With THE Most Holy One."