God's Promise of Blessing, on Their Repentance:
Their Abandonment of Idolatry Foretold: The Conclusion of the Whole,
the Just Shall Walk in God's Ways, but
the Transgressor Shall Fall Therein.
1. fallen by thine iniquity—(Ho 5:5;
2. Take with you words—instead of
sacrifices, namely, the words of penitence here put in your mouths by
God. "Words," in Hebrew, mean "realities," there being the same
term for "words" and "things"; so God implies, He will not accept empty
professions (Ps 78:36; Isa 29:13). He does not ask costly sacrifices, but
words of heartfelt penitence.
receive us graciously—literally "(for)
calves of our lips—that is, instead of
sacrifices of calves, which we cannot offer to Thee in exile, we
present the praises of our lips. Thus the exile, wherein the
temple service ceased, prepared the way for the gospel time when the
types of the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament being realized in
Christ's perfect sacrifice once for all, "the sacrifice of praise to
God continually that is the fruit of our lips" (Heb 13:14) takes their place in the New
3. Three besetting sins of Israel are here
renounced, trust in Assyria, application to Egypt for its cavalry
(forbidden, De 17:16;
compare Ho 7:11; 11:5; 12:1; 2Ki
17:4; Ps 33:17; Isa 30:2, 16; 31:1), and idolatry.
fatherless—descriptive of the
destitute state of Israel, when severed from God, their true
Father. We shall henceforth trust in none but Thee, the only Father of
the fatherless, and Helper of the destitute (Ps 10:14;
68:5); our nation has
experienced Thee such in our helpless state in Egypt, and now in a like
state again our only hope is Thy goodness.
4. God's gracious reply to their
merely occasional backslidings. God can heal the most desperate
freely—with a gratuitous, unmerited,
and abundant love (Eze 16:60-63). So as to the spiritual Israel (Joh 15:16; Ro 3:24; 5:8; 1Jo 4:10).
5. as the dew—which falls copiously in
the East, taking the place of the more frequent rains in other regions.
God will not be "as the early dew that goeth away," but constant (Ho 6:3, 4; Job 29:19; Pr 19:12).
the lily—No plant is more productive
than the lily, one root often producing fifty bulbs [Pliny, Natural History, 21.5]. The common
lily is white, consisting of six leaves opening like bells. The royal
lily grows to the height of three or four feet; Mt 6:29 alludes to the beauty of its
roots as Lebanon—that is, as the trees
of Lebanon (especially the cedars), which cast down their roots as
deeply as is their height upwards; so that they are immovable [Jerome], (Isa 10:34). Spiritual growth consists most in the
growth of the root which is out of sight.
6. branches—shoots, or suckers.
beauty … as the olive—which
never loses its verdure. One plant is not enough to express the graces
of God's elect people. The lily depicts its lovely growth; but
as it wants duration and firmness, the deeply rooted cedars of Lebanon
are added; these, however, are fruitless, therefore the fruitful,
peace-bearing, fragrant, ever green olive is added.
smell as Lebanon—which exhaled from it
the fragrance of odoriferous trees and flowers. So Israel's name shall
be in good savor with all (Ge 27:27; So 4:11).
7. They that used to dwell under
Israel's shadow (but who shall have been forced to leave it),
shall return, that is, be restored (Eze 35:9). Others take "His shadow" to
mean Jehovah's (compare Ps 17:8; 91:1; Isa 4:6), which Ho 14:1, 2 ("return unto the Lord,"
&c.) favor. But the "his" in Ho 14:6 refers to Israel, and therefore must
refer to the same here.
revive as … corn—As the corn
long buried in the earth springs up, with an abundant produce, so shall
they revive from their calamities, with a great increase of offspring
(compare Joh 12:24).
scent thereof—that is, Israel's
fame. Compare Ho 14:6, "His
smell as Lebanon"; So 1:3: "Thy
name is as ointment poured forth." The Septuagint favors
the Margin, "memorial."
as the wine of Lebanon—which was most
celebrated for its aroma, flavor, and medicinal restorative
8. Ephraim shall say—being
brought to penitence by God's goodness, and confessing and abhorring
his past madness.
I have heard … and observed
him—I Jehovah have answered and regarded him
with favor; the opposite of God's "hiding His face from" one
31:17). It is the experience
of God's favor, in contrast to God's wrath heretofore, that leads
Ephraim to abhor his past idolatry. Jehovah heard and answered:
whereas the idols, as Ephraim now sees, could not hear, much
I am … a green fir—or cypress;
ever green, winter and summer alike; the leaves not falling off in
From me is thy fruit found—"From Me,"
as the root. Thou needest go no farther than Me for the supply of all
thy wants; not merely the protection implied by the
shadow of the cypress, but that which the cypress has not,
namely, fruit, all spiritual and temporal blessings. It may be
also implied, that whatever spiritual graces Ephraim seeks for or may
have, are not of themselves, but of God (Ps 1:3; Joh 15:4, 5,
8; Jas 1:17). God's promises
to us are more our security for mortifying sin than our promises to God
summing up the whole previous teaching. Here alone Hosea uses the term
"righteous," so rare were such characters in his day. There is enough
of saving truth clear in God's Word to guide those humbly seeking
salvation, and enough of difficulties to confound those who curiously
seek them out, rather than practically seek salvation.
fall—stumble and are offended at
difficulties opposed to their prejudices and lusts, or above their
self-wise understanding (compare Pr 10:29; Mic 2:7; Mt 11:19; Lu 2:34; Joh 7:17; 1Pe
2:7, 8). To him who sincerely
seeks the agenda, God will make plain the credenda.
Christ is the foundation-stone to some: a stone of stumbling and rock
of offense to others. The same sun softens wax and hardens clay. But
their fall is the most fatal who fall in the ways of God, split on the
Rock of ages, and suck poison out of the Balm of Gilead.