Hosea 8:2-3

2. Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.

2. Mihi clamabunt, Deus mi, novimus te, Israel. 1

3. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

3. Deseruit Israel bonum (vel, abominatus est, repulit, vel, recessit procul a bono:) hostis persequetur eum.


By the Prophet saying, To me shall they cry, some understand that the Israelites are blamed for not fleeing to God; and they thus explain the Prophet's words, "They ought to have cried to me." It seems to others to be an exhortation, "Let the Israelites now cry to me." But I take the words simply as they are, that is that God here again touches the dissimulation of the Israelites, They will cry to me, We know thee"; and to this the ready answer is "Israel has cast away good far from himself; the enemy shall pursue him. I thus join together the two verses; for in the former the Lord relates what they would do, and what the Israelites had already begun to do; and in the latter verse he shows that their labour would be in vain, because they ever cherished wickedness in their hearts, and falsely pretended the name of God, as it has been previously observed, even in their prayers. Israel, then will cry to me, My God, we know thee. Thus hypocrites confidently profess the name of God, and with a lofty air affirm that they are God's people; but God laughs to scorn all this boasting, as it is vain, and worthy of derision. They will then cry to me; and then he imitates their cries, My God, we know thee. When hypocrites, as if they were the friends of God, cover themselves with his shadow, and profess to act under his guardianship, and also boast at the same time of their knowledge of true doctrine, and boast of faith and of the worship of God; be it so, he says, that these cries are uttered by their mouths, yet facts speak differently, and reprove and expose their hypocrisy. We now then see how these two verses are connected together, and what is the Prophet's object.

The verb xnz, zanech, means "to remove far off," and "to throw to a distance;" and sometimes, as some think, "to detest." There is here, I doubt not, an implied contrast between the rejection of good and the pursuing of which the Prophet speaks afterwards, Israel has driven good far from himself; some expound bwj, thub, of God himself, as if it was of the masculine gender: but the Prophet, I have no doubt, simply accuses the Israelites of having receded from all justice and uprightness; yea, of having driven far off every thing right and just. Israeli then, has repelled good; the enemy, he says, will pursue him. There is a contrast between repelling and pursuing, as though the prophet said, that the Israelites had by their defection obtained this, that the enemy would now seize them. There is then no better defense for us against all harms than attention to piety and justice; but when integrity is banished from us, then we are exposed to all evils, for we are deprived of the aid of God. We then see how beautifully the Prophet compares these two things -- the rejection of good by Israel -- and their pursuit by their enemies. He then adds --

1 The construction of this versed is anomalous, there being a mixture of numbers, not uncommon in this book. The original is the following: --

larsy Kwnedy yhla wqezy yl.

The literal rendering is this: --

"To me they will cry, My God, we have known thee, Israel."

If we take the future as expressive of a continued act, as it is often to be taken, and consider "my God" as the expression of each one includes in "they," or accommodate it to "They," and say "our God," and if we regard "Israel" to be in apposition with "we," as some critics think and very justly, then we have the following appropriate rendering: --

"To me they cry, Our God; we, Israel, have known thee." --Ed.