Lecture Twenty-fourth

Hosea 9:6

6. For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.

6. Quia ecce abierunt a vastatione (vel, propter vastationem; ) Aegyptus colliget eso, Memphis sepeliet eos: desiderabile argenti eorum haereditabit urtica; spina in tabernaculis eorum.


The Prophet confirms here what is contained in the last verse, that is, that the Israelites would at length find that the Prophets had not in vain threatened them, though they at the time heedlessly despised the judgement of God. Lo, he says, they have departed: he speaks of the exile as if it had already taken place, when it was only nigh at hand. The Israelites were then dwelling in their own country, he yet speaks of them as having already gone away. But he sets forth the certainty of the prediction by this manner of speaking, that profane men might cease to promise themselves impunity when God summons them to his tribunal: yea, he shows that he was already armed to take vengeance: "They have gone away," he says, "on account of desolation." Then he adds, Egypt shall gather them. To gather here is to be taken in a bad sense; for it means the same as trousser (to pack up, to bundle) in our language; and it is often taken in this sense by the Prophets, when mention is made of destruction: and this appears still clearer from the word, burying, which the Prophet immediately subjoins. Egypt shall gather them: He certainly speaks not of a kind retreat, but declares that Egypt would be a sepulchre to them, in which they should remain shut up: and thus he takes away from them any hope of deliverance. The Israelites expected that they should find shelter for a season in Egypt, when they bent their course there for fear of their enemies. The Prophet now shows that they would be disappointed in dreaming of a return, for they would remain there gathered up; that is, a free return, as they imagined, would not be allowed them, but a perpetual habitation, yea, a grave.

'Egypt will gather them, Memphis will bury them.' There is a striking correspondence between the words here used, rbq, kober, and Pbq, kobets,. By the first the Prophet signifies that they should be shut up, so as to be, as it were, bound and fixed to a place; and then he adds that they should be buried.

He then says, The desirable place of their silver the nettle shall possess, as by hereditary right, and the thorn, etc.; some render it paliurus; but I follow what is more received, the thorn then shall be in their tabernacles. The meaning is, that the Israelites would be exiles and sojourners, not for a short time, but that their exile would be so long that their land would become waste and uncultivated; for neither nettles nor thorns grow in an inhabited place. Hosea then declares that their land would be deserted and without inhabitants, for nettles and thorns would occupy it instead of men. Now it tended greatly to increase the sorrow of exile, that the hope of return was cut off from them; and God had also declared that Egypt, where they had promised a refuge for themselves, would be to them like a grave. And thus it happens for the most part to the ungodly, who retake themselves to vain solaces, that they may escape the vengeance of God; for they throw themselves into deep labyrinths; where they think to find a harbour of rest for a time, and a commodious habitation; but there they find either a gulf or a grave. This is the meaning. Let us proceed --