Lecture Twenty-eighth

Hosea 10:10

10. It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. 1

10. In voto meo est, et castigabo eos, et congregabuntur contra eos populi, ubi colligati fuerint (vel, se colligaverint) in duobus sulcis suis (alii vertunt, in duobus iniquitatibus suis, quasi nomen esset ab Nwe.)


When God says that he desires to chastise the people, he intimates that this was his purpose, as when one greatly wishes for anything; and it may be an allowable change in the sentence, if the copulative was omitted, and it be rendered thus, -- It is in my desire to chastise them. But to depart from the words seems not to me necessary; I therefore take them apart as they stand, in this sense, -- that God would follow his desire in chastising the people. The sentence seems indeed to be repugnant to many others, in which God declares his sorrow, when constrained to deal severely with his people, but the two statements are not discordant. Passions, we know, belong not to God; but in condescension to men's capacities, he puts on this or that character. When he seems unwilling to indict punishment, he shows with how much love he regards his own people, or with what kind and tender affection he loves them. But yet, as he has to do with perverse and irreclaimable men, he says that he will take pleasure in their destruction; and for this reason also, it is said that God will take revenge. We now then understand the meaning of the Prophet: he intimates, that the purpose which God had formed of destroying the people of Israel could not now be revoked; for this punishment was to him his highest delight.

He further says, I will chastise them, and assembled shall peoples be against them. By these words God shows that all people are in his hand, that he can arm them whenever he pleases; and this truth is everywhere taught in the Scriptures. God then so holds all people under his command, that by a hiss or a nod he can, whenever it pleases him, stir them up to war. Hence, as heedless Israel laughed at God's judgement, he now shows how effectual will be his revenge, for he will assemble all people for their destruction.

And for the same purpose he adds, When they shall have bound themselves in two furrows. By this clause the Prophet warns the Israelites, that nothing would avail them, though they fortified themselves against every danger, and though they gathered strength on every side; for all their efforts would not prevent God from executing his vengeance. When therefore they shall be bound in their two furrows, I will not on that account give over to assemble the people who shall dissipate all their fortresses. We now apprehend the design of the Prophet. He no doubt mentions two furrows, with reference to sloughing; for we shall see that the Prophet dwells on this metaphor. However much then the Israelites might join together and gather strength, it would yet be easy for God to gather people to destroy them.

Some refer this sentence to the whole body of the people; for they think that the compact between the kingdom of Judah and Israel is here pointed out: but this is a mere conjecture, for history gives it no countenance. Others have found out another comment, that the Lord would punish them all together, since Judah had joined the people of Israel in worshipping the calves: so they think that the common superstition was the bond of alliance between the two kingdoms. There are others who think that the Prophet alludes to the two calves, one of which, as it is well known, was worshipped in Dan, and the other at Bethel. But all these interpretations are too refined and strained. The Prophet, I doubt not, does here simply mention the two furrows, because the people, (as godless men are wont to do,) relying on their own power, boldly and proudly despised all threatening. "Howsoever," he says, "they may join themselves together in two furrows, they shall yet effect nothing by their pride to prevent me from executing my vengeance." Let us proceed --

1 The word here rendered "furrows" is not so found any where else. The Masoretic points have alone fixed to it this meaning. The Hebrew text has Mtnye, their spring or fountain; and Keri, the marginal reading, and twelve MSS, have Mtwnwe, their sins or iniquities. The latter reading is countenanced by the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Vulgate. Then the right translation would be, "when they are bound to their two iniquities;" that is, the two alliances with Assyria and Egypt, or the two calves, one in Dan, the other at Bethel.

"When they are chastised for their two iniquities." -- Newcome.