Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV

Hosea was the first of all the writing prophets, somewhat before Isaiah. And he is the most obscure of all, which arises from his concise and sententious style, peculiar to himself. He continued very long a prophet; the Jews say, he prophesied near fourscore and ten years. So that he foretold the destruction of the ten tribes, when it was at a great distance; and lived himself to see and lament it. The scope of his prophecy is, to reprove sin, and denounce judgments against a people that would not be reformed. Many passages in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, seem to be borrowed from it.

Chapter I

The general title of the book, ver. 1. He is to convince them of their whoreing against God, by marrying a wife of whoredoms, ver. 2, 3. He is to foretell their ruin, by the names of his sons, ver. 4 - 9. He intimates, that God still had mercy in store for them, ver. 10, 11.

2 Go take - This was, probably, done in vision, and was to be told to the people, as other visions were: it was parabolically proposed to them, and might have been sufficient to convince the Jews, would they have considered it, as David considered Nathan's parable. A wife of whoredoms and children - Receive and maintain the children she had before.
4 The blood - The slaughters made by Jehu's hand or by his order, in Jezreel. The house of Jehu - Which had now possessed the throne, through the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam; but the usurper, and his successors adhering to the idolatry of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and adding other sins to it, had now provoked God to declare a sudden extirpation of the family: all this came to pass when Shallum conspiring against Zechariah, slew him, 2Kings 15:8 - 10. The kingdom - After one and forty years tottering it fell to utter ruin and hath so continued to this day.
5 At that day - When my vengeance hath overtaken the house of Jehu. Break - Weaken and by degrees quite break. The bow - All their warlike provision, power and skill. Jezreel - In this valley it is probable the bloodiest battles in the civil wars were fought; the reason whereof might be, because whoever carried the victory in this place, were soon masters of Samaria and Jezreel, and consequently of the kingdom.
6 Lo - ruhamah - Not pitied. Israel's name had been through many ages Ruhamah, that is, pitied. God had pitied them, and saved them from their enemies. But now Israel should be no more pitied, God would throw them up to the rage of usurpers, and conspirators.
7 Save them - I will preserve them, that violence do not swallow them up, nor length of captivity wear them out; and this preserved remnant shall return and be planted in their own land, and there kept in safety. By the Lord - Particularly in that extraordinary deliverance of Hezekiah and Jerusalem, from Sennacherib.
9 Loammi - That is, not my people. Tho' once you were a peculiar people, you are so no more; you are cast off as you deserved. I will not be your God - I will be a God to you, no more than to any of the Heathen nations. This God executed when he gave them up into the hands of Salmaneser, who sent them where none now can find them.
10 The children of Israel - Not Israel after the flesh, not those very families that are carried captive. In the place - In those places, were a people dwelt who were not his people, there shall be a people of God. The living God - Who is the fountain of life to all his children, and who enables them to offer living sacrifices to the living God.
11 Then - This verse has both an historical and a spiritual sense; the one referring to the return out of Babylon, the other to a more glorious deliverance from a more miserable captivity. Judah - The two tribes, who adhered to the house of David. Israel - Some of the ten tribes who were incorporated with the kingdom of Judah, and so carried captive with them. But this is spiritually to be understood of the whole Israel of God. One head - Zerubbabel, who was appointed by Cyrus, yet with full approbation of the people. And so Christ is appointed by the Father, head of his church, whom believers heartily accept. Come up - Literally out of Babylon, spiritually out of captivity to sin and to Satan. Great - Good, joyous and comfortable. Of Jezreel - Israel is here called Jezreel, the seed of God. This seed is now sown in the earth, and buried under the clods; but great shall be its day, when the harvest comes. Great was the day of the church, when there were daily added to it such as should be saved.

Chapter II

The prophet charges the people with their idolatry, and threatens them with the judgments of God, ver. 1 - 13. Promises of mercy, ver. 14 - 23.

1 Ye - Who of no people are made a people, who were once unpitied, but now have obtained mercy. Your brethren - To those of the ten tribes, who are your brethren. Ammi - Let them know that yet they are the people of God, they are still within the covenant of their father Abraham, if they will as their father, walk with God, all shall be well.
2 Your mother - The whole body of the people Israel, which were typified in Gomer. Plead - Ye that are sons and daughters of God amidst this idolatrous nation. Not my wife - For by her adulteries she hath dissolved the marriage - covenant.
3 Strip her - As was usually done by incensed husbands, divorcing impudent adulteresses. As a wilderness - Barren and desolate.
5 That give me - Whereas every mercy she enjoyed was God's gift, a fruit of his covenant, love and faithfulness towards her; yet she denies all his kindness, and ascribes to her idols, the bread she ate, the water she drank, and the clothes she wore.
6 Hedge up - I will compass thee in with wars, and calamities, that tho' thou love thy sinful courses, thou shalt have little pleasure in them. Make a wall - Yea, I will make the calamities of this people as a strong wall, which they cannot break. Her paths - Wherein thou didst go when thou wentest to Egypt, or Syria for help; but by my judgments, and thine enemies power, thou shalt be so guarded, thou shalt not find how to send to them for relief.
7 Her lovers - Idols and idolaters. Overtake them - But shall never overtake their desired help. To my first husband - God who had married Israel to himself.
8 Did not know - Did not consider. They - The body of the Jews. Prepared - Dedicated to the service of the idol.
9 Take away - I will resume all I gave. In the time thereof - When they should gather it in, as being ripe.
10 Her lewdness - Folly and wickedness.
11 Her feast days - Though apostate, Israel was fallen to idolatry, yet they retained many of the Mosaic rites and ceremonies. Her solemn feasts - The three annual feasts of tabernacles, weeks, and passover, all which ceased when they were carried captive, by Salmaneser.
12 My rewards - They gave the praise of all their abundance to idols. Them - Their vine - yards and olive - yards, and the places where they planted their fig - trees, and other fruit - trees.
13 Visit - Punish. The days - The sins of those days. Of Baalim - Baal was the great idol of the ten tribes; here it is plural Baalim, to denote the multitude of idols which they worshipped, all called by this one name. Decked herself - To put the greater honour on the idol.
14 I will allure - I will incline her mind to consider what I propose. Into the wilderness - Deep distress.
15 Her vineyards - Many blessings. From thence - From the time of their repentance. Valley of Achor - Which was a large, fruitful and pleasant valley near Jericho, on the very entrance into the land of Canaan. A door of hope - That valley was a door of hope to Israel of old. And such a door will God give to repenting Israel. As in the days of her youth - When I espoused her.
16 Thou shalt call - Both by words, affections, and obedience, shall own me as thy husband, and delight to call me so. Baali - That is, my Lord.
17 For - I will abolish the memory of Baalim. Baalim - This great idol for all others. And they - These false gods. By their name - Their names perishing with them.
18 For them - The Israel of God. With the beasts - With all the creatures that might either serve or hurt them. It is a full and gracious promise of abundance of peace, safety, and love, through the creation. Safely - This was in some measure made good to the Jews returning out of captivity. But the full accomplishment will be to the church of Christ.
21 In that day - In the day of gospel - grace. I will hear - God the first and universal cause will influence the heavens, he will command their dew, and showers. When the earth is dry, it does as it were, cry to the heavens for refreshing showers, when the seed sown, the vines and olives planted, are at a stand, they cry to the earth for its kindly influences, that they may spring up, and yield fruit for Jezreel, which may call, and cry, but never will be satisfied if God does not hear them, and command his blessing which he promises to his people on renewing covenant with them. Now their repentance shall be blest with plenty, and God will set the frame of heaven and earth in due order to effect this; there shall be an harmony, between all subordinate causes moved by God the first great cause, whence expected events and fruits shall be produced for their good and comfort.
23 I will sow - I will bless them with a wonderful increase of people, exprest with allusion to seed sown in the earth. So the Jews multiplied after the Babylonish captivity, but much more are the numbers increased since the preaching of the gospel.

Chapter III

Another type of the spiritual whoredom of Israel, ver. 1 - 3. The punishment of it, ver. 4. Their reformation, ver. 5.

1 Of her friend - Her husband. An adulteress - Either already tainted, or that certainly will be tainted with that vice. According to the love - Let this be the emblem of my love to the children of Israel. And love - Love the feasts of their idols, where they drink wine to excess.
2 Fifteen pieces of silver - It was half the value of a slave, Exod 21:32. An homer of barley - About fourteen bushels. Of barley - The meanest kind of provision; and suited to a low condition, all this is, to set forth Israel's indigence and ingratitude, and God's bounty to Israel.
3 Abide for me - Thou shalt wait unmarried, until I espouse thee.
4 For - Now the parable is unfolded, it shall be with Israel as with such a woman, they and she were guilty of adultery, both punished long, both made slaves, kept hardly, and valued meanly, yet in mercy at last pardoned, and re - accepted tho' after a long time of probation. Without a king - None of their own royal line shall sit on the throne. A prince - Strangers shall be princes and governors over them. Without a sacrifice - Offered according to the law. An image - They could carry none of their images with them, and the Assyrians would not let them make new ones. Ephod - No priest as well as no ephod. And without teraphim - Idolatrous images kept in their private houses, like the Roman household gods; in one word, such should be the state of their captives; they should have nothing of their own either in religious or civil affairs, but be wholly under the power of their conquering enemies.
5 Return - Repent. And David - The Messiah who is the son of David. And his goodness - God and his goodness; that is, the good and gracious God. God in Christ and with Christ shall be worshipped. The latter days - In the days of the Messiah, in gospel - times.

Chapter IV

The prophet shews their numerous sins, and the judgments consequent upon them, ver. 1 - 19.

2 Break out - As waters that swell above all banks. Toucheth blood - Slaughters are multiplied; so that the end of one is the beginning of another.
3 Shall languish - Shall pine away. With the beasts of the field - God punishes man in cutting off what was made for man's benefit; and 'tis probable the tamer cattle were starved for want of grass or fodder, all being consumed by the wasting armies. The tamer either were killed by enemies, or offended with stench, forsook the country, or were devoured by birds of prey. Taken away - Whether by drying up the waters, or by corrupting them with blood and carcasses.
4 Let no man strive - They are so hardened, it is to no purpose to warn them any more. As they that strive - There is no modesty, or fear of God or man left among them, they will contend with their teachers, reprovers, and counsellors.
5 Therefore - The prophet turns his speech to the people, thou O Israel; he speaks to them as to one person. Fall - Stumble, and fall, and be broken. This day - Very suddenly; your fall shall be no longer delayed. The prophet - Prophesied lies. In the night - In the darkest calamities. Thy mother - Both the state, or kingdom; and the synagogues, or churches: the publick is as a mother to private persons, so all shall be destroyed.
6 Destroyed - Many were already cut off by Pul king of Assyria, and many destroyed by the bloody tyranny of Menahem. Of knowledge - Of God, his law, his providence, his holy nature, his hatred of sin and power to punish it. Because thou - The prophet now turns from the people to the priests, to whom he speaks as to one person. Rejected knowledge - Art and wilt be ignorant. Seeing thou - O Israel, and you O priests, you have broken all the precepts of it. Thy children - The people of Israel, the whole kingdom of the ten tribes.
7 As they - Kings, priests, and people. Were increased - In number, in riches, and honour. So they sinned - Sin grew with their wealth and honour. Their glory - They turned all that in which they might glory above others, into sin. I will turn it into their dishonour.
8 They - The priests who minister to the idols. The sin - Probably by sin is meant sin - offering, in which the priest had his share. And they - Covetous, luxurious, idolatrous priests.
10 Not have enough - They shall not be nourished, nor satisfied with what they eat. Shall not increase - They shall not hereby increase the number of their children, either the women shall not bear, or the children shall not live.
11 Take away the heart - Deprive men of their understanding and judgment.
12 Stocks - Wooden statues. The spirit of whoredom - A heart ensnared with whoredoms, spiritual and corporal. Caused them to err - Hath blinded, and deceived them.
13 Good - Convenient for the sacrificers. Shall commit whoredom - Shall dishonour themselves, and their families, with fornicators.
14 Nor your spouses - I will give them up to their own hearts. For themselves - The husband and fathers are examples to their wives and daughters. Therefore the people - The sottish ignorant people, that know not God. Shall fall - Be utterly ruined.
15 Offend - Commit like sins. Gilgal - Gilgal was chosen by Jeroboam, or by succeeding idolaters for the solemn worship of their idols. Beth - aven - Beth - el, where Jacob lodged, who called it Beth - el, the house of God; but when Jeroboam made it the place for his calf - worship, it became Beth - aven, the house of vanity or iniquity. Nor swear - This is a part put for the whole worship of God, which the prophet warns them not to blend with their idolatries.
16 Israel - The ten tribes. As a back - sliding heifer - Which when grown lusty, and wanton, will neither endure the yoke nor be confined in her allowed pastures. In a large place - In a large place or wilderness, where is no rest, safety or provision; such shall be the condition of the ten tribes.
17 Ephraim - The children of Ephraim were numerous and potent, and here put for the whole ten tribes. Let him alone - He is obstinate, as such, throw him up.
18 Their drink - Their wine is corrupt and hurtful. Continually - Without ceasing from Jeroboam's time to this day. Give ye - Beside there is shameful oppression and bribery among them.
19 The wind - The whirlwind of wrath from God hath seized this old adulteress, and carried some of her children away already. They shall be ashamed - What they made their confidence, shall be their shame.

Chapter V

The scope of this chapter likewise, is to discover the sins of Israel and Judah, and to denounce the judgments of God against them, ver. 1 - 15.

1 For judgment - God's controversy is with you all. A snare - You, O priests and princes, have ensnared the people by your examples. Mizpah - By idolatries acted at Mizpah, a part of Libanus. On Tabor - Here, as in Mizpah, idolatry catched men as birds are taken in a net.
2 The revolters - All those that have cast off the law of God. Profound - Dig deep to hide their counsels, and to slay the innocent. Though I - Hosea.
5 Doth testify - Is an evident witness against him.
6 To seek the Lord - The Jewish doctors tell us, that under Hosea, Israel had liberty of bringing their sacrifices to Jerusalem. Shall not find him - God will not be found of them. Hath withdrawn himself - For their impenitency.
7 Have begotten - They have trained up their children in the same idolatry. A month - Possibly it may refer to Shallum's short time of usurpation, which lasted but a month; the Assyrians shall make a speedy conquest over you. With their portions - With all their substance.
8 Blow ye - Ye watchmen, sound the alarm, the enemy cometh. After thee, O Benjamin - After thy cries. After thee, O Beth - aven, let Benjamin also cry aloud: for they shall also fall for their sin.
9 Ephraim - The whole kingdom of the ten tribes. Rebuke - When Salmaneser shall besiege, sack and captivate all thy cities, rebuked for their sins. Of Israel - To the house of Israel openly. Made known - By my prophets.
10 The bound - The ancient bounds which limited every one, and prevented the encroaching of covetous men. Like water - Like an overflowing flood.
11 Ephraim - The ten tribes are by seditions, civil wars, unjust sentences, and bloody conspiracies eaten up already. After the commandment - To forbear going to the temple, and to worship the calves at Dan and Bethel, as Jeroboam the son of Nebat commanded.
12 A moth - Moths leisurely eat up our clothes; so God was then, and had been, from Jeroboam's death, weakening the ten tribes. As rottenness - Secretly consuming them.
13 His sickness - Weakness, like a consumption, threatening death. Then went - Made application. The Assyrian - Particularly to Israel or Pul.
14 Will tear - Divine vengeance by the Assyrians, shall be as a lion tearing his prey.

Chapter VI

Their resolution to return to God, ver. 1 - 3. The instability of many of them, ver. 4, 5. God's covenant with them, and their violation of it, ver. 6 - 11.

1 Come - The prophet here brings them in, exhorting one another. He hath torn - We now see his hand in all we suffer.
2 After two days - After some short time of suffering, God will shew us his favour, and revive our dead state. Revive us - Though we were as dead men, buried in our miseries, yet our merciful God will quicken us. Live - Flourish in peace, wealth, and joy; in righteousness and safety. In his sight - The eye of our God being upon us for good.
3 Know - What worship he requires. And the knowledge of God shall be to us a spring of all holy, righteous, sober conversation. Follow on - By a diligent attendance to the word, and works of God, we shall know experimentally, how holy, how good, how faithful God is. His going forth - Before his people; his gracious, faithful, holy, just, and wise providence, for his peoples good and comfort. As the morning - As sure, beautiful, grateful, and as clear as the morning; which dispels the darkness, and proclaims its own approach. As the rain - Which revives, makes it fruitful, beautifies it, and gives a new face to all.
4 What shall I do - What shall I do more to save you from ruin, and save my own honour, truth, and justice?
5 Therefore - Because I would do for you whatever might be done. Hewed them - I have severely, and unweariedly reproved, and threatened them. By thy words - As I did by word foretel, so I did effect in due time. Thy judgments - The punishments threatened, which fell upon this people, did so fully answer the prediction that every one might see them clear as the light, and as constantly executed as the morning.
6 For - I so hewed and slew them, because they did not what I most of all required; they were full of sacrifices, but either to idols, or else in formality and pride. Mercy - Compassion and charity towards men, this one principal duty of the second table put for all. In this I delight, I have found little of this among you. Not sacrifice - Rather than sacrifice. The knowledge of God - The affectionate knowledge of God, which fills the mind with reverence of his majesty, fear of his goodness, love of his holiness, trust in his promise, and submission to his will.
7 The covenant - The law of their God. There - In that very place, the good land which by covenant I gave them: they have broken my covenant.
8 A city - A city full of notorious transgressors, the inhabitants though Levites and priests, work all manner of wickedness. With blood - Murders committed there.
9 The company of priests - The priests by companies lay wait, and rob, and murder.
10 The whoredom - Idolatry. Of Ephraim - Which was brought in by an Ephraimite, by Jeroboam, two hundred years ago, and is there still. Israel is defiled - It hath overspread all Israel.
11 He - But God hath appointed an harvest for thee; thou shalt not as Israel be cut off; a seed of thee shall be sowed, and thou shalt reap the harvest with joy.

Chapter VII

Various accusations with threats annext, ver. 1 - 16.

1 Of Ephraim - Of Ephraim the chief tribe of this revolting kingdom.
2 Own doings - The guilt and punishment of the works they have done; their own doings, not their fathers, as the incorrigible are ready to complain. Beset them - As an enemy invests a town on every side. Before my face - All their ways were under mine eye.
3 They - The courtiers in particular make it their work to invent pleasing wickedness, and to acquaint the king with it. With their lies - With false accusations against the innocent.
4 As an oven - This vice is grown raging hot among them, as the fire in an oven, when the baker having called up those that make the bread, to prepare all things ready, doth by continued supply of fuel, heat the oven, 'till the heat need be raised no higher.
5 In the day of our king - Probably the anniversary of his birth or coronation. Stretched out his hand - In these drunken feasts it seems the king forgat himself, and stretched out his hand, with those who deride religion, and with confusion to the professors of it.
6 They - Those luxurious and drinking princes. Like an oven - Hot with ambition, revenge, or covetousness. Lie in wait - Against the life or estate of some of their subjects. As the baker, having kindled a fire in his oven, goes to bed and sleeps all night, and in the morning finds his oven well heated and ready for his purpose; so these when they have laid some wicked plot, tho' they may seem to sleep for a while, yet the fire is glowing within, and flames out as soon as ever there is opportunity for it.
7 Devoured - As a fire destroys, so have these conspirators, destroyed their rulers. Their kings - All that have been since Jeroboam the second's reign, to the delivery of this prophecy, namely, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, Pekah, fell by the conspiracy of such hot princes. That telleth - Not one of all these either feared, trusted, or worshipped God.
8 Ephraim - The kingdom of Israel. Mixed himself - With the Heathens by leagues and commerce and by imitation of their manners. Not turned - Burnt on one side, and dough on the other, and so good for nothing on either: always in one extreme or the other.
9 Knoweth it not - He is not aware of the loss he hath sustained. Gray hairs - Of old age and declining strength are upon their kingdom.
11 Like a silly dove - Ephraim is now become like the dove in weakness and fear, as well as in imprudence and liableness to be deceived. Without heart - Without either discretion or courage. To Assyria - Instead of going to God, who alone can help.
12 Go - To seek aid of Egypt or Assyria. Bring them down - Though they attempt to fly, yet as fowls in the net they shall certainly fall. Hath heard - From the prophets whom I have sent unto them.
13 Spoken lies - They belied his corrections as if not deserved; they belied the good done, as if too little, or not done by God, but by their idol.
14 They assembled - In the houses of their idols.
15 Bound - As a surgeon binds up a weak member, or a broken one; so did God for Ephraim, when the Syrians and other enemies had broken their arms. Imagine mischief - They devise mischief against my prophets, and let loose the reins to all impieties.
16 Not to the most high - What shew soever of repentance was among them, yet they never throughly repented. A deceitful bow - Tho' they seemed bent for, and aiming at the mark, yet like a weak bow they carried not the arrow home, and like a false bow they never carried it strait toward the mark. The rage of their tongue - Against God, his prophets and providence. Their derision - They shall be upbraided with this.

Chapter VIII

Almost every verse of this chapter speaks both the sins and punishment of Israel, ver. 1 - 14.

1 Set the trumpet - The Lord here commands the prophet to publish, as by sound of trumpet, that which God will bring upon apostate Israel. He - The king of Assyria. As an eagle - Swift, hungry, surmounting all difficulties. House of the Lord - The family of Israel, the Israelites church.
2 Shall cry - But not sincerely.
4 They - Israel. Kings - Shallum, Menahem, Pekah, and Hosea. Not by me - Not by my direction. Knew it not - Did not approve of it.
5 Thy calf - The chief idol set up in Samaria. Cast thee off - Hath provoked God to cast thee off. Against them - Idols, and idol worshippers. How long - How long will it be, ere they repent and reform?
6 From Israel - By their invention. It - Both the idol and the worshippers of it.
7 Sown the wind - A proverbial speech to denote lost labour. Whirlwind - A tempest, which destroyeth all that is in its way; an emblem of the wrath of God. No stalk - All your dependance on idols, and foreign assistance, will be as seed that bear neither stalk nor bud. No meal - Or suppose it produced stalk and bud, yet the bud shall be blasted, and never yield meal.
9 Gone up - Israel is like a wild ass. A wild ass - Stubborn, wild, untamed. Alone - Solitary, where is no path or tract; so they were in their captivity.
10 Gather them - I will assemble them together, that they may be taken and destroyed together. A little - For a while before their final captivity. The burden - The tribute laid on them by the king.
11 Altars - Those which they shall find in Assyria. To sin - Shall be the occasion of his greater guilt and punishment.
12 Written - By Moses first, by other prophets afterwards. But they were counted - Israel looks on them, as nothing to them.
13 They shall return - Many shall fly from the Assyrian into Egypt.
14 Temples - Idol temples. Devour the palaces - This was fulfilled when all the cities of Judah and Israel were laid in ashes by the king of Assyria.

Chapter IX

God threatens to deprive Israel of all their worldly enjoyments, ver. 1 - 5. He dooms them to utter ruin, ver. 6 - 8. Upbraids them with the wickedness of their fathers, ver. 9, 10. And threatens to root out their posterity, ver. 11 - 17.

1 As other people - With feastings, triumphs, and sacrifices of thanksgiving. A reward - Such as is given by adulterers to lewd women; thou hast loved to see thy floor full, and hast said thy idols gave thee this plenty.
2 The floor - The corn which is gathered into the floor. The wine - press - The wine that is prest out in it. Shall not feed - Shall not nourish and strengthen the idolaters. Shall fail - Samaria and all Israel expect a full vintage, but they expect it from their idols, and therefore shall be disappointed.
3 Ephraim - Many of Ephraim shall fly into Egypt. And they - The residue shall be carried captive into Assyria.
4 Wine - offerings - These were appointed to be offered with the morning and evening sacrifice, the sacrifice representing Christ, and pardon by him; the wine - offering, the spirit of grace: the sacrifice repeated, daily continued their peace and pardon. All this shall be withheld from these captives. Pleasing - If any should venture to offer. As the bread of mourners - It shall as much pollute them and displease God as if one mourning for the dead, and forbidden to sacrifice, should venture to do it. Their bread - Their bread which they were bound to offer with their sacrifices, they will now have no opportunity of bringing to the Lord's house.
5 What will ye do - You will not then be suffered to observe any of them.
6 They are gone - Some are already withdrawn from the desolation that cometh. Egypt - In Egypt they hope to be quiet and survive these desolations, but they shall die in Egypt. The pleasant places - Their beautiful houses built for keeping their wealth in. Nettles - Shall be ruined, and lie in rubbish, 'till nettles grow in them.
7 The prophet - The false prophet. The spiritual man - That pretends to be full of the spirit of prophecy. For thine iniquity - God began his punishments in giving them over to believe their false prophets. The great hatred - Which God had against your sins.
8 The watchman - The old true prophets indeed were with God. My God - The God of Hosea. The prophet - The false prophets have, as well as the people, left God. Is a snare - Their pretended predictions are but a snare, such as fowlers lay. And hatred - Such prophets are full of hatred and malice: yea, they are hatred itself.
10 I found Israel - The Lord speaks of himself in the person of a traveller, who unexpectedly in the wilderness finds a vine loaded with grapes; such love did God bear to Israel. Your fathers - Whom I brought out of Egypt. As the first - ripe - As the earliest ripe fruit of the fig - tree, which is most valued and desired. Separated themselves - Consecrated themselves to that shameful idol. Their abominations - Their idols, and way of worshipping them. As they loved - As they fancied.
11 Their glory - Their children or posterity, which was the glory of Israel. Shall fly - It is proverbial, and speaks a sudden loss of children. From the birth - As soon as born. From the womb - Their mothers shall not bring their fruit alive into the world. The conception - Their wives shall not conceive.
12 Not a man left - There shall be a total extirpation of them. When I depart - To compleat their misery, I will depart from them. It is sad to lose our children, but sadder to lose our God.
13 To the murderer - He will send them forth in mighty armies; but it will be sending them out to the slaughter.
14 Give then - It is an abrupt but pathetic speech of one that shews his trouble for a sinking, undone nation. A miscarrying womb - It is less misery to have none, than to have all our children murdered.
15 All their wickedness - The chief or beginning. There I hated them - As there they began to sin so notoriously, there I began to shew that I hated them.

Chapter X

God charges Israel with many sins, and threatens them with punishment, ver. 1 - 11. Exhorts them to repent, ver. 12 - 15.

1 An empty vine - That hath lost its strength to bring forth fruit. Unto himself - Whatever fruit was brought forth by its remaining strength, was not brought forth to God. His fruit - When the land yielded more plentiful increase, this plenty was employed on multiplying idols. The altars - Of his idols. The goodness - Imagining that the goodness of their land was a blessing from their idols.
2 Is divided - From God and his worship. Faulty - As this was their sin, so the effects hereof should manifestly prove them faulty. He - God.
3 Say - See and feel. No king - Either no king at all, or no such king as we expected. What then - For kings are not able to save without the God of kings.
4 Words - Vain words. Swearing falsely - By perjury deceiving those they treated with. A covenant - With the Assyrian king. Judgment - Divine vengeance. As hemlock - A proverbial speech, expressing the greatness of this evil.
5 Because of the calves - Because they had sinned by these calves, therefore did this fear seize them. The people - They who dwelt at Beth - aven. That rejoiced on it - These priests formerly were fed, clothed, and enriched by this idol, this made them right glad. The glory thereof - All its credit is vanished. Is departed - The Assyrians have either broken it, or carried it in derision into Assyria.
6 It - The golden calf.
7 Is cut off - Shortly will be cut off: this prophecy probably was delivered when Samaria was besieged.
8 The high places - The temples and altars of Baal. Of Aven - Or Beth - aven. They shall say - When this shall be brought to pass, the idolatrous Israelites shall be in such perplexity, that they shall wish the mountains and hills might fall on them.
9 They - Probably the six hundred men who fled to the rock Rimmon. Overtake them - That fatal battle did not reach them; but now Israel shall be more severely punished.
10 The people - The Assyrians. For their two transgressions - Perhaps, their revolt from David's house, and their idolatry.
11 Taught - Used to, and so skilled in. Passed over - I laid some lighter yoke upon her, brought some gentle afflictions upon that people to tame them, but this hath not prevailed. Ride - I will ride on Ephraim and tame him. Shall plow - Judah tho' less sinful hath been used to harder labour; hath plowed when Ephraim hath reaped. Break his clods - The same in another proverbial speech, their work at present is harder, but there is an harvest follows. Tho' they sow in tears when going to Babylon, they shall reap in joy at their return.
12 Reap - And ye shall reap in mercy. Fallow ground - Your hearts are as ground over - run with weeds, which need to be plowed and broken up, that good seed may be sowed in them. And rain - Plentifully pour out the fruits of his goodness and mercy.
13 Ye have plowed - You, O Israelites. Ye have reaped - Ye have lived in wickedness, and propagated it, and ye have met with a recompense worthy of your labour. Eaten - Fed yourselves with vain hopes. In thy way - Their way was their idolatry. Mighty men - The next lie on which they lived was the wisdom and valour of their great men.
14 As Shalman - Probably Salmaneser. Beth - arbel - It was a city of Assyria, and gave name to a country or region in part of Assyria.
15 Beth - el - The idolatry committed there. Do - Procure all this evil against you. In a morning - Possibly the Assyrians might assault the city towards morning and master it.

Chapter XI

Upbraidings, threatenings and promises mingled, ver. 1 - 11. A commendation of Judah, ver. 12.

1 Was a child - In the infancy of Israel. I loved him - Manifested my tender and paternal affection to him. Called my son - Adopted him to be my son, and as my son, provided for him, and brought him out of servitude. Out of Egypt - But Israel, the first adopted son was a type of Christ the first - born. And the history of Israel's coming out was a type of Christ's future coming out of Egypt.
2 They - Moses and Aaron, and other prophets. Called - Persuaded, intreated, and urged by exhortations, the whole house of Israel. From them - From the prophets counsel and commands. Baalim - In the desert they began this apostacy, and held on with obstinacy in it.
3 I taught - As a mother or nurse helps the child. Taking them - Supporting and bearing them up. They knew not - They would not see nor acknowledge me in it.
4 Cords of man - With such kindness as best fits and most prevails with a man. I was to them - As a careful husband - man in due season takes the yoke from his labouring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating, when at work. I laid meat unto them - Brought them provision in their wants.
5 He - Ephraim. Shall be king - Shall rule them with rigour and cruelty. They refused - The reason of all is, their obstinacy in idolatry.
6 His branches - The lesser towns and villages. Their own counsels - Which they have followed in opposition to all the good counsels the prophets gave them from time to time.
7 They - The prophets. None at all - Scarce any one would hearken and obey.
8 Give thee up - To utter destruction. Admah and Zeboim were two of the four cities which were destroyed with fire from heaven. My repentings - Not that God is ever fluctuating or unresolved; but these are expressions after the manner of men, to shew what severity Israel had deserved, and yet how divine grace would be glorified in sparing them.
9 Return - Conquerors that plunder the conquered city, carry away the wealth of it, and after some time return to burn it; God will not do so. Not man - Therefore my compassions fail not. The holy One - A holy God, and in covenant, though not with all, yet with many among you. Enter into the city - Utterly to destroy thee, as I did Sodom.
10 They - The remnant shall hear and obey the Lord. Like a lion - The word of the Lord, so saith the Chaldee, shall roar as a lion. Christ is called, The lion of the tribe of Judah: and when he cried with a loud voice, it was as when a lion roared. The voice of the gospel was heard far, as the roaring of a lion; and it was a mighty voice. Tremble - The spirit by its power awakening them to a sight of sin, shall make them fear and tremble. From the west - From the ends of the earth.
11 They shall tremble - At their return into their own land, some shall hasten, yet with solicitude, out of Egypt, whither they fled for shelter; others like doves shall hasten out of Assyria, but with fear and trembling. I will place them - A seasonable and comfortable promise.
12 Ephraim - Most of the people of Israel. With lies - Play the hypocrite with me still. Judah - The two tribes. Yet ruleth - While idolaters are slaves to the devil, the true worshippers of God, like princes, rule with God. Faithful - Retains purity, at least truth of worship, and comparatively is faithful. Judah adheres to God's holy prophets, priests, and other saints of God.

Chapter XII

A high charge against Israel and Judah for various sins, yet with intimations of mercy, ver. 1 - 14.

1 Feedeth on wind - It is a proverbial speech; denoting his supporting himself with hopes, as unfit to sustain him as the wind is to feed us. Increaseth lies - By making new leagues, and fortifying himself with them, against the menaces of God by his prophets. Desolation - Which will only hasten and increase his desolation. Oil - Not common oil for trade, but rich and precious oils, to procure friendship there too.
2 Jacob - Ephraim and Judah are of Jacob, both have corrupted themselves, and therefore I will proceed against both.
3 He - Jacob. Took his brother - The design of mentioning this is to mind them of that goodness which God shewed them in their father Jacob. His strength - This strength was not of nature, but of grace. Strength received of God was well employed betimes; in it he wrestled for and obtained the blessing.
4 The angel - Called ver.3, God; and ver.5, Jehovah, Lord of hosts. He was no created angel, but the Messiah; eternal God by nature and essence, angel by office, and voluntary undertaking. He wept - He prayed with tears from a sense of his own unworthiness, and with earnestness for the mercy he desired. He - God. Him - Jacob full of weariness, fears, and solicitude on his journey to Laban. He - God. With us - Being then in Jacob's loins.
5 The Lord God of hosts - He that appeared and spake, who promised the blessing and commanded the reformation at Beth - el was Jehovah, the eternal and unchangeable God; who can perform his promise, and execute his threat, who is a most terrible enemy, and most desirable friend. The Lord - Jehovah, repeated for confirmation. His memorial - By this he will be known.
6 Turn - Repent, leave idols and all sins. He worshipped God alone, do you so; he cast idols out of his family, do you so too; be Jacob's children herein. Mercy - Shew kindness to all who need it. Judgment - Wrong none; but with justice in dealings, in judicatures; and public offices, render to every one their due. Wait on thy God - In public worship and private duties serve and trust God alone: let not idols have either sacrifice, prayer, praise, or trust from you; and let your hope and worship, be for ever continued.
7 A merchant - Ephraim is so far from being as Jacob, that you may account him a Canaanite, a subtle merchant.
8 I am rich - Whatever is said, yet I get what I aim at. They shall find - Yet he hugs himself in the apprehension of close carriage of his affairs, so that no great crime can be found in him: none, that is sin, that is any great enormity.
9 From Egypt - From the time I brought thee out of it. In tabernacles - I have given thee all these blessings and comforts, expressed proverbially in allusion to the joy which they had at the feast of tabernacles.
10 Spoken - To warn them of their danger.
11 In Gilead - Tiglah Pileser had formerly took Gilead among other towns, leading the inhabitants captive. By this the prophet minds the Ephraimites what they must expect, and doth it in this pungent question, Is there iniquity in Gilead? Is it there only? Be it, Gilead was all iniquity; Gilgal is no better. They - They that come up to Gilgal to sacrifice, are idolaters. In the furrows - They are for number like heaps of stones, gathered out of plowed land and laid in furrows.
12 Fled - For fear of Esau.
13 A prophet - By Moses. Israel - Your forefathers. Preserved - In the wilderness. The aim of the prophet seems to be this, to prevent their vain pride, and boasting of their ancestors.
14 His blood - He shall bear the punishment of all his blood; his murders of the innocent, and his own guilt too. His reproach - Which Ephraim hath cast upon the prophets, the worshippers of God, and on God; preferring idols before him. His Lord - God who is Lord of all.

Chapter XIII

Israel reproved for idolatry and other sins, ver. 1 - 8. Ruin foretold, yet with encouragement to hope, ver. 9 - 16.

1 Ephraim - The ten tribes, of which Ephraim was the chief. Spake trembling - Humbled himself before God. Exalted himself - The kingdom flourished. When he offended - So soon as they sinned, taking Baal to be their God. He died - They lost their power and glory.
2 Of them - Of the idols. Let the man - Let all that bring their offerings to these idols, worship and adore, and shew they do so by kissing the calves.
4 Thou shalt know - I forbad thee to know any other God but me, in gratitude thou shouldest know no other.
5 I did know - Owned, took care of, guided and supplied.
6 Their pasture - When they were come into Canaan, and had abundance of all things, they ran into luxury. Was exalted - They grew proud.
7 Observe them - Watch for them, that I might be sure to take them.
8 Rent - First kill, then tear in pieces, and pull out the very heart.
10 Thy king - I would have been thy king to govern and save thee, but thou refusedst me in both: yet I will be thy king to punish thee. Thy judges - Where are they now? And princes - Necessary to assist the king.
11 A king - Such as Shallum, Menahem, Pekah.
12 Is bound up - As sins unpardoned; for to loose sins is to forgive, and to bind sins is to charge them upon the sinner, Matt 16:19. Hid - Not from God, but laid up with God against the day of recompense.
13 The sorrows - The punishment of his sins will overtake him suddenly, with great anguish. An unwise son - A foolish son, who endangers himself and his mother. He should not stay - As a child that sticks in the birth, so is Ephraim, one while will, another while will not return to God; and thus dies under the delay.
14 Ransom - By power and purchase, by the blood of the lamb of God, and by the power of his Godhead. Them - That repent and believe. From the grave - He conquered the grave, and will at the great day of the resurrection open those prison - doors, and bring us out in glory. From death - From the curse of the first death, and from the second death, which shall have no power over us. Thy plagues - Thus I will destroy death. I will pull down those prison - walls, and bring out all that are confined therein, the bad of whom I will remove into other prisons, the good I will restore to glorious liberty. Repentance shall be hid - I will never, as a man that repenteths, change my word and purpose, saith the Lord. What a glorious promise is this, which is interposed in the midst of all these judgments!
15 He - Ephraim. His brethren - Either the rest of the tribes, or the nations who by league are become as his brethren. An east - wind - An enemy as pernicious to his estate as the east - wind is to fruits. Of the Lord - A mighty enemy, called here the wind of the Lord, the usual superlative in Hebrew. The wilderness - Which lay south - east from Canaan. The south - east winds in that country were of all, most hot and blasting. He - The Assyrian army. Shall spoil - Shall carry away all desirable vessels and furniture.

Chapter XIV

Directions how to repent, ver. 1 - 3. Encouragements to repent, ver. 4 - 9.

1 Fallen - Thy sins have involved thee in endless troubles.
2 Render - This will qualify and encourage us to give the sacrifices which are more pleasing to God than calves or oxen.
3 The fatherless - All that are destitute of strength in themselves, and destitute of help from others; all that being sensible of their own helpless condition, look for it from God, who hath power, mercy, and wisdom to help. Mercy - Both the fountain and streams of goodness too, free grace, and rich bounty.
5 As the dew - I will refresh and comfort, and make fruitful in good works, such as return to me. As Lebanon - As the cedars in Lebanon, so shall the true Israel, converted backsliders, be blessed of God: so flourishing and happy shall the church be under Christ.
6 His branches - His branches which are new sprung out, shall gather strength, and shall multiply in number. The olive - tree - Which retains its verdure all the winter and is rich in fruit; so the true Israel of God shall flourish not in fruitless beauty, but in lovely fruit, even in winter's of affliction and trouble. As Lebanon - The mountain famous for cedars, where also were the trees that afford the frankincense, and many flowers which perfume the air; such shall the spiritual fragrance of the church be to God and man.
7 They that dwell - As many as unite to the church, shall dwell under these spreading trees. Return - Revive and recover strength. As the corn - Which dies ere it lives to bring forth fruit. As the vine - Which in winter seems dead, but yet life, sap, and a fructifying virtue is in it. The scent thereof - The savour of it to God and good men shall be pleasing as the scent of the delicious wines of Lebanon.
8 I have heard him - A gracious promise from God of hearing prayers. A green fir - tree - As a weary traveller finds rest and safety under a thick tree, so there is safety and refreshment under the protection of the Lord. From me - Of God alone.
9 Shall understand - Which the prophet has delivered. The ways - The ways which he would have us walk in towards him, his law, his ordinances, his whole doctrine are all righteous and equal. And the ways wherein God walks towards us, in afflicting or comforting are all righteous and equal. Shall walk in them - Will approve them all, justifying the righteousness of God's displeasure, and confessing he remembereth mercy in the midst of judgment. And justifying the righteousness of his precepts by endeavouring to observe them. The transgressors - Wilful, obstinate sinners, stumble and are offended at his commands, but more at his judgments; they cast off the one, and vainly hope to shift off the other, 'till at last they fall under the weight of their own sins and God's wrath.