Hosea 14:2 MEANING

Hosea 14:2
(2) Say unto him.--This putting of words into the lips of penitents and others is found in Psalm 66:3; Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 31:7. In the latter part of the verse render, Accept of good, and we will render as calves (or sacrificial offering) our lips--i.e., the words of true repentance which we take with us shall be our offerings in place of calves. (Comp. Psalm 51:17.)

Verse 2. - Take with you words, and turn to the Lord.

(1) Some render this clause. "Take with you [i.e. forget not, neglect not, but receive with obedient spirit] my words." This rendering is obviously erroneous.

(2) The correct translation is that of the Authorized Version, and the words referred to are such as express prayer for pardon and confession of sin - the audible sound of the heart's desires. There is an allusion, perhaps, to the requirement of the Law: "None shall appear before me empty." Not outward sacrifices, but words of confession, were the offering to be presented. Thus Cyril eloquently explains it: "Ye shall propitiate the Deity, not by making offerings of riches, not by dedicating gold, not by honoring him with silver vessels, not gladdening him by sacrifices of oxen, not by slaughtering of birds; but ye shall give him discourses and wish to praise the Lord of the universe, appeasing him." To the same purport is the exposition of Aben Ezra: "He desires not from you, when ye go to seek his favor, treasures or burnt offerings, only words with which ye are to confess;" so also Kimchi: "He does not require of you on your return to him silver or gold or offering, which the Israelites lavished at great expense on their idols, but good works with which ye are to confess your iniquities." Say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously. On turning to the Lord with their whole heart, not with their lips only, they are furnished with a form of sound words which God by his prophet puts into their mouth. Elsewhere a formula is prescribed, thus: "Publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel" (Jeremiah 31:7); compare also Isaiah 48:20; Psalm 16:3; 1 Chronicles 16:35. The position of כָל before the verb creates a difficulty and causes diversity of rendering; for example,

(1) besides the ordinary rendering, which takes kol as holding its peculiar position by an hypallage, there is a modification of it: "All take away of iniquity."

(2) Some supply mem, and translate accordingly: "From all take away iniquity." Kimchi explains it as a transposition: "All iniquity forgive," and compares Ezekiel 39:11; or, understanding le, "Forgive to every one iniquity." The object of the separation may be for greater emphasis. In like manner, the following clause is also subject to diversity of translation and interpretation. There is

(1) the rendering of the Authorized Version, which appears to supply le before tov: "Receive us for good," viz. in bonam partem, or graciously; or, "receive our prayer graciously."

(2) Another rendering or exposition is: "Take what is good (of thine own to bestow it on us);" thus in the sixty-eighth psalm at the nineteenth verse God is said to receive gifts among men, i.e. for distribution among men, and hence the apostle, in Ephesians 4:8, substitutes ἔδωκε for ἔλαβε, and thus expresses the sense. The literal sense

(3) is the correct sense, namely, "and receive good:" "And receive good," says Jerome, "for unless thou hadst borne away our evil things we could not possibly have any good thing to offer thee, according to that which is written, 'Cease from evil and do good.'" Thus also the words are translated and interpreted by Pusey: "When then Israel and, in him, the penitent soul, is taught to say, receive good, it can mean only the good which thou thyself hast given; as David says, ' Of thine own we have given thee;" while he adds in a note on these words, "No one would have doubted that קי ט means, 'receive good,' as just before, קי די means 'take words,' but for the seeming difficulty - What good had they?" So will we render the calves of our lips. This is more accurately rendered,

(1) "So will we render young bullocks, even our lips." The word shillem, to render, or repay, is almost technical in its application to thank offer-tugs or sacrifices in fulfillment of a vow; the best animals for thank offerings were parm, or young oxen; but the lips, that is, the utterances of the lips, consisting of prayers or praises, or both, are to take the place of the animal sacrifices offered in thanksgiving. Thus the psalmist says, "I will praise the Name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs."

(2) The Septuagint, reading פְרְי instead of פָרְים, renders by καρπὸν χείλεων, to which the inspired author of Hebrews alludes, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks [margin, 'confessing'] to his Name;" or perhaps the reference in Hebrews is to Isaiah 57:19, "I create the fruit of the lips." Further, as words of confession in ver. 2 take the place of sacrifices of sin offerings, so here words of thanksgiving replace sacrifices of thanksgiving.

14:1-3 Israel is exhorted to return unto Jehovah, from their sins and idols, by faith in his mercy, and grace through the promised Redeemer, and by diligently attending on his worship and service. Take away iniquity; lift it off as a burden we are ready to sink under, or as the stumbling-block we have often fallen over. Take it all away by a free and full forgiveness, for we cannot strike any of it off. Receive our prayer graciously. They do not say what good they seek, but refer it to God. It is not good of the world's showing, but good of God's giving. They were to consider their sins, their wants, and the remedy; and they were to take, not sacrifices, but words stating the desires of their hearts, and with them to address the Lord. The whole forms a clear description of the nature and tendency of a sinner's conversion to God through Jesus Christ. As we draw near to God by the prayer of faith, we should first beseech him to teach us what to ask. We must be earnest with him to take away all iniquity.Take with you words, and turn to the Lord,.... Not mere words without the heart, but such as come from it, and express the true sense of it; words of confession, as the Targum; by which sin is acknowledged, and repentance declared, and forgiveness asked. Kimchi's note is a very good one;

"he (that is, God) does not require of you, upon return, neither gold nor silver, nor burnt offerings, but good works; therewith confessing your sins with your whole hearts, and not with your lips only;''

and which best agrees with evangelical repentance and Gospel times, in which ceremonial sacrifices are no more; and not any words neither; not tautologies and multiplicity of words, or words of man's prescribing, but of the Lord's directing to and dictating; the taught words of the Holy Ghost, which he suggests and helps men to, who otherwise know not how to pray, or what to pray for; and these expressed under a sense of sin, and sorrow for it, and in the strength of faith, and are as follow:

say unto him, take away all iniquity; which is to be understood, not of the taking away of the being of sin; which, though very desirable, is not to be expected in this life: nor of the expiation of sin by the sacrifice of Christ, which is done already; he has taken the sins of his people from them to himself, and has bore them, and carried them away, and removed them out of the sight of divine justice, which is satisfied for them: nor of the taking away of the power and dominion of sin; which is done by the Spirit of God, and the efficacy of his grace on the hearts of converted persons: nor of an extinguishing all sense of sin in men; for none have a quicker sense of it than pardoned sinners, or are more humble on the account of it, or more loath it; but of the taking of it away from the conscience of a sensible truly penitent sinner or backslider, by a fresh application of pardoning grace and mercy: sin is a burden, a heavy one, when the guilt of it is charged and lies upon the conscience; pardon of sin applied is a lifting up, as the word here used signifies, a taking off of this burden from it, a causing it to pass away; which is done by the fresh sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, which purges the conscience from sin, and clears it from the guilt of it, and speaks peace and comfort; and which is the blessing here prayed for, and every backslider, sensible of his case, sees he stands in need of, and even to have "all" taken away; for, if but one sin remains, and the guilt of it continues, he can have no peace, nor stand up under it; but, when God forgives sin, he forgives "all" sin;

and receive us graciously; receive into grace and favour, that is, openly and manifestly; the free love and favour of God is always the same, but the manifestations of it are different; sometimes more or less, and sometimes scarce any, if any at all, and is the ease here; and therefore a petition is made for the remembrance of it, for a renewed discovery and application of it: or accept us in a gracious manner; acceptance with God is not on account of the merits of men, but his own grace and mercy; not through any works of righteousness done by them, which are impure and imperfect; but through Christ the Beloved, in whom God is well pleased with the persons, and services, and sacrifices of his people, and receives all for his sake, and which is here asked for; as well as that he would take them into his protection, and open affection. It is, in the original text, only, "receive good" (a); meaning either their good hearts, made so by the grace of God; their broken hearts and contrite spirits, which are sacrifices not despised by him, but acceptable to him through Christ: or their good words they were bid to take, and did take, nod use; their good prayers offered up through Christ, in his name, and in the exercise of faith, which are the Lord's delight: or their good works, done from a principle of love, in faith, to the glory of God, and with which sacrifices he is well pleased: or rather, as the same word signifies, to give as well as receive; see Psalm 68:18. It may be rendered, "give good" (b); take good, and give it to us, even all good things, temporal and spiritual, especially all spiritual blessings in Christ; all which good things come from God, and are his gifts; particularly the good Spirit of God, and his grace, which the Lord gives to them that ask; and all supplies of grace from Christ; and more especially, as some interpreters of note explain it, the righteousness of Christ imputed and applied; which goes along with pardoning grace, or the taking away of sin, Zechariah 3:4; and is the good, the better, the best robe; a gift, the gift of grace; a blessing received from the Lord, and to be asked for of him:

so will we render the calves of our lips; not calves, bullocks, and oxen, for sacrifice, as under the law; but the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving for pardoning grace, for a justifying righteousness, and for all good things: these are the fruit of the lips, as the apostle interprets it, Hebrews 13:15; and which are sacrifices more acceptable to God than calves of a year old, or an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs, Psalm 69:30. This shows that the text and context refer to Gospel times, to the times of the Messiah; in which the Jews themselves say all sacrifices will cease but the sacrifice of praise. The Targum is,

"turn to the worship of the Lord, and say, let it he with thee to forgive sins, and may we be received as good, and the words of our lips be accepted with thee as bullocks for good pleasure upon the altar.''

(a) "accipe bonum", Pagninus, Montanus: Munster, Cocceius, Schmidt, Burkius. (b) "Acceptum confer bonum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

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