and appoint themselves one head; not Sennacherib, as Aben Ezra, very absurdly; nor Hezekiah, nor Josiah, as others; nor Elijah the prophet, as some in Kimchi; nor Zerubbabel, to which the Targum seems to incline, paraphrasing it,
"one head of the house of David;''
but better, as Jarchi, David their King; that is, the Messiah, as Kimchi and Ben Melech expressly interpret it; and so Abarbinel (b), though he understands it of the Messiah the son of Joseph; and undoubtedly the same is meant by the one head, as David their King and Prince, Hosea 3:5 even Christ, who is the Head of angels, yea, the Head of every man, but in a special and peculiar sense the head of the body, the church; he is the federal and representative Head of his people, both in eternity and in time; and in such sense a Head to them, as a king is head of his subjects, a husband of his wife, a father of his family, and a master of his servants; and also as a natural head is to its body, of the same nature with it; in union to it; lives the same life; is above it, and more excellent than it: a perfect Head Christ is, there being nothing wanting in him as such; he has his eyes set upon his people; his ears are open to their cries; he smells a sweet saviour of rest in their persons and services; he tastes and eats their pleasant fruits, and feels all their infirmities, troubles and afflictions; and has a tongue to speak a word in season for them: there are no vicious humours in this Head to affect the body; no deformity in it, and all fulness therein to supply its wants; he is an everliving and everlasting Head, and the one, and only one; there is no other, neither the pope of Rome, nor any other; nor will true Israelites acknowledge any other: and though this Head is of God the Father's appointing, who has given him to be the Head; set him as King over Sion; raised him up to be a Prince and a Saviour; yet he is also of the saints' choosing and appointing; they approve of him as such, embrace him, own him, and submit to him, as the Jews will at the last day, though their forefathers have rejected him:
and they shall come up out of the land; not of Israel, as Schmidt, who interprets this of the apostles going out from thence, and spreading the Gospel in the world; but out of each of the lands and countries where Israel and Judah have been dispersed, and return to their own land; see Jeremiah 3:18. So the Targum,
"and they shall come up out of the land of their captivity:''
or it may be understood, figuratively and spiritually, of their coming up out of their captivity to sin, Satan, the law, and the world, as well as out of their present temporal captivity:
and out of the earth (c), as it were, as it may be rendered; out of their earthly state, from the graves of sin, leaving their earthly affections, and becoming spiritual and heavenly minded; willing to quit all that is dear unto them, even the country in which they were born and long lived, to follow Christ their Head and King:
for great shall be the day of Jezreel; or, though great has been or is the day of Jezreel (d); though it has been a great and long day of trouble and affliction to them, signified by Jezreel; see Hosea 1:4, yet all these good things promised shall surely be accomplished: indeed the day of Jezreel may be taken in a good sense, not for a time of dispersion and distress, but of great comfort, joy, and happiness; the word signifying, according to some, the seed of God, or the arm of God: and Jerom applies it to Christ, the seed of God; and the whole Gospel dispensation may be called his day, the day of salvation, the joyful day the Lord has made: or rather by Jezreel, the seed of God, are meant his spiritual offspring, the children of Judah and Israel; who shall now be gathered, by the arm of God, his powerful and efficacious grace, and that in large numbers, so that great will be their day; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"for great will be the day of their gathering.''
It respects the latter day glory, when will be the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles; when there will be great peace and prosperity; great love and unity; great holiness and purity; great light and knowledge; great enjoyment of God, and of the presence of the Redeemer great glory upon the churches, and upon that a defence: in short, all the great and glorious things spoken of will now be completed; perfect deliverance from all afflictions and troubles; an entire destruction of all enemies; and a full enjoyment of the word and ordinances, in the purity of them, and large conversions everywhere.
(b) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 53. 3.((c) "e terra". (d) "quamvis"; so some in Drusius, Rivet.
INTRODUCTION TO Hosea 2
This chapter is an explanation of the former, proceeding upon the same argument in more express words. The godly Israelites are here called upon to lay before the body of the people their idolatry, ingratitude, obstinacy, and ignorance of the God of their mercies; and to exhort them to repentance, lest they should be stripped of all their good things, and be brought into great distress and difficulties; all their joy and comfort cease, and be exposed to shame and contempt, Hosea 2:1, yet, notwithstanding, many gracious promises are made unto them, of their having the alluring and comfortable word of the Gospel; of a door of hope; of salvation being opened to them; of faith in the Lord, and affection to him as their husband; of the removal of all idolatry from them; of safety from all enemies; of their open espousal to Christ; of his hearing of their prayers, and giving them plenty of all good things; and of their multiplication, conversion, and covenant relation to God, Hosea 2:14.
plead with your mother; and that either as spoken to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were the people of God, retained the pure worship of God, and obtained mercy of the Lord, Hosea 1:7,
"O ye Ammi and Ruhamah, that are the Lord's people, and he has had mercy on; stir up and exhort your brethren and sisters of the ten tribes, for so they were, notwithstanding their separation, 1 Kings 12:4, to contend with their mother, the body of the nation, about idolatry and departure from God;''
or as spoken to the godly among the ten tribes, who were the real people of God, and sharers in his grace and mercy; the remnant he reserved for himself, who had not bowed their knees to idols; or as the command of God by the prophet, to the people of Israel, to exhort one another to contend with their mother, who were, as yet, the Lord's people, had mercy shown them, when this prophecy was delivered out; though, in case of obstinacy and impenitence, they were threatened with a "Loammi" and "Loruhamah"; so Schmidt, who thinks that "ammi" and "ruhamah" are put by way of "apposition to your brethren and sisters", in which he seems to be right. Aben Ezra thinks the words are spoken ironically, like those in Ecclesiastes 11:9, and others, but without reason. The Targum is,
"O ye prophets, say to your brethren, and my people, and I will have mercy on your congregation;''
but whether the words are spoken to the Jewish converts who first believed in Christ, were his people, received grace and mercy from him, and stood in the relation of brethren and sisters to one another, both in a natural and spiritual sense, to stir up one another to reprove their mother, the Jewish church, for rejecting Christ, saying, as follows:
for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; for though there had been such a relation between them, yet it was now dissolved; she had broken the marriage covenant and contract, and God had given her a bill of divorce, Jeremiah 31:32 or, however, as she behaved not as a wife towards him, showing love and affection, honour and reverence, and performing duty, and yielding obedience; so he would not carry it as a husband towards her, nourishing and cherishing her, providing for her, and protecting and defending her; but leave her to shift for herself, and to the insults and abuses of others; having been guilty of idolatry, which is spiritual adultery, as the Israelites before the captivity were; and as the Jews in Christ's time were guilty of rejecting the word of God, and preferring their own traditions to it: hence it follows,
let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, or "from her face" (e),
and her adulteries from between her breasts; alluding to the custom of harlots, who used to paint their faces, and to allure with their looks, words, and actions, and to make bare their breasts, or adorn them, or carry in them what were enticing and alluring. These adulteries and whoredoms, which are the same thing, may signify the many idolatries of the people of Israel before their captivity, and which were the cause of it; or the sins of the Jews before their dispersion; or their evil works, as the Targum, by which they departed from God and the true Messiah, and went a whoring after other lovers: thus they rejected, transgressed, and made of none effect the commandments of God by their traditions; paid tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and neglected the weighty matters of the law; sought not the honour of God, but that which comes from men; and therefore confessed not the true Messiah, though under convictions of him, and went about to establish their own righteousness, and submitted not to his; these were the idols of their hearts, and the whoredoms and adulteries the Jewish converts, that truly believed in Christ, are ordered to exhort them to put away. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are, "I will take away her whoredoms &c.",
(e) "a facie sua", Calvin, Pagninus, Piscator, Cocceius; "a faciebus suis", Montanus, Schmidt.
and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land; having some respect to her former condition in the wilderness, where they had no food nor drink but what they had from God, as Abarbinel thinks; or else to the destruction and consumption of them in the wilderness, their carcasses falling there, who sinned against the Lord, as the Targum and Jarchi; and denoting the utter destruction of their commonwealth and church, when their land was laid waste, their city destroyed, their house and temple left desolate and burnt, and they deprived of all the necessaries of life, which was their case at their last destruction by the Romans; and to this day they are as they are described, Hosea 3:4,
and slay her with thirst; after their vainly expected Messiah, which has brought them to desperation; or with a thirst, not for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord, Amos 8:11, the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, being taken away from them, and the clouds ordered to drop down no rain upon them; that is, the ministers of the word not to preach the Gospel to them; and so are left destitute of the means of grace, and of spiritual life, and of escaping eternal death, Matthew 21:43. The Targum of the whole is,
"lest I remove my Shechinah from her, and take away her glory, and set her forsaken, as in the days of old, before she came to my worship; and my fury shall remain upon her, as it remained upon the people of that generation that transgressed my law in the wilderness; and I will set the land desolate, and kill her with thirst.''
for they be the children of whoredoms; begotten and born in whoredom, spurious and illegitimate; or that commit whoredoms; imitate their parents; are guilty of the same vices; a generation of vipers. So the Targum,
"for they are children that commit idolatry;''
retain the traditions of the elders; go about to establish their own righteousness, and reject the Messiah.
She that conceived them hath done shamefully; all sin is shameful and scandalous, especially adultery; it brings a reproach and a blot upon a person, that will not be wiped off; and so idolatry, worshipping stocks and stones instead of the living God; and particularly the sin of the Jewish church, in rejecting the true Messiah and his righteousness, and setting up their own, and tenaciously adhering to the traditions of the elders; and so departing from the true God, and his word and worship, which is no other than spiritual adultery or idolatry. The Targum is,
"because their congregation hath erred after the false prophets, their teachers are confounded;''
and which Jarchi interprets of the wise men that teach doctrines, who are ashamed because of the people of the earth; to whom they say, ye shall not steal, and yet they steal themselves; see Romans 2:21. Or, "she hath made ashamed" (f); her husband, and her children: or, "she is confounded" (g), and "ashamed" herself, for what she has done.
For she said, I will go after my lovers; her idols, as the ten tribes did after the calves at Dan and Bethel. So Kimchi's father interprets it of the sun, moon, and stars, they worshipped: though he himself understands it of the Assyrians and Egyptians they were in alliance with, and trusted in. Some join together the Gentile nations and their gods. Or else it may be understood of the Jews seeking to the Romans, and courting their favour and friendship; desiring to be governed not by their own kings, but by the Romans (h); declaring they had no king but Caesar, and rejecting Christ as such, John 19:12 or rather of their beloved tenets, concerning traditions, the rites and ceremonies of the law, self-righteousness, &c.: the words are expressive of impudence, obstinacy, and self-will; resolving to pursue their own fancies and have their own wills, be it as it would.
That give me my bread and any water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink; "or drinks" (i); wine and other liquors, as Kimchi; these take in everything belonging to food and raiment, and all the necessaries, and even delights and pleasures, of life: bread and water; all sorts of food: wool and flax; all sorts of clothing, both woollen and linen, for outward or inward covering: and oil, and drinks, or liquors; everything for pleasure and delight; all which she ascribed not to God, from whence all good things come; but, which was an aggravation of her sin, to her lovers, her allies, or her idols; as the Jews did their plenty of victuals to the queen of heaven, and their worship of her, Jeremiah 44:17 and as, in the times of Christ, they ascribed not only their enjoyment of temporal good things, but their righteousness, life, and salvation, to their observance of traditions, rites, and ceremonies, and the externals of religion.
(f) "pudefecit", Junius apud Rivet. (g) "Confusa, vel pudefacta", Pagninus, Montanus; "pudore suffusa est", Gussetius. (h) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 17. c. 13, sect. 2.((i) "potationes meas", Montanus, "potiones meas", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "potus meos", Cocceius, Schmidt.
but she shall not overtake them; they fleeing from her, and she pent up:
she shall seek them, but shall not find them; shall not be able to enjoy them, or act according to her wishes and desires, with respect to the performance of sacrifices, rites, and ceremonies, as before observed:
then shall she say; in her heart, finding all endeavours fruitless, and that the things sought after were never to be had; the hedges and wall, the obstructions in the way, were never to be removed, while in such a pursuit; wherefore after a long time, many hundreds of years, even in the latter day, being convinced of her sin and folly in rejecting Christ, and pursuing after other objects, she will take up the following resolution:
I will go and return to my first husband; either the God of Israel, whom the ten tribes departed from by worshipping the calves Jeroboam set up; but in the latter day will seek the Lord their God again, who was a husband to them, and shall cleave to him again, and all Israel shall be saved: so the Targum,
"I will go and return to the service of my first master, for it was well with me when I served him; henceforth I will not serve idols:''
or Christ, who was promised and prophesied of as a husband to the Jewish church, Isaiah 54:5 and whom they believed in, and expected as such, but when he came rejected him; but now being convinced of their error shall seek David their King, appoint themselves one head, and embrace Christ as their husband, and adhere to him; see Hosea 3:5,
for then was it better with me than now; while in the faith, and hope, and expectation of the true Messiah; having a spiritual apprehension of him, true faith in him, and comfort from him, as held forth in the promise; being then possessed of the good land, in the enjoyment of the word and ordinances, and of all religious and civil privileges, but now deprived of them. This may be applied to the case of true believers in Christ, having partially departed from him, and being restored. Christ is a husband to them, who has betrothed them to himself, and they have given themselves to him, and have been loved, nourished, cherished, and provided for by him, and for a while had much nearness, familiarity, and communion with him; but unbelief prevailing, first love waxing cold, and being got into a carnal and sleepy frame, neglect both private and public worship, fall into sin, and removed from church communion, and so may be said to have departed from Christ their husband; but being recovered by divine grace, and sensible of their sins, resolve to return to him again by repentance and acknowledgment, by doing their first works, and by attendance on his word and ordinances; instigated hereunto very much by remembering how it has been with them when they kept close to him, and observing the difference between those times and the present; how they had then the presence of God and Christ, and communion with them, and the secret discoveries of the love of God; in what lively exercise the graces of the Spirit were; what delight and profit they had in ordinances, and what peace, joy, and comfort, in their souls; all which now they want; see Job 29:2.
And multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal; the relative "which" may refer to all that goes before; and the sense be, that these gifts of God, and which should have been owned as such, and employed in his service, and to his glory; some were made use of in meat and drink offerings to Baal; and others in decking themselves to appear in his worship to his honour; or in ornamenting the idol therewith, or in making it thereof, so the Targum and Syriac version: and all this may be said to be done, when these things are spent in the service of other lords than the Lord himself; when they are abused to sinful purposes, and consumed on the lusts of men, to gratify their sensuality, pride, and vanity, which the Jews did.
my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof; for though these are the gifts of God to men for their use, and to dispose of for the good of others; yet he retains his property in them, and can and will call them to an account for their stewardship; and, when he pleases, take away both their office, and the good things they were intrusted with, not making a right use of them; and this he does in his own appointed time and season, or at such a time when these are at the best, and the greatest good is expected from them, and which therefore is the more afflictive; as in the time of harvest and vintage, so Kimchi, when corn and grapes are fully ripe; or, as the Targum, in the time of the corn being on the floor, and of the pressure of the wine:
and will recover my wool, and my flax, given "to cover her nakedness"; or, "I will take away"; by force and violence, as out of the hands of thieves, and robbers, and usurpers, who have no right to them, being forfeited; these were given to cover her nakedness, but not to deck herself with for the honour of her idols, or to cherish pride and superstition; see Matthew 23:5 these were all taken away when the Romans came and took away their place and nation, John 11:48. The Septuagint and Arabic versions give the sense as if these were taken,
that they might not cover her nakedness, or "shame"; but that it might be exposed, as follows:
(k) "iterum capiam", Drusius; "recipiam", Liveleus.
her feast days; which the Jews understand of the three feasts of tabernacles, passover, and pentecost; typical of Christ's tabernacling in human nature; of his being the passover sacrificed for us; and of the firstfruits of the Spirit; which being come, the shadows are gone and vanished, and these feasts are no more: her new moons, and her sabbaths; the first day of every month, and the seventh day of every week, observed for religious exercises; typical of the light the church receives from Christ, and the rest it has in him; and he, the body and substance of them, being come, these are no more, Colossians 2:16,
and all her solemn feasts; all others, whether of God's appointment or their own; all are made to cease of right, if not in fact; the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, being abolished by Christ, and the Jews without a priest, sacrifice, and ephod, Ephesians 2:14.
whereof she hath said, these are my rewards that my lovers have given me; alluding to the hire of harlots, given them by their gallants; these she ascribed, as she did before her bread, water, wool, flax; and oil, Hosea 2:5, not to God, the author and giver of them, but to the people her lovers, as the Targum; or to her idols, or to her beloved tenets, and doing according to them; and which is here mentioned as a reason of the divine resentment, and why he destroyed these fruitful trees:
and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them; make the vines and fig trees like forest trees, barren and unfruitful; the fruitful land of Judea should be turned into a forest, or become like a desert or wilderness, and all the fruits of it should be eaten up by wild beasts; by their enemies, compared to the beasts of the field, particularly the Romans, the fourth beast; see Isaiah 56:9.
(l) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 1. sect. 1.
wherein she burnt incense to them; to the Baalim; this one species of idolatrous worship being put for the rest:
and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels; with her best and richest attire; the latter word signifying in the Arabic language, as Jarchi observes, the ornaments of women; this was done to grace the idolatrous worship, and for the honour of the idols:
and she went after her lovers; the traditions of the elders; the weak and beggarly elements of the ceremonial law now abolished, and their own legal righteousness:
and forgot me, saith the Lord: or, "left my worship", as the Targum; forgot and rejected the true Messiah, his word and ordinances.
"I will put into her heart to return by repentance;''
and compares with it Ezekiel 36:26. The Targum is,
"I will subject her to the law.''
And bring her into the wilderness: so in conversion the Lord calls and separates his people from the world, as the Israelites were from the Egyptians, when brought into the wilderness; and when they are solitary and alone, as they were, and so in a fit circumstance to be spoken unto, and to hear comfortable words, as follows; and when the Lord feeds them with the grain of heaven, with hidden manna, the food of the wilderness; and when they come into trouble and affliction for the sake of Christ and his Gospel. Some understand this of the church into which they are brought, because separate from the world, and attended with trouble; but this is rather a garden than a wilderness. Some, as Noldius and others, render it, "when" or "after I have brought her into the wilderness" (p); so after the Lord has shown men their sin and danger, their wilderness, desolate, state and condition, and stripped them of all help elsewhere; or has brought them under afflictive dispensations of Providence; then he does what he said before, and follows after.
And speak comfortably unto her; or, "speak to her heart" (q), as in Isaiah 40:2 as he does when he tells them their sins are forgiven; that he has loved them with an everlasting love; what exceeding great and precious promises he has made unto them; and when he speaks to them by the Spirit and Comforter, who takes his and the things of Christ, and shows them unto them; and in his word, written for their consolation; and by his ministers, who are "Barnabases", sons of comfort; and in the ordinances, those breasts of consolation. The Targum is,
"and I will do for her wonders and great things, as I did for her in the wilderness; and by the hand of my servants the prophets I will speak comforts to her heart.''
The Jewish writers (r) interpret this of the Messiah's leading people into a wilderness in a literal sense; they ask where will he (the Messiah) lead them? the answer of some is, to the wilderness of Judea, Matthew 3:1; and of others is, to the wilderness of Sihon and Og (the wilderness the Israelites passed through when they came out of Egypt): they, who are on the side of the first answer, urge in favour of it Hosea 12:9 and they who are for the latter produce this passage.
(m) "atqui, vel attamen", Glassius. (n) Hist. Eccles. l. 3. c. 5. (o) "persuadendo inducam eam", Munster; "persuadebo illi", Calvin; "persuadens, vel persuadebo illi", Schmidt. (p) "postquam duxero eam in desertum", Calvin, Drusius, "quum deduxero", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (q) "ad cor ejus", Pagniaus, Cocceius; "super cor ejus", Munster, Montanus, Schmidt. (r) Shirhashhirim Rabba, fol. 11. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2.
and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; this valley was so named from Achan, who was stoned in it in the days of Joshua; who is by Josephus (s), Theodoret (t), and others, called Achar, and so in 1 Chronicles 2:7 and the signification of its name is the valley of trouble, because that he both troubled Israel by his evil actions, which brought them into distress; and because he was here troubled himself, being here punished for his sin, Joshua 7:24. Jerome (u) says it lies to the north of Jericho, and is still called by its old name by the inhabitants of it. Some take it to be the same with the valley of Engedi, which it is certain was near Jericho. Now as the valley of Achor was at the entrance of the Israelites into the land of Canaan, and gave them hope of possessing the whole land; so what the people of God enjoy at first conversion lays a foundation for hope of eternal glory and happiness; as the Lord's being given them as their portion, Christ as their Saviour, and all things freely with him; the Spirit and his grace as the earnest and pledge of the eternal inheritance: grace and glory are so strictly connected, that the one is a door of hope to the other.
And she shall sing there; either in the wilderness, where the Lord speaks comfortably to her; or in the vineyards she has from thence; alluding to the songs of joy at the time of vintage, or pressing of the grapes: or in the valley of Achor, there rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, singing the songs of electing, redeeming, pardoning, and justifying grace:
as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt: as when the people of Israel were first brought into their civil and ecclesiastic state, which were the days of their youth as a people; and that was when they came out of Egypt, and had passed the Red sea, at the shore of which they sung; and to which is the allusion here; see Exodus 15:1 this passage is applied to the times of the Messiah in the Talmud (w).
(s) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 10, 14. (t) Comment. in loc. (u) De locis Hebr. fol. 88. B. tom. 3.((w) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 111. 1.
that thou shalt call me Ishi; or, "my husband" (x); returning to Christ their first husband, and being received by him, shall have faith and interest in him, and full assurance of it; and shall not only be allowed to call him their husband, but in the strength of faith, and with great freedom of soul, shall call him so, and say as the church did, "my beloved is mine, and I am his", Sol 20:16, or, "my man" (y); the man the Lord, the man Jehovah's fellow, Immanuel God with us, God in human nature; and so more manifestly points at Christ, who, most properly speaking, stands in the relation of a husband to his people: or, "my strength", as some interpret it; the husband being the strength, protection, and defence of the wife, the weaker vessel; so Christ is the strength of his saints, in whom they have righteousness and strength, and through whose strength they can do all things:
and shalt call me no more Baali; which signifies my husband too, and is used of God and Christ; he is called Baal, and the church is called Beulah, because married together, Isaiah 45:5 but it signifies a lordly and imperious husband; and the other word, "Ishi", a loving one: so Jarchi observes that the sense is, that they should serve the Lord from love, and not fear; "Ishi" being a word expressive of marriage and love, and "Baali" of lordship and fear: hence some have thought this to be the reason why the one should be used, and the other not, under the Gospel dispensation; because saints now have not the spirit of bondage to fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby they call God their Father, and Christ their husband: though rather the reason is, because the word "Baal", as R. Marinns observes, is of doubtful signification, an ambiguous word, used for the idol Baal, as well as signifies lord and husband; and therefore to be laid aside, lest, when they mentioned it, it should be thought they spoke of Baal, and not of the Lord; or should be led to think of that idol, and remember him.
(x) "maritus meus", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, "marite mi", Schmidt. (y) "Vir meus", V. L. "mi vir", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Liveleus.
"and I will take away the name of the idols of the people out of their mouth;''
and may design the idolatry of the church of Rome; their worship of images of gold and silver, wood, brass, and stone in whose communion are many of the Jews at this time; but when the time of their conversion comes, all this will be abolished among them, and among the Gentiles also:
and they shall no more be remembered by their name; or made mention of by name; the same thing as before, in other words, repeated for the confirmation of it.
And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth; all the instruments of war shall be no more, these mentioned being put for all the rest; and there shall be no more battles fought after that at Armageddon; swords shall be beat into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; there shall be no more wars, nor rumours of wars, but perfect external peace from all enemies on all sides, as well as spiritual and internal peace in the breast of the saints; and of both there shall be abundance, and without end, Psalm 72:7,
and will make them to lie down safely; under the protection of the King Messiah, David their Prince, who shall be over them, and whom they shall own, acknowledge, and serve, and so dwell in the utmost safety and security, not fearing any enemy whatever; they may lie down on their couches at meals, or on their beds at night for rest, or as flocks of sheep in their folds and pastures, and none make them afraid; see Jeremiah 23:5.
Yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness; either in truth, in sincerity, heartily, and without any hypocrisy or dissimulation; or consistent with righteousness, with his love of righteousness and holiness, and hatred of sin: or rather in his own justifying righteousness; not in their own righteousness, which is as rags; for though he finds them in such rags, he strips them of them, and puts on the wedding garment, the robe of his own righteousness, and garment of salvation; when they become as a bride, adorned with ornaments, and so made ready for the nuptials, and in this he betroths them; see Isaiah 61:10,
and in judgment: in sanctification, according to some, the work being now begun by the Spirit of God, as a spirit of judgment; or in a judicious way, not rashly and precipitantly, but with mature deliberation, and of choice arising from judgment; or rather absolving them from the sentence of condemnation and death by his righteousness, and protecting and defending them from their enemies, for the sake of which, and other things, he takes them into this relation;
and in lovingkindness, and in mercies: denoting both the love, which is the spring and source of this relation, and not any merits of theirs; and the kind and tender manner in which he betroths them; as well as the numerous favours he bestows upon them; as pardon of sin; justification of life; spiritual peace; supplies of all grace, and eternal life; all the effects of free grace, unmerited love, and sovereign mercy.
And thou shall know the Lord; that the Messiah is Jehovah, and that he is their husband; they shall all know him, from the least to the greatest; they shall have a saving knowledge of him, which will issue in eternal life; they shall own him, and acknowledge him, serve and obey him, as their Lord, Head, and Husband, as well as love him, and believe in him. The Targum is,
"and ye shall know to fear before the Lord;''
see Jeremiah 31:34. Let it be observed, here are no conditions throughout, it is only "I will", and "thou shalt".
(z) "in fide", V. L. &c.
I will hear, saith the Lord; the petitions of his new married bride, which he cannot deny her :or, "I will answer" (a); men oftentimes hear, and answer not; but when the Lord hears his people, he answers them, and grants them their requests; he is a God hearing and answering prayer. So the Targum,
"I will receive your prayer, saith the Lord.''
I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; in these and the following words is an elegant personification, a figure by which inanimate creatures are represented as persons speaking, praying, asking, and being heard and answered; and a beautiful climax, or a chain of second causes linked together, and as depending upon the first cause, the Lord himself; the heavens are represented as desiring the Lord of nature, the Maker and Supporter of them, having been like brass, and shut up, that they might have leave to let down their refreshing dews, and gentle showers of rain, upon the earth; and the earth as being dry and thirsty, as gaping, opening its mouth, and imploring these benign influences of the heavens; and both as answered: for so it may be rendered, "I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth" (b); the Lord promises to answer the desires of the heavens, and allow them to drop their dew, and distil their rain; and so they shall answer the cravings of the earth. The spiritual sense may be, according to Schmidt, Christ is he on whom all blessings depend; "heaven" may signify the Holy Spirit Christ gives, who intercedes with him for the saints; the "earth" the ministration of the word and ordinances, by which the Spirit is given, invoked by the ministers of them. Or, as Cocceius, the "heavens" may design the ministers of the church, who govern in it, and who pray and plead for help, assistance, and success; and the "earth" the audience, the common people, who also pray, and are heard and answered, when ministers let down the dew and rain of evangelical doctrine upon them, and water them, and refresh them with it; and such precious seasons as these, as the fruit of prayer, will the saints have in the latter day.
(a) "respondebo", Calvin, Drusius, Tarnovius, Cocceius. (b) "respondebo coelo, et illud respondebit terrae", Cocceius, Drusius.
And they shall hear Jezreel; or "answer"; that is, these trees and fruits shall answer to the requests and desires of Jezreel, who shall be abundantly blessed with them. By "Jezreel" is not meant the name of a place, as Aben Ezra; but the people of Israel, who had before been signified by a son of the prophet of this name, Hosea 1:4, and which name is here continued, to show how unworthy they were of such favours in themselves, and the riches of God's grace in bestowing them on them: or else the word here has a different signification; whereas before it signified their being scattered and dispersed, here their being the seed of God; and which is confirmed by the following words,
I will sow her unto me, &c.: the sum of the whole is, that at the prayers of the Lord's people abundance of spiritual blessings shall be bestowed upon them from Christ by the Spirit, under the ministration of the word and ordinances. The Targum of both verses is,
"I will command the heavens, and they shall let down rain upon the earth; and the earth shall produce corn, and wine, and oil, and they shall be sufficient for the captivity of the people.''
Kimchi says this belongs to the time of salvation; and Aben Ezra to time to come.