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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Hosea 3

 

 

Verses 1-5

CHAPTER 3 Israel’s Past, Present, and Future

1. The past (Hosea 3:1-3)

2. The present (Hosea 3:4)

3. The future (Hosea 3:5)

Hosea 3:1-3. The command here is not that the Prophet should enter into relation with another woman, but it concerns the same Gomer, the unfaithful wife. It seems she left the prophet and lived in adultery with another man. “And Jehovah said unto me, Go again, love a wife, who is beloved of her friend and who is an adulteress; just as Jehovah loves the children of Israel, who have turned towards other gods, and love raisin cakes” (correct translation; used in the idolatrous worship). She is not called “thy wife,” simply “a wife”; yet the prophet is told to love the adulterous wife. This woman, whom the Lord commands Hosea to love, he had loved before her fall; he was now to love her after her fall, and while in that condition, in order to save her from abiding in it. It was for her sake that she might be won back to him. Such is the love of Jehovah for Israel.

He bought the adulteress for half of the price of a common slave Exodus 21:32; it denotes her worthlessness. The measure of barley mentioned reminds of the offering of one accused of adultery, and, being the food of animals, shows her degradation likewise. He thus was to buy her back, not to live with him as his wife, but that she might sit as a widow, not running after others, but wait for him during an undefined, but long season, until he would come and take her to himself. While she was not to belong to another man, he, her legitimate husband, would be her guardian. Israel’s spiritual adultery is in view in all this.

Hosea 3:4. Here we have direct prophecy, a very remarkable one, as to Israel’s present condition. It is to be their state for “many days.” These “many days,” unreckoned, are the days of this present age, in which Israel is in the predicted condition, while God visits the Gentiles, to gather through the preaching of the gospel a people for His Name, that is, the church. Their condition is to be threefold: Without a civil polity, without king or prince; without the appointed Levitical worship, no sacrifice; without the practice of idolatry, to which they had been given, without image, ephod and teraphim-- the distinctly priestly garment, the ephod; the teraphim, the tutelary divinities, which they used before the captivity. Before the captivity they had kings; now they have none, would have none; after the captivity Judah had princes; no princes during the “many days.” The real approach to God according to the Levitical service was to cease, for during the “many days” there would be no sacrifice. This has been Israel’s condition for nineteen hundred years. What a wonderful forecast of the present we have here! Clearly then, this describes the present condition of Israel--the most anomalous spectacle the world has ever seen--a people who go on generation after generation without any of those things which are supposed to be essential for keeping a people in existence. They have lost their king, their prince; they have neither the true worship nor the worship of idols. They are unable to present a sacrifice, because they have no temple and no more priesthood. Here is an evidence of the supernaturalness of the Bible, one which no Jew nor destructive critic can deny.

Hosea 3:5. Afterward--in the latter days. These two statements open and end the prophecy concerning their future. The “afterward” is not yet; the latter days are still to come. Their future is returning and seeking the Lord, their God and David their king. This is Christ. Nearly all the rabbinical writers and expositors explain it in this way. David himself this could not be. It is He who is David’s Son and David’s Lord, our Lord Ezekiel 37:23-28. Here we have the prediction of the future conversion of Israel to the Lord, in the latter days, the days of His coming again.

(The Targum of Jonathan says on Hosea 3:5 : “This is the King Messiah; whether he be from among the living or from the dead. His name is Messiah. The same explanation is given by the mystical books Zohar, Midrash Shemuel and Tanchuma. The greatest authorities among the Jews are one in declaring that ‘the last days’ mean the days of the Messiah; we have reference to Kirnchi, Abarbanel, Moses Ben Nacham and many others.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Hosea 3:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/hosea-3.html. 1913-1922.

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