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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Hosea 11

 

 

Verses 1-12

Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child I loved him. I led Joseph like a flock, by the hands of Moses and Aaron. I protected him among the kings of Canaan. I fed and multiplied him in Egypt; and when the time was come, I allowed oppression to drive him out. I sent Moses, who called my Son out of Egypt, to a land flowing with milk and honey. And as Adam was a figure of Him who was to come; so Isaac was a type of Christ, and the whole law a shadow of good things to come. I gave omen of greater good in future time; that out of Egypt I would call my Beloved Son, fully to accomplish the work of their redemption. If we allow the sneers of jews and infidels to have any weight against this quotation, Matthew 2:15, we allow them to have weight against all the shadows of the ancient law.

Hosea 11:3. I taught Ephraim to go. I drew him with the cords of a man. Hebrews Adam, which the versions render man, a worm of the dust. As a child is led in strings, so the Lord led the Israelites by his cloud in the desert, fed them with bread from heaven, and water from the rock, and gave them the promised land. Ezekiel, in chap. 16., has the like sentiments; and kindness of this sort will even excite gratitude in a brute.

Hosea 11:5-6. The Assyrian shall be his king— the sword shall abide on his cities. To feel the force of this prophecy, we must read the history of Israel in the book of Kings, the Chronicles, Josephus, and other Hebrew books, as Zeder ôlam, &c. Hosea prophesied during part of the reign of Jeroboam the second; and surely never were the visitations of providence more exactly painted by any historian, than they are described by this prophet. The strokes of war were so successive that the ten tribes were “cut short.” The people were slain and dispersed. Above all, from the time of Salmanezer to the days of Cyrus, which comprised about one hundred and thirty years. How then could this prophet foresee that the Assyrian monarchs would be their kings, unless inspired by the Word of the Lord, whose eyes penetrate into all futurity.

Hosea 11:11. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt. They shall come to Zion, and fly as a dove out of Assyria. The word tremble is not found, except in modern versions. Isaiah says they shall fly as doves to their windows: Isaiah 60:2. So also shall the gentiles come to the gospel light.

REFLECTIONS.

After all the terrors of our ministry, after all the rigours of the law, it is grace that softens and melts the heart. It is love that burns on the altar. The touchstone of all arguments, in bringing Ephraim to repentance, was the tender and paternal love of God to his ancestors. “When Israel was a child I loved him:” why then, oh Ephraim, not love him again, for he has first loved you. Ah, why should my heart love its idols, and treat the Holy One with neglect and contempt.

Let us calmly reflect on the goodness of God to us in infancy and youth, when we lay in the womb, and hung upon the breast. Let us reflect on the astonishing patience and mercy of God to a sinful people. The eighth verse is a most surprising passage. “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? Shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? Shall I set thee as Zeboim? My heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.” This tender expostulation is enough to melt the most obdurate heart. Justice seemed to require that they should be given up; but mercy pleaded for them, though it scarcely knew how to do it. The Lord here represents himself as a tender father, struggling with himself, whether he should disinherit and give up a rebellious son or not. This is doubtless only described after the manner of men, to exalt the divine mercy and encourage sinners to repentance. Let us reflect on this most amazing mercy of the Most High, and take encouragement from it; for who is a God like unto ours, pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin?

It is a great honour to continue steady and faithful, when others deal deceitfully. It is our duty to be faithful with the saints, to keep close to God’s holy rules and ways, though they are neglected by others; to walk with the saints, though they are few and despised. Many, like Ephraim, attend the worship of God deceitfully; hear the word and commend it, but will not do it; they promise fair, but never perform. This is lying to God; and all liars, especially such as these, shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. But the faithful shall have favour with God, and much comfort; and their works shall be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hosea 11:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/hosea-11.html. 1835.

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