Hosea 11:11
They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
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(11) Will place them.—Better, will cause them to dwell. The prophetic word looks beyond the restoration of the sixth century B.C. to the gathering together of some from east and west, from all the places where they are hidden in exile under the lion of the tribe of Judah; the broader and grander accomplishment will satisfy and more than fulfil the yearnings of the spiritual Israel.

11:8-12 God is slow to anger, and is loth to abandon a people to utter ruin, who have been called by his name. When God was to give a sacrifice for sin, and a Saviour for sinners, he spared not his own Son, that he might spare us. This is the language of the day of his patience; but when men sin that away, then the great day of his wrath comes. Man's compassions are nothing in comparison with the tender mercies of our God, whose thoughts and ways, in receiving returning sinners, are as much above ours as heaven is above the earth. God knows how to pardon poor sinners. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and therein declares his righteousness, now Christ has purchased the pardon, and he has promised it. Holy trembling at the word of Christ will draw us to him, not drive us from him, the children tremble, and flee to him. And all that come at the gospel call, shall have a place and a name in the gospel church. The religious service of Israel were mere hypocrisy, but in Judah regard was had to God's laws, and the people followed their pious forefathers. Let us be faithful: those who thus honour God, he will honour, but such us despise Him shall be lightly esteemed.They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt - The West denoted Europe; Egypt and Assyria stand, each for all the lands beyond them, and so for Africa and Asia; all together comprise the three quarters of the world, from where converts have chiefly come to Christ. These are likened to birds, chiefly for the swiftness with which they shall then haste to the call of God, who now turned away the more, the more they were called. The dove, especially, was a bird of Palestine, proverbial for the swiftness of its flight, easily aftrighted, and flying the more rapidly, the more it was frightened, and returning to its cot from any distance where it might be carried; from where Isaiah also says of the converts, "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?" Isaiah 60:8. "The Hebrews," says Jerome, "refer this to the coming of the Christ, who, they hope, will come; we shew that it hath taken place already. For both from Egypt and Aasyria, i. e., from East and West, from North and South, have they come, and daily do they come, who sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

And I will place them in their houses - "Their houses" may be their own particular Churches, in the one Church or "House of God" 1 Timothy 3:15. In this house, God says, that He will make them to dwell, not again to be removed from it, nor shaken in it, but in a secure dwelling-place here until they be suited to be removed to everlasting habitations. : "In their houses, i. e., in the mansions prepared for them. For from the beginning of the world, when He created our first parents, and blessed them and said, "Increase and multiply and replenish the earth," He prepared for them everlasting houses or mansions. Whereof He said, just before His Death, "In My father's house are many mansions," and in the Last Day, He will say, "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

11. tremble—flutter in haste.

dove—no longer "a silly dove" (Ho 7:11), but as "doves flying to their windows" (Isa 60:8).

in their houses—(Eze 28:26). Literally, "upon," for the Orientals live almost as much upon their flat-roofed houses as in them.

The summary of the first part of this verse seems to be, that some should hasten, yet with solicitude, out of Egypt, whither they fled for shelter, like as a bird that hath been cast out of her nest hasteth to it; others like doves shall hasten out of Assyria unto Judea, but with fear and solicitude, which cannot but attend them in a land, though their own, yet now desolate and horrid under one hundred and eighty years’ devastation since Shalmaneser transported them, i.e. one hundred and ten years before and seventy years concurrent with the Jews’ captivity in Babylon.

I will place them in their houses; they will find none, but I will place them in houses, and they shall be theirs too. It is a very seasonable and comfortable promise, and suited to the state and wants of those returning exiles, and in the letter of it refers to them; and they as types of what is more mysteriously and more darkly contained in them, viz. the gathering of believers from all quarters to Christ with the alacrity and speed which birds make in flying to their nests, and God’s providing mansions of rest for them: well resembled here in these similes.

They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt,.... They shall come from thence with fear and trembling; which may allude to the trembling of birds at the roaring of a lion, or to the trembling motion of their wings in flying; and denotes the swiftness of the motion of the Israelites and Jews to Christ, and to his church and people, and to their own land, under divine influence and direction: or "shall come with honour" (k); with all readiness and cheerfulness, in the obedience of faith:

and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; which is expressive of the same things, the dove being both a timorous and swift creature. Birds in common are very timorous, and tremble at any noise, and fearful of everything that disturbs them, and therefore make all the haste and speed they can to get out of the way, and to do which they are naturally provided; and more especially the dove is always represented as very fearful and trembling, especially when pursued by the hawk, as the poet (l) observes. Though, it may be, these figures may only signify, as the weak and impotent state of the Jews, considered in themselves at this time, so the quick speed and haste they shall make to their own land. And perhaps there may be something alluded to in the text, that may refer to the dove as peculiar to Assyria, as it should seem to be. Now it is said of Semiramis, an ancient queen of Assyria, that being exposed when an infant, was nourished by doves, and at her death was turned into one; and from hence it is not only said she had her name, which signifies a dove, in the Syriac tongue, but doves by the Syrians were worshipped as deities (m). And Derceto, a Syrian goddess, supposed to be her mother, having a temple at Askelon, perhaps the above story may be the reason why the inhabitants of that place reckoned doves so sacred that they did not kill them; for Philo (n), who lived there some time, having observed great numbers of them in the highways, and in every house, asked the reason of it; and he was answered, that the citizens were of old forbid the use of them: and it may be further observed, that, in honour of Semiramis, the kings of Assyria bore a dove in their coat of arms (o); but whether there is any thing peculiar or no in this reference is not certain: and, besides what has been observed of the fearfulness of this creature, and its swiftness and haste it makes in flying, it may also denote the characters of meekness, humility, and harmlessness, which the Jews, now converted, will have by the grace of God, as well as their mournful disposition. Egypt and Assyria are particularly mentioned, as they generally are where the return of Israel and Judah into their own land is prophesied of, Isaiah 11:11; and may signify the Turks, in whose possession these countries are, and among whom many Jews live: and the one lying to the south, and the other to the north of Judea, and the west being observed before, this shows that these people should be gathered from all parts of the world, where they are dispersed; the east is not mentioned, because their land they will be returned unto lies there;

and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord; it is not said in towns and cities, and fortified places, but in houses, signifying that they should dwell in their own land, in a civil sense, securely, and in their habitations, under their vines and fig trees, being in no fear and danger of enemies, and live in the utmost safety, under the government and protection of the King Messiah; or, in a spiritual sense, they will be placed in the congregations of the saints in the churches of Christ, which will be as dove houses to them, and whither they shall fly as doves to their windows, Isaiah 60:8; and it is observed of doves, that they fly the swiftest when they make to their own houses: and at last, as all the people of God will, they will be placed in the mansions of glory, in Christ's Father's house, those everlasting habitations. These words, "saith the Lord", are added, for the certain and sure accomplishment of all this. The Targum of the whole is,

"as a bird which comes openly, so shall they come who are carried captive into the land of Egypt; and as a dove that returns to its dove house, so shall they return who are carried into the land of Assyria; and I will return them in peace to their houses, and my word shall be their protection, saith the Lord.''

(k) "cum honore advenient", Schmidt. (l) "Sic ego, currebam, sic me ferus ille premebat, Ut fagere accipitrem penna trepidante columba, Ut solet accipiter trepidas urgere columbas". Ovid. Metamorph. l. 5. Fab. 10. (m) Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 92, 93, 107. (n) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 8. p. 398. (o) Vid. Gregor. Posthuma, p. 235.

{k} They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.

(k) The Egyptians and the Assyrians will be afraid when the Lord maintains his people.

11. tremble as a bird … as a dove] ‘Tremble’ is the literal rendering, but the context shows that a thrill of eagerness doubling the speed of motion is what is meant (comp. Ovid’s ‘pennâ trepidante’). Render therefore, come hurriedly, and continue, as sparrows … as doves. Doves were very early known in both Egypt and Assyria. Elsewhere (Hosea 7:11) Hosea compares the Israelites to doves for their folly. [For the rendering ‘come hurriedly’ comp. the Syriac r’hab which combines the meanings of haste and trembling.]

place them] Rather, cause them to dwell.

Verse 11. - They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt. The trembling here is eager haste, or precipitate agitation, in which they would hurry home, and that from west and east and south - from west as we infer from ver. 10, from Assyria in the east and Egypt in the south. They would thus hurry as a bird home to its nest in the greenwood; as a dove no longer a silly dove, but flying home to its window. This chapter is regarded by some as ending here. Others include ver. 12. Hosea 11:11"They will go after Jehovah; like a lion will He roar; for He will roar: and sons will tremble from the sea. Hosea 11:11. Tremble like birds out of Egypt, and like doves out of the land of Asshur: and I cause them to dwell in their houses, is the saying of Jehovah." When the Lord turns His pity towards the people once more, they will follow Him, and hasten, with trembling at His voice, from the lands of their banishment, and be reinstated by Him in their inheritance. The way for this promise was opened indeed by Hosea 11:9, but here it is introduced quite abruptly, and without any logical particle of connection, like the same promise in Hosea 3:5. הלך אחרי יי, to walk after the Lord, denotes not only "obedience to the gathering voice of the Lord, as manifested by their drawing near" (Simson), but that walking in true obedience to the Lord which follows from conversion (Deuteronomy 13:5; 1 Kings 14:8), so that the Chaldee has very properly rendered it, "They will follow the worship of Jehovah." This faithfulness they will exhibit first of all in practical obedience to the call of the Lord. This call is described as the roaring of a lion, the point of comparison lying simply in the fact that a lion announces its coming by roaring, so that the roaring merely indicates a loud, far-reaching call, like the blowing of the trumpet in Isaiah 27:13. The reason for what is affirmed is then given: "for He (Jehovah) will really utter His call," in consequence of which the Israelites, as His children, will come trembling (chârēd synonymous with pâchad, Hosea 3:5). מיּם, from the sea, i.e., from the distant islands and lands of the west (Isaiah 11:11), as well as from Egypt and Assyria, the lands of the south and east. These three regions are simply a special form of the idea, "out of all quarters of the globe;" compare the more complete enumeration of the several remote countries in Isaiah 11:11. The comparison to birds and doves expresses the swiftness with which they draw near, as doves fly to their dovecots (Isaiah 60:8). Then will the Lord cause them to dwell in their houses, i.e., settle them once more in their inheritance, in His own land (cf. Jeremiah 32:37, where לבטח is added). On the construing of הושׁיב with על, cf. 1 Kings 20:43, and the German auf der Stube sein. The expression נאם יי affixes the seal of confirmation to this promise. The fulfilment takes place in the last says, when Israel as a nation shall enter the kingdom of God. Compare the remarks on this point at Hosea 2:1-3.
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