Hosea 13:14
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be your destruction: repentance shall be hid from my eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) O death . . . O grave.—The rendering should be, Where is thy plague, O death? Where is thy sting, O Sheol? as the LXX. have it, and as it is quoted in 1Corinthians 15:55. The rendering of the English version is, however, supported by the Targum, Symmachus, Jerome, and many modern expositors. But the former interpretation is to be preferred. Many Christian interpreters (Henderson, Pusey, &c.) regard this as the sudden outburst of a gracious promise (as St. Paul takes it). The last clause then signifies that the gift and calling of God are without repentance. There is no room for any further merciful change of purpose. But the objection to this interpretation is that in the same breath the prophet rushes on to the most sweeping condemnation. Accordingly Schmoller, Wünsche, Huxtable (Speaker’s Commentary), and others understand the passage thus: “Shall I ransom them (doomed and dying in agonised travail) from the hand (or power) of Hades? Shall I redeem them from death? (Alas! no.) Where are thy plagues, O death? (Bring them forth.) Where is thy sting, O Hades? (Strike these reprobate ones.) Relenting is hid from my eyes.” It should be remembered that St. Paul quoted from Isaiah, “Death shall be swallowed up in victory,” and then, as here, calls in derisive irony upon death and Sheol to do their very worst at the very moment when they are about to be cast into the lake of fire.

Hosea 13:14. I will ransom them from the power of the grave — If we apply this promise to Ephraim, or the Israelites spoken of before, it may signify, that though they should be in never so desperate a condition, God would in due time deliver them out of it: see the like expressions, Psalm 30:3; Psalm 71:20; Psalm 86:13. But there is a more sublime and spiritual sense contained in the words, as appears by the following clause. O death, I will be thy plagues — It is usual for the prophets, when they foretel temporal deliverances, to be carried away by the influence of the prophetic spirit, to predict the greater mercies and deliverances which belong to the gospel state: so here the prophet takes occasion, from foretelling temporal mercies, to enlarge his views, and set forth that great and final deliverance of the faithful from the power of sin and death, which shall be completed by Christ, when he shall swallow up death in victory, 1 Corinthians 15:54. That St. Paul understood the words in this sense appears from the next verse of the same chapter, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? which is almost an exact quotation of the Septuagint translation of this passage of the prophet. For the word אהי, which we translate, I will be, is rendered by them, where, as it also signifies, Hosea 13:10 th of this chapter. The apostle, indeed, seems to have quoted the text from his memory, and therefore rather gives the sense than keeps exactly close to the letter of it. Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes — I will never alter my purpose concerning these mercies prepared for my people.13:9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.I will ransom them from the power of the grave - Literally, "from the hand," i. e., the "grasp of the grave," or "of hell." God, by His prophets, mingles promises of mercy in the midst of His threats of punishment. His mercy overflows the bounds of the occasion upon which He makes it known. He had sentenced Ephraim to temporal destruction. This was unchangeable. He points to that which turns all temporal less into gain, their eternal redemption. The words are the fullest which could have been chosen. The word rendered "ransom," signifies, rescued them by the payment of a price, the word rendered "redeem," relates to one, who, as the nearest of kin, had the right to acquire anything as his own, by paying that price. Both words, in their exactest sense, describe what Jesus did, buying us "with a price," a full and dear price, "not of corruptible things, as of silver and gold, but with His precious blood" 1 Peter 1:18-19; and that, becoming our near kinsman, by His Incarnation, "for which cause He is not ashamed to call us brethren Hebrews 2:11, and "little children" John 13:33.

This was never done by God at any other time, than when, out of love for our lost world, "He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16; and He "came to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28, add 1 Timothy 2:6). Then only was man really delivered from the "grasp" of the "grave;" so that "the first death" should only be a freedom from corruption, an earnest, and, to fallen man, a necessary condition of immortality; man "the second death" should "have no power over" them Revelation 20:6. : Thenceforward "death, the parent of sorrow, ministers to joy; death, our dishonor, is employed to our glory; the "gate of hell" is the portal to the kingdom of heaven; the "pit of destruction" is the entrance to salvation; and that to man, a sinner." At no other time , "were men freed from death and the grave, so as to make any distinction between them and others subject to mortality." The words refuse to be tied down to a temporal deliverance. A little longer continuance in Canaan is not a redemption from the power of the grave; nor was Ephraim so delivered. Words of God , "cannot mean so little, while they express so much." Then and then alone were they, in their literal meaning, fulfilled when God the Son "took" our flesh, "that, through death, He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage" Hebrews 2:14-15.

The Jews have a tradition wrapped up in their way, that this was to be accomplished in Christ. : "I went with the angel Kippod, and Messiah son of David went with me, until I came to the gates of hell. When the prisoners of hell saw the light of the Messiah, they wished to receive him, saying, this is he who will bring us out of this darkness, as it is written, 'I will redeem them from the hand of hell. '"

: "Not without reason is the vouchsafed mercy thus once and again outspoken to us, "I will ranson them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." It is said in regard to that twofold death whereby we all died in Adam, of the body and of the soul." "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." So full is God's word, that the sense remains the same, amid much difference of rendering. Christ was the death of death, when He became subject to it; the destruction of the grave when He lay in the tomb. Yet to render it in the form of a question is most agreeable to the language. "O death, where are thy plagues? O grave, where is thy destruction?" It is a burst of triumph at the promised redemption, then fulfilled to us in earnest and in hope, when "Christ," being "risen from the dead, became the First-fruits of them that slept" 1 Corinthians 15:20, and we rose in Him. But the Apostle teaches us, that then it shall be altogether fulfilled, when, at the Last Day, "this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality" 1 Corinthians 15:54. "Then shall death and hell deliver up the dead which shall be in them, and themselves be cast into the lake of fire" Revelation 20:13-14. "Then shall there be no sting of death; sorrow and sighing shall flee away; fear and anxiety shall depart; tears shall be no more, and in place thereof shall be boundless pleasure, everlasting joy, praise of the glory of God in most sweet harmony." But now too, through death, the good man "ceases to die, and begins to live;" he "dies wholly to the world, that he may live perfectly with God; the soul returns to the Author of its being, and is hidden in the hidden presence of God" .

Death and hell had no power to resist, and God says that He will not alter His sentence; "Repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes;" as the Apostle says, "the gifts and calling of God are with out repentance" Romans 11:29.

14. Applying primarily to God's restoration of Israel from Assyria partially, and, in times yet future, fully from all the lands of their present long-continued dispersion, and political death (compare Ho 6:2; Isa 25:8; 26:19; Eze 37:12). God's power and grace are magnified in quickening what to the eye of flesh seems dead and hopeless (Ro 4:17, 19). As Israel's history, past and future, has a representative character in relation to the Church, this verse is expressed in language alluding to Messiah's (who is the ideal Israel) grand victory over the grave and death, the first-fruits of His own resurrection, the full harvest to come at the general resurrection; hence the similarity between this verse and Paul's language as to the latter (1Co 15:55). That similarity becomes more obvious by translating as the Septuagint, from which Paul plainly quotes; and as the same Hebrew word is translated in Ho 13:10, "O death, where are thy plagues (paraphrased by the Septuagint, 'thy victory')? O grave, where is thy destruction (rendered by the Septuagint, 'thy sting')?" The question is that of one triumphing over a foe, once a cruel tyrant, but now robbed of all power to hurt.

repentance shall be hid from mine eyes—that is, I will not change My purpose of fulfilling My promise by delivering Israel, on the condition of their return to Me (compare Ho 14:2-8; Nu 23:19; Ro 11:29).

Some interpreters render this text not in the future absolute, but in the subjunctive and conditionally, I would have ransomed, I would have redeemed, &c., if Israel had been wise; so it will well cohere with the 13th and 15th verses. And if the words be considered as spoken of the whole body of Israel, they will be most intelligible, as they include a condition and are subjunctive. But the apostle doth, and most Christian interpreters with the apostle, interpret them as an absolute promise made for the comfort of the pious and elect among these Israelites, and labour not to connect them with the foregoing or following words, but suppose them to be in a parenthesis between them. And so we take them.

I, Jehovah or Messiah, the Father promiseth the Messiah.

Will ransom, by power and purchase, by the price of the blood of the Lamb of God, and by the power of his Godhead.

Them that repent and believe, and wait for redemption through Christ the Messiah.

From the power of the grave; he conquered the grave, and rose out of it as our Captain and Head, and he will at the great day of the resurrection, by his almighty power, open those prison doors, and bring them out in glory, immortality, and incorruption, whom he redeemed by an inestimable and invaluable price.

I will redeem them from death; from the curse of the first death, henceforth they that die in the Lord shall be blessed; and from the second death, which shall have no power over them; I will take away the sting of death, which is sin, i.e. in the dominion and guilt of it: now Christ redeems from the one by sanctifying grace, and from the other by justifying grace.

O death, I will be thy plagues; thus I will destroy death, and defeat him that had the power of death: it is a metaphor, as the next.

O grave, I will be thy destruction; I will recover the prey out of the mouth of the grave, I will pull down those prison walls, and bring out all that are confined there, of which the bad I will remove into other kind of prisons, the good I will restore to glorious liberty. The wicked shall have a worse prison, the godly shall for ever be freed from prison and so I will raze this prison, the grave, to the very foundation.

Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes: this grace toward the godly, toward believers among Israel and in the church, through all ages, is unchangeable; I will never, as man that repenteth, change my word and purpose, saith the Lord. In either sense they speak the grace of God toward us; he is ready to pardon and save all that will repent, and he will most certainly and eternally save from death. The grave, sin, and hell all that do repent and obey the Messiah; an abundant comfort to pious ones who should yet die captives in Assyria, but rise by the power of the Messiah to eternal glory in the day of the general resurrection. I will ransom them from the power of the grave,.... That is, "when" or "at which time" before spoken of, and here understood, as the above interpreter rightly connects the words, "I will" do this and what follows:

I will redeem them from death; these are the words, not of Jehovah the Father, as in Hosea 1:7; but of the Son, who redeemed Israel out of Egypt, which was a typical redemption, Hosea 13:4; in whom is the help of his people laid and found, Hosea 13:9; the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; who is the true God, the mighty God, and so equal to this work of redemption and who is also the near kinsman of the redeemed as one of the words here used implies, and so to him belonged the right of redemption: the persons redeemed are not Israel after the flesh, but spiritual Israel, whether Jews or Gentiles; a special and peculiar people, chosen of God, and precious, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; and who, in their nature state, are under sin, in bondage to it, and liable to the curse of the law, the wrath of God, hell and damnation; which are meant by the "grave" and "death", and so needed a Redeemer to ransom them: for the word for "grace" should be rendered "hell" (q), as it often is; and "death" intends not corporeal one only, but eternal death, or the second death; and both signify the wrath of God due to sin, and which God's elect are deserving of, and Christ has bore, and delivered them from; and the curse of the law, which he has redeemed them from, being made a curse for them; and eternal death, the equivalent to which he has suffered, and so has saved them from it, and all this by redeeming them from their sins, the cause of it; and which he has done by giving a redemption or ransom price, which is his blood, his life, yea, himself, and which the first of the words here used imports. It is indeed true, that, in consequence of all this, there will be a redemption by him from a corporeal death, and from the grave; not as yet, for the ransomed of the Lord die as others, and are laid in the grave, the house appointed for all living; but in the resurrection morn there will be a redemption, a deliverance of the bodies of the saints from the grave, from mortality and corruption; yea, of them from the moral corruption of sin, and all the defilements of it, as well as from all afflictions and diseases, and from death itself, which shall have no more dominion over them; to which purpose the words are applied by the apostle; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:55; and so by some ancient Jews (r) to the Messiah, and his times;

O death, I will be thy plagues; O grace, I will be thy destruction; that is, the utter destruction of them for the plague or pestilence is a wasting destruction, Psalm 91:6; it is the same which in New Testament language is the abolishing of death, 2 Timothy 1:10; which is true of eternal death with respect to the redeemed, which Christ's death is the death of, he having by his death reconciled them to God, and opened the way to eternal life for them, which he has in his hands to give unto them; and of corporeal death and the grave, which Christ has utterly destroyed with respect to himself having loosed the builds of death, and set himself free, and on whom that shall have no more dominion; and, with respect to his pie, he has destroyed him that had the power of it, which is the devil; he has put away and abolished sin, the cause of it; he has took away that which is its sting; so that it may be truly said, as the apostle quotes these words, "O death, where is thy sting?" he has removed the curse from it, and made it a blessing; he has abolished it as a penal evil, so theft it is not inflicted as a punishment on his people; and in the last day will entirely deliver them from the power of that, and of the grave; and then that which has slain its millions and millions, a number not to be numbered, will never slay one more: and that grave, which devoured as many, will never be opened more, or one more put into it; and then it may be said, "O grave, where is thy victory?" thou shall conquer no more, but be at an end; see 1 Corinthians 15:55;

repentance shall be hid from mine eyes; that is, the Lord will never repent of his decree of redemption from hell, death, and the grave; nor of the work of it by Christ; nor of the entire destruction of these things; which being once done, will never be repented of nor recalled, but remain so for ever.

(q) "inferni", Schmidt. (r) Gloss. Heb. in Lyra in loc. Vid. Galatin. Arcan. Cathol. Ver. l. 6. c. 21.

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O {k} death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: {l} repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

(k) Meaning that no power will resist God when he will deliver his own, but even in death he will give them life.

(l) Because they will not turn to me, I will change my purpose.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. But a father cannot long endure to contemplate the prospect of his child’s ruin.

from the power of the grave … from death] Rather, from the hand of Sheól … from Death. Sheól and Death are used synonymously for the nether world (as in Isaiah 28:15; Psalm 6:5; Psalm 49:14). In Isaiah 5:14 Sheól has an enormous mouth; so here a hand.

O death … destruction] So Gesenius, following the Targum and Vulgate. But, as Dr Pusey remarks, on this view of the construction, we must render ‘I would be thy plagues’, &c., whereas the context requires an absolute declaration. Render therefore, Where are thy plagues, O Sheól? where thy pestilence, O Death? (Comp. Psalm 91:6 Hebr.). ‘The plagues are the mille viœ leti the many kinds of sickness, the most terrible of which is called “the firstborn of Death”, Job 18:13 (Hitzig). Though all the plagues which fill the dark city of Sheól were let loose upon Israel as a nation, they would be incapable of destroying Jehovah’s ‘son.’ St Paul quotes these words (1 Corinthians 15:55) in a translation of his own either as proving the doctrine of the Resurrection, or simply as well expressing his own triumphant feelings. Triumphant the tone of Hosea’s words certainly is, and hence some have thought Jehovah calls for the pestilences as agents in Israel’s threatened destruction, taking the first part of the verse interrogatively, ‘From the hand of Sheól should I ransom them? from Death should I redeem them?’ But this is not the most natural explanation, nor is it required on the above view of the context.

repentance shall be hid] Rather, repentance is hid. Perhaps an assurance of the irrevocable nature of the promise. But as the tone of promise is so transient, it seems better to take this clause in connexion with the threat of judgment in Hosea 13:12 of which indeed it may possibly once have formed the third member. At any rate, we need a resumption of threatening here, to prepare the way for the stern announcement in Hosea 13:15.Verse 14. - I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. God here promises them deliverance from utter ruin; the grave shall be thus deprived of his victim, and the victim rescued out of the tyrant grasp of death. פָדָה is to redeem by payment of a price; גאל by right of kinship; while שְׁאול, the under world, is derived

(1) by some from ָשאַל, to ask or demand, and is favored by such statements as the following: "There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: the grave," and so on; "Who enlargeth his desire as well, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied." Others

(2) derive it from שאל, equivalent to שעל (by a softening of the ayin into aleph), to be hollow; but this signification of the word is not satisfactorily established. A third

(3) derivation is שׁוּל, to hang down loose or slack, then to be deep, or low, and so the noun comes to signify sinking, depth, abyss. O Death, I will be thy plagues; O Grave, I will be thy destruction. Thus אֶהִי is

(a) incorrectly taken by some for the first person future of היה; it is

(b) more properly taken in the sense of "where," as in ver. 10 of the present chapter. בְבָרֶיך is plural, referred by some to דָבָר, hence δικηῆ, LXX.; it is, however, the plural of

(c) דֶבֶר, pestilence, and קָטָבְך, pestilence, destruction, from קְטֹב, to cut off, akin to חטב. Hitzig says that קְבֹל קְטֹב, and קְטֹן are originally infinitives, and the last two designate instruments or members, and thus give a sort of support to the traditional κέντρον of the LXX. Now, this verse has been understood by some in the sense

(1) of consolation; and by others

(2) in that of combination.

In the latter sense it is understood by the Hebrew commentators, and by not a few Christian interpreters. Thus Rashi: "I am he who redeemed them from the hand of Sheol, and delivered them from death; but now I will set myself to speak against thee words of death." Aben Ezra: "I redeemed thy fathers; now I shall be thy deadly pestilence; I will also be thy destruction." Kimehi is more diffuse, as usual; he explains thus: "I would have redeemed them from the power of Sheol, if they had been wise. But now that he is not wise, but a feel, and denies my goodness, it is not enough that I shall not redeem thee from death, but I shall bring upon thee death by pestilence, and by the sword, and by famine, and by evil beast." The condition supplied by Kimchi is entirely arbitrary and without anything in the context to suggest it. Calvin in like manner interjects a condition; thus: "I will redeem them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death; that is, except they resist, I will become willingly their Redeemer. Some have, therefore, rendered the passage in the subjunctive mood, 'From the hand of the grave I would redeem them, from death I would deliver them.... I will then redeem them, as far as this depends on me;' for a condition is to be introduced, as though God came forth and declared that he was present to fulfill the office of a Redeemer. What, then, does stand in the way? Even the hardness of the people. He afterwards adds, 'I will be thy perdition, O Death; I will be thy excision, O Grave.' By these words the prophet more distinctly sets forth the power of God, and magnificently extols it, lest men should think that there is no way open to him to save, when no hope according to the judgment of the flesh appears. Hence the prophet says, 'Though men are now dead, there is yet nothing to prevent God to quicken them. How so? For he is the ruin of death, and the excision of the grave;' that is, 'Though death should swallow up all men, though the grave should consume them, yet God is superior to both death and the grave, for he can slay death, for he can abolish the grave.' He afterwards proceeds to "answer to that which is said of Paul quoting this passage. The solution is not difficult. The apostles do not avowedly at all times adduce passages which in their whole context apply to the subject they handle; but sometimes they allude to a word only, sometimes they apply a passage to a subject in the way of resemblance, and sometimes they bring forward passages as testimonies. When the apostles use the testimonies of Scripture, then the genuine and real truth must be sought out; but when they glance only at one word, there is no occasion to make any anxious inquiry; and when they quote any passage of Scripture in the way of resemblance, it is a too scrupulous anxiety to seek out how all the parts agree. But it is quite evident that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, has not quoted the testimony of the prophet for the purpose of confirming the doctrine el which he speaks. What then? As the resurrection of the flesh was a truth very difficult to be believed, nay, wholly contrary to the judgment of nature, Paul says that it is no matter of wonder...because it is the peculiar prerogative of God to be the perdition of death and the destruction of the grave.... He is endued with that incomprehensible power by which he can raise us from a state of putrefaction; nay, since he created the world from nothing, he will also raise us up from the grave, for he is the death of death, the grave of the grave, the ruin of ruin, and the destruction of destruction; and the simple object of Paul is to extol by these striking words that incredible power of God, which is beyond the reach of human understanding." Others viewing the subject in the same light, read the clauses interrogatively, and the imperfects in a subjunctive sense; thus -

"From the power of Sheol should I ransom them?
From death deliver them?'
The answer being, "Certainly not."

"Where are thy pestilences. O Death?
Where is thy destruction, O Sheol?
Let those pestilences and that destruction
be produced for Ephraim's ruin."
Repentance (relenting) shall be hid from mine eyes. This Rashi explains: "I will feel no regret over this calamity." But we greatly prefer the sense of consolation assigned by many Christian interpreters to the passage. No doubt the verse before and that following this fourteenth verse are a threat which probably induced so many, as we have seen, to include this verse in the menace. But the abruptness of the prophet's style sufficiently accounts for a bright Messianic promise to relieve the gloom of the dark predictions among which it is interjected. Redemption from the power of Sheol signifies, not merely deliverance from danger and deliverance from death, but deliverance from the under world by rescuing the living from the region of the dead, or rescuing from the realm of death those already subject to his grim dominion; while the destruction of death is celebrated in words of triumph, as Theodoret says, "He gives command to sing a paean over [literally, 'against'] death." To the Israelites the promise signified the power of the Lord to redeem from death and restore them from destruction to newness of life, just as the dead dry bones of Israel in the valley of Ezekiel's vision are restored to life. The use which Paul makes of this verse when he couples it with the words of Isaiah, "Death is swallowed up in victory," in 1 Corinthians 15:55, is to confirm the full and final annihilation of death at the resurrection. This fuller and deeper meaning, dimly unfolded to Old Testament saints, was clearly brought to light in New Testament Scripture. The absence of repentance denotes the irrevocable accomplishment of the Divine purpose of salvation. Pussy has pertinently remarked upon this verse: "God by his prophets mingles promises of mercy in the midst of his threats of punishment. His mercy overflows the bounds of the occasion upon which he makes it known. He had sentenced Ephraim to temporal destruction. This was unchangeable. He points to that which turns all temporal loss into gain, that eternal redemption. The words are the fullest which could have been chosen. The word rendered 'ransom' signifies rescued them by the payment of a price; the word rendered 'redeem' relates to one who, as the nearest of kin, had the right to acquire anything as his own by paying that price. Both words, in their exactest sense, describe what Jesus did, buying us with a price... and becoming our near kinsman by his incarnation.... The words refuse to be tied down to a temporal deliverance. A little longer continuance in Canaan is not a redemption from the power of the grave; nor was Ephraim so delivered." "And I said to her, Many days wilt thou sit for me: and not act the harlot, and not belong to a man; and thus will I also towards thee." Instead of granting the full conjugal fellowship of a wife to the woman whom he had acquired for himself, the prophet puts her into a state of detention, in which she was debarred from intercourse with any man. Sitting is equivalent to remaining quiet, and לי indicates that this is for the husband's sake, and that he imposes it upon her out of affection to her, to reform her and grain her up as a faithful wife. היה לאישׁ, to be or become a man's, signifies conjugal or sexual connection with him. Commentators differ in opinion as to whether the prophet himself is included or not. In all probability he is not included, as his conduct towards the woman is simply indicated in the last clause. The distinction between זנה and היה לאישׁ, is that the former signifies intercourse with different paramours, the latter conjugal intercourse; here adulterous intercourse with a single man. The last words, "and I also to thee" (towards thee), cannot have any other meaning, than that the prophet would act in the same way towards the wife as the wife towards every other man, i.e., would have no conjugal intercourse with her. The other explanations that have been given of these words, in which vegam is rendered "and yet," or "and then," are arbitrary. The parallel is not drawn between the prophet and the wife, but between the prophet and the other man; in other words, he does not promise that during the period of the wife's detention he will not conclude a marriage with any other woman, but declares that he will have no more conjugal intercourse with her than any other man. This thought is required by the explanation of the figure in Hosea 3:4. For, according to the former interpretation, the idea expressed would be this, that the Lord waited with patience and long-suffering for the reformation of His former nation, and would not plunge it into despair by adopting another nation in its place. But there is no hint whatever at any such though as this in Hosea 3:4, Hosea 3:5; and all that is expressed is, that He will not only cut off all intercourse on the part of His people with idols, but will also suspend, for a very long time, His own relation to Israel.
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