Hosea 1:10 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
10, 11. There is a great difference among authorities as to the way in which these verses and Hos 2:1 should be connected with the context. ( a) Those who consult a Hebrew Bible will most probably find the first chapter of Hosea closed at Hos 1:9, and the second opened with v’hâyâh ‘and it shall come to pass’. Thus Hosea’s (like Isaiah’s) first prophetic discourse is made to begin with a promise. The objection is that the transition from Hos 1:3 to Hos 1:4 of the chapter thus produced is unique for its abruptness even in the Book of Hosea. (‘Say ye to your brethren, My people’, and directly after, ‘Plead with your mother, plead’.) ( b) Still more objectionable is the arrangement of A. V., derived from one form of the Hebrew text, and followed by the Septuagint, Luther, and Calvin. Its only justification lies in the accidental circumstance that two successive verses in the Hebrew text begin with an imperative. Hos 1:1 chap. 2 in A. V. is utterly unintelligible by itself, and the transition from the first to the second imperative becomes even more strikingly abrupt than in the Hebrew Bible. ( c) Feeling these objections, Ewald and Pusey propose to begin the second chapter of the book with the verse which stands fourth in order in our Hebrew Bibles. But most readers cannot help seeing that the transition from threatening to promise, from Lo-ammi, to Ammi, is singularly abrupt, and not to be admitted except from dire necessity, ( d) The transposition of lines or sentences is well known to be a fruitful source of error in ancient texts. Hence it has been suggested that Hos 1:1-3 of chap. 2 in the common Hebrew Bible (i.e. the last two verses of chap. 1 and the first of chap. 2 in A. V.) originally stood at the end of chap. 2 The plausibility of this suggestion of Heilprin’s and Steiner’s would be seen to most advantage, if these verses could be explained at the end of chap. 2 This would be only following the precedent of St Paul, who adopts a very similar arragement in Rom 9:25-26. (Hos 1:9 therefore should be taken as the close of chap. 1, and Hos 2:1 as the close of chap. 2)
10 2:1. Predicted alteration of Names
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be ] However sad the present prospects of Israel may be, a glorious future is in store for him. So our translators mean us to interpret the passage, confounding the province of the translator with that of the expositor. The Hebrew merely says, And it shall come to pass that the number of the children of Israel shall be, &c. In all probability, this verse should have come after Hos 2:23, to the opening statement of which it gives a further development. ‘I will sow her for myself in the land,’ were the words of Jehovah in reversing the prophetic import of the name Jezreel. Now the Divine speaker assures us that the ‘sowing’ shall be followed by a rich harvest of inhabitants. An increase in population is elsewhere also a leading feature in the promised prosperity of Israel; e.g. (not to quote the disputed passage, Isa 9:3), Mic 2:12, where the restored remnant is said to be ‘tumultuous for the multitude of men’. Observe that the blessing is at first limited in its scope (as it is again in chap. 14). ‘Children of Israel’ means evidently, not all Israel, but the northern kingdom, for in the next verse (comp. Hos 1:6-7) ‘the children of Israel’ are clearly distinguished from ‘the children of Judah’. The limitation was natural, because the prophet belonged to the northern and larger section of the nation; the horizon is widened immediately after, so as to include Judah.
in the place where it was said unto them ] This may mean either Palestine, or, more plausibly, the land of captivity. But surely the fact, and not the place, of restoration is the thought which fills the mind of the prophet. The sense is much improved by adopting the alternative version, instead of its being said, &c. It is true that an indisputable parallel for the sense ‘instead of’ is wanting, neither Isa 33:21 nor 2Ki 21:19 being decisive. But grammatical theory raises no objection to the proposed rendering, and where this is the case the Hebrew concordance must not override the exercise of exegetical tact.
Ye are not my people ] Or, Ye are Lo-ammi.
the sons of the living God ] ‘The living God’, as 1Sa 17:26, Deu 5:26, in contrast to the idol-gods ( ’elîlîm, or ‘nothings’, as Isaiah delights to call them): one of the earliest appearances of prophetic monotheism (see on Hos 2:10). Notice the bold expression ‘sons’. At the foundation of popular Semitic religion (the religion of the group of nations to which the Assyrians and the Syrians, the Israelites and the Arabs equally belonged) lay the materialistic idea that the worshipping nation was the offspring of the patron-divinity. Hosea allows and adopts the expression, but signifies by it a moral kinship rather than a physical one. Compare the remarkable passages in Num 21:29, Mal 2:11, and see note on Hos 11:1.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".