Hosea 2:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
1. The parallel lines here seem misleading.
Say ye …] Now that the storm-cloud has rolled away, those names of baleful import Lo-ammi and Lo-ruhamah have ceased to be admissible, and are altered into the direct opposites. The verse is best understood as the conclusion of chap. 2, just as ‘Call his name Lo-ammi’, &c. ought to form the conclusion of chap. 1. The persons addressed are perhaps the disciples of the prophet, who are directed to communicate the joyful news summed up in the names Ammi (‘my people’) and Ruhamah (‘she hath found compassion’) to the whole nation.
2 23, Hos 1:10-11 , Hos 2:1 . Hosea’s first discourse, slightly obscured by the dislocation of some of its verses (see above on Hos 1:10-11). The prophet sets forth in more intelligible language what he has already suggested rather enigmatically. The finest part of the chapter is from Hos 2:14 to Hos 2:23, where Hosea shows how Israel will emerge purified from her captivity, and enjoy the love and favour of her Divine Bridegroom.
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".