Hosea 2:16
And it shall be at that day, said the LORD, that you shall call me Ishi; and shall call me no more Baali.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Baali.—The husband of the bride was frequently called her “lord” (Isaiah 54:5; Exodus 21:22; 2Samuel 11:25; and Joel 1:8, in the Heb.). But such a name, as applied to Jehovah, was henceforth to be strictly avoided, on account of its idolatrous associations.

Hosea 2:16-17. And at that day thou shalt call me Ishi, &c. — Ishi, my husband, is an appellation of love; Baali, my lord, of subjection and fear. God hath not given his people, whom he justifies, accepts, and betroths to himself in righteousness, the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7. As the words אישׁי, ishi, and בעלי, baali, in this verse, (both applicable to a husband, although in different views, the former signifying a husband simply, the latter a husband under the idea of a lord, or master,) are manifestly appellatives, and not proper names, they certainly ought to have been translated as appellatives; that is, the clause should have been rendered, Thou shalt call me my husband, thou shalt no more call me my lord, or master. Thus Houbigant, who adds, by way of explication, “because thou shalt love me, and serve me through affection, and not through fear.” For I will take away the names of Baalim — That is, Baals; out of her mouth — The Jews were forbidden to mention the names of the heathen idols, Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7; and therefore the name Baal, though capable of a good sense, as it signifies husband, or lord, must be avoided by them, because it was also the name of false gods, lest by using it they should be led into idolatry. And they shall be no more remembered — Or mentioned, as the Hebrew may be translated; by their name — “It is in vain,” says Bishop Horsley, “to look for a purity of religious worship, answerable to this prophecy, among the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity. This part of the prophecy, with all the rest, will receive its accomplishment in the converted race in the latter days. It is said, indeed, that, after the return from Babylon, the Jews scrupulously avoided idolatry, and have continued untainted with it to this day. But, generally, as this is asserted by all commentators, one after another, it is not true. Among the restored Jews there was, indeed, no public idolatry, patronized by the government, as there had been in times before the captivity, particularly in the reign of Ahaz. But from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes to the last moments of the Jewish polity, there was a numerous and powerful faction, which in every thing affected the Greek manners; and this Hellenizing party were idolaters to a man. The Jews of the present times, as far as we are acquainted with them, seem indeed to be free from the charge of idolatry, properly so called. But of the present state of the ten tribes we have no certain knowledge; without which we cannot take upon us either to accuse or to acquit them.”2:14-23 After these judgments the Lord would deal with Israel more gently. By the promise of rest in Christ we are invited to take his yoke upon us; and the work of conversion may be forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions. But usually the Lord drives us to despair of earthly joy, and help from ourselves, that, being shut from every other door, we may knock at Mercy's gate. From that time Israel would be more truly attached to the Lord; no longer calling him Baali, or My lord and master, alluding to authority, rather than love, but Ishi, an address of affection. This may foretell the restoration from the Babylonish captivity; and also be applied to the conversion of the Jews to Christ, in the days of the apostles, and the future general conversion of that nation; and believers are enabled to expect infinitely more tenderness and kindness from their holy God, than a beloved wife can expect from the kindest husband. When the people were weaned from idols, and loved the Lord, no creature should do them any harm. This may be understood of the blessings and privileges of the spiritual Israel, of every true believer, and their partaking of Christ's righteousness; also, of the conversion of the Jews to Christ. Here is an argument for us to walk so that God may not be dishonoured by us: Thou art my people. If a man's family walk disorderly, it is a dishonour to the master. If God call us children, we may say, Thou art our God. Unbelieving soul, lay aside discouraging thoughts; do not thus answer God's loving-kindness. Doth God say, Thou art my people? Say, Lord, thou art our God.And it shall be ... thou shall call Me Ishi - (my Husband) and shalt call Me no more Baali (my Baal, Lord). "Baal," originally Lord, was a title sometimes given to the husband. "The lord of the woman," "her lord," "the heart of her lord," stand for "the husband," "her husband" (Exodus 21:22; 2 Samuel 11:26; Proverbs 31:11, ...). God says, "so wholly do I hate the name of idols, that on account of the likeness of the word Baal, "my Lord," I will not be so called even in a right meaning, lest, while she utter the one, she should think on the other, and calling Me her Husband, think on the idol." Yet, withal, God says that He will put into her mouth the tenderer name of love, אישׁ 'ı̂ysh, literally, "my man." In Christ, the returning soul, which would give herself wholly to God, however far she had wandered, should not call God so much her Lord, as her Husband. : "Every soul, although laden with sins, meshed in vices, snarcd by a captive in exile, imprisoned in the body, sticking fast in the mud, fixed in the mire, affixed to its earthly members, nailed down by cares, distracted by turmoils, narrowed by fears, prostrated by grief, wandering in errors, tossed by anxieties, restless through suspicions, in fine, a captive "in the land of the enemy, defiled with the dead, accounted with them who go down in the grave" (Baruch 3:10, 11), although she be thus condemned, in state thus desperate, yet she may perceive that in herself, from where she may not only respire to hope of pardon and of mercy, but from where she may dare to aspire to the nuptials of the Word, tremble not to enter into alliance with God, be not abashed to take on her the sweet yoke of love with the Lord of Angels. For what may she not safely dare with Him, with whose image she seeth herself stamped, and glorious with His likeness?

To this end God Himself, the Author of our being, willed that the ensign of our divine nobleness of birth should ever be maintained in the soul, that she may ever have that in herself from the Word, whereby she may ever be admonished, either to stand with the Word, or to return to Him, if she have been moved. Moved, not as though removing in space, or walking on foot, but moved (as a spiritual substance is moved) with its affections, yea, its defections, it goes away from itself, as it were, to a worse state, making itself unlike itself and degenerate from itself, through pravity of life and morals; which unlikeness, however, is the fault, not the destruction, of nature. Contrariwise, the return of the soul is its conversion to the Word, to be re-formed by Him, conformed to Him. Wherein? In love. For He saith, "be ye followers of me, as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us." Such conformity marries the soul to the Word, when she, having a likeness to Him by nature, also maketh herself like to Him in will, loving as she is loved. Wherefore, if she loveth perfectly, she is married. What sweeter than this conformity? What more desirable than this love? For by it, not content with human guidance, thou approachest, by thyself, O soul, confidentially to the Word; to the Word thou constantly cleavest; of the Word thou familiarly inquirest, and consultest as to all things, as capacious in understanding as emboldened in longing. This is contract of marriage, truly spiritual and holy. Contract! I have said too little. It is embrace. For embrace it is, when to will the same and nill the same, maketh of twain, one spirit."

16. Ishi … no more Baali—"my Husband … no more my Lord." Affection is the prominent idea in "Husband"; rule, in "Lord." The chief reason for the substitution of Husband for Lord appears in Ho 2:17; namely, Baali, the Hebrew for my Lord, had been perverted to express the images of Baal, whose name ought not to be taken on their lips (Ex 23:13; Zec 13:2). At that day; when through deep distresses I have prepared her to return, and she who was an adulteress repents, and renews her covenant of love and obedience, and in the day of my blessings on her.

Saith the Lord: this confirmeth and insureth the thing.

Thou, my repenting Israel,

shalt call me Ishi; both by words, affections, and obedience shall own me as thy loving, tender Husband, and delight to call me so.

And shalt call me no more Baali; though the word hath no ill in itself, yet it is so near to the name of the abominable idols, that I will no more be called Baali. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord,.... The Gospel day, the times of the Gospel dispensation, the latter part of them; at the time of the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles; at the time when God will allure and persuade them to seek the Messiah, and they shall turn to him; when he shall speak comfortably to them, and give them a door of hope, and all spiritual blessings, and cause them to sing as when they came out of Egypt:

that thou shalt call me Ishi; or, "my husband" (x); returning to Christ their first husband, and being received by him, shall have faith and interest in him, and full assurance of it; and shall not only be allowed to call him their husband, but in the strength of faith, and with great freedom of soul, shall call him so, and say as the church did, "my beloved is mine, and I am his", Sol 20:16, or, "my man" (y); the man the Lord, the man Jehovah's fellow, Immanuel God with us, God in human nature; and so more manifestly points at Christ, who, most properly speaking, stands in the relation of a husband to his people: or, "my strength", as some interpret it; the husband being the strength, protection, and defence of the wife, the weaker vessel; so Christ is the strength of his saints, in whom they have righteousness and strength, and through whose strength they can do all things:

and shalt call me no more Baali; which signifies my husband too, and is used of God and Christ; he is called Baal, and the church is called Beulah, because married together, Isaiah 45:5 but it signifies a lordly and imperious husband; and the other word, "Ishi", a loving one: so Jarchi observes that the sense is, that they should serve the Lord from love, and not fear; "Ishi" being a word expressive of marriage and love, and "Baali" of lordship and fear: hence some have thought this to be the reason why the one should be used, and the other not, under the Gospel dispensation; because saints now have not the spirit of bondage to fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby they call God their Father, and Christ their husband: though rather the reason is, because the word "Baal", as R. Marinns observes, is of doubtful signification, an ambiguous word, used for the idol Baal, as well as signifies lord and husband; and therefore to be laid aside, lest, when they mentioned it, it should be thought they spoke of Baal, and not of the Lord; or should be led to think of that idol, and remember him.

(x) "maritus meus", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, "marite mi", Schmidt. (y) "Vir meus", V. L. "mi vir", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Liveleus.

And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me {s} Ishi; and shalt call me no more {t} Baali.

(s) That is, my husband, knowing that I am united to you by a covenant which could not be violated.

(t) That is, my master: which name was applied to their idols.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali] The terms Ishi, ‘my husband’, and Baali, ‘my lord’, are properly speaking synonymous, so that, but for the association of Baal with a false religion, Jehovah as the Bridegroom of Israel might quite innocently be addressed as Baali. The occurrence of Baal in the proper names of families of patriots like Saul, David, Jonathan, Joash (the father of Jerubbaal), and indeed merely such a name as Bealiah, ‘Jehovah is Baal’ (1 Chronicles 12:5), shew that Jehovah was actually so addressed in the earlier period of Israelitish history. The danger however to the religious purity of Israel was, as we have seen (on Hosea 2:13), very great, and Hosea naturally refused to recognize in Jehovah-Baal the spiritual deity to whom his own allegiance was sworn. Our prophet was therefore the continuator of the work of Elijah. The Phœnicized Baal-cultus of Ahab was doubtless more corrupt than that which Hosea had to deal with, but the spiritual perceptions of Hosea were sharpened by a fuller training than that which the older prophet had enjoyed. It is remarkable, as an instance of the freedom with which a later prophet could allowably treat an earlier one (a freedom which reminds us of the treatment of the Law of Moses by our Lord), that Jeremiah actually uses the verb bâ‘al, ‘to be a lord or husband’, of Jehovah (Jeremiah 31:22).Verses 16, 17. - In these verses a renewal of God's covenant with Israel, under the figure of a marriage contract, is predicted. The name by which Israel shall address her beloved shall be henceforth Ishi, not Baali; that is, a term of tender affection, not of stern authority.

(1) The title of "My Husband" will take the place of "My Lord." Some suppose that the latter title was the idol's name, which, in the lips of Israel, had superseded that of the true God, the meaning being

(2) "Thou wilt no more call to me, My Baal." Nay, the names of Baals shall become so abhorrent to their better feelings, as well as hateful to Jehovah, that they shall pass away at once from their mouth and from their memory, never more to be mentioned and never more to be remembered. Rashi's comment favors

(1); thus: "Ye shall serve me out of love, and not out of fear; ishi denoting marriage and youthful love; baali, lordship and fear." The actions of the little horn are definitively comprehended in this verse, as may be seen from this, that in the first hemistich צבא and תּמיד are mentioned together. But this hemistich has been very variously interpreted. We must altogether reject the interpretation of the Vulgate, "Robur autem datum est contra juge sacrificium propter peccata," which is reproduced in Luther's translation, "There was given to him such strength against the daily sacrifice on account of sin;" or Calvin's, "Et tempus datum est super jugi sacrificio in scelere," whereby, after Raschi's example, צבא is interpreted of the statio militaris, and thence the interpretation tempus or intervallum is derived. For צבא means neither robur, nor tempus, nor statio militaris, but only military service, and perhaps military forces. Add to this that צבא both in Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:13 means host. If we maintain this, with the majority of interpreters, only two explanations are admissible, according as we understand צבא of the host of heaven, i.e., of Israel, or of some other host. The latter interpretation is apparently supported partly by the absence of the article in צבא, and partly by the construction of the word as fem. (תּנּתן). Accordingly, Hitzig says that a Hebrew reader could not understand the words otherwise than as meaning, "and a warlike expedition was made or conducted against the daily sacrifice with wickedness" (i.e., the impure service of idols); while others translate, "and a host placed against he daily sacrifice on account of sin" (Syr., Grot., Harenb., J. D. Michaelis); or, "a host is given against the daily sacrifice in wickedness" (Wieseler); or, "given against that which was continual with the service of idols," i.e., so that, in the place of the "continual," wickedness, the worship of idols, is appointed (Hofmann); or, "the power of an army is given to it (the horn) against the daily sacrifice through wickedness," i.e., by the evil higher demons (Ebrard). But the latter interpretation is to be rejected on account of the arbitrary insertion of לו (to it); and against all the others it is to be remarked, that there is no proof either from Daniel 8:13, or from Ezekiel 32:23 or Ezekiel 26:8, that נתן means to lead out, to bring forward, to give contrary to or against.
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