|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:8-11 The rejection of Israel for a time, is signified by the name of another child: call him Lo-ammi, not my people. The Lord disowns all relation to them. We love him, because he first loved us; but our being cast out of covenant, is owing to ourselves and our folly. Mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath; the rejection, as it shall not be total, so it shall not be final. The same hand that wounded, is stretched forth to heal. Very precious promises are here given concerning the Israel of God, and they may be of use to us now. Some think that these promises will not have accomplishment in full, till the general conversion of the Jews in the latter days. Also this promise is applied to the gospel, and the bringing in both the Jews and Gentiles to it, by St. Paul, Ro 9:25,26, and by St. Peter, 1Pe 2:10. To believe in Christ, is to have him for our Head, and willingly to commit ourselves to his guidance and government. And let us pray for the coming of the glorious day, when there shall be one Lord through all the earth.
Verse 11. - Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land. The phraseology of the older Scriptures is here followed. Thus we read in Exodus 1:10, in the words of Pharaoh, the children of Israel "getting them up out of the land" (comp. also Exodus 12:38 and Numbers 32:11); and again, on the report of the spies when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron, "they said one to another, Let us make a captain [head], and let us return into Egypt." In this way the scenes of former days were in some sense to be repeated: an exodus of some sort was again to take place; Egypt was to be abandoned and slavery left behind; they might have a wilderness to traverse, but here again the prospect of a land of promise was to cheer them on their journey and compensate them at its close; in fact, another or better Canaan was before them. Nay, more, the breach between Judah and Israel would be healed, and the disruption which had been so disastrous become a thing of the past. Judah and Israel would again unite and rally together under one head. But the important inquiry remains as to the how or when this prediction was to have fulfillment. Even if we admit the return from the captivity of Babylon to be a fulfillment, it would be but a very partial, though literal, fulfillment of such a grand prediction. That restoration was far too meager in its dimensions to come up to the requirements of, much less exhaust, such a splendid prophecy. Some of Israel - a mere fragment of the ten tribes - united with Judah in the relearn from Babylon: this poor miniature fulfillment, if we may so say, cannot be regarded, except perhaps typically or symbolically, as the fulfillment of the prophet's vivid picture. We must look to gospel times and gospel scenes for the realization of the glorious promise under consideration. Jewish interpreters themselves refer it to the times of Messiah. Thus Kimchi says, "This shall take place in the gathering together of the exiles in the days of the Messiah, for unto the second house there went up only Judah and Benjamin that had been exiles in Babylon; nor were the children of Judah and the children of Israel gathered together; and they shall make for themselves one head, - this is the King Messiah;" similarly, in the 'Betsudath David,' by Altschul, we read on this passage," They shall be gathered together: this will come to pass in the days of the Messiah. One head: this is the King Messiah. And they shall come up; out of the lands of the captivity they shall go up unto their own land." We cannot possibly mistake the objects of this prophecy; they are expressly declared to be "the children of Judah and the children of Israel" - the two distinctive branches of the Hebrew race, the two constituent elements of the Jewish nationality, and comprehending the whole natural posterity of Israel. There can be just as little doubt about the primary and proper application of the prophecy to the conversion of the people of the Jews. For a time they were not to be the people of God; but the testimony of the prophet to their again becoming the sons of the living God is quite unmistakable. They shall appoint themselves one head. "The prophet," says Calvin, "has, by the expression, characterized the obedience of faith; for it is not enough that Christ should be given as a King, and set over men, unless they also embrace him as their King, and with reverence receive him. We now learn that, when we believe the gospel, we choose Christ for our King, as it were, by a voluntary consent." The words are adopted by both Peter and Paul: the former (1 Peter 2:10) employs them as an appropriate description, in Old Testament language, of the happy change of condition consequent on the knowledge of the truth; the latter (Romans 9:25) quotes them more formally in an extension of their meaning beyond their primary import, and proper and literal application to the Jews, as an exemplification of the principle of once not my people, now my people. In this extension of their meaning they embrace, no doubt, the Gentiles, though not the objects originally and chiefly contemplated in the prophecy.
(1) If the place mentioned in the previous verse be, the place or lands of their dispersion, on the change indicated taking place, namely, their conversion to Christ as King, then their coming up out of the laud under the sole headship of the Son of David, the true Shepherd of Israel, may denote their restoration out of all the countries of their dispersion to their ancient territory, again become their own land, and their own in perpetual possession. Thus the Targum understands it of the land of the Jews' captivity; likewise Kimchi: "They shall go up out of the land of their captivity to their own land; for the laud of Israel is higher than all lands, and he that goeth thither goeth up, and he that goeth out of it goeth down." The initial and typical fulfillment was the return of Judah, joined by many Israelites, out of Babylon under Zerubbabel. The final fulfillment may be the restoration of the Jews, converted and believing in Messiah, under Divine guidance, to their own land.
(2) If, on the other hand, the place of the preceding verse be Palestine, the land of their rejection and subsequent recognition as the sons of God, the going up may refer to the going up of the inhabitants of both kingdoms to Jerusalem, the dwelling-place of their common king of David's line; not in the sense of going up, as Ewald and others understand it, to do battle in order to widen the boundaries of their native hind and make room for the returning exiles.
(3) But whether the place be the country of Palestine or the lands of their dispersion, the going up may be understood spiritually of their coming up to join themselves to the Church, or rather to the Church's Head, as under the old economy the tribes of Israel went up out of all parts of the land to worship at Jerusalem. It will thus apply properly enough to their spiritual journey onward and upward to the heavenly Canaan. For great shall be the day of Jezreel. The names of the prophet's children were names of ill omen - God's sowing in the sense of God's scattering, Not-my-people, Not-pitied; now the evil is eliminated, the meaning of the second and third is reversed, and the first is read in a new signification, so that Not-my-people becomes My people, Unpitied becomes Pitied, God's sowing is no longer God's scattering but God's growing. The curse is thus changed into a blessing; great, then, shall be the day so signalized by Divine goodness, so glorious in Divine grace, and so conspicuous for the wondrous works of the covenant-keeping God. Most of the older interpreters take Jezreel here, as in vers. 4 and 5, equivalent to "scattered of God." Aben Ezra says, "But the iniquity of the house of Israel is punished. And behold, it is all said by way of reproach, not praise." Hosea 2:1. - Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Divine mercy being now received, the recipients are urged to extend to each other the right hand of fellowship, exhorting one another, encouraging one smother, confirming each other in the faith, and mutually provoking each other to love and good works. "Because the comparison deals with a son and a daughter, the prophet therefore adds, 'your brothers and your sisters'" (Kimchi).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together,.... Not at the return from the Babylonish captivity; for, though some of the ten tribes might be mixed with the Jews when they went into captivity, and came out with them, and others might join them from the various nations where they had been dispersed; yet they did not gather together with them in a body, only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, those were the chief; of the children of Israel, but few, Ezra 1:5. Some refer this to the first times of the Gospel, when the Galileans were gathered to Christ by his ministry, who inhabited the countries where some of the tribes of Israel dwelt; and who might, at least some of them, descend from them: and when those in Jerusalem and in Judea, who also believed in Christ, united with them in their profession of him, and in affection to one another; or to the time of Christ's death, by which the whole Israel of God, who were scattered abroad, were gathered together in one; and even Jews and Gentiles were made one body, and one new man in Christ, the partition wall being broken down: or to the times of the apostles, who were successful in the conversion and gathering of many of the Jewish nation, and also of the Samaritans; and of forming churches in Judea and Samaria under one head, in whom they agreed; and likewise of many others, both Jews and Israelites, in the various parts of the world, where they carried the Gospel; and who coalesced with the believing Gentiles in one church state, under Christ their head: though it seems best to interpret this of the latter day, when the children of Israel and Judah shall join together in seeking the Lord their God, and the true Messiah, and shall be turned, and gathered to him; when they shall be no more two kingdoms or two nations, but be one under the Messiah, who shall he their King and Prince; when all their animosities shall be laid aside, and they shall no more envy or vex one another; but shall meet together in the same church state, and worship the Lord with one shoulder and consent, being of one mind and sentiment in religious things, and when all Israel shall be saved, Jeremiah 1:4 Isaiah 11:13
and appoint themselves one head; not Sennacherib, as Aben Ezra, very absurdly; nor Hezekiah, nor Josiah, as others; nor Elijah the prophet, as some in Kimchi; nor Zerubbabel, to which the Targum seems to incline, paraphrasing it,
"one head of the house of David;''
but better, as Jarchi, David their King; that is, the Messiah, as Kimchi and Ben Melech expressly interpret it; and so Abarbinel (b), though he understands it of the Messiah the son of Joseph; and undoubtedly the same is meant by the one head, as David their King and Prince, Hosea 3:5 even Christ, who is the Head of angels, yea, the Head of every man, but in a special and peculiar sense the head of the body, the church; he is the federal and representative Head of his people, both in eternity and in time; and in such sense a Head to them, as a king is head of his subjects, a husband of his wife, a father of his family, and a master of his servants; and also as a natural head is to its body, of the same nature with it; in union to it; lives the same life; is above it, and more excellent than it: a perfect Head Christ is, there being nothing wanting in him as such; he has his eyes set upon his people; his ears are open to their cries; he smells a sweet saviour of rest in their persons and services; he tastes and eats their pleasant fruits, and feels all their infirmities, troubles and afflictions; and has a tongue to speak a word in season for them: there are no vicious humours in this Head to affect the body; no deformity in it, and all fulness therein to supply its wants; he is an everliving and everlasting Head, and the one, and only one; there is no other, neither the pope of Rome, nor any other; nor will true Israelites acknowledge any other: and though this Head is of God the Father's appointing, who has given him to be the Head; set him as King over Sion; raised him up to be a Prince and a Saviour; yet he is also of the saints' choosing and appointing; they approve of him as such, embrace him, own him, and submit to him, as the Jews will at the last day, though their forefathers have rejected him:
and they shall come up out of the land; not of Israel, as Schmidt, who interprets this of the apostles going out from thence, and spreading the Gospel in the world; but out of each of the lands and countries where Israel and Judah have been dispersed, and return to their own land; see Jeremiah 3:18. So the Targum,
"and they shall come up out of the land of their captivity:''
or it may be understood, figuratively and spiritually, of their coming up out of their captivity to sin, Satan, the law, and the world, as well as out of their present temporal captivity:
and out of the earth (c), as it were, as it may be rendered; out of their earthly state, from the graves of sin, leaving their earthly affections, and becoming spiritual and heavenly minded; willing to quit all that is dear unto them, even the country in which they were born and long lived, to follow Christ their Head and King:
for great shall be the day of Jezreel; or, though great has been or is the day of Jezreel (d); though it has been a great and long day of trouble and affliction to them, signified by Jezreel; see Hosea 1:4, yet all these good things promised shall surely be accomplished: indeed the day of Jezreel may be taken in a good sense, not for a time of dispersion and distress, but of great comfort, joy, and happiness; the word signifying, according to some, the seed of God, or the arm of God: and Jerom applies it to Christ, the seed of God; and the whole Gospel dispensation may be called his day, the day of salvation, the joyful day the Lord has made: or rather by Jezreel, the seed of God, are meant his spiritual offspring, the children of Judah and Israel; who shall now be gathered, by the arm of God, his powerful and efficacious grace, and that in large numbers, so that great will be their day; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"for great will be the day of their gathering.''
It respects the latter day glory, when will be the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles; when there will be great peace and prosperity; great love and unity; great holiness and purity; great light and knowledge; great enjoyment of God, and of the presence of the Redeemer great glory upon the churches, and upon that a defence: in short, all the great and glorious things spoken of will now be completed; perfect deliverance from all afflictions and troubles; an entire destruction of all enemies; and a full enjoyment of the word and ordinances, in the purity of them, and large conversions everywhere.
(b) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 53. 3.((c) "e terra". (d) "quamvis"; so some in Drusius, Rivet.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Judah … Israel … together—(Isa 11:12, 13; Jer 3:18; Eze 34:23; 37:16-24).
one head—Zerubbabel typically; Christ antitypically, under whom alone Israel and Judah are joined, the "Head" of the Church (Eph 1:22; 5:23), and of the hereafter united kingdom of Judah and Israel (Jer 34:5, 6; Eze 34:23). Though "appointed" by the Father (Ps 2:6), Christ is in another sense "appointed" as their Head by His people, when they accept and embrace Him as such.
out of the land—of the Gentiles among whom they sojourn.
the day of Jezreel—"The day of one" is the time of God's special visitation of him, either in wrath or in mercy. Here "Jezreel" is in a different sense from that in Ho 1:4, "God will sow," not "God will scatter"; they shall be the seed of God, planted by God again in their own land (Jer 24:6; 31:28; 32:41; Am 9:15).
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