|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-3 The dislike of men to true religion is because they love objects and forms, which allow them to indulge, instead of mortifying their lusts. How wonderful that a holy God should have good-will to those whose carnal mind is enmity against Him! Here is represented God's gracious dealings with the fallen race of mankind, that had gone from him. This is the covenant of grace he is willing to enter into with them, they must be to him a people, and he will be to them a God. They must accept the punishment of their sin, and must not return to folly. And it is a certain sign that our afflictions are means of good to us, when we are kept from being overcome by the temptations of an afflicted state.
Verse 3. - Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shall not be for another man. The prophet imposes certain restrictions of a very stringent character on his wife; he places her in a state of isolation; her past excesses and his purpose of effecting her reformation necessitate such measures, however strict and severe or even harsh they may appear. She is not to be admitted into full fellowship with her husband, nor is she to be allowed the possibility of intercourse with others. From friend, that is, husband and lovers, she is shut out; all sexual connection, whether illicit or legitimate, is peremptorily cut off. The clause, "thou shalt abide [or, 'sit still'] for me," denotes an attitude of waiting, not necessarily in sorrow, like the captive maiden who before marriage with her captor bewailed her parents for the period of a month, but in patient expectation of her husband's fortune and favor, though in seclusion from him, as also exclusion of all others. During this long period of "many days" she is not only debarred the society of her lawful partner, but forbidden either to play the harlot with several or to attach herself to a single paramour. Jerome directs attention to the fact that the word "another" has no place in the original text; otherwise it would imply that she was prohibited from intercourse with any other than her husband, while the real meaning makes the prohibition absolute and inclusive even of conjugal connection with her husband. So will I also be for thee. The Hebrew expositors, Aben Ezra and Kimchi, repeat the negative flora the preceding clause and translate, "Nor shall I even come to you," that is, for marital society. This is not necessary to bring out the true sense, which is that, as she was to be restrained from intercourse with any and every other man, so he himself also would abstain from intercourse with her. "And also I will be for [unto] thee [i.e. thy husband] to preserve conjugal fidelity to thee, but hold aloof from thee during thy detention." Thus separated from both lovers and husband, Israel would for many a long day suspend her worship of idols, and be at the same time shut out from her covenant relation to Jehovah. Kimchi's comment mounts to pretty much the same, as does also that of Aben Ezra. The explanation of the former is, "I said to her, After thou hast committed adultery against me, thy punishment shall be that thou shalt abide in widowhood of life many days; and the meaning of 'for me' is, thou shalt be called by my name and not by another man's; thou shalt say, I am the wife of such a one, and thou shelf not play the harlot with others, and also thou shalt not be the wife of any other man than myself." Aben Ezra makes mention of another interpretation of the verse, to the effect, "If ye shall return to me, I also will return to you." With this the Chaldee Targum is in accord, which represents God as commanding the prophet to say, "O congregation of Israel, your sins have been the cause of your exile for many days; ye shall devote yourselves to my service, and not go astray nor worship idols, and I also will have compassion upon you." Maurer considers the expression היאל־אי equivalent to היעִם אי, viz. remhabere cum muliere; but to this linguistic usage is opposed. Umbreit renders the phrase, "and I will only be for thee;" this, however, partakes more of the nature of a promise than of a punishment, and is not quite, therefore, in accord with the context. Ewald: "And yet I am kind to thee [i.e. love thee];" this is a rather trivial, as also ill-supported idea. Calvin's exposition is pretty much the same as we have given, and is the following: "I also shall be for thee; that is, I pledge my faith to thee, or I subscribe myself as thy husband: but another time must be looked for; I yet defer my favor, and suspend it until thou givest proof of true repentance. I also shall be for thee; that is, thou shalt not be a widow in vain; if thou complainest that wrong is done to thee, because I forbid thee to marry any one else, I also bind myself in turn to thee."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I said unto her,.... Having bought or hired her; this was the covenant or agreement he made with her,
thou shall abide for me many days; dwell alone in some solitary and separate place, and have no conversation with any, especially with men; live like a widow that has lost her husband, and so wait for a long time till the prophet should think fit to take her to his house and bed:
thou shall not play the harlot, and thou shall not be for another man; neither prostitute herself, as she had done to her lovers; nor marry another, but keep herself chaste and single:
so will I also be for thee; wait for thee, and not take another wife; or will be thy husband, after having made proper trial and full proof of thy conduct and behaviour: the Targum paraphrases it thus;
"say, O prophet, to her, O congregation of Israel, your sins are the cause that you are carried captive many days; ye shall give yourselves to my worship and not err, nor serve idols, and even I will have mercy on you.''
The whole is explained in the following words:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. abide for me—separate from intercourse with any other man, and remaining for me who have redeemed thee (compare De 21:13).
so will I also be for thee—remain for thee, not taking any other consort. As Israel should long remain without serving other gods, yet separate from Jehovah; so Jehovah on His part, in this long period of estrangement, would form no marriage covenant with any other people (compare Ho 3:4). He would not immediately receive her to marriage privileges, but would test her repentance and discipline her by the long probation; still the marriage covenant would hold good, she was to be kept separated for but a time, not divorced (Isa 50:1); in God's good time she shall be restored.
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