Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE PROPHECY OF OSEE.
Osee, or Hosea, whose name signifies a saviour, was the first in the order of time among those who are commonly called lesser prophets, because their prophecies are short. He prophesied in the kingdom of Israel, (that is, of the ten tribes) about the same time that Isaias prophesied in the kingdom of Juda. (Challoner) --- The chronological order is not observed in any edition. The Septuagint very from the rest. They place the less before the greater prophets, and read some of the names rather differently, as Protestants do also, though they have nothing but novelty to recommend the change. We shall here specify the Protestant names, (Haydock) in the order in which these prophets appeared: (Calmet) 1. Hosea, 2. Amos, 3. Jonah, 4. Micah, 5. Nahum, 6. Joel, 7. Zephaniah, 8. Habakkuk, 9. Obadiah, 10. Haggai, 11. Zechariah, 12. Malachi. (Haydock) --- It is not known who collected them into one volume. but the book of Ecclesiasticus (xlix. 12.) speaks of the twelve; and 4 Esdras i. 39., specifies them as they are found in the Septuagint: Osee, Amos, Micheas, Joel, Abdias, Jonas, Nahum, &c., as in the Vulgate. (Calmet) --- Many other prophets appeared before these, (Worthington) but Osee is the first of the sixteen whose works are extant. He must have continued his ministry about eighty-five years, and lived above one hundred and ten, if the first verse speaks of him alone. But some take it to regard the whole collection, and may be added by another hand. (Calmet) --- The style of Osee is sententious and very hard to be understood, (St. Jerome) as but little is known of the last kings of Israel, in whose dominions he lived, and to whom he chiefly refers, though he speaks sometimes of Juda, &c. (Calmet) --- By taking a wife, and other parables, he shews their criminal conduct and chastisment, and foretells their future deliverance and the benefits to be conferred by Christ. We must observe that the prophets often style the kingdom of the two tribes, Juda, Benjamin, Jerusalem, or the house of David; and that of the ten tribes, Ephraim, Joseph, Samaria, Jezrahel, Bethel, or Bethaven; and often Israel or Jacob till after the captivity of these tribes, when the latter titles refer to Juda, who imitated the virtues of Jacob better than the other kingdom. (Worthington) --- Then all distinction of this nature was at an end. (Haydock)
Israel. He reigned forty-one years, till the year of the world 3220. (Usher) --- The prophets usually give the date, that the prediction may be verified. Some Latin manuscripts intimate, that "the Jews attribute these titles to Esdras, (who is Malachias) or to the respective prophets, which is more probable." (St. Jerome, t. i.) --- Jeroboam II died twenty-six years before Ozias, towards the end of whose reign Isaias commenced; so that Osee was more ancient. (Worthington)
Fornications. That is, a wife that hath been given to fornication. This was to represent the Lord's proceedings with his people Israel, who, by spiritual fornication, were continually offending him. (Challoner) --- The prophet reclaimed her. (St. Jerome) --- She denoted Samaria, abandoned to idolatry, Ezechiel xvi. 15. Several such actions were prophetical. Many have supposed that this was only a parable; but the sequel proves the contrary. (Calmet) --- Of fornications. So called from the character of the mother, if not also from their own wicked dispositions. (Challoner) --- He is ordered to marry a woman who had been of a loose character, and to have children who would resemble her; (Worthington) or he takes her children to his house; (Grotius) unless the children of the prophet were so styled because the mother had been given to fornication. So the rod of Aaron retains its name when it was become a serpent, Exodus vii. 12. --- Shall, or rather, "has departed;" and therefore he denounces future chastisements.
Jezrahel. Jehu slew Joram in this place. He was the instrument of God's justice, yet acted himself through malice and ambition, and was therefore deservedly punished. Zacharias, the fourth of his family, lost the crown, and was slain by Sellum, at Jezrahel, 4 Kings ix., &c. (Calmet) --- The offspring of Jehu, now on the throne, solicited Jezrahel or the ten tribes to idolatry, which God will revenge. (Worthington)
Without mercy. Lo Ruchamah. (Challoner) --- Some copies of Septuagint and St. Paul read, "not beloved," Romans ix. 25. Samaria shall surely perish. After the death of Jeroboam II, the kingdom was all in confusion, and in sixty-two years time became extinct. It was afterwards blended with Juda.
Horsemen. Sennacherib was miraculously disconcerted. Juda returned form captivity and became more flourishing, giving birth to the Messias. (Calmet)
Not my people. Lohammi. (Challoner) --- The kingdom of Israel seemed to be quite cast off; and in captivity it was hardly distinguished from other nations. Juda was preserved longer, and at all times was under the divine protection. Ezechiel, Daniel, &c., comforted the people in the worst of their afflictions. (Calmet)
The number, &c., viz., of the true Israelites, the children of the Church of Christ. (Challoner) --- This is the primary sense, Romans ix. 25. Yet the Israelites are here also assured of their return from captivity. (Calmet) --- God. Among many sinners, some are chosen. (Worthington)
Head; Christ, (Challoner) the head of all the faithful, (Worthington) consisting both of Jews and Gentiles. Israel and Juda returned under Zorobabel, &c. (Calmet) --- The prophets blend present and future transactions together. (St. Jerome in chap. iii.) --- Jezrahel. That is, of the seed of God; for Jezrahel signifies the seed of God. (Challoner) --- For may also be rendered, "when or though." The seed of Jehu shall be exterminated. The kingdom, signified by Jezrahel, a great city, shall fall. (Calmet)