Hosea 1:10
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
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(10) An abrupt transition from dark presage to bright anticipation. The covenant-blessings promised to Abraham shall yet be realised.

Hosea 1:10. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea — Though God casts off the ten tribes, yet he will, in due time, supply their loss, by bringing in great numbers of true Israelites into the church, not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles, and making them, who before were strangers to the covenants of promise, fellow-heirs with the Jews, Romans 9:25-26; 1 Peter 2:10. “I think,” says Bishop Horsley, “this is to be understood of the mystical Israel; their numbers, consisting of myriads of converts, both of the natural Israel, and their adopted brethren of the Gentiles, shall be immeasurably great.” And in the place where it was said, Ye are not my people, &c. — “That is, at Jerusalem, or at least in Judea, where this prophecy was delivered, and where the execution of the sentence took place: there, in that very place, they, to whom it was said, Ye are no people of mine, shall be called, the sons of the living God. This must relate, at least principally, to the natural Israel of the house of Judah; for to them it was said, Ye are no people of mine. And since they are to be acknowledged again as the children of the living God, in the same place where this sentence was pronounced and executed, the prophecy clearly promises their restoration to their own land.”

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.Yet - (literally, and) the number of the children of Israel ... Light springeth out of darkness; joy out of sorrow; mercy out of chastisement; life out of death. And so Holy Scripture commonly, upon the threat of punishment, promises blessings to the penitent "Very nigh to the severest displeasure is the dispersion of sorrows and the promised close of darkness." What God takes away, He replaces with usury; things of time by things eternal; outward goods and gifts and privileges by inward; an earthly kingdom by heaven. Both Peter 1 Peter 2:10 and Paul Romans 9:25-26 tell us that this prophecy is already, in Christ, fulfilled in those of Israel, who were the true Israel, or of the Gentiles, to whom the promise was made Genesis 22:18, "In thy Seed shall all the nations be blessed," and who, whether Jews or Gentiles, believed in Him. The Gentiles were adopted into the Church, which, at the Day of Pentecost, was formed of the Jews, and in which Jews and Gentiles became one in Christ Galatians 3:28. Yet of the Jews alone, not only did "many tens of thousands in Jerusalem believe" Acts 21:20, but Peter and James both write "to the dispersed of the ten tribes" James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; and the Apostles themselves were Jews. Although, then, those Jews who believed in Christ were few in comparison of those who rejected Him, yet they were, in themselves, many, and, through those who, in Christ Jesus, were "begotten by them through the Gospel" 1 Corinthians 4:15, they were numberless. Yet this prophecy, although accomplished in part, will, according to Paul Romans 11:25-26, be yet more completely fulfilled in the end.

In the place where it was said - (or where it shall be said, i. e., at the first) unto them, ye are not My people, there it shall, in after-time, be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God Both the times here spoken of by the prophet were yet future, for Israel, although they had apostatised from God, had not yet been disowned by God, who was still sending to them prophets, to reclaim them. They ceased to be owned as God's people, when, being dispersed abroad, they had no share in the sacrifices, no temple-worship, no prophets, no typical reconciliation for sin. God took no more notice of them than the pagan. The prophet then speaks of two futures; one, when it shall be said to them, "ye are not My people;" and a yet further future, in which it should he said, "ye are the sons of the living God." The place of both was to be the same. The place of their rejection, the dispersion, was to be the place of their restoration. And so Peter says that this Scripture was fulfilled in them, while still "scattered abroad through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." The place, then, where they shall be called the "sons of the living God," is, wheresoever they should believe in Christ. Although separated in body, they were united by faith. And so it shall be unto the end. "Nothing now constraineth to go up to Jerusalem, and still to seek for the temple of stones, for neither will they worship God, as aforetime, by sacrifices of sheep or oxen; but their worship will be faith in Christ and in His commandments, and the sanctification in the Spirit, and the regeneration through Holy Baptism, making the glory of sonship their's, who are worthy thereof and are called thereto by the Lord" .

It shall be said, ye are the sons of the living God - It was the special sin of Israel, the source of all his other sins, that he had left the "living God," to serve dead idols. In the times of the Gospel, not only should he own God as his God, but he should have the greatest of all gifts, that the living God, the fountain of all life, of the life of nature, of grace, of glory, should be his Father, and as being his Father, should communicate to him that life, which he has and is. For He who is life, imparts life. God doth not only pour into the souls of His elect, grace and faith, hope and love, or all the manifold gifts of His Spirit, but He, the living God, maketh them to he His living sons, by His Spirit dwelling in them, by whom He adopteth them as His sons, through whom He giveth them grace. For by His Spirit He adopteth them as sons. "We have received the spirit of adoption of sows, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. And if sons, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ" Romans 8:15.

God not only giveth us grace, but adopteth us as sons. He not only accounteth us, but He maketh us sons; He maketh us sons, not outwardly, but inwardly; not by inward grace only, but by His Spirit: not only by the birth from the Spirit, but in the Only-Begotten Son; sons of God, because members of Christ, the Son of God; sons of God, by adoption, as Christ is by Nature; but actual sons of God, as Christ is actually and eternally the Son of God. God is our Father, not by nature, but by grace; yet He is really our Father, since we are born of Him, "sons of the living God," born of the Spirit. He giveth us of His Substance, His Nature, although not by nature; not united with us, (as it is, personally, with His Son,) but dwelling in us, and making us "partakers of the Divine Nature." "Sons of the living God" must be living by Him and to Him, by His life, yea, through Himself living in them, as our Saviour saith, "If any man love Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him" John 14:23.

10. Literally fulfilled in part at the return from Babylon, in which many Israelites joined with Judah. Spiritually, the believing seed of Jacob or Israel, Gentiles as well as Jews, numerous "as the sand" (Ge 32:12); the Gentiles, once not God's people, becoming His "sons" (Joh 1:12; Ro 9:25, 26; 1Pe 2:10; 1Jo 3:1). To be fulfilled in its literal fulness hereafter in Israel's restoration (Ro 11:26).

the living God—opposed to their dead idols.

Yet: this may anticipate the carnal Israel’s objection, that thus God would fail of his word to Abraham, or he would lose his people. Nothing so, yet, though ten tribes be for ever captivated, God will have his Israel.

The number of the children of Israel; not Israel after the flesh, not those very persons, families that are carried captive, (though for aught I know, or any can tell to the contrary, these may be so increased for Abraham’s sake,) but the Israel of God according to the faith, the spiritual seed of Abraham, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles.

Shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; innumerable, expressed by an elegant proverbial speech, alluding to the immenseness of the sands, Isaiah 10:22,23 Ro 9:27.

It shall come to pass; the time is fixed, and the thing shall certainly be, God will bring it about in his time. In the place: as we read it, it is plain that in those places or countries where a people dwelt who knew not God, were not his people, there should be a people that should both be called and be his people; the heathen should be called into the church, and in every place God should have his people. Or else thus: Instead of being called the people of God, you shall be called the children; so blessed a change, that who were once far off, and not a people, shall now be more than people, they shall be children. Where it was said unto them, the Gentiles and Jews unconverted.

Ye are not my people; in the state of unconverted ones, are far from God, without his covenant, and no people.

There it shall be said; known, declared, men shall confess it, God will own it himself, and make it known to others.

Ye are the sons; grace shall be enlarged, your relation nearer and sweeter, you shall be sons, not servants, have communion with God as with your father; and this shall be the common or equal privilege of this whole Israel of God. This is fulfilled in the kingdom of the Messiah under the gospel, as the apostle argueth it, Romans 9:25,26.

Of the living God, who is the fountain of life to all his children, and who giveth them lively affections to serve him, to offer living sacrifices to the living God. So are we called, Romans 12:1,2 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered,.... Though called Loammi, and rejected from being the people of God; yet there is a time when their number, according to the promise made to Abraham, shall be as the sand of the sea, and the stars of heaven; which, as the one cannot be measured, the other cannot be numbered; which was to be not at the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, when some of the ten tribes of Israel returned with them, as Theodoret and others think; for they were but few that then returned: but rather at the first times of the Gospel, when multitudes that came from various parts of the world were converted at the day of Pentecost, and greater numbers; who were met with in the ministry of the word, in the various parts of the world, where they were dispersed, and the Gospel came, to whom Peter and James wrote their epistles; and not these only are meant, but the vast numbers of Gentiles, who were effectually called by grace everywhere, and were true Israelites, the spiritual seed of Abraham; and to whom the Apostle Paul applies these words, producing them as a testimony of the election and calling, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, Romans 9:24, and which will have a further accomplishment in the latter day, when the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in, the Jews will be converted, and all Israel saved, Romans 11:25, then the numbers of the Israel of God, both of Jews and Gentiles, will be as the sand of the sea indeed!

and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God; that is, in such places where it used to be said, here live Pagans, Turks, or Jews, who worship not the true God, or at lease not aright, nor believe in Christ, and profess his name; "there it shall be said to them", by the Lord himself, by his Spirit witnessing their relation to them, and by all good men, and even by the world in general; not only that they are "the people of God", but have a superior privilege, a greater character, and a higher relation, the sons of the living God; the sons of God, not by nature, as Christ; nor by creation, as angels; nor by office, as civil magistrates; or by profession merely, as nominal Christians; but by adopting grace; which exceeds all other blessings, even of sanctification and justification; makes men honourable; is attended with various privileges, and always continues. The epithet "of the living God" is not without cause put; it stands in opposition to dead idols before worshipped by some who will now be the children of God; and who, as he has life in himself, gives it to others; to all natural life and breath, and to his children spiritual and eternal life; and, as he lives forever, so shall they his sons likewise. The Targum is,

"and it shall be in the place where they have been carried captive, when they transgressed the law; and it was said to them, ye are not my people; there they shall be converted and increased (or made great); and it shall be said to them, O ye people of the living God.''

Yet the number of the {m} children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

(m) Because they thought that God could not have been true in his promise unless he had preserved them, he declares that though they were destroyed, yet the true Israelites who are the sons of the promise, would be without number, who consist both of the Jews and the Gentiles; Ro 9:26.

10, 11. There is a great difference among authorities as to the way in which these verses and Hosea 2:1 should be connected with the context. (a) Those who consult a Hebrew Bible will most probably find the first chapter of Hosea closed at Hosea 1:9, and the second opened with v’hâyâh ‘and it shall come to pass’. Thus Hosea’s (like Isaiah’s) first prophetic discourse is made to begin with a promise. The objection is that the transition from Hosea 1:3 to Hosea 1:4 of the chapter thus produced is unique for its abruptness even in the Book of Hosea. (‘Say ye to your brethren, My people’, and directly after, ‘Plead with your mother, plead’.) (b) Still more objectionable is the arrangement of A. V., derived from one form of the Hebrew text, and followed by the Septuagint, Luther, and Calvin. Its only justification lies in the accidental circumstance that two successive verses in the Hebrew text begin with an imperative. Hosea 1:1 chap. 2 in A. V. is utterly unintelligible by itself, and the transition from the first to the second imperative becomes even more strikingly abrupt than in the Hebrew Bible. (c) Feeling these objections, Ewald and Pusey propose to begin the second chapter of the book with the verse which stands fourth in order in our Hebrew Bibles. But most readers cannot help seeing that the transition from threatening to promise, from Lo-ammi, to Ammi, is singularly abrupt, and not to be admitted except from dire necessity, (d) The transposition of lines or sentences is well known to be a fruitful source of error in ancient texts. Hence it has been suggested that Hosea 1:1-3 of chap. 2 in the common Hebrew Bible (i.e. the last two verses of chap. 1 and the first of chap. 2 in A. V.) originally stood at the end of chap. 2 The plausibility of this suggestion of Heilprin’s and Steiner’s would be seen to most advantage, if these verses could be explained at the end of chap. 2 This would be only following the precedent of St Paul, who adopts a very similar arragement in Romans 9:25-26. (Hosea 1:9 therefore should be taken as the close of chap. 1, and Hosea 2:1 as the close of chap. 2)

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 Hosea 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, Isaiah 9:3), Micah 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. Hosea 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.

as the sand of the sea] Comp. Genesis 22:17; Genesis 32:12.

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 Isaiah 33:21 nor 2 Kings 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 1 Samuel 17:26, Deuteronomy 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 Hosea 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 Numbers 21:29, Malachi 2:11, and see note on Hosea 11:1.

Verse 10. - Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea which cannot be measured nor numbered. The division of the verses at this place is faulty both in our common Hebrew Bibles and in the Authorized Version. The former connects vers. 10 and 11 with the second chapter, and the latter closes the first chapter with these verses, and thus detaches them from the first verse of the second chapter. The correct arrangement combines vers. 10 and 11 of Hosea 1. with ver. 1 of Hosea 2, and concludes the first chapter with these three verses which are so closely joined together in sense. Here is the usual cycle of events - human sinfulness, deserved punishment, and Divine mercy. Had the last element been wanting, the promise of a countless posterity made to Abraham, renewed to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob, might appear abolished. Yet, notwithstanding the rejection of Israel, the Word of God remaineth sure. But who are the children of Israel, whose multitude, like sea-saint, defies numeration and measurement? The whole posterity of Jacob or Israel might seem included, as the words of the promise made to that patriarch and those of the present prediction so closely correspond; and Israel is occasionally taken in this wide and general sense. The context is opposed to this; especially does the distinction so sharply marked in the succeeding verse militate against this. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. The place where this great change takes place is either the place where their rejection was foretold, or that where its fulfillment became an accomplished fact. The former was, as is obvious, Palestine; the latter, the place of their exile, and so the lands of their dispersion. Thus the Chaldee, adopting the latter, renders freely as follows: "And it shall come to pass in the place where they lived in exile among the peoples, when they transgressed my Law and it was said to them, Ye are not my people, they will turn and be magnified, and called the people of God." Once this change takes place, their true mission shall be attained and their relations to the living God shall be readjusted. The dumb, dead idols, to which they had bowed down in the days of their apostasy and unbelief shall be cast aside and away for ever. Jehovah the Living One alone shall be the object of their adoration in that day. Hosea 1:10(Heb. Bib. Hosea 2:1-3). To the symbolical action, which depicts the judgment that falls blow after blow upon the ten tribes, issuing in the destruction of the kingdom, and the banishment of its inhabitants, there is now appended, quite abruptly, the saving announcement of the final restoration of those who turn to the Lord.

(Note: The division adopted in the Hebrew text, where these verses are separated from the preceding ones, and joined to the next verse, is opposed to the general arrangement of the prophetic proclamations, which always begin with reproving the sins, then describe the punishment or judgment, and close with the announcement of salvation. The division adopted by the lxx and Vulg., and followed by Luther (and Eng. ver.: Tr.), in which these two verses form part of the first chapter, and the new chapter is made to commence with Hosea 1:3 (of the Hebrew), on account of its similarity to Hosea 1:4, is still more unsuitable, since this severs the close connection between the subject-matter of Hosea 1:2 and that of Hosea 1:3 in the most unnatural way.)

Hosea 1:10

(Heb. Bib. Hosea 2:1). "And the number of the sons of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which is not measured and not counted; and it will come to pass at the place where men say to them, Ye are not my people, it will be said to them, Sons of the living God." It might appear as though the promise made to the patriarchs, of the innumerable increase of Israel, were abolished by the rejection of the ten tribes of Israel predicted here. But this appearance, which might confirm the ungodly in their false security, is met by the proclamation of salvation, which we must connect by means of a "nevertheless" with the preceding announcement of punishment. The almost verbal agreement between this announcement of salvation and the patriarchal promises, more especially in Genesis 22:17 and Genesis 32:13, does indeed naturally suggest the idea, that by the "sons of Israel," whose innumerable increase is here predicted, we are to understand all the descendants of Jacob or of Israel as a whole. But if we notice the second clause, according to which those who are called "not-my-people" will then be called "sons of the living God;" and still more, if we observe the distinction drawn between the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah in Genesis 32:11, this idea is proved to be quite untenable, since the "sons of Israel" can only be the ten tribes. We must assume, therefore, that the prophet had in his mind only one portion of the entire nation, namely, the one with which alone he was here concerned, and that he proclaims that, even with regard to this, the promise in question will one day be fulfilled. In what way, is stated in the second clause. At the place where (בּלמקום אשׁר does not mean "instead of" or "in the place of," as the Latin loco does; cf. Leviticus 4:24, Leviticus 4:33; Jeremiah 22:12; Ezekiel 21:35; Nehemiah 4:14) men called them Lō'-‛ammı̄, they shall be called sons of the living God. This place must be either Palestine, where their rejection was declared by means of this name, or the land of exile, where this name became an actual truth. The correctness of the latter view, which is the one given in the Chaldee, is proved by Genesis 32:11, where their coming up out of the land of exile is spoken of, from which it is evident that the change is to take place in exile. Jehovah is called El chai, the living God, in opposition to the idols which idolatrous Israel had made for itself; and "sons of the living God" expresses the thought, that Israel would come again into the right relation to the true God, and reach the goal of its divine calling. For the whole nation was called and elevated into the position of sons of Jehovah, through its reception into the covenant with the Lord (compare Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:19, with Exodus 4:22).

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