Hosea 1:7
But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Will save them . . .—We may consider this verse to have been literally fulfilled in the destruction of Sennacherib’s army. The prophetic outlook anticipates the fact that when Judah is captive and exiled, her restoration by the divine hand would take the form of mercy and forgiveness. (Comp. Psalms 76, Isaiah 40:1-2.)

Hosea 1:7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah — Including Benjamin, and such of the Levites as adhered to God’s law and worship, and as many of the other tribes as renounced the calves, Baal, and all idolatrous worship, and worshipped God alone as he required. On Judah, including all these, God had mercy in various respects, in which he had not mercy on Israel, prolonging that kingdom 132 years after Israel ceased to be a kingdom, preserving them from the combined powers of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who united to destroy them, raising them up to greatness and glory in the reign of Hezekiah, in whose days the house of Judah was saved, by a wonderful miracle, from the power of Sennacherib the Assyrian king. Add to this, that Judah’s captivity was only for seventy years, whereas Israel’s continues to this day; Judah was restored to their own land, but Israel was not. By this, as the prophet would debase the pride of Israel, so possibly he intended to direct the well-disposed among them whither to go to find mercy. And will save them by the Lord their God, and not by bow, nor by sword, &c. — “These expressions,” Bishop Horsley thinks, “are too magnificent to be understood of any thing but the final rescue of the Jews from the power of antichrist in the latter ages, by the incarnate God destroying the enemy with the brightness of his coming, (2 Thessalonians 2:8,) of which the destruction of Sennacherib’s army in the days of Hezekiah might be a type, but it was nothing more.”1:1-7 Israel was prosperous, yet then Hosea boldly tells them of their sins, and foretells their destruction. Men are not to be flattered in sinful ways because they prosper in the world; nor will it last long if they go on still in their trespasses. The prophet must show Israel their sin; show it to be exceedingly hateful. Their idolatry is the sin they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone, is an injury and affront to God; such as for a wife to take a stranger, is to her husband. The Lord, doubtless, had good reasons for giving such a command to the prophet; it would form an affecting picture of the Lord's unmerited goodness and unwearied patience, and of the perverseness and ingratitude of Israel. We should be broken and wearied with half that perverseness from others, with which we try the patience and grieve the Spirit of our God. Let us also be ready to bear any cross the Lord appoints. The prophet must show the ruin of the people, in the names given to his children. He foretells the fall of the royal family in the name of his first child: call his name Jezreel, which signifies dispersion. He foretells God's abandoning the nation in the name of the second child; Lo-ruhamah, not beloved, or not having obtained mercy. God showed great mercy, but Israel abused his favours. Sin turns away the mercy of God, even from Israel, his own professing people. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected. Though some, through unbelief, are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. Our salvation is owing to God's mercy, not to any merit of our own. That salvation is sure, of which he is the Author; and if he will work, none shall hinder.I will have mercy on the house of Judah - For to them the promises were made in David, and of them, according to the flesh, Christ was to come. Israel, moreover, as being founded in rebellion and apostasy, had gone on from bad to worse. All their kings clave to the sin of Jeroboam; not one did right in the sight of God; not one repented or hearkened to God. Whereas Judah, having the true Worship of God, and the reading of the law, and the typical sacrifices, through which it looked on to the great Sacrifice for sin, was on the whole, a witness to the truth of God (see the note at Hosea 11:12).

And will save them by the Lord their God, not by bow ... - Shortly after this, God did, in the reign of Hezekiah, save them by Himself from Sennacherib, when the Angel of the Lord smote in one night 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. "Neither in that night, nor when they were freed from the captivity at Babylon, did they bend bow or draw sword against their enemies or their captors. While they slept, the Angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians. At the prayers of David and the prophets and holy men, yea, and of the angels Zechariah 1:12 too, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, to set them free "to go up to Jerusalem, and build the temple of the Lord God of Israel" Ezra 1:3. But much more, this is the special promise of the Gospel, that God would deliver, not outwardly, but inwardly; not by human wars, but in peace; not by man, but by Himself. "By the Lord their God," by Himself who is speaking, or, The Father by the Son, (in like way as it is said, "The Lord rained upon Sodom fire from the Lord" Genesis 19:24).

They were saved in Christ, the Lord and God of all, not by carnal weapons of warfare, but by the might of Him who saved them, and shook thrones and dominions, and who by His own Cross triumpheth over the hosts of the adversaries, and overthroweth the powers of evil, and giveth to those who love Him, "to tread on serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy." They were saved, not for any merits of their own, nor for anything in themselves. But when human means, and man's works, such as he could do of his own free-will, and the power of his understanding, and the natural impulses of his affections, had proved unavailing, then he redeemed them by His Blood, and bestowed on them gifts and graces above nature, and filled them with His Spirit, and gave them "to will and to do of His good pleasure." But this promise also was, and is, to the true Judah, i. e., to those who, as the name means, "confess and praise" God, and who, receiving Christ, who, as Man, was of the tribe of Judah, became His children, being re-born by His Spirit."

7. Judah is only incidentally mentioned to form a contrast to Israel.

by the Lord their God—more emphatic than "by Myself"; by that Jehovah (Me) whom they worship as their God, whereas ye despise Him.

not … by bow—on which ye Israelites rely (Ho 1:5, "the bow of Israel"); Jeroboam II was famous as a warrior (2Ki 14:25). Yet it was not by their warlike power Jehovah would save Judah (1Sa 17:47; Ps 20:7). The deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35), and the restoration from Babylon, are herein predicted.

But, or And, or Yet.

I; the Lord, who threateneth Israel, proud, flourishing, secure, and sinful Israel: he promiseth mercy to poor, oppressed, and impoverished Judah.

Will have mercy on the house of Judah; prolonging that kingdom one hundred and thirty-two years after Israel ceased to be a kingdom; preserving them from the combined powers of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who combine to destroy them; raising them up to greatness and glory in the reign of Hezekiah, in whose days the house of Judah was saved by a miracle: beside all these, Judah’s captivity was for seventy years, Israel’s for ever; Judah returned to their own land, Israel never did. By this, as the prophet would abate the pride of Israel, so possibly he would secretly direct the best among Israel whither to go to find mercy. Judah; including Benjamin, and such of the Levites as adhered constant to God’s law and worship, and as many of the other tribes as renounced the calves, Baal, and all idolatrous worship, and worship God alone as he required, all these, in this case, are included in Judah, and so we find many such returning with Judah.

And will save them; preserve, that violence do not swallow them up, nor length of captivity wear them out; and this preserved remnant shall return and be planted in their own land, and there kept in safety. This promise does seem to point out such temporal salvation, but as a type of a far better and more glorious salvation.

By the Lord their God; either by Messiah, who is the Lord and their God, or by God himself, as their God, whom they did not, as Israel, forsake utterly. This passage bids us look to that extraordinary miraculous deliverance of Hezekiah and Jerusalem: see Isaiah 37:36 2 Kings 18:13 2 Chronicles 32:1.

Will not save them by bow, & c.: here God removeth all force and might, whether their own or their allies’, all that might eclipse the glory of God in this salvation. Now this was very fully performed in Hezekiah’s time, when Sennacherib’s army was cut off in one night by an angel, Isaiah 37:35,36: and in Cyrus’s time and Darius’s the captive Jews saw it was not by power nor by might, but the Lord saved them; so should it be here, as Psalm 44:5,6 Isa 43:7,15 Zec 4:6. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah,.... The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which retained the true worship of God among them; see Hosea 11:12 and though they often sinned against the Lord, he showed them mercy, and spared them longer than the ten tribes; and though he suffered them to be carried captive into Babylon, he returned them again after seventy years: this is mentioned as an aggravation of the punishment of Israel, that Judah was spared, when they were not; and to show that God will have a people to seek and serve him, and, when he rejects some, he will make a reserve of others:

and will save them by the Lord their God; by his own arm and power, and not theirs, or any creature's; nor by any warlike means or instruments whatever, as follows:

and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen: which may respect either the deliverance of the Jews from the invasion and siege of Sennacherib's army; which was done without shooting an arrow, or drawing the sword, or engaging in a pitched battle, or by a cavalry rushing into his camp, discomfiting his army, and pursuing them; but by an angel sent from heaven, which in one night destroyed a hundred and fourscore and five thousand, 2 Kings 19:35 or else refers to Cyrus being stirred up by the Lord to issue forth a proclamation, giving liberty to the Jewish captives to go free, without price or reward; and so was brought about, not by the might and power of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord; see Ezra 1:1 though a greater salvation is pointed at, or at least shadowed forth, by this, even the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by Christ; which is the fruit of mercy, and not the effect of the merits of men; is obtained not by human power, or by man's righteousness; but by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah our righteousness, the Lord God of his people; who stands in a relation to them prior to his being the Saviour of them; to which work and office he is equal, being the eternal Jehovah, and the true and living God. So the Targum,

"and I will save them by the Word of the Lord their God;''

the eternal Word, that was with God, is God, and became incarnate, God in our nature.

But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will {k} save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

(k) For after their captivity he restored them miraculously by the means of Cyrus; Ezr 1:1.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah] Grave as are the charges brought against Judah by the prophets, it appears to have been some degrees better off religiously than Israel; probably, as it was a poorer country, its nature-worship was less extravagantly sensuous than that of the north. Hosea elsewhere counsels Judah not to offend to the same extent as Israel (Hosea 4:15), and later on accuses Judah rather of inconstancy than of absolute rebellion (Hosea 11:12).

by the Lord their God] Tautologically, as Genesis 19:24. Or, ‘as Jehovah their God’ (i.e ‘in the character of’ &c., comp. Exodus 6:3 ‘as El Shaddai’, Psalm 68:4 ‘his name is, essentially, in Jah’). Observe Hosea recognizes Judah’s higher religious ideal.

notby bow] Judah, then, was in danger of trusting in warlike equipments, as Isaiah afterwards describes it as doing (Isaiah 2:7). And yet, if Israel, with all its natural strength, could not resist the Assyrian attack, it was clear that the weaker kingdom could only do so by supernatural aid. Comp. Isaiah 31:8; Isaiah 37:33. ‘Battle’ should be equipment of war.Verse 7. - But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God. Thus the contrast expressed in this verse increases the painful feelings with which the threatened abandonment and consequent destruction of Israel would be regarded. The promised mercy to the house of Judah is emphasized by the peculiar form of the expression. Instead of the pronoun, the proper name of Jehovah is employed; instead of saying, "I will save them by myself," he says in a specially emphatic manner, "I will save them by Jehovah," adding at the same time the important adjunct of "thy God," to remind them of that relationship to himself in virtue of which he interposes thus personally and powerfully on their behalf. An expression somewhat similar in form occurs in Genesis 19:24, "Then the Lord [Jehovah] rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord [Jehovah] out of heaven." And will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle (literally, war), by horses, nor by horsemen. This enumeration is quite in accordance with the prophet's style, as may be seen at a glance by comparing Hosea 2:5, 11, 22; Hosea 3:4; and Hosea 4:13. The manner of this deliverance is very peculiar and unusual; while prominence is given to the absence of those means of defense or deliverance on which the northern kingdom so much relied. The deliverance would be accomplished without the ordinary weapons of war - bow and sword, in the use of the former of which Israel was so celebrated; also without war, that is, without its appliances and material of whatever kind - skilful commanders, brave soldiers, and numerous troops; likewise without horses and horsemen, a great source of strength in those days (parashim, equivalent to "riders on horses," as distinguished from rokebhim, riders on camels). This deliverance, in fact, was to be entirely independent of all human resources. All this points plainly and positively to the deliverance of Judah from Sennacherib in the days of Hezekiah, when in one night the angel of the Lord smote a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the flower of the Assyrian host, and Jehovah thus by himself delivered Judah. Thus, too, Judah is saved from that power before which Israel had previously and entirely succumbed. (Compare, on this miraculous deliverance, 2 Kings 19. and Isaiah 37.) In Daniel 7:20, from וּנפלוּ (fell down) the relative connection of the passage is broken, and the direct description is continued. דּכּן וקרנא (and that horn) is an absolute idea, which is then explained by the Vav epexegetic. חזוהּ, the appearance which is presented, i.e., its aspect. חברתהּ מן (above his fellows), for חזוּ חברתהּ מן (above the aspect of his fellows), see under Daniel 1:10.
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