Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
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(1) Comp. Hosea 9:10 and Exodus 4:22-23. In this context there cannot be a prophecy of the Christ, for obstinate conduct and rebellion would thus be involved in the prediction. It is true that Matthew 2:15 quotes the passage in illustration of the fact that the true Son of God was also submitted in His youth to the hard schooling of a cruel exile. The calling out of Egypt of the Messiah gave a new indication of the cyclical character of Hebrew history. The passage helps us to understand what is meant by the formula, “that it might be fulfilled,” &c.

Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child, &c. — “The Israel of this chapter is the whole people, composed of the two branches, Judah and the ten tribes. But the house of Israel is the kingdom of the ten tribes, as distinct from the other branch.” — Horsley. By the time of Israel’s childhood is meant the patriarchal age, and the time of their continuance under the Egyptian bondage. Then I loved him — Manifested a tender and paternal affection to him, increasing him in numbers, wealth, and honour. And called my son out of Egypt — Namely, by Moses, whom God commanded to acquaint the Israelites that they must remove out of Egypt. Israel is called God’s son, and his firstborn, Exodus 4:22-23; and therein was an eminent figure of the Messiah, in whom all God’s promises were fulfilled. This prophecy, therefore, is applied by St. Matthew 2:15, to our Lord’s return out of Egypt, after his being taken thither by his parents in his infancy, and kept there some time for fear of Herod. And the strict, literal sense of the words, more properly belongs to him than to Israel. And this is observable in many other prophecies, which can but improperly be applied to those of whom they were at first spoken; and, taking them in their strict, literal sense, are only fulfilled in Christ: see particularly Psalm 22:16; Psalm 22:18. “Although the son,” says Bishop Horsley, “here immediately meant, is the natural Israel, called out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron; there can be no doubt that an allusion was intended by the Holy Spirit to the call of the infant Christ out of the same country. In reference to this event, the passage might be thus paraphrased: ‘God in such sort set his affection upon the Israelites, in the infancy of their nation, that, so early as from their first settlement in Egypt, the arrangement was declared of the descent of the Messiah from Judah, and of the calling of that son from Egypt.’”

11:1-7 When Israel were weak and helpless as children, foolish and froward as children, then God loved them; he bore them as the nurse does the sucking child, nourished them, and suffered their manners. All who are grown up, ought often to reflect upon the goodness of God to them in their childhood. He took care of them, took pains with them, not only as a father, or a tutor, but as a mother, or nurse. When they were in the wilderness, God showed them the way in which they should go, and bore them up, taking them by the arms. He taught them the way of his commandments by the ceremonial law given by Moses. He took them by the arms, to guide them, that they might not stray, and to hold them up, that they might not stumble and fall. God's spiritual Israel are all thus supported. It is God's work to draw poor souls to himself; and none can come to him except he draw them. With bands of love; this word signifies stronger cords than the former. He eased them of the burdens they had long groaned under. Israel is very ungrateful to God. God's counsels would have saved them, but their own counsels ruined them. They backslide; there is no hold of them, no stedfastness in them. They backslide from me, from God, the chief good. They are bent to backslide; they are ready to sin; they are forward to close with every temptation. Their hearts are fully set in them to do evil. Those only are truly happy, whom the Lord teaches by his Spirit, upholds by his power, and causes to walk in his ways. By his grace he takes away the love and dominion of sin, and creates a desire for the blessed feast of the gospel, that they may feed thereon, and live for ever.When Israel was a child, then I loved him - God loved Israel, as He Himself formed it, ere it corrupted itself. He loved it for the sake of the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as he saith, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" Malachi 1:2. Then, when it was weak, helpless, oppressed by the Egyptians, afflicted, destitute, God loved him, cared for him, delivered him from oppression, and called him out of Egypt. : "When did He love Israel? When, by His guidance, Israel regained freedom, his enemies were destroyed, he was fed with "food from heaven," he heard the voice of God, and received the law from Him. He was unformed in Egypt; then he was informed by the rules of the law, so as to be matured there. He was a child in that vast waste. For he was nourished, not by solid food, but by milk, i. e., by the rudiments of piety and righteousness, that he might gradually attain the strength of a man. So that law was a schoolmaster, to retain Israel as a child, by the discipline of a child, until the time should come when all, who despised not the heavenly gifts, should receive the Spirit of adoption. The prophet then, in order to show the exceeding guilt of Israel, says, "When Israel was a child," (in the wilderness, for then he was born when he bound himself to conform to the divine law, and was not yet matured) "I loved him," i. e., I gave him the law, priesthood, judgments, precepts, instructions; I loaded him with most ample benefits; I preferred him to all nations, expending on him, as on My chief heritage and special possession, much watchful care and pains."

I called My son out of Egypt - As He said to Pharaoh, "Israel is My son, even My firstborn; let My son go, that he may serve Me" Exodus 4:22-23. God chose him out of all nations, to be His special people. Yet also God chose him, not for himself, but because He willed that Christ, His only Son, should "after the flesh" be born of him, and for, and in, the Son, God called His people, "My son." : "The people of Israel was called a son, as regards the elect, yet only for the sake of Him, the only begotten Son, begotten, not adopted, who, "after the flesh," was to be born of that people, that, through His Passion, He might bring many sons to glory, disdaining not to have them as brethren and co-heirs. For, had He not come, who was to come, the Well Beloved Son of God, Israel too could never, anymore than the other nations, have been called the son of so great a Father, as the Apostle, himself of that people, saith, "For we were, by nature, children of wrath, even as others" Ephesians 2:3.

Since, however, these words relate to literal Israel, the people whom God brought out by Moses, how were they fulfilled in the infant Jesus, when He was brought back out of Egypt, as Matthew teaches us, they were?" Matthew 2:15.

Because Israel himself was a type of Christ, and for the sake of Him who was to be born of the seed of Israel, did God call Israel, "My son;" for His sake only did he deliver him. The two deliverances, of the whole Jewish people, and of Christ the Head, occupied the same position in God's dispensations. He rescued Israel, whom He called His son, in its childish and infantine condition, at the very commencement of its being, as a people. His true Son by Nature, Christ our Lord, He brought up in His Infancy, when He began to show forth His mercies to us in Him. Both had, by His appointment, taken refuge in Egypt; both were, by His miraculous call to Moses in the bush, to Joseph in the dream, recalled from it. Matthew apparently quotes these words, not to prove anything, but in order to point out the relation of God's former dealings with the latter, the beginning and the close, what relates to the body, and what relates to the Head. He tells us that the former deliverance had its completion in Christ, that in His deliverance was the full solid completion of that of Israel; and that then indeed it might, in its completest fullness, be said, "Out of Egypt have I called My Son."

When Israel was brought out of Egypt, the figure took place; when Christ was called, the reality was fulfilled. The act itself, on the part of God, was prophetic. When He delivered Israel, and called him His firstborn, He willed, in the course of time, to bring up from Egypt His Only-Begotten Son. The words are prophetic, because the event which they speak of, was prophetic. "They speak of Israel as one collective body, and, as it were, one person, called by God "My son," namely, by adoption, still in the years of innocency, and beloved by God, called of God out of Egypt by Moses, as Jesus, His true Son, was by the Angel." The following verses are not prophetic, because in them the prophet no longer speaks of Israel as one, but as composed of the many sinful individuals in it. Israel was a prophetic people, in regard to this dispensation of God toward him; not in regard to his rebellions and sins.


Ho 11:1-12. God's Former Benefits, and Israel's Ingratitude Resulting in Punishment, Yet Jehovah Promises Restoration at Last.

Ho 11:5 shows this prophecy was uttered after the league made with Egypt (2Ki 17:4).

1. Israel … called my son out of Egypt—Bengel translates, "From the time that he (Israel) was in Egypt, I called him My son," which the parallelism proves. So Ho 12:9 and Ho 13:4 use "from … Egypt," for "from the time that thou didst sojourn in Egypt." Ex 4:22 also shows that Israel was called by God, "My son," from the time of his Egyptian sojourn (Isa 43:1). God is always said to have led or brought forth, not to have "called," Israel from Egypt. Mt 2:15, therefore, in quoting this prophecy (typically and primarily referring to Israel, antitypically and fully to Messiah), applies it to Jesus' sojourn in Egypt, not His return from it. Even from His infancy, partly spent in Egypt, God called Him His son. God included Messiah, and Israel for Messiah's sake, in one common love, and therefore in one common prophecy. Messiah's people and Himself are one, as the Head and the body. Isa 49:3 calls Him "Israel." The same general reason, danger of extinction, caused the infant Jesus, and Israel in its national infancy (compare Ge 42:1-43:34; 45:18; 46:3, 4; Eze 16:4-6; Jer 31:20) to sojourn in Egypt. So He, and His spiritual Israel, are already called "God's sons" while yet in the Egypt of the world.


Israel’s ingratitude to God for his benefits, Hosea 11:1-4. God’s judgment upon them, Hosea 11:5-7. His mercy toward them, Hosea 11:8-11. Ephraim’s falsehood, and Judah’s fidelity, Hosea 11:12.

When Israel was a child; in the infancy of Israel, which is here dated equal with his being in Egypt.

Then I loved him; manifested that tender and paternal affection which I did bear to him, increasing him in numbers, wealth, and honour.

Called my son; adopted him to be my son, and as my son provided for him, and brought him out of servitude; I so loved him as to give Egypt for his ransom, Isaiah 43:3.

Out of Egypt; where they had sojourned two hundred and fifteen years, and in them suffered many outrages from the Egyptians, who were their enemies, and aimed at extirpating Israel. Now, amidst such enemies, God owned them to be his sons, his eldest son, and redeemed him out of bondage, a fruit of wonderful love never to be forgotten. This in the letter and history is exceeding plain, but there is difficulty in the application of this unto Christ, and his call out of Egypt, of which many interpreters treat at large, which may not now be so much as summarily touched. It is too little to say that the evangelist doth allude to this place, Matthew 2:15, and I think it is too much to say this place is cited by Matthew, as in the history of the thing, referring only to Christ being called out of Egypt; but if you will make Israel the first adopted son, type of Christ, the first-born, and the history of Israel’s coming out to be a type of Christ’s future coming out, you then give to both their proper share in these words, and the letter and history is verified in both, and the principal import of the words will refer to Christ, as principally intended in them, yet not excluding the type.

When Israel was a child, then I loved him,.... Or, "for Israel was a child" (u); a rebellious and disobedient one, therefore his king was cut off in a morning, and he has been, and will be, without a king many days; yet still "I loved him": or, "though Israel was a child" (w); a weak, helpless, foolish, and imprudent one, "yet I loved him": or, "when a child"; in the infancy of his civil and church state, when in Egypt, and in the wilderness; the Lord loved him, not only as his creature, as he does all the works of his hands, but with a more special love than he loved others; choosing them to be a special people above all others; giving them his law, his statutes, and his judgments, his word and his worship, which he did not give to other nations. So he loves spiritual and mystical Israel, all the elect of God, whether Jews or Gentiles, when children, as soon as born, and though born in sin, carnal and corrupt; yea, before they are born, and when having done neither good nor evil; and so may be expressive both of the earliness and antiquity of his love to them, and of the freeness of it, without any merits or motives of theirs;

and called my son out of Egypt, not literal Israel, as before, whom God called his son, and his firstborn, and demanded his dismission from Pharaoh, and called him, and brought him out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; and which was a type of his calling spiritual Israel, his adopted sons, out of worse than Egyptian bondage and darkness: but his own natural and only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; for these words are expressly said to be fulfilled in him, Matthew 2:15; not by way of allusion; or by accommodation of phrases; or as the type is fulfilled in the antitype; or as a proverbial expression, adapted to any deliverance; but literally: the first and only sense of the words respects Christ, who in his infancy was had to Egypt for shelter from Herod's rage and fury, and, when he was dead, and those that sought the life of Jesus, he was by an angel of the Lord, warning Joseph of it, called out of Egypt, and brought into Judea, Matthew 2:19; and this as a proof of the love of God to Israel; which as it was expressed to him in his infancy, it continued and appeared in various instances, more or less unto the coming of Christ; who, though obliged for a while to go into Egypt, must not continue there, but must be called from thence, to be brought up in the land of Judea; to do his miracles, preach his doctrines, and do good to the bodies and souls of men there, being sent particularly to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and, above all, in order to work out the salvation and redemption of his special people among them, and of the whole Israel of God everywhere else; which is the greatest instance of love to them, and to the world of the Gentiles, that ever was known, John 3:16 1 John 2:2.

(u) "quia", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius. (w) "Quamvis sit puer", Tarnovius, Rivet.

When Israel {a} was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

(a) While the Israelites were in Egypt, and did not provoke my wrath by their malice and ingratitude.

1. When Israel was a child] i. e., in the earliest stage of Israel’s national existence, which is here dated, not, as in Hosea 2:3, from the wanderings in the wilderness, but from the sojourn in Egypt. For the figure, see on ‘gray hairs’, Hosea 7:9.

called my son out of Egypt] ‘Called’ him, locally, into the land of Canaan, and morally, to set an example of true religion. Comp. Exodus 4:22, ‘Israel is my son, my firstborn; and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me.’ The words are quoted in St Matthew (Hosea 2:15), who renders from the Hebrew, in connexion with the sojourn of the child Jesus in Egypt. Like the portraiture of the Servant of Jehovah in the second part of Isaiah, the description of Israel as Jehovah’s Son was held to be at least in part applicable to the one perfect Israelite. The national ideal never realized in the nation was realized in the Christ. The divine purpose so often baffled in the one was completed in the other.

Verse 1. - When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. Driver uses this verse to exemplify the principle that when the reference is to what is past or certain, rather than to what is future or indefinite, we find the predicate or the apodosis introduced by וַּ, though not with nearly the same frequency as ל perfect and vav causes

(1) with subject or object pre-fixed;

(2) after time-determinations.

The life of a nation has its stages of rise, progress, and development, like the life of an individual man. The prophet goes back to that early period when the national life of Israel was in its infancy; it was then that a few patriarchs who had gone down to sojourn in Egypt were becoming a people; the predicate precedes, to emphasize, that early day when Israel became God's peculiar people. The ray marks the apodosis recording God's love in choosing that people, calling them into the relation of sonship, and delivering them out of Egypt. Thus Kimchi says, "When Israel was vet a child, i.e. in Egypt, then I loved him, therefore I am more angry with them than with the rest of the nations; for from their youth onward I have loved them, and delivered them out of the bands of their enemies. But when they transgress my commandments it is incumbent on me to chastise them as a man chastises his son."

(1) The people of Israel is called God's son in consequence of God choosing them and bringing them into close relationship to himself, such as that of a son to a father. The commencement was the message to Pharaoh by Moses in the words, "Israel is my son, even my firstborn: and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me." This sonship was solemnly ratified by the giving of the Law at Sinai; and the condition clearly stated that, in the event of their preserving the knowledge of God, fulfilling his Law, and doing his will, they would at all times enjoy Divine protection, defense, and blessing, while from generation to generation they were addressed by that honorable title.

(2) As the deliverance hem Egypt is always described as a "leading" or "bringing out," and never elsewhere as a "calling out," some expositors maintain that the words, "out of Egypt," signify from the time Israel was in Egypt, and are parallel to "when Israel was a child," both referring to time, the time of national infancy. From that period God began to manifest his love, and in its manifestation he called him by the endearing name of "son" - my son. The words of this verse are applied by St. Matthew to the sojourn of Jesus in Egypt. The older interpreters refer

(a) the first part of the verse to Israel and the second part typically to the history of Messiah's childhood, in whom that of Israel reached its completeness. Rather

(b) the verse was applied typically to Israel, and to Jesus as the antitype; to the former primarily, and to the latter secondarily. Thus the head and the members are comprehended in one common prediction. Hosea 11:1The prophet goes back a third time (cf. Hosea 10:1; Hosea 9:10) to the early times of Israel, and shows how the people had repaid the Lord, for all the proofs of His love, with nothing but ingratitude and unfaithfulness; so that it would have merited utter destruction from off the earth, if God should not restrain His wrath for the sake of His unchangeable faithfulness, in order that, after severely chastening, He might gather together once more those that were rescued from among the heathen. Hosea 11:1. "When Israel was young, then I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. Hosea 11:2. Men called to them; so they went away from their countenance: they offer sacrifice to the Baals, and burn incense to the idols." Hosea 11:1 rests upon Exodus 4:22-23, where the Lord directs Moses to say to Pharaoh, "Israel is my first-born son; let my son go, that he may serve me." Israel was the son of Jehovah, by virtue of its election to be Jehovah's peculiar people (see at Exodus 4:22). In this election lay the ground for the love which God showed to Israel, by bringing it out of Egypt, to give it the land of Canaan, promised to the fathers for its inheritance. The adoption of Israel as the son of Jehovah, which began with its deliverance out of the bondage of Egypt, and was completed in the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai, forms the first stage in the carrying out of the divine work of salvation, which was completed in the incarnation of the Son of God for the redemption of mankind from death and ruin. The development and guidance of Israel as the people of God all pointed to Christ; not, however, in any such sense as that the nation of Israel was to bring forth the son of God from within itself, but in this sense, that the relation which the Lord of heaven and earth established and sustained with that nation, was a preparation for the union of God with humanity, and paved the way for the incarnation of His Son, by the fact that Israel was trained to be a vessel of divine grace. All essential factors in the history of Israel point to this as their end, and thereby become types and material prophecies of the life of Him in whom the reconciliation of man to God was to be realized, and the union of God with the human race to be developed into a personal unity. It is in this sense that the second half of our verse is quoted in Matthew 2:15 as a prophecy of Christ, not because the words of the prophet refer directly and immediately to Christ, but because the sojourn in Egypt, and return out of that land, had the same significance in relation to the development of the life of Jesus Christ, as it had to the nation of Israel. Just as Israel grew into a nation in Egypt, where it was out of the reach of Canaanitish ways, so was the child Jesus hidden in Egypt from the hostility of Herod. But Hosea 11:2 is attached thus as an antithesis: this love of its God was repaid by Israel with base apostasy. קראוּ, they, viz., the prophets (cf. Hosea 11:7; 2 Kings 17:13; Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4; Zechariah 1:4), called to them, called the Israelites to the Lord and to obedience to Him; but they (the Israelites) went away from their countenance, would not hearken to the prophets, or come to the Lord (Jeremiah 2:31). The thought is strengthened by כּן, with the כּאשׁר of the protasis omitted (Ewald, 360, a): as the prophets called, so the Israelites drew back from them, and served idols. בּעלים as in Hosea 2:15, and פּסלים as in 2 Kings 17:41 and Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 7:25 (see at Exodus 20:4).
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