Hosea 12:6
Therefore turn you to your God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on your God continually.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Therefore . . .—More correctly, But do thou return to thy God. There is an implied contrast between the patriarch and his degenerate descendants in the days of Hosea.

Hosea 12:6. Therefore turn thou to thy God — “Thou therefore, O Israel, encouraged by the memory of God’s love to thy progenitor, and by the example which thou hast in him, of the efficacy of weeping and supplication, turn to thy God in penitence and prayer, and in the [practice of] works of righteousness.” — Horsley. Leave your idolatries and all your sins. Jacob worshipped God alone, do you so; he cast all idols out of his family, do you so too; be Jacob’s children herein. Keep mercy and judgment — Show kindness to all who need it, and do wrong to none; but, with justice in all your dealings, in judicatures, and public offices, render to all their due. And wait on thy God continually — In public worship, and private duties, serve and trust in God alone: let not idols have either sacrifice, prayer, praise, or trust from you, and let your hope and worship be ever continued.12:1-6 Ephraim feeds himself with vain hopes of help from man, when he is at enmity with God. The Jews vainly thought to secure the Egyptians by a present of the produce of their country. Judah is contended with also. God sees the sin of his own people, and will reckon with them for it. They are put in mind of what Jacob did, and what God did for him. When his faith upon the Divine promise prevailed above his fears, then by his strength he had power with God. He is Jehovah, the same that was, and is, and is to come. What was a revelation of God to one, is his memorial to many, to all generations. Then let those who have gone from God, be turned to him. Turn thou to the Lord, by repentance and faith, as thy God. Let those that are converted to him, walk with him in all holy conversation and godliness. Let us wrestle with Him for promised blessings, determined not to give over till we prevail; and let us seek Him in his ordinances.Therefore turn thou to thy God - (Literally, "And thou, thou shalt turn" so as to lean "on thy God.") "And thou" unlike, he would say, as thou art to thy great forefather, now at least, "turn to thy God;" hope in Him, as Jacob hoped; and thou too shalt be accepted. God was the Same. They then had only to turn to Him in truth, and they too would find Him, such as Jacob their father had found Him, and then "trust in him continually. mercy and judgment" include all our duty to our neighbor, love and justice. The prophet. selects the duties of the second table, as Micah also places them first, "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8, and our Lord chooses those same commandments, in answer to the rich young man, who asked him, "What shall I do, in order to enter into life?" Matthew 19:17. For people cannot deceive themselves so easily about their duties to their neighbor, as about their duty to God. It was in love to his neighbor that the rich young man failed.

Thou shalt turn - that is, it is commonly said, thou oughtest to turn; as our's has it, "turn." But it may also include the promise that, at one time, "Israel shall turn to the Lord," as Paul says, "so shall all Israel be saved."

And wait on thy God continually - If they did so, they should not wait in vain. : "This word, "continually," hath no small weight in it, shewing with what circumstances or properties their waiting or hope on God ought to be attended; that it ought to be on Him alone, on Him always, without doubting, fainting, failing, intermission or ceasing, in all occasions and conditions which may befall them, without exception of time, even in their adversity." "Turn to 'thy' God," he saith, "wait on 'thy' God," as the great ground of repentance and of trust. "God had avouched them for His peculiar people" Deuteronomy 26:17-18, and they had "avouched Him for" their only "God." He then was still their God, ready to receive them, if they would return to Him.

6. thou—who dost wish to be a true descendant of Jacob.

to THY God—who is therefore bound by covenant to hear thy prayers.

keep mercy and judgment—(Mic 6:8). These two include the second-table commandments, duty towards one's neighbor, the most visible test of the sincerity on one's repentance.

wait on thy God—alone, not on thy idols. Including all the duties of the first table (Ps 37:3, 5, 7; 40:1).

Therefore; no more vainly boast of Jacob; but, as he, do you approve yourselves to God.

Turn thou to thy God; repent, leave idols, and all sins. He worshipped God alone, do you so; he cast idols out of his family, do you so too, be Jacob’s children herein.

Keep mercy; show kindness to all who need it, cast off cruelty and inhumanity, and be merciful to the afflicted: this contains all the duties we owe to any that are in straits.

And judgment; wrong none, but with justice in dealings, in judicatures, and public offices, render to every one their due. Acquit the innocent, and condemn the guilty, and let none have just cause to complain of injuries.

Wait on thy God; in public worship, and private duties of prayer, and seeking God, him only serve and, trust, let not idols have either sacrifice, prayer, praise, or trust from you.

Continually: and let your hope and worship be perpetuated, for ever continued towards God, till he save and rescue; trust, pray, and resign yourselves to him, who will be yours as he was Jacob’s God, on these terms and no other. This short phrase, wait on they God, includes all duties of the first table of the law, all religions worship of the true God; do this, and the Lord will be to you. as to Jacob, defence against danger and fullness in your wants. Therefore turn thou to thy God,.... Judah, with whom the Lord had a controversy, is here addressed and exhorted to return to the Lord, from whom they had backslidden; and this is urged, from the consideration of their being the descendants of so great a man as Jacob; whose example they should follow, and make supplication to the Lord as he did; and from this instance of their progenitor might encourage themselves, that God, who was his God, and their God, would be gracious and merciful to them, and that they should prevail with him likewise, and obtain the blessing, and especially since he is the everlasting and unchangeable Jehovah. Turning to the Lord, as it supposes a going astray from him, so it signifies a turning from idols, and all vain confidences; and is done by renewed acts of faith and trust in the Lord, and repentance towards him; and cannot be performed aright without grace and strength from him, of which Ephraim was sensible, Jeremiah 31:18; as well as the encouragement to it is from a view of God as a covenant God, and as gracious and merciful, So Aben Ezra interprets it of divine help, of turning by thy God, that is, by the help and assistance of thy God; and, indeed, conversion to God, whether at first, or after, is through his powerful and efficacious grace. Kimchi explains it, "thou shalt rest in thy God" (w); when want follows is performed, comparing it with Isaiah 30:15. The Targum is,

"and thou shall be strong in the worship of thy God;''

keep mercy and judgment; or, "observe" (x) them to do them; to show mercy to persons in misery, to the poor and indigent, which is what the Lord desires and delights in, more than in ceremonial sacrifices; and is a principal part of the moral law, as "judgment" is another; the exercise of justice, both public and private; passing a righteous sentence in courts of judicature, and doing that which is right between man and man; owing no man anything, but giving to all their due; doing no injury to any man's person, property, or character; which are fruits meet for true repentance; and when they spring from faith and love, and are done with a view to the glory of God, and good of men, are acceptable to the Lord; these are the weightier matters of the law, Matthew 23:23;

and wait on thy God continually; both in private prayer, and for an answer to it, and in public worship and ordinances, in hope of meeting with him, and enjoying his presence; for this takes in the whole of religious worship, private and public, and all religious exercises, as invocation of God, trust in him, and expectation of seed things from him; and may have a respect to the Messiah, and salvation by him, and a waiting for him and that; as Jacob did, and his posterity should, and many of them were in this posture, before and at his coming; see Genesis 49:18; Agreeable to this the Targum is,

"and wait for the redemption or salvation of thy God continually.''

(w) "in Deo tuo conquiesce", Drusius. (x) "observa", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Therefore turn thou to thy God] Lit., ‘And thou—return thou in thy God’; i.e., such being the character of God, who lets Himself be won by wrestling prayer, return thou to thy God, and rest in Him. (For this condensed expression there is no exact parallel.) And how is this ‘return’ or repentance to have its reality proved? By thine observance of the rules of blended justice and kindness towards man and trustfulness towards God (comp. Micah 6:8).Verse 6. - Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. God's character in itself, and his conduct towards the great forefather of the Hebrew race, call at once for confidence and contrition. The evidence of their repentance is twofold: one aspect is manward, consisting of mercy and judgment; the other is Godward, being a constant waiting upon God. The literal rendering brings out the meaning more clearly; it is, "And thou, in [or, 'by'] thy God thou shalt return." If we render the preposition by "in," we may understand it to imply entire dependence on God, or close and cordial fellowship with God; if we take it to mean "by," it signifies the power or help of God; while the return is moral and spiritual, with perhaps material and literal restoration implied A parallel for be in the signification of "by" occurs in the first chapter of this book at the seventh verse: "I will save them by (be) the Lord their God;" also in Deuteronomy 33:29, "O people saved by (be) the Lord." We prefer the former sense as more simple and suitable; it is concisely and correctly explained by Keil as follows: "'שׁוב with בְ is a pregnant expression, as in Isaiah 10:22, 'So turn as to enter into vital fellowship with God; ' that is, to be truly converted.... The next two clauses are to be taken as explanatory of תשוב. The conversion is to show itself i, the perception of love and right towards their brethren, and in constant trust in God." The difference between שׁוּב בְּ and שוּב אֶל is that the latter signifies "to return to," and the former "to return into," and thus expresses inward union with him. The general sense of the clause is thus expressed by Aben Ezra: "If thou wouldst return to God, he would be thy help to bring thee back to him;" and by Kimchi as follows: "But thou who art the seed of Jacob, if thou art willing, canst return unto thy God, i.e. thou canst rest in him, as 'In returning and rest shall ye be saved' (Isaiah 30:15)." The second point of the verse has an instructive parallel in Micah 6:8, "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" In regard to the waiting upon God, of which the last clause speaks, Aben Ezra has the pithy remark, "Depend not upon thy riches nor thy strength, for the strength thou hadst from him, also the riches." Kimchi comments on the same more fully, as follows: "On this condition thou canst rest and not be afraid of the enemy, if thou wilt observe to do mercy and judgment: for his conditions are as he said, 'I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.' And although he does not mention righteousness here, yet he has said in another place, 'Keep ye judgment, and to justice [literally, 'righteousness'].' And he says here, 'And wait upon thy God continually;' now it is righteousness and equity that thou waitest on thy God continually. And even when thou shalt have great possession and riches and wealth, thou shalt say to thyself, ' It is all from him; thou shall remember him continually and wait on him, as he says in the Law (Deuteronomy 8:18), ' Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; not like Ephraim, who says, 'I am become rich, I have found me out substance.'" The Septuagint has ἔγγιζε, equivalent to "draw near to," having probably read קְרֹב instead of קַוֵּה. "And I will not have compassion upon her children, for they are children of whoredom." This verse is also dependent, so far as the meaning is concerned, upon the pen (lest) in Hosea 2:3; but in form it constitutes an independent sentence. Benē zenūnı̄m (sons of whoredoms) refers back to yaldē zenūnı̄m in Hosea 1:2. The children are the members of the nation, and are called "sons of whoredom," not merely on account of their origin as begotten in whoredom, but also because they inherit the nature and conduct of their mother. The fact that the children are specially mentioned after and along with the mother, when in reality mother and children are one, serves to give greater keenness to the threat, and guards against that carnal security, in which individuals imagine that, inasmuch as they are free from the sin and guilt of the nation as a whole, they will also be exempted from the threatened punishment.
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