Hosea 12:9
And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.
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(9) Tabernacles.—The prophet here speaks of Israel’s moral restoration under the form of a return to “the old ideal of simple agricultural life, in which every good gift is received directly from Jehovah’s hand.” To the true theocratic spirit the condition here spoken of is one of real blessedness, but to the worldly, grasping Canaan or Ephraim it would come as a threat of expulsion, desolation, and despair. (Comp. Hosea 2:14; Hosea 3:3.)

Hosea 12:9-10. I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt — From the time I brought thee out of it: will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles — That is, in thy habitations, quietly and joyfully, as in festival times. The word tabernacles is here put for houses, or habitations; because at first the Israelites dwelt in tabernacles, or tents. This must be taken as a promise of the restoration of the Israelites to their own land, after their being carried into captivity, provided they turned to God, and to his worship and service, in true repentance, and new obedience. I have also spoken by the prophets, &c. — “Here are three species of prophecy distinctly mentioned: 1st, Immediate suggestion, or inspiration, when God dictates the very words which the prophet is to deliver: 2d, Vision, or a representation made of external objects to the imagination, in as lively a manner as if they were conveyed to the senses: and, 3d, Parables, and apt resemblances, such as that of God’s church to a vineyard, Isaiah 5:1, of the destruction of Jerusalem to a forest set on fire, Ezekiel 20:46; Ezekiel 20:49, and to a seething- pot, chapter Ezekiel 24:3. Hosea himself was a parable, or type, to the Jews, in taking a wife of whoredoms. to represent the idolatries of the house of Israel” — Lowth.

12:7-14 Ephraim became a merchant: the word also signifies a Canaanite. They carried on trade upon Canaanitish principles, covetously and with fraud and deceit. Thus they became rich, and falsely supposed that Providence favoured them. But shameful sins shall have shameful punishments. Let them remember, not only what a mighty prince Jacob was with God, but what a servant he was to Laban. The benefits we have had from the word of God, make our sin and folly the worse, if we put any slight upon that word. We had better follow the hardest labour in poverty, than grow rich by sin. We may form a judgment of our own conduct, by comparing it with that of ancient believers in the like circumstances. Whoever despises the message of God, will perish. May we all hear his word with humble, obedient faith.And I, the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt - God, in few words, comprises whole centuries of blessings, all, from the going out of Egypt to that very day, all the miracles in Egypt, in the wilderness, under Joshua, the Judges; one stream of benefits it had been, which God had poured out upon them from first to last. The penitent sees in one glance, how God had been "his" God, from his birth until that hour, and how he had all along offended God.

Will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles - The feast of tabernacles was the yearly remembrance of God's miraculous guidance and support of Israel through the wilderness. It was the link, which bound on their deliverance from Egypt to the close of their pilgrim-life and their entrance into their rest. The passage of the Red Sea, like Baptism, was the beginning of God's promises. By it israel was saved from Egypt and from bondage, and was born to be a people of God. Yet, being the beginning, it was plainly not the completion; nor could they themselves complete it. Enemies, more powerful than they, had to be dispossessed; "the great and terrible wilderness, the fiery serpents and scorpions, and the land of exceeding drought, where was no water" Deuteronomy 8:15, had to be surmounted; no food was there, no water, for so vast a multitude. It was a time of the visible presence of God. He promised; "I send an Angel before thee to keep thee in the way and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared" Exodus 23:20. "He brought them forth water out of the rock of flint, and fed them with manna which," He says, "thy fathers knew not" Deuteronomy 8:15-16. "Thy raiment," He appeals to them, "waxed not old, nor did thy foot swell these forty years" Deuteronomy 8:4; "thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot; ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God" Deuteronomy 29:5-6.

It was a long trial-time, in which they were taught entire dependence upon God; a time of sifting, in which God proved His faithfulness to those who persevered. Standing there between the beginning and the end of the accomplishment of God's promise to Abraham and to them, it was a type of His whole guidance of His people at all times. It was a pledge that God would lead His own, if often "by a way which they knew not" Isaiah 42:16, yet to rest, with Him. The yearly commemoration of it was not only a thanksgiving for God's past mercies; it was a confession also of their present relation to God, that "here we have no continuing city" (Hebrews 13:14; compare Hosea 11:9-10); that they still needed the guidance and support of God; and that their trust was not in themselves, nor in man, but in Him. This they themselves saw. : "When they said, 'Leave a fixed habitation, and dwell in a chance abode,' they meant, that the command to dwell in tabernacles was given, to teach us, that no man must rely on the height or strength of his house, or on its good arrangements though it abound in all good; nor may he rely on the help of any man, not though he were lord and king of the whole earth, but must trust in Him by whose word the worlds were made. For with Him alone is power and faithfulness, so that, whereinsoever any man may place his trust, he shall receive no consolation from it, since in God alone is refuge and trust, as it is said, 'Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth him on every side, and I will say unto the Lord, my Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in Him will I trust. '"

The feast of tabernacles was also a yearly thanksgiving for the mercies with which God had "crowned the year." The joy must have been even the greater, since it followed, by five days only, after the mournful day of atonement, its rigid fast from evening to evening, and its confession of sin. Joy is greater when ushered in by sorrow; sorrow for sin is the condition of joy in God. The Feast of tabernacles was, as far it could be, a sort of Easter after Lent. At the time when Israel rejoiced in the good gifts of the year, God bade them express, in act, their fleeting condition in this life. It must have been a striking confession of the slight tenure of all earthly things, when their kings and great men, their rich men and those who lived at ease, had all, at the command of God, to leave their ceiled houses, and dwell for seven days in rude booths, constructed for the season, pervious in some measure to the sun and wind, with no fixed foundation, to be removed when the festival was passed. "Because," says a Jewish writer , "at the time of the gathering of the increase from the field, man wishes to go from the field to his house to make a fixed abode there, the law was anxious, lest on account of this fixed abode, his heart should be lifted up at having found a sort of palace, and he should 'wax fat and kick.' Therefore it is written, 'all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.' Whoso begins to think himself a citizen in this world, and not a foreigner, him God biddeth, leaving his ordinary dwelling, to remove into a temporary lodging, in order that, leaving these thoughts, he may learn to acknowledge that he is only a stranger in this world and not a citizen, in that he dwells as in a stranger's hut, and so should not attribute too much to the shadow of his beams, but 'dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. '"

Every year, the law was publicly read in the feast. Ephraim was living clean contrary to all this. He boasted in his wealth, justified himself on the ground of it, ascribed it and his deliverance from Egypt to his idols. He would not keep the feast, as alone God willed it to be kept. While he existed in his separate kingdom, it could not be. Their political existence had to be broken, that they might be restored.

God then conveys the notice of the impending punishment in words which promised the future mercy. He did not, "then, make" them "to dwell in tabernacles." For all their service of Him was out of their own mind, contrary to His will, displeasing to Him. This, then, "I will "yet" make thee dwell in tabernacles," implies a distant mercy, beyond and distinct from their present condition. Looking on beyond the time of the captivity, He says that they shall yet have a time of joy, "as in the days of the solemn feast." God would give them a new deliverance, but out of a new captivity.

The feast of tabernacles typifies this our pilgrim-state, the life of simple faith in God, for which God provides; poor in this world's goods, but rich in God. The Church militant dwells, as it were, in tabernacles; hereafter, we hope to be "received into everlasting habitations," in the Church triumphant.

9. And—rather, "And yet." Though Israel deserves to be cast off for ever, yet I am still what I have been from the time of My delivering them out of Egypt, their covenant God; therefore, "I will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles," that is, to keep the feast of tabernacles again in remembrance of a new deliverance out of bondage. Fulfilled primarily at the return from Babylon (Ne 8:17). Fully and antitypically to be fulfilled at the final restoration from the present dispersion (Zec 14:16; compare Le 23:42, 43). And, or but, I the Lord thy God, who forbade thy frauds and gave thee wealth, and am forgotten in both, thou fearest not mine anger and sinnest; thou forgettest that I give thee power to get wealth, and takest glory to thyself; but wouldst thou, as thou shouldst, remember, thou wouldst know

that I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, that all thy blessings from thy coming out of Egypt to this day are from me; I give more than thou gettest; thou boastest of what is not thine, and if thou wilt glory, remember it should be in my goodness and bounty.

Will yet make, & c.; hitherto have made, &c.; thy peace, safety, plenty, and joy, (here expressed proverbially, in allusion to the joy and security which they enjoyed in the days of the feast of tabernacles,) were all through my goodness, presence, and faithfulness. And darest thou, O Ephraim, thus sacrilegiously rob me of the praise and glory? darest thou be thus unthankful? Or else thus, I would still make thee to dwell, &c., I take what course is fittest to prevent thy dangers, sorrows, and ruin, but all will not do, thou wilt undo thyself. I am Jehovah, I change not, I am thy God still, and have been so ever since thou camest out of Egypt, I gave thee plenty, peace, safety, joy, and would willingly continue it all, as will appear by what I have done to prevent thy sin, and continue thy obedience. Some tell us it is a threat that God will bring them into the condition of wanderers again, others make it a promise of future mercy; and in various conjectures we have ventured on what will suit the contexture of the words, at least tolerably well; if it be not the best, it best pleaseth at present.

And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt,.... Ephraim being so very corrupt in things, both religious and civil, and so very impenitent and impudent, is let alone to suffer the just punishment of his sins; but Judah being called to repentance, and brought unto it, gracious promises are here made unto him, to be fulfilled in the times of the Messiah, either at the first or latter part of them; especially the last is to be understood, when indeed all Israel shall return to the Lord, and be saved; and then it will appear, that the Lord, who was their God, as was evident from his bringing them out of Egyptian bondage, and continued to be so from that time to the Babylonish captivity, and even to the times of the Messiah, will now be their God most clearly and manifestly, having redeemed them from worse than Egyptian bondage; from the bondage of sin, Satan, the law, the world, and death; even the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, they will now seek and embrace, who is God over all, and equal to such a work of redemption and salvation; Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature, our Lord and our God, the God of the Jews now converted, as will be acknowledged, as well as of the Gentiles: and he

will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast; alluding to the feast of tabernacles, kept in commemoration of the Israelites dwelling in tents in the wilderness, Leviticus 23:42; typical of Christ's incarnation, expressed by his tabernacling among men in human nature, John 1:14; and which feast, though abolished by Christ with the rest, yet it is said will be kept by converted Jews and Gentiles in the latter day; which can be understood no otherwise than of their embracing and professing the incarnate Saviour, partaking of the blessings of grace that come by him, and attending on those ordinances of public worship instituted by him; see Zechariah 14:16; and which booths, tents, or tabernacles, the Israelites dwelt in at that feast, were also typical of the churches of Christ under the Gospel dispensation, and which are here meant; and in which it is here promised the converted Jews shall dwell, as they had been used to do in their booths at the solemn feast of tabernacles. These Christian churches resembling them in the matter of them; believers in Christ, the materials of such churches, being compared to goodly trees, to willows of the brook, to palm trees, olive trees, and myrtle trees, with others, the branches of which were used at the above feast, to make their tabernacles with; see Leviticus 23:40; and in the use of them, which was to dwell in during the time of the said feast; as the churches of Christ are the tabernacles of the most High, the dwelling places of Father, Son, and Spirit; and the habitation of the saints, where they dwell and enjoy great plenty and prosperity, tranquillity and security; and here it particularly denotes that joy, peace, and the converted Jews shall partake of in the churches of Christ in the latter day; of which the feast of tabernacles was but a shadow, and which was attended with much rejoicing, plenty of provisions, and great safety.

And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in {i} the days of the solemn feast.

(i) Seeing you will not acknowledge my benefits, I will bring you again to dwell in tents, as in the feast of the Tabernacles, which you now condemn.

9. And I] Rather, For I. It is explanatory of the vague hint of an inexorable doom.

thy God from the land of Egypt] Who is therefore ever ready to help you (Isaiah 46:3), but who will also, if necessary, punish you as He did of old (comp. Numbers 14:26-30).

will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles] Rather, will again make thee to dwell in tents. The analogy of a parallel passage (Hosea 2:14) at once suggests the idea that this prediction is a threat and not (as St Jerome, Kimchi, and Calvin would have it) a promise. Not indeed a threat without a tinge of promise (see on Hosea 2:14), but the unrelieved worldliness of the speech in Hosea 12:9 calls forth a declaration of God’s purpose as uncompromising in its earnestness. ‘Again’ alludes to the journey through the wilderness. On the rendering yet, see further note in Introduction, part v.

as in the days of the solemn feast] Better, of the festal season. The word used is mô‘çd (lit. appointed time), which is used rather more widely than khag ‘festival.’ Here however the prophet does mean one of the three ancient festivals, viz. the so-called Feast of Tabernacles (or rather, Booths). This was the most popular of all the feasts (see on Hosea 9:1): it was originally a time of rejoicing for the ‘ingathering’ (whence its name in Exodus 23:16) of the latest crops of the year, and the ‘booths’ or ‘tents’ (as they are here, for once, called) were simply designed (as at the analogous festivals of other nations) to promote the enjoyment of the simple-minded rural merrymakers. Another object is indeed ascribed to the festival in the Book of Leviticus, viz. to remind the Israelites of the tent-life of their fathers in the wilderness, but this, as Mr Clark and others have well shown (see Speaker’s Commentary on Leviticus 23:43), can only have been an after-thought, as the nomad Israelites are never said to have dwelt in ‘booths’ or ‘huts’, but always in ‘tents’ (of skin or cloth). Hosea’s reference to the Feast of Booths points a striking contrast. The predominant tone of the Israelites is now one of exuberant joyousness (Hosea 9:1), culminating in the merry, out-of-door life of the local autumn-festivals, but soon they shall dwell in tents again, not for amusement, but by bitter compulsion.

Verse 9. - And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. This verse consists of two parts which in the original are coordinated; but in the Authorized Version the one is subordinated to the other by supplying an awkward and unnecessary ellipsis. It is better, therefore, to translate thus: And I am the Lord thy God, from the land of Egypt: I will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. Some understand this verse as a threatening; not a few as a promise; while others combine both.

(1) Theodoret, who may be taken as representing the first class of interpreters, comments thus: "That thou mayest understand this and learn wisdom by thy calamity, I will bring thee back again to that point that thou must again dwell in tents and wander as an exile in a foreign land."

(2) Kimchi may represent those who understand it as a promise, or rather a promise with an implied threatening, and thus combine both. His exposition is as follows: "Even so am I ready to bring you forth out of the captivity where ye shall Be, as I did when I brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, and sustained you in the wilderness and made you dwell in tents; so am I ready yet again, when I shall have brought you forth out of the lands of the Gentiles, to cause you to dwell in tents in the wilderness by the way, and to show you wonders until ye shall return to your land in peace."

(3) Wunsche rejects both the preceding, and refers the statement to the other, present time, taking עוד, not in the sense of "yet again," but in the equally allowable meaning of "further," or "still further;" thus his rendering of the verse is, "And yet I am thy God from Egypt, still I let thee dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast." Thus we have a remembrance of God's goodness to Israel all along from the Exodus to the time then present, including the celebration of their feasts, especially that of Taber-uncles, the most joyful of them all. This is favored by the interpretation of Aben Ezra, which is the following: "The sense is, 'Shouldst thou not remember that I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt in great riches for which thou didst not labor, and nourished thee in the wilderness when thou wast in tents?' In like manner he shall be able to do unto thee as in the days of the solemn feast of thy coming out of Egypt." We prefer, notwithstanding, the exposition number

(2), which includes, or rather implies, a threatening of being driven out of their good laud into a wilderness state, because of their forgetfulness of, and ingratitude to, God, as also because of their proud self-confidence; while, with this implied threat of punishment, God holds out to them the promise and prospect of like guiding care and sheltering guardianship, as in that early period of their history, the remembrance of which was still kept up by the mo'ed, or Feast of Tabernacles, during the seven days of which the people dwelt in booths, in commemoration of their having dwelt in booths in the wilderness after they had been delivered out of the land of Egypt. Thus, as Hengstenberg has well observed, "the preterit is changed into a future through the ingratitude of the nation." Vers. 10 and 11 prove God's continual care for the spiritual welfare and best interests of Israel all along, and, at the same time, the inexcusableness of Israel in forgetting God and in arrogating to themselves the power of controlling their own destinies in the matter of wealth and prosperity; while multiplied prophecies and visions testified to both, vie. to God's care and Israel's recklessness of warnings. Moreover, their persistence in sin prepared them for and precipitated the punishment. Hosea 12:9"Yet am I Jehovah thy God, from the land of Egypt hither: I will still cause thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the feast. Hosea 12:10. I have spoken to the prophets; and I, I have multiplied visions, and spoken similitudes through the prophets. Hosea 12:11. If Gilead (is) worthlessness, they have only come to nothing: in Gilgal they offered bullocks: even their altars are like stone-heaps in the furrows of the field." The Lord meets the delusion of the people, that they had become great and powerful through their own exertion, by reminding them that He (ואנכי is adversative, yet I) has been Israel's God from Egypt hither, and that to Him they owe all prosperity and good in both past and present (cf. Hosea 13:4). Because they do not recognise this, and because they put their trust in unrighteousness rather than in Him, He will now cause them to dwell in tents again, as in the days of the feast of Tabernacles, i.e., will repeat the leading through the wilderness. It is evident from the context that mō‛ēd (the feast) is here the feast of Tabernacles. מועד (the days of the feast) are the seven days of this festival, during which Israel was to dwell in booths, in remembrance of the fact that when God led them out of Egypt He had caused them to dwell in booths (tabernacles, Leviticus 23:42-43). אד אושׁיבך stands in antithesis to הושׁבתּי ot si in Leviticus 23:43. "The preterite is changed into a future through the ingratitude of the nation" (Hengstenberg). The simile, "as in the days of the feast," shows that the repetition of the leading through the desert is not thought of here merely as a time of punishment, such as the prolongation of the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years really was (Numbers 14:33). For their dwelling in tents, or rather in booths (sukkōth), on the feast of Tabernacles, was intended not so much to remind the people of the privations of their unsettled wandering life in the desert, as to call to their remembrance the shielding and sheltering care and protection of God in their wandering through the great and terrible wilderness (see at Leviticus 23:42-43). We must combine the two allusions, therefore: so that whilst the people are threatened indeed with being driven out of the good and glorious land, with its large and beautiful cities and houses full of all that is good (Deuteronomy 6:10.), into a dry and barren desert, they have also set before them the repetition of the divine guidance through the desert; so that they are not threatened with utter rejection on the part of God, but only with temporary banishment into the desert. In Hosea 12:10 and Hosea 12:11 the two thoughts of Hosea 12:9 are still further expanded. In Hosea 12:10 they are reminded how the Lord had proved Himself to be the God of Israel from Egypt onwards, by sending prophets and multiplying prophecy, to make known His will and gracious counsel to the people, and to promote their salvation. דּבּר with על, to speak to, not because the word is something imposed upon a person, but because the inspiration of God came down to the prophets from above. אדמּה, not "I destroy," for it is only the kal that occurs in this sense, and not the piel, but "to compare," i.e., speak in similes; as, for example, in Hosea 1:1-11 and Hosea 3:1-5, Isaiah 5:1., Ezekiel 16 etc.: "I have left no means of admonishing them untried" (Rosenmller). Israel, however, has not allowed itself to be admonished and warned, but has given itself up to sin and idolatry, the punishment of which cannot be delayed. Gilead and Gilgal represent the two halves of the kingdom of the ten tribes; Gilead the land to the east of the Jordan, and Gilgal the territory to the west. As Gilead is called "a city (i.e., a rendezvous) of evil-doers" (פּעלי און) in Hosea 6:8, so is it here called distinctly און, worthlessness, wickedness; and therefore it is to be utterly brought to nought. און and שׁוא are synonymous, denoting moral and physical nonentity (compare Job 15:31). Here the two notions are so distributed, that the former denotes the moral decay, the latter the physical. Worthlessness brings nothingness after it as a punishment. אך, only equals nothing, but equivalent to utterly. The perfect היוּ is used for the certain future. Gilgal, which is mentioned in Hosea 4:15; Hosea 9:15, as the seat of one form of idolatrous worship, is spoken of here as a place of sacrifice, to indicate with a play upon the name the turning of the altars into heaps of stones (Gallim). The desolation or destruction of the altars involves not only the cessation of the idolatrous worship, but the dissolution of the kingdom and the banishment of the people out of the land. שׁורים, which only occurs in the plural here, cannot of course be the dative (to sacrifice to oxen), but only the accusative. The sacrifice of oxen was reckoned as a sin on the part of the people, not on account of the animals offers, but on account of the unlawful place of sacrifice. The suffix to mizbechōthâm (their sacrifices) refers to Israel, the subject implied in zibbēchū.
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