Hosea 13:10
I will be your king: where is any other that may save you in all your cities? and your judges of whom you said, Give me a king and princes?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) The rendering should be, Where, pray, is thy king, that he may save thee? &c. The original demand for a king who should be a visible token to Israel of protection against their surrounding foes was adverse to the true spirit of the kingdom of God upon earth, and, though granted, proved to the united kingdom, and afterwards to the kingdom of Israel, an age-long curse. Probably the special reference here is to the latter—the erection of the Ten Tribes into a separate monarchy.

Hosea 13:10-11. I will be thy king — I would have been thy king to save and govern thee, but thou refusedst me in both respects: yet I will be thy king to judge me and punish thee. The LXX. and all the ancient versions interpret the clause differently, and give the interrogative, Where? Where is thy king now, that he may serve thee? They seem to have taken the word אהי, I will be, for איה, where, by a transposition of letters, as the same word is used again, Hosea 13:14. Bishop Horsley understands the words in the same sense, and reads, Where is thy king? Where now is he? To save thee forsooth in all thy cities — and thy judges? — “This vehement, re-doubled interrogation,” says he, “seems to suppose a denial, on the part of the Israelites, of the helpless, ruined state, asserted in the former verse, as the consequence of God’s withdrawing his protection. Do you deny this? Do you pretend that you have still means of defence, hope of deliverance? You rely upon the policy or prowess of your monarch. Where is he, this wise and mighty king? Tell me in what quarter? Your judges, your provincial rulers, where are they? Let us see what deliverance this king and these rulers can effect.” The words seem to be spoken with a reference to the Israelites desiring a king to be set over them, instead of continuing under the theocracy, or the immediate government of God, who raised them up from time to time, as he saw most fit for them, defenders and protectors, and endued them with extraordinary abilities for the purpose. But the Israelites foolishly thought they should thrive better under a kingly government, such as the rest of the nations around them were under, which is expressed in the latter part of this verse, Of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes — That is, a king and such principal officers as he shall appoint. This is what is meant by the word judges in this verse. I gave thee a king in mine anger — Being angry at your sins and provocations, I gave you a king at first, and have since suffered you, by seditions and conspiracies, to change your kings according as you pleased, whereby your state hath received more and more damage, and now I will take away your present king by the hand of the Assyrians.13:9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.I will be thy King - (literally, "I would be" thy King) Where is any other that, etc. A better translation would be: "Where now is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities; and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, give me a king and princes."

As Israel was under Samuel, such it remained. "Then" it mistrusted God, and looked to man for help, saying, "Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles" 1 Samuel 8:19. In choosing man they rejected God. The like they did, when they chose Jeroboam. In order to rid themselves of the temporary pressure of Rehoboam's taxes, they demanded anew "king and princes." First they rejected God as their king; then they rejected the king whom God appointed, and Him in His appointment. "In all thy cities." It was then to be one universal need of help. They had chosen a king "to fight their battles," and had rejected God. Now was the test, whether their choice had been good or evil. One cry for help went up from "all their cities." God would have heard it; could man?

: "This question is like that other, 'Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drink the wine of their drink offerings?' Deuteronomy 32:37-39. As there, when no answer could be made, He adds, 'See now that I, I am He, and that there is no god with Me,' so here He subjoins;"

10. I will be thy king; where—rather, as the Margin and the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, "Where now is thy king?" [Maurer]. English Version is, however, favored both by the Hebrew, by the antithesis between Israel's self-chosen and perishing kings, and God, Israel's abiding King (compare Ho 3:4, 5).

where … Give me a king—Where now is the king whom ye substituted in My stead? Neither Saul, whom the whole nation begged for, not contented with Me their true king (1Sa 8:5, 7, 19, 20; 10:19), nor Jeroboam, whom subsequently the ten tribes chose instead of the line of David My anointed, can save thee now. They had expected from their kings what is the prerogative of God alone, namely, the power of saving them.

judges—including all civil authorities under the king (compare Am 2:3).

I will be thy King; I would have been thy King to govern and save thee, but thou refusedst me in both; yet I will he thy King to punish thee. I will not lose my right and honour by thy rebellious carriages against me, I will be a King and subdue such: or else it is a taunting question, Where is thy king, on whose counsel, wisdom, power, and conduct thou hast relied? let him now save thee if he can: so it runs smooth with the next words.

Where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? or, who is there, what wise, valiant, and successful commander, in any of thy cities, that can deliver thee first out of my hand, and next out of the Assyrians’ hand?

Thy judges, where are they? thy magistrates have sinned with thee, and shall be destroyed with thee. Thy rulers or inferior governors,

of whom thou saidst, Give me a king; whom thou didst importune and solicit, in a manner forcedst to meet, consult, and resolve in seditious times who should be king next, when treasons had taken away him that was? Some refer this to their first asking a king, but it is better referred to the times either after Jeroboam the First, or to the times after Jeroboam the Second, between whose death and Hoshea’s time, some say, there was an interregnum of twenty or near twenty years, during which a turbulent people, as the Israelites were, would be frequent and earnest in all likelihood in moving for a king.

And princes, necessary to assist the king. I will be thy King, where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?.... Governor, Protector, and Defender; and so confirming what is before said, that their help was in him: or, as the Targum, Abarbinel, and others (n), "where is thy king now, that he may serve thee in all thy cities?" whom they had asked, rejecting the Lord, and in whom they had put their trust and confidence for help; and now either having no king, he being taken away from them by death, or by the enemy; or if they had, he being unable to help them in their distress; they are ironically asked where he was, that he might exert himself and save them, if he could, in all the cities of the land, where the enemy were come, a, a had besieged and took them:

and thy judges, of whom thou saidst give me a king and princes? that is; where are thy king and his nobles, his courtiers and his counsellors, and all judges, magistrates, and governors subordinate to him? let them arise for thy help, if they can, by their policy or power, by their counsel, or by their arms; for judges and princes design such as were of the king's court and council, or acted in government under his direction and influence; for though these are not expressly mentioned, when they asked for a king, yet are implied; since there is no king without a court and nobles to attend him, to advise with, and to act under him. This refers to the story in 1 Samuel 8:6, &c. and seems to be the leading step to Israel's ruin and destruction as a state.

(n) "ubi Rex tuus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Zanchius, Liveleus, Drusius, Cocceius, Schmidt, Targum. So Noldius, Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 101. No. 496.

{g} I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?

(g) I am all one; Jas 1:17.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 10-16. - The concluding verse is at once a conclusion and commencement - an inference from what preceded, and the beginning of a second line of proof showing that, while their ruin was by themselves, their restoration would be by God. When the kings and princes whom they had sinfully sought, and who had been given to them in anger would fail, God himself would be their King, as is stated in vers. 10 and 11. Further, when in consequence of their iniquities treasured up, their sorrows and sufferings would be extreme, as stated in vers. 12 and 13, yet they would be raised up as out of their graves, as promised in ver. 14. Verses 10, 11. - Israel had shown contempt for Jehovah by putting confidence in kings of their own choice, yet these kings could not afford them help, whence the questions of ver. 10. The usual rendering is at fault. I will be thy King. This should rather be, Where now is thy king? though ehi may be either verb or adverb. Where is any other that may says thee in all thy cities? Better take both clauses together and in connection, thus: Where, now, is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities?

(1) The word ehi we take, with Ewald, to be a dialectic variation for אֵיַּה, or shortened form אֵי, and this is strengthened by אֵפוא, equivalent to the Greek ποτε or Latin tandem, for sake of emphasis. The purpose for which the Israelites had asked a king was that he might "judge them and go out before them to fight their battles" (1 Samuel 8:20). The question, then, does not indicate the want of a king, or the prevalence of a state of anarchy, but that a crisis had come when such a king as they had requested should exhibit his prowess and display his power. It is as though the prophet asked, or rather God by his servant," Where is now the king that can defend the besieged cities, or deliver the attacked fortresses; and defeat the Assyrian foeman who is now threatening both? Or where are the judges (shophetim), or the princes (sarim), who constitute his cabinet or royal counselors sharing in the counsels of state, and administering the affairs of the kingdom under him?" The answer implied is that those visible helps, on which Israel had so confidently calculated, turned out valueless; the kingly constitution on which they had set their heart proved a failure, as far as help and deliverance were concerned.

(2) Kimchi and others take אהי as first person future of the verb היה; thus: "I shall be established for ever, but where is thy king? Whereas thou didst reject my kingdom, and demanded a king who should save you; and it should be he that would save you in all your cities against which the enemies came." "And it comes to pass in that day, I will hear, is the word of Jehovah; I will hear heaven, and it hears the earth. And the earth will hear the corn, and the new wine, and the oil; and they will hear Jezreel (God sows)." God will hear all the prayers that ascend to Him from His church (the first אענה is to be taken absolutely; compare the parallel in Isaiah 58:9), and cause all the blessings of heaven and earth to flow down to His favoured people. By a prosopopeia, the prophet represents the heaven as praying to God, to allow it to give to the earth that which is requisite to ensure its fertility; whereupon the heaven fulfils the desires of the earth, and the earth yields its produce to the nation.

(Note: As Umbreit observes, "It is as though we heard the exalted harmonies of the connected powers of creation, sending forth their notes as they are sustained and moved by the eternal key-note of the creative and moulding Spirit.")

In this way the thought is embodied, that all things in heaven and on earth depend on God; "so that without His bidding not a drop of rain falls from heaven, and the earth produces no germ, and consequently all nature would at length be barren, unless He gave it fertility by His blessing" (Calvin). The promise rests upon Deuteronomy 28:12, and forms the antithesis to the threat in Leviticus 26:19 and Deuteronomy 28:23-24, that God will make the heavens as brass, and the earth as iron, to those who despise His name. In the last clause the prophecy returns to its starting-point with the words, "Hear Jezreel." The blessing which flows down from heaven to earth flows to Jezreel, the nation which "God sows." The name Jezreel, which symbolizes the judgment about to burst upon the kingdom of Israel, according to the historical signification of the name in Hosea 1:4, Hosea 1:11, is used here in the primary sense of the word, to denote the nation as pardoned and reunited to its God.

This is evident from the explanation given in Hosea 2:23 : "And I sow her for myself in the land, and favour Unfavoured, and say to Not-my-people, Thou art my people; and it says to me, My God." זרע does not mean "to strew," or scatter (not even in Zechariah 10:9; cf. Koehler on the passage), but simply "to sow." The feminine suffix to זרעתּיה refers, ad sensum, to the wife whom God has betrothed to Himself for ever, i.e., to the favoured church of Israel, which is now to become a true Jezreel, as a rich sowing on the part of God. With this turn in the guidance of Israel, the ominous names of the other children of the prophet's marriage will also be changed into their opposite, to show that mercy and the restoration of vital fellowship with the Lord will now take the place of judgment, and of the rejection of the idolatrous nation. With regard to the fulfilment of the promise, the remarks made upon this point at Hosea 1:11 and Hosea 2:1 (pp. 33, 34), are applicable here, since this section is simply a further expansion of the preceding one.

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