And I will betroth you to me for ever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I will betroth thee” (as at the first, when maiden undefiled). Three times is this phrase repeated. “Righteousness” and “judgment” indicate the equitable terms on which God would accept the penitent; and lest this thought should crush her with fear, “lovingkindness” and “tender mercies” follow; and lest this should seem too good, He adds “with faithfulness” (to myself).
I will betroth thee.—It is in the betrothal of humanity to God in Christ’s incarnation that the human race, which had so deeply revolted, returns to Him, and knows the Lord.Hosea 2:19-20. I will betroth thee unto me for ever — I will treat thee, who hast been a harlot, like a wife, if hereafter thou become faithful to me. Yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, &c. — Bishop Horsley translates these verses thus: To myself I say, I will betroth thee with justice, and with righteousness, and with exuberant kindness and with tender love. With faithfulness to myself, I say, I will betroth thee, and thou shalt know the Jehovah. The passage, it seems, maybe paraphrased as follows: I will betroth, or take, thee unto me in a way that shall display, or make manifest, my righteousness, or the regard I have to justice and holiness, my beneficence, or inclination to make my creatures happy, my mercy in forgiving offences committed against me, and my faithfulness in fulfilling my promises, and verifying my declarations. And thou shalt know the Lord — Experience the exuberant goodness of Jehovah; shalt find that he is and wilt be a gracious Lord to thee. One especial part of the new covenant consists in imparting to the faithful a more perfect knowledge of God as a sin-pardoning God, and of his will and their own duty: see Jeremiah 31:31-34.Revelation 19:9.
He, by His Spirit, shall be with His Church "unto the end of the world," and so bind her unto Himself that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against her." The whole Church shall never fail. This "betrothal" implies and involves a new covenant, as God says, "Behold the days come, that I will make a new covenant with the hoarse of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to My covenant which I made with their fathers, which My covenant they brake" Jeremiah 31:31-32, and which vanisheth away. To those who had broken His covenant and been unfaithful to Him, it was great tenderness, that He reproached them not with the past; as neither doth He penitents now. But beyond this, in that He speaks of "espousing" her who was already espoused to Him, God shows that He means something new, and beyond that former espousal. What God here promised He fulfilled, not as God the Father, but in Christ. What God promised of Himself, He only could perform. God said to the Church, "I will betroth thee unto Me." He who became the "Bridegroom" John 3:29 of the Church was Christ Jesus; she became "the wife of the Lamb" Revelation 21:9; to Him the Church was "espoused, as a chaste Virgin" 2 Corinthians 11:2. He then who fulfilled what God promised that He would Himself fulfill, was Almighty God.
I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness - Or rather, (which is more tender yet and more merciful,) by, with, righteousness, etc. These are the marriage-dowry, the bridal gifts, "with" which He purchaseth and espouseth the bride unto Himself. Righteousness then and Judgment, loving-kindness and mercies, and faithfulness or truth, are attributes of God, wherewith, as by gifts of espousal, He maketh her His own. "Righteousness" is that in God, whereby He is Himself righteous and just; "Judgment," that whereby He puts in act what is right against these who do wrong, and so judges Satan; as when the hour of His Passion was at hand, He said, "when the Comforter is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" John 16:8, John 16:11. "Loving-kindness" is that tender affection, wherewith He cherisheth His children, the works of His hands; Mercies, His tender yearnings over us (see the note above at Hosea 1:6), wherewith He hath compassion on our weakness; "Faithfulness," that whereby He "keepeth covenant forever" Psalm 111:9, and "loveth His own unto the end" John 13:1.
And these qualities, as they are His, whereby He saved us, so doth He impart them to the Church in her measure, and to faithful souls. These are her dowry, her jewels, her treasure, her inheritance. He giveth to her and to each soul, as it can receive it, and in a secondary way, His Righteousness, Judgment, Loving-kindness, Mercies, Faithfulness. His "Righteousness," contrary to her former unholiness, He poureth into her, and giveth her, with it, grace and love and all the fruits of the Spirit. By His Judgment, He giveth her a right judgment in all things, as contrary to her former blindness. "Know ye not, says the Apostle 1 Corinthians 6:3, that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?" "Loving-kindness" is tender love, wherewith we "love one another, as Christ loved us" John 15:12. "Mercies" are that same love to those who need mercy, whereby we are "merciful, as our Father is merciful" Luke 6:36. "Faithfulness" is that constancy, whereby the elect shall "persevere unto the end, as He saith, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" Revelation 2:10.
The threefold repetition of the word betroth is also, doubtless mysterious, alluding chiefly to the Mystery of the All-Holy Trinity, so often and so manifoldly, in Holy Srcipture, foreshadowed by this sacred number. To them is the Church betrothed, by the pronouncing of whose names each of her members is, in Holy Baptism, "espoused as a chaste virgin unto Christ." At three times especially did our Lord espouse the Church unto Himself. : "First in His Incarnation, when He willed to unite His own Deity with our humanity," and "in the Virgin's womb, the nature of the woman, our nature, human nature, was joined to the nature of God," and that "forever." "He will be forever the Word and Flesh, i. e., God and Man." Secondly, in His Passion, when he washed her with His Blood, and bought her for His own by His Death. Thirdly, in the Day of Pentecost, when He poured out the Holy Spirit upon her, whereby He dwelleth in her and she in Him. And He who thus espoused the Church is God; she whom He espoused, an adulteress, and He united her to Himself, making her a pure virgin without spot or blemish. : "Human marriage makes those who were virgins to cease to be so; the divine espousal makes her who was defiled, a pure virgin." "I have espoused you," says Paul to those whom he had won back from all manner of pagan sins, "to one Husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin unto Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2; see Jeremiah 3:1-2). O the boundless clemency of God! : "How can it be possible, that so mighty a King should become a Bridegroom, that the Church should be advanced into a Bride? That alone hath power for this, which is All-powerful; 'love, strong as death' Sol 8:6. How should it not easily lift her up, which hath already made Him stoop? If He hath not acted as a Spouse, if He hath not loved as a Spouse, been jealous as a Spouse, then hesitate thou to think thyself espoused."
righteousness … judgment—in rectitude and truth.
loving-kindness, &c.—Hereby God assures Israel, who might doubt the possibility of their restoration to His favor; low, sunk, and unworthy as thou art. I will restore thee from a regard to My own "loving-kindness," not thy merits.And I, thy God, who was offended, but now am reconciled, though I was divorcing thee, will now
betroth, on new terms enter marriage covenant with
thee, O Israel, who art my people, and leavest thine idolatries and rebellions.
Unto me, God of mercy and truth, who hath forgiven and changed thee, and made thee suitable to myself, and who will be as kind and gracious as thou canst desire or need.
For ever: the former covenant was broken, and the marriage nulled, but now it shall be an everlasting contract and marriage between my Israel and their God.
I will betroth thee unto me: this promise is repeated to confirm it, and to remove scruples and jealousies.
In righteousness; on equal terms on both sides.
In judgment; with mature advice, or well-informed and settled judgment and resolution; this covenant shall be, as a well-taken oath, finished with integrity of heart and judgment. In loving-kindness; without desert in her that is betrothed, of mere love, and freest kindness.
And in mercies: this, though the same with the former, is added to insure all to this new-espoused wife; or
loving-kindness is the never-exhausted fountain, mercies are the never-failing streams, the abundant fruits of that love toward the poor and undeserving objects of it. Revelation 19:7, who will then return to their first husband; and though the Jews have been divorced, they will be received again, and be afresh betrothed; a new covenant or contract will be made with them, and which shall last for ever, Jeremiah 31:31 and this may be applied to every particular soul at conversion, which is the day of their open espousals to Christ; and they are visibly brought into a marriage relation with him, than which nothing is more near; they become flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, yea, one spirit with him, and are indulged with near communion with him; and hence is that sympathy he has with them in all their afflictions, temptations, and exercises, and takes that as done to him which is done to them, whether good or ill; hence all their debts or sins become his, and he satisfies for them, and his righteousness becomes theirs: this is a very endearing relation; there is a mutual delight and complacency they take in each other; and a most able one it is; hence they are called by his name, Christians, and partake of his honour; he is King, and they queen; and a very beneficial relation it is, for all that Christ is, and has, are theirs; and a most marvellous and wondrous thing it is that he should betroth them to himself, when he is the Son of the living God, himself the true God, God over all blessed for ever, the Maker and Governor of the world, and heir of all things; and though they in their secret betrothment were considered as sinless creatures, yet in their open espousals at conversion are fallen sinners, in a very low estate indeed; under sentence of condemnation and death; devoid of the image of God; depraved, polluted, and guilty creatures; in deep debt, and extreme poverty; it is as if a prince, heir apparent to the throne, should take a convict or condemned malefactor out of her cell, or a common strumpet out of the stews, or a bankrupt and beggar from the dunghill, and marry her: and this relation will continue "for ever": the marriage covenant or contract is an everlasting one; the bond of union, which is everlasting and unchangeable love, is indissoluble; death cannot take place in either party; both shall live forever; and this is a strong proof of the final perseverance of the saints.
Yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness; either in truth, in sincerity, heartily, and without any hypocrisy or dissimulation; or consistent with righteousness, with his love of righteousness and holiness, and hatred of sin: or rather in his own justifying righteousness; not in their own righteousness, which is as rags; for though he finds them in such rags, he strips them of them, and puts on the wedding garment, the robe of his own righteousness, and garment of salvation; when they become as a bride, adorned with ornaments, and so made ready for the nuptials, and in this he betroths them; see Isaiah 61:10,
and in judgment: in sanctification, according to some, the work being now begun by the Spirit of God, as a spirit of judgment; or in a judicious way, not rashly and precipitantly, but with mature deliberation, and of choice arising from judgment; or rather absolving them from the sentence of condemnation and death by his righteousness, and protecting and defending them from their enemies, for the sake of which, and other things, he takes them into this relation;
and in lovingkindness, and in mercies: denoting both the love, which is the spring and source of this relation, and not any merits of theirs; and the kind and tender manner in which he betroths them; as well as the numerous favours he bestows upon them; as pardon of sin; justification of life; spiritual peace; supplies of all grace, and eternal life; all the effects of free grace, unmerited love, and sovereign mercy.And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. I will betroth thee unto me] A second marriage-ceremony among the Israelites had to be preceded by a second betrothal. Jehovah promises here that this betrothal shall be ‘for ever’, i.e., that no differences shall destroy the mutual harmony between Jehovah and His people, (comp. Jeremiah 31:35-37; Isaiah 54:8-10). Righteousness and justice, &c. shall be as it were the bond which unites the pair. The triple mention of the betrothal indicates the solemnity of the act.Verses 19, 20. - Much as was included in these promises, more and better was to follow. The divorced wife was to be taken back; the marriage contract, which her shameful adultery had vitiated, was to be renewed, and past offences condoned. This certainly evidenced extraordinary forbearance and affection. But it was not all. A new and higher relationship was to be entered on; so entirely had God forgiven and forgotten, if we may so say, all the multiplied and aggravated transgressions of Israel against him, that that people is not to be received back as a repudiated wife, but to be henceforth regarded and treated as a chaste virgin, and in that capacity betrothed unto the Lord. And I will betroth thee unto me is the gracious promise thrice repeated, and each time with an additional element of mercy; nor is this betrothal of a temporary character and of short continuance, like the previous marriage compact which the wife's guilt a short time had rendered null and void. It is a durable betrothal, lasting forever. Next to the time during which this betrothal shall continue is the manner in which it is effected, or rather, the basis on which it is established. Justice and judgment present righteousness under two aspects - subjective and objective. Tsedeq, equivalent to tseda-qah, being right, is subjective righteousness and an attribute of God. Mishpat, equivalent to objective right, either as executing judgment or as existing in fact Some attribute these characteristics to God and some to Israel, while others to both. Rashi and Kimchi understand both words tsedeq and mishpat, subjectively and in relation to the Israelites. The former: "In righteousness and judgment wherein ye shall walk;" the latter: "In righteousness which the Israelites shall practice." Wunsche and Hengstenberg understand the righteousness and judgment of God's doing justice and faithfully fulfilling his covenant obligations to Israel. The latter has well remarked in relation to mishpat when distinguishing it from tsedeq, that a man may render what is right to persons and yet not be righteous; that is, there may be objective apart from subjective righteousness. Keil attributes the attributes in question, not only to God fulfilling his covenant engagements to his people, but purifying them through just judgment, and thus providing for their righteousness. That God possesses these is undeniable, but it is equally obvious that he bestows righteousness on his people both by imputation and impartation; he also executes righteousness in their case, purifying them by salutary chastisement, his object being, not only to cleanse, but to keep clean. And yet such is the frailty of man's fallen nature, and so many are the faults and the failings to which he is liable, that loving-kindness (God's condescending love, chesed, equivalent to ἀγάπη) and mercies (inmost compassion on man's weakness, rachamim, σπάχγνα) on God's part must be added to righteousness and judgment in order to secure the stability of those whom he takes into covenant, and the continuance of the contract. Nay; for the attainment of the desired end still more is requisite, for, after all his bestowments and all his discipline, and in addition to all his favor and forbearance, his faithfulness (unwavering steadfastness, emunah, corresponding as the reverse side to and securing the leolam) is indispensable to Israel's perseverance; and thus, notwithstanding Israel's failures, Jehovah's faithfulness guarantees ultimate and lasting success. The special quality on Israel's side is true knowledge of God. Daniel 8:17, one standing at some distance, who had the appearance of a man, but was not a man, but a supernatural being in human likeness. This person resembling a man is (Daniel 8:16) named by the angel, Gabriel, i.e., man of God. The voice of another, whom Daniel did not see, hearing only a human voice proceeding from the Ulai, commanded this person to explain the vision to the prophet (להלּז, i.e., to Daniel). Nothing further is indicated of the person from whom the voice proceeded than what may be conjectured from אוּלי בּין (between the Ulai), whence the voice sounded. These words do not mean "hither from Ulai" (Bertholdt), but "between the two banks of the Ulai" (Chr. B. Mich., Hv., etc.); according to which, the being whose voice Daniel heard appears as if hovering over the waters of the river Ulai. This conjecture is confirmed by Daniel 12:6-7, where Daniel sees a man hovering over the waters of the river of Ulai, who by the majesty of his appearance and his words shows himself to be a divine being, and is more minutely described according to the majesty of his appearance in Daniel 10:5. The question, who this man might be, is first answered in Daniel Dan 10:5. Gabriel is not a nomen proprium but appellativum. The angel who was described as an appearance like a גּבר (man) is named, for Daniel, Gabriel ("man of God"), that on subsequent occasions (e.g., Daniel 9:21) he might recognise him again as the same (Hgst., Hofm., Kliefoth). As to his relation to other angels and archangels, the Scripture gives no information. If Lengerke and Maurer regard him, after the book of Enoch, along with Michael, and Raphael, and Uriel whose name does not occur in Scripture, as one of the four angels that stand before the throne of God, the Scripture affords no support for it; nor does it countenance the supposition of Hitzig, that the two angels in Daniel 8:15, Daniel 8:16 are identical with those in Daniel 8:13, Daniel 8:14 - that Gabriel who spake, and the unknown angel, was the angel of the "rivers and fountains of waters," Revelation 16:4.
(Note: Altogether groundless, also, is the identification of them with the Persian Amschaspands, since neither the doctrine of angels nor the names of angels of the O.T. are derived from Parsism. The most recent attempt by Dr. Al. Kohut, in his researches regarding Jewish angelology and demonology in their dependence on Parsism (Abhand. fr die Kunde des Morgen. iv. Bc., Nr. 3), to establish this connection, is extremely poor and superficial. The proof adduced in the first ten pages of his treatise is confined to these points: that in the writings of the O.T. after the Exile or during the Exile the appearance of the angels is altogether different from that presented in the portions written before the Exile. It is said that, as a rule, the angels in the period first named take the human form, and bear names corresponding to their properties - Michael, Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1; Gabriel, Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; and in the book of Tobit, 12:15, not much later in date (?), Raphael; - now also, in contrast to the period before the Exile, there is an order in rank among the angels; Michael, Daniel 10:12, is designated as one of the first angel-princes, and, Daniel 12:1, as the greatest angel-prince; moreover, the number of שׂרים (angel-princes) is spoken of as seven, corresponding to the Persian Amesha-pentas (Tob. 12:15, and Book of Enoch 90:21). But does this distinction between the pre-exilian and post-exilian doctrine of angels, even though it were allowed to be as great as Kohut supposes, furnish a proof for the derivation of the latter from Parsism? or does this derivation follow from the fact that the Jews in exile came into intercourse with the Persians and the Medes, and that about this time the Zend worship flourished? And do the angels in the post-exilian writings for the first time indeed assume the human form? Kohut seems to know nothing of the appearance of angels in Genesis 19:1., Judges 6:11., Judges 13:9. Then does the agreement, not of the doctrine of the O.T., but of the later Jewish apocryphal writings, Tobit and the Book of Enoch, with regard to the number of angel-princes and of the Amesha-penta, furnish a sufficient proof of this derivation? Dr. Kohut does not himself appear to think so, since he regards it as necessary, in addition to this, which is "perhaps purely accidental," to furnish an etymological argument. Amesha-penta means "non connivens sanctus equals the holy one not sleeping;" "thus," he says, "it is a mere Chaldee rendering of the word Amesha-penta, when in Daniel 4:10,Daniel 4:14, Daniel 4:20; Daniel 8:13, the Jewish angel-princes are called עירין קדּשׁין equals holy watchers." But was, then, the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar, to whom in a dream a "holy watcher" appeared, a Jew? and in what edition of the Bible has Dr. Kohut found in Daniel 8:13 the angel name עיר? Nor is it any better proof that the demonology of the O.T. is a foreign production, resulting from the contact of the Jews with the Persians and Medes during the exile, because in Zechariah 3:1., Psalm 48:1-14 :49; 1 Chronicles 21:1, and especially in Job 1:6., Daniel 2:1, Satan "is depicted as a plague-spirit, altogether corresponding to the Persian Agromainjus, the killing spirit." Such silly talk needs no refutation.)
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