Hosea 2:20
I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
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2:14-23 After these judgments the Lord would deal with Israel more gently. By the promise of rest in Christ we are invited to take his yoke upon us; and the work of conversion may be forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions. But usually the Lord drives us to despair of earthly joy, and help from ourselves, that, being shut from every other door, we may knock at Mercy's gate. From that time Israel would be more truly attached to the Lord; no longer calling him Baali, or My lord and master, alluding to authority, rather than love, but Ishi, an address of affection. This may foretell the restoration from the Babylonish captivity; and also be applied to the conversion of the Jews to Christ, in the days of the apostles, and the future general conversion of that nation; and believers are enabled to expect infinitely more tenderness and kindness from their holy God, than a beloved wife can expect from the kindest husband. When the people were weaned from idols, and loved the Lord, no creature should do them any harm. This may be understood of the blessings and privileges of the spiritual Israel, of every true believer, and their partaking of Christ's righteousness; also, of the conversion of the Jews to Christ. Here is an argument for us to walk so that God may not be dishonoured by us: Thou art my people. If a man's family walk disorderly, it is a dishonour to the master. If God call us children, we may say, Thou art our God. Unbelieving soul, lay aside discouraging thoughts; do not thus answer God's loving-kindness. Doth God say, Thou art my people? Say, Lord, thou art our God.And thou shalt know the Lord - This knowledge of God follows on God's act of betrothal and of love. "We love God, because God first loved us." And the true knowledge of God includes the love of God. "To love man, we must know him: to know God, we must love Him." To "acknowledge" God, is not yet to "know" Him. They who love not God, will not even acknowledge Him as He Is, "Supreme Wisdom and Goodness and Power, the Creator and Preserver; the Author of all which is good, the Governor of the world, Redeemer of man, the most bounteous Rewarder of those who serve Him, the most just retributor of those who persevere in rebellion against Him." They who will not love God, cannot even "know" aright of God. But to "know God," is something beyond this. It is to know by experience that God is good; and this God makes known to the soul which he loves, while it meditates on Him, reads of Him; speaks of Him, adores Him, obeys Him. "This knowledge cometh from the revelation of God the Father, and in it is true bliss. Whence, when Peter confessed Him to be the Son of man and Son of God, He said, "Blessed art thou, for Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." Yea, this knowledge is life eternal, as He said, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" John 17:3. 20. faithfulness—to My new covenant of grace with thee (1Th 5:24; Heb 10:23). This verse is a third promise in the same words to comfort and encourage the true Israel, only faithfulness is here added a qualification of this new marriage, which shall continue firm on a mutual, faithful promise, love, and contract.

Thou shalt know the Lord; his just anger which hath punished, his rich grace which hath now pardoned and taken into covenant again, his faithfulness and tender compassions, his all-sufficiency and sovereignty, that we may obey him, and rest satisfied in his love, as it is our reward and happiness.

I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness,.... Which lies in keeping the marriage contract inviolable; Christ will never suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor break his covenant; as he is faithful to his Father that appointed him, so he is, and will be, to his church and people, and to every believer, to whom he is espoused; and it is he that makes them faithful unto him, and gives them faith to believe in him, receive, embrace, own, and acknowledge him as their husband: and in this sense some understand it, rendering it, "in faith" (z); so the Targum and others. This is the third time the word "betroth" is used, or this promise made; which, according to Jerome, refers to them espousing of the Jews in Abraham, at Mount Sinai, and in the times of Christ; and, according to Kimchi, to the three captivities of the Jews, in Egypt, in Babylon, and that in which they now are: and some Christian writers think the mystery of the Trinity is here pointed at; and the sense to be, that all the three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, would espouse them: but rather it is so often repeated to confirm it, and express the certainty of it, which might, on many accounts, seem a thing incredible.

And thou shall know the Lord; that the Messiah is Jehovah, and that he is their husband; they shall all know him, from the least to the greatest; they shall have a saving knowledge of him, which will issue in eternal life; they shall own him, and acknowledge him, serve and obey him, as their Lord, Head, and Husband, as well as love him, and believe in him. The Targum is,

"and ye shall know to fear before the Lord;''

see Jeremiah 31:34. Let it be observed, here are no conditions throughout, it is only "I will", and "thou shalt".

(z) "in fide", V. L. &c.

I will even betroth thee unto me in {y} faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.

(y) With a covenant that will never be broken.

20. and thou shalt know the Lord] The ‘knowledge’ of Jehovah is repeatedly insisted upon by Hosea (see Hosea 4:1, Hosea 5:4, Hosea 6:3; Hosea 6:6); not however a merely intellectual one, but that which rests upon spiritual experience, and results in moral practice. Such experience was lacking in Hosea’s countrymen; ‘the spirit of whoredom is in the midst of them, and they have not known Jehovah’ (Hosea 5:4). It was natural to describe as an element of the realized ideal that Jehovah’s people should at last ‘know’ him. How much weaker is the alternative reading, ‘know that I am the Lord’, though supported by the precious Babylonian codex, as well as by the Vulgate!

Hosea 2:20"And I betroth thee to myself for ever; and I betroth thee to myself in righteousness, and judgment, and in grace and pity. Hosea 2:20. And I betroth thee to myself in faithfulness; and thou acknowledgest Jehovah." ארשׂ לו, to betroth to one's self, to woo, is only applied to the wooing of a maiden, not to the restoration of a wife who has been divorced, and is generally distinguished from the taking of a wife (Deuteronomy 20:7). ארשׂתּיך therefore points, as Calvin observes, to an entirely new marriage. "It was indeed great grace for the unfaithful wife to be taken back again. She might in justice have been put away for ever. The only valid ground for divorce was there, since she had lived for years in adultery. But the grace of God goes further still. The past is not only forgiven, but it is also forgotten" (Hengstenberg). The Lord will now make a new covenant of marriage with His church, such as is made with a spotless virgin. This new and altogether unexpected grace He now directly announces to her: "I betroth thee to myself;" and repeats this promise three times in ever fresh terms, expressive of the indissoluble character of the new relation. This is involved in לעולם, "for ever," whereas the former covenant had been broken and dissolved by the wife's own guilt. In the clauses which follow, we have a description of the attributes which God would thereby unfold in order to render the covenant indissoluble. These are, (1) righteousness and judgment; (2) grace and compassion; (3) faithfulness. Tsedeq equals tsedâqâh and mishpât are frequently connected. Tsedeq, "being right," denotes subjective righteousness as an attribute of God or man; and mishpât, objective right, whether in its judicial execution as judgment, or in its existence in actual fact. God betroths His church to Himself in righteousness and judgment, not by doing her justice, and faithfully fulfilling the obligations which He undertook at the conclusion of the covenant (Hengstenberg), but by purifying her, through the medium of just judgment, from all the unholiness and ungodliness that adhere to her still (Isaiah 1:27), that He may wipe out everything that can injure the covenant on the part of the church. But with the existing sinfulness of human nature, justice and judgment will not suffice to secure the lasting continuance of the covenant; and therefore God also promises to show mercy and compassion. But as even the love and compassion of God have their limits, the Lord still further adds, "in faithfulness or constancy," and thereby gives the promise that He will not more withdraw His mercy from her. בּאמוּנה is also to be understood of the faithfulness of God, as in Psalm 89:25, not of that of man (Hengstenberg). This is required by the parallelism of the sentences. In the faithfulness of God the church has a certain pledge, that the covenant founded upon righteousness and judgment, mercy and compassion, will stand for ever. The consequence of this union is, that the church knows Jehovah. This knowledge is "real." "He who knows God in this way, cannot fail to love Him, and be faithful to Him" (Hengstenberg); for out of this covenant there flows unconquerable salvation.
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