Hosea 2:6
Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6-7) Contains a brief introductory prelude, summarizing the general contents of Hosea 2:8-23. Jehovah addresses the adulterous wife: “I will erect impassable barriers that shall pierce and mangle her flesh. The path of evil shall be a path of thorns.”

Hedge up . . . and make a wall.—In accordance with most Hebrew texts, the literal rendering is, wall up her wall. Here, again, we have a sudden change of person.

She shall . . .—She may anticipate in her exile closer proximity to her idol-lovers, but in respect of national prosperity or religious satisfaction she will make complete mistake.

Hosea 2:6-7. Therefore I will hedge up thy way with thorns, &c. — That is, with difficulties and distresses; and make a wall — Hebrew, גדרה, a stone fence. I will effectually block up her way, and surround her with great calamities. That she shall not find her paths — That she shall not know which way to turn to extricate herself from them. And she shall follow after her lovers — She shall seek for help of her idols, and her idolatrous allies, but shall receive none. Or, as Archbishop Newcome paraphrases the words, “For some time she shall remain addicted to her Egyptian and Syrian idols, and to all her former idolatrous and immoral practices: but without carrying her evil wishes into execution.” She shall seek them, but not find them — A proverbial expression denoting lost labour. She shall seek for favour and succour at her lovers’ hands, but all in vain, they shall all forsake her, and change their ancient love into mortal hatred. “It is the usual practice of the devil and his instruments,” says an old writer, “to bring men into the briers and thorns, and there to leave them to shift as they can. Thus the Pharisees dealt by Judas; What is that to us, say they, see thou to that: they left him when they had led him to his ruin.” God deals very differently with his people. As in very faithfulness he afflicts them, that he may be true to their best interests: so when they follow hard after him, and seek him as David did, they are sure to find him; if they search for him with all their heart, Jeremiah 29:13. When they meet with disappointments it is in mercy, and they are chastened of the Lord, that they may not be condemned with the world. Then shall she say, I will return to my first husband, &c. — Her afflictions will bring her to a sense of her duty, and of the happiness she enjoyed as long as she cleaved steadfastly unto Jehovah the true God.2:6-13 God threatens what he would do with this treacherous, idolatrous people. They did not turn, therefore all this came upon them; and it is written for admonition to us. If lesser difficulties be got over, God will raise greater. The most resolute in sinful pursuits, are commonly most crossed in them. The way of God and duty is often hedged about with thorns, but we have reason to think it is a sinful way that is hedged up with thorns. Crosses and obstacles in an evil course are great blessings, and are to be so accounted; they are God's hedges, to keep us from transgressing, to make the way of sin difficult, and to keep us from it. We have reason to bless God for restraining grace, and for restraining providences; and even for sore pain, sickness, or calamity, if it keeps us from sin. The disappointments we meet with in seeking for satisfaction from the creature, should, if nothing else will do it, drive us to the Creator. When men forget, or consider not that their comforts come from God, he will often in mercy take them away, to bring them to think upon their folly and danger. Sin and mirth can never hold long together; but if men will not take away sin from their mirth, God will take away mirth from their sin. And if men destroy God's word and ordinances, it is just with him to destroy their vines and fig-trees. This shall be the ruin of their mirth. Taking away the solemn seasons and the sabbaths will not do it, they will readily part with them, and think it no loss; but He will take away their sensual pleasures. Days of sinful mirth must be visited with days of mourning.Therefore - that is, because she said, "I will go after my lovers," "behold I will hedge up thy ways;" literally, "behold, I hedging." It expresses an immediate future, or something which, as being fixed in the mind of God, is as certain as if it were actually taking place. So swift and certain should be her judgments.

Thy way - God had before spoken of Israel; now He turns to her, pronouncing judgment upon her; then again He turneth away from her, as not deigning to regard her. "If the sinner's way were plain, and the soul still had temporal prosperity, after it had turned away from its Creator, scarcely or never could it be recalled, nor would it "hear the voice behind it," warning it. But when adversity befalls it, and tribulation or temporal difficulties overtake it in its course, then it remembers the Lord its God." So it was with Israel in Egypt. When "they sat by the flesh pots, and did eat bread to the full, amid the fish, which they did eat freely, the cucumbers and the melons," they forgat the God of their fathers, and served the idols of Egypt. Then He raised up "a new king, who made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick and in all the service of the field;" then "they groaned by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of their bondage, and God heard their groaning" Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:5; Exodus 1:8, Exodus 1:14; Exodus 2:23, Exodus 2:4.

So in the book of Judges the ever-recurring history is, they forsook God; He delivered them into the hands of their enemies; they cried unto Him; He sent them a deliverer. A way may be found through a "hedge of thorns," although with pain and suffering; through a stone "wall" even a strong man cannot burst a way. "Thorns" then may be the pains to the flesh, with which God visits sinful pleasures, so that the soul, if it would break through to them, is held back and torn; the wall may mean, that all such sinful joys shall be cut off altogether, as by bereavement, poverty, sickness, failure of plans, etc. In sorrows, we cannot find our idols, which, although so near, vanish from us; but we may find our God, though we are so far from Him, and He so often seems so far from us. "God hedgeth with thorns the ways of the elect, when they find prickles in the things of time, which they desire. They attain not the pleasures of this world which they crave." They cannot "find their paths," when, in the special love of God, they are hindered from obtaining what they seek amiss. "I escaped not Thy scourges," says Augustine, as to his pagan state, "for what mortal can? For Thou wert ever with me, mercifully rigorous, and with most bitter alloy all my unlawful pleasures, that I might seek pleasure without alloy. But where to find such, I could not discover, save in Thee, O Lord, who teachest by sorrow, and woundest us, to heal, and killest us, lest we die from Thee" (Conf. ii. 4).

6, 7. thorns … wall—(Job 19:8; La 3:7, 9). The hindrances which the captivity interposed between Israel and her idols. As she attributes all her temporal blessings to idols, I will reduce her to straits in which, when she in vain has sought help from false gods, she will at last seek Me as her only God and Husband, as at the first (Isa 54:5; Jer 3:14; Eze 16:8).

then—before Israel's apostasy, under Jeroboam. The way of duty is hedged about with thorns; it is the way of sin that is hedged up with thorns. Crosses in an evil course are God's hedges to turn us from it. Restraining grace and restraining providences (even sicknesses and trials) are great blessings when they stop us in a course of sin. Compare Lu 15:14-18, "I will arise, and go to my father." So here, "I will go, and return," &c.; crosses in the both cases being sanctified to produce this effect.

Therefore; because she is so impetuous and shameless in her idolatrous courses, nothing hath, and she resolves nothing shall, hinder her, but she will follow them.

Behold; take notice of it, thou lewd woman, and all that stand by.

I will hedge up thy way with thorns: thou wilt set no bounds to thy lusts, and thy wanderings to satisfy them; I will deal with thee as men do with unruly and rambling beasts, set a hedge of thorns about thee, i.e. compass thee in with wars and other calamities, which shall wound and pierce thee, that though thou love thy sinful courses, and wilt follow them, thou shalt have little pleasure in them.

And make a wall; another allusion to the method men take to keep in the wildest cattle, which would break through hedges, but cannot break through walls. God will make the calamities of this people as a strong and high wall, over which they cannot leap, nor through which they cannot break. So was the Assyrian army under Shalmaneser, which cooped them up in a long siege of Samaria, and at last took them, and carried them into a long captivity, which now lasteth.

That she shall not find her paths; wherein then didst go when thou wentest to Egypt or Syria for help; but by my judgments, and thine enemies’ power and watchfulness, always shall be watched and guarded, thou shalt not find how to send to them for relief. These were her paths, whereas a chaste wife would have gone to her husband for relief. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns,.... As fields and vineyards are fenced with thorn hedges to keep out beasts; or rather as closes and fields are fenced to keep cattle in, from going out and straying elsewhere; which may be expressive of afflictions, aud particularly wars among them, that they could not stir out and go from place to place: and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths: to go to Dan and Bethel, and worship the calves there, as some; or to go to the Egyptians and Assyrians for help, as Jarchi and Kimchi; though it was by the latter that they were hedged in, and walled and cooped up, when the city of Samaria was besieged three years: rather this respects the straits and difficulties the Jews have been reduced to by the destruction of Jerusalem, and the continuance of them ever since; so that they are not able to offer their daily sacrifice, kill and eat their passover lamb, and perform other rites and ceremonies they used in their own land; which they would fain perform, though abolished by Christ, but are restrained by this hedge and wall, the destruction of their temple and altar, and not being suffered to possess their land; hence they are said to be without a sacrifice and an ephod. Hosea 3:4. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up {h} thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.

(h) I will punish you so that you may then test whether your idols can help you, and bring you into such straightness that you will have no lust to play the harlot.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. I will hedge up thy way with thorns] Notice how, in the excitement of anger, the person changes from the second to the third. The figure is that of a traveller, who has not indeed lost his way, but finds it shut up by a thorn-hedge planted right across it, and by a wall, which formerly could be scaled through a breach, but is now solidly built up. Job 3:23; Job 19:8 and Lamentations 3:7; Lamentations 3:9 are strikingly parallel. The reality signified is of course some dark calamity utterly paralyzing the vital powers. In the second line render a wall for her (lit., ‘her wall’).Verse 6. - Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. The sudden change of person from the third to the second is very observable. This directness of address is, in this instance, expressive of deep indignation. She had avowed her determination to pursue her evil courses shamefully and sinfully, as if in despite and defiance of the Almighty. In deep and undisguised displeasure, and with a suddenness springing from indignation, he affirms his determination to thwart her course of sin and shame; as though addressing her personally and promptly, he said, "Then thou shalt not be able to carry out thy plan or accomplish thy purpose; I will see to that." The hedge and wall are elsewhere, as in Job 1:10 and Isaiah 5:5, used for protection and defense, here for prevention and obstruction, and similarly in Job 19:8, "He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths;" and in Lamentations 3:7, "He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out," and ver. 9, "He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked." Thus Kimchi: "I will hedge thy way with thorns, so that they cannot go out of the city because of the devastation; and her lovers shall not be able to help her, and they are Assyria and Egypt." After quoting his father's explanation of lovers, he pro-coeds: "So their way is as if there were in it a thorn hedge, and thorns that she could not pass through it, and could not find her paths in which she walked." The fence here is double one a hedge of thorns, sharp, prickly, and piercing, such as forbid her forcing a way through: the other a wall of stone that cannot be climbed, or leaped, or otherwise got over. We need not try to specify the particular circumstances that thus hedged in and walled about the adulteress - whether fightings within or foes beleaguering without, whether straitened means or stress of circumstances raising an impassable barrier against the practice of idolatry, or an enforced conviction of its futility. "If," says Kimchi, "she seek to Assyria and Egypt, they will not give her their friendship and their help." The Vision

Daniel 8:1, Daniel 8:2 contain the historical introduction to this new revelation. This was given to Daniel in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, and thus two years after the vision of the four world-kingdoms (Daniel 7:1), but not in a dream as that was, but while he was awake. The words, I, Daniel, are neither a pleonasm (Hv.) nor a sign that the writer wished specially to give himself out for Daniel (Ewald), but expressly denote that Daniel continues to speak of himself in the first person (Kliefoth). The article in הנראה (that which appeared) takes place of the relative אשׁר, and the expression is concise for נראה אשׁר החזון (the vision which appeared); cf. Ewald's Lehr. 335a. בּתּחלּה (at the first), as in Daniel 9:21, in the general signification earlier, and in Genesis 13:3; Genesis 41:21; Genesis 43:18, Genesis 43:20; Isaiah 1:26, synonymous with בּראשׁנה (in the beginning). Here the word points back to Daniel 7, and in Daniel 9:21 it refers to Daniel 8:16 of this chapter.

"In vision," i.e., ἐν πνεύματι, not ἐν σώματι, Daniel was placed in the city of Susa, in the province of Elam (Elymas). By the words, "I saw in vision; and it came to pass when I saw," which precede the specification of the scene of the vision, is indicated the fact that he was in Susa only in vision, and the misconception is sufficiently guarded against that Daniel was actually there in the body. This is acknowledge by v. Leng., Hitzig, Maurer, Hv., Hgstb., Kran., and Kliefoth, against Bertholdt and Rosenmller, who understand this, in connection with Daniel 8:27, as meaning that Daniel was personally present in Susa to execute the king's business, from which Bertholdt frames the charge against the pseudo-Daniel, that he was not conscious that Elam under Nabonned did not belong to Babylon, and that the royal palace at Susa had as yet no existence. But this accusation has no historical foundation. We have no accurate information whether under Belshazzar Elam was added to Babylon or the Chaldean empire. It is true that not Hengstenberg (Beitr. i. p. 42f.) only has, with older theologians, concluded from the prophecies of Jeremiah 49:34., compared with Jeremiah 25:25 and Ezekiel 32:24, that Nebuchadnezzar subjugated Susa, but Niebuhr also (Gesch. Assurs, p. 211ff.) seeks from these and other passages of the O.T. to establish the view, that Nebuchadnezzar, after the death of Cyaxares (Uwakhshatra), to whom he owed allegiance, refused to do homage to his successor, and entered on a war against Media, which resulted in the annexation of Elam to his kingdom. But, on the contrary, Hvernick has well remarked, that the subjugation of Elam by Nebuchadnezzar can scarcely harmonize with the fact of the division of the Assyrian kingdom between the Babylonian king Nabopolassar and the Median king Cyaxares, whereby the former obtained the western and the latter the eastern half, and that from these passages of prophecy a subjugation of Elam by the Chaldeans cannot be concluded. Jeremiah announces neither in Jeremiah 25:25 nor in Jeremiah 49:34. a conquest of Elam by Nebuchadnezzar, but rather in Jeremiah 49 prophesies the complete destruction of Elam, or a divine judgment, in language which is much too strong and elevated for a mere making of it tributary and annexing it to a new state.

Besides, this passage in no respect requires that Susa and Elam should be regarded as provinces of the Chaldean kingdom, since the opinion that Daniel was in Susa engaged in some public business for the Chaldean king is founded only on a false interpretation of Daniel 8:2, Daniel 8:27. From the prophet's having been placed in an ecstasy in the city of Susa, there follows nothing further than that this city was already at the time of the existing Chaldean kingdom a central-point of Elamitish or Persian power. And the more definite description of the situation of this city in the words, "which was in the province of Elam," points decidedly to the time of Daniel, in which Susa as yet belonged to the province of Elam, while this province was made a satrapy, Susis, Susiana, now Chusistan, by the kings of Persia, and Susa became the capital of this province; therefore the capital Susa is not reckoned as situated in Elam by writers, who after this time distinguish between Susis (Susiana) and Elymas (Elam), as Strabo, xvi. 1. 17f., Pliny, hist. nat. vi. 27: Susianen ab Elymaide disterminat amnis Eulaeus.

Still more groundless is the assertion, that the city of Susa was not in existence in the time of Daniel, or, as Duncker (Gesch. der Alterth. ii. p. 913, 3 Auf.) affirms, that Darius first removed the residence or seat of the king to Susa with the intention that it should become the permanent residence for him and his successors, the central-point of his kingdom and of his government, and that Pliny and Aelian say decidedly that Darius built Susa, the king's city of Persia, and that the inscriptions confirm this saying. For, to begin with the latter statement, an inscription found in the ruins of a palace at Susa, according to the deciphering of Mordtmann (in der D. morgl. Ztschr. xvi. pp. 123ff.), which Duncker cites as confirming his statement, contains only these words: "Thus speaks Artaxerxes the great king, the son of Darius the son of Achmenides Vistapa: This building my great-great-grandfather Darius erected; afterwards it was improved by Artaxerxes my grandfather." This inscription thus confirms only the fact of the building of a palace in Susa by Darius, but nothing further, from which it is impossible to conclude that Darius first founded the city, or built the first tower in it. Still less does such an idea lie in the words of Aelian, nat. animal. i.:59: "Darius was proud of the erection of a celebrated building which he had raised in Susa." And Pliny also, taken strictly, speaks only of the elevation of Susa to the rank of capital of the kingdom by Darius, which does not exclude the opinion that Susa was before this already a considerable town, and had a royal castle, in which Cyrus may have resided during several months of the year (according to Xenophon, Cyrop. viii. 6. 22, Anab. iii. 5. 15; cf. Brissonius, de regio Pers. princ. p. 88f.).

(Note: Pliny, hist. nat. vi. 27, says regarding Susiana, "In qua vetus regia Presarum Susa a Dario Hystaspis filio condita," which may be understood as if he ascribed to Darius the founding of the city of Susa. But how little weight is to be given to this statement appears from the similar statement, hist. nat. vi. 14 (17): "Ecbatana caput Mediae Seleucus rex condidit," which plainly contains an error, since Ecbatana, under the name of Achmeta, is mentioned (Ezra 6:2) in the time of Darius Hystaspes, in the tower of which the archives of the Persian kings were preserved.)

The founding of Susa, and of the old tower in Susa, reaches back into pre-historic times. According to Strabo, xv. 2. 3, Susa must have been built by Tithonos, the father of Memnon. With this the epithet Μεμνόνια Σοῦσα, which Herod. vii. 151, v. 54, 53, and Aelian, nat. anim. xiii. 18, gives to the town of Susa, stands in unison. For if this proves nothing more than that in Susa there was a tomb of Memnon (Hv.), yet would this sufficiently prove that the city or its citadel existed from ancient times - times so ancient that the mythic Memnon lived and was buried there.

The city had its name שׁוּשׁן, Lily, from the lilies which grew in great abundance in that region (Athen. Deipnos. xii. p. 409; Stephan. Byz., etc.), and had, according to Strabo, xv. 3. 2, a circuit of 120 (twelve English miles), and according to others, 200 stadia. Its palace was called Memnoneion, and was strongly fortified. Here was "the golden seat;" here also were "the apartments of Darius, which were adorned with gold," as Aeschylos says (Pers. 3. 4. 159, 160), "the widely-famed palace," - the περιβόητα βασιλεῖα, as Diod. Sic. xvii. 65, expresses himself.

The ruins of Susa are not only a wilderness, inhabited by lions and hyaenas, on the eastern banks of the Shapur, between it and the Dizful, where three great mountains of ruins, from 80 to 100 feet high, raise themselves, showing the compass of the city, while eastward smaller heaps of ruins point out the remains of the city, which to this day bear the name Schusch; cf. Herz.'s Realenc. xvi. p. 263f., and Duncker, Gesch. d. Alt. ii. p. 942ff.

The designation of Elam as מדינה, a province, does not refer to a Chaldean province. עילם, in Greek ̓Ελυμαΐ́ς, formed the western part of the Persian satrapy of Susis or Susiana, which lay at the foot of the highlands of Iran, at the beginning of the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates between Persia and Babylon, called by the Persians Uvaja, and by the Greeks Susis or Susiana after the capital, or Cissia after its inhabitants. It is bounded by the western border mountains of Persia and the Tigris, and on the south terminates in a arm, swampy and harbourless coast, which stretches from the mouth of the Tigris to that of the Aurvaiti (Oroatis). Strabo (xv. 732) says Susiana is inhabited by two races, the Cissaei and the Elymi; Herodotus (iii. 91, v. 49, vii. 62), on the contrary, names only the Cissaei as the inhabitants of the country of the same name. The saying put into circulation by Josephus (Antt. i. 6. 4, ̓́Ελαμος γὰρ ̓Ελαμαίους Περσῶν ὄντας ἀρχηγέτας κατέλιπεν), that the Elamites are the primitive race of the Persians, has no historical foundation. The deep valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates was the country of the Semites. "The names of the towns and rivers of the country confirm the statements of Genesis, which names Elam among the sons of Shem, although the erecting of the Persian royal residence in Elam, and the long continuance of the Persian rule, could not but exercise, as it did, an influence on the manners and arts of the Semitish inhabitants" (Duncker, p. 942).

The further statement, that Daniel in vision was by the river Ulai, shows that Susa lay on the banks of the river. אוּלי is the Εὐλαῖος, Eulaeus, of the Greeks and Romans, of which Pliny says, "circuit arcem Susorum," and which Arrian (Exped. Alex. vii. 7) also mentions as a navigable river of Susis. On the contrary, Herodotus, i. 188, v. 49, 52, and Strabo, xv. 3, 4, place Susa on the river Choaspes. These contradictory statements are reconciled in the simplest manner by the supposition that Ulai, Eulaeus, was the Semitish, Choaspes the Aryan (Persian) name of the Kuran, which received the Shapur and Dizful. In favour of this, we have not only the circumstance that the name Choaspes is undoubtedly of Persian origin, while, on the other hand, אוּלי is a word of Semitic formation; but still more, that Herodotus knows nothing whatever of the Eulaeus, while Ptolemy (vi. 3. 2) does not mention the Choaspes, but, on the contrary, two sources of the Eulaeus, the one in Media, the other in Susiana; and that what Herod. i. 188, says of the Choaspes, that the kings of Persia drink its water only, and caused it to be carried far after them, is mentioned by Pliny of the Eulus, h. n. vi. 27, and in 31:3 of the Choaspes and Eulus.

(Note: There is little probability in the supposition that Choaspes is the modern Kerrah or Kerkha, the Eulus the modern Dizful, as Susa lay between these two rivers (Ker Porter, Winer, Ruetschi in Herz.'s Realen. xv. 246), and receives no sufficient support from the bas relief of Kojundshik discovered by Layard, which represents the siege of a town lying between two rivers, since the identification of this town with Susa is a mere conjecture.)

Daniel was in spirit conveyed to Susa, that here in the future royal citadel of the Persian kingdom he might witness the destruction of this world-power, as Ezekiel was removed to Jerusalem that he might there see the judgment of its destruction. The placing of the prophet also on the river of Ulai is significant, yet it is not to be explained, with Kranichfeld, from Daniel 8:3, Daniel 8:6, "where the kingdom in question stands in the same relation to the flowing river as the four kingdoms in Daniel 7:2 do to the sea." For the geographically defined river Ulai has nothing in common with the sea as a symbol of the nations of the world (Daniel 7:2). The Ulai is rather named as the place where afterwards the ram and the he-goat pushed against one another, and the shock followed, deciding the fate of the Persian kingdom.

As, the, the scene of the vision stands in intimate relation to its contents, so also the time at which the revelation was made to Daniel. With the third year of Belshazzar the dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the Babylonian world-kingdom, was extinguished. In this year Belshazzar, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, died, and the sovereignty was transferred to a collateral branch, and finally to an intruder, under whom that world-kingdom, once so powerful, in a few years fell to pieces. Shortly before the death of Belshazzar the end of the Babylonian monarchy was thus to be seen, and the point of time, not very remote, which must end the Exile with the fall of Babylon. This point of time was altogether fitted to reveal to the prophet in a vision what would happen after the overthrow of Babylon, and after the termination of the Exile.

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