Hosea 2:9
Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Therefore will I return, and take . . .—The Hebrew form of saying, “Therefore I will take back.” Jehovah resumes all that had been misappropriated. The king of Assyria (Tiglath-pileser, 734 B.C.) was the agency whereby this was to be accomplished. (Comp. Isaiah 10:5.) The raiment (wool and flax) was Jehovah’s gift to cover her nakedness, i.e., to meet the actual necessities of Israel. This He will tear away, and the idol-gods whom she has courted shall see her prostration, and their own helplessness to deliver or relieve.

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 I will return - God is, as it were, absent from men, when He lets them go on in their abuse of His gifts. "His judgments are far above out of their sight." He returns to them, and His presence is felt in chastisements, as it might have been in mercies. He is not out of sight or out of mind, then. Others render it, "I will turn, i. e. I will do other than before; I will turn" from love to displeasure, from pouring out benefits to the infliction of chastisements, from giving abundance of all things to punishing them with the want of all things.

I will take away My corn in the time thereof - God shows us that His gifts come from Him, either by giving them when we almost despair of them, or taking them away, when they are all but our's. It can seem no chance, when He so doeth. The chastisement is severer also, when the good things, long looked-for, are, at the last, taken out of our very hands, and that, when there is no remedy. If in harvest-time there be dearth, what afterward! "God taketh away all, that they who knew not the Giver through abundance, might know Him through want."

And will recover My wool - God "recovers," and, as it were, "delivers" the works of His Hands from serving the ungodly. While He leaves His creatures in the possession of the wicked, they are holden, as it were, in captivity, being kept back from their proper uses, and made the handmaidens and instruments and tempters to sin. God made His creatures on earth to serve man, that man, on occasion of them, might glorify Him. It is against the order of nature, to use God's gifts to any other end, short of God's glory much more, to turn God's gifts against Himself, and make them serve to pride or luxury or sensual sin. It is a bondage, as it were, to them. Whence of them also Paul saith, "The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly; and, all creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" Romans 8:20, Romans 8:22. Penitents have felt this. They have felt that they deserve no more that the sun should shine on them, or the earth sustain them, or the air support them, or wine refresh them, or food nourish them, since all these are the creatures and servants of the God whom themselves have offended, and they themselves deserve no more to be served by God's servants, since they have rebelled against their common Master, or to use even rightly what they have abused against the will of their Creator.

My flax - Given "to cover her nakedness, i. e. which God had given to that end. Shame was it, that, covered with the raiment which God had given her to hide her shame, she did deeds of shame. The white linen garments of her priests also were symbols of that purity, which the Great high priest should have and give. Now, withdrawing those gifts, He gave them up to the greatest visible shame, such as insolent conquerors, in leading a people into captivity, often inflicted upon them. Thereby, in act, was figured that loss of the robe of righteousness, heavenly grace, wherewith God beautifies the soul, whereof when it is stripped, it is indeed foul.

9. my corn … my wool … my flax—in contrast to "my bread … my wool … my flax," (Ho 2:5). Compare also Ho 2:21-23, on God as the great First Cause giving these through secondary instruments in nature. "Return, and take away," is equivalent to, "I will take back again," namely, by sending storms, locusts, Assyrian enemies, &c. "Therefore," that is, because she did not acknowledge Me as the Giver.

in the time thereof—in the harvest-time.

Therefore, because I was not acknowledged nor served as the giver,

will I return: much after the manner of man doth God speak; he had left large blessings behind him among this people, but their sottish ingratitude provokes him to resolutions of returning and seizing of all.

Take away; take into my hands, or resume all I give, for all given was mine still; God never gives away his right.

My corn; it was hers while thankfully received and rightly used, but want of these forfeit that right, and the propriety reverts to God. See Hosea 2:8.

In the time thereof; either when they should gather it in, as being ripe, or when they need it, and should use it. All they enjoy is mine, but since they so use me as to serve Baal by it, I will either take all away from them, or make all useless to them. When I take away my wool and my flax, she shall appear shamefully naked, not having one rag of her own. Therefore will I return, and take away,.... Or, "take away again" (k); an usual Hebraism:

my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof; for though these are the gifts of God to men for their use, and to dispose of for the good of others; yet he retains his property in them, and can and will call them to an account for their stewardship; and, when he pleases, take away both their office, and the good things they were intrusted with, not making a right use of them; and this he does in his own appointed time and season, or at such a time when these are at the best, and the greatest good is expected from them, and which therefore is the more afflictive; as in the time of harvest and vintage, so Kimchi, when corn and grapes are fully ripe; or, as the Targum, in the time of the corn being on the floor, and of the pressure of the wine:

and will recover my wool, and my flax, given "to cover her nakedness"; or, "I will take away"; by force and violence, as out of the hands of thieves, and robbers, and usurpers, who have no right to them, being forfeited; these were given to cover her nakedness, but not to deck herself with for the honour of her idols, or to cherish pride and superstition; see Matthew 23:5 these were all taken away when the Romans came and took away their place and nation, John 11:48. The Septuagint and Arabic versions give the sense as if these were taken,

that they might not cover her nakedness, or "shame"; but that it might be exposed, as follows:

(k) "iterum capiam", Drusius; "recipiam", Liveleus.

Therefore will I return, and take away {l} my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.

(l) Signifying that God will take away his benefits, when man by his ingratitude abuses them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. And now in order radically to cure the Israelites of this error (viz. that their good things have come from the Baals) the people are for a time to be deprived of these blessings.

return and take away] Rather, take back again.

my cornmy winemy woolmy flax] For though Israel may speak, as in Hosea 2:7, of ‘my bread and my water,’ these things were really the property of Jehovah, who could withdraw them at any moment, even in the ‘time’ or season of the corn and the new wine, when the husbandman was counting implicitly on the harvest and the vintage.

recover] Or, rescue, viz. from the misuse to which these gifts would be put by the idolaters.

given to cover her nakedness] Thus reminding Israel that in her natural condition she was utterly helpless and destitute. Comp. Ezekiel 16:8, which evidently alludes to this passage.Verse 9. - Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. The abuse of the Divine bounties mentioned in the preceding verse fully justifies the series of punishments that follow. God thus vindicates those penal inflictions. Accordingly he threatens them in this ninth verse with the deprivation of the bounties which they had misused as the means of idolatry and sin; in ver. 10 with disgrace; in ver. 11 with the departure of all her merry-makings; in ver. 12 with the destruction of the sources whence the means of idolatrous worship were supplied; and in ver. 13 with days of visitation proportionate to the time of declension and apostasy. The first clause of the verse under consideration is better rendered

(1) according to the common Hebrew idiom, which employs two verbs to express one idea in a modified sense, the first denoting the manner, and so equivalent to an adverb with us, and the second signifying the matter; and it is thus translated by Keil: "Therefore will I take back my corn."

(2) We admit the ray consecutive is opposed to this; and the LXX. has ἐπιστρέψω καὶ κομιοῦναι: and Jerome, "reverter et sumam." The manner of the dispossession intensifies the punishment, just as their abuse of those possessions had augmented their guilt. The food, refreshment, and raiment are to be taken away this certainly would be bad enough by itself, but the suddenness of the stroke adds poignancy to the infliction. The prospect of an indifferent harvest and of a bad vintage for weeks previously might have prepared them in some sort for the disaster. But when the time of harvest has already come and the season of vintage just arrived, by some sudden, unexpected calamity, whether tempest or hostile invasion, the bread-corn perishes and the wine-grapes are destroyed. The food is thus snatched, as it were, from their month, and the cup dashed from their lips; the sadness of the catastrophe is immensely increased by the sudden rudeness of the stroke by which it comes. Nor is this all. In the case of the raiment, or rather the material, the wool and the flax out of which it is formed, its removal reduces the intended wearer to perfect nudity, or, if we understand it as figure, to abject poverty and absolute penury. Aben Ezra attributes this disaster (ver. 9) to hostile invasion: "At its season when I shall bring the enemies, to take away the corn and the wine;" Kimchi, on the other hand, sees in it a misgrowth: "I will return and take away my corn in its season, and my wine in its appointed time, because I will send a curse upon them in the time of harvest and at the season of vintage, instead of the blessing I used to send upon them. And so on all the work of their hands I shall send a curse, and all their gain shall be put into a bag with holes; and they shall not have bread to eat nor raiment to wear." After Daniel had for a while contemplated the conduct of the ram, he saw a he-goat come from the west over the earth, run with furious might against the two-horned ram, and throw it to the ground and tread upon it. The he-goat, according to the interpretation of the angel, Daniel 8:21, represents the king of Javan (Greece and Macedonia) - not the person of the king (Gesen.), but the kingship of Javan; for, according to Daniel 8:21, the great horn of the goat symbolizes the first king, and thus the goat itself cannot represent a separate king. The goat comes from the west; for Macedonia lay to the west of Susa or Persia. Its coming over the earth is more definitely denoted by the expression בּארץ נוגע ואין, and he was not touching the earth, i.e., as he hastened over it in his flight. This remark corresponds with the four wings of the leopard, Daniel 7:6. The goat had between its eyes חזוּת קרן; i.e., not a horn of vision, a horn such as a goat naturally has, but here only in vision (Hofm., Klief.). This interpretation would render חזוּת an altogether useless addition, since the goat itself, only seen in vision, is described as it appeared in the vision. For the right explanation of the expression reference must be made to Daniel 8:8, where, instead of horn of vision, there is used the expression הגּדולה הקרן (the great horn). Accordingly חזוּת has the meaning of מראה, in the Keri מראה אישׁ, 2 Samuel 23:21, a man of countenance or sight (cf. Targ. Esther 2:2): a horn of sight, consideration, of considerable greatness; κέρας θεορητόν (lxx, Theodot.), which Theodoret explains by ἐπίσημον καὶ περίβλεπτον.

The horn was between the eyes, i.e., in the middle of the forehead, the centre of its whole strength, and represents, according to Daniel 8:21, the first king, i.e., the founder of the Javanic world-kingdom, or the dynasty of this kingdom represented by him. The he-goat ran up against the ram, the possessor of the two horns, i.e., the two-horned ram by the river Ulai, in the fire of his anger, i.e., in the glowing anger which gave him his strength, and with the greatest fury threw him down. The prophet adds, "And I saw him come close unto the ram," as giving prominence to the chief matter, and then further describes its complete destruction. It broke in pieces both of the horns, which the ram still had, i.e., the power of the Medes and Persians, the two component elements of the Persian world-kingdom. This representation proves itself to be genuine prophecy, whilst an author writing ex eventu would have spoken of the horn representing the power of the Medes as assailed and overthrown earlier by that other horn (see under Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20). The pushing and trampling down by the Ulai is explained from the idea of the prophecy, according to which the power of the ram is destroyed at the central seat of its might, without reference to the historical course of the victories by which Alexander the Great completed the subjugation of the Persian monarchy. In the concluding passage, Daniel 8:7, the complete destruction is described in the words of the fourth verse, to express the idea of righteous retribution. As the Medo-Persian had crushed the other kingdoms, so now it also was itself destroyed.

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