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THE word of the Lord, that came to Osee the son of Beeri, in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias kings of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel.





Osee, or Hosea, whose name signifies a saviour, was the first in the order of time among those who are commonly called lesser prophets, because their prophecies are short.  He prophesied in the kingdom of Israel, (that is, of the ten tribes) about the same time that Isaias prophesied in the kingdom of Juda.  Ch.


--- The chronological order is not observed in any edition.  The Sept. very from the rest.  They place the less before the greater prophets, and read some of the names rather differently, as Prot. do also, though they have nothing but novelty to recommend the change.  We shall here specify the Prot. names, (H.) in the order in which these prophets appeared: (C.) 1. Hosea, 2. Amos, 3. Jonah, 4. Micah, 5. Nahum, 6. Joel, 7. Zephaniah, 8. Habakkuk, 9. Obadiah, 10. Haggai, 11. Zechariah, 12. Malachi.  H.


--- It is not known who collected them into one volume.  but the book of Ecclesiasticus (xlix. 12.) speaks of the twelve; and 4 Esd. i. 39. specifies them as they are found in the Sept. Osee, Amos, Micheas, Joel, Abdias, Jonas, Nahum, &c. as in the Vulg.  C.


--- Many other prophets appeared before these, (W.) but Osee is the first of the sixteen whose works are extant.  He must have continued his ministry about eighty-five years, and lived above one hundred and ten, if the first verse speaks of him alone.  But some take it to regard the whole collection, and may be added by another hand.  C.


--- The style of Osee is sententious and very hard to be understood, (S. Jer.) as but little is known of the last kings of Israel, in whose dominions he lived, and to whom he chiefly refers, though he speaks sometimes of Juda, &c.  C.


--- By taking a wife, and other parables, he shews their criminal conduct and chastisment, and foretells their future deliverance and the benefits to be conferred by Christ.  We must observe that the prophets often style the kingdom of the two tribes, Juda, Benjamin, Jerusalem, or the house of David; and that of the ten tribes, Ephraim, Joseph, Samaria, Jezrahel, Bethel, or Bethaven; and often Israel or Jacob till after the captivity of these tribes, when the latter titles refer to Juda, who imitated the virtues of Jacob better than the other kingdom.  W.


--- Then all distinction of this nature was at an end.  H.


Ver. 1.  Israel.  He reigned forty-one years, till A.M. 3220.  Usher.


--- The prophets usually give the date, that the prediction may be verified.  Some Latin MSS. intimate, that "the Jews attribute these titles to Esdras, (who is Malachias) or to the respective prophets, which is more probable."  S. Jer. t. i.


--- Jeroboam II. died twenty-six years before Ozias, towards the end of whose reign Isaias commenced; so that Osee was more ancient.  W.

2 The beginning of the Lord's speaking by Osse: and the Lord said to Osee: Go, take thee a wife of fornications, and have of her children of fornications: for the land by fornication shall depart from the Lord.

Ver. 2.  Fornications.  That is, a wife that hath been given to fornication.  This was to represent the Lord's proceedings with his people Israel, who, by spiritual fornication, were continually offending him.  Ch.


--- The prophet reclaimed her.  S. Jer.


--- She denoted Samaria, abandoned to idolatry.  Ezec. xvi. 15.  Several such actions were prophetical.  Many have supposed that this was only a parable; but the sequel proves the contrary.  C.


--- Of fornications.  So called from the character of the mother, if not also from their own wicked dispositions.  Ch.


--- He is ordered to marry a woman who had been of a loose character, and to have children who would resemble her; (W.) or he takes her children to his house; (Grot.) unless the children of the prophet were so styled because the mother had been given to fornication.  So the rod of Aaron retains its name when it was become a serpent.  Ex. vii. 12.


--- Shall, or rather, "has departed;" and therefore he denounces future chastisements.

3 So he went, and took Gomer the daughter of Debelaim: and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 And the Lord said to him: Call his name Jezrahel: for yet a little while, and I will visit the blood of Jezrahel upon the house of Jehu, and I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

Ver. 4.  Jezrahel.  Jehu slew Joram in this place.  He was the instrument of God's justice, yet acted himself through malice and ambition, and was therefore deservedly punished.  Zacharias, the fourth of his family, lost the crown, and was slain by Sellum, at Jezrahel.  4 K. ix. &c.  C.


--- The offspring of Jehu, now on the throne, solicited Jezrahel or the ten tribes to idolatry, which God will revenge.  W.

5 And in that day I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezrahel. 6 And she conceived again, and bore a daughter, and he said to him: Call her name, Without mercy: for I will not add any more to have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly forget them.

Ver. 6.  Without mercy.  Lo Ruchamah.  Ch.


--- Some copies of Sept. and S. Paul read, "not beloved."  Rom. ix. 25.  Samaria shall surely perish.  After the death of Jeroboam II. the kingdom was all in confusion, and in sixty-two years time became extinct.  It was afterwards blended with Juda.

7 And I will have mercy on the house of Juda, and I will save them by the Lord their God: and Iwill not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen.

Ver. 7.  Horsemen.  Sennacherib was miraculously disconcerted.  Juda returned from captivity and became more flourishing, giving birth to the Messias.  C.

8 And she weaned her that was called Without mercy. And she conceived, and bore a son. 9 And he said: Call his name, Not my people: for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.

Ver. 9.  Not my people.  Lohammi.  Ch.


--- The kingdom of Israel seemed to be quite cast off; and in captivity it was hardly distinguished from other nations.  Juda was preserved longer, and at all times was under the divine protection.  Ezechiel, Daniel, &c. comforted the people in the worst of their afflictions.  C.

10 And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, that is without measure, and shall not be numbered. And it shall be in the place where it shall be said to them: You are not my people: it shall be said to them: Ye are the sons of the living God.

Ver. 10.  The number, &c. viz. of the true Israelites, the children of the Church of Christ.  Ch.


--- This is the primary sense.  Rom. ix. 25.  Yet the Israelites are here also assured of their return from captivity.  C.


--- God.  Among many sinners, some are chosen.  W.


11 And the children of Juda, and the children of Israel shall be gathered together: and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall come up out of the land: for great is the day of Jezrahel.

Ver. 11.  Head; Christ, (Ch.) the head of all the faithful, (W.) consisting both of Jews and Gentiles.  Israel and Juda returned under Zorobabel, &c.  C.


--- The prophets blend present and future transactions together.  S. Jer. in C. iii.


--- Jezrahel.  That is, of the seed of God; for Jezrahel signifies the seed of God.  Ch.


--- For may also be rendered, "when or though."  The seed of Jehu shall be exterminated.  The kingdom, signified by Jezrahel, a great city, shall fall.  C.


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