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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.

Osee Chapter 1

By marrying a harlot, and by the names of his children, the prophet sets forth the crimes of Israel and their punishment. He foretells their redemption by Christ.

1:1. 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.

1:2. The beginning of the Lord's speaking by Osee: 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.

A wife of fornications... That is, a wife that has been given to fornication. This was to represent the Lord's proceedings with his people Israel, who, by spiritual fornication, were continually offending him.-Ibid. Children of fornications... So called from the character of their mother, if not also from their own wicked dispositions.

1:3. So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Debelaim: and she conceived, and bore him a son.

1:4. 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.

1:5. And in that day I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezrahel.

1:6. 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.

Without mercy... Lo-Ruhamah.

1:7. And I will have mercy on the house of Juda, and I will save them by the Lord, their God: and I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen.

1:8. And she weaned her that was called Without mercy. And she conceived, and bore a son.

1:9. And he said: Call his name, Not my people: for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.

Not my people... Lo-ammi.

1:10. 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.

The number, etc... Viz., of the true Israelites, the children of the church of Christ.

1:11. 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.

One head... viz., Christ.-Ibid. Great is the day of Jezrahel... That is, of the seed of God; for Jezrahel signifies the seed of God.

Osee Chapter 2

Israel is justly punished for leaving God. The abundance of grace in the church of Christ.

2:1. Say ye to your brethren: You are my people: and to your sister: Thou hast obtained mercy.

Say to your brethren, etc... or, Call your brethren, My people: and your sister, Her that hath obtained mercy. This is connected with the latter end of the foregoing chapter, and relates to the converts of Israel.

2:2. Judge your mother, judge her: because she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her put away her fornications from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts.

Your mother... The synagogue.

2:3. Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born: and I will make her as a wilderness, and will set her as a land that none can pass through and will kill her with drought.

2:4. And I will not have mercy on her children for they are the children of fornications.

2:5. For their mother hath committed fornication, she that conceived them is covered with shame: for she said: I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread, and my water, my wool, and my flax, my oil, and my drink.

2:6. Wherefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and I will stop it up with a wall, and she shall not find her paths.

2:7. And she shall follow after her lovers, and shall not overtake them: and she shall seek them, and shall not find, and she shall say: I will go, and return to my first husband: because it was better with me then than now.

2:8. And she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver, and gold, which they have used in the service of Baal.

2:9. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in its season, and my wine in its season, and I will set at liberty my wool, and my flax, which covered her disgrace.

2:10. And now I will lay open her folly in the eyes of her lovers: and no man shall deliver her out of my hand:

2:11. And I will cause all her mirth to cease, her solemnities, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her festival times. 2:12. And I will destroy her vines, and her fig trees, of which she said: These are my rewards, which my lovers have given me: and I will make her as a forest and the beasts of the field shall devour her.

2:13. And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, to whom she burnt incense, and decked herself out with her earrings, and with her jewels, and went after her lovers, and forgot me, saith the Lord.

2:14. Therefore, behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart.

I will allure her, etc... After all her disloyalties, I will still allure her by my grace etc., and send her vinedressers, viz., the apostles: originally her own children, who shall open to her the gates of hope; as heretofore at her coming into the land of promise, she had all good success after she had satisfied the divine justice by the execution of Achan in the valley of Achor. Jos. 7.

2:15. And I will give her vinedressers out of the same place, and the valley of Achor for an opening of hope: and she shall sing there according to the days of her youth, and according to the days of her coming up out of the land of Egypt.

2:16. And it shall be in that day, saith the Lord: That she shall call me: My husband, and she shall call me no more Banli.

My husband... In Hebrew, Ishi. Baali, my lord. The meaning of this verse is: that whereas Ishi and Baali were used indifferently in those days by wives speaking to their husbands; the synagogue, whom God was pleased to consider as his spouse, should call him only Ishi, and abstain from the name of Baali, because of its affinity with the idol Baal.

2:17. And I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and she shall no more remember their name.

Baalim... It is the plural number of Baal: for there were divers idols of Baal.

2:18. And in that day I will make a covenant with them, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of the air, and with the creeping things of the earth: and I will destroy the bow, and the sword, and war out of the land: and I will make them sleep secure.

2:19. And I will espouse thee to me for ever: and I will espouse thee to me in justice, and judgment, and in mercy, and in commiserations.

I will espouse thee, etc... This relates to the happy espousals of Christ with his church: which shall never be dissolved.

2:20. And I will espouse thee to me in faith: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.

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