Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 2:19 - 2:19

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 2:19 - 2:19

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“And I betroth thee to myself for ever; and I betroth thee to myself in righteousness, and judgment, and in grace and pity. Hos 2:20. And I betroth thee to myself in faithfulness; and thou acknowledgest Jehovah.” אֵרֵשׂ לוֹ, 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 (Deu 20:7). אֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ 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 לְעוֹלָם, “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 = 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 (Isa 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. בֶּאֱמוּנָה is also to be understood of the faithfulness of God, as in Psa 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.