Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 3:3 - 3:3

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 3:3 - 3:3

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“And I said to her, Many days wilt thou sit for me: and not act the harlot, and not belong to a man; and thus will I also towards thee.” Instead of granting the full conjugal fellowship of a wife to the woman whom he had acquired for himself, the prophet puts her into a state of detention, in which she was debarred from intercourse with any man. Sitting is equivalent to remaining quiet, and לִי indicates that this is for the husband's sake, and that he imposes it upon her out of affection to her, to reform her and grain her up as a faithful wife. הָיָה לְאִישׁ, to be or become a man's, signifies conjugal or sexual connection with him. Commentators differ in opinion as to whether the prophet himself is included or not. In all probability he is not included, as his conduct towards the woman is simply indicated in the last clause. The distinction between זָנָה and הָיָה לְאִישׁ, is that the former signifies intercourse with different paramours, the latter conjugal intercourse; here adulterous intercourse with a single man. The last words, “and I also to thee” (towards thee), cannot have any other meaning, than that the prophet would act in the same way towards the wife as the wife towards every other man, i.e., would have no conjugal intercourse with her. The other explanations that have been given of these words, in which vegam is rendered “and yet,” or “and then,” are arbitrary. The parallel is not drawn between the prophet and the wife, but between the prophet and the other man; in other words, he does not promise that during the period of the wife's detention he will not conclude a marriage with any other woman, but declares that he will have no more conjugal intercourse with her than any other man. This thought is required by the explanation of the figure in Hos 3:4. For, according to the former interpretation, the idea expressed would be this, that the Lord waited with patience and long-suffering for the reformation of His former nation, and would not plunge it into despair by adopting another nation in its place. But there is no hint whatever at any such though as this in Hos 3:4, Hos 3:5; and all that is expressed is, that He will not only cut off all intercourse on the part of His people with idols, but will also suspend, for a very long time, His own relation to Israel.