4:1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, a return to me: and if thou wilt put away thy abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not be removed.
(a) That is, wholly and without hypocrisy, not
dissembling to turn and serve God as they do who serve him by halves, (Hosea
4:2 And thou shalt b
swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the
nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
(b) You will detest the name of idols, (Psalms
16:4) and will with reverence swear by the living God, when your oath may
advance God's glory, and profit others: and here by swearing he means the
true religion of God.
4:3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and
Jerusalem, Break up c your fallow
ground, and sow not among thorns.
(c) He wills them to pluck up the impiety and
wicked affection and worldly respects out of their heart, that the true seed
of God's word may be sown in it, (Hosea
10:12) and this is the true circumcision of the heart, (Deuteronomy
Declare ye in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in
the land: cry, confirm, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the
(d) He warns them of the great dangers that will
come on them by the Chaldeans, unless they repent and turn to the Lord.
4:6 Set up the standard toward Zion: e
retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
(e) He speaks this to admonish them of the great
danger when every man will prepare to save himself, but it will be too late, (2 Kings
4:7 The f
lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his
way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; thy cities shall
be laid waste, without an inhabitant.
(f) Meaning Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, (2 Kings
4:9 And it shall come to pass
at that day, saith the LORD, [that] the heart of the king shall perish, and the
heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the g
prophets shall wonder.
(g) That is, the false prophets who still
prophesied peace and security.
4:10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast
greatly h deceived this people and
Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; though the sword reacheth to the soul.
(h) By the false prophets who promised peace and
tranquillity: and thus you have punished their rebellious stubbornness by
causing them to hearken to lies who would not believe your truth, (1 Kings
14:9; 2 Thessalonians
4:11 At that time shall it be said to this people
and to Jerusalem, A dry i wind of the
high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not k
to fan, nor to cleanse,
(i) The north wind by which he means
(k) But to carry away both corn and chaff.
4:13 Behold, he shall come up
as l clouds, and his chariots [shall be]
as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. m
Woe to us! for we are laid waste.
(l) Meaning that Nebuchadnezzar would come as
suddenly as a cloud that is carried with the wind.
(m) This is spoken in the person of all the
people, who in their affliction would cry thus.
4:15 For a voice declareth
from n Dan, and proclaimeth affliction
from mount o Ephraim.
(n) Which was a city in the utmost border of
Israel north toward Babylon.
(o) Which was in the middle between Dan and
4:17 As keepers of a p
field, they are against her on all sides; because she hath been rebellious
against me, saith the LORD.
(p) Who keep the fruits so straitly, that nothing
can come in or out so would the Babylonians compass Judah.,
4:19 My distress, my q
distress! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot
hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the
alarm of war.
(q) He shows that the true ministers are lively
touched with the calamities of the Church, so that all the parts of their body
feel the grief of their heart, even though with zeal to God's glory they
pronounce his judgments against the people.
4:20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the
whole land is laid waste: suddenly are my r
tents ruined, [and] my curtains in a moment.
(r) Meaning, the cities which were as easily cast
down as a tent.
4:22 For my people [are]
foolish, they have not known me; they [are] silly children, and they have no
understanding: s they [are] wise to do
evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
(s) Their wisdom and policy tend to their own
destruction and pulls them from God.
4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, [it was] without
form, and t void; and the heavens, and
they [had] no light.
(t) By this manner of speech he shows the
horrible destruction that would come on the land and also condemns the
obstinacy of the people who do not repent at the fear of these terrible kings,
seeing that the insensible creatures are moved therewith, as if the order of
nature would be changed, (Isaiah
For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I u
not make a full end.
(u) But for his mercies sake, he will reserve
himself a residue to be his Church, and to praise him in earth, (Jeremiah
And [when] thou [art] laid waste, what wilt thou do? Though thou x
clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold,
though thou enlarge thy eyes with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself
fair; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.
(x) Neither your ceremonies nor rich gifts will
4:31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in
travail, [and] the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the
voice of the daughter of Zion, [that] bewaileth herself, [that] spreadeth her
hands, [saying], y Woe [is] me now! for
my soul is wearied because of murderers.
(y) As the prophets were moved to pity the
destruction of their people, so they declared it to the people to move them to