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following up this subject, it is necessary carefully to remark, First, The distinction between Israel and Judah ; and, Secondly, The distinction between Judah, considered nationally, and certain individuals, selected out of that nation, in each succeeding age.
I. The distinction between Israel and Judah is a plain matter of history. In the latter part of the reign of Solomon, who was king over all the twelve tribes; the prophet Ahijah met in a field alone, Jeroboam, one of Solomon's generals : and he had clad himself with a new garment; and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces : and he said to Jeroboam, “ Take thee ten pieces, for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to' thee. Howbeit, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand : but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake, whom I chose ; because he kept my commandments and my statutes : but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, (in addition to his own tribe of Judah,) that David my' servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign accord
ing to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.” Accordingly, we read, that immediately after Solomon's death, when Rehoboam, his son, ascended the throne, ten of the twelve tribes revolted from him, at the instigation of Jeroboam ; that Rehoboam sent a messenger to remonstrate with them; that they seized his messenger, and stoned him to death; that Rehoboam then “assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and four-score thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, 'the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, (whatever individuals of the ten tribes had adhered to the cause of the royal family of David,) saying, Thus saith the Lord, ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel : return every man to his house ; for this thing is from me.a” Thus was the distinction established, between Israel and Judah ; and we read of them for three centuries afterwards, as distinct kingdoms, under distinct lines of kings.
This distinction is fully recognized by the prophets. Thus saith the Lord, by his servant Hosea, “ Though thou Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.” And after Judah had offended,
• 1 Kings xi. and xii.
the Lord said to Jeremiah, “Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? ... And her treacherous sister Judah saw it; and I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” The same subject is dilated by the prophet Ezekiel, xxiii.; where the names Aholah, and Aholibah, are given to the two kingdoms. “ Thus were their names ; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem, Aholibah.” And Isaiah is very clear, and says, “ The Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel ; and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth.”
The predicted dealings of God, with these two kingdoms, are widely different. Concerning Israel, it was declared that they should be outcasts; totally cut off from all visible interposition in their behalf; not only put away from their divine husband, but divorced also ; not only scattered among the nations, but also losing one important feature of their distinguishing identity, in that they would serve the strange gods of the nations, wood and stone: yet still, with a final clause, that in the end, God, who seeth not as man seeth, will bring them back again. Concerning Judah, on the contrary, it was declared, that they should be dispersed only, not outcast; put away only, not divorced ; scattered indeed among the nations, but never losing the distin
guishing badge of their identity, as a separate people, the worshippers of the God of Abraham ; and, finally, that they should be restored, with the whole house of Israel, to the land of their fathers. This diversity of treatment in the interim, and similarity of treatment in the end, might be verified by a multitude of quotations; when, therefore, we speak of final restoration, we include both kingdoms; but when we speak of a perpetuity of manifested separation, we of course contemplate the kingdom of Judah only.
That objection, therefore, to our general statement, which is grounded upon such passages as Hosea i. 6, For I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel ; but I will utterly take them away, falls to the ground. We have only to proceed with the quotation of the context, to support and confirm our view : but I will have mercy upon the house of JUDAH, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen. These expressions, says Bishop Horsley, are too magnificent to be understood of any thing but the final rescue of the Jews from the power of Antichrist in the latter ages, by the incarnate God destroying the enemy with the brightness of his coming; of which the destruction of Sennacherib's army in the days of Hezekiah might be a type, but it was nothing more. It may seem, perhaps, that the prophecy points at some deliverance peculiar to the house of Judah, in which the ten tribes will have no share, such as the overthrow of Sennacherib actually was; whereas, the destruction of Antichrist will be an universal blessing. But in the different treatment of the houseof Judah, and the house of Israel, we see the prophecy hitherto remarkably verified. After the excision of the kingdom of the ten tribes, Judah, though occasionally visited with severe judgments, continued however to be cherished with God's love, till they rejected our Lord. Then Judah became Lo-ammi, (not my people :) but still continues to be visibly an object of God's love ; preserved as a distinct race, for gracious purposes of mercy. Perhaps in the last ages, the converts of the house of Judah will be the principal objects of Antichrist's malice. Their deliverance may be first wrought, and,
Horsley on Hosea. Preface pp. xvi.—xxiii., where the typical import of the names of the three children of the prophetess (Hosea's wife) is ably argued. The three children represent certain distinct parts of the Jewish nation; of the whole of which, the mother was the emblem. Jezräel (the seed of God) signified the election, consisting progressively of a beloved remnant, and, eventually, of the whole nation. Compare the fifth and twenty-eighth verses of Rom. xi. Lo-ruhamah (unpitied ook noenuern. 1 Pet. ii. 10.) signified the ten tribes, during the whole interval, till the final restoration. And Loammi, (not my people,) signified the kingdom of Judah, during the times of the Gentiles. Till both Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi having run their course, the whole twelve tribes become the Jezreel, and great shall be the day of Jezreel.