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return to me? says Yahveh. 2. Lift up thine eyes to the bare heights and see: where hast thou not been dishonoured? By the ways thou didst lurk for them like an Arabian in the wilderness, and didst pollute the land by thy wantonness and thy wickedness. 3. Verily the showers could not fall, and latter rain—there was none; but thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. 4. Hast thou not now first cried to me: "My Father!" "Thou art the friend of my youth!" 5. "Will he be angry always, or bear wrath for ever?" Behold, thou speakest thus and doest evil, and that exceedingly.

as in i. 11, '7H 'n i3i \Tl. JD, Behold, points to a supposed case, and so is conditional, see on ii. 10. The case taken into view is the one treated of in Deut. xxiv. l^i. After the completion of divorce, she, who has meanwhile been married to another, cannot become again the wife of the first husband, to whom she is counted impure; such trifling with the marriage-covenant would be an abomination to God, and would defile the whole land. After the last word in Deut. xxiv. 4, t6n is to be taken hypothetically: would not this or the same land (in which this occurred) be defiled? The LXX read or translate as more easy ntrKn instead of pKn, so that rpnn=nKBBn, Deut. xxiv. 4. rw with accus. as in Ezek. xvi. 28. 3iBn, not imper. (Syr., Targ., Jerome), but infia: and to return to me? shouldest thou do so straight away, after having had to do, not merely with another husband, but with many lovers? Ver. 2. D'SC (from 'BC, bareness), bare, unwooded hill, such as were used for hillworship. Instead of regarded as obscene, Keri everywhere 33C (here also Pual). As the marauding Arabian waits for the passer-by, so dost thou for thy lovers. Ver. 3. Even divine visitations moved thee not to contrition; boldness is natural to a harlot, who is incapable of shame. Ver. 4. nnyD, opposite of ii. 20, 32. All at once she addresses tender words to her God in order to creep again into His favour. Ver. 5. iBr instead of ib^ Ges. § 66. a. 1; Eng. § 65. ia3, sc. iEK, retain His wrath, as in ver. 12. With these pious phrases (cf. the sincere saying, Ps. ciii. 9), in which she appeals to God's fatherly heart, her conduct ill agrees. ^3im, and thou displayest strength, carriest it through; the energy was in the evil action, not in the fair words. Ver. 4 f. plainly allude to the attempt at reformation made under Josiah, which had not the necessary depth and energy.

Exposition.

Contents of ii. 1-iii. 5. Accusation of an Unfaithful Nation: 1. Its Ungrateful Faithlessness, ii. 2-13. 2. The Grievousness of its Apostasy, ii. 14-28. 3. Its Self-Righteousness, ii. 29-37. 4. The Difficulty of Repentance, iii. 1-5.

This first larger discourse of the prophet, ch. ii., which is followed in iii. 1-5 by a smaller, independent oracle connected with it in time and contents, belongs, like the other discourses up to ch. vi., to Josiah's days. It was perhaps uttered soon after the prophet's call, when the reformation was not yet carried through, though the worst offences were abolished. The prophet regards the nation and its leaders as still lying under the ban, which they had incurred by many years' apostasy, and warns it against superficial self-righteousness, which definite facts show is not accompauied by a corresponding spirit {e.g. courting Egypt's favour).—The prelude is a reference to the Lord's unchangeable fidelity (ver. 2 f.), to which the base apostasy of the nation forms a sad contrast (vv. 4-13). Ever-increasing severity of judgment should at last open the eyes of the nation to its unfaithfulness, which becomes more and more manifest (vv. 14-28). But it pollutes itself in this way still more, and especially at present by dallying with Egypt (vv. 2U-37). Ch. iii. 1-3 condemns a superficial repentance and amendment consisting in words only.

II. 2 f. The Lord has never forgotten the first love shown by Israel to God, as He has again and again proved by punishing the foes of His people. The time of the desertmarch is mentioned as the time of this first bliss; cf. Hos. ix. 10, xi. 1, ii. 16 ff. We know, and Jeremiah knew (vii. 25), enough of the disobedience and rebellion of that period, even the betrothal-period of the covenant-making at Sinai (Ex. xv. 24, xvi. 2, xvii. 2). But still the nation had obeyed God's call, not without confidence (Ex. iv. 31) and enthusiasm, and had been willingly led by Him through the sea and the pathless desert. God's gracious eye dwells with pleasure on the little, imperfect love which Israel had shown Him. Nor had it reason to repent its first love. God watched jealously over His people, long after they had proved untrue to Him.

Vv. 4-13. Over against this forbearance of the Lord, ver. 4 ff. sets Israel's faithlessness. Down from the time of the judges they have surrendered themselves to idols, as if they had discovered something evil in their God (cf. Micah vi. 3 ff.), forgetting how carefully He had led them through the terrible wilderness, and how graciously He had bestowed on them the fairest of lands. The divinely-appointed leaders of the nation,—the priests and the expounders of the law, the shepherds (= kings) and prophets,—instead of correcting the nation, led it still farther astray. The result was a frightful, unexampled apostasy, still unexpiated and still continuing. Not even the heathen (whose religion was inextricably bound up with their national life) exchange their gods, worthless as they are; whereas Israel gave up the true God, who was its chief glory, for such worthless idols. The charge is summed up in the twofold reproach, ver. 13. The figure used here pictures inimitably the distinction between the God of Israel and the heathen gods. The former reveals Himself purely, vividly, continually; the heathen religions are effete remnants of divine revelation, which are always becoming more scanty and corrupt . The heathen, wearily collecting uncertain traces of the Deity, are not to be despised; but it is inexcusable for those standing at the source of revelation, instead of resorting to it, to resort to the artificial creations ,of the human hand, or even the human understanding and fancy. The different position of Israel and the heathen has a deeper reason in the fact that the latter see in their deities the reflection of their own nature, whereas Israel must first have its nature changed and sanctified before it can serve its God, and hence is inclined by nature to apostasy.

Vv. 14-37. Ver. 14 f. stands in sharp contrast to ver. 3. From present appearances one might think Israel was a slave or serf of men instead of God's free first-horn son (Ex. iv. 22). He has hecome a helpless victim, a plaything of the nations. But this is the punishment for its apostasy, running through its whole history and bringing it nothing but woe and shame, and therefore also a proof that God will not let Himself be mocked. Reckless towards God, this nation was servile to men; stupid towards God, it was skilled in all the arts of courtship towards the world. The two figures of the camel and wild ass show (ver. 23 f.) how, carried away by its unbridled lust, it ran after strange gods and heathen sins. But political apostasy went hand in hand with religious and moral. As no heathen cultus that came near the Israelites failed to bewitch them, so now one, now another heathen power attracted them. From the time of Manasseh to the destruction of the kingdom there seems to have been a constant alternation of Egyptian and Assyrian friendship. The reproach of a new Egyptian alliance is the climax in which the discourse, ver. 36 f., ends. Moreover, the other accusations must be constantly repeated, because the national corruption is not even perceived (vv. 23, 29, 35), although crass image-worship (ver. 27) and the shedding of innocent blood (ver. 34) are common.

III. 1-5. Nor can such sins on the part of Israel be done away by a momentary, seeming repentance. It was forbidden by the law that a man should receive back a wife he has divorced after she has married another. But Israel has become a public, shameless strumpet . How could God again receive Israel, when in time of need she professes love to Him, whilst disposition and acts prove the opposite? Ver. 5 explains how this oracle agrees with the call to repentance sounded in the next discourse. Only by a miracle of divine mercy—not on the ground of any common legal claim—can the Lord receive back His polluted people, but not so long as conversion is merely outward.

SECTION III.

Call To Turn And Repent, Ch. Hi. 6-iv. 4.

III. 6. And Yahveh said to me in the days of king Josiah: Hast thou seen what the apostate one, Israel, has done 1 She went on every high mountain and under every green tree, and played the harlot there. 7. And after she did all this, I said: Return to me! But she returned not. And the faithless one, her sister Judah, saw it, 8. and saw that, hecause of all the times that the apostate one, Israel, was adulterous, I had sent her away and given her her bill of divorce; but the faithless one, her sister Judah, was not afraid, but went and played the harlot also herself. 9. And it came to pass that the land was defiled by the cry of her wantonness, and she committed adultery with stone and with stock. 10. And even for all this the faithless one, her sister Judah, returned not to me with her whole heart, but feignedly, is Yahveh's oracle.

Chapter III. 6-25.

Ver. 6. n3CD, here throughout like a species of proper name (without article): the apostate one (properly, apostasy), which Israel (the kingdom of Ephraim) is. To this corresponds "the faithless one" (rm», Ges. § 95. a. 4; Eng. § 93) = Judah. Wn for jrni, Aramaism? (Ges. § 75. a. 17; Eng. § 74). Cf. on ii. 20. Ver. 7. The Lord's permitting Israel, after all this, to return, according to iii. 1, was a miracle of grace. nKini, Kethib, for the usual tonj. Ver. 8. tOKl, copyist's error for torn, arose from H3Kl, ver. 7. After various calls to return, which were not obeyed, God finally handed Israel a bill of divorce, dismissed her definitively. Ver. 9. bpD, by her infidelity, carried on with ostentation, she polluted the whole land, which was filled with the scandal. tynni, better read as Hiphil. Ver. 10. "For all this" alludes to the terrifying example of Israel. Judah's half-true and therefore rejected conversion, by which

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