on Hosea 10 :10
When they shall bind themselves in their two furrows - "When they are chastised for their two iniquities," i.e., the calves in Dan and Beth-el. - Newcome. But this double iniquity may refer to what Jeremiah says, Jeremiah 11:13 : "My people have committed two evils." -
1. They have forsaken me.
2. They have joined themselves to idols.
on Hosea 10 :10
It is in My desire that I should chastise them - God "doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men" Lamentations 3:33. Grievous then must be the cause of punishment, when God not only chastens people, but, so to speak, longs to chasten them, when He chastens them without any let or hindrance from His mercy. Yet so God had said; "It shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and to bring you to nought" Deuteronomy 28:63. God willed to enforce His justice, with no reserve whatever from His mercy. His whole mind, so to speak, is to punish them. God is "without passions." Yet, in order to impress on us the truth, that one day there will, to some, be "judgment without mercy" James 2:13, He speaks as one, whose longing could not be satisfied, until the punishment were executed. So He says, "I will ease Me of Mine adversaries" Isaiah 1:24; "Mine anger shall be accomplished and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted" Ezekiel 5:13.
And the people shall be gathered against him - "As all the other tribes were gathered against Benjamin at Gibeah to destroy it, so, although that war did not overtake them, now "against him," i. e., against Ephraim or the ten tribes, "shall be gathered" divers "peoples" and nations, to destroy them." The number gathered against them shall be as overwhelming, as that of all the tribes of Israel against the one small tribe of Benjamin. : "As of old, they ought to have bound themselves to extinguish this apostasy in its birth, as they bound themselves to avenge the horrible wickedness at Gibeah. But since they bound themselves not against sin, but to it, God says that He would gather Pagan nations against them, to punish their obstinate rebellion against Himself. They who will neither be drawn by piety, nor corrected by moderate chastisements, must needs be visited by sharper punishments, that some, who will not strive to the uttermost against the mercy of God, may be saved."
When they shall bind themselves in their two furrows - They "bind themselves" and Satan "binds them" to their sin. In harmony and unity in nothing else, they will bind themselves, and plow like two oxen together, adding furrow to furrow, joining on line to line of sin. They who had thrown off the light and easy yoke of God, who were ever like a restive, untamed, heifer, starting aside from the yoke, would "bind" and band themselves steadily in their own ways of sin, cultivating sin, and in that sin should destruction overtake them. People who are unsteady and uneven in everything besides, will be steadfast in preening sin; they who will submit to no constraint, human or divine, will, in their slavery to their passions, submit to anything. No slavery is so heavy as that which is selfimposed.
This translation has followed an old Jewish tradition, expressed by the vowels of the text, and old Jewish authorities. With other vowels, it may be rendered, literally, "in their binding to their two transgressions," which gives the same sense, "because they bound themselves to their two transgressions," or, passively, "when they are bound, on account of their two transgressions." The "two transgressions," may designate the two calves, "the sin of Israel," or the twofold guilt of fornication, spiritual, and in the body; the breach of both tables of God's law; or as Jeremiah says, "My people hath committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, which can hold no water" Jeremiah 2:13. : "This could not be said of any other nation, which knew not God. For if any such worshiped false gods, they committed only one transgression; but this nation, in which God was known, by declining to idolatry, is truly blamed as guilty of "two transgressions;" they left the true God, and for, or against, Him they worshiped other gods. For he hath twofold guilt, who, knowing good, rather chooseth evil; but "he" single, who, knowing no good, taketh evil for good. That nation then, both when, after seeing many wonderful works of God, it made and worshiped one calf in the wilderness; and when, forsaking the house of David and the temple of the Lord, it made itself two calves; yea, and so often as it worshiped those gods of the beathen; and yet more, when it asked that Barabbas should be released but that Christ should be crucified, committed two transgressions, rejecting the good, electing the evil; "setting sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet; setting darkness as light, and light as darkness" Isaiah 5:20.
on Hosea 10 :10