on Hosea 11 :9
"And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword (לא איש lo ish) of no-man;
And a sword of (לא אדם lo adam) no-mortal, shall devour him."
Hosea 11:9I will not execute - Here is the issue of this conflict in the Divine mind. Mercy triumphs over Judgment; Ephraim shall be spared. He is God, and not man. He cannot be affected by human caprices. They are now penitent, and implore mercy; he will not, as man would do, punish them for former offenses, when they have fallen into his hand. The holy place is in Ephraim, and God is in this holy place; and he will not go into the cities, as he did into Sodom and Gomorrah, to destroy them. Judgment is his strange work. How exceedingly affecting are these two verses!
on Hosea 11 :9
I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger - It is the voice of "mercy, rejoicing over judgment." mercy prevails in God over the rigor of His justice, that though He will not suffer them to go utterly unpunished, yet He will abate of it, and not utterly consume them.
I will not return to destroy Ephraim - God saith that He will not, as it were, glean Ephraim, going over it again, as man doth, in order to leave nothing over. As it is in Jeremiah, "They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel, as a vine. Turn back thine hand, as a grapegatherer into the baskets" Jeremiah 6:9; and, "If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning-grapes? but I have made Esau bare" Jeremiah 49:9-10.
For I am God and not man - o: "not swayed by human passions, but so tempering His wrath, as, in the midst of it, to remember mercy; so punishing the iniquity of the sinful children, as at once to make good His gracious promises which He made to their forefathers." : "Man punishes, to destroy; God smites, to amend."
The Holy One in the midst of thee - The holiness of God is at once a ground why He punishes iniquity, and yet does not punish to the full extent of the sin. Truth and faithfulness are part of the holiness of God. He, the Holy One who was "in the midst" of them, by virtue of His covenant with their fathers, would keep the covenant which He had made, and for their father's sakes would not wholly cut them off. Yet the holiness of God hath another aspect too, in virtue of which the unholy cannot profit by the promises of the All-Holy. "I will not," paraphrases Cyril, "use unmingled wrath. I will not "give" over Ephraim, wicked as he has become, to entire destruction. Why? Do they not deserve it? Yes, He saith, but "I am God and not man," i. e., Good, and not suffering the motions of anger to overcome Me. For that is a human passion. Why then dost Thou yet punish, seeing Thou art God, not overcome with anger, but rather following Thine essential gentleness? I punish, He saith, because I am not only Good, as God, but holy also, hating iniquity, rejecting the polluted, turning away from God-haters, converting the sinner, purifying the impure, that he may again be joined to Me. We, then, if we prize the being with God, must, with all our might, fly from sin, and remember what He said. "Be ye holy, for I am holy."
And I will not enter the city - God, who is everywhere, speaks of Himself, as present to us, when He shows that presence in acts of judgment or of mercy. He visited His people in Egypt, to deliver them; He visited Sodom and Gomorrah as a Judge, making known to us that He took cognizance of their extreme wickedness. God says, that He would "not enter the city," as He did "the cities of the plain," when He overthrew them, because He willed to save them. As a Judge, He acts as though He looked away from their sin, lest, seeing their city to be full of wickedness, He should be compelled to punish it. : "I will not smite indiscriminately, as man doth, who when wroth, bursts into an offending city, and destroys all. In this sense, the Apostle says, "Hath God cast away His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not east away His people, whom He foreknew. What saith the answer of God to Elias! I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Bard. Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace" Romans 11:1-2, Romans 11:4-5. God then was wroth, not with His people, but with unbelief. For He was not angered in such wise, as not to receive the remnant of His people, if they were converted. No Jew is therefore repelled, because the Jewish nation denied Christ; but whoso, whether Jew or Gentile, denieth Christ, he himself, in his own person, repels himself."
on Hosea 11 :9
11:9 Return - Conquerors that plunder the conquered city, carry away the wealth of it, and after some time return to burn it; God will not do so. Not man - Therefore my compassions fail not. The holy One - A holy God, and in covenant, though not with all, yet with many among you. Enter into the city - Utterly to destroy thee, as I did Sodom.