on Hosea 12 :9
And I-- the Lord thy God - I who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, will again make thee to dwell in tabernacles. This appears to be a threatening. I will reduce you to as miserable a state in the land of your captivity, as you often were through your transgressions in the wilderness. This was the opinion of some of the ancients on this verse; and the context requires it to be understood in this way. I do not think that the feast of tabernacles is referred to.
on Hosea 12 :9
And I, the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt - God, in few words, comprises whole centuries of blessings, all, from the going out of Egypt to that very day, all the miracles in Egypt, in the wilderness, under Joshua, the Judges; one stream of benefits it had been, which God had poured out upon them from first to last. The penitent sees in one glance, how God had been "his" God, from his birth until that hour, and how he had all along offended God.
Will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles - The feast of tabernacles was the yearly remembrance of God's miraculous guidance and support of Israel through the wilderness. It was the link, which bound on their deliverance from Egypt to the close of their pilgrim-life and their entrance into their rest. The passage of the Red Sea, like Baptism, was the beginning of God's promises. By it israel was saved from Egypt and from bondage, and was born to be a people of God. Yet, being the beginning, it was plainly not the completion; nor could they themselves complete it. Enemies, more powerful than they, had to be dispossessed; "the great and terrible wilderness, the fiery serpents and scorpions, and the land of exceeding drought, where was no water" Deuteronomy 8:15, had to be surmounted; no food was there, no water, for so vast a multitude. It was a time of the visible presence of God. He promised; "I send an Angel before thee to keep thee in the way and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared" Exodus 23:20. "He brought them forth water out of the rock of flint, and fed them with manna which," He says, "thy fathers knew not" Deuteronomy 8:15-16. "Thy raiment," He appeals to them, "waxed not old, nor did thy foot swell these forty years" Deuteronomy 8:4; "thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot; ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God" Deuteronomy 29:5-6.
It was a long trial-time, in which they were taught entire dependence upon God; a time of sifting, in which God proved His faithfulness to those who persevered. Standing there between the beginning and the end of the accomplishment of God's promise to Abraham and to them, it was a type of His whole guidance of His people at all times. It was a pledge that God would lead His own, if often "by a way which they knew not" Isaiah 42:16, yet to rest, with Him. The yearly commemoration of it was not only a thanksgiving for God's past mercies; it was a confession also of their present relation to God, that "here we have no continuing city" (Hebrews 13:14; compare Hosea 11:9-10); that they still needed the guidance and support of God; and that their trust was not in themselves, nor in man, but in Him. This they themselves saw. : "When they said, 'Leave a fixed habitation, and dwell in a chance abode,' they meant, that the command to dwell in tabernacles was given, to teach us, that no man must rely on the height or strength of his house, or on its good arrangements though it abound in all good; nor may he rely on the help of any man, not though he were lord and king of the whole earth, but must trust in Him by whose word the worlds were made. For with Him alone is power and faithfulness, so that, whereinsoever any man may place his trust, he shall receive no consolation from it, since in God alone is refuge and trust, as it is said, 'Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth him on every side, and I will say unto the Lord, my Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in Him will I trust. '"
The feast of tabernacles was also a yearly thanksgiving for the mercies with which God had "crowned the year." The joy must have been even the greater, since it followed, by five days only, after the mournful day of atonement, its rigid fast from evening to evening, and its confession of sin. Joy is greater when ushered in by sorrow; sorrow for sin is the condition of joy in God. The Feast of tabernacles was, as far it could be, a sort of Easter after Lent. At the time when Israel rejoiced in the good gifts of the year, God bade them express, in act, their fleeting condition in this life. It must have been a striking confession of the slight tenure of all earthly things, when their kings and great men, their rich men and those who lived at ease, had all, at the command of God, to leave their ceiled houses, and dwell for seven days in rude booths, constructed for the season, pervious in some measure to the sun and wind, with no fixed foundation, to be removed when the festival was passed. "Because," says a Jewish writer , "at the time of the gathering of the increase from the field, man wishes to go from the field to his house to make a fixed abode there, the law was anxious, lest on account of this fixed abode, his heart should be lifted up at having found a sort of palace, and he should 'wax fat and kick.' Therefore it is written, 'all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.' Whoso begins to think himself a citizen in this world, and not a foreigner, him God biddeth, leaving his ordinary dwelling, to remove into a temporary lodging, in order that, leaving these thoughts, he may learn to acknowledge that he is only a stranger in this world and not a citizen, in that he dwells as in a stranger's hut, and so should not attribute too much to the shadow of his beams, but 'dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. '"
Every year, the law was publicly read in the feast. Ephraim was living clean contrary to all this. He boasted in his wealth, justified himself on the ground of it, ascribed it and his deliverance from Egypt to his idols. He would not keep the feast, as alone God willed it to be kept. While he existed in his separate kingdom, it could not be. Their political existence had to be broken, that they might be restored.
God then conveys the notice of the impending punishment in words which promised the future mercy. He did not, "then, make" them "to dwell in tabernacles." For all their service of Him was out of their own mind, contrary to His will, displeasing to Him. This, then, "I will "yet" make thee dwell in tabernacles," implies a distant mercy, beyond and distinct from their present condition. Looking on beyond the time of the captivity, He says that they shall yet have a time of joy, "as in the days of the solemn feast." God would give them a new deliverance, but out of a new captivity.
The feast of tabernacles typifies this our pilgrim-state, the life of simple faith in God, for which God provides; poor in this world's goods, but rich in God. The Church militant dwells, as it were, in tabernacles; hereafter, we hope to be "received into everlasting habitations," in the Church triumphant.
on Hosea 12 :9
12:9 From Egypt - From the time I brought thee out of it. In tabernacles - I have given thee all these blessings and comforts, expressed proverbially in allusion to the joy which they had at the feast of tabernacles.