on Hosea 2 :9
Therefore will I return, and take away - In the course of my providence, I will withhold those benefits which she has prostituted to her idolatrous services. And I will neither give the land rain, nor fruitful seasons.
on Hosea 2 :9
Therefore I will return - God is, as it were, absent from men, when He lets them go on in their abuse of His gifts. "His judgments are far above out of their sight." He returns to them, and His presence is felt in chastisements, as it might have been in mercies. He is not out of sight or out of mind, then. Others render it, "I will turn, i. e. I will do other than before; I will turn" from love to displeasure, from pouring out benefits to the infliction of chastisements, from giving abundance of all things to punishing them with the want of all things.
I will take away My corn in the time thereof - God shows us that His gifts come from Him, either by giving them when we almost despair of them, or taking them away, when they are all but our's. It can seem no chance, when He so doeth. The chastisement is severer also, when the good things, long looked-for, are, at the last, taken out of our very hands, and that, when there is no remedy. If in harvest-time there be dearth, what afterward! "God taketh away all, that they who knew not the Giver through abundance, might know Him through want."
And will recover My wool - God "recovers," and, as it were, "delivers" the works of His Hands from serving the ungodly. While He leaves His creatures in the possession of the wicked, they are holden, as it were, in captivity, being kept back from their proper uses, and made the handmaidens and instruments and tempters to sin. God made His creatures on earth to serve man, that man, on occasion of them, might glorify Him. It is against the order of nature, to use God's gifts to any other end, short of God's glory much more, to turn God's gifts against Himself, and make them serve to pride or luxury or sensual sin. It is a bondage, as it were, to them. Whence of them also Paul saith, "The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly; and, all creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" Romans 8:20, Romans 8:22. Penitents have felt this. They have felt that they deserve no more that the sun should shine on them, or the earth sustain them, or the air support them, or wine refresh them, or food nourish them, since all these are the creatures and servants of the God whom themselves have offended, and they themselves deserve no more to be served by God's servants, since they have rebelled against their common Master, or to use even rightly what they have abused against the will of their Creator.
My flax - Given "to cover her nakedness, i. e. which God had given to that end. Shame was it, that, covered with the raiment which God had given her to hide her shame, she did deeds of shame. The white linen garments of her priests also were symbols of that purity, which the Great high priest should have and give. Now, withdrawing those gifts, He gave them up to the greatest visible shame, such as insolent conquerors, in leading a people into captivity, often inflicted upon them. Thereby, in act, was figured that loss of the robe of righteousness, heavenly grace, wherewith God beautifies the soul, whereof when it is stripped, it is indeed foul.
on Hosea 2 :9
2:9 Take away - I will resume all I gave. In the time thereof - When they should gather it in, as being ripe.