on Hosea 9 :17
My God will cast them away - Here the prophet seems to apologize for the severity of these denunciations; and to vindicate the Divine justice, from which they proceeded. It is: -
Because they did not hearken unto him - That "my God," the fountain of mercy and kindness, "will cast them away."
And they shall be wanderers among the nations - And where they have wandered to, who can tell? and in what nations to be found, no man knows. Wanderers they are; and perhaps even now unknown to themselves. Some have thought they have found them in one country; some, in another; and a very pious writer, in a book entitled, The Star in the West, thinks he has found their descendants in the American Indians; among whom he has discovered many customs, apparently the same with those of the ancient Jews, and commanded in the Law. He even thinks that the word Je-ho-vah is found in their solemn festal cry, Ye-ho-wa-he. If they be this long lost people, they are utterly unknown to themselves; their origin being lost in a very remote antiquity.
on Hosea 9 :17
My God hath cast them away - "My God" (he saith) as if God were his God only who clave to him, not their's who had, by their disobedience, departed from Him. "My God." "He had then authority from Him," whom he owned and who owned "him," and who bade him so Speak, as though God were "his" God, and no longer their's. God "casts them away," lit. "despises them," and so rejects them as an object of aversion to Him, "because they did not hearken to Him." "God never forsakes unless He be first forsaken." When they would not hearken, neither doing what God commanded, nor abstaining from what He forbade, God at last rejected them, as worthless, lacking altogether to that end for which He created them.
And they shall be wanderers among the nations - This was the sentence of Cain Genesis 4:12; "a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." So God had forewarned them. "The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth - and among these nations shalt there find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest" Deuteronomy 28:64-65.
The words of the prophet imply an abiding condition. He does not say, "they shall wander, but, they shall be wanderers." Such was to be their lot; such has been their lot ever since; and such was not the ordinary lot of those large populations whom Eastern conquerors transported from their own land. Those conquerors took away with them into their own land, portions of the people whom they conquered, for two ends. When a people often rebelled, they were placed where they could rebel no more, among tribes more powerful than they, and obedient to the rule of the conqueror. Or they were carried off; as slaves to work in bricks, like Israel in Egypt .
Their workmen, smiths, artificers, were especially taken to labor on those gigantic works, the palaces and temples of Nineveh or Babylon. But, for both these purposes, the transported population had a settled abode allotted to it, whether in the capital or the provinces. Sometimes new cities or villages were built for the settlers . Israel at first was so located. Perhaps on account of the frequent rebellions of their kings, the ten tribes were placed amid a wild, warlike, population, "in the cities of the Medes." 2 Kings 17:6. When the interior of Asia was less known, people thought that they were still to be found there.
The Jews fabled, that the ten tribes lay behind some mighty and fabulous river, Sambatyon , or were fenced in by mountains . Christians thought that they might be found in some yet unexplored part of Asia. Undeceived as to this, they still asked whether the Afghans, or the Yezides, or the natives of North America were the ten tribes, or whether they were the Nestorians of Kurdistan. So natural did it seem, that they, like other nations so transported, should remain as a body, near or at the places, where they had been located by their conquerors. The prophet says otherwise. He says their abiding condition shall be, "they shall be wanderers among the nations," wanderers among them, but no part of them. Before the final dispersion of the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem, "the Jewish race," Josephus says ," was in great numbers through the whole world, interspersed with the nations."
Those assembled at the day of Pentecost had come from all parts of Asia Minor but also from Parthia, Media, Persia, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Egypt, maritime Lybia, Crete, and Italy Acts 2:9-11. Wherever the Apostles went, in Asia or Greece, they found Jews, in numbers sufficient to raise persecution against them. James writes to those whom, with a word corresponding to that of Hosea, he calls, "the dispersion." "James ... to the twelve in the dispersion" . The Jews, scoffing, asked, whether our Lord would go to "the dispersion among the Greeks" . They speak of it, as a body, over against themselves, to whom they supposed that He meant to go, to teach them, when He said, "Ye shall seek Me and shall not find Me." The Jews of Egypt were probably the descendants of those who went there, after the murder of Gedaliah. The Jews of the North, as well as those of China, India, Russia, were probably descendants of the ten tribes.
From one end of Asia to the other and onward through the Crimea, Greece and Italy, the Jews by their presence, bare witness to the fulfillment of the prophecy. Not like the wandering Indian tribe, who spread over Europe, living apart in their native wildness, but settled, among the inhabitants of each city, they were still distinct, although with no polity of their own; a distinct, settled, yet foreign and subordinate race. : "Still remains unreversed this irrevocable sentence, as to their temporal state and face of an earthly kingdom, that they remain still "wanderers" or dispersed among other nations, and have never been restored, nor are in likelihood of ever being restored to their own land, so as to call it their own. If ever any of them hath returned thither, it hath been but as strangers, and all, as to any propriety that they should challenge in it, to hear the ruins and waste heaps of their ancient cities to echo in their ears the prophet's words, "Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest;" your ancestors polluted it, and ye shall never return as a people thither, to inhabit it, as in your former condition" Micah 2:10.
"Meanwhile Ephraim here is an example, not only to particular persons, that as they will avoid personal judgments, so they take care faithfully to serve God and hearken unto Him; but to nations and kingdoms also, that as they will prevent national judgments, so they take care that God be truly served, and the true religion maintained in purity and sincerity among them. Ephraim, or lsrael, held their land by as good and firm tenure as any people in the world can theirs, having it settled on them by immediate gift from Him who is the Lord of the whole earth, who promised it to their forefathers, Abraham and his seed forever Genesis 13:14-15; Deuteronomy 34:4, called therefore the land which the Lord sware unto them Numbers 14; and which He had promised them Deuteronomy 9:28, the land of promise Hebrews 11:9. Who could have greater right to a place, better and firmer right, than they had to the Lord's land, by "His" promise which never fails, and "His" oath who will not repent, confirmed to them?
Certainly, if they had observed conditions and kept covenant with Him, all the people in the world could never have driven them out, or dispossessed them of it. But, seeing they revolted and brake His covenant, and did not hearken to Him, He would not suffer them longer to dwell in it, but drave and cast them out of it, so that they could never recover it again, but continue to this day "wandering among the nation," having no settled place of their own, nowhere where they can be called a people, or are for such owned. If God so dealt with Israel on their disobedience and departing from His service, to whom He had so particularly engaged himself to make good to them the firm possession of that land; how shall any presume on any right or title to any other, or think to preserve it to themselves by any force or strength of their own, if they revolt from Him, and cast off thankful obedience to Him? The Apostle cautioneth and teacheth us so to argue, "if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee," and therefore warneth, "be not high-minded," and presumptuous, "but fear" Romans 11:20-21.
on Hosea 9 :17