on Hosea 1 :11
The children of Judah and the Children of Israel - After the return from Babylon, the distinction between Israel and Judah was entirely destroyed; and those of them that did return were all included under one denomination, Jews; and the one head may refer to Zerubbabel their leader, and afterwards under Ezra and Nehemiah. In the more extensive view of the prophet the one Head may mean Jesus Christ, under whom the true Israel, Jews and Gentiles, shall be finally gathered together; so that there shall be one flock, and one Shepherd over that flock.
They shall come up out of the land - Assyria and Chaldea in particular; but also from the various places of their dispersions in general.
Great shall be the day of Jezreel - He alludes to the meaning of the word, the seed of God. God who has dispersed - sown, them in different lands, shall gather them together; and that day of God's power shall be great and glorious. It was a wonderful seed time in the Divine justice; it shall then be a wonderful harvest in the Divine mercy. He sowed them among the nations in his wrath; he shall reap them and gather them in his bounty.
on Hosea 1 :11
Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together - A little image of this union was seen after the captivity in Babylon, when some of the children of Israel, i. e., of the ten tribes, were united to Judah on his return, and the great schism of the two kingdoms came to an end. More fully, both literal Judah and Israel were gathered into one in the one Church of Christ, and all the spiritual Judah and Israel; i. e., as many of the Gentiles as, by following the faith, became the sons of faithful Abraham, and heirs of the promise to him.
And shall make themselves one Head - The act of God is named first, "they shall be gathered;" for without God we can do nothing. Then follows the act of their own consent, "they shall make themselves one Head;" for without us God doth nothing in us. God gathereth, by the call of His grace; they make to themselves one Head, by obeying His call, and submitting themselves to Christ, the one Head of the mystical body, the Church, who are His members. In like way, Ezekiel foretells of Christ, of the seed of David, under the name of David; "I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; and I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a Prince among them" Ezekiel 34:23-24; and again; "I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all" Ezekiel 37:22. But this was not wholly fulfilled, until Christ came, for after the captivity they were under Zorobabel as chief, and Joshua as high priest.
And shall come up out of the land - To "come up" or "go up" is a title of dignity; from where, in our time, people are said to go up to the metropolis, or the University; and in Holy Scripture, to "come up," or "go up," out of Egypt (Genesis 13:1; Genesis 45:25, etc.), or Assyria 2 Kings 17:3; 2 Kings 18:9, 2 Kings 18:13; Isaiah 36:1, Isaiah 36:10, or Babylon 2 Kings 24:1; Ezra 2:1; Ezra 7:6; Nehemiah 7:6; Nehemiah 12:1, to the land of promise, or from the rest of the land to the place which God chose Exodus 34:24 to place His name there, Shiloh, 1 Samuel 1:22, or, afterward, Jerusalem; (2 Samuel 19:34; 1 Kings 12:27-28; Psalm 122:4, etc.) and it is foretold that "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be exalted above the hills; and many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord" Isaiah 2:2-3; Micah 4:1-2. The land from which they should go up is, primarily and in image, Babylon, from where God restored the two tribes; but, in truth and fully, it is the whole aggregate of lands, the earth, the great "city of confusion," which Babel designates. Out of which they shall go up, "not with their feet but with their affections," to the "city set upon a hill" Matthew 5:14, "the heavenly Jerusalem" Hebrews 12:22, and heaven itself, where we are "made to sit together with Christ" Ephesians 2:6, and where "our conversation is" Philippians 3:20, that where He is, there may we "His servants be" John 12:26. They ascend in mind above the earth and the things of earth, and the lowness of carnal desires, that so they may, in the end, come up out of the earth, "to meet the Lord in the air, and forever be with the Lord" 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
For great is the day of Jezreel - God had denounced woe on Israel, under the names of the three children of the prophet, Jezreel, Lo-Ammi, Lo-Ruhamah; and now, under those three names, He promises the reversal of that sentence, in Christ. He begins with the name, under which he had begun to pronounce the woe, the first son, Jezreel. "Jezreel" means "God shall sow," either for increase, or to scatter. When God threatened, "Jezreel" necessarily meant, "God shall scatter;" here, when God reverses His threatening, it means, "God shall sow." But the issue of the seed is either single, as in human birth, or manifold, as in the seed-corn. Hence, it is used either of Him who was eminently, "the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of the woman," or the manifold harvest, which He, the seed-corn John 12:24, should bring forth, when sown in the earth, by His vicarious Death. It means, then, Christ or His Church. Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God before all worlds, was, in time, also "conceived by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary," the Son of God Alone, in a way in which no other man was born of God. Great then should be the day, when "God should sow," or give the increase in mercy, as before He scattered them, in His displeasure.
The Great Day wherein "God should sow, was, first, the day which the Lord hath made" Psalm 118:24, the Incarnation, in which God the Son became Man, "the seed of the woman;" then, it was the Passion, in which, like a seed-corn, He was sown in the earth; then, the Resurrection, when He rose, "the Firstborn among many brethren;" then, all the days in which "He bare much fruit." It is the one day of salvation, in which, generation after generation, a new seed hath been or "shall be born" unto Him, and "shall serve Him" Psalm 22:30-31. Even unto the end, every time of any special growth of the Church every conversion of Pagan tribe or people, is "a day of Jezereel," a day in which "the Lord soweth." Great, wonderful, glorious, thrice-blessed is the day of Christ, for in it He hath done great things for us, gathering together under Himself, the Head, those scattered abroad, "without hope and without God in the world;" making "not My people" into "My people" and those not beloved into His "beloved," the objects of His tender, yearning compassion, full of His grace and mercy. For so it follows,
on Hosea 1 :11
1:11 Then - This verse has both an historical and a spiritual sense; the one referring to the return out of Babylon, the other to a more glorious deliverance from a more miserable captivity. Judah - The two tribes, who adhered to the house of David. Israel - Some of the ten tribes who were incorporated with the kingdom of Judah, and so carried captive with them. But this is spiritually to be understood of the whole Israel of God. One head - Zerubbabel, who was appointed by Cyrus, yet with full approbation of the people. And so Christ is appointed by the Father, head of his church, whom believers heartily accept. Come up - Literally out of Babylon, spiritually out of captivity to sin and to Satan. Great - Good, joyous and comfortable. Of Jezreel - Israel is here called Jezreel, the seed of God. This seed is now sown in the earth, and buried under the clods; but great shall be its day, when the harvest comes. Great was the day of the church, when there were daily added to it such as should be saved.