on Hosea 11 :4
Salomo ben Melech thus explains the middle part of the verse, which is somewhat obscure: "I was to them at their desire as they that have compassion on a heifer, lest she be overworked in ploughing; and that lift up the yoke from off her neck, and rest it upon her cheek that she may not still draw, but rest from her labor an hour or two in the day."
But Israel - The Septuagint, Syriac, Aquila, Theodotion, and Vulgate, read וישראל veyisrael, But Israel, adding the conjunction, which being rendered as an adversative, sets the opposition in a stronger light.
Doth not know - The same ancient versions agree in adding Me, which very properly answers, and indeed is almost necessarily required to answer, the words possessor and lord preceding. Ισραηλ δε ΜΕ ουκ εγνω; Sept. "Israel autem me non cognovit," Vulg. Ισραηλ δε ΜΟΥ ουκ εγνω; Aquil., Theod. The testimony of so scrupulous an interpreter as Aquila is of great weight in this case. And both his and Theodotion's rendering is such as shows plainly that they did not add the word ΜΟΥ to help out the sense, for it only embarrasses it. It also clearly determines what was the original reading in the old copies from which they translated. It could not be ידעני yedani, which most obviously answers to the version of the Septuagint and Vulgate, for it does not accord with that of Aquila and Theodotion. The version of these latter interpreters, however injudicious, clearly ascertains both the phrase, and the order of the words of the original Hebrew; it was ישראל אותי לא ידע veyisrael othi lo yada. The word אותי othi has been lost out of the text. The very same phrase is used by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 4:22, עמי אותי לא ידעו ammi othi lo yadau. And the order of the words must have been as above represented; for they have joined ישראל yisrael, with אותי othi, as in regimine; they could not have taken it in this sense, Israel meus non cognovit, had either this phrase or the order of the words been different. I have endeavored to set this matter in a clear light, as it is the first example of a whole word lost out of the text, of which the reader will find many other plain examples in the course of these notes. But Rosenmuller contends that this is unnecessary, as the passage may be translated, "Israel knows nothing: my people have no understanding." The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read ועמי veammi, "and my people;" and so likewise sixteen MSS. of Kennicott, and fourteen of De Rossi.
Hosea 11:4I drew them with cords of a man - This is a reference to leading strings, one end of which is held by the child, the other by the nurse, by which the little one, feeling some support, and gaining confidence, endeavors to walk. God, their heavenly Father, made use of every means and method to teach them to walk in the right and only safe path; for, as the Targum says, "As beloved children are drawn I drew them by the strength of love."
That take of the yoke on their jaws - I did every thing that mercy could suggest, and justice permit, to make their duty their delight and profit. There appears to be here an illusion to the moving and pulling forward the collar or yoke of beasts which have been hard at work, to let in the cool air between it and their neck, so as to refresh them, and prevent that heat, which with the sweat would scald their necks, and take off not only the hair, but the skin. I have often done this at the land ends, in ploughing, when at the turnings the cattle were permitted a few moments to draw their breath after the hard pull that terminated the furrow at either end of the field: -
And I laid meat unto them - Giving them at the same time a bite of grass or hay, to encourage them to go on afresh. The metaphor is strong and expressive; and he who ever had or saw the management of cattle in the plough or cart must admire it. Thus God acted with the people on whose necks was the yoke of his law. How many privileges, advantages, and comforts did he mingle with his precepts, to make them at once a righteous and happy people!
on Hosea 11 :4
I drew them with the cords of a man - o: "Wanton heifers such as was Israel, are drawn with ropes; but although Ephraim struggled against Me, I would not draw him as a beast, but I drew him as a man, (not a servant, but a son) with cords of love." "Love is the magnet of love." : "The first and chief commandment of the law, is not of fear, but of love, because He willeth those whom He commandeth, to be sons rather than servants." : "Our Lord saith, 'No man cometh unto Me, except the father who hath sent me, draw him.' He did not say, lead 'him,' but 'draw him.' This violence is done to the heart, not to the body. Why marvel? Believe and thou comest; love and thou art drawn. Think it not a rough and uneasy violence: it is sweet, alluring; the sweetness draws thee. Is not a hungry sheep drawn, when the grass is shewn it? It is not, I ween, driven on in body, but is bound tight by longing. So do thou too come to Christ. Do not conceive of long journeyings. When thou believest, then thou comest. For to Him who is everywhere, people come by loving, not by traveling." So the Bride saith, "draw me and I will run after Thee" Sol 1:4. "How sweet," says Augustine, when converted, "did it at once become to me, to want the sweetnesses of those toys; and what I feared to be parted from, was now a joy to part with. For Thou didst cast them forth from me, Thou true and highest Sweetness. Thou castedst them forth, and for them enteredst in Thyself, sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, but more hidden than all depths; higher than all honor, but not to the high in their own conceits" .
: "Christ "drew" us also "with the cords of a man," when for us He became Man, our flesh, our Brother, in order that by teaching, suffering, dying for us, He might in a wondrous way bind and draw us to Himself and to God; that He might redeem the earthly Adam, might transform and make him heavenly;" : "giving us ineffable tokens of His love. For He giveth Himself to us for our Food; He giveth us sacraments; by Baptism and repentance He conformeth us anew to original righteousness. Hence, He saith, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto me" John 12:32; and Paul, "I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20. This most loving drawing, our dullness and weakness needoth, who ever, without grace, grovel amidst vile and earthly things."
"All the methods and parts of God's government are twined together, as so many twisted cords of love from Him, so ordered, that they ought to draw man with all his heart to love Him again." : "Man, the image of the Mind of God, is impelled to zeal for the service of God, not by fear, but by love. No band is mightier, nor constrains more firmly all the feelings of the mind. For it holdeth not the body enchained, while the mind revolteth and longeth to break away, but it so bindeth to itself the mind and will, that it should will, long for, compass, nought beside, save how, even amid threats of death, to obey the commands of God. Bands they are, but bands so gentle and so passing sweet, that we must account them perfect freedom and the highest dignity."
And I was to them as they that take off - (literally, "that lift up") the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them Thus explained, the words carry on the description of God's goodness, that He allowed not the yoke of slavery to weigh heavy upon them, as He saith, "I am the Lord your God, Which brought you out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen, and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright" Leviticus 26:13; and God appealeth to them, "Wherein have I wearied thee? testify against Me" Micah 6:3.
But the words seem more naturally to mean, "I was to them," in their sight, I was regarded by them, "as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws," i. e., that raise the yoke, (not being already upon them) to place it "over their jaws." "For plainly the yoke never rests on the jaws, but only passed over them, either when put on the neck, or taken off." This, God seemed to them to be doing, ever placing some new yoke or constraint upon them. "And I, God" adds, all the while "was placing meat before them;" i. e., while God was taking all manner of care of them, and providing for them "all things richly to enjoy," He was regarded by them as one who, instead of "laying food before them, was lifting the yoke over their jaws." God did them all good, and they thought it all hardship.
on Hosea 11 :4
11:4 Cords of man - With such kindness as best fits and most prevails with a man. I was to them - As a careful husband - man in due season takes the yoke from his labouring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating, when at work. I laid meat unto them - Brought them provision in their wants.