on Hosea 14 :7
They that dwell under his shadow shall return - The Targum is curious: "They shall be gathered together from the midst of their captivity; they shall dwell under the shadow of his Christ, and the dead shall revive."
They shall revive as the corn - The justness and beauty of this metaphor is not generally perceived. After the corn has been a short time above the earth, in a single spike, the blades begin to separate, and the stalk to spring out of the center. The side leaves turn back to make way for the protruding stalk; and fall bending down to the earth, assuming a withered appearance, though still attached to the plant. To look at the corn in this state, no one, unacquainted with the circumstance, could entertain any sanguine hope of a copious harvest. In a short time other leaves spring out; the former freshen, and begin to stand erect; and the whole seems to revive from a vegetative death. This is the circumstance to which the prophet refers "they shall revive as the corn." Of this a prudent and profitable use may be made.
1. When a soul is first "drawn by the cords of love," Hosea 11:4, every thing seems to it promising, comfortable, and delightful, like the corn in its first state.
2. But when the Spirit of judgment brings to the light of conscience the hidden things of iniquity, and repentance is deepened into contrition, the broken and the contrite heart groans, and thinks that all is lost; deep distress takes place, and discouragement succeeds discouragement. This answers to the corn in its second state.
3. By and by the pardon comes, and God's love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; every hope is revived and realized, the full corn in the ear becomes manifest; and this answers to the corn in its third state. "They shall revive as the corn." Glory be to God for his unspeakable gift!
on Hosea 14 :7
They that dwell under his shadow - that is, the shadow of the restored Israel, who had just been described under the image of a magnificent tree uniting in itself all perfections. : "They that are under the shadow of the Church are together under the shadow of Christ the Head thereof, and also of God the Father." The Jews, of old, explained it , "they shall dwell under the shadow of their Messias." These, he says, "shall return," i. e., they shall turn to be quite other than they had been, even back to Him, to whom they belonged, whose creatures they were, God. "They shall revive as the corn." The words may be differently rendered, in the same general meaning. The simple words, "They shall revive" (literally, "give life" to, or "preserve in life,") "corn," have been filled up differently. Some of old, (from where ours has been taken) understood it, "they shall revive" themselves, and so, "shall live" , and that either "as corn," (as it is said, "shall grow as the vine"); or "by corn" which is also very natural, since "bread is the staff of life," and our spiritual Bread is the support of our spiritual life.
Or lastly, (of which the grammar is easier, yet the idiom less natural) it as been rendered "they shall give life to corn," make corn to live, by cultivating it. In all ways the sense is perfect. If we render, "shall revive" as "corn," it means, being, as it were, dead, they shall net only live again with renewed life, but shall even increase. Corn first dies in its outward form, and so is multiplied; the fruit-bearing branches of the vine are pruned and cut, and so they bear richer fruit. So through suffering, chastisement, or the heavy hand of God or man, the Church, being purified, yields more abundant fruits of grace. Or if rendered, "shall make corn to grow," since the prophet, all around, is under figures of God's workings in nature, speaking of His workings of grace, then it is the same image, as when our Lord speaks of those "who receive the seed in an honest and true heart and bring forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" Matthew 13:23. Or if we were to render, "shall produce life through wheat," what were this, but that seed-corn, which, for us and for our salvation, was sown in the earth, and died, and "brought forth much fruit;" the Bread of life, of which our Lord says, "I am the Bread of life, whoso eateth of this bread shall live forever, and the bread which I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world?" John 6:48, John 6:51.
The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon - The grapes of Lebanon have been of the size of plums; its wine has been spoken of as the best in the East or even in the world . Formerly Israel was as a luxuriant, but empty, vine, bringing forth no fruit to God Hosea 10:1. God "looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes" Isaiah 5:2. Now its glory and luxuriance should not hinder its bearing fruit, and "that," the noblest of its kind. Rich and fragrant is the odor of graces, the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and not fleeting, but abiding.
on Hosea 14 :7
14:7 They that dwell - As many as unite to the church, shall dwell under these spreading trees. Return - Revive and recover strength. As the corn - Which dies ere it lives to bring forth fruit. As the vine - Which in winter seems dead, but yet life, sap, and a fructifying virtue is in it. The scent thereof - The savour of it to God and good men shall be pleasing as the scent of the delicious wines of Lebanon.