on Hosea 2 :19
I will betroth thee unto me - The people are always considered under the emblem of a wife unfaithful to her husband.
In righteousness - According to law, reason, and equity.
In judgment - According to what is fit and becoming.
In lovingkindness - Having the utmost affection and love for thee.
In mercies - Forgiving and blotting out all past miscarriages. Or there may be an allusion here to the dowry given by the husband to his wife: "I will give righteousness," etc., as a dowry.
on Hosea 2 :19
And I will betroth her unto Me forever - God does not say here, "I will forgive her;" "I will restore her;" "I will receive her back again;" "I will again shew her love and tenderness." Much as these would have been, He says here much more. He so blots out, forgets, abolishes all memory of the past, that He speaks only of the future, of the new betrothal, as if it were the first espousal of a virgin. Hereafter God would make her wholly His, and become wholly her's, by an union nearer and closer than the closest bond of parent and child, that, whereby they are "no more twain, but one flesh;" and through this oneness, formed by His own indwelling in her, giving her Himself, and taking her into Himself, and so bestowing on her a title to all which is His. And this, forever. The betrothal and union of grace in this life passeth over into the union of glory, of which it is said, "Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" Revelation 19:9.
He, by His Spirit, shall be with His Church "unto the end of the world," and so bind her unto Himself that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against her." The whole Church shall never fail. This "betrothal" implies and involves a new covenant, as God says, "Behold the days come, that I will make a new covenant with the hoarse of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to My covenant which I made with their fathers, which My covenant they brake" Jeremiah 31:31-32, and which vanisheth away. To those who had broken His covenant and been unfaithful to Him, it was great tenderness, that He reproached them not with the past; as neither doth He penitents now. But beyond this, in that He speaks of "espousing" her who was already espoused to Him, God shows that He means something new, and beyond that former espousal. What God here promised He fulfilled, not as God the Father, but in Christ. What God promised of Himself, He only could perform. God said to the Church, "I will betroth thee unto Me." He who became the "Bridegroom" John 3:29 of the Church was Christ Jesus; she became "the wife of the Lamb" Revelation 21:9; to Him the Church was "espoused, as a chaste Virgin" 2 Corinthians 11:2. He then who fulfilled what God promised that He would Himself fulfill, was Almighty God.
I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness - Or rather, (which is more tender yet and more merciful,) by, with, righteousness, etc. These are the marriage-dowry, the bridal gifts, "with" which He purchaseth and espouseth the bride unto Himself. Righteousness then and Judgment, loving-kindness and mercies, and faithfulness or truth, are attributes of God, wherewith, as by gifts of espousal, He maketh her His own. "Righteousness" is that in God, whereby He is Himself righteous and just; "Judgment," that whereby He puts in act what is right against these who do wrong, and so judges Satan; as when the hour of His Passion was at hand, He said, "when the Comforter is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" John 16:8, John 16:11. "Loving-kindness" is that tender affection, wherewith He cherisheth His children, the works of His hands; Mercies, His tender yearnings over us (see the note above at Hosea 1:6), wherewith He hath compassion on our weakness; "Faithfulness," that whereby He "keepeth covenant forever" Psalm 111:9, and "loveth His own unto the end" John 13:1.
And these qualities, as they are His, whereby He saved us, so doth He impart them to the Church in her measure, and to faithful souls. These are her dowry, her jewels, her treasure, her inheritance. He giveth to her and to each soul, as it can receive it, and in a secondary way, His Righteousness, Judgment, Loving-kindness, Mercies, Faithfulness. His "Righteousness," contrary to her former unholiness, He poureth into her, and giveth her, with it, grace and love and all the fruits of the Spirit. By His Judgment, He giveth her a right judgment in all things, as contrary to her former blindness. "Know ye not, says the Apostle 1 Corinthians 6:3, that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?" "Loving-kindness" is tender love, wherewith we "love one another, as Christ loved us" John 15:12. "Mercies" are that same love to those who need mercy, whereby we are "merciful, as our Father is merciful" Luke 6:36. "Faithfulness" is that constancy, whereby the elect shall "persevere unto the end, as He saith, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" Revelation 2:10.
The threefold repetition of the word betroth is also, doubtless mysterious, alluding chiefly to the Mystery of the All-Holy Trinity, so often and so manifoldly, in Holy Srcipture, foreshadowed by this sacred number. To them is the Church betrothed, by the pronouncing of whose names each of her members is, in Holy Baptism, "espoused as a chaste virgin unto Christ." At three times especially did our Lord espouse the Church unto Himself. : "First in His Incarnation, when He willed to unite His own Deity with our humanity," and "in the Virgin's womb, the nature of the woman, our nature, human nature, was joined to the nature of God," and that "forever." "He will be forever the Word and Flesh, i. e., God and Man." Secondly, in His Passion, when he washed her with His Blood, and bought her for His own by His Death. Thirdly, in the Day of Pentecost, when He poured out the Holy Spirit upon her, whereby He dwelleth in her and she in Him. And He who thus espoused the Church is God; she whom He espoused, an adulteress, and He united her to Himself, making her a pure virgin without spot or blemish. : "Human marriage makes those who were virgins to cease to be so; the divine espousal makes her who was defiled, a pure virgin." "I have espoused you," says Paul to those whom he had won back from all manner of pagan sins, "to one Husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin unto Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2; see Jeremiah 3:1-2). O the boundless clemency of God! : "How can it be possible, that so mighty a King should become a Bridegroom, that the Church should be advanced into a Bride? That alone hath power for this, which is All-powerful; 'love, strong as death' Sol 8:6. How should it not easily lift her up, which hath already made Him stoop? If He hath not acted as a Spouse, if He hath not loved as a Spouse, been jealous as a Spouse, then hesitate thou to think thyself espoused."
on Hosea 2 :19