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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 26: Hosea, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at





1 THE word of Jehovah, which came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel.

2 The beginning of what Jehovah spoke by Hosea: Jehovah said to Hosea, “Go, take to thee a wife of wantonness, and children of wantonness; for by wantoning the land hath become wanton, so that it follows not Jehovah.”

3 And he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bare him a son:

4 And Jehovah said to him, “Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while and I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel;

5 And it shall be in that day, that I will break in pieces the bow in the valley of Jezreel.”

6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter; and he said to him, “Call her name Loruchamah; for I will no more show mercy to the house of Israel, for I will utterly take them away: (56.)  102

7 But to the house of Judah I will show mercy, and will save them by Jehovah their God; and I will save them neither by the bow, nor by the sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen.”

8 And she weaned Lo-ruchamah, and conceived, and bare a son;

9 And he said, “Call his name Lo-ammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be yours:

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall be, that in the place where it had been said to them, ‘Ye are not my people,’ even there it shall be said, ‘Ye are the children of the living God:’

11 And assembled together shall be the children of Judah and the children of Israel, and shall set over themselves one head, and shall ascend from the land, though great shall be the day of Jezreel.”

CHAPTER 2.  103

1 Say to your brethren, “My people;” And to your sisters, “Beloved.” —

2 Contend with your mother, contend; For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband: Let her then remove her fornications from her face,And her adulteries from the midst of her breasts;

3 Lest I strip her naked, And place her as on the day of her nativity, And set her as the desert, and set her as a dry land, And make her to die with thirst.

4 And her children I will not pity; For they are spurious children:

5 For the wanton has their mother played; With lewdness is she defiled who hath conceived them; For she said, — “I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my waters, My wool, and my flax, and my oil, and lily drink.”

6 Behold, therefore, I will close up her way with thorns, And surround her with a mound, And her path she shall not find;

7 And she will follow her lovers, and shall not overtake them, And will seek them, and shall not find them; Then she will say, — “I will go and return to my former husband, For better was it. with me then than now.”

8 And she knew not that I gave to her corn, and wine, and oil, And multiplied to her the silver and the gold, Which they applied to Baal.

9 I will therefore return, and take away the corn in its time, And my new wine in its season; And will snatch away my wool and flax, By which she covered her own nakedness;

10 And I will now uncover her baseness before the eyes of her lovers, And no one shall rescue her from my hand;

11 And I will cause to cease all her joy and her mirth, Her new Moon, her sabbath, and every festal-day;

12 And I will destroy her vine and her fig-tree, Of which she said, — “These are my rewards, Which my lovers have given me;” And will set them as the forest, And eat them shall the beast of the field;

13 And I will visit on her the days of Baalim, To whom she offered incense, And adorned herself with her earring and her chain, And went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith Jehovah.

14 Behold, therefore, I will turn her, When I shall have led her to the desert, And will speak to her heart;

15 And will give her thence her vineyards, And the valley of Achor for a door of hope; And there she will sing as in the days of her youth, And as in the day she ascended from the land of Egypt.

16 And it shall be in that day, saith Jehovah, That thou shalt call me, — “My Husband,” And shalt no more call me, — “My Baal:”

17 And I will take away the names of Baalim from her mouth, And she will no more remember their name:

18 I will also make for them a covenant, in that day, With the beast of the field, and the bird of heaven, and the reptile of the earth; And the bow, and the sword, and the battle, I will break from the land; And I will make them rest in security:

19 I will also espouse thee to me for ever, And espouse thee to me in righteousness, And in judgment, and in kindness, and in mercies; And I will espouse thee to me in faithfulness, And thou shalt know Jehovah.

20 And in that day I will hear, saith Jehovah, I will hear the heavens, and they will hear the earth, And the earth will hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, And these will hear Jezreel: And I will sow her for me in the land, And show mercy to her who obtained not mercy, And will say to Lo-ammi, — “Ye are my people” And they will say, — “Thou art our God.”


1 And Jehovah said to me, — “Go again, love a woman beloved by a husband, and who is an adulteress, — according to the love of Jehovah towards the children of Israel, who yet look to strange gods, and love flagons of grapes.”

2 And I bought her for myself for fifteen silverings and one homer of barley, and half an homer of barley.

3 And I said to her, — “For many days shalt thou abide for me; thou shalt not play the wanton, and shalt not be for any man, and I also shall be for thee.”

4 For the children of Israel shall for many days abide without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without a statue, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.

5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek Jehovah their God, and David their king; and they shall fear Jehovah and his goodness at the end of days.


1 Hear the word of Jehovah, ye children of Israel; For a contention has Jehovah with the inhabitants of the land, For there is no faithfulness and no kindness, And no knowledge of God in the land:

2 Cursing, and lying, and murder, And stealing, and adultery, have burst forth; And blood have touched blood.

3 Mourn therefore shall the land, And languish shall every one who dwells in it; Together with the beast of the field, the bird of heaven, And also the fish of the sea, shall they be taken away.

4 But yet no man may rebuke and reprove a man; For thy people are as those who chide the priest.

5 Fall then shalt thou in the daytime, And fall also shall the Prophet with thee in the night; And I will destroy thy mother.

6 Perished have my people without knowledge: As thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, That thou shalt not discharge for me the priesthood; And as thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, Thy children will I also forget.

7 According to their increase, so have they sinned against me: Their glory will I turn to shame.

8 The sin of my people they eat, And to their iniquity they raise up the soul of each. (154)

9 And it shall be, as the people so shall be the priest; And I will visit on them their ways, And their works will I repay them:

10 For they shall eat, and shall not be satisfied: They shall play the wanton, and shall not increase; For Jehovah have they left off to serve.

11 Wantonness and wine, and new wine, take away the heart.

12 My people their wood consult, And their staff answers them; For the spirit of wantonness has deceived them, And they have played the wanton away from their God:

13 On the tops of mountains they sacrifice, And on hills they burn incense — Under the oak, and the poplar, and the teil-tree, For pleasant is its shade. Therefore your daughters shall become wanton, And your daughters-in-law shall be adulteresses. —

14 I will not punish your daughters, because they become wanton, Nor your daughters-in-law, because they have committed adulteries; For they with strumpets separate themselves, And with harlots they sacrifice: — And the people who understand not shall stumble.

15 If thou, Israel, art become wanton, let not Judah offend; Come ye not to Gilgal, nor ascend into Bethaven, Nor swear, Jehovah liveth.

16 For as an untameable heifer, untameable is Israel: Now feed him will Jehovah, as a tender lamb, in a spacious place.

17 To idols has Ephraim joined himself; — leave him.

18 Putrid is become their drink, By wantoning they have become wanton; “Bring ye,” have their princes shamefully loved.

19 They have bound up wind in their wings, And ashamed they shall be of their sacrifices.


1 Hear this, ye priests, and attend, ye house of Israel, And ye house of the king, give ear, — For to you is judgment; For a snare have you been in Mizpah, And a net expanded over Tabor.

2 And turning aside in sacrificing they are deeply fixed; Yet a correction have I been to them all.

3 I have known Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me; For thou Ephraim art wanton, polluted is Israel.

4 They apply not their endeavors to turn to their God; For the spirit of wantonness is in the midst of them. And Jehovah they have not known

5 And testify does the pride of Israel to his face: Israel then and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity, Fall also shall Judah with them.

6 With their sheep and their herds shall they go to seek Jehovah; But shall not find him: he has separated himself from them.

7 With Jehovah have they dealt perfidiously; For strange children have they begotten: Now devour them shall a month, together with their portions.

8 Sound the cornet in Gibeah, blow the trumpet in Ramah, Blow also the horn in Bethaven after thee, Benjamin: —

9 Ephraim shall be a waste in the day of correction; Among the tribes of Israel have I taught this truth.

10 The princes of Judah have been as those who remove the boundary; On them will I pour, as waters, my fury.

11 Exposed to plunder has Ephraim been, broken by judgment; For he willingly walked after the commandments.

12 And as a moth have I been to Ephraim, And as a worm to the house of Judah;

13 And Ephraim saw his disease, and Judah his wound; Ephraim went to Assur, and sent to king Jareb: Yet he could not heal you, nor will he cure you of your wound;

14 For as a lion shall I be to Ephraim, And as a young lion to the house of Judah: I — I will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall deliver. —

15 I will go, I will return to my place, Until they confess that they have sinned, and seek my face: When they shall have affliction, they will seek me: —


1 “Come and let us return to Jehovah; For he hath torn, and he will heal us; He hath smitten, and he will bind up our wounds:

2 He will revive us after two days, On the third day he will raise us up,

3 And we shall live in his presence: And we shall know and pursue after the knowledge of Jehovah; As the dawn, his going forth is appointed; And he shall come as the rain to us, As the latter rain — a rain to the earth.” (260)

4 What shall I do to thee, Ephraim? What shall I do to thee, Judah? For your goodness is like the morning dew, Like the cloud which passeth away early.

5 I have therefore hewn them by my Prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth; And thy judgments have been as the light which goeth forth:

6 For mercy I desire, and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God before burnt-offerings.

7 But they as men have transgressed the covenant; In this they have dealt perfidiously with me.

8 Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity, filled with blood;

9 And, as robbers wait for a man, The company of priests kill in the way by consent; For their wicked purpose they accomplish.

10 In the house of Israel have I seen infamy; There is the wantonness of Ephraim, — Israel is polluted.

11 Judah also did set a plant for thee, While I was restoring the captivity of my people.


1 While I was healing Israel, Then were discovered the iniquity of Ephraim, And the vices of Samaria; For they dealt falsely, and the thief entered in, The robber plundered abroad:

2 And they said not in their heart, That I remember all their wickedness: Surrounded them have now their vices, — they are in my sight.

3 By their wickedness they cheer the king, And by their falsehoods the princes. All are adulterers, like an oven heated by the baker;

4 .Who ceases from stirring up, After mixing the dough, till it be fermented.

5 The day of our king! — the princes Have made him sick with a bottle of wine; — He stretched forth his hand to scorners.

6 For they have made ready, as an oven, Their heart, for lying in wait: All the night their baker sleeps; In the morning the oven burns as a flaming fire

7 All are hot like an oven; They have consumed their own judges, — All their kings have fallen; — No one among them cries to me.

8 Ephraim mingles himself with the nations; Ephraim is become bread baked under the ashes, Which has not been turned:

9 Eaten have strangers his strength, and he knows it not; And hoariness has spread over him, and he knows it not;

10 And testify does the pride of Israel to his face; But they have not returned to Jehovah their God, Nor sought him notwithstanding all these things.

11 Ephraim is also like a silly dove, without understanding; They cry on Egypt, they go to Assyria:

12 But when they go, I will expand over them my net, As a bird of heaven, I will bring them down, I will hold them fast, as their assembly have heard.

13 Woe to them! for they have gone back from me; Desolation to them! for they have dealt perfidiously with me: Though I redeemed them, They have yet spoken lies against me:

14 And they have not cried to me with their heart; For they howled on their beds; For corn and wine they assemble together; — They have revolted from me: (269)

15 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, Yet against me they contrive evil.

16 They return not to God; They have been like a deceitful bow: Fallen by the sword have their princes, Through the pride of their tongue; — This will be their reproach in the land of Egypt.


1 To thy mouth the trumpet! As an eagle, against the house of Jehovah; For they have transgressed my covenant, And against my law have they acted perfidiously.

2 To me will Israel exclaim, “My God, we have known thee,”

3 Israel has cast good far away; — The enemy will closely pursue him:

4 They have caused to reign, but not by me; Dominion have they set up, but I knew not; Of their silver and their gold they have made for themselves idols; They shall therefore be cut off.

5 Cast thee far away has thy calf, O Samaria! — Kindled has my fury against them: How long will they not bear cleanness?

6 For even from Israel it is; The artificer has made it, and it is no god; For in fragments shall be the calf of Samaria.

7 Surely the wind they sow, and the tempest they shall reap; There is no stalks — the grain will produce no flour; If indeed it will produce, strangers will devour it.

8 Devoured is Israel, — now shall he be among the Gentiles, Like a vessel in which there is no delight:

9 For they went up to Assyria, like a solitary wild ass; — Ephraim hired lovers:

10 Though they have hired among the nations, I will now gather them; And they shall grieve a little under the burden of the king and princes.

11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars to sin, Altars for sinning shall be to him.

12 I have written for him the precious things of my law; As something strange have they been accounted.

13 For sacrifices of burnt-offerings they offer flesh, and eat; Jehovah will not regard it as acceptable: He will now remember their iniquity, He will visit their wickedness; — To Egypt shall they return.

14 For Israel has his Maker forgotten, and built altars: Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; But I will send fire on his cities, And it shall devour his palaces.


1 Rejoice not, Israel, with joy like that of the people; For thou hast become wanton from thy God; Thou hast loved wages on all the floors of corn. —

2 The floor and the vat shall not feed them, And the new wine shall disappoint them:

3 They shall not dwell in the land of Jehovah; And return shall Ephraim to Egypt, And in Assyria they shall eat what is unclean:

4 To Jehovah they shall not pour wine, And acceptable to him shall not be their libations; Their sacrifices shall be to them as the bread of mourners, — Whosoever will eat shall be polluted; For their bread for their soul, It shall not come into the house of Jehovah.

5 What will ye do on the solemn day, On the festal-day of Jehovah?

6 For, behold, they are gone away on account of desolation; — Egypt will gather them, Memphis will bury them. The wished-for store of their silver will the nettle possess, — The thorn shall be in their tents.

7 The days of visitation have come, The days of retribution have come: Israel shall know the prophet to be foolish, And mad the man of the spirit, — For the number of thy iniquity and great hatred.

8 The watchman of Ephraim for my God, the prophet, Is a snare of a fowler on all his ways, A hateful thing in the house of his God. — (327)

9 They are deeply fixed, corrupt are they as in the days of Gibeah: He will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

10 As grapes in the desert I found Israel, As the first fruit of the fig-tree, at its beginning, I saw your fathers: — They went in into Baalpeor, And separated themselves unto shame, And became abominable like their lovers.

11 Ephraim! — as a bird has fled their glory — (336) From the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception:

12 For if they bring up their children, I shall exterminate them, that they shall not be men: — Surely, woe to them, when I shall depart from them!

13 Ephraim, as I have seen in Tyrus, Is a tree planted in a house: (339) Yet Ephraim is to bring forth to the slaughter his children!

14 “Give to them, Jehovah, — what wilt thou give? Give to them an abortive womb and dry breasts.”

15 All their evil is in Gilgal; For there I conceived hatred against them: On account of the wickedness of their works, From my house I will cast them out; I will not continue to love them; — All their princes are apostates.

16 Smitten has Ephraim been; Their root has dried up, — fruit they will not bear: And if they bring forth, I will slay The wished—for fruit of their womb. —

17 Cast them away will my God; For they hearkened not to him: And they shall be wanderers among the nations.


1 A vine robbed is Israel; Fruit will he lay up for himself: (351) According to the abundance of his fruit Hath he abounded towards altars; According to the goodness of his land Hath he done good to statues.

2 Divided has been their heart; They shall now be proved guilty: — He will overturn their altars, He will destroy their statues.

3 For now they will say, — “We have no king, Because we feared not Jehovah; And a king, what will he do for us?” —

4 They have spoken words only, — Swearing falsely, — making a covenant: (356) Judgment grows up as wormwood in the furrows of the field.

5 For the calves of Bethaven, (359) Tremble will the inhabitants of Samaria; For mourn over it will its people, And its priests, who rejoice in it, over its glory: For it shall depart from it;

6 And itself shall to Assyria be carried, A present to king Jareb: — Shame shall Ephraim receive, And ashamed shall Israel be of his counsel.

7 Cut down shall be the king of Samaria, As a foam on the surface of the waters. (363)

8 Perish shall the high places of Aven — the sin of Israel; The thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; And they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,” And to the hills, “Fall on us.”

9 From the days of Gibeah hast thou, Israel, sinned: There they stood, — the battle in Gibeah, Against the children of iniquity, laid not hold on them.

10 It is my wish, and I will chastise them; And assembled against them shall nations be, When they shall be bound together by their two furrows. (371)

11 Ephraim is an heifer, trained to love the treading of corn; But I passed over on her beautiful neck; — To ride will I make Ephraim, — Plough shall Judah, — harrow for himself shall Jacob.

12 Sow for yourselves in righteousness, Gather for your measure kindness; Plough for yourselves what has been ploughed: And time it is to seek Jehovah, till he come, And rain righteousness upon you: —

13 Ye have ploughed ungodliness, iniquity have ye reaped; Ye have eaten the fruit of falsehood: For you have trusted in your own way, In the multitude of thy valiant ones.

14 A tumult shall therefore rise among thy people, And every one of thy fortresses shall be laid waste, According to the devastation of Shalman in Betharbel: In the day of battle shall the mother, With the children, be dashed in pieces. —

15 Thus shall Bethel do to you, On account of wickedness — of your wickedness: In one morning shall utterly perish the king of Israel.


1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him: And from Egypt I called my son. —

2 They called them; — so they turned away from their presence; — To Baalim they offered sacrifices, And to graven images they burnt incense.

3 And I, my walking was on foot, To raise up Ephraim by his arms: And they knew not that I healed them.

4 By the cords of man I drew them, by the chains of love: And I was to them as those who raise up the yoke on the cheeks; And I have extended meat to them.

5 They shall not return to the land of Egypt, Assur shall rule over them; For they have been unwilling to return:

6 And fall shall the sword on their cities, And destroy their bars; And it shall destroy on account of their counsels.

7 For my people are bent on defection from me; When to the Most High they call them, No one at all raises up himself.

8 How shall I set thee aside, Ephraim? Shall I deliver thee up, Israel? How shall I make thee as Sodom? Shall I set thee as Zeboim? Inverted within me is my heart, Rolled back again are my repentings:

9 I will not execute the fury of my wrath, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; For God am I, and not man, In the midst of thee, holy; — And I will not enter the city.

10 After Jehovah shall they walk, And as a lion will he roar; When he shall roar, then dread shall children from the sea, —

11 They shall dread as a sparrow in Egypt, And as a dove in the land of Assur; And I will make them to dwell in their own houses, saith Jehovah.

12 Surrounded me hath Ephraim with falsehood; And with fraud, the house of Israel: But Judah as yet rules with his God; And together with the saints he is faithful.


1 Ephraim feeds on the wind, and pursues the east wind; Daily he multiplies falsehood and devastation: A covenant they make with the Assyrian, And oil is carried into Egypt.

2 Jehovah has also a contention with Judah; And he will visit Jacob; — according to his ways, According to his works, he will requite him.

3 In the womb he laid hold on his brother’s foot, And by his strength he had power with God;

4 And he had power with the Angel and prevailed; He wept and entreated him: In Bethel he found him; — and there he spoke with us,

5 Even Jehovah, God of hosts, — Jehovah is his memorial,

6 And thou, to thy God return; Goodness and judgment observe, And hope in thy God always.

7 Canaan! — in his hand is the balance of fraud; He loves to plunder:

8 Yet Ephraim said, “I am however become rich; I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they shall not find in me An iniquity, which is a sin.”

9 But I, Jehovah, thy God from the land of Egypt. Will yet make thee to dwell in tents, As in the days of the assembly.

10 I have also spoken by the Prophets, And visions have I multiplied, And through the Prophets used similitudes: —

11 Is there (still) iniquity in Gilead? — Surely vain have they been: In Gilgal they have sacrificed oxen, And their altars have been as heaps On the furrows of the field.

12 Even Jacob fled to the land of Syria, And Israel served for a wife, And for a wife he kept sheep:

13 And by a Prophet did Jehovah bring Israel out of Egypt, And by a Prophet he was preserved: —

14 (Yet) Ephraim has provoked him by his high places; (446) But his blood shall on him remain, And his reproach  104 will his Lord return to him.


1 When Ephraim spoke there was trembling; He exalted himself in Israel: But he sinned by Baal and died.

2 And now they have added to their sin, And have made for themselves what is molten, From their silver, according to their own understanding, Even idols — all being the work of artificers: To each other they, who sacrifice men, say, — “Let them kiss the calves.”

3 They shall therefore be like a morning cloud, Like the dew that rises up early, Like the chaff which is driven by a whirlwind from the floor, And like the smoke from the chimney.

4 But I, Jehovah, am thy God from the land of Egypt; And a god besides me thou shouldst not know; For a Savior, there is none except me.

5 I knew thee in the desert, in the land of droughts:

6 According to their pastures they were filled; (459) They were filled, and their heart was elevated: And hence they forgat me.

7 I will therefore be to them as a lion, As a leopard in the way I will lie in wait;

8 I will meet them as a bereaved bear, And rend the inclosure of their heart; I will devour them as a lion; — The beast of the field shall tear them.

9 Destroyed art thou, Israel, Though in me was thy help: (464)

10 I will be the same; — thy king, where is he? To save thee in all thy cities, — And thy princes? — of whom thou hast said — “Give me a king and princes.”

11 I gave thee a king in my anger, And took him away in my fury.

12 Sealed up is the iniquity of Ephraim, Laid up in store is his sin.

13 The sorrows of one in travail shall come on him; He is an unwise son; For he should not stand long in the breaking forth of children.

14 From the power of the grave would I deliver them, From death would I redeem them; I would be thy perdition, O death; I would be thy destruction, O grave: — Repentance is hid from my eyes.

15 Though among his brethren he may increase, Yet there shall come an east wind The wind of Jehovah, ascending from the desert; And it will dry up his spring, And dried shall be his fountain; It will spoil the store of every desirable vessel.

16 Desolated shall be Samaria, For she has provoked her God: By the sword shall they fall; Their infants shall be dashed in pieces, Their pregnant women shall be ripped up.


1 Return, Israel, to Jehovah thy God; For thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

2 Take with you words, and turn to Jehovah, And say to him, — “Take away all iniquity, and bring good; And we shall render to thee the calves of our lips.

3 The Assyrian shall not save us, On a horse we shall not mount, And we shall not henceforth say, — Our gods,’ to the works of our hands; For in thee will the fatherless find mercy.”

4 I will heal their defections, I will love them freely; For turned aside is my fury from him.

5 I will be as dew to Israel; He shall flourish as the lily, He shall fix his roots as Libanus;

6 Spread shall his branches, And as that of the olive shall be his comeliness, And his fragrance like that of Libanus.

7 Refreshed shall they be who shall dwell under his shadow; They shall revive as the corn, and germinate like the vine His odor shall be like that of the wine of Libanus.

8 Ephraim shall say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” I have heard, and showed him favor, — “I shall be to thee a shady fir-tree; — From me is thy fruit found.” Who is wise? and he will understand these things;

9 Who is intelligent? and he will know them: For right are the ways of Jehovah, And the just shall walk in them; But in them will the ungodly stumble.



This number refers to the page where another rendering is proposed.


The portions supposed to be in the original in a poetical metre are placed here in parallel lines, not because they are so arranged by Calvin, but for the purpose of setting forth the meaning in a clearer light. It is proper also to say, that the sectional divisions are those of the Editor.


Is it not the reproach of Jacob, mentioned above, he having been in a servile state? — Ed.


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