Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Away. The last kings of Israel lived in the midst of troubles. (Haydock) — Osee, though one of the best, brought ruin on the nation. (Calmet) — Son: Israel. But as the calling of Israel out of Egypt was a figure of the calling of Christ from thence; therefore this text is also applicable to Christ, as we learn from St. Matthew ii. 15. (Challoner) Julian pretends that the apostle has abused this text. But it speaks of both events. (St. Jerome) — Eusebius (Dem. ix. 3.) thinks that St. Matthew refers to Balaam; (Numbers xxiv. 8.) and St. Jerome does not reject this opinion, (in Matthew ii.; Calmet) to avoid “wrangling,” though he repeatedly alleges this text as a proof his version being more accurate than that of the Septuagint, which has his children. This reading the best editions retain; so that it may seem a matter of surprise, that Fabricius should give this verse as a specimen of Origen’s Hexapla, and still print my son, taking it, as he says, from the Barbarini copy, the London Polyglot, and Cave. Bib. Gr. iii. 12. The first column has the Hebrew text, and the second the same in Greek characters, &c. The reader may form a judgment of this work from the following specimen: 1. Hebrew (which we shall express) karathi bani. 2. Greek karathi bani. 3. Aquila ekalesa ton uion mou. 4. Symmachus kekletai uios mou. 5. Septuagint kekletai uios mou. 6. Theodotion kai ekalesa uion mou. If any other versions were added, to form Octapla, &c., they were placed after Theodotion, who, though prior to Symmachus, is placed after him, because his version was not so unlike that of the Septuagint, and the deficiencies were chiefly supplied from him. In the Roman and Alexandrian editions, instead of the above we find, metekalesa ta tekna autou. “I have recalled his children.” (Haydock) — This is literally spoken of Israel, (styled God’s son, Exodus iv 23.) and mystically, (Worthington) though no less (Haydock) truly, of Jesus Christ, as the inspired evangelist shews. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. They called: viz., Moses and Aaron called: but they went away after other gods, and would not hear. (Challoner) — Septuagint, “As I called them back, or (repeatedly; metekalesa. Grabe has, “he called;” meaning any of God’s ministers) so they rushed away from my presence.” (Haydock) — This sense appears preferable to the Hebrew. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Healed them. My laws were designed to counteract idolatry. (Haydock) — I treated them with the utmost tenderness, Deuteronomy i. 31., and xxxii. 11.
Ver. 4. Adam. I placed my people in a sort of paradise, (Calmet) like the first man; and as they have imitated him, they shall suffer accordingly. (Rufin. Haimo.) — But Septuagint, &c., render, “of a man.” They shall be treated like the rest. (Calmet) — Grace draws man by sweet means. His free-will is not destroyed, nor is he impelled, like beasts, by force or fear, (Worthington) though the latter is often used for the most salutary purposes. — Yoke, or muzzle, which prevents them from eating. (Haydock) — I furnish them with manna. Can it be suspected that I wish to oppress them? (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Egypt. Many went, contrary to this prohibition. (Haydock) — Yet they did not prosper, as they expected. The Hebrews had also often murmured in the desert, and threatened to return to Egypt.
Ver. 6. Heads. Hebrew, “counsellors.” Civil war desolated the kingdom, and made way for the Assyrians. Septuagint, “they are devoured on account of their projects.” (Calmet) — They are at a loss what to do.
Ver. 7. Off, for a long time; and indeed Israel never recovered its former state, after the captivity. (Haydock) — Then they became more docile. Hebrew is very ambiguous. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Adama, &c. Adama and Seboim were two cities in the neighbourhood of Sodom, and underwent the like destruction. (Challoner) — God punishes, like a father, with regret.
Ver. 9. Not man. I am not actuated by the spirit of revenge, nor do I fear lest my enemy escape. (Calmet) — I punish in order to reclaim, (St. Jerome) and reserve eternal vengeance only for those who die impenitent. — Holy one. If there be a just man in Israel, I will spare the nation; (Genesis xviii. 32.) or there are some just, like Tobias, and therefore a part shall be reserved; or, (Calmet) I am the just (Haydock) God. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 10. Lion. His power is most terrible, and his commands must be obeyed. (Calmet) — All nations shall permit the return of Israel. (Haydock) — They shall come from the sea, of from its islands.
Ver. 11. Egypt. Some returned soon; others not before the reign of Alexander, or perhaps later. (Calmet, Diss.)
Ver. 12. Denials; refusing to adhere to my worship. (Haydock) — They wished to unite it with that of idols, 3 Kings xviii. (Calmet) — Saints. The priests and temple are preserved in Juda. Ezechias brought the people to serve God faithfully, while Israel was led captive. Septuagint, “the house of Israel and Juda with impiety. Now God hath known them lovingly, and it shall be called the holy people of God.” Thus both kingdoms were criminal, and God exercised his mercy towards both. (Haydock) — The Jews relate that when their ancestors were pursued by the Egyptians, and the people were desponding, Juda signalized his courage by entering the bed of the sea. (St. Jerome) — These traditions are suspicious. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God proceeds in threatening Israel for their ingratitude: yet he will not utterly destroy them.
1 As the morning passeth, so hath the king of Israel passed away. Because Israel was a child, and *I loved him: and I called my son out of Egypt.
2 As they called them, they went away from before their face: they offered victims to Baalim, and sacrificed to idols.
3 And I was like a foster-father to Ephraim, I carried them in my arms: and they knew not that I healed them.
4 I will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love: and I will be to them as one that taketh off the yoke on their jaws: and I put his meat to him, that he might eat.
5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king: because they would not be converted.
6 The sword hath begun in his cities, and it shall consume his chosen men, and shall devour their heads.
7 And my people shall long for my return: but a yoke shall be put upon them together, which shall not be taken off.
8 How shall I deal with thee, O Ephraim, shall I protect thee, O Israel? *how shall I make thee as Adama, shall I set thee as Seboim? my heart is turned within me, my repentance is stirred up.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of my wrath: I will not return to destroy Ephraim: because I am God, and not man: the holy one in the midst of thee, and I will not enter into the city.
10 They shall walk after the Lord, he shall roar as a lion: because he shall roar, and the children of the sea shall fear.
11 And they shall fly away like a bird out of Egypt, and like a dove out of the land of the Assyrians: and I will place them in their own houses, saith the Lord.
12 Ephraim hath compassed me about with denials, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Juda went down as a witness with God, and is faithful with the saints.
1: Matthew ii. 15.
8: Genesis xix. 24.