Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Woman. This second woman denotes the penitent Israel, yet not quite reconciled. The people in captivity are separated both from her idols and from God, though the latter still retains an affection for them. Osee does not marry this woman, but gives his word. We must not urge the parable too far. He acts as a figure of the Lord, who has received an outrage. (Calmet) — Grace is still offered to sinners, whose persons are never hated by God. (Worthington) — Husks. Septuagint, &c., “cakes made with grapes,” for idols. (Theodoret; St. Jerome)
Ver. 2. Core. Septuagint, “gomor of barley, and for a nebel of wine.” The woman must consequently have been of very mean condition. In the East wives are still, even among Christians, purchased according to their rank, often without being seen or consulted. The parents give part of the price to the bride. (Calmet) — The unbelieving Jews, who refrain from idols, receive some temporal advantages; but not thirty pieces of silver, or three cores of wheat, denoting the faith of the blessed Trinity and the observance of the decalogue, whereby they might obtain eternal life. Towards the end of the world they shall be converted. [Romans xi. 26.] (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Man’s. After the person was espoused, any infidelity was punished as if she had been married. It does not appear that Osee took this woman to wife. (Calmet) — But he signified that the people must wait for God, in captivity. (Theodoret; Sanctius lv.)
Ver. 4. Altar. Hebrew, “statue;” matseba instead of mozbé, as (Haydock) others agree with St. Jerome, and there seems to have been no variation in his time. — Theraphim. Images or representations, (Challoner) either good or bad. As the other things mentioned were good, such lawful images as were used in the temple must be meant, 3 Kings vii. 36. (Worthington) — St. Jerome explains it of cherubim. Septuagint, “altar, priesthood, and manifestations (Urim, &c.) being wanting.” (Haydock) — Yet some take it in a bad sense. The Jews adhere neither to God nor to idols. (Vatable, &c.) — What misfortune, however, would the latter be? In exile the Jews were deprived of the exercise of their religion, and of their princes. (Calmet) — But this was only a figure of what they endured since they rejected Christ. (Origen, Philoc. i.; St. Jerome) — This wretched state will probably continue till they at last embrace the yoke of Christ, the true king of ages. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. David, their king. That is, Christ, who is of the house of David. (Challoner) — After the captivity, the Jews submitted to Zorobabel. Yet this only foreshewed a more sincere conversion to Jesus Christ. In fact, the house of David never regained the throne, (Calmet) and it is not clear that Zorobabel had any authority over the people. (Haydock) — Christ is the literal object of this prediction. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prophet is again commanded to love an adulteress; to signify God’s love to the synagogue. The wretched state of the Jews for a along time, till at last they shall be converted.
1 And the Lord said to me: Go yet again, and love a woman, beloved of her friend, and an adulteress: as the Lord loveth the children of Israel, and they look to strange gods, and love the husks of the grapes.
2 And I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a core of barley, and for half a core of barley.
3 And I said to her: Thou shalt wait for me many days: thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt be no man’s, and I also will wait for thee.
4 For the children of Israel shall sit many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without altar, and without ephod, and without theraphim.
5 *And after this the children of Israel shall return, and shall seek the Lord, their God, and David, their king: and they shall fear the Lord, and his goodness, in the last days.
5: Ezechiel xxxiv. 23.