Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Early, or in haste. All the people will repent. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Cure us. God is always ready to receive penitents. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Third. In a short time the Lord will easily set us free. But the prophet refers more directly to the resurrection of the faithful, and of Christ, Ephesians ii. 5., and 1 Corinthians xv. 4. (Calmet) — St. Paul mentions the third day according to the Scriptures, which nowhere else so clearly specify it. (Worthington) See St. Jerome; St. Cyrpian; Sanct.[Sanctius?] 9. — Know. Hitherto we have been reproached with voluntary ignorance in adoring idols, chap. iv. 6. We will amend. — His, Christ’s. — Rain. It falls only in autumn and in spring, Deuteronomy xi. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Mercy. Hebrew chesed, (Haydock) “piety,” &c., (Grotius) whence the word Assideans is derived, 1 Machabees ii. 42. The captives flattered themselves, that as soon as they began to entertain sentiments of repentance, God would relieve them. But he answers that their virtue is inconstant, and that they must suffer in proportion to their crimes.
Ver. 5. Mouth. I have ordered my prophets to denounce death unto them, and to treat them roughly, like a piece of marble designed for a statue. Septuagint, &c., “I have slain thy prophets,” &c., by Elias, Jehu, &c. The former sense is preferable. — Thy judgments, or condemnation. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “and thy judgments light shall go forth.” (Haydock) — Pocock labours hard, but in vain, to explain this; as all the old versions, except the Vulgate have, “my judgments as the light,” &c. Hebrew letters may probably have been ill joined, (Kennicott) as Meibomius suspects they have been also, Jeremias xxiii. 33. Here umospoti caur, “my judgments as the light,” &c., is exchanged for umishpatec or. This would be very easy when words were written undivided, as in ancient manuscripts. (Haydock) — “Some transcriber upon hearing umishpatecaor, from the person dictating to him, writ umishpateca or instead of umishpate caor. (Kennicott, Diss. 1.)
Ver. 6. Mercy: sincere piety, ver. 4. — Sacrifice. They had offered many, chap. v. 6. (Calmet) — “My victims are the salvation of the faithful, and the conversion of sinners.” (St. Jerome) — Knowledge, of a practical nature, which was deficient, chap iv. 6., and vi. 4. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Adam. A compact was made with him, that if he continued faithful or otherwise, his posterity should be born in original justice or sin. (Haydock) — He transgressed, and was expelled from paradise, as the Jews were from their land. Septuagint, “like a man:” like any who had not been so highly favoured with the law, &c. (Calmet) — Adam means “a man,” and sometimes it would be as well rendered in this sense. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Supplanted with blood. That is, undermined and brought to ruin for shedding of blood; and, as it is signified in the following verse, for conspiring with the priests, (of Bethel) like robbers, to murder in the way such as passed out of Sichem to go towards the temple of Jerusalem. Or else supplanted with blood signifies flowing in such a manner with blood, as to suffer none to walk there without embruing the soles of their feet in blood. (Challoner) — Thus they would become unclean, and might easily slip. (Haydock) — Galaad was famous for the treaty between Laban and Jacob; and all such places were chosen for altars in the latter times of the two kingdoms. Maspha or Ramoth were the usual resort. Theodoret reads, “Galgal,” chap. iv. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Robbers. Jephte had infested those parts, and the country was noted for murders; whence more cities of refuge were appointed in it, Judges xi., and Josue xx. 8. The prophet alludes to what had been said to Gad, Genesis xlix. 19. — Out of, or to Sichem. They were jealous of people going thither, (Calmet) wishing to receive their offerings themselves. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Harvest. This implies punishment or felicity. The turn of Juda shall come, and he shall be chastised; but after the captivity, he shall enjoy plenty, chap. ii. 15., and Isaias ix. 3. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Affliction shall be a means to bring many to Christ: a complaint of the untowardness of the Jews. God loves mercy more than sacrifice.
1 In their affliction they will rise early to me: Come, and let us return to the Lord.
2 For he hath taken us, and he will heal us: he will strike, and he will cure us.
3 *He will revive us after two days: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth.
4 What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? what shall I do to thee, O Juda? your mercy is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth away in the morning.
5 For this reason have I hewed them by the prophets: I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments shall go forth as the light.
6 *For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice: and the knowledge of God more than holocausts.
7 But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant, there have they dealt treacherously against me.
8 Galaad is a city of workers of idols, supplanted with blood.
9 And like the jaws of highway robbers, they conspire with the priests, who murder in the way those that pass out of Sichem: for they have wrought wickedness.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel, the fornications of Ephraim there: Israel is defiled.
11 And thou also, O Juda, set thee a harvest, when I shall bring back the captivity of my people.
3: 1 Corinthians xv. 4.
6: 1 Kings xv. 22.; Ecclesiastes iv. 17.; Matthew ix. 13. and xii. 17.