Hosea 12:13
And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.
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(13) A prophet.—Moses is here referred to, and there is, perhaps, a hint that the Lord would yet again save Israel from worse than Egyptian bondage by the words and warnings of a prophet.

12:7-14 Ephraim became a merchant: the word also signifies a Canaanite. They carried on trade upon Canaanitish principles, covetously and with fraud and deceit. Thus they became rich, and falsely supposed that Providence favoured them. But shameful sins shall have shameful punishments. Let them remember, not only what a mighty prince Jacob was with God, but what a servant he was to Laban. The benefits we have had from the word of God, make our sin and folly the worse, if we put any slight upon that word. We had better follow the hardest labour in poverty, than grow rich by sin. We may form a judgment of our own conduct, by comparing it with that of ancient believers in the like circumstances. Whoever despises the message of God, will perish. May we all hear his word with humble, obedient faith.By a prophet was he preserved - Or "kept." Jacob "kept sheep" out of love of God, sooner than unite himself with one, alien from God; his posterity "was kept" like a sheep by God, as the Psalmist said, "He led His people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron" Psalm 77:20. They were "kept" from all evil and want and danger, by the direct power of God; "kept" from all the might of Pharaoh in Egypt and the Red Sea , "not through any power of their own, but by the ministry of a single prophet; "kept, in that great and terrible wilderness" Deuteronomy 8:15, wherein were "fiery serpents and scorpions and drought, where" was "no water," but what God brought out of the rock of flint; no bread, but what he sent them from heaven." All this, God did for them "by "a single "prophet; they" had many prophets, early and late, calling upon them in the name of God, but they would not hearken unto them." 13. by a prophet—Moses (Nu 12:6-8; De 18:15, 18).

preserved—Translate, "kept"; there is an allusion to the same Hebrew word in Ho 12:12, "kept sheep"; Israel was kept by God as His flock, even as Jacob kept sheep (Ps 80:1; Isa 63:11).

By a prophet, by Moses,

the Lord brought Israel, your forefathers, out of Egypt; where they had been bondmen two hundred and fifteen years, or near upon it, old slaves, or vassals for some descents.

By a prophet was he preserved in the wilderness: see Exodus 2 Exo 3, &c. Now the drift of the prophet herein to me appears to be this, to prevent their vain pride and boasting of their ancestors, their raiser sheltering themselves under ancestors’ merits against God’s just displeasure on them for their sins, and the sottish plea of what their fathers did at Beth-el and Gilgal. There are many things which arise on consideration of what their fathers were, suffered, enjoyed, and did, to aggravate their sins and insure them of punishment; but nothing to secure them against judgment to come, or to lessen judgments when they come.

And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt,.... Or, "by the prophet"; the famous and most excellent prophet Moses, who, by way of eminency, is so called; him the Lord sent, and employed, and made use of him as an instrument to bring his people out of their bondage in Egypt; in which he was a type of Christ the great Prophet of the church, raised up like unto him, and the Redeemer of his people from sin, Satan, and the world, law, hell, and death, and all enemies:

and by a prophet he was preserved; by the same prophet Moses was Israel preserved at the Red sea, and in the wilderness; where they were kept as a flock of sheep from their powerful enemies, and brought to the borders of Canaan's land. Some understand this last clause of Joshua, by whom the Israelites were safely conducted through Jordan into the land of Canaan, and settled there; and particularly were brought by him to Gilgal, where the covenant of circumcision was renewed, and the first passover in the land kept, but now a place of idolatry, as before mentioned; and which sin was aggravated by this circumstance: but the design of this observation seems to be to put the Israelites in remembrance of their low estate in Egypt, and of the goodness of God to them in delivering them from thence, which they had sadly requited by their degeneracy and apostasy from him; and to him unto them how much they ought to have valued the prophets of the Lord, though they had despised them, since they had received such benefits and blessings by the means of a prophet.

And by a {m} prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.

(m) Meaning Moses, by which appears that whatever they have, it comes from God's free goodness.

13. by a prophet] i.e. Moses (comp. Deuteronomy 34:10). Hosea contrasts the helplessness and the hardships of Jacob-Israel with the wonderful deliverance and preservation of his descendants. Comp. Isaiah 51:2, ‘I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.’ Note the double use of the term Israel in Hosea 12:12 and Hosea 12:13.

Hosea 12:13This punishment Israel well deserved. Hosea 12:12. "And Jacob fled to the fields of Aram; and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife did he keep guard. Hosea 12:13. And through a prophet Jehovah brought Israel out of Egypt, and through a prophet was he guarded. Hosea 12:14. Ephraim has stirred up bitter wrath; and his Lord will leave his blood upon him, and turn back his shame upon him." In order to show the people still more impressively what great things the Lord had done for them, the prophet recals the flight of Jacob, the tribe-father, to Mesopotamia, and how he was obliged to serve many years there for a wife, and to guard cattle; whereas God had redeemed Israel out of the Egyptian bondage, and had faithfully guarded it through a prophet. The flight of Jacob to Aramaea, and his servitude there, are mentioned not "to give prominence to his zeal for the blessing of the birthright, and his obedience to the commandment of God and his parents" (Cyr., Theod., Th. v. Mops.); nor "to bring out the double servitude of Israel - the first the one which the people had to endure in their forefather, the second the one which they had to endure themselves in Egypt" (Umbreit); nor "to lay stress upon the manifestation of the divine care towards Jacob as well as towards the people of Israel" (Ewald); for there is nothing at all about this in Hosea 12:12. The words point simply to the distress and affliction which Jacob had to endure, according to Genesis 29-31, as Calvin has correctly interpreted them. "Their father Jacob," he says, "who was he? what was his condition?... He was a fugitive from his country. Even if he had always lived at home, his father was only a stranger in the land. But he was compelled to flee into Syria. And how splendidly did he live there? He was with his uncle, no doubt, but he was treated quite as meanly as any common slave: he served for a wife. And how did he serve? He was the man who tended the cattle." Shâmar, the tending of cattle, was one of the hardest and lowest descriptions of servitude (cf. Genesis 30:31; Genesis 31:40; 1 Samuel 17:20). Sedēh 'ărâm (the field of Aram) is no doubt simply the Hebrew rendering of the Aramaean Paddan-'ărâm (Genesis 28:2; Genesis 31:18 : see at Genesis 25:20). Jacob's flight to Aramaea, where he had to serve, is contrasted in sv. 10 with the leading of Israel, the people sprung from Jacob, out of Egypt by a prophet, i.e., by Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 18:18); and the guarding of cattle by Jacob is placed in contrast with the guarding of Israel on the part of God through the prophet Moses, when he led them through the wilderness to Canaan. The object of this is to call to the nation's remembrance that elevation from the lowest condition, which they were to acknowledge with humility every year, according to Deuteronomy 26:5., when the first-fruits were presented before the Lord. For Ephraim had quite forgotten this. Instead of thanking the Lord for it by love and faithful devotedness to Him, it had provoked Him in the bitterest manner by its sins (הכעיס, to excite wrath, to provoke to anger: tamrūrı̄m, an adverbial accusative equals bitterly). For this should its blood-guiltiness remain upon it. According to Leviticus 20:9., dâmı̄m denotes grave crimes that are punishable by death. Nâtash, to let a thing alone, as in Exodus 23:11; or to leave behind, as in 1 Samuel 17:20, 1 Samuel 17:28. Leaving blood-guiltiness upon a person, is the opposite of taking away (נשׂא) or forgiving the sin, and therefore inevitably brings the punishment after it. Cherpâthō (its reproach or dishonour) is the dishonour which Ephraim had done to the Lord by sin and idolatry (cf. Isaiah 65:7). And this would be repaid to it by its Lord, i.e., by Jehovah.
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