Hosea 14:2

2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to Him, "1Take away all iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may 2present the fruit of our lips.

Hosea 14:2 Meaning and Commentary

Hosea 14:2

Take with you words, and turn to the Lord
Not mere words without the heart, but such as come from it, and express the true sense of it; words of confession, as the Targum; by which sin is acknowledged, and repentance declared, and forgiveness asked. Kimchi's note is a very good one;

``he (that is, God) does not require of you, upon return, neither gold nor silver, nor burnt offerings, but good works; therewith confessing your sins with your whole hearts, and not with your lips only;''
and which best agrees with evangelical repentance and Gospel times, in which ceremonial sacrifices are no more; and not any words neither; not tautologies and multiplicity of words, or words of man's prescribing, but of the Lord's directing to and dictating; the taught words of the Holy Ghost, which he suggests and helps men to, who otherwise know not how to pray, or what to pray for; and these expressed under a sense of sin, and sorrow for it, and in the strength of faith, and are as follow: say unto him, take away all iniquity;
which is to be understood, not of the taking away of the being of sin; which, though very desirable, is not to be expected in this life: nor of the expiation of sin by the sacrifice of Christ, which is done already; he has taken the sins of his people from them to himself, and has bore them, and carried them away, and removed them out of the sight of divine justice, which is satisfied for them: nor of the taking away of the power and dominion of sin; which is done by the Spirit of God, and the efficacy of his grace on the hearts of converted persons: nor of an extinguishing all sense of sin in men; for none have a quicker sense of it than pardoned sinners, or are more humble on the account of it, or more loath it; but of the taking of it away from the conscience of a sensible truly penitent sinner or backslider, by a fresh application of pardoning grace and mercy: sin is a burden, a heavy one, when the guilt of it is charged and lies upon the conscience; pardon of sin applied is a lifting up, as the word here used signifies, a taking off of this burden from it, a causing it to pass away; which is done by the fresh sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, which purges the conscience from sin, and clears it from the guilt of it, and speaks peace and comfort; and which is the blessing here prayed for, and every backslider, sensible of his case, sees he stands in need of, and even to have "all" taken away; for, if but one sin remains, and the guilt of it continues, he can have no peace, nor stand up under it; but, when God forgives sin, he forgives "all" sin; and receive [us] graciously;
receive into grace and favour, that is, openly and manifestly; the free love and favour of God is always the same, but the manifestations of it are different; sometimes more or less, and sometimes scarce any, if any at all, and is the ease here; and therefore a petition is made for the remembrance of it, for a renewed discovery and application of it: or accept us in a gracious manner; acceptance with God is not on account of the merits of men, but his own grace and mercy; not through any works of righteousness done by them, which are impure and imperfect; but through Christ the Beloved, in whom God is well pleased with the persons, and services, and sacrifices of his people, and receives all for his sake, and which is here asked for; as well as that he would take them into his protection, and open affection. It is, in the original text, only, "receive good" {a}; meaning either their good hearts, made so by the grace of God; their broken hearts and contrite spirits, which are sacrifices not despised by him, but acceptable to him through Christ: or their good words they were bid to take, and did take, nod use; their good prayers offered up through Christ, in his name, and in the exercise of faith, which are the Lord's delight: or their good works, done from a principle of love, in faith, to the glory of God, and with which sacrifices he is well pleased: or rather, as the same word signifies, to give as well as receive; see ( Psalms 68:18 ) ( Ephesians 4:8 ) . It may be rendered, "give good" F2; take good, and give it to us, even all good things, temporal and spiritual, especially all spiritual blessings in Christ; all which good things come from God, and are his gifts; particularly the good Spirit of God, and his grace, which the Lord gives to them that ask; and all supplies of grace from Christ; and more especially, as some interpreters of note explain it, the righteousness of Christ imputed and applied; which goes along with pardoning grace, or the taking away of sin, ( Zechariah 3:4 ) ; and is the good, the better, the best robe; a gift, the gift of grace; a blessing received from the Lord, and to be asked for of him: so will we render the calves of our lips;
not calves, bullocks, and oxen, for sacrifice, as under the law; but the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving for pardoning grace, for a justifying righteousness, and for all good things: these are the fruit of the lips, as the apostle interprets it, ( Hebrews 13:15 ) ; and which are sacrifices more acceptable to God than calves of a year old, or an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs, ( Psalms 69:30 Psalms 69:31 ) . This shows that the text and context refer to Gospel times, to the times of the Messiah; in which the Jews themselves say all sacrifices will cease but the sacrifice of praise. The Targum is,
``turn to the worship of the Lord, and say, let it he with thee to forgive sins, and may we be received as good, and the words of our lips be accepted with thee as bullocks for good pleasure upon the altar.''


F1 (bwj xq) "accipe bonum", Pagninus, Montanus: Munster, Cocceius, Schmidt, Burkius.
F2 "Acceptum confer bonum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

Hosea 14:2 In-Context

1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take words with you and return to the LORD . Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips.
3 "Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, 'Our god,' To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy."
4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Micah 7:18, 19
  • 2. Psalms 51:16, 17; Hosea 6:6; Hebrews 13:15

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "accept that which is good"
  • [b]. So with ancient versions; M.T. "our lips as bulls"
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