Hosea 14:1

O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God,.... From whom they had revolted and backslidden; whose worship and service they had forsaken, and whose word and ordinances they had slighted and neglected, and had served idols, and had given into idolatry, superstition, and will worship; and are here exhorted to turn again to the Lord by repentance and reformation, to abandon their idols, and every false way, and cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart; and the rather, since he was their God; not only their Creator, Preserver, and kind Benefactor, but their God, by his special choice of them above all people; by his covenant with them; by his redemption of them; and by their profession of him; and who was still their God, and ready to receive them, upon their return to him: and a thorough return is here meant, a returning "even unto" {w}, or quite up to the Lord thy God; it is not a going to him halfway, but a going quite up to his seat; falling down before him, acknowledging sin and backslidings, and having hold upon him by faith as their God, Redeemer, and Saviour: hence, from the way of speaking here used, the Jews {x} have a saying, as Kimchi observes,

"great is repentance, for it brings a man to the throne of glory;''

the imperative may be here used for the future, as some take it; and then it is a prediction of the conversion of Israel, "thou shalt return, O Israel" {y}; and which was in part fulfilled in the first times of the Gospel, which met with many of the Israelites dispersed among the Gentiles, and was the means of their conversion; and will have a greater accomplishment when all Israel shall be converted and saved:

for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity; or "though thou art fallen" {z}; into sin, and by it into ruin, temporal and spiritual; from a state of great prosperity and happiness, both in things civil and religious, into great adversity, and calamities of every sort; yet return, repent, consider from whence thou art fallen, and by what; or thou shall return, be recovered and restored, notwithstanding thy fall, and the low estate in which thou art. The Targum is,

"return to the fear of the Lord.''

{w} hwhy de "asque ad Dominum", Montanus, Tigurine version, Oecolampadius, Schmidt, Burkius.
{x} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 86. 1.
{y} hbwv "revertere", i. e. "reverteris", Schmidt.
{z} tlvk yk "etsi corruisti", Luther apud Tarnovium.