8. Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
8. Clangite cornu in Gibeah, canite tuba in Ramah, buccinate etiam in Beth-aven, post te Benjamin.
The Prophet speaks here more emphatically, and there is in these words a certain lively representation; for the Prophet assumes here the character of a herald, or he introduces heralds who declare and proclaim war. The truth itself ought indeed to storm not only our ears, but also our hearts, and be more powerful than any trumpet: but we yet see how unconcerned we are. Hence the Lord is constrained here to clothe his servant with the character of a herald, or at least he bids his servant to send forth heralds to proclaim war everywhere throughout the whole kingdom of Israel. This was not, properly speaking, the office of a Prophet; but we see that Ezekiel was ordered by the Lord to besiege Jerusalem for a time, -- and why? Because his whole teaching, after the Jews had been a thousand times threatened, became frigid: God then added visions, which more effectually roused torpid men. So also does Hosea in this place, Shout with the trumpet in Gibeah, blow the cornet in Ramah, and sound the horn in Beth-aven; for God, as we have said, is pursuing Israel, and will not suffer them to rest; so that the Israelites might know that God threatens not in vain, that his reproofs are not bugbears, but that he deals in earnest when he reproves the ungodly, and that execution, as they say, will follow what he teaches. In the same manner does Paul also say,
Vengeance is prepared by us, and is in readiness against all those who extol themselves against the greatness of Christ, how great soever they may be,'
(2 Corinthians 10:5,6.)
As, then, the ungodly are wont to make this objection, that the Prophets preach nothing but words, Hosea here testifies that he did not in vain terrify men, but that the effect, as they say, would immediately follow, unless they reconciled themselves to God.
Now, as we perceive the Prophet's purpose, let us take care to receive by faith that peace which the Lord daily proclaims to us by his messengers. For what is the Gospel but what Paul declares it to be?
We discharge the office of ambassadors,' he says, for Christ, that ye may be reconciled to God, and in Christ's name we exhort you to return into favor with God,'
(2 Corinthians 5:20.)
We then see that all the ministers of the Gospel are God's heralds, who invite us to peace, and promise that God is ready to grant us pardon, if with the heart we seek him. But if we receive not this message and this embassy, there will remain for us the dreadful judgment, of which the Prophet now speaks, and our impiety will procure for us this awful doom. As though God then were now declaring war against all the ungodly and the despisers of his grace, the Prophet says that they shall find that God is armed for vengeance.
Moreover, the Prophet doubtless has here mentioned Gibeah, Ramah, and |Beth-aven|, because in these places great assemblies usually met; and it may be also that they were strong fortresses. Since then the Israelites thought themselves unconquerable, because they had invincible strongholds against their enemies, the Prophet here expressly declares war against them. Everywhere then sound ye the trumpet, or blow the horn, or blow the cornet, especially in the chief places of the kingdom.
After thee, O Benjamin. Benjamin is here to be taken, by a figure of speech, for the whole of Israel, because he was a brother of Joseph by the same mother: the tribe of Benjamin is therefore everywhere joined with Ephraim. It is at the same time certain, that the Prophet confines not here his address to one tribe, but includes, under one tribe or one part, the whole kingdom of Israel. It follows --