Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 115)

Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 115)

Translated by ROBERT C. HILL
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 327
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 115)
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1689-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 3-22)

    The identification of Cyril with Alexandria in Egypt arises particularly from his election to the see on the death of his uncle Theophilus in 412. At the midpoint of his episcopate in Alexandria, which lasted till his death in 444, there occurred the event that would affect the whole church of the east and embroil Cyril in theological controversy, namely, the election of Nestorius to the see of Constantinople in 428. Statements immediately emanating from Nestorius on Mary’s claim to the title Theotokos prompted a response from Cyril in Alexandria that ushered in a long period of animosity between the...

    • Commentary on the Prophet Hosea
      • PREFACE
        (pp. 27-32)

        One might think it somewhat superfluous and rash, not to say hardly vital, to endeavor to poke around, as it were, among the previous comments of many writers and make a contribution in addition to the labors of my predecessors.¹ And this despite their being quite capable of adequately clarifying the compositions of the holy prophets.² For my part, on the other hand, I would claim that this is not the case, and that it is very necessary; I shall recall Paul’s proclaiming to those under the guidance of his sacred teaching, “To write the same things to you is...

        (pp. 33-63)

        Blessed hosea, then, is prophesying in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Achaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel. While the period of prophecy is understood as taking its development up to this point, my view is that a clear explanation should now be given of the events in each case, as far as we can understand it, involving, as I said before, what kind of people they proved to be, whether good and well-disposed towards God, or inclined to the opposite, and what befell each of them, both those...

        (pp. 64-93)

        It was very necessary to add this to what had been already said: since he had said that they would all be under a single government, with no further division or separation leading to disharmony, with concord prevailing, and with faith in Christ bringing everyone together in unity of spirit, consequently the Spirit now bade those already enriched with faith and made subject to Christ to be no longer zealous in withholding peace from those who were rightly called Not my people and Not pitied. After all, once Israel was accepted, admitted to forgiveness, and made subject to Christ, what...

        (pp. 94-100)

        There is need once more to study what is meant by the incident, or the mystery; I believe there is a responsibility to get below the surface and (82) scrutinize it in detail. After the former woman, who was licentious and bold, there is presented to the prophet another woman who was involved in crimes of adultery. What was the meaning of it? The Jewish populace before the coming of our Savior proceeded incautiously and very readily into error, worshiping golden heifers, bowing down and sacrificing to the Baal, or Baal-peor.¹ So they were compared very rightly with a prostitute...

        (pp. 101-122)

        There is need for us in our wish to clarify the sense of the text to recapitulate, as it were, what was said initially, and summarize the whole gist of the prophecy, so to speak. As far as possible, then, this is what I have to say in summarizing: there was a “Beginning of the word of the Lord to Hosea.”¹ In commenting on this we duly said that the words came to the blessed prophet Hosea from God, who was, as it were, giving him spiritual initiation and foretelling the future in types and words. Consequently, at the beginning...

        (pp. 123-137)

        He had accused Judah of proving to be a “blast of wind” for Israel in the way just explained by us. He now directs his words of rebuke (118) to those who devised the deceit and error, and were the source of their senseless behavior. These were the falsely named priests, those not of the bloodline of Levi but exercising priesthood at a price, having purchased the right to act as priests to the idols. It is recorded of Jeroboam, remember, “Anyone of that mind greased his palm and was made a priest for the high places.”¹ Rightly, therefore, attention...

        (pp. 138-149)

        The phrase They will arise here probably suggests that, as though awakening from the sleep of their dementia, and, as it were, now emerging from the darkness of night into the light of day, they will utter to one another the exhortation that it now behoves them to return to the Lord. This awakening is experienced by people caught up in error and involved in worship of the idols. (137) The benefit, in fact, of being awake is to seek to be rid of the mist—obviously of a demonic kind—and as though now filled with divine light to...

        (pp. 150-163)

        The verse addresses once again the resident of Gilead, its message being, I began as God both to heal and to turn back Israel. The Shechemites, for instance, longed to submit their neck to God in the future and to celebrate feasts, no longer those of Jeroboam but those according to the Law, and to abandon the deceit derived from goodness-knows-what source. But you, people of Gilead, so to speak, cut them back, plucked their fruit, and acquired unjust gain by brigandage. Again he proclaims with some delicacy, Begin harvesting for yourself, as if to say something of the kind,...

        (pp. 164-175)

        While this is expressed very unclearly in the Hebrew, in my view, causing translators much difficulty, we shall follow the order of the ideas, and state what strikes us.¹ Accordingly, this is their grumbling in the land of Egypt; that is, although I constantly saved and instructed them, and made them invincible to their adversaries (I empowered them, in fact), they grumbled in unholy fashion, according worship to demons and even putting their trust in the land of Egypt in the belief that it would suffice for their prosperity and assistance. Consequently, the enterprise will be thrust back in their...

        (pp. 176-193)

        SINCE THE HORDES of the nations were affected by the greatest possible folly, deceived as they admittedly were, it was their custom when beginning farm work and on the point of ploughing the land to offer sacrifices to the demons and ask them for fertility for the fields. Likewise, when harvesting, as the season required, they put the grapes into the wine vats and poured out libations, sacrificed to the gods, and sang the vintage songs by way of thanksgiving offerings, and kept rejoicing and celebrating. God accuses the people of Israel of doing this, clearly implying they should not...

        (pp. 194-209)

        After saying that Ephraim suffered in its roots and would be fruitless in the manner of those who have no children, since the savagery of the Assyrians consumed their offspring, he necessarily shows also that in the past they proved fruitful when they wisely lived a life in keeping with the Law. To its neighboring nations, in fact, it appeared like a lovely and luxuriant vine and was rightly admired. In regard to it, the blessed David also says somewhere in the book of Psalms to God the Savior of all, “You transferred a vine out of Egypt, you drove...

        (pp. 210-221)

        The sense of this probably gives rise to an objection on the part of some people. Take the case, for example, where someone thinks, or even openly says, If the people of the bloodline of Israel were due in time to be rejected, to leave God’s presence, and to be loathsome and hated, why at all were they called in the first place? In response God very properly gives some kind of explanation by saying, Israel was an infant and I loved him, and I called his children to leave Egypt. (227) Jacob was a simple man, he is saying,...

        (pp. 222-235)

        The verse once again moves from the vulgar masses to those from the tribe of Ephraim who were ruling over Israel in Samaria, and whom he calls wicked spirit on account of their difficulty in adjusting their way of thinking and their extremely rebellious tendency to reject God. In fact, he says it pursued the heat, that is to say, although it was possible for it to be under my shade, it, as it were, independently made for the heat. Now, by heat he refers to burning by tribulation and the searing misfortune. The wise author of Proverbs, for instance,...

        (pp. 236-248)

        In this it is not the ten tribes individually that he blames, but Israel as a whole, saying that, though ordinances were given to them through Moses, through which they were instructed on how they should worship God and offer sacrifices in petition, they for their part dedicated them, as it were, to the Baal, or the idols (referring to the whole sometimes by mention of a part). In other words, they no longer sacrificed to God; instead, they celebrated festivals for the works of their own hands and offered them worship, first-fruits, adoration, gifts, thanksgiving offerings; they deprived God...

        (pp. 249-256)

        You could once again have considerable admiration here for the prophet’s artistry and the economy of the expression; it is accomplished with appropriate respect, and is full of guidance from on high. He foretells, in fact, the redemption coming through Christ, and the fact that death will in due course give way, and the goad of Hades will be no more. Further, (277) no form of comfort and consolation at all could be imagined of which God is unaware. What more? There was need to advise on what to think and do in reference to their salvation, and, as it...

  7. Commentary on the Prophet Joel
      (pp. 259-260)

      The divinely inspired Joel probably prophesied at the time when those placed before him—namely, Hosea and Amos—would also be thought to have done so. The Hebrews, in fact, decided that he should be ranked with them and not after Micah.¹ His denunciation, at least in my opinion, is of the people of Israel, and he raises an extremely loud outcry against them for then reaching such a degree of insolence, stupidity, and insensitivity as not to be diverted from evil by anyone at all, and to succumb to calamities of such frequency, not to say successive occurrence, despite...

      (pp. 261-279)

      The prophet says the word of the Lord came to him, his purpose being that we should accord faith to the prophecy in the firm and confident belief that what was foretold would definitely come to pass. The Savior himself also confirms us in this belief by saying, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (289) Truth is in fact not falsehood, and whatever God says will be utterly reliable, since he is the one “who confirms the word of his servant, and verifies the counsel of his angels.”¹ Artfully and wisely, therefore, he...

      (pp. 280-301)

      Once again there is a nice description of war for us, and it would be factual in either case, whether taken as referring to a locust and young locust, or to the Babylonians if you prefer.¹ The war, in fact, had already come to the very doors, and was, as it were, bruited abroad throughout all the land of Zion, or in the whole of Judea, and so everything was filled with panic and alarm. A day of the Lord has come, note—that is, it was no longer merely a warning: the sufferings were before their eyes, and they...

      (pp. 302-317)

      When the ten tribes were plucked from the kingdom of Rehoboam and they were separated from Israel as a whole, the blessed prophets were sent to Ephraim and Judah. They spoke of the fate of both, since their kingship as a whole extended to the time of the captivity.¹ After the return from there to Jerusalem, however, and the eventual restoration, Haggai, Zechariah, and also Malachi prophesied to Israel; and it emerges that Ezra also foretold some few things happening at that time and in his own time. The text at hand, therefore, mentions events happening not at the time...