Rejoice not - Do not imitate the heathens, nor serve their idols. Do not prostitute thy soul and body in practicing their impurities. Hitherto thou hast acted as a common harlot, who goes even to the common threshing places; connects herself with the meanest, in order to get a hire even of the grain there threshed out.
Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people - Literally, “rejoice not to exultation,” so as to bound and leap for joy (as in Job 3:22). The prophet seems to come across the people in the midst of their festivity and mirth, and arrests them abruptly stopping it, telling them, that had no cause for joy. Hosea witnessed of Israel‘s prosperity under Jeroboam II; the land had peace under Menahem the departure of Pul; Pekah was even strong, so as, in his alliance with Rezin, to be an object of terror to Judah Psalm 16:11. How then could Israel joy, “who had gone a whoring from his God?” Other nations might joy, for they had no imminent judgment to fear.
Their sins had been sins of ignorance; none had sinned like Israel. They had not even Jeremiah 2:11 “changed their gods, which were no gods. If” other “people” did not thank God for His gifts, and thanked their idols, they had not been taught otherwise. Israel had been taught. and so his sin was sin against light. Whence God says by Amos, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” Amos 3:2.: “It was ever the sin of Israel to wish to joy as other nations. So they said to Samuel, “make us a king to judge us, like all the nations.” And when Samuel “told the people the word of God, they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them,” they still said, “Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we may be like all the nations” 1 Samuel 8:5, 1 Samuel 8:10, 1 Samuel 8:7, 1 Samuel 8:19-20. This was the joy of the nations, to have another king than God, and with this joy Israel wished to exult, when it asked for Saul as king; when it followed Jeroboam; when it “denied” Christ “before the presence of Pilate, saying, we have no king but Caesar.” But the people who received the law, and professed the worship of God, might not exult as other people who had not the knowledge of God, that, like them, it should, after forsaking God, be allowed to enjoy temporal prosperity, like theirs.
He says, “rejoice not like the nations,” namely, for it is not allowed thee. Why? “for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God.” The punishment of the adulteress, who departs by unfaithfulness from her husband, is other than that of the harlot, who had never plighted her faith, nor had ever been bound by the bond of marriage. Thou obtainedst God for thy Husband, and didst forsake Him for another, yea, for many others, in the desert, in Samaria, even in Jerusalem, for the golden calves, for Baal, and the other monstrous gods, and lastly, when, denying Christ, thou didst prefer Barabbas. “Rejoice not” then, with the “joy” of the “nations;” for the curses of the law, written against thee, allow thee not. “Cursed shalt thou be in the city, cursed in the field; cursed thy basket and thy store; cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land; the increase of thy kine and the flocks of thy sheep; cursed thou in thy coming in, and cursed thou in thy going out” Deuteronomy 28:16-19. Other nations enjoyed the fruit of their own labors; thou “tookest the labors” of others as a hire, “to observe His laws” Psalm 105:45.
Thou hast loved a reward - (Literally, “the hire” Hosea 2:12; Hosea 8:9; Ezekiel 21:31,34; Micah 1:7 of a harlot) “on every grain-floor.” Israel had no heart, except for temporal prosperity. This he loved, wheresoever he found it; and so, “on every grain-floor,” whereon the fruits of the earth were gathered for the threshing, he received it from his idols, as the “hire,” for which he praised them “for the good tilings which he had received from a better Giver.”: “Perverse love! Thou oughtest to “love” God to use His rewards. “Thou” lovedst “the reward,” despisedst God. So then thou “wentest whoring from thy God,” because thou didst turn away the love, wherewith thou oughtest to love God, to love the hire: and this not sparingly, nor any how, but “on every barnfloor,” with avarice so boundless and so deep, that all the barn-floors could not satisfy thee.” The first-fruits, and the free-willoffering, they retained, turned them away from the service of God, and offered them to their idols.