Israel to become gentiles! “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image [ äáOEligÕ1î⇐ matstsebah = pillar, sacred stone, cf Genesis 28:18], and without an ephod, and without teraphim” (v4). Israel must wait for Him many days (v3); they shall be without a king many days—but not for ever. Meanwhile, in the lands of their exile, they shall be as gentiles. “We are become as they over whom Thou never barest rule; as they that were not called by Thy name” (Isaiah 63:19 RV).
Who then are the Jews? Samaria, capital of ten-tribed ISRAEL, fell to the Assyrians in the spring of 722 BC. It had no king thereafter. The House of Israel was deported and never returned to Palestine. The House of JUDAH, and its Davidic monarchy, was saved at this time (1:7) and survived until 604 BC when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. The two-tribed House of Judah was taken captive to Babylon, from which a remnant (only 50,000, Ezra 1:5 and 2:1, 54–65) returned 70 years later in 534 BC; they were henceforth known as Jews.
“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter [ úéø¸çoeligà⇐ acharith = last] days (v5). When are the last days? “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:2). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour out of My Spirit” (Acts 2:17, cf Joel 2:28). Christ “was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20). The last days are the Christian dispensation.
Sons of the living God In the last days Israel shall be “a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 49:1, 48:16), “as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered” (Hosea 1:10). They will then be “the sons of the living God” (1:10), a redeemed, i.e. Christian, people. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David” (Luke 1:68–69).
“And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [my Husband]; and shalt call Me no more Baali [my lord]” (2:16). “And I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (2:23, cf 1:9). So Christ came “to confirm the promises made unto the Fathers” (Romans 15:8). From JUDAH came forth Messiah; from ISRAEL came forth the Church and foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth.