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Hosea 12:5

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord is his memorial - He is the same God as when Jacob so successfully wrestled with him.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Even the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord is His memorial - The word, here as translated and written Lord, is the special and, so to say, the proper Name of God, that which He gave to Himself, and which declares His Being. God Himself authoritatively explained its meaning. When Moses inquired of Him, what he should say to Israel, when they should ask him, “what is the Name of the God of their fathers,” who, he was to tell them, had sent him to them, “God said … I Am That I Am … thus shalt thou say, I Am” (Ehyeh) “hath sent me unto you; and God said again unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord” (literally, He is, YeHeWeH, “God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations” Exodus 3:13-15.

I am, expresses self-existence; He who alone is. I am that I am, expresses His unchangeableness, the necessary attribute of the Self-existent, who, since He is, ever is all which He is. “To Be,” says Augustine, “is a name of unchangeableness. For all things which are changed, cease to be what they were, and begin to be what they were not. True Being, pure Being, genuine Being, no one hath, save He who changeth not. He hath Being to whom it is said, “Thou shalt change them and they shall be changed, but Thou art the Same.” What is, I am that I am, but, I am Eternal? What is, I am that I am, save, I cannot be changed? No creature, no heaven, no earth, no angel, “nor Power, nor Throne, nor Dominion, nor Principality.” This then being the name of eternity, it is somewhat more, than He vouchsafed to him a name of mercy, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. That,” He is in Himself, “this,” to us.

If he willed only to be That which he is in Himself, what should we be? Since Moses understood, when it was said to him, I am that I am, He who is hath sent me unto you, he believed that this was much to people, he saw that this was far removed from people. For whose hath understood, as he ought, That which is, and which truly is, and, in whatever degree, hath even transiently, as by a lightning flash, been irradiated by the light of the One True Essence, sees himself far below, in the utmost farness of removal and unlikeness.” This, the Self-existent, the Unchangeable, was the meaning of God‘s ancient Name, by which He was known to the patriarchs, although they had not in act seen His unchangeableness, for theirs was a life of faith, hoping for what they saw not. The word, He is, when used of Him by His creatures, expresses the same which He says of Himself, I AM. This He willed to be “His memorial forever.” This the way in which He willed that we should believe in Him and think of Him as He who is, the Self-existing, the Self-Same.

The way of pronouncing that Name is lost. The belief has continued, wherever the Lord is named. For by the Lord we mean the Unchangeable God. That belief is contradicted, whenever people use the name “Jehovah,” to speak of God, as though the belief in Him under the Old Testament differed from that of the New Testament. Perhaps God allowed it to be lost, that people might not make so familiar with it, as they do with the word “Jehovah,” or use it irreverently and in an anti-Christian manner, as some now employ other ways of pronouncing it. The Jews, even before the time of our Lord, ordinarily ceased to pronounce it. In the translations of the Old Testament, and in the Apocrypha, the words, “the Lord,” were substituted for it. Jewish tradition states, that in later times the Name was pronounced in the temple only, by the priests, on pronouncing the blessing commanded by God in the law. On the great Day of Atonement, it was said that the high priest pronounced it ten times, and that when the people heard it, they fell on their faces, saying, “Blessed be the glorious name of His kingdom forever and ever”. They say, however, that in the time of Simeon the Just (i. e., ), Jaddua, who died about 322 b.c., the high priests themselves disused it, for fear of its being pronounced by some irreverent person.

Our Lord Himself sanctioned I the disuse of it, (as did the inspired Apostles yet more frequently,) since, in quoting places of the Old Testament in which it occurs, He uses instead of it the Name, “the Lord”. It stands, throughout the Old Testament, as the Name which speaks of God in relation to His people, that He ever is; and, since He ever is, then He is unchangeably to us, all which He ever was, “The Same, yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8.

He then who appeared to Jacob, and who, in Jacob, spake to all the posterity of Jacob, was God; whether it was (as almost all the early fathers thought ), God the Son, who thus appeared in human form to the patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, and in the time of the Judges, under the name of “the Angel of the Lord,” or whether it was the Father. God Almighty thus accustomed man to see the form of Man, and to know and believe that it was God. He it was, the prophet explains, “the Lord,” i. e., the Self existent, the Unchangeable, “Who was, and is and is to come” Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:8, who alone is, and from whom are all things, “the Fullness of Being, both of His own, and of all His creatures, the boundless Ocean of all which is, of wisdom, of glory, of love, of all good.”

The Lord of Hosts - that is, of all things visible and invisible, of the angels and heavenly spirits, and of all things animate and inanimate, which, in the history of the Creation, are called “the host of heaven and earth” Genesis 2:1, the one host of God. This was the way in which He willed to be had in mind, thought of, remembered. On the one hand then, as relates to Ephraim‘s sin, not by the calves, nor by any other created thing, did He will to be represented to people‘s minds or thoughts. On the other hand, as relates to God‘s mercies, since He, who revealed Himself to Jacob, was the unchangeable God, Israel had no cause to fear, if he returned to the faith of Jacob, whom God there accepted. Whence it follows;

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Ephraim feeds himself with vain hopes of help from man, when he is at enmity with God. The Jews vainly thought to secure the Egyptians by a present of the produce of their country. Judah is contended with also. God sees the sin of his own people, and will reckon with them for it. They are put in mind of what Jacob did, and what God did for him. When his faith upon the Divine promise prevailed above his fears, then by his strength he had power with God. He is Jehovah, the same that was, and is, and is to come. What was a revelation of God to one, is his memorial to many, to all generations. Then let those who have gone from God, be turned to him. Turn thou to the Lord, by repentance and faith, as thy God. Let those that are converted to him, walk with him in all holy conversation and godliness. Let us wrestle with Him for promised blessings, determined not to give over till we prevail; and let us seek Him in his ordinances.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 579

Daniel will tell you, He is the Messiah. DA 579.1

Hosea will tell you, He is “the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is His memorial.” Hosea 12:5. DA 579.2

John the Baptist will tell you, He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. DA 579.3

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 130

Jacob's persevering faith prevailed. He held fast the angel until he obtained the blessing he desired, and the assurance of the pardon of his sins. His name was then changed from Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, which signified, a prince of God. “And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” It was Christ that was with Jacob through that night, with whom he wrestled, and whom he perseveringly held until he blessed him. 3SG 130.1

The Lord heard the supplications of Jacob, and changed the purposes of Esau's heart. He did not sanction any wrong course which Jacob pursued. His life was one of doubt, perplexity and remorse, because of his sin, until his earnest wrestling with the angel, and the evidence he there obtained that God had pardoned his sins. 3SG 130.2

“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. He wept, and made supplication unto him. He found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, even the Lord God of hosts. The Lord is his memorial.” 3SG 130.3

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 96

The Lord heard the supplications of Jacob, and changed the purposes of Esau's heart. He did not sanction any wrong course which Jacob pursued. His life had been one of doubt, perplexity, and remorse because of his sin, until his earnest wrestling with the angel, and the evidence he there obtained that God had pardoned his sins. SR 96.1

“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. He wept, and made supplication unto Him: He found him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” Hosea 12:4, 5. SR 96.2

Esau was marching against Jacob with an army, for the purpose of killing his brother. But while Jacob was wrestling with the angel that night, another angel was sent to move upon the heart of Esau in his sleeping hours. In his dream he saw Jacob in exile from his father's house for twenty years, because he was afraid of his life. And he marked his sorrow to find his mother dead. He saw in his dream Jacob's humility and angels of God around about him. He dreamed that when they met he had no mind to harm him. When Esau awoke he related his dream to his four hundred men and told them that they must not injure Jacob, for the God of his father was with him. And when they should meet Jacob, not one of them should do him harm. SR 96.3

“And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men.... And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept.” Jacob entreated Esau to accept a peace offering, which Esau declined, but Jacob urged him: “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.” SR 96.4

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