God's judgments against the priests, the people, and the princes, of Israel, for their manifold sins, until they repent.
1HEAR ye this, O 1priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward 2you, because ye have been a 3snare on 4Mizpah, and a net spread upon 5Tabor.
1 It seems that the prophet makes his address here to the three states of the kingdom of Israel: the ecclesiastical men, the elders of the people and the king. Yet some conceive that by the house of Israel are understood the ten tribes and by the king, the king of Judah.
2 Hebr. unto or for you is this judgment, namely, of God. That is, this punishment concerns you. See Jer. 48 on verse 21. Other, the judgments or right would become you, that is, you ought to administer justice; and then further: but ye have been a snare. Compare Micah 3:1; Mal. 2:1, 4.
3 That is, as a snare. Likewise as a net.
4 There were several heights and places of this name on both sides of the river Jordan; of, Mizpah in Gilead see Judges 10:17, with the annotation. This may be taken thus, that the idolatrous governors and priests of the ten tribes appointed guards on both sides of Jordan upon eminent places to spy on all those who might go up to Jerusalem to perform the worship of God, and so to murder them; unto which the beginning of the next verse seems to have respect. Compare Hosea 6:9, with the annotations; 7:1. Likewise 1 Kings 15:17, with the annotation there. Others understand it thus, they sought to allure the inhabitants by all kinds of subtle ways and devices unto their appointed idolatry, to get the same approved by them as a service well-pleasing to God; dealing with men the same way, as fowlers and huntsmen, were wont to do upon both these high mountains.
5 Of mount Tabor see Judges 8 on verse 18.
2And the revolters are 6profound to make slaughter, though I have been a 7rebuker of them all.
6 When the backsliding Israelites, such as were sent forth, did spy any honest godly passengers from the top of those mountains, then they got themselves down toward the bottom to lay hold on and slay them unawares. Some translate thus: They engrossed themselves to murder the descending or the retiring ones, namely, from among the idolatrous Israel, to Judah and Jerusalem; the sense being one and the same. Others understand it of deep and profound sinning, in murdering the godly, and translate it, make deep or multiply the slaying which likewise differs but little from the foresaid reading; or of the deep and profound practices and cunning inventions, to make good with the people the slaying of the idolatrous sacrifices (which God accounts an unprofitable killing and slaying of beasts, Isa. 66:3), of which in the foregoing annotation. The Hebrew word is used both ways: for to go down, lurk or hide one selves in deep places, as Jer. 49:8, 30, and for sinning deeply, as Isa. 31:6; Hosea 9:9 and of both together (as it seems) Isa. 29:15, where with both these verses the second and the third may also suitably be compared.
7 Hebr. correction, that is, corrector, correcting-master, which word is used to correct with words and stripes. See Prov. 7 on verse 22. Other, though I was an instructor to them all, that is, taught and instructed them differently by My prophets.
3I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: 8for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
8 As if God said: Ye shall not be able to obscure your whoredoms before Me by denials or concealments, I have already caught you too many times in the act.
4They will not 9frame their doings to turn unto their God: fora the 10spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not 11known the LORD.
9 Or, Their actions give it not, that they, etc. Or, They do not repair themselves with their actions to, etc. Other, Their works will not permit, that they, etc. Compare Psalm 36:2, 4; 55:19; 64:5.
a Hosea 4:12.
10 See Hosea 4 on verse 12, #33 annotation.
11 However they seek to cover their idolatry with His Name. See Hosea 4 on verses 1, 15.
5Andb the pride of Israel 12doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim 13fall in their iniquity; Judah also 14shall fall with them.
b Hosea 7:10.
12 Other, doth witness, or, answer. Also Hosea 7:10. The sense is: Their insolent and stubborn contempt of all the faithful warnings and exhortations of My prophets is so palpable and manifest, that it cannot be denied, and it shall stand to confront them, and to the shame and confusion of their faces, witnessing against them in My judgment, to their conviction and in testimony, that they are justly punished by Me. Compare Isa. 59:12; Jer. 14:7; Amos 6:8; Zeph. 2:10, and the like phrase of the contrary Gen. 30:33. Other, the glory, exultation, excellency, etc. of Israel, that is, the blessing, whereby I have so much exalted them, shall convince them of their unthankfulness.
13 See Hosea 4:5; 14:2.
14 Hebr. is fallen.
6They shall go with their 15flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath 16withdrawn himself from them.
15 They shall think and go about to satisfy or appease God with their sacrifices, thereby to obtain help and succor from Him, but in vain. Compare 2 Kings 23:21, 22, 26.
16 Or, disengage, made free, as one who would have nothing to do anymore with them, while they were troublesome and vexatious to Him with their abominations.
7They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten 17strange children: 18now shall a 19month devour them with their 20portions.
17 From marriages with women of the Gentiles, against the express command of God. Compare Ezra 9:1, 2; Neh. 13:23; Mat. 2:11. One of the consequences of such marriages was that the children came thereby to be nursed up in idolatry.
18 That is, shortly, or therefore.
19 Hebr. new moon, that is, the idolatry which they committed in the new moons. Some take it as a similitude of usury or month-money, which returns very hastily, and consumes the debtor before he is aware of it. Others take a month for a short time, as Zech. 11:8, or for a certain appointed time.
20 Or, parts, that is, all their goods, lands and possessions. Compare Psalm 16:5, with the annotation. Some understand the sacrifices which were divided into many parts.
821Blow ye the cornet in 22Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at 23Beth-aven, 24after thee, O Benjamin.
21 Here God, very lively, sets before their eyes the approaching arrival of the enemy, when it is usual to sound alarm in the adjacent places.
22 Gibeah and Ramah were both situated in Benjamin on the borders of Ephraim. See Judges 19 on verse 13. These border-places were doubtless strong and well garrisoned, and consequently they reposed much confidence in them. Saul had dwelled at Gibeah; Samuel was born at Ramah, 1 Samuel 1; 10:26. See also 1 Kings 15:17; 21, 22.
23 See Hosea 4 on verse 15, #44 annotation.
24 Hereupon may be understood: is the enemy, or, there is the work, namely, the enemy is busy in Ephraim, and there he begins to lay waste, whereof in the next verse. Benjamin was positioned between Judah and Ephraim. Some do take these words, in this regard, as a description of the situation of Judah, as being situated in the south behind Benjamin; and that thus Judah also would be alarmed, with trumpets and calls, as unto the foresaid places. Or, it may plainly be taken thus, after or behind thee Benjamin, that is, let Benjamin likewise blow the alarm, after or behind you, to give to understand that the alarms should spread all about from the one place to the other.
9Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of 25rebuke: among the tribes of Israel 26have I made known that which shall 27surely be.
25 Or, punishment, that is, at that time when I shall pronounce and execute the judgment, spoken of in verse 1.
26 Or, I do make known, that is, I foretell openly what is most certain and assured, and shall come to pass without any mistake, that they may know, when it comes to pass, that I am the LORD. Other, I have made known the faithfulness, that is, have shown forth My faithfulness to Israel, by manifold warnings of their desolation to come, if they prevented it not by timely repentance.
27 Other, that it is certain, it, namely, the foretold and threatened punishment.
10The princes of Judah were like them that remove the 28bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like 29water.
28 What God had severely accursed and forbidden, Deut. 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Prov. 22:28. This was likewise practiced by the governors of Judah in the time of Ahaz, when they trespassed and encroached upon the limits of God’s true worship and service, instituted by God Himself and carefully maintained by the good kings, and went beyond the bounds of their office and administration, bringing all things into confusion, the usual consequence, by God’s judgment, of confounding true religion. See 2 Kings 16, and that draws along with it a deluge of God’s indignation and vengeance, overflowing and destroying all.
29 See Psalm 79 on verse 6.
11Ephraim is oppressed and 30broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the 31commandment.
30 Or, battered, broken or beaten in pieces. Hebr. a crushing of judgment. The plainest sense of these words seems to be, that all this shall come very justly upon them according to their own demerits, which agrees well with the following text. Some take it, that Ephraim, as he was accustomed formerly to judge others, shall have to suffer that others shall judge him and crush him in judgment.
31 Of their king Jeroboam, the founder of the abominable idolatry and all the ensuing licentiousness, in whose paths his successors still pursued. It sufficed them that their king commanded such; upon this they have proceeded fearlessly and with lust, without paying attention to God and the warnings of His prophets. Others thus: He hath walked of good will, voluntarily, or he would walk after the command, or precept. Hebr. he would, he walked, etc. See Psalm 45 on verse 4.
12Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a 32moth, and to the house of Judah as 33rottenness.
32 See Job 13:28; Psalm 39:11; Prov. 12:4; 14:30; Isa. 50:9; 51:8.
33 Or, putrefaction, vermiculation, that is, as clothes are gradually consumed by moths, and other things by rotting or gradually by worms, so shall I by My judgments consume and destroy the people of both these nations by degrees, as also came to pass afterwards, first to Israel, and after to Judah.
13When Ephraim saw his 34sickness, and Judah saw his 35wound, then went Ephraim to the 36Assyrian, and 37sent to king 38Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of 39your wound.
34 Perceiving or noticing all this predicted evil and approaching danger.
35 Compare Obadiah verse 7.
36 To Pul, the king of Assyria, to make him become of an enemy their friend and helper by gifts and presents; this seems to have regard to the history of king Menahem, 2 Kings 15:19, etc. See further Hosea 7:11, etc.
37 Some apply this to Judah by comparing the foregoing (see 2 Kings 16:7) and the following verse.
38 Compare Hosea 10:6, by which place it appears that this must have been the name of a certain king of Assyria (as likewise some chronologists have it), or in general a name as the Jews and Israelites were wont to give unto those foreign kings, whose help and protection they sought after, distrusting God’s. Jareb signifies in Hebrew, he shall contend, plead, judge, that is, he is the man that shall take our cause upon him, and execute it. Compare Judges 6:31, 32, with the annotations.
39 So as to take it quite away from you, and free you of it. Other, he shall heal the wound of none out of or from among you.
14For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will 40tear and go away; I will take away, and nonec shall rescue him.
40 Or, rob. Compare Hosea 6:1.
c Hosea 2:9.
15¶I will go and return to my 41place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my 42face: in their affliction they will seek me 43early.
41 Spoken after the manner of men, God is said to come down, when He has some great work to do or executes His judgments upon the earth, and to return to his place and to be silent, when He suffers men to abide in misery or does not deliver them until they repent and His time has come. Compare Gen. 11:7; Isa. 18:4; 26:21, etc.
42 See 2 Chron. 7 on verse 14; 2 Chron. 11 on verse 16.
43 That is, timely, diligently and fervently. See Job 7:21; 8:5; Psalm 5:3; Prov. 7:15, with the annotations, and compare Jer. 29:12, 13, 14; Daniel 9, and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and besides the time of the New Testament, especially Mat. 11:12, etc.