2:2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the a kindness of thy youth, the love of thy espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, b in a land [that was] not sown.
2:3 Israel [was] c holiness to the LORD, [and] the firstfruits of his increase: all d that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.
(a) According to that grace and favour which I showed you from the beginning, when I first chose you to be my people, and married you to myself, (Ezekiel 16:8).
(b) When I had delivered you out of Egypt.
(c) Chosen above all others to serve the Lord only and the first offered to the Lord of all other nations.
2:5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they have gone e far from me, and have walked after vanity, and have become f vain?
(d) Whoever challenged this people, or else annoyed them, was punished.
(e) That is, fallen to vile idolatry.
2:6 Neither said they, Where [is] the LORD that brought us out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of g the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?
(f) Altogether given to vanity, and are become blind and insensible as the idols that they serve.
(g) Where for lack of all things needed for life, you could look for nothing every hour but present death.
2:7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit of it and the goodness of it but when ye entered, ye defiled h my land, and made my heritage an abomination.
2:8 The priests said not, i Where [is] the LORD? and they that handle the k law knew me not: the l rulers also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by m Baal, and walked after [things that] do not profit.
(h) By your idolatry and wicked manners, (Psalms 78:58,106:38).
(i) They did not teach the people to seek after God.
2:9 Wherefore I will yet n plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your childrenís children will I plead.
(k) As the scribes, who would have expounded the law to the people.
(l) Meaning, the princes and ministers: signifying, that all estates were corrupt.
(m) That is, spoke vain things, and brought the people from the true worship of God to serve idols: for by Baal, which was the chief idol of the Moabites, are meant all idols.
(n) Signifying that he would not as he might, straightway condemn them, but shows them by evident examples their great ingratitude that they might be ashamed and repent.
2:10 For pass over the isles of o Chittim, and see; and send to p Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there is such a thing.
(o) Meaning, the Grecians and Italians.
2:11 Hath a nation changed [their] gods, which [are] yet no gods? but my people have changed their q glory for [that which] doth not r profit.
(p) To Arabia.
(q) That is, God who is their glory, and who makes them glorious above all other people, reproving the Jews that they were less diligent to serve the true God, than were the idolaters to honour their vanities.
2:12 Be astonished, O ye s heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.
(r) Meaning the idols who were their destruction, (Psalms 106:36).
(s) He shows that the insensible creatures abhor this vile ingratitude, and as it were tremble for fear of Godís great judgments against the same.
2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me t the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
2:14 [Is] Israel a u servant? [is] he a homeborn [slave]? why is he laid waste?
(t) Signifying that when men forsake Godís word, which is the fountain of life, they reject God himself, and so fall to their own inventions, and vain confidence, and procure to themselves destruction, (Jonah 2:8; Zechariah 10:2).
2:15 The young x lions roared upon him, [and] yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without y inhabitant.
(u) Have I ordered them like servants and not like dearly beloved children? (Exodus 4:22) therefore it is their fault only, if the enemy spoil them.
(x) The Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians.
2:16 Also the children of z Noph and Tahapanes have a broken the crown of thy head.
(y) Not one will be left to dwell there.
(z) That is, the Egyptians, for these were two great cities in Egypt.
2:17 Hast thou not procured this to thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he b led thee by the way?
(a) Have grievously vexed you at various times.
(b) Showing that God would have still led them correctly, if they would have followed him.
2:18 And now what hast thou to do in the way of c Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the d river?
2:19 Thy own wickedness shall e correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that [it is] an evil [thing] and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear [is] not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
c To seek help from man, as though God was not able enough to defend you, which is to drink from the puddles and to leave the fountain, (Isaiah 31:1).
(d) That is, Euphrates.
2:20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, [and] burst thy bands; and thou saidst, f I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
(e) Meaning, that the wicked are insensible, till the punishment for their sin waken them as in (Jeremiah 2:26; Isaiah 3:9).
2:22 For though thou shalt wash thee with g lye, and take thee much soap, [yet] thy iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.
(f) When I delivered you out of Egypt, (Exodus 19:8; Deuteronomy 5:27; Joshua 24:16; Ezra 10:12; Hebrews 8:6).
(g) Though you use all the purifications and ceremonies of the law, you cannot escape punishment.
2:23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not h gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: [thou art] a swift i dromedary traversing her ways;
(h) Meaning that hypocrites deny that they worship the idols, but that they honour God in them, and therefore they call their doings Godís service.
2:24 A wild k donkey used to the wilderness, [that] snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her l month they shall find her.
(i) He compares the idolaters to these beasts, because they never cease running to and fro: for both valleys and hills are full of their idolatry.
(k) He compares the idolaters to a wild ass: for she can never be tamed nor yet wearied: for as she runs she can take her wind at every opportunity.
2:25 Withhold thy foot from m being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.
(l) That is, when she is with foal, and therefore the hunters wait their time: so though you cannot be turned back now from your idolatry, yet when your iniquity will be at the fall, God will meet with you.
2:26 As the n thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,
(m) By this he warns them that they should not go into strange countries to seek help: for they should but spend their labour, and hurt themselves, which is here meant by the bare foot and thirst, (Isaiah 57:10).
(n) As a thief will not acknowledge his fault, till he is taken with the deed, and ready to be punished, so they will not confess their idolatry, till the plagues due to the same light on them.
2:27 Saying to a tree, Thou [art] my o father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned [their] back to me, and not [their] face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.
(o) Meaning, that idolaters rob God of his honour: and where as he has taught to call him the father of all flesh, they attribute this title to their idols.
2:28 But where [are] thy gods that thou hast made for thyself? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for [according p to] the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
2:29 Why will q ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.
(p) You thought that your gods of blocks and stones could have helped you, because they were many in number and present in every place: but now let us see whether either the multitude or their presence can deliver you from my plague, (Jeremiah 11:13).
(q) As though I did you injury in punishing you, seeing that your faults are so evident.
2:30 In vain have I smitten your children; they have received no correction: your r own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
(r) That is, you have killed your prophets, that exhorted you to repentance, as Zechariah, Isaiah, etc.
2:31 O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a s wilderness to Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords; t we will come no more to thee?
(s) Have I not given them abundance of all things?
2:33 Why trimmest thou thy way to u seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.
(t) But will trust in our own power and policy.
(u) With strangers.
2:34 Also in thy x skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.
(x) The prophets and the faithful are slain in every corner of your country.
2:36 Why dost thou go about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, y as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
(y) For the Assyrians had taken away the ten tribes out of Israel and destroyed Judah even to Jerusalem: and the Egyptians slew Josiah, and vexed the Jews in various ways.
2:37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thy hands upon z thy head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.
(z) In sign of lamentation, as in (2 Samuel 13:19).