Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
JUDGMENTS ON THE
Judah, too, being guilty shall be punished; nor shall Assyria, whose aid
they both sought, save them; judgments shall at last lead them to
1. the king--probably Pekah; the contemporary of Ahaz, king of Judah,
under whom idolatry was first carried so far in Judah as to call for the
judgment of the joint Syrian and Israelite invasion, as also that of
judgment is towards you--that is, threatens you from God.
ye have been a snare on Mizpah . . . net . . .
upon Tabor--As hunters spread their net and snares on the hills,
Mizpah and Tabor, so ye have snared the people into idolatry and made
them your prey by injustice. As Mizpah and Tabor mean a
"watch tower," and a "lofty place," a fit scene for hunters, playing on
the words, the prophet implies, in the lofty place in which I have set
you, whereas ye ought to have been the watchers of the people,
guarding them from evil, ye have been as hunters entrapping them
into it [JEROME]. These two places are specified,
Mizpah in the east and Tabor in the west, to include the high
places throughout the whole kingdom, in which Israel's
rulers set up idolatrous altars.
[CALVIN] and sunk to the lowest depths,
excessive in their idolatry
[HENDERSON]. From the antithesis
"not hid from me," I prefer explaining, profoundly cunning in
their idolatry. Jeroboam thought it a profound piece of policy
to set up golden calves to represent God in Dan and Beth-el, in order
to prevent Israel's heart from turning again to David's line by going
up to Jerusalem to worship. So Israel's subsequent idolatry was
grounded by their leaders on various pleas of state expediency (compare
to . . . slaughter--He does not say "to sacrifice," for their
so-called sacrifices were butcheries rather than sacrifices; there
was nothing sacred about them, being to idols instead of to the holy
though--MAURER translates, "and (in spite of their hope of safety
through their slaughter of victims to idols) I will be a chastisement
to them all." English Version is good sense: They have deeply revolted,
notwithstanding all my prophetical warnings.
3. Ephraim--the tribe so called, as distinguished from "Israel" here,
the other nine tribes. It was always foremost of the tribes of the
northern kingdom. For four hundred years in early history, it, with
Manasseh and Benjamin, its two dependent tribes, held the pre-eminence
in the whole nation. Ephraim is here addressed as foremost in idolatry.
I how . . . not hid from me--notwithstanding their supposed
Re 2:2, 9, 13, 19).
now--"though I have been a rebuker of all them"
who commit such spiritual whoredoms, thou art now
continuing in them.
4. They--Turning from a direct address to Ephraim, he uses the third
person plural to characterize the people in general. The Hebrew is against the Margin, their doings will not suffer them" the
omission of "them" in the Hebrew after the verb being unusual. The
sense is, they are incurable, for they will not permit (as the
Hebrew literally means) their doings to be framed so as to turn unto
God. Implying that they resist the Spirit of God, not suffering Him to renew them; and give themselves up to "the spirit of whoredoms"
(in antithesis to "the Spirit of God" implied in "suffer" or "permit")
5. the pride of Israel--wherewith they reject the warnings of God's
and prefer their idols to God
testify to his face--openly to his face he shall be convicted of
the pride which is so palpable in him. Or, "in his face," as in
Judah . . . shall fall with them--This prophecy is later than
when Judah had not gone so far in idolatry; now her imitation of
Israel's bad example provokes the threat of her being doomed to share
in Israel's punishment.
6. with . . . flocks--to propitiate Jehovah
seek . . . not find--because it is slavish fear that leads them to seek
Him; and because it then shall be too late
7. treacherously--as to the marriage covenant
strange children--alluding to "children of whoredoms"
(Ho 1:2; 2:4).
"Strange" or foreign implies that their idolatry was imported
from abroad [HENDERSON]. Or rather, "regarded by
God as strangers, not His," as being reared in idolatry. The case is
desperate, when not only the existing, but also the rising, generation
is reared in apostasy.
a month--a very brief space of time shall elapse, and then
punishment shall overtake them
The allusion seems to be to money loans, which were by the
month, not as with us by the year. You cannot put it off; the time
of your destruction is immediately and suddenly coming on you; just as
the debtor must meet the creditor's demand at the expiration of the
month. The prediction is of the invasion of Tiglath-pileser, who
carried away Reuben, Gad, Naphtali, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
portions--that is, possessions. Their resources and garrisons will
not avail to save them. HENDERSON explains from
"portions" as their idols; the context favors this, "the Lord"
the true "portion of His people"
being in antithesis to "their portions," the idols.
8. The arrival of the enemy is announced in the form of an injunction
to blow an alarm.
cornet . . . trumpet--The "cornet" was made of the curved horn of
animals and was used by shepherds. The "trumpet" was of brass or silver,
straight, and used in wars and on solemn occasions. The Hebrew is
hatzotzerah, the sound imitating the trumpet note
Gibeah . . . Ramah--both in Benjamin
Beth-aven--in Benjamin; not as in
Beth-el, but a town east of it
"Cry aloud," namely, to raise the alarm. "Benjamin" is put for the
whole southern kingdom of Judah (compare
being the first part of it which would meet the foe advancing from the
north. "After thee, O Benjamin," implies the position of Beth-aven,
behind Benjamin, at the borders of Ephraim. When the foe is at
Beth-aven, he is at Benjamin's rear, close upon thee, O Benjamin
9, 10. Israel is referred to in
the day of rebuke--the day when I shall chastise him.
among the tribes of Israel have I made known--proving that the scene
of Hosea's labor was among the ten tribes.
that which shall surely be--namely, the coming judgment here foretold.
It is no longer a conditional decree, leaving a hope of pardon on
repentance; it is absolute, for Ephraim is hopelessly impenitent.
10. remove the bound--
(De 19:14; 27:17;
Pr 22:28; 23:10).
Proverbial for the rash setting aside of the ancestral laws by which
men are kept to their duty. Ahaz and his courtiers ("the princes of
Judah"), setting aside the ancient ordinances of God, removed the
borders of the bases and the layer and the sea and introduced an
idolatrous altar from Damascus
also he burnt his children in the valley of Hinnom, after the
abominations of the heathen
11. broken in judgment--namely, the "judgment" of God on him
walked after the commandment--Jeroboam's, to worship the calves
"the statutes of Omri," namely, idolatrous statutes. We ought to
obey God rather than men
JEROME reads "filthiness." The Septuagint
gives the sense, not the literal translation: "after
12. as a moth--consuming a garment
Judah . . . rottenness--Ephraim, or the ten tribes, are as a
garment eaten by the moth; Judah as the body itself consumed by
Perhaps alluding to the superiority of the latter in having the house
of David, and the temple, the religious center of the nation [GROTIUS]. As in
Ho 5:13, 14,
the violence of the calamity is prefigured by the "wound" which "a
lion" inflicts, so here its long protracted duration, and the certainty
and completeness of the destruction from small unforeseen beginnings,
by the images of a slowly but surely consuming moth and
13. wound--literally, "bandage"; hence a bandaged wound
"Saw," that is, felt its weakened state politically, and the dangers
that threatened it. It aggravates their perversity, that, though aware
of their unsound and calamitous state, they did not inquire into the
cause or seek a right remedy.
went . . . to the Assyrian--First, Menahem
applied to Pul; again, Hoshea to Shalmaneser
sent to King Jareb--Understand Judah as the nominative to
"sent." Thus, as "Ephraim saw his sickness" (the first clause) answers
in the parallelism to "Ephraim went to the Assyrian" (the third
clause), so "Judah saw his wound" (the second clause) answers to
(Judah) "sent to King Jareb" (the fourth clause). Jareb
ought rather to be translated, "their defender," literally,
"avenger" [JEROME]. The Assyrian "king," ever
ready, for his own aggrandizement, to mix himself up with the affairs
of neighboring states, professed to undertake Israel's and
Judah's cause; in
Jerub, in Jerub-baal is so used, namely, "plead one's
cause." Judah, under Ahaz, applied to Tiglath-pileser for aid against
Syria and Israel
(2Ki 16:7, 8;
the Assyrian "distressed him, but strengthened him not," fulfiling the
prophecy here, "he could not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
14. lion--The black lion and the young lion are emblems of
strength and ferocity
I, even I--emphatic; when I, even I, the irresistible God, tear in
no Assyrian power can rescue.
go away--as a lion stalks leisurely back with his prey to his lair.
15. return to my place--that is, withdraw My favor.
till they acknowledge their offence--The Hebrew is, "till they
suffer the penalty of their guilt." Probably "accepting the punishment
of their guilt" (compare
is included in the idea, as English Version translates. Compare
Le 26:40, 41;
Jer 29:12, 13;
Eze 6:9; 20:43; 36:31.
seek my face--that is, seek My favor
in . . . affliction . . . seek me early--that is, diligently; rising up
before dawn to seek Me