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Of Ephraim - Of Ephraim the chief tribe of this revolting kingdom.
Own doings - The guilt and punishment of the works they have done; their own doings, not their fathers, as the incorrigible are ready to complain. Beset them - As an enemy invests a town on every side. Before my face - All their ways were under mine eye.
They - The courtiers in particular make it their work to invent pleasing wickedness, and to acquaint the king with it. With their lies - With false accusations against the innocent.
As an oven - This vice is grown raging hot among them, as the fire in an oven, when the baker having called up those that make the bread, to prepare all things ready, doth by continued supply of fuel, heat the oven, 'till the heat need be raised no higher.
In the day of our king - Probably the anniversary of his birth or coronation. Stretched out his hand - In these drunken feasts it seems the king forgat himself, and stretched out his hand, with those who deride religion, and with confusion to the professors of it.
They - Those luxurious and drinking princes. Like an oven - Hot with ambition, revenge, or covetousness. Lie in wait - Against the life or estate of some of their subjects. As the baker, having kindled a fire in his oven, goes to bed and sleeps all night, and in the morning finds his oven well heated and ready for his purpose; so these when they have laid some wicked plot, tho' they may seem to sleep for a while, yet the fire is glowing within, and flames out as soon as ever there is opportunity for it.
Devoured - As a fire destroys, so have these conspirators, destroyed their rulers. Their kings - All that have been since Jeroboam the second's reign, to the delivery of this prophecy, namely, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, Pekah, fell by the conspiracy of such hot princes. That telleth - Not one of all these either feared, trusted, or worshipped God.
Ephraim - The kingdom of Israel. Mixed himself - With the Heathens by leagues and commerce and by imitation of their manners. Not turned - Burnt on one side, and dough on the other, and so good for nothing on either: always in one extreme or the other.
Knoweth it not - He is not aware of the loss he hath sustained. Gray hairs - Of old age and declining strength are upon their kingdom.
Like a silly dove - Ephraim is now become like the dove in weakness and fear, as well as in imprudence and liableness to be deceived. Without heart - Without either discretion or courage. To Assyria - Instead of going to God, who alone can help.
Go - To seek aid of Egypt or Assyria. Bring them down - Though they attempt to fly, yet as fowls in the net they shall certainly fall. Hath heard - From the prophets whom I have sent unto them.
Spoken lies - They belied his corrections as if not deserved; they belied the good done, as if too little, or not done by God, but by their idol.
They assembled - In the houses of their idols.
Bound - As a surgeon binds up a weak member, or a broken one; so did God for Ephraim, when the Syrians and other enemies had broken their arms. Imagine mischief - They devise mischief against my prophets, and let loose the reins to all impieties.
Not to the most high - What shew soever of repentance was among them, yet they never throughly repented. A deceitful bow - Tho' they seemed bent for, and aiming at the mark, yet like a weak bow they carried not the arrow home, and like a false bow they never carried it strait toward the mark. The rage of their tongue - Against God, his prophets and providence. Their derision - They shall be upbraided with this.
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