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Hos 13:1 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
Ver. 1. When Ephraim spake trembling ] Or, there was trembling, as there is among the beasts of the field when the lion roareth. Ephraim, while innocent of the great offence, spake with authority, and none durst budge against him; for he had great power in his hand. Now, as the philosopher told Adrian the emperor, who challenged him to dispute, Difficile est ei contradicere qui potest aqua et igni interdicere; vel adversus eum scribere, qui potest proscribere. It is dangerous meddling with the lion’s beard. Nebuchadnezzar’s majesty was such that "all people, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him," Daniel 5:19 ; wheresoever his commands or armies came there were very great heart quakes and concussions of spirit. "Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?" Ecclesiastes 8:4 . Job was no king; and yet while he was Jobab, Genesis 36:34 , that is, in a prosperous condition, "The young men saw him, and hid themselves; the nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth," Job 29:8 ; Job 29:10 . The people feared Joshua, Joshua 4:14 , as they feared Moses, all the days of his life; for what reason? the Lord had magnified him in the sight of all Israel. Natural conscience cannot but stoop to the image of God in whomsoever. When Ephraim was first in the throne he became formidable; but when he fell openly from God he grew feeble; first he was a terror, and then a scorn.
But when he offended in Baal, he died ] When, by Jezebel (who did all under her husband, she was king, and he queen) Baal worship was brought in, then Ephraim fell from his dignity; then every paltry adversary trampled upon him, as the hare will do upon a dead lion. See how Benhadad insulted over Ahab, 1 Kings 20:3-4 "Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have." Look how the worried cur falls upon his back, and holds up all four, as craving quarter; so did this sordid idolater, glad to crouch to his enemy: when God was departed from him he was even as a dead carcase.
“ Morti vicinus iam magis atque magis. ”
He that departeth from God (who is his life) by an evil heart of unbelief, Hebrews 3:12 , subjecteth himself to all sorts of deaths, natural, civil, spiritual, and eternal.
Hos 13:2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, [and] idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.
Ver. 2. And now they sin more and more ] Heb. They add to sin: God in his just judgment hath given them up unto hardness of mind, and to their heart’s lust; that for all this sudden change they repent not, but run more and more into idolatry. Not content to worship Baal and such heathen deities,
They make them molten images of their silver ] They laid their money together, to make the golden calves, or silver shrines, as Acts 19:24 , and other idolatrous trinkets; they lavished silver out of the bag, and were at no small charge. They multiplied their altars, Hosea 10:1 , and abused God’s gold and silver to mystical adultery, Hosea 2:8 . All this they did now, saith the text; most unseasonably, and as it were in flat opposition to God; after he had sought to reclaim them both by counsels and corrections, and had hanged Ahab and his house up in gibbets, as it were, before them, for their admonition. Surely it is a just both presage and desert of ruin not to be warned. See Hosea 7:1 . See Trapp on " Hos 7:1 "
And idols according to their own understanding ] i.e. According to their own inventions, motu suo roprio; forsaking the rule of the word, they will needs be scholars to their own reason, though they are sure to have a fool to their master. That is a good saying of Solomon, Proverbs 3:5 , "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding," in matters of God’s worship especially; for there Deus damnat quicquid arridet iudicio hominum vel rationi God despises whatever is pleasing in the opinion of men or reason. (Calv. in loc.), "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God," Luke 16:15 .
All of it the work of the craftsmen ] And should men worship the work of their own hands? what can be imagined more irrational and sottish? But it is a most righteous recompense of their error, Romans 1:27 . See Isaiah 29:13-14 , God doth blind and blast such, causing their madness to appear to all, and that they are men compact of mere incongruities, soloecising in opinion, speeches, actions, all: nothing is more irrational than irreligion.
They say of it, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves ] They, that is, the king and his counsellors, or the idolatrous priests by their appointment. These were active to invite and incite men to partake of those idolatrous services. Should we be less diligent in calling upon others to "kiss the Son," with a kiss of love and homage? should we not be as serious and sedulous in building staircases for heaven as the wicked are in digging descents to hell?
Kiss the calves ] That the custom of kissing in divine worship was used in all nations is evident. They kissed either the idol’s mouth or their own hand (where the idol stood on high, so that they could not come at it) in token of homage. See 1Ki 19:18 Job 31:27 . ( Adorare est quasi applicare manum ad os. ) To wordship is just as to bring the hand to the mouth. So (after the example of Dioclesian) the pope holds forth his foot to be kissed by the greatest potentates, while he sitteth as God, in the temple of God.
Hos 13:3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff [that] is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
Ver. 3. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud ] They shall vanish and come to nothing: the morning cloud, irradiated by the sun, seems very gay at first, but is soon dispelled by it; the dew lies very lovely upon the grass, and seems to impearl it, but is soon dried up; see Hosea 6:4 . The chaff lies hollow and high, but is soon dispersed before a whirlwind; see Psa 35:5 Dan 2:35 Psalms 1:5 . The smoke rolls out of the chimney as if it were some solid substance, and would muffle the whole heavens, but is presently scattered evaporat et evanescit, the higher it ascendeth the sooner it vanisheth. See here how that is verified, Hosea 12:10 , "I have used similitudes by the ministry of my prophets" (four in a breath we have here), and be hereby advertised. 1. Of man’s weakness; 2. Of God’s power; 3. Of the swiftness of Ephraim’s ensuing misery; 4. The severity of God’s dealing with idolaters; he will leave no sign nor remain of them; he will utterly remove them, as a man takes away dung, till it be gone, 1 Kings 14:19 . Sic transit gloria mundi. So passes worldly honour. Life itself is but a shadow, a dream, yea, a dream of a shadow ( οκιας οναρ ανθρωπος ), Psalms 144:4 ; profit, an uncertainty, 1 Timothy 6:17 ; pleasure, a spirt; honour, a blast, pomp, a fancy, Acts 25:23 ; the whole world a scheme or notion, that hath nothing in it of any firmness, or solid consistency, 1 Corinthians 7:31 . Why then should wicked wordlings brag, and look so big? Why should the saints be affected either with its allurements or affrightments, and not cry out with that heroical Luther, Contemptus est a me Romanus et favor et furor, I care neither for Rome’s favour nor fury, I am neither fond of the one nor afraid of the other, for all is but fumus aut funus, vanity and vexation?
Hos 13:4 Yet I [am] the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for [there is] no saviour beside me.
Ver. 4. Yet I am the Lord thy God, &c. ] Yet for all the sorrow; and though I thus threaten thee: "for since I spake against thee, I do earnestly remember thee still," &c., Jeremiah 31:20 . It is easy to observe all along this chapter, an interchange of menaces and mercies, as in the preceding verse and this, so Hosea 13:8-9 ; Hosea 13:13-14 ; Hosea 13:16 ; Hosea 14:1 , to show how soon the Lord repents him of the evil, and how ready to show mercy to the worst that return. If men could but find a penitent heart, he would easily find a pitying heart; like as David would have been friends with Absalom after all the unkindness, would he have been but better at last. To reduce Ephraim it was, that this chapter, like checquer work, is made up of promises and threatenings; that the tartness of the one might make him the better to taste the sweetness of the other.
Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt ] See the note on Hosea 12:9 . He was their God before, Genesis 17:7 , but then he mainly manifested himself so to be, when he brought them thence with a strong hand, and so declared himself to be Jehovah, Exodus 6:2 ; yea, I am ready to show thee the like mercy still; for "I remember" (saith he) "the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown," Jeremiah 2:2 .
And thou shalt know no God but me ] i.e. Effectually acknowledge, worship, serve, love, none save me, Deu 13:2 Galatians 5:9 . Thou shalt experience none other. It is a blessed thing to be ignorant of false worship; and not to be insighted into, or versed in, the depths of Satan, Revelation 2:24 . Thou shalt not inquire how these nations worshipped their gods, Deuteronomy 12:30 . Ahaz got hurt by seeing the altar at Damascus: many that will needs see the Popish service are insnared thereby.
For there is no Saviour beside me ] This is a title that God much glorieth in; see Isaiah 60:16 ; Isa 63:1 Acts 5:31 ; and we should go often to him in this name, as Jeremiah 14:8 , since "he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto him," Hebrews 7:25 , to save them perpetually, and perfectly, εις το παντελες . He is a sole Saviour, a thorough Saviour, a Saviour in solidum; and doth not his work to the halves, as Papists make it. How blasphemous is that direction of theirs to dying men, to say, Join, Lord, mine obedience with those things which Christ suffered for me.
Hos 13:5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
Ver. 5. I knew thee in the wilderness, in a place of great drought ] In terra torridissima, where I gave thee pluviam escatilem et petram aquatilem, as Tertullian phraseth it, where I gave thee bread from heaven, set the flint abroach, kept thy clothes whole and fit, kept back thine enemies, led thee by a pillar of cloud, sent thee in flesh at even and bread in the morning, served thee as never prince was served in his greatest pomp, Psalms 78:20 ; Psalms 78:24 . And wilt thou yet kiss the calf, qui te nec servat, nec satiat, ut ego? who neither saveth thee, nor satisfieth thee, as I have done? not suffering thee to lack anything, Deuteronomy 2:7 , but crowning thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; insomuch as Moses stands amazed at it, and cries out, "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved of the Lord?" Deuteronomy 33:29 .
Hos 13:6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.
Ver. 6. According to their pasture so were they filled ] Saturity bred security; fulness, forgetfulness. This was a foul fault, and is much complained of, Deu 32:13-14 Psalms 78:10-11 . God had brought them out of a place of great drought into large and fat pastures, a land flowing with milk and honey, where he filled their "hearts with food and gladness," Acts 14:17 , where he fed them among the lilies, daily and daintily. But they, as if God had hired them to be wicked, basely abused his bounty to luxury, and having fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness, grew proud as Sodom, and out of measure sinful, Ezekiel 16:49 ; forgetting God and his will, themselves and their duties, and running out into all excess of riot, though they had been fairly warned and commanded to the contrary, Deuteronomy 8:10 , &c. Their heart grew fat as grease, and became as a foul stomach, which the more you fill it the more you spill it; or like fed horses, they grew fierce and filthy, Jeremiah 5:7-8 , there was no hoe with them, οποσον αν θρεψης μαλλον βλαψης (Hippoc.). See Ezekiel 34:16 ; Ezekiel 34:18 ; Ezekiel 34:20 . While they were in the wilderness God knew them, yea, he knew their souls in adversity: they both knew God, and were known of him. But now, God neither knew them so much, nor they him; they lived not upon him now, as once in the wilderness; but being "filled, yea, filled," Galatians 3:1-2 , (you have the word here twice together), to note how they fell upon those allowed delights, and even glutted themselves, gorged themselves; they flew upon them, as those in Saul’s time did upon the spoil of the Philistines; they fed without fear, as those Pseudo-Christians in Jude, Judges 1:12 ; they gormandized, as those flesh mongers before the flood, more like beasts than men, as the Greek word signifieth, τρωγοντες , Luke 17:27 . And hereupon
their hearts were exalted ] Prosperity and plenty will easily blow up such a blab as pride, in the best hearts, if care be not taken to the contrary; as Agur knew, and therefore prayed, Give me a mediocrity, "lest I be full and deny," and proudly ask, "Who is the Lord?" Proverbs 30:9 ; and as Solomon felt, whose wealth did him more harm than his wisdom did him good, Ecclesiastes 2:1-26 ; and as Hezekiah experimented to his cost, Isaiah 39:1-8 . Indeed of Jehoshaphat it is noted, 2 Chronicles 17:3 , that he walked in the first ways of David his father (for the truth is, David’s first ways were his best ways; neither was he ever so good and tender as when he was hunted as a partridge in the mountains); and of Vespasian it is reported that he was made the better man by being made emperor ( Vespasianus unus accepto imperio melior rectus ); but he was a rare bird and had scarce his fellow again. It is the property of prosperity to turn out the heart and ubi uber, ibi tuber. where there is pleny there is a tumor. See Psalms 73:3 ; Psalms 73:6 1 Timothy 6:17 , they eat and are swelled, as being poisoned with pride; they are fatted, but it is for the slaughter.
Therefore have they forgotten me ] Non tam theoretice quam practice, they remember there is a God, but they honour him not as God; they forget their engagements to him, and through the pride of their countenance, they seek not after him, Psalms 10:4 , they consider not their distance, their dependence, &c. Now of all things God cannot abide to be forgotten, Isaiah 1:2-3 , it is a sin that he can hardly pardon, Jeremiah 5:7 . See Trapp on " Hos 8:14 "
Hos 13:7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe [them]:
Ver. 7. Therefore will I be unto them as a lion, as a leopard, &c. ] Thus still God proceedeth to use similitudes by the ministry of his prophets, as he did before, Hosea 13:3 . He here compareth himself (who otherwise is compared to an eagle, bearing her young upon her wings; to a hen, hovering over chickens; to a father, cherishing his children, Exo 19:4 Deu 32:10-11 Mat 23:37 ) to a lion, yea, to an old lion, which taketh the prey but seldom, and therefore is more ravenous of it when taken; see Hos 5:14 to a leopard, or panther, that diligently observeth by the way, and lieth in wait for his prey, and useth subtilty, as not being so swift of foot, confer Jeremiah 5:6 ; to a bear robbed of her whelps, which are very dear to her; to any other cruel creature, Hosea 13:8 , as the tiger that flieth upon the very picture of a man, and teareth it, or if he cannot come at it, teareth himself for anger. Neither is it for nothing (saith Rivet) that God compareth himself here to all these together; but to show that there was no hope of escape, neither could he that had avoided one danger be safe from another, so dreadful a thing is it to fall into the punishing hands of the living God. Oh consider this, ye that forget God; lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you.
Hos 13:8 I will meet them as a bear [that is] bereaved [of her whelps], and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.
Ver. 8. I mill meet them as a bear bereaved of her whelps ] Surgit hic oratio. The bear is more cruel than the lion, for the lion is said to spare the prostrate; but the bear falleth foul upon all, yea, upon dead carcases. See Amo 5:9 cf. 2Sa 17:8 Proverbs 17:12 . See also what work the two bears made upon the forty-two children, 2 Kings 2:24 .
And will rend the caul of their heart ] The pericardium, a that fat heart of theirs, Hosea 13:6 , that hoof upon their hearts which the Word could not pierce through, that filthy foreskin that grew to their uncircumcised hearts.
There will I devour them like a lion ] Once more like a lion ( לביא ), ut immanis leo, for the word is not the same as before; as a lion, that is, in heart, and that loves to suck the blood, and the fat that is about the heart. "There will I devour them," that is, in their cities and houses, where they hold themselves safest; as the lions dealt by those mongrel colonies that made a mixture of religions, 2 Kings 17:25 .
The wild beast shall tear them ] When they but stir anywhere abroad; so that there shall be no safety, no peace to him that goes out, or to him that cometh in, 2 Chronicles 15:5 , but
“ crudelis ubique
Luetus, ubique pavor, et plurima mortis imago. ”
"Let us therefore have grace, whereby we may serve God with reverence and godly fear: for even our God" (and not the God of the Jews only) "is a consuming fire," Hebrews 12:28-29 , is a devouring lion, is a furious leopard, a raging bear; yea, put all the dreadfulness of all the creatures in the world together, it is all to be found in the wrath of God, even the quintessence of all. Hence that of the Psalmist, "Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath," Psalms 90:11 ; as who should say, Let a man fear thy displeasure never so much, he is sure to feel thee much more, if once he fall into thy fingers. Now a fearful man can fancy vast and terrible fears, as ramping lions, ravenous leopards, fire, sword, racks, scalding lead, burning pitch, running bell metal, all this in extremity, and that to all eternity: and yet all these are but as a painted fire in comparison of the unconceivable and unsupportable wrath of God.
a The membranous sac, consisting of an outer fibrous and an inner serous layer, which encloses the heart and the commencements of the great vessels. Also applied to the sac enveloping or enclosing the heart or corresponding organ in certain invertebrates. ŒD
Hos 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me [is] thine help.
Ver. 9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself ] Heb. He, or, It hath marred thee, O Israel; that is, either thy sin of self-exaltation and forgetfulness of me, as Hosea 13:6 ; or thy king, in whom thou trustest, as Hosea 13:10 ; or thy calf, whom thou worshippedst, hath been the cause of thy confusion. Or thy feigned comforts, as Aben Ezra will have it; thy soothing up thyself in sinful practices. Or, one hath destroyed thee; or; somewhat hath undone thee, but not without thee. Whatever it is that hath done it, it is not I, what hard thoughts soever thou mayest have of me, because I appear thus dreadful to thee, as in the former verse. Fury is not in me, but thou mayest thank thyself, and fault thy sin as the mother of thy misery, as the cause of thy calamity, Sφησιν ατασθαλιησιν υπερ μορον αλγε εχοντες (Hom. Odyss.), thou hast destroyed thyself, and thine own heart may say to thee, as the heart of Apollodorus seemed in a dream to say to him, when he was tortured by the Scythians; It is I that have drawn thee to all this, εφω σοι τουτων αιτια . It is the observation of a great politician: England is a mighty animal, which can never die except it kill itself. Answerable whereunto was the speech of the Lord Rich to the justices in the reign of Edward VI. Never foreign power could yet hurt, or in any part prevail, in this realm but by disobedience and disorder among ourselves; that is the way wherewith God will plague us if he mind to punish us. We use to say, No man is hurt but by himself. "Ye have not injured me at all," saith St Paul to the Galatians, Galatians 4:12 ; you cannot do it unless I will. The devil can do nothing at us if we give not way to him. And though there were no devil, yet our corrupt nature would act Satan’s part against itself; it would have a supply of wickedness (as a serpent hath of poison) from itself; it hath a spring of its own to feed it. Nemo igitur sibi palpet de suo: quisque sibi Satan est, saith an ancient. And it was no ill wish of him that begged of God to deliver him from that naughty man, himself ( Domine, libera me a malo heroine, meipso ), for he knew, that as in that first chaos, Genesis 1:2 , were the seeds of all creatures ( πανσπερμα ), so in man’s heart, of all sins and miseries that follow thereupon. "God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions," Ecclesiastes 7:29 , many shifts and sharking tricks. Sin and shifting came into the world together; Genesis 3:12 , "The woman whom thou gavest me," &c. God must bear the blame of Adam’s sin; so must his decree of reprobation still be alleged as the cause of man’s perdition. But this covering is too short; for no man is destroyed because he is reprobated, but because he is a sinner; neither are any damned because they cannot do better, but because they will do no better. If there were no will there would be no hell ( Cesset voluntas propria, et non erit infernus ), and this indeed will be the very hell of hell, that they have been self-destroyers. The worm of conscience (say divines), that never dying worm, is nothing else but a continual remorse and furious reflection of the soul upon its own wilful folly, and now woeful misery.
But in me is thy help ] Heb. In me, in thy help, that is (saith Drusius), I am in thy help, and thy help is in me; whatsoever help thou hast, I am in it. We can easily undo ourselves; as a child can easily break a glass that all the men in the country cannot piece up again. But God both can and will help us, though never so shattered; and repair that image of his, lost in Adam, that one that destroyed Israel. Lord, saith Augustine, Ego admisi unde tu damnare potes me; sed tu non amisisti unde salvare potes me: that is, I have done enough to undo myself for ever, but with thee there is enough for my safety here, and salvation hereafter. God, as he both can and will help his that cry, Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man; so he will then chiefly do it when they seem to themselves and others to be in an undone condition. "Thou hast destroyed thyself, in me is thy help": Psalms 9:11 , his holy hand is reserved for a dead lift.
Hos 13:10 I will be thy king: where [is any other] that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
Ver. 10. I will be thy king ] Thine eternal King, so Pagnine. As I have been thy prophet, Hosea 13:4-5 , so I will be thy king; I will also be thy priest and thy Redeemer, Hosea 13:14 , that so thou mayest hear my voice, submit to my sceptre, and apply my death for thy deliverance from death’s dominion. Or, I will be thy king, and not be borne down by thy boisterousness, who calleth for another king, and repinest against my righteous regiment. Thou wouldst cast off mine authority, but I will maintain it. The Lord is king, be the people never so unquiet, Psalms 99:1 , he will reign over rebels in spite of their hearts; and those that will not be his subjects, his willing people, shall be his slaves, his footstool, Psalms 110:1 ; Psalms 110:3 . The Geneva Bible reads it thus, "I am: Where is the king that should help thee in all thy cities?" R. Aben Ezra, Calvin, Oecolampadius, and others go the same way; only they render it, Ere, I will be one and the same (according to that name of mine, "I am that I am," Exodus 3:14 , and "Before Abraham was, I am," Joh 8:58 ); though you be off and on with me, though you change often, yet I am Jehovah, I change not, I will be. What will he be? The same that I said I would be, thy Saviour, thine helper: or, I will be a bystander, to see what will become of thee, and how thy king (in whom thou trustest) will help thee. This last is R. Solomon Jarchi’s interpretation. Pareus will have it run thus: I will be, what? a lion, a leopard, a bear, &c., and nothing shall alter my resolution.
Where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities ] Thou sayest (but they are but vain words) I have counsel, and strength for war; I have a king, and princes, and strong cities. But alas, where are they? Let them increase their army, and come forth, as he once said, Judges 9:29 . Ubi est Rex tuus? ubinam? nunc servet te, &c. Where is the king? where is he? let him now save thee in all thy cities: so Polanus rendereth it. Can they save thee, who cannot save themselves? It is a sarcastic concession. See the like Deu 32:37-38 Jdg 10:14 Amos 4:4 . And observe that it is of God to deride and insult over men in their carnal confidence; and his people are licensed to do so too, so it be out of pure zeal, Psalms 52:6-7 , and not out of private revenge.
And thy judges ] Or chief officers, princes, that are necessary to a king, and are called his comites, cousins, and counsellors.
Whereof thou saidst ] And wast set upon it; thou wouldst needs have them, contra gentes, against the nations, as they say, and hadst soon enough of them. Strong affections bring strong afflictions.
Give me a king and princes ] It was partly their ambition, and partly discontent with the present government (as the present is always grievous, το παρον βαρυ , Thucyd.), that prompted them to this request; and they had it, but for a mischief. It is not always in mercy that prayers are answered: for Deus saepe dat iratus, quod negat propitius, God often throws that to his enemies, when they are overly importunate, which he denies to his friends, in great mercy to their souls. They do best that, acknowledging him the only wise God, pray, Not our will, but thy will be done.
Hos 13:11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took [him] away in my wrath.
Ver. 11. I gave thee a king in mine anger ] As once before he gave them quails to choke them. A king, that is, all those kings they had since they fell off from the house of David. These were God’s gifts, but giftless gifts ( αδωρα δωρα και ουκ ονησιμα ), which he cast upon them in his anger, for a punishment both of the sins of David’s house, and likewise of the people’s rebellion. It was ab irate potius quam ab exorato Deo. Take him (saith he, since you will needs have him) with all that shall follow after. The hypocrite shall reign, that the people may be ensnared, Job 34:30 . "Set thou a wicked man over him" (saith the psalmist), "and let Satan stand at his right hand," Psalms 109:6 ; see Daniel 8:23 . Saul was a hypocrite, Jeroboam a wicked man; so were all his successors in that throne. Leviticus 26:17 , it is written as a heavy curse of God, If you still trespass against me, I will set princes over you that shall hate you, mischievous, odious princes; odious to God, malignant to the people.
And took him away in my wrath ] Heb. In mine immoderate wrath, that passed the bounds. This is spoken of God after the manner of men; for he cannot exceed or over do; "fury is not in him," Isaiah 27:4 ; but here he threateneth to take away king and kingdom together: as he did Hoshea, by the Assyrian that carried them all captive. Observe here, that better a bad magistrate than none, for this latter is the fruit of God’s utter indignation. Those Anabaptists that from this text inferred that no Christian can with a good conscience take upon him kingly dignity should have observed, that as an evil king is reckoned as a plague to a people, so a good king is to be held a special blessing to them.
Hos 13:12 The iniquity of Ephraim [is] bound up; his sin [is] hid.
Ver. 12. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up ] sc. in a bundle, or fardle, or fagot, as the French hath it. And like as all fardles are opened on a fair day, so shall Ephraim’s iniquities be brought to light, and punished at the last day: as the householder bindeth up the tares in bundles at harvest and burneth them; so shall it be in the end of the world. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire," Matthew 13:30 ; Matthew 13:41-42 . As the clerk of assizes binds up the indictments of malefactors in bundles, or seals them up in a bag for more surety, and at the assizes brings his bag, takes them out, and reads them; so will it be at that last and great day. "My transgression is sealed up in a bag," saith Job, Job 14:17 , "and thou sewest up mine iniquity," viz. as the writings, or informations of a process, which is ready to be sentenced. See Deu 32:34 Jer 17:1 Hosea 9:9 . Sinners shall one day know that God’s forbearance is no quittance; and that however he is silent for a season, and thereupon they are apt fondly to conceit him to be such another as themselves, yet he will confute them, and set their sins in order before their eyes, Psa 50:21 Their actions are already in print in heaven; and God will one day read them aloud in the ears of all the world. And then though their sin be hidden for the present, all shall be revealed, to their utter shame and everlasting contempt, Daniel 12:2 ; that last light of the day of wrath shall reveal all, Romans 2:5 , punish all, Hosea 9:9 . Whatever God hath threatened shall then be inflicted; whatever arrows are in the bowstring shall then flee, and hit, and stick deep. And the longer the Lord is in drawing the heavier they will light; Morae dispendium faenoris duplo pensabitur; the longer he forbeareth the heavier he punisheth; so that there shall be no cause why sinners should say, "Where is the God of judgment?" Malachi 2:17 . See Trapp on " Mal 2:17 " God will inquire after their iniquity, and search after their sin, Job 10:6 .
Hos 13:13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he [is] an unwise son; for he should not stay long in [the place of] the breaking forth of children.
Ver. 13. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him ] This commonwealth was before compared to a mother, Hos 1:1-11 Hosea 3:1-5 . And as a woman that hath conceived is not for a while discerned to be with child till she biggen, and burnish, and grow near her time; so it is with sinners. See it elegantly set forth by St James, James 1:14-15 . The sorrows of a travailing woman are known to be unexpected, exquisite, and inevitable; so shall God’s judgments be upon the workers of iniquity, such as they shall never be able to avert, to avoid, or to abide. This is set forth by an apt similitude, ordinary in Holy Scripture, Mic 4:9-10 Psalms 48:7 Jeremiah 49:24 ; Jeremiah 50:43 . And whereas some might say, A travailing woman is soon delivered; her pain is sharp, but short; she hath hope, not only of an end but of a birth; the joy whereof maketh her remember her anguish no more, John 16:21 ; the prophet replieth, that it is otherwise with Ephraim.
He is an unwise son ] That will be the death both of his mother and of himself. He hath no wish to help himself, and to get free of the straits and perils of the birth, by passing through the narrow womb of repentance, and being born anew. God stands over him, stretching out his hands all the day long, to do a midwife’s office, to take him out of the womb, as Psalms 21:9 , to cut his navel and wash off his blood, to salt him, and swaddle him, as Ezekiel 16:4 , but he hath no mind to come out of the filth of his sins, or to be washed from his wickedness. Rather than be regenerated (without which there is no heaven to be had, John 3:5 , or freedom from deadly dangers upon earth), he will venture to stay a while at least (as the text here hath it עת ) in the mouth of the matrix, though it cost him a choking. Such Ephraims we have not a few, that proceed no farther than to conviction; debarring themselves of the benefit of a thorough conversion. These go as far as Kadeshbarnea, they are nigh to God’s kingdom, they are almost persuaded to be true Christians, they are come as far as the place of the breaking forth of children, but there they stick and are stifled; they are never brought forth from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins, and inheritance among the saints and sons of God, Acts 26:18 . Oh make much of the least beginnings of grace (saith a reverend man), even those called repressing; since they prepare the heart for conversion. There is a faith in the true convert of no better perfection than that in the temporary, though he stay not there, as the other (being an unwise sot) doth. And although we bring forth good things (saith another), as Sarah’s dead womb brought forth a child; it was not a child of nature’s, but of the mere promise; yet it cannot be denied that a natural man (though he be theologically dead, yet he) is ethically alive, being to be wrought upon by arguments; and that grace doth for the most part prepare naturals before it bring in supernaturals; and if we hide our talent we are not allowed to expect the spirit of regeneration; as if we die in the wilderness of preparatory antecedaneous works, we never get to Canaan.
Hos 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Ver. 14. I will ransom them from the power of the grave, &c. ] Some read it thus, I would have ransomed them, &c., I would have redeemed them, &c., had they been wise, or oughts (as we say), had not their incurable hardness and obstinace hindered; had they put forth into my hands, as unto a midwife, &c. But (alas) it is no such matter; therefore that which will die let it die.
Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes ] I am unchangeably resolved to ruin them; or, repentance should have been hid from mine eyes, my goodness toward them should never have altered, &c. But let us rather look upon the words as a most sweet and comfortable promise of a mighty redemption and glorious resurrection to the remnant according to the election of grace, whom God would not have to want comfort. I will ransom them. Here, therefore, he telleth his heirs of the promises, that he will bring them back out of captivity wherein they lay for dead, as it were; and that this their deliverance should be an evident argument and sure pledge of their resurrection to life eternal. To which purpose the apostle doth aptly and properly allege it, 1 Corinthians 15:55 , and thereupon rings in death’s ears (out of this text and Isa 25:8 ) the shrillest and sharpest note, the boldest and bravest challenge, that ever was heard from the mouth of a mortal: "Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? &c. Oh thanks be to God, who hath given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," and thereby hath made us more than conquerors, that is, triumphers, 2 Corinthians 2:14 . But to return to the text. Be it, saith the prophet, that the commonwealth of Israel, both mother and child, must perish for want of wisdom, as was threatened in the foregoing verse; yet let not the penitent among them despair; for I, the Lord Christ, will ransom them, by laying down a valuable price (so the word Ephdem signifieth) from the power Heb. hand, of the grave, or of hell, that though hell had laid hands on them, yea, closed her mouth upon them, as once the whale had upon Jonas, yet I would open the doors of that Leviathan, and fetch them thence with a strong hand.
I will redeem them from death ] By becoming their near kinsman according to the flesh, whereby I shall have the next right of redemption. But how shall all this be done? After a wonderful manner.
O death, I will be thy plagues ] Not one, but many plagues, even so many as shall certainly do thee to death. The Vulgate rendereth it, Ero mors tua, O mors, morsus tuus, O inferne. The apostle for plagues hath sting; for the plague hath a deadly sting, and so hath sin much more; the guilt thereof is by Solomon said to "bite like a serpent, and sting like a cockatrice," Proverbs 23:32 . Now Christ by dying put sin to death, Rom 8:3 Eph 1:7 Hebrews 2:14 . We read of a certain Cappadocian, whom when a viper had bitten, and sucked his blood, the viper herself died, by the venomoas blood that she had sucked. But Christ (being life essential) prevailed over death; and swallowed it up in victory, as Moses’ serpent swallowed up the sorcerers’ serpents, or as fire swalloweth up the fuel that is cast upon it; yea, by death, he destroyed him that had the power of death, the devil; whose practice it was to kill men with death, Revelation 2:23 , this is the second death.
O grave (or, O hell), I will be thy destruction] Thy deadly stinging disease joined with the pestilence, Psalms 91:6 . Death to a believer is neither total nor perpetual, Romans 8:10-11 . Christ hath made it to him, of a curse a blessing, of an enemy a friend, of a punishment an emolument, of the gate of hell the portal of heaven, a postern to let out temporal, but a street door to let in eternal life. And to assure all this,
Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes ] i.e. there shall be no such thing as repentance in me, for "all things" that are at all "are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do," Hebrews 4:13 . The meaning is, I will never change my mind for this matter, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips," Psalms 89:34 . Confer Psa 110:4 Romans 11:29 . Some render it (but not so well), Consolation is hid from mine eyes, and so make them to be the words of the Church, q.d. I see not this promise with mine eyes, but I receive it, and accept of it by my faith.
Hos 13:15 Though he be fruitful among [his] brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.
Ver. 15. Though he be fruitful among his brethren ] In allusion to his name Ephraim, which signifieth fruitful and flourishing, Genesis 41:52 . Confer Genesis 48:16 ; Genesis 48:19-20 ; Genesis 49:22 . See the like allusions Amo 5:5 Micah 1:10 .
An east wind shall come ] Which is violent and hurtful to the fruits of the earth.
The wind of the Lord ] A mighty strong wind, meaning that most merciless and impetuous enemy, the Assyrian, sent by the Lord to avenge the quarrel of his covenant.
Shall come up from the wilderness ] Where the winds blow most fiercely, because they meet with no resistance.
And his spring shall become dry, &c. ] This is a description of extreme desolation, and it is explained and amplified in the next words.
He shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels ] He, that is, the Assyrian, not Christ (as Jerome, Mercer, and Ribera will have it), who shall take away from death and hell all matter of glorying. Not the fire of the last day, as Lyra. No, nor Ephraim, as Pareus and Tarnovius carry it: as if it were a promise of their conquest in Christ over all their enemies, corporal and spiritual, dividing the spoil of the converted Gentiles, who shall come in to them with all their desirable things, as some read that text, Haggai 2:7 . Confer Amo 9:11-12 Oba 1:18 Zechariah 14:14 ; Zechariah 14:16 ; Zechariah 14:20-21 . That this whole verse containeth a promise of Ephraim’s reduction to the Church of God I could easily yield; reading it especially, as many good interpreters do, "For he shall fructify among his brethren, after that an east wind coming, a wind of Jehovah coming up from the desert, his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall dry up: the same shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels." This is a similitude (say they) from a piece of ground all dried up and parched, that nothing is able to grow: notably expressing the miserable and distressed estate of this people; that, as an easterly wind, and a tempestuous storm, hath dried them quite and spoiled all their delightful treasures, made them the vilest and most contemptible of the earth. Marcellinus tells of an emperor, that, meeting with some of this nation, and annoyed with the sight and stench of them, cried out, O Marcommani, O Quadi, O Sarmatae, &c., O Mareomans, Quades, and Sarmatians, I have found at length a more loathsome and sordid people than you. All which notwithstanding, Ephraim shall flourish again, and hold up their heads among their brethren, sc. by the merit and spirit of him who ransometh them from the power of the grave, from the dint of death. This sense of the words is confirmed by that which follows in the next chapter, Hosea 14:5-7 .
Hos 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
Ver. 16. Samaria shall become desolate ] Here many begin the fourteenth chapter, but not so well; for this verse evidently cohereth with the former, and showeth that Ephraim shall not only be plundered, but butchered by the Assyrian by their own default. "Samaria shall become desolate," or be found guilty, rea peragetur, (as the Chaldee hath it, and the words may bear). How can she be otherwise, whereas
she hath rebelled against her God ] She hath embittered him, or bitterly provoked him to wrath, as Hos 12:14 See Trapp on " Hos 12:14 " who therefore sent in the Assyrian to desolate her: "that bitter and hasty nation, to march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that were not theirs," Habakkuk 1:6 . This was a bitter affliction, but behold a worse:
They shall fall by the sword ] They shall lose not their land only, and the treasure of all their pleasant vessels, as Hosea 13:15 , but their dearest lives, which to save a man will gladly part with all that he hath, Job 2:4 , or submit to any servile employment, as the Gibeonites in Joshua’s days did; who were willing to take hard on as slaves and underlings rather than to be cut off with the rest of the Canaanites.
Their infants shall be dashed in pieces ] Sept. τα υποτιτθια αυτων , their sucklings, that are ordinarily spared for their innocence, ignorence, &c. See Hosea 10:14 , with the note; and consider that infants are not so innocent (though they have yet done neither good nor evil) but that God may justly inflict upon them all torments here, and tortures in hell, for the guilt of original sin that cleaveth to their natures. Howbeit this excuseth not the barbarous cruelty of his executioners, who shall be surely and suitably punished, Psalms 137:8 .
And their women with child shall be ripped up ] Of this kind of savage inhumanity, see Amos 1:13 2 Kings 8:12 ; 2 Kings 15:16 , where you shall find that the tyrant Menahem ripped the infants of Tiphsah out of their mothers’ bellies, because their fathers opened not the gates unto him. The like cruelty was exercised in the Sicilian Vespers and Parisian Massacre, by those Romish Edomites; maugre whose malice Ephraim is yet fruitful, the Church flourisheth.
Sanguine fundata est Ecclesia, sanguine crescit.
By blood the church is established, by blood she thrives.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hosea 13". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13