Verse 13. "When Ephraim saw his sickness" - When both Israel and Judah felt their own weakness to resist their enemies, instead of calling upon and trusting in me, they sought sinful alliances, and trusted in their idols.
"King Jareb" - This name occurs nowhere in Scripture but here and in chap. x. 6. The Vulgate and Targum render bry yareb, an avenger, a person whom they thought able to save them from their enemies. It is well known that Menahem, king of Israel, sought alliance with Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria, and Ahaz, king of Judah. These were the protectors that Ephraim sought after. See 2 Kings xv. and xvi. But far from healing them by making them tributary, the Assyrians made their wound more dangerous.
Verse 14. "l will be-as a lion" - lj¨k cashshachel, as a panther or lioness.
Verse 15. "I will go and return to my place" - I will abandon them till they acknowledge their offenses. This had the wished-for effect, as we shall see in the following chapter; for they repented and turned to God, and he had mercy upon them. These two verses are considered as instances of the true sublime.