RUIN OF THE
CORRESPONDING TO THE
The prophecy was uttered between Shalmaneser's first and second invasions
of Israel. Compare
referring to Hoshea's calling So of Egypt to his aid; also
Ho 10:4, 13.
1. empty--stripped of its fruits
compelled to pay tribute to Pul
MAURER translates, "A widespreading vine";
so the Septuagint. Compare
bringeth forth fruit unto himself--not unto ME.
according to . . . multitude of . . . fruit
. . . increased . . . altars--In proportion to
the abundance of their prosperity, which called for fruit unto God
was the abundance of their idolatry
(Ho 8:4, 11).
2. heart . . . divided--
now--that is, soon.
break down--"cut off," namely the heads of the victims. Those altars,
which were the scene of cutting off the victims' heads, shall be
themselves cut off.
3. now, &c.--Soon they, deprived of their king, shall be reduced to
say, We have no king
(Ho 10:7, 15),
for Jehovah deprived us of him, because of our not fearing God. What
then (seeing God is against us) should a king be able to do for us, if
we had one? As they rejected the heavenly King, they were deprived of
their earthly king.
4. words--mere empty words.
swearing falsely in making a covenant--breaking their engagement to
and making a covenant with So, though covenants with foreigners were
judgment . . . as hemlock--that is, divine judgment shall spring up as
rank, and as deadly, as hemlock in the furrows
Am 5:7; 6:12).
GESENIUS translates, "poppy."
5. fear because of the calves--that is, shall fear for them.
Beth-aven--substituted for Beth-el in contempt
it--singular, the one in Beth-el; after the pattern of which
the other "calves" (plural) were made. "Calves" in the Hebrew is feminine, to express contempt.
priests--The Hebrew is only used of idolatrous priests
from a root meaning either "the black garment" in which they were
attired; or, "to resound," referring to their howling cries in their
sacred rites [CALVIN].
that rejoiced on it--because it was a source of gain to them.
MAURER translates, "Shall leap in trepidation on account of it"; as
Baal's priests did
the glory thereof--the magnificence of its ornaments and its worship.
6. It . . . also--The calf, so far from saving its worshippers from
deportation, itself shall be carried off; hence "Israel shall be
ashamed" of it.
"A present to the king (whom they looked to as) their defender,"
or else avenger, whose wrath they wished to appease, namely,
Shalmaneser. The minor states applied this title to the Great King, as
the avenging Protector.
his own counsel--the calves, which Jeroboam set up as a stroke of
policy to detach Israel from Judah. Their severance from Judah and
Jehovah proved now to be not politic, but fatal to them.
(Ho 10:3, 15).
foam--denoting short-lived existence and speedy dissolution. As the
foam, though seeming to be eminent raised on the top of the water, yet
has no solidity, such is the throne of Samaria.
MAURER translates, "a
chip" or broken branch that cannot resist the current.
8. Aven--that is, Beth-aven.
the sin--that is, the occasion of sin
they shall say to . . . mountains, Cover us--So terrible shall be the
calamity, that men shall prefer death to life
Re 6:16; 9:6).
Those very hills on which were their idolatrous altars (one source of
their confidence, as their "king,"
was the other), so far from helping them, shall be called on by them to
They are singled out as a specimen of the whole nation.
there they stood--The Israelites have, as there and then, so ever
since, persisted in their sin
[CALVIN]. Or, better, "they stood their
ground," that is, did not perish then [MAURER].
the battle . . . did not overtake them--Though God spared you then,
He will not do so now; nay, the battle whereby God punished the
Gibeonite "children of iniquity," shall the more heavily visit you for
your continued impenitence. Though "they stood" then, it shall not be so
now. The change from "thou" to "they" marks God's alienation from them;
they are, by the use of the third person, put to a greater distance from
10. my desire . . . chastise--expressing God's
strong inclination to vindicate His justice against sin, as
being the infinitely holy God
the people--Foreign invaders "shall be gathered against them."
when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows--image from two
oxen ploughing together side by side, in two contiguous furrows: so the
Israelites shall join themselves, to unite their powers against all
dangers, but it will not save them from My destroying them
Their "two furrows" may refer to their
two places of setting up the calves, their ground of confidence,
Dan and Beth-el; or, the two divisions of the nation, Israel and Judah, "in their two furrows," that is, in their respective two places of
which specifies the two, favors this view. HENDERSON prefers the Keri (Hebrew Margin)
"for their two iniquities"; and translates, "when they are
bound" in captivity. English Version is best, as the image is
carried out in
only it is perhaps better to translate, "the people (the invaders)
binding them," that is, making them captives; and so
alludes to the yoke being put on the neck of Ephraim and Judah.
11. taught--that is, accustomed.
loveth to tread out . . . corn--a far easier and more
self-indulgent work than ploughing. In treading corn, cattle were not
bound together under a yoke, but either trod it singly with their feet,
or drew a threshing sledge over it
(Isa 28:27, 28):
they were free to eat some of the corn from time to time, as the law
required they should be unmuzzled
so that they grew fat in this work. An image of Israel's freedom,
prosperity, and self-indulgence heretofore. But now God will put the
Assyrian yoke upon her, instead of freedom, putting her to servile
I passed over upon--I put the yoke upon.
make . . . to ride--as in
that is, hurry Ephraim away to a distant region [CALVIN]. LYRA translates, "I will
make (the Assyrian) to ride upon Ephraim." MAURER,
"I will make Ephraim to carry," namely, a charioteer.
his clods--"the clods before him."
12. Continuation of the image in
Act righteously and ye shall reap the reward; a reward not of debt, but
in mercy--according to the measure of the divine "mercy," which over
and above repays the goodness or "mercy" which we show to our fellow
break . . . fallow ground--Remove your superstitions and vices, and
seek . . . Lord, fill he come--Though not answered immediately,
persevere unceasingly "till He come."
rain--send down as a copious shower.
righteousness--the reward of righteousness, that is,
salvation, temporal and spiritual
13. reaped iniquity--that is, the fruit of iniquity; as
is "the fruit of righteousness"
Ga 6:7, 8).
lies--false and spurious worship.
trust in thy way--thy perverse way
thy worship of false gods. This was their internal safeguard, as their
external was "the multitude of their mighty men."
14. tumult--a tumultuous war.
among thy people--literally, "peoples": the war shall extend to the
whole people of Israel, through all the tribes, and the peoples allied
Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel--that is, Shalmaneser, a compound name, in
which the part common to it and the names of three other Assyrian kings,
is omitted; Tiglath-pileser, Esar-haddon, Shar-ezer. So Jeconiah is
abbreviated to Coniah. Arbel was situated in Naphtali in Galilee, on the
border nearest Assyria. Against it Shalmaneser, at his first invasion
vented his chief rage. God threatens Israel's fortresses with the same
fate as Arbel suffered "in the day (on the occasion) of the battle"
then well-known, though not mentioned elsewhere (compare
This event, close on the reign of Hezekiah, shows the inscription of
to be correct.
15. So shall Beth-el do unto you--that is, Your idolatrous calf
at Beth-el shall be the cause of a like calamity befalling you.
your great wickedness--literally, "the wickedness of your wickedness."
in a morning--that is, speedily, as quickly as the dawn is put
to flight by the rising sun
(Ho 6:4; 13:3;