XII A high charge against Israel and Judah for various sins, yet with intimations of mercy, ver. 1-14.
Verse 1. Feedeth on wind - It is a proverbial speech; denoting his supporting himself with hopes, as unfit to sustain him as the wind is to feed us. Increaseth lies - By making new leagues, and fortifying himself with them, against the menaces of God by his prophets. Desolation - Which will only hasten and increase his desolation. Oil - Not common oil for trade, but rich and precious oils, to procure friendship there too.
Verse 2. Jacob - Ephraim and Judah are of Jacob, both have corrupted themselves, and therefore I will proceed against both.
Verse 3. He - Jacob. Took his brother - The design of mentioning this is to mind them of that goodness which God shewed them in their father Jacob. His strength - This strength was not of nature, but of grace. Strength received of God was well employed betimes; in it he wrestled for and obtained the blessing.
Verse 4. The angel - Called ver. 3, God; and ver. 5, Jehovah, Lord of hosts. He was no created angel, but the Messiah; eternal God by nature and essence, angel by office, and voluntary undertaking. He wept - He prayed with tears from a sense of his own unworthiness, and with earnestness for the mercy he desired. He - God. Him - Jacob full of weariness, fears, and solicitude on his journey to Laban. He - God. With us - Being then in Jacob's loins.
Verse 5. The Lord God of hosts - He that appeared and spake, who promised the blessing and commanded the reformation at Beth-el was Jehovah, the eternal and unchangeable God; who can perform his promise, and execute his threat, who is a most terrible enemy, and most desirable friend. The Lord - Jehovah, repeated for confirmation. His memorial - By this he will be known.
Verse 6. Turn - Repent, leave idols and all sins. He worshipped God alone, do you so; he cast idols out of his family, do you so too; be Jacob's children herein. Mercy - Shew kindness to all who need it. Judgment - Wrong none; but with justice in dealings, in judicatures; and public offices, render to every one their due. Wait on thy God - In public worship and private duties serve and trust God alone: let not idols have either sacrifice, prayer, praise, or trust from you; and let your hope and worship, be for ever continued.
Verse 7. A merchant - Ephraim is so far from being as Jacob, that you may account him a Canaanite, a subtle merchant.
Verse 8. I am rich - Whatever is said, yet I get what I aim at. They shall find - Yet he hugs himself in the apprehension of close carriage of his affairs, so that no great crime can be found in him: none, that is sin, that is any great enormity.
Verse 9. From Egypt - From the time I brought thee out of it. In tabernacles - I have given thee all these blessings and comforts, expressed proverbially in allusion to the joy which they had at the feast of tabernacles.
Verse 10. Spoken - To warn them of their danger.
Verse 11. In Gilead - Tiglah Pileser had formerly took Gilead among other towns, leading the inhabitants captive. By this the prophet minds the Ephraimites what they must expect, and doth it in this pungent question, Is there iniquity in Gilead? Is it there only? Be it, Gilead was all iniquity; Gilgal is no better. They - They that come up to Gilgal to sacrifice, are idolaters. In the furrows - They are for number like heaps of stones, gathered out of plowed land and laid in furrows.
Verse 13. A prophet - By Moses. Israel - Your forefathers. Preserved - In the wilderness. The aim of the prophet seems to be this, to prevent their vain pride, and boasting of their ancestors.
Verse 14. His blood - He shall bear the punishment of all his blood; his murders of the innocent, and his own guilt too. His reproach - Which Ephraim hath cast upon the prophets, the worshippers of God, and on God; preferring idols before him. His Lord - God who is Lord of all.