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they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for
all this. i Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart, easily en. 12 snared: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they
shall go, I will spread my net upon them, entangle and dis. appoint them in their designs ; I will bring them down as a fowler does the fowls of the heaven, they shall fall when they think to escape ; I will chastise them as their congregation
hath heard ; as, from time to time, I have threatened by my 13 prophets in their solemn assemblies. Wo unto them ! for
they have fled from me : destruction unto them ! because they have transgressed against me : though I have redeemed them, granted them many deliverances, yet they have spoken
lies against me, they have flattered me with fironises of amend14 ment, which they have never performed. And they have not
cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds, in their public and solemn days they have made an extrav. agant noise on their beds, or the couches on which they lay at their feasts : they assemble themselves for corn and wine, [and] they rebel against me ; instead of assembling in a religious manner, to acknowledge the divine goodness, they have
abused my bounty, and turned their solemn feasts into means and 15 instruments of rebelling against me. Though I have bound
(and) strengthened their arms like a skilful and tender surgeon,
yet do they imagine mischief against me, they study some new 16 idolatry, and abuse their strength to my dishonour. They re
turn, (but] not to the most High, they pretend to reform, but do not : they are like a deceitful bow, that turns the arrows into a wrong direction : their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue, with which they speak against God, his prophets, and religion : this (shall be] their derision in the land of Egypt ; instead of being better looked upon by Egyti, which they have courted as an ally, they shall be had in derision for their mean compliances, and be left by them without help and frity.
N 1 world : and that is, forgetfulness of God's omniscience and justice. When men grow so desperately bad, as this people were, it is because (v. 2.) they consider not in their hearts that God remembers all their wickedness ; not only their wickedness in general, but all of it ; and that he not only observes and remembers it, but will judge them for it. Men profess to believe this, are ready to acknowledge it, and cannot help doing so ; but they do not consider it. Let us reflect upon it with selfapplica. tion; and seriously consider, that all our sins are before God, in the book of his remembrance ; and that for all these things he will bring us into judgment.
2. We may observe the odious nature and mischievous effects of drunkenness. The princes thought they might indulge more than ordinary on the king's day ; but see what an effect it had upon him; and his companions, we may suppose, were no better. This vice makes men sick, and injures their health ; and this alone is sufficient to deter any wise man from it. But it also makes them scorners ; men in their cups are prone to make a jest of religion ; to talk and act, as the fools and sots their companions do.
How careful then should we be to guard against excess, and to be sober and temperate in all things,
3. How lamentable, and yet how common is it for men to be ignorant of their own characters, and declensions, v. 9. This is sometimes the case of states and kingdoms and churches ; often of particular professors of religion ; all about them see their grey hairs ; observe that they grow more peevi'', covetous, or indifferent to ordinances and religion ; but they see it not ; and are angry if it is hinted to them, or if they are only exhorted to inquire, into their state. Have not we therefore great need to watch over ourselves, lest we insensibly decline ; and to guard against the first tendency to apostacy?
4. We may observe how abominable professions of repentance and amendment are to God, when they are not made with sincerity. Israel is often charged with this ; they committed falsehood; were like a half baked cake, (v. 13, 16.) which though good on one side, is no better than dough on the other. This is a horrid prevarication with God, and tends more than any thing to displease him, and to sear the conscience. When men deal deceitfully with God, it is just in him to make them a scorn among their fellow creatures, and to bring wo and destruction upon them.
5. We may from hence be certain, that God will fulfil all the threatenings of his word against sinners, v. 12. The Israelites had heard those threatenings from the law, which was read among them, and from the warnings of their prophets ; yet they hoped to escape. But here he assures them, and every sinner also, that he will be as good as his word, and will not deny himself. And the warnings they have had of this, will make their guilt greater, and their punishment heavier. Have we not need then to take notice of every word of God which we hear in the congregation ? for the time will come, when we shall find it all to be true, and that not one word is fallen to the ground.
In which destruction is threatened for their impiety and idolatry. 1 ET] the trumpet to thy mouth, sound an alarm, and give them
He] , the king of Assyria, [shall come,] as an eagle against the house of the LORD, that is, against Israel his people, to tear them
to pieces, because they have transgressed my covenant, and 2 trespassed against my law. Israel shall cry unto me, My
God, we know thee : in their trouble they will claim relation to 3 me : but Israel hath cast off the thing that is) good, my true
worship and service : therefore the enemy shall pursue him. 4 They have set up kings, several kings, who founded their thrones
in rebellion and blood, but not by me : they have made princes, and I knew [it] not; they did not ask advice of me, nor had they my warrant for doing it : of their silver and their gold have
they made them idols, that they may be cut off ; they have 5 exposed themselves to destruction by their idolatries. Thy calf,
O Samaria, (the calf of Bethel, near which place Samaria stood) hath cast [thee] off, it cannot protect thee ; mine anger is
kindled against them : how long (will it be] ere they attain 6 to innocency, ere they return to my pure worship? For
from Israel (was] it also : the workmen made it ; therefore it [is] not God ; it was not my appointment, but their own in.
vention : but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces, and 7 carried away by the king of Assyria, (as it actually was.) For
they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind, because they have taken irregular methods, the end shall be confusion : it hath no stalk : the bud shall yield no meal : if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up ; a beautiful gradation, in allusion tc corn ; it shall either not spring us, or not ear ; or something shall prevent its being ground into meal ;
or strangers shall eat it ; a series of disappointments shall pur& sue them. Israel is swallowed up ; it shall be 80, by the As
syrians : now shall they be among the Gentiles, whose alliance
they courted, as a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure ; 28 a 9 broken, despised vessel. For they are gone up to Assyria, they shall certainly go up as captives there, a wild ass alone by him
because he has been untractable and incorrigible, like a wild ass : Ephraim hath hired lovers ; that is, allies ; and 10 did not trust in God, but in them. Yea, though they have
hired among the nations, now will I gather them together for captivity and destruction, and they shall sorrow a little, or, in a little time, for the burden of the king of princes ; for the'bur
dens which the king of Assyria, the great king, shall lay upon 11 them. Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, hath
wickedly raised altars to idols, while mine hath been dishonoured
and neglected, for this I will visit them, altars shall be unto 12 him to sin. I have written to him the great things of my
law, [but) they were counted as a strange thing; as a thing in which they had no concern. They sacrifice flesh (for) the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat [it ;) they regard their sacrifices rather as feasts than acts of devotion ; [but] the LORD accepteth them not ; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins : they shall return to Egypt ; a
proverbial expression, for the extremity of distress and misery. 14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples to
his calves ; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities, without trusting in God : but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
E may observe the progress of sin : Israel made idols,
transgressed the covenant, and trespassed against the law. This began with casting off the thing that was good. Apostacy begins with omissions of duty ; neglecting prayer, the reading of the scriptures, and the religious observance of the sabbath : then the transition is easy to trespassing against the law and violating the covenant, and so to committing all iniquity rith greediness. Let us beware of sins of omission, for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2. See the inseparable connexion between vice and misery. Israel had sown 10'the wind, and reaped the whirlwind : their schemes were empty and fruitless, and the issue of them destruc. tive. There will be as exact a correspondence between what men do and what they shall receive hereafter, as there is between sowing and reaping. Therefore let us not deceive ourselves ; God is not mocked ; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap ; he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; he that soweth to the spirit, shall reap life everlasting.
3. How sad is it for men to neglect the law of God! The great privilege of the Jews was, that to them were committed the oracles of God. And however men may esteem the things of God's law, they are in themselves great things ; both excellent and necessary : they are sent to us from the great God; by his inspired messengers : and it is an inestimable privilege to have them written to us, that we may read and study and learn them. Yet many christians count them as strange things ; as things in which they have no concern ; or not of such importance as to deserve their serious attention. Let us reverence the word of God, and preserve a due sense of its vast importance ; otherwise the Lord will not accept us ; for he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, shall have his prayer turned away also, and God will remember his iniquities.
A prophecy of the distress and captivity of Israel
for their sins and idolatry. This was probably delivered at the time of haritsi, when they were gathering the fruits of the earth, and preparing offering for their idols. 'R
EJOICE not, O Israel, for joy, as (other) people; other
nations rejoice at the harvest, but thou hast little reason to do 80 : for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou
hast loved a reward upon every corn foor ; thou hast loved to 2 take from every corn floor a reward for thy idol deities. The
floor and the wine press shall not feed them, and the new
wine shall fail in her ; the grapes and olives shall afford but 3 little wine and oil. They shall not dwell in the Lord's land ;
but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, some of them shall fly there to escape the king of Assyria, but most of them shall be carried into Assyria, and they shall eat unclean [things) in Assyria ; things forbidden by the law, (to which they will have some re.
gard in meats and drinks, though they neglect it in other things) 4 not being able to procure other food. They shall not offer wine
[offerings] to the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto him : their sacrifices (shall be] unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted ; as those who louch dead bodies contract pollution, and cannot attend any sacrifice without polluting it, so their offerings shall be reckoned unclean, and all who cat of them polluted : for their bread for their soul, what is offered as an atonement, or rather, the bread that supports their lives, shall not come into the house of the LORD ; they shall have so little, that if their offerings were not polluted, they shall have none to present. And if this is the case 5 on common days, What will ye do in the solemn day, and in
the day of the feast of the LORD ? what sorrowful feasts shall 6 ye keep then ! For, lo, they are gone because of destruction ;
they are fled into foreign countries to escape destruction in their own land : Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them : the pleasant (places) for their silver, nettles shall possess them : thorns (shall be] in their tabernacles ; their
houses, which are adorned with silver and rich ornaments, shall hogy be a heap of ruine. The days of visitation are come, the days
of recompense are, come ; Israel shall know it :) the prophet (is) a fool, the spiritual man [is] mad ; those who preiend to prophesy are foolish and insane, they are suffered to impose upon thee by assurances that these judgments will never
come ; for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great 8 hatred thou hast to true religion. The watchman of Ephraim
(was) with my God : [but] the prophet [is] a snare fowler in all his ways, [and] hatred in, or against, the house of his God ; there was a time when you had wise and faithful