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HEAR ye this, O priests, and hearken, O ye house of Israel, and give ear, O house of the king: for there is a judgment against you, because you have been a snare to them whom you should have watched over, and a net spread upon Thabor.

Ver 1.  Of priests.  What is said of priests in this prophecy is chiefly understood of the priests of the kingdom of Israel; who were not true priests of the race of Aaron, but served the calves at Bethel and Dan.  Ch.

 

--- They had the name of priests, and pretended to act as such.  3 K. xii.  W.

 

--- There were some apostates among them.  C. iv. 6.  But they lost all authority.

 

--- To them.  Lit. "to the watch:" speculationi.  Heb. "at Maspha," (H.) in Galaad, where a profane altar was erected.  C. vi. 8.  C.




2 And you have turned aside victims into the depth: and I am, the teacher of them all.

Ver. 2.  Depth, or pits of fire, where victims were sometimes thrown.  Iphigen.  Grot.

 

--- By substituting th for t, we might read, "they have dug pits to take them."  C. ix. 9.  Jos. xxiii 13.  C.

 

--- Idolatry leads to the abyss.  H.


3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now Ephraim hath committed fornication, Israel is defiled.


4 They will not set their thoughts to return to their God: for the spirit of fornication is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord.

Ver. 4.  Known.  Fornication had darkened their intellect.  C.


5 And the pride of Israel shall answer in his face: and Israel and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity, Juda also shall fall with them.

Ver. 5.  Answer.  Sept. "be humbled."  It appears openly, so as to deserve condemnation.  H.




6 With their flocks, and with their herds, they shall go to seek the Lord, and shall not find him: he is withdrawn from them.

Ver. 6.  Them.  He will receive their victims no longer.  Is. i. 11.  C.

 

--- In vain do they expect to escape by this appearance of sanctity, while they continue in sin.  H.


7 They have transgressed against the Lord, for they have begotten children that are strangers: now shall a month devour them with their portions.

Ver. 7.  Strangers.  That is, aliens from God: and therefore they are threatened with speedy destruction.  Ch.

 

--- Their offspring is rebellious, and deserves no longer to be called my people.  C. i. 9.

 

--- Month.  Every month the Assyrians shall come upon them; (Chal.  S. Jer.) or, in the space of one month, they shall perish.  C.

 

--- Sept. "the mildew shall eat them and their portions."  H.


8 Blow ye the cornet in Gabaa, the trumpet in Rama: howl ye in Bethaven, behind thy back, O Benjamin.

Ver. 8.  Back.  Bethel lay northwest of Benjamin.  The two tribes would hear the distress of Israel, that they might beware and avoid the like misconduct.  C.

 

--- The captivity is here described.  W.



Bethaven

Bethaven (Gen 12:8): poss. Kh, Haiyân, also called El-Jîr, E. of Beitîn. — 1 Samuel 13:5, Bethoron should probably be read instead of Bethaven. --- Bethaven and Bethel are the same place; (S. Jerom. C.) though many distinguish them, with Cellarius. The former name means "the house of iniquity," because Jeroboam there set up a golden calf. Bethel was its former appellation, in consequence of the vision of Jacob. Gen. xxviii.

9 Ephraim shall be in desolation in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel I have shewn that which shall surely be.

Ver. 9.  That.  Lit. "faith," (H.) that my word shall come to pass.




10 The princes of Juda are become as they that take up the bound: I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.

Ver. 10.  Bound.  This was a capital crime, under Numa, and forbidden.  Deut. xix. 14.  C.

 

--- Juda hoped to seize what was abandoned.  S. Jer.

 

--- They deferred doing penance, and removed the boundaries set by their fathers, (Theod.  C.) the virtuous patriarchs, whom they would not imitate.




11 Ephraim is under oppression, and broken in judgment: because he began to go after filthiness.

Ver. 11.  Oppression.  Lit. "calumny."  H.  Is. lii. 4.

 

--- The Assyrians had no just reason for attacking Israel, though their crimes called for punishment (C.) from God.  H.




12 And I will be like a moth to Ephraim: and like rottenness to the house of Juda.


13 And Ephraim saw his sickness, and Juda his band: and Ephraim went to the Assyrian, and sent to the avenging king: and he shall not be able to heal you, neither shall he be able to take off the band from you.

Ver. 13.  Avenging.  Heb. and Sept. Jareb, (S. Jer.) which some explain of the king of Egypt; others understand the Assyrian; (C. x. 6.) while most suppose that Ephraim applied to Phul, and Juda sent to a protecting king, Theglathphalassar.  4 K. xvi. 7. and xvii. 4.  C.




14 For I will be like a lioness to Ephraim, and like a lion's whelp to the house of Juda: I, I will catch, and go: I will take away, and there is none that can rescue.

Ver. 14.  Lioness.  Heb. and Sept. "panther."  H.

 

--- The Assyrians, instead of assisting, proved the ruin of both kingdoms.




15 I will go and return to my place: until you are consumed, and seek my face.

Ver. 15.  Place; to heaven.  I will abandon my temple.  C.

 

--- Face: "they will seek the absent."  S. Jer.


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