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1 When Ephraim spake, trembling, he exalted himselfe in Israel, but, when he offended in Baal, he died.

2 And now they sinne more and more, and haue made them molten images of their siluer, and idoles according to their owne vnderstanding, all of it the worke of the craftesmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice, kisse the calues.

3 Therefore they shalbe as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it passeth away, as the chaffe that is driuen with a whirlewinde out of the floore, and as the smoke out of the chimney.

4 Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God, but me: for there is no sauiour beside me.

5 I did know thee in the wildernesse, in the land of great drought.

6 According to their pasture, so were they filled: they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore haue they forgotten me.

7 Therefore I will bee vnto them as a Lion, as a Leopard by the way will I obserue them.

8 I will meet them as a beare that is bereaued of her whelpes, and will rent the kall of their heart, and there will I deuoure them like a Lion: the wilde beast shall teare them.

9 O Israel, thou hast destroied thy selfe, but in me is thine helpe.

10 I will be thy King: where is any other that may saue thee in all thy cities? and thy Iudges of whom thou saidst, Giue me a King and Princes?

11 I gaue thee a king in mine anger, and tooke him away in my wrath.

12 The iniquitie of Ephraim is bound vp: his sinne is hid.

13 The sorrowes of a traueiling woman shall come vpon him, he is an vnwise sonne, for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking foorth of children.

14 I will ransome them from the power of the graue: I will redeeme them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues, O graue, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

15 Though he be fruitfull among his brethren, an East winde shall come, the winde of the Lord shall come vp from the wildernesse, and his spring shall become drie, and his fountaine shalbe dried vp: he shall spoile the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

16 Samaria shall become desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shalbe dashed in pieces, and their women with childe shalbe ript vp.

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Commentary for Hosea 13

The abuse of God's favour leads to punishment. (1-8) A promise of God's mercy. (9-16)1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshipped Him in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraim forsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them, affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will not give his glory to another, and therefore all that worship images shall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to be expected any where but in God. God not only took care of the Israelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession of Canaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men's pride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord would meet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast that inhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greater severity.

9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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