Hosea 10:11 MEANING

Hosea 10:11
(11) Heifer.--Translate, Ephraim is a trained heifer, which loves to thresh. Here the idea may be that Ephraim loves the easy and free work of treading out the corn, and so becomes fat and sleek; or the act of treading and threshing may point to the rough treatment which Ephraim has in her pride dealt out to her neighbours and enemies. But the former interpretation is more probable. The verse should continue to read thus:--And I passed by the fairness of her neck (to arrest her self-indulgence). I will harness Ephraim for riding--i.e., I will cause a rider, Assyria, to take possession of her, and she shall be bound in unwelcome toil to do the bidding of another.

Verse 11. - And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn. Ephraim is compared to a heifer trained. The work she was taught to do was treading cut the corn; by training and habit it had became a second nature, so that she took delight in it. The connecting vowel occurs seldom, and usually with an antique coloring in prose, according to Ewald; it is poetical besides, and used in the concourse of words somewhat closely connected, but not in the strict construct state. Thus is לֺאהַבֵתִּי accounted for. This work was probably easier, at all events pleasanter, than plowing or harrowing. In treading out corn oxen were not yoked together, but worked singly, treading it with their feet, or drawing a threshing-sledge, or iron-armed cylinder, over it; they were unmuzzled also, so that they were free to snatch an occasional mouthful of the grain, and frequently fattened by such indulgence. Such had been the position of Ephraim in easy employment, comfortable circumstances like the heifer threshing and allowed to eat at pleasure, pleasantly situated prosperous, self-indulgent, and luxurious. The victories of Ephraim - threshing and treading down may perhaps be also hinted at. But I passed over upon her fair neck (margin, the beauty of her neck): I will make Ephraim to ride; Judak shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods. Times have changed, as is here indicated a yoke, that of Assyria, is placed on the fair neck, a rider is set on the sleek back. Mere onerous and less pleasant labor is now imposed. Judah too is to share the toil, being put to the heavier work of plowing while Jacob - the ten tribes, or the twelve including both Judah and Israel - shall cross plough; and thus both alike shall be henceforth employed in the heaviest labors of the field and the severest toils of agriculture. Once victorious, Ephraim is now to be subdued; once free and intractable, it must now receive the yoke and engage in laborious service. The expression עבר, followed by על, is generally used in a bad sense; "to pass over," says Jerome, "especially when it is said of God, always signifies inflictions and troubles." The fatness of the neck is the ox's ornament or beauty. That is now to be assaulted or invaded gently it may be, and softly, as men are wont to approach a young untamed animal in order to put the yoke upon it. This passing over, however tender, fixes the yoke on Ephraim's neck all the same. A more difficult word is אדכיב, which Ewald

(1) renders, "I will set a rider" on Ephraim, of course to subdue and tame;

(2) Jerome has, "I will mount or ride," thus representing Jehovah himself as the mediate rider on Ephraim. The first sense has a parallel in Psalm 56:12, "Thou hast made men to ride over our head," and thus ruling them at pleasure. Unwilling to bear the easy yoke of their Divine Ruler, they shall be subjected to the tyrant mastery of man. But

(3) Keil says the word here is "not" to mount or ride, 'but' to drive or use for drawing and driving,' i.e. to harness," as to the plough and harrow. This meaning is best reached by understanding the words thus: "I will make the yoke to ride on Ephraim's neck;" as הרכב is used in 2 Kings 13:16, for "put thine hand upon the bow," margin, "make thine hand to ride upon the bow." The remaining clauses of the verse is a further development of this expression, but extending to Judah; and thus including both Judah and Ephraim, or Jacob - both kingdoms. The Septuagint version of the last clause is peculiar; it is Παρασιωπήσομαι Ἰούδαν ἐνισχύσει αὐτῷ Ἰακώβ. That is, as explained by Jerome, "I shall leave Judah for the present and say nothing about him; but whoever, whether of Ephraim or Judah, shall observe my precepts, he shall acquire strength for himself and be called Jacob."

10:9-15 Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day's work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men's sins bring on them, even in this world!And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn,.... Like a heifer taught to bear the yoke, and to plough; but learned it not, as the Targum; does not like it; chooses to tread out the corn where it can feed upon it, its mouth not being then muzzled, according to the law; oxen or heifers were used both in ploughing and treading out corn, to which the allusion is. The sense is, that Ephraim or the ten tribes were taught to bear the yoke of the law, and yield obedience to it, and perform good works; but did not like such a course of life; had no further regard for religion than as they found their own worldly profit and advantage in it: or they did not care to labour much in it; they liked the fruit and advantage arising from working, rather than the work itself; and thus, like a heifer, doing little, and living well, they grew fat, increased in power, wealth, and riches; and so became proud and haughty, and kicked against the house of David, and rent themselves from it; and set up a kingdom of their own, and lived and reigned according to their own will and pleasure, like a heifer without yoke and muzzle:

but I passed over upon her fair neck; or, "the goodness of her neck" (c); which is expressive of the flourishing and opulent state and condition of the ten tribes, especially in the times of Jeroboam the second, which made them proud and haughty: but the Lord was determined to humble them, and first in a more light and gentle manner; or caused the rod of correction to pass over them more lightly; or put upon them a more easy yoke of affliction, by causing Pul king of Assyria to come against them; and to get rid of whom a present was given him, exacted of the people; and afterwards Tiglathpileser, another king of Assyria, who carried captive part of their land; and this not having its proper effect, the Lord was determined to proceed against them in a heavier manner:

I will make Ephraim to ride; some, taking the future for the past, render it, "I have made Ephraim to ride" (d); that is, to rule and govern, having royal dignity and power given them, and that greater than that of Judah; and ride over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were sometimes very much afflicted by them; and this is thought to be the sense of the following phrases,

Judah shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods; or, "break the clods for him" (e); for Ephraim while he rides, and uses them very hard; as in the days of Joash and Pekah, kings of Israel, when many of the tribes of Judah were slain by them, 2 Kings 14:12; but rather the meaning is, "I will cause to ride on Ephraim" (f); that is, the Assyrians shall ride upon them, get the dominion over them, carry them captive, and use them to hard service and bondage, as a heifer rid upon by a severe rider while ploughing; and the other tribes shall not escape, though they shall not be so hardly dealt with: "Judah shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods"; these shall be carried captive into Babylon, and employed in hard and servile work, but more tolerable; as ploughing and breaking clods are easier than to ride upon; and as they had hope of deliverance at the end of seventy years; whereas no promise of return was made to the ten tribes, which is the sense some give; but Pocock and others think that these words regard the tender and gentle methods God took with these people to bring them to obedience to his law. Ephraim being teachable like a heifer, he took hold of her fair neck, and stroked it to encourage her, and accustom her to the hand, and to the yoke; and then put the yoke of his law upon them, add trained them up in his institutions, and used also gentle methods to keep them in obedience; and also set Judah to "plough", and Jacob to "break the clods", prescribed for them; and employed them in good works, in the duties of religion, from whence answerable fruit might have been expected; saying to them, by his prophets, as follows:

(c) "super bonitatem cervicis ejus", Montanus; "super bonitatem colli ipsius", Schmidt; "super praestantiam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (d) "equitare feci", Munster, Rivet. (e) "occabit ei", De Dieu; "occabit illi?" Schmidt. (f) "Equitare faciam in Ephraim", Lyra, Tarnovius; "equitare faciam super Ephraim", so some in Calvin.

Courtesy of Open Bible