(1) There is a difference of opinion as to the construction and rendering of this verse. We adopt the interpretation, When Ephraim uttered terror, he rebelled in Israel; then he committed sin through Baal, and died. This points to the revolt of the Ten Tribes, and the consequent abandonment of the pure traditions of Jehovah worship for those of Baal. This idea and that of the previous verse (Hosea 12:14) may have been brought into prominence by the recent untoward antagonism aroused by the Syro-Ephraimitish war against Judah.
Men that sacrifice.—More accurately, sacrificers from among men. Others would render “sacrificers of men.” But the former is quite consistent with Hebrew usage, while the latter compels us to adopt the unwarrantable supposition that human sacrifices formed part of the calf-worship. The calf images were kissed ike those of the Madonna in Roman Catholic churches at the present day. The Greek προσκυνέω, “to worship,” meant originally to adore by kissing (Curtius, Greek Etymology, p. 158).
Wind of the Lord stands in apposition to east wind. Render a wind of the Lord rising from the wilderness. The armies of Assyria are referred to.
Become desolate.—Or rather, suffer punishment. Thus rolls the thunder of Divine judgment in one last tremendous crash of doom, beyond which scarce anything worse can be thought or said. It is not until the awful silence is reached, after the blast of denunciation, that the prophet hopes that his appeal may not be in vain. In the last chapter, uttered in gentlest mood, he shows a bow of promise painted on the darkness of the storm-cloud.
Hosea 13:16Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.