Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
Verse 1. - Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king. The persons here addressed comprise all the estates of the realm - priests, people, and princes. The house of Israel is the northern kingdom; and the house of the king is the members of the king's family, of his court and of his government. Thus the rulers and the ruled, the spiritual teachers and the taught, are comprehended in this address. Neither priestly office, nor popular power, nor princely dignity was to be exempted. But, though all are summoned to give audience, the heads of the people, the men of light and leading, are first arraigned. For judgment is toward you, as the clause is correctly rendered; not, "it devolves on you to maintain judgment," as some understand it. It had, indeed, been the province of the priest to teach, and of the king to execute the judgments of God in Israel; but now they are themselves the subjects of judgment. Judgment was now to begin at the house of the king and of the priest; God was about to execute judgment upon them - the judgment from that judgment-seat where justice never miscarries, and where no mistake is ever made. The cause of this is assigned. Because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. Instead of being safeguards of the people, they had been a snare to them; instead of being true leaders, as God had intended them, they had misled them; instead of contributing to their security, they had seduced them to sin and so helped to prepare them for destruction; they had been a snare to entrap and a net to entangle. East as well as west of the Jordan their evil influence had wrought ruin. Mizpah, now es-Salt, was on the east of the river among the hills of Gilead, where Jacob and Laban entered into covenant; Tabor, like a solitary cone or sugar-loaf, rises up from the plain of Jezreel, or Esdraelon, on the west of the river. On the wooded slopes of Tabor and the beacon-hill of Mizpah game, no doubt, abounded and found covert, and hence the origin of the figure here used; but they had probably become scenes of idolatry or wickedness.
And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
Verse 2. - And the revolters are profound to make slaughter (or, profuse in murders or in sacrifices, or in dealing corruptly), though I have been a rebuker of them all (rather, but I am [bent upon] chastisement for them all). The literal rendering of the first clause is, slaughtering they have made deep, which is an idiom analogous to "they have deeply revolted;" literally, "they have made revolting deep" (Isaiah 31:6). The slaughtering, though understood by Wunsche of sacrifices, is rather meant of the destruction and carnage which the revolters caused to the people. Rashi explains it literally in this way: "I said, Every one that goes not up to the stated feasts transgresses a positive precept; but they decree that every one who goes up to the stated feasts shall be slain." This seems to imply that liers-in-wait were set probably on Mizpah and Tabor, the places mentioned in the preceding verse, to slay the Israelites that were found going up to the feasts at Jerusalem. Aben Ezra, taking this second verse as continuing the sentiment of the first, interprets as follows: "Ye have been a snare on Mizpah that ye might not allow them to go up to the feasts to the house of the Lord; and to slay (victims) in the usual way." The revolters or apostates he takes to be the worshippers of Baal. "They made deep," he adds in his exposition, "the snares, those that are mentioned, that passers-by might not see them; but I will chastise all of them for this evil which they have done, since it is not hidden from me why they have hid (made) it so deep." The slaughtering is thus understood by Aben Ezra of slaying the sacrificial victims. Similarly Kimchi interprets thus: "He says that the revolters who are the worshippers of idols, who depart from the ways of God - blessed be he! - and kern his service, like a woman who is a revolter from under her husband, have made deep their revolt, slaying and sacrificing to idols." lie would understand the slaughtering neither of victims with Kimchi and Aben Ezra; nor of literally slaying Israelites to prevent persons going up to Jerusalem, the proper seat of Jehovah's worship; but of the destructive consequences which the conduct of these apostates brought on the people. The work of chastisement God now takes in hand in good earnest. Droppings of the coming shower there had been; but now the full flood is to descend, for God presents himself to misleaders and misled alike under the sole aspect of rebuke. "I," he says, "am chastisement" (give myself to it). A like form of expression occurs in Psalm 109:4, "I am prayer;" that is, am a man of prayer, or give royal. If to prayer. Thus Kimchi explains the idiom: "The prophet says, Say not that no man shall correct and reprove them, therefore they sin; for I am the person who reproves them all, and day by day I reprove them, but they will not hearken to me. But raani moser wants the word ish, man, as (in Psalm 109:4) raani tephilah, which we have explained raani ish tephilah."
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
Verse 3. - I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me. All attempts at concealment are vain, though sinners try ever so much to hide their sins from the Divine Majesty. However deep they dig downward, God will bring their evil doings up and out to the light of day and punish them. For now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. Israel is the northern kingdom, and Ephraim, being the most powerful tribe, is often identified with Israel; here, however, they are distinguished - Israel is the kingdom as a whole, and Ephraim is its leading tribe. This powerful tribe, ever envious of Judah, was the ringleader in the calf worship of Jeroboam and other idolatries; and through Ephraim's evil influence the other tribes, and so all Israel, were defiled.
They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
Verse 4. - In this verse their evil doings are traced to an evil spirit of whoredoms that is, of idolatries, which impels them blindly and resistlessly to evil, while at the same time it expels the knowledge of God. The first clause is differently rendered. The textual rendering of the Authorized Version, viz. they will not frame (literally, give, direct) their doings to turn unto their God, denotes their total and absolute refusal to repent or to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. The actions are an index of the state of the heart, but neither the thoughts of Israel at this time, nor their deeds which indicated these thoughts, were in the direction of repentance. In heart and life they were impenitent. This rendering is supported by most of the Hebrew commentators. Rashi says, "They forsake not their evil way;" Aben Ezra," They perform not works so as to turn." Kimchi also gives an alternative sense: "Or the sense of the words is thus: They cling so closely to their evil works, that even should they for once conceive in their heart the idea of turning, they immediately repent them of it." The marginal rendering also yields a good sense; it is, Their doings will not suffer (allow) [them] to turn unto their God. The pronominal suffix for "them" is wanting, yet it may be dispensed with, as the appending of it to "doings" and "God" makes the sense sufficiently explicit. It is favored by Ewald, Keil, the Targum, and Kimchi, who explains: "Their evil works do not allow them to return to their God, as if he said, To such extent have they multiplied transgression that there is no way left them to return, until they receive their punishment." Such and so great was the power of their evil habits that they could not break them off or break away from them by repentance; or so intimately connected is a change of heart with a change of life that, in the absence of the latter, the former is impossible. According to either rendering, the reason assigned is contained in the next clause: For the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord. So overmastered were they, as though by some fiendish spirit that held them in check and exercised despotic power over them, that they rushed headlong down the steep incline, like the Gadarene herd of swine, which, when the unclean spirits entered into them, ran violently down a steep place into the sea. Neither was there any counteracting force to turn them back or reverse their course. Such a force might have been found in the knowledge of God, of his covenant mercy, of his power, love, grace, and goodrich. But this was wanting, and the absence of this knowledge at once increased their impenitence and aggravated their guilt. It was Israel's privilege and Israel's duty to know the Lord; for he had revealed himself to them as to no other nation; he had given them his Law, he had made them depositaries of his truth and the conservators of his living oracles; their ignorance, therefore, was altogether inexcusable, while it evinced greatest ingratitude to Jehovah, who had taken them into covenant with himself, and declared himself to be their God.
And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.
Verse 5. - And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face. This may be understood
(1) of Jehovah, who was Israel's glory, as we read in Amos 7:7 of "the excellency of Israel." This explanation suits at once the sense and the context. They knew not God, notwithstanding the special advantages they enjoyed for that knowledge; they had no liking to the knowledge of' Go,], they did not concern themselves about it; and now Jehovah, who should have been their excellency and glory, but who had been thus slighted by them, will testify against them and bear witness to their face by judgments. But
(2) another interpretation recommends itself as equally or more suitable. This interpretation understands "pride" more simply to mean the prosperous state and flourishing condition of which Israel was proud, or rather, perhaps, the haughtiness of Israel, owing to those very circumstances of worldly wealth and greatness. This vain pride and self-exaltation was the great obstacle in the way of their turning to the Lord. If this sense of the word be accepted, the verb had better be rendered" humbled," a meaning which it often has; thus, "humbled shall be the pride of Israel to his face" (that is, in his own sight). Such is the translation of the LXX.: Ταπεινωθήσεται ἡ ὕβρις του Ἰσραήλ εἰς πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ, "The pride of Israel shall be brought low before his face;" while the Chaldee translates similarly, "The glory of Israel shall be humbled while they see it;" the Syriac has, "The pride of Israel shall be humbled in his presence," or before his eyes. Aben Ezra also takes the idea of the verb to be humiliation or depression; while Kimchi takes gaon not so much in the sense of the inward feeling, as of those outward circumstances that promoted it - their greatness and grandeur and glory; and, alluding to the words of the Chaldee rendering, "in their sight," he says, "While they are still in their land before their captivity, they shall perceive their humiliation and degradation, instead of the glory which they had at the beginning." Kimchi, however, as well as most other commentators, seems to have understood the verb in the sense of "testify;" thus, "Israel's pride will testify to his face, when he shall take upon him its punishment." Therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. Pride usually goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. The consequence of Israel's pride was the fall here mentioned. The ten tribes composing the northern kingdom fell into gross and grievous sin, and therefore also into long-suffering and sore sorrow. Even Ephraim, that tribe pre-eminent for power as for pride, and the perpetual rival of Judah, shall fall as well as and with the rest. Judah also, that is, Judah proper, and Benjamin, participating in the same evil course, fell like Israel into sin, and, though more than a century later, into ruin. In vers. 6-10 the prophet details the unavailing and ineffectual efforts of Israel to avert, or at least escape from, the threatened judgments.
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
Verse 6. - They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord. In this way they attempt to break, if not pro-vent, their fall. With numerous and costly sacrifices they endeavor to propitiate Jehovah. With sheep and goats out of their flocks, and with bullocks and heifers out of their herd, they try to make reparation for the past or to secure present and future favor. But in vain. Israel might go to Bethel and Judah to Jerusalem; but to no purpose. They shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself. Their repentance came too late; or when it did come it wanted sincerity; or it was a wrong motive which prompted it - fear of approaching calamity and not love to their Creator; or their sins ran parallel with their sacrifice. Forgetting that obedience is better than sacrifice, they cherished a disobedient spirit or continued in their course of disobedience notwithstanding their outward sacrificial service. For one cause or other they fail in their efforts to find him; for, instead of being a present help in time of trouble, he has withdrawn beyond their reach; he has removed the Shechinah-glory of his presence from among them; or he has loosed himself from all those ties that once bound him in mercy to them, just as a husband frees himself from all responsibilities and disarms all liabilities on behalf of a faithless partner whom he has been forced to divorce. And such is the specific reason assigned in the next verse.
They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.
Verse 7. - They have dealt treacherously against the Lord: for they have begotten strange children. This may refer to inter. marriages with idolaters, when the offspring of such forbidden unions departed still further from the worship of Jehovah; or the children of godless Jewish parents reflected yet more the wicked works and ways of such parents. In consequence of the infidelity of the wife, the children were not the offspring of lawful wedlock or conjugal union; in other words, they were children of whoredom - an adulterous generation. Lord's infidelity to the holy covenant had as its result a graceless, godless race - children strange and supposititions in the spiritual sense. Now shall a month devour them with their portions. If
(1) "month" be the right rendering, it is a note of time like "the day of the Lord;" and the sense is that a short time shall see the end of them - not only of their persons, but their properties, that is, their hereditary portions in Palestine. But
(2) if "new moon" be the correct translation, the new moon, or sacrificial feasts celebrated at that season, will only rut,, not relieve, them. Their sinful sacrifices and vain oblations, on which they now placed their reliance, will procure, not their salvation, but perdition.
Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
Verses 8, 9. - Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah. Intimation had been given in the preceding verse that the period of their fast-approaching destruction was at hand; that, as Kimchi expresses it, the now moon would soon come at which their enemies would destroy them. Now he pictures them as already on the march, and just advancing to execute the work of destruction; while the terror and alarm consequent thereon are here presented with great vividness, but at the same time with much brevity. A similar scene is depicted at full length by Isaiah 10:28-32, where the line of the Assyrians' march seems to be indicated, if, indeed, it be not a poetic representation of it, which the prophet gives. Thus from Aiath (el-Tell) to the pass of Michmash, now Mukmas, where he lays up his baggage; forward to Gobs, where they quarter for the night; then on to Nob, where he halts in sight at the holy city, and scarce an hour's march distant. The alarm was to be sounded with the shophar, or far-sounding cornet, made of curved horn, and the chatsotserah, or straight trumpet, made of brass or silver, used in war or at festivals. This signal of hostile invasion was to he sounded in Gibeah, now Tuleil-el-Ful, some four miles north of Jerusalem, and in Ramah, now er-Ram, two miles further distant. Both these towns, situated on eminences, as the names denote, belong to the northern boundary of Benjamin. The overthrow of the northern kingdom is rims presented as an already accomplished fact; while the invading host has already reached the frontier of the southern kingdom. Cry aloud at Beth-avon, after thee, O Benjamin. This cry is the sound at' the war-signals already mentioned, and the repetition intensifies the nature of the alarm and the urgency of the case. Beth-avon was either Bethel, now Beitin, on the border of Benjamin, or a town nearer Michmash, belonging to Benjamin. The meaning of the somewhat obscure words in the concluding clause can give little trouble, when read in the light of the context. The sounding of the alarm of war indicates with tolerable plainness what was coming behind Benjamin; nor is there need to supply the words, "the enemy rises behind thee," with same, or" the sword rages behind thee," with others. The signals announce the foe as arrived at the frontier of Judah. The enemy is close behind thee, Benjamin, in close pursuit after thee, upon thy very heels. Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke. The day of rebuke is the season when God rebukes sin by punishment; the punishment in this case is no slight rebuke or temporary chastisement. On the contrary, it is extreme in severity and final in duration. Famine, or pestilence, or war might lay a country desolate for a time, and yet relief might soon ensue and recuperative power be vigorously developed. Not so here. Ephraim is made more than desolate partially and for a short period; it becomes a desolation - "an entire desolation," as the words literally mean. In this desolation the other tribes would be involved. Nor was the menace lightly to be regarded or treated as meaningless; it was firm - well grounded as the word of the Eternal, and irreversible as his decree.
Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
Verse 10. - The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound. The individual who had the temerity to remove his neighbor's landmark was not only guilty of a great sin, but obnoxious to a grievous curse. Thus Deuteronomy 19:14, "Thou shall not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance;" and again Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen." The removal of the landmark characterizes the conduct of men entirely regardless of the rights of others - utterly reckless. The Jewish nobles, the king's ministers and high officers of state, are compared to those who remove the landmark, disregarding alike what was due to their fellow-men and to their God. The Jewish commentators differ in their exposition between tact and figure - some of them taking the removal of the boundary as a matter of fact, the caph being for confirmation; thus D. Kimchi; while I. Kimchi explains it of the rejection of the appeal for justice against removers of landmarks; others understanding it figuratively, and the whole as expressing general lawlessness, thus Rashi: "Like a man who removes his neighbor's landmark, just so they hasten to hold fast the ways of Israel their neighbors... according to the literal sense, They grasped at the fields; but this, in my opinion, is harsh, for then the prophet must have written merely מסיגי, and not נמסיגי." Similarly Aben Ezra: "They exercise violence towards those who are in their power, whilst they are like those who secretly remove the landmark." The people of Judah had also sinned, and, like Israel in sin, they resemble them in suffering. There-tore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. The word "wrath" here is from a root which signifies "to overflow;" it is thus the overflowing of Divine indignation; while the outpouring thereof denotes the full flood of wrath that will overwhelm those lawless leaders of a misguided and misgoverned people. The execution of the threatening was reserved for the Assyrians. who, under Tiglath-pileser and Sennacherib, invaded and laid waste the land. And yet those judgments, though so severe and plentiful, were not to end in total and lasting devastation as in the case of Israel. The following vers. 11-15 teach the inevitable nature of the judgments that were coming upon both Israel and Judah, and from which no earthly power could deliver them. The only relief possible depended on their seeking God in the day of their distress.
Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
Verse 11. - Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment. The expression retsuts mishpat is
(1) by some explained, "crushed by the judgment," that is, of God, according to which mishpat would be the genitive of the agent as mukkeh Elohim. But "crushed of judgment" or in judgment is justly preferred by others, the genitive taking the place of the accusative. Again, though the combination of 'ashuq with rutsuts is frequent, occurring as early as Deuteronomy 28:33, the latter is the stronger term. The oppression is
(2) not that which their own kings and princes practiced upon their subjects, according to Aben Ezra, "Their kings oppressed and cheated them;" nor the injustice practiced by the people of Ephraim among themselves, as implied by the LXX., "Ephraim altogether prevailed against his adversary, he trod judgment underfoot." The reference
(3) is rather to Ephraim being oppressed and crushed in judgment by the heathen nations around; thus Rashi explains, "Oppressed is Ephraim ever by the hand of the heathen - chastised with chastisements;" so also Kimchi, "By the hand of the heathen who oppressed and crushed them through hard judgments." The construction is asyndetous, like Song of Solomon 2:11, "The rain is over, is gone." Because he willingly walked after the commandment. This clause assigns the reason of Ephraim's oppression. They evinced ready willing-hood in following
(1) the commandments of men instead of the commandments of God. Tsav is thus understood by Aben Ezra, and in like manner Ewald explains it to mean an arbitrary or self-imposed precept. The LXX.
(2) seem to have read שָׁו, equivalent to שָׁוְא, vanity, translating, "for he began to go after vanities (τῶν ματαίων);" which the Chaldee and Syriac fellow. But
(3) it is rather the commandment of Jeroboam about the worship of the calves which lay at the root of the nation's sin. It is welt explained by Kimchi: "Although the word 'Jeroboam' is wanting, so that he makes no mention of it after tsar, such is the scriptural usage in certain places, i.e. to omit a word where the sense is plain. For it was a well-known fact that in that generation they walked not after the commandment, but after that of Jeroboam; therefore he has abbreviated the word to indicate the worthlessness, and used tsav instead of mitsvah." Perhaps it may have the concrete sense of the object of idolatrous worship.
Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
Verse 12. - Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. This verse is well explained by Calvin as follows: "The meaning of the prophet is by no means obscure, and that is, that the Lord would by a slow corrosion consume both the people; and that, though he would not by one onset destroy them, yet they would pine away until they became wholly rotten." The two agents of destruction here named - the moth which eats away clothes, and the woodworm which gnaws away wood - figuratively represent slow but sure destruction. They are found together in Job 13:28. Kimchi explains the sense in like manner: "Like the moth which eats away garments, and like the woodworm which consumes bones and wood, so shall I consume you." The pronoun at the beginning of the verse is emphatic: "I your God, who would have been your protector and preserver, whom you have sinfully forsaken, and whose commandments you have arbitrarily set aside - even I am to you as the source of rottenness, and of slow but sure ruin."
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
Verse 13. - Then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb. Both kingdoms became conscious of their disease and decline; Ephraim felt its sickness or internal consumption, Judah its wound or external corruption (mazor, a festering wound, from zur, to squeeze out); they were both conscious of rottenness in their condition. That diseased condition was rather spiritual apostasy than political adversity, though these were connected as cause and effect. But, instead of applying to Jehovah, Ephraim had recourse to Assyria and its king for health and help, but in vain; for no earthly power could avert the Divine judgments. The punishment threatened in the twelfth verse prompts the efforts to obtain succor mentioned in this. The general sense of the verse is given by Kimchi as follows: "When Ephraim and Judah saw that the enemies were constantly invading and plundering them, they seek help from the King of Assyria; but turn not back to me, nor seek help from me, but from flesh and blood, which, however, cannot help them when it is not my pleasure."
(1) Some, as the Jewish interpreters, refer the first clause as a matter of course to Ephraim, but the second to Judah; thus, Jerome in like manner understands Ephraim's visit of that to Pul, recorded in 2 Kings 15, and the message of Judah to Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 16.); but an interval of thirty years lay between the two events thus described as synchronous. Rashi explains the former clause of Hoshea's visit to Shalmaneser the King of Assyria, and the second of Ahaz's to Tiglath-pileser; Kimchi, again, refers the former to Menahem visiting Pul, and the second of Ahaz to Tiglath-pileser (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:21). But
(2) Ephraim is the subject in both clauses, so that there is no need of a supposed reference to Judah in the second. Calvin correctly restricts them both to Ephraim, and accounts for the restriction as follows: "Why, then, does he name only Ephraim? Even because the beginning of this evil commenced in the kingdom of Israel; for they were the first who went to the King of Assur, that they might, by his help, resist their neighbors, the Syrians; the Jews afterwards followed their example. Since, then, the Israelites afforded a precedent to the Jews to send for aids of this kind, the prophet expressly confines his discourse to them." He admits, however, that the accusation had respect to both in common; or Ephraim may have applied on behalf of Judah as well as for herself. There is much diversity of opinion with regard to the word "Jareb." Some take it
(1) for a proper name, either of an Assyrian king or of some place or city in the country of Assyria. as the LXX., Aben Ezra, and Kimchi; but the absence of the article is opposed to this, neither is Jeremiah 37:1, "and Zechariah reigned as king" (vayyimloch melech), a proper parallel. Others
(2) more correctly explain as a qualifying epithet to "king," that is, "pleader," "striver," or "warrior," in ether words, a warlike or champion king, like the epithet of σωτήρ among the Greeks. The indefiniteness in this case gives the idea of majesty or might, as in Arabic; thus, "a champion king, and such a king!" Yet could he not (yet shall he not be able to) heal you (plural, and so Ephraim and Judah), nor cure you of your wound. Whatever the distress was, whether arising from hostile invasion or domestic troubles, those degenerate kings had recourse to foreigners for aid. With the profitlessness as well as the sinfulness of such attempts they are here sharply rebuked. Thus Calvin: "Here God declares that whatever the Israelites might seek would be in vain. ' Ye think,' he says, ' that you can escape my hand by these remedies; but your folly will at length betray itself, for he will avail you nothing; that is, King Jareb will not heal you.'"
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
Verses 14, 15. - These verses assign a reason for the powerlessness even of the mighty Assyrian monarch to help; and that reason is the Divine interposition. The irresistible Jehovah himself (the addition of the pronoun intensifies, yet more its repetition) now interferes for the destruction of the apostate and rebellious people. For I am unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah. As we are taught in these words, Jehovah's mode of procedure is now changed. Before it had been slow and silent, though sure destruction, as signified by the moth and woodworm; but now it will be public and patent to the eyes of all, as wall as decisive and powerful, as intimated by the comparison of a lion and young lion. Nor is that all: lion-like, lie will rend before removing the prey - a tearing in pieces and then a carrying away. This well-known habit of the lion finds its counterpart in the subsequent facts of Hebrew history. The northern kingdom was first rent or broken up by Shalmaneser; subsequently the population were carried away into captivity; in like manner the southern kingdom suffered at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. I will go and return to my place. The figurative comparison with a lion is continued in the first clause of ver. 15 also. The lion tears his victim and carries it away, then he retires into his cave or den; so Jehovah, after bringing calamity upon Israel, withdraws from the scene and retires to his own place in heaven, though the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. There, in that unapproachable ether, he is inaccessible to and beyond the reach of the guilty nation that knew not nor valued the former times of merciful visitation. One remedy, and only one, is left and that is found in penitence and prayer. Once they find out their guiltiness and humble themselves in repentance, they may hopefully seek his face and favor. Turning away from human help, and supplicating the gracious help of the Divine presence, they are encouraged by the prospect of relict' and revival; while the means to that end are, no doubt, painful, yet profitable. In the school of affliction they learnt penitence and were brought to their knees in prayer.
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.