Ephraim, he has mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
I. EPHRAIM'S UNHAPPY MIXTURE. He hath joined himself with the nations in their idolatrous and profane conversation. There was a threefold mixture. A local mixture, of place and company. A civil mixture, of affinity and alliance. A moral mixture, in regard of manners, religion, and conversation. For God's people to comply with those who are wicked and ungodly in their practices, and to conform themselves to their customs and manners, is a thing very grievous and insufferable. The conformity of God's people to the world is contrary to their election, and God's special designation of their persons to eternal life. It is also opposed to their redemption. We are redeemed for another purpose than this. We are called out of the world, and God has thereby distinguished us from other men who are in the world. Our sanctification too is an argument against conformity to the world. It engages us to self-mortification and to spiritual quickening.
II. EPHRAIM'S INDIFFERENT TEMPER. "A cake not turned." Take the figure as an amplification of their sin. They were only baked on one side, that is, they were of an imperfect and indifferent temper in religion. This may be an expression of hypocrisy and false-heartedness in religion; of neutrality and indifferency in religion; of deficiency and imperfection in religion. Cakes not turned are mere notion and speculation in religion, which proceed not to practice and operation: purposes and resolution without practice; the practice of some things, but omission of others; extravagance and the following of two extremes. Take the figure as an amplification of their punishment. As a hungry man catches the cake from the hearth before it is baked, so the enemies of Ephraim were hurrying to devour her. There was no respite for repentance and turning to God. No opportunity for escape.
(T. Herren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.