Hosea 4



v. 1 – “the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land,

            because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God

            in the land”


no truth” implies that there is “no one doing the truth, and no one

speaking the truth;” while on the words “nor mercy,” he adds, “How much

[does it follow thence] that there is no mercy, for mercy is the superabundance

of goodness over and above what is meet; and as to him who does not

maintain either truth or justice, how much less will he show mercy?”   (The

Founding Fathers thought concerning the King of England “That it is

vain to hope for mercy where one will not do justice” – CY -  2009) - The

combination of truth, mercy, and knowledge of God may be compared

with the triple duties specified by Micah, as doing justly, loving mercy, and

walking humbly with God – Micah 6:8


Israel is charged with want of truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God. Kimchi

comments on this controversy as follows: “With the inhabitants of the land

of Israel I have a controversy, for I gave them the land on the condition

that they should exercise righteousness and judgment, and on this condition

I pledged myself to them that my eyes would be upon them from the

beginning of the year to the end of the year. But since they practice the

opposite — cursing, lying, etc. — I also will act with them in a way

contrary to what I assured them, and will hide my face from them.”

Truth and mercy are at once Divine attributes and human virtues; it is in

the latter sense, of course, that they are here employed. Truth includes

works as well as words, doing as well as saying; it implies uprightness in

speech and behavior — thorough integrity of character and conduct,

Mercy goes beyond and supplements this. We sometimes say of such a one

that he is an honest but a hard man. Mercy combined with truth, on the

contrary, makes a man kind as well as honest, benevolent as well as

upright. The knowledge of God is the real root of these two virtues of truth and

mercy.  If we know God as He is in Himself and as He stands in His relations to

us, we shall conform our conduct to His character and our actions to His will. If

we know God to be a God of truth, who delighteth in truth in the inward

parts, we shall cultivate truth in our hearts, express it with our lips, and

practice it in our lives. If we know God as a God of mercy, who has shown

such boundless mercy to us in pardoning our multiplied and aggravated

offences, we shall imitate that mercy in our relations to our fellow-man.


See Exodus 34:6-7





v. 2 - The absence of the virtues specified implies the presence of the opposite

vices. Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing

adultery.”  The commandments which the children of Israel thus violated were

the third, the ninth, the sixth, the eighth, and the seventh.


they break out” – they break through the wall which is a fence to keep

us from overly sinning and by doing so multiply transgressions.


v. 3 – Moral evil transmutes itself into physical evil and even inanimate

and animate creation suffers.  All creation, rational and irrational, are

involved with the consequences of Israel’s sin!



v. 4 -  looks like an interjected clause, coming in the middle of the

enumeration of Divine judgments; and the purpose is not so much to justify

the severity of those judgments as to intimate their inefficacy, owing to the

incorrigible character of the people.


“Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another:  thy people are as they that strive

with the priest” - reasoning with them would be useless, and reproof thrown

away because of the desperate obstinacy of these offenders - they were so self-

willed that they would not allow any one to reprove them for their conduct.


“God had taken the controversy with His people into His own hands; the

Lord, he said (ver. 1), had a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.

Here He forbids man to intermeddle; man let him not strive (he again uses the

same word).  The people were obstinate and would not hear… so God bids man

to cease to speak in His Name. He himself alone will implead them, whose

pleading none could evade or contradict.”


Is there an allusion to Korah and his company gainsaying to Aaron in Numbers

16 and referred to in Psalm 106:16?


In Deuteronomy 17:12, “The man that will do presumptuously, and will not

hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy

God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the

evil from Israel.” The contumaciousness of Israel is thus compared to that of

persons who were so obstinate and presumptuous as neither to obey nor

reverence, but rather rebel against, the true priests of Jehovah, who, in his

Divine Name and by Divine authority, instructed or reproved. Such persons

neither feared God nor regarded man. It was the refractoriness of pupils

acting in opposition to their teacher, or of a people rising in rebellion

against their spiritual instructors. Thus the Chaldee understands it: “And

thy people contend [quarrel] with their teachers.”  (There is a two-fold

modern application:  sounds like attitudes found both in secular society

and the modern school system today – CY – 2009)


Romans 3:18 – “There is no fear of God before their eyes”


Psalm 2:3 – “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their

                        cords from us


They are similar to the “boundary movers” in ch. 5:10 or those who

want to re-write history in our day an time!  (CY – 2009)


v. 5 – “Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall

            fall with thee in the night” - the meaning of the sentence, divested

            of its peculiar form of parallelism, is that people and prophet alike

            would fall together, at all times, both by day and by night, that is to

            say, there would be no time free from the coming calamities; and

            there would be no possibility of escape, either for the sinful people or

            their unfaithful priests; the darkness of the night would not hide them,

            the light of the day would not aid them; destruction was the doom of

            priests and people, inevitable and at all times.





v. 6 – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” -  The knowledge of

God is the most excellent of all sciences. Paul counted all things but loss in

comparison with its possession; and our blessed Lord Himself says, “This is

ife eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,

whom thou hast sent;” while the Prophet Isaiah (5:13) attributed the captivity to

its absence: “My people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.”

“Because thou hast rejected knowledge... seeing thou hast forgotten the Law

of thy God”. The cause of this ignorance is here charged on the unfaithfulness of the

priesthood. They rejected knowledge and forgot the Law of their God. The two

concluding clauses of this verse may be regarded as “split members” of a

single sentence. As rejection implies the presence of the object rejected,

while forgetfulness implies its absence from the mind or memory, some

have understood rejection of knowledge as the sin of the priest, and

forgetfulness that of the people. This separation is not necessary, for what

men continue for a time to despise they will by-and-by forget. The

forgetfulness is thus an advance upon rejection. The sin of these priests

was very great, for, while the priests’ lips were required to keep

knowledge, they neither preserved that knowledge themselves nor

promoted it among the people; hence the indignant and direct address.

Compare Jesus’ words about lawyers (ACLU)? in Luke 11:52 – “Woe unto

you, lawyers!  for ye  have taken away the key of knowledge:  ye entered

not in yourselves, and them that were entering in YE HINDERED

Thus Kimchi says: “He addresses the priestly order that existed at that

time: Thou hast rejected he knowledge for thyself and to teach it to the

people, consequently I will reject thee from being a priest unto me. Since

thou dost not exercise the office of priest, which is to teach the Law, I will

reject thee so that thou shalt not be a priest in my house.” I will also reject

thee that thou shalt be no priest to me… I will also forget thy

children, even I. The punishment resembles the offence; the human

delinquency is reflected in the Divine retaliation.


v. 7 – the more they were blessed the more they sinned against God!


Proverbs 1:32 – “the prosperity of fools shall destroy them”


v. 8 – “they set their heart on their iniquity”


v. 9 – “I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings”

Proverbs 1:31 – “Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own

way, and be filled with t heir own devices”




v. 10 – “they have left off to take  heed to the Lord” – they have

            forsaken the Lord to observe whoredom and wine and

            new wine?????????????????


v. 11 – “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart”


This states the debasing influence which debauchery and drunkenness

are known to exercise over both head and heart: they dull the faculties

of the former and deaden the affections of the latter. The heart is not only

the seat of the affections, as with us; it comprises also the, intellect and will;


They deaden also man’s inhibitions which normally acts as a braking

system to the intellect!


The whoredom to which they surrender themselves and the constant

drunkenness which they practice take their heart, so that they have no

understanding to perceive what is the way of goodness along which they

should go.” He further distinguishes the tirosh from the yayin, remarking

that the former is the new wine which takes the heart and suddenly

 intoxicates. The prophet, having had occasion to mention the sin of

whoredom in ver. 10, makes a general statement about the consequences

of that sin combined with drunkenness in v. 10, as not only debasing, but

depriving men of the right use of their reason and the proper exercise of

their natural affections. The following verses afford abundant evidence of

all this in the insensate conduct of Israel at the time referred to.



vs. 12-14 -The first of these verses exhibits the private life of the people as

depraved by sin and folly; the second their public life as degraded

by idolatry and lewdness; while the third points to the corresponding

chastisement and its cause.


“My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto

them, for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they

have gone a whoring from under their God”


The stupidity of idolatry and the sin of divination are here combined!


That a people like Israel, whom God had chosen from among the nations

of the earth and distinguished by special tokens of Divine favor, and to

whom He had given the ephod with the truly oracular Urim and Thummim,

should forsake Him and the means He had given them of knowing His will,

and turn aside to gods of wood, evinced at once stupidity unaccountable and

sin inexcusable. “The prophet,” says Calvin, “calls here the Israelites the people of

God, not to honor them, but rather to increase their sin; for the more heinous

was the perfidy of the people, that, having been chosen, they had afterwards

forsaken their heavenly Father.... Now this people, that ought to be mine,

consult their own wood, and their staff answers them!” For the spirit of

whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a-whoring

from under their God. In this part of the verse the prophet attempts to

account for the extreme folly and heinous sin of Israel, as described in the

first clause. It was an evil spirit, some demoniac power, that had inspired

them with an insuperable fondness for idolatry, which in prophetic

language is spiritual adultery. The consequence was a sad departure from

the true God and a sinful wandering away from His worship,

notwithstanding His amazing condescension and love by which He placed

Himself in the relation of a husband towards them.


v. 13 – “They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn

incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the

shadow thereof is good” - The prophet here enlarges on the sin of idolatry

mentioned in the preceding verse, and explains fully how it showed itself in

the public life of the people. Two places are specified as scenes of

idolatrous worship: one was the tops of mountains and hills; the other

under every green tree, here specified as oaks, poplars, and terebinths,

whether growing alone or in groves, in vale or upland. The hills and

mountain-tops were selected on account of their elevation, as though the

worshippers were thus brought nearer to the objects of their adoration; the

green trees as affording shade from the scorching heat of an Eastern sun,

secrecy for their licentious rites, and a sort of solemn awe associated with

such shadow. In such scenes they not only slew victims, but burnt odors in

honor of their idols. The resemblance to, if not imitation of, the rites of

heathenism in all this is obvious. Among the Greeks the oak was sacred to

Jupiter at Dodona, and among the old Britons the Druidical priests

practiced their superstitions in the shadow of the yaks.  The singular of the

nouns, under oak and poplar and terebinth, intimates that scene after scene

of Israel’s sin passes under the prophet’s review, each exciting his deep

indignation; the mention of the goodly shadow seems designed to

heighten that feeling of just indignation, as though it came into competition

or comparison with “the shadow of the Almighty,” the abiding-place of him

thatdwelleth in the secret place of the Most High.”  - Psalm 91:1 –

Therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your

spouses (properly, daughters-in-law) shall commit adultery-  hL;K"

primarily signifies “bride,” but for the parents of the bridegroom,

daughter-in-law,” its secondary sense. The bad example of the parents

acts upon their children and reacts upon themselves; on their children in

causing bad conduct, on themselves by way of chastisements. The parents had

been guilty of spiritual whoredom by their idolatry; their daughters and

daughters-in-law would commit whoredom in the literal and carnal sense.

This would wound the parents’ feelings to the quick and pain them in the

tenderest part. Their personal honor would be compromised by such

scandalous conduct on the part of their daughters; their family honor

would be wounded and the fair fame of posterity tarnished by such gross

misconduct on the part of the daughters-in-law. 


v. 14 – I will not punish your daughters when they commit

whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery.” The spiritual

adultery of parents and husbands would be punished by the carnal adultery

of daughters and wives; sin would thus be punished by sin. Their own

dishonor and disgrace, through the unfaithfulness of persons so near to

them, would impress them with a sense of the dishonor done to God, the

spiritual Husband of His people; their feeling of pain and shame in

consequence would convey to them a clearer notion of the abhorrence

which their offences had occasioned to God. But their punishment would

become more severe, and their pain intensified by the Divine refusal to

avenge them by punishing the lewdness that caused such dishonor. While

punishment would prevent the sin and consequent reproach, impunity, or

the postponement of punishment, would leave the offenders to go on in

their course of sin and shame.  For they themselves are separated with

whores, and they sacrifice with harlots” - The change of person appears

to imply that God turns away with inexpressible disgust from such vileness,

and, turning aside to a third party, explains the grounds of His procedure.

After stating the humiliating fact that fathers and husbands in

Israel, instead of uniting with their wives in the worship of Jehovah,

separated themselves, going aside with these female idolaters for the

purpose of lewdness, and shared in their sacrificial feasts, the prophet, or

rather God by the prophet, impatient of the recital of such shameless

licentiousness, and indignant at such presumptuous sinning, closes abruptly

with the declaration of the recklessness, and denunciation of the ruin of all

such offenders, in the words — the people that doth not understand

shall fall” - Both Aben Ezra and Kimchi give from the Arabic, as an

alternative sense of silbat, to fall into error.


vs. 15-17 - In this section the prophet, as if despairing of any

improvement or amendment on the part of Israel, still resolutely bent on

spiritual whoredom, addresses an earnest warning to Judah. From

proximity to those idolatries and debaucheries so prevalent in this northern

kingdom, and from the corruption at least of the court in the southern

kingdom during the reigns of Joram, Ahaziah, and Ahaz, (modern

examples could be John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton – CY – 2009) –

 Judah was in danger; and hence the prophet turned aside, with words of

earnest warning, to the sister kingdom not to involve herself in the same or

similar guilt.  Rashi’s brief comment here is, “Let not the children of Judah

learn their ways.”

v. 15 – “And come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven,

nor swear, The Lord liveth. From a solemn warning in general

terms, he proceeds to a specific prohibition. The prohibition forbids

pilgrimages to places of idol-worship, such as Gilgal and Bethaven; it also

forbids a profession of Jehovah-worship to be made by persons inclined to

idolatrous practices. Gilgal, now the village of Jiljilia, which had been a

school of the prophets in the days of Elijah and Elisha, had, as we may

rightly infer from passages in Hoses and Amos, become a seat of idolatrous

worship. The Hebrew interpreters confound the Gilgal here referred to

with the still more renowned Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, where

Joshua circumcised the people a second time, and celebrated the Passover,

and where, manna failing, the people ate of the old corn of the land. “And

why,” asks Kimchi, “to Gilgal? Because at Gilgal the sanctuary was at the

first when they entered the land; therefore when they went to worship idols

they built high places there for the idols. But with respect to the tribe of

Judah, what need has it to go to Gilgal and to leave the house of the

sanctuary which is in their own cities?” And Beth-el, now Beitin, had

become Beth-avon the house of God a house of idols, after Jeroboam

had set up the calf there. Judah was to eschew those places so perilous to

purity of worship; also a practice hypocritical in its nature and highly

dangerous in its tendency, namely, confessing Jehovah with the lips, and by

a solemn act of attestation indicative of adherence to his worship, but

belying that confession by complicity in idolatrous practices, like the

peoples who “worshipped Jehovah, but served their own gods”  -

II Kings 17:32-34


v. 16 - The “backsliding,” according to the Authorized Version,

is rather “stubbornness,” “intractableness,” or “unmanageableness.”

This refractoriness was Israel’s sin; the people would have their own

way, and became refractory, like an unmanageable heifer, which

rebels upon being trained. And, behold, he compares Israel to a stubborn

cow, with which a man cannot plough.” Israel rebelled against instruction,

waxed stubborn and intractable. They would have their own way, and

worshipped according to their own will, in indulging all the

while with a high hand in vilest lusts. Now the season of punishment is

arrived; and as they refused instruction and rebelled against Divine

guidance, God, in just judgment and deserved punishment, leaves them to

themselves. Carried into captivity, they may worship what they will, and

live as they list. In these circumstances they will resemble a lamb taken

away into a wilderness, and left there to range the wild and live at large,

but without provision and without protection. Untended by the shepherd’s

watchful care, unguarded from ravening wolves or other beasts of prey,

that lamb is in a lost and perishing condition. So shall it be with Israel.

 Now will Jehovah let them feed alone in a wide place, like a lamb which

bleats and goes to and fro, and neither rests nor feeds.”


v. 17 – “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone” -  Ephraim being the

dominant tribe, gave its name to the northern kingdom. The idols were

Ephraim’s folly, and to that they were wedded; and in consequence they

are left to their folly, and at the same time surrendered to their fate. They

may persist in their folly; they cannot be prevented. “Give him rest,” as the

words literally mean, from exhortations and expostulations, from

remonstrances and reproofs; he will persist in his folly, prepare for his fate,

and perish by his sin. This abandonment of Ephraim proves the desperate

nature of his case. Left to his own recklessness, he is rushing towards ruin.

Judah is warned to stand aloof from the contagion, lest by interference he

might get implicated in the sin and involved in the punishment of Ephraim.



vs. 18-19 - The first of these two verses gives a picture of the

degeneracy of the times; the second predicts the destruction that would

ensue. “Their drink is sour (margin, is gone): they have committed

whoredom continually” -  If the first clause be taken literally,


  • it denotes a charge of drunkenness preferred against Ephraim. To this

            vice the people of the northern kingdom, as is well known, were

            addicted:  the wine, from oft-repeated potations, became sour in the

            stomach and produced loathsome eructations.


  • Some, connecting closely the first and second clauses, and translating

            as in the margin, explain the meaning to be that “when their intoxication

            is gone they commit whoredom.” But though drunkenness and

            debauchery frequently go together, it is rather during the former

            than afterwards that the latter is indulged in.  (once a girl in  health

            class gave an oral report  on “Alcohol and Sex” – I remember a state-

            ment she made – “alcohol increases the desire but hinders the

            performance – CY – 2009)


  • The first clause had better be understood figuratively, and the latter

            either literally or figuratively, or both. Thus the sense is the degeneracy of

            principle among the people in general, or rather among the principal

            men of that day. By the finest wine becoming vapid, the prophet represents

            the leading men of the nation, on whom so much depended and from

            whom so much might be expected, as becoming unprincipled, and as

            being addicted to immorality or idolatry, or probably both (hazneh

             hiznu): “whoring they have committed whoredom.”


Her rulers (margin, shields) with shame do love, Give - The shields are the

princes, or natural protectors of the state, as in Psalm 47:9, “The princes of

the people are gathered together.., for the shields of the earth belong unto

God.” The shame they loved was the sin which is a shame to either princes

or people, causes shame, and ends in shame. Isaiah expounds the thought

(in Isaiah 1:22), a comparison of which confirms the above exposition.


                                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES



duties of truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God were omitted, the

grossest sins succeeded and took their place. But we must notice the

expression, “in the land;” this appears to mean more than the general

prevalence of such through all this country; it seems to hint at Israel’s

ingratitude. The sins committed by Israel at this period evidence an almost

disorganized state of society. The most important duties were omitted and

the most enormous sins committed; nor was this strange, when there was no

knowledge of God in the land; and yet this very circumstance was the great

aggravation both of their omissions and commissions.



We have here at once an expansion and illustration of the sentiment of

(Psalm 107:33, 34), “He turneth… a fruitful land into barrenness, for the

wickedness of them that dwell therein.” Man and beast, fish and fowl

alike, are sufferers in consequence of human sin. The whole creation groaneth

and suffereth together in consequence of the creature having been subjected to

vanity (Romans 8:22).  “Even the dumb elements shall feel the wrath of God.”

Many actual illustrations of this state of things, we doubt not, had taken

place in the history of Israel, as in the days of Ahab (I Kings 17:1, 18:17,18,

Deuteronomy 28:22-24) and many a time besides. When rain was long delayed

and drought ensued, the land mourned and its inhabitants languished.


vs. 6-10 - MINISTERIAL UNFAITHFULNESS. The ignorance of the people

is here attributed to priestly negligence. They disliked and despised the

knowledge of God for themselves, and consequently had no heart for

dispensing it to others. The means available for knowing God they did not

take advantage of, and accordingly their own ignorance unfitted them for

instructing the people. Idleness combined with indifference in the ease of

these unfaithful ministers of religion, so that they were neither rightly

instructed themselves nor capable of instructing others; while their

carelessness increased their incapacity. It is incumbent on all public

teachers to be diligent in their private studies; and a fearful responsibility is

incurred by those who, appointed to instruct others in religious matters,

refuse to take the pains necessary to qualify them for the efficient discharge

of such important duty. It is a grievous sin for ministers of religion to serve

God with what costs them nothing, and so to feed God’s people with husks

instead of the finest of the wheat. How different is the picture our Lord

gives us of one who is faithful to such an important trust! “Therefore,” he

says, “every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like

unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his

treasure things old and new” -  Matthew 13:52


v. 9 – There is a collusion between the priests and the people – (compare

Jeremiah 5:31) - “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear

rule by their means; and my people love to  have it so:  and what will

ye do in the end thereof?” The priests, instead of reproving sin, did

practically recommend it by  their own godless conduct; and the people

were well pleased to have it so.  Alike in sin, however, they shall be alike

in suffering; they helped each other in sin, they must have their share in

punishment. The priests abused their position by neither practicing piety

themselves nor inculcating its practice on others; the people, freed from all

restraint and having no fear of God before their eyes, sinned with a high

hand.  Both ran to an excess of riot, and both are to be punished with equal

severity; neither can reasonably expect to be spared.  The root of the evil

was their leaving off to take heed to the Lord. The word shamar, here

rendered “to take heed to,is very expressive; it means to have a sharp

eye upon, then to observe attentively. Applied to a person, it signifies

to have the eye steadily set on His will, to meet His wishes, to obey. Thus

it is said of one waiting on his master, as in Proverbs 27:18, “He that

waiteth on his master shall be honored;” while in the hundred and

twenty-third psalm we have a good practical illustration of the observance

indicated: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their

masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our

eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.”


vs. 11-14 - Faults in the Life Breed Errors in the Brain, and Errors in the

Brain Produce in Turn Faults in the Life.



Thus it was with Israel. Debauchery and drunkenness, and this to an

extreme degree, had:



  • darkened the understanding,
  • hardened the heart,
  • paralyzed the will,
  • and seared the conscience.



In this enfeebled state their intellectual and moral powers, they had recourse,

 in cases of doubt or difficulty, not to the high priest, or prophets of God, or

Divine Word, for guidance and direction, but to their images of wood or

idolatrous divining staff.


SIN LEADS TO SIN. If sorrows love a train, sins like a series. How

often the culprit endeavors to conceal his guilt by lying, and thus adds one

sin to another! Lewdness and intemperance, as here intimated, frequently

go hand in hand. Since, then, sins are so linked to each other, our safety as

well as our duty is to resist the very beginnings and buddings of evil in the

soul. Every time sin is indulged the power of resistance is weakened, until

men become the prey of the evil one, and, after a few weak wrestlings of

the spirit against the flesh, the heart is easily taken captive. An effectual

way of avoiding vice or any vicious course is to practice the opposite

virtues.   Practical habits are formed and strengthened by repeated acts.”





v. 12 - “They,” says an old writer,” who commit idolatry, and follow

            false religions, and so do renounce subjection to God,

            and put themselves from under His directions, do also put

            themselves from under His protection; for in both these respects

            it is true that Israel went a whoring from under their God.”


This would be good to consider by those of the United States who pine

for or desire the realization of that non-constitutional phrase


how riled the secular  media got when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson

mentioned that possibility in reference to 9/11? (CY – 2009)



v. 15 -  If Judah would steer clear of the rocks on which the

            faith of Israel had been wrecked, she must keep aloof from

            such places of peril and scenes of dissipation as “Gilgal” and






“Evil communications corrupt good manners  - I Corinthians 15:23 –

(Now we are living in a society in America where two generations of

children have neither been taught MORALS nor GOOD MANNERS!




MEN’S SINS. Israel had refused God’s yoke, comparatively easy as it was,

and started backward or turned sideward instead of drawing forward. They

declined God’s service, and determined to have full liberty and license.

They got their desire, but it was given them in judgment. The limits of the

law and its straitness provoked their resistance; now they will be permitted

to wander forth as captives through the wide wilderness of the East, or as

exiles with all the world before them. They had been strong and stubborn

as a headstrong, unmanageable heifer; now they are to become solitary as a

lamb shut out from its flock or separated from its dam, and in a state as

helpless as that same weak creature when exposed to savage beasts of

prey, and left alone amid the wasteness of a wilderness. Ephraim, turning

away her affections from her Maker as her Husband, got attached to idols,

and clave fast to them; and so they are given up to their own hearts’ lusts.

They don’t wish to part with their beloved idols, or to be parted from

them; nor shall they. They are incorrigible, and God gives them up as

beyond reproof and without hope — absolutely desperate. They wished to

be left to themselves and their own ways, and they get their wish. They are

to be let go on without check from conscience, or reproof from prophet, or

warning from the Divine Word, or any interference by Providence. “It is a sad

and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin: for God to say concerning

a sinner,” He is joined to his idols, the world and the flesh; he is incurably proud,

covetous, or profane, an incurable drunkard or adulterer, —“let him alone”;

conscience, let him alone; minister, let him alone; providences, let him alone.

Let nothing awaken him till the flames of hell do it. The father corrects not the

rebellious son any more when he determines to disinherit him. “Those that

are not disturbed in their sin will be destroyed for their sin.”


v. 17 – DIVINE DISERTION – “Ephraim is joined to idols:  let him



Worst of all, God Himself lets them alone; and when He does so, it

is a token of their rejection. A father has used all legitimate means to

reclaim his profligate, prodigal, or rebellious son; and when all has proved

in vain, he is forced to say, “I have done with him; I disown him; I will

have nothing more to do with him; I will leave him to himself, and let him

alone.” So God lets men alone when he gives them over to themselves,

leaving them to their own devices, to their lusts, to their evil ways, to their

doings that are not good. “They would none of me,” saith God, “so I gave

them up to their own counsels.” The Spirit of the living God has striven

with that man to turn him away from his injustice, or profanity, or

drunkenness, or impurity, or hypocrisy; but he has resisted the Spirit,

stifled the voice of conscience, and gone on in his way of wickedness, till

God, long-suffering though He be, and full of infinite loving-kindness, says

at last, “My Spirit shall not always strive – Genesis 6:3.  Let him that is

filthy be filthy still; let him that is unjust be unjust still.”- Revelation 22:11










Carl Yahnig – April 14, 2009


"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."