Saturday, June 10th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hosea 8". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ hosea-8.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hosea 8". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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Hosea 8:1 [Set] the trumpet to thy mouth. [He shall come] as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.
Ver. 1. Set the trumpet to thy mouth ] Heb. The trumpet to thy palate. A hasty expression, an abrupt and imperfect speech, common with such as are moved with passions, of anger, grief, or fear, as Hosea 5:8 , "after thee, O Benjamin." God, though not subject to such perturbations, James 1:17 , yet here aud elsewhere utters himself in this sort; to set forth the nearness of the people’s danger by the enemies’ approach; and the necessity of their return to him by true repentance, for the diversion of his displeasure. "Break off thy sins by righteousness," saith the prophet to Nebuchadnezzar; be abrupt in the work, cut the cart ropes of vanity, if "it may be a lengthening of the tranquillity," Daniel 4:27 . Take the bark from the tree, and the sap can never find the way to the boughs; get sin remitted, and punishment shall be removed. In this sermon of the prophet (which is much sharper than the former, and may seem to be one of the last, because God is so absolute in threatening, as if he meant to be resolute in punishing) there is (as one saith) peccatorum et poenarum συναθροισμος , a heaping together of sins and of punishments of many sorts; and the prophet commanded to give sudden warning of the enemy at hand, which is elegantly set forth by a military hypotyposis, or lively representation; as if it were now doing. "The trumpet to thy mouth," that is, set up thy note, and proclaim with a loud and clear voice, as Isaiah 58:1 , cry in the throat (so the Chaldee hath it here), spare not, that none may say he was not warned; "lift up thy voice like a trumpet," that all may hear and fear, Amos 3:6 , as people use to do when an alarm is sounded, or the bells are rung backward. See Hosea 5:8 . There they had been before alarmed, here reminded in brief; for the prophet is, as it were, monosyllabus, as one in haste; he uttereth amputatas sententias et verba ante expectatum cadentia, as Seneca somewhere hath it, broken sentences, concise but pithy periods.
He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord ] He, that is, the Assyrian; not Nebuchadnezzar, though the like is said of him, Ezekiel 17:3 ; Ezekiel 17:7 ; much less the Romans (as Lyra interpreteth this text of the last destruction of Jerusalem, because the eagle was their ensign); but Pul, Tiglathpileser, and Shalmaneser, who came against the ten tribes as an eagle, to waste, spoil, and carry captive speedily, impetuously, irresistibly; as 2 Kings 15:19 ; 2Ki 15:29 ; 2 Kings 17:3 ; 2Ki 18:19 Lamentations 4:19 . The eagle is the strongest and swiftest of birds, and feareth no obstacle, either from other fowl, or wind, or thunderbolt, as Pliny afflrmeth (Plin. lib. x. 3). Nebuchadnezzar is not only compared to an eagle (as before is noted), but to a lion with eagle’s wings, Daniel 7:4 , that is, with invincible armies, that march with incredible swiftness. And all this was long since forethreatened, Deuteronomy 28:49 , "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth"; to which text the prophet here seemeth to allude; as indeed all the prophets do but comment upon Moses, and draw out that arras, which was folded together by him before.
Against the house of the Lord ] That is, the house of Israel, called God’s house, Numbers 12:7 Hebrews 3:5 , and God’s land, Hosea 9:3 ; Hosea 9:15 , and their commonwealth is by Josephus called a theocracy. And although they were now become apostates, yet they gloried no less than before to be of the stock of Abraham, and of the family of faith; like as the Turks call themselves at this day Mussulmans, that is, the true and right believers; especially after they are circumcised, which is not done till they be past ten years of age; following the example of Ishmael, whom they imitate and honour as their progenitor; alleging that Abraham loved him, and not Isaac, and that it was Ishmael whom Abraham would have sacrificed.
Because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed ] Sin is the mother of misery; and the great makebate between God and his creature. It moves him when we ask bread and fish to feed us, as Hos 8:2 to answer us with a stone to bruise us, or a serpent to bite us. The sin of this people was the more heinous, because they were covenanters, and confederate with God. It was his covenant that was in their flesh, Genesis 17:13 , and he had betrothed them to himself, and betrusted them with his oracles, "but they like men transgressed the covenant, and dealt treacherously against him," Hosea 6:7 , See Trapp on " Hos 6:7 " they performed not the "stipulation of a good conscience toward God," 1 Peter 3:21 .
They trespassed against his law ] As if it had not been holy, and just, and good, precious, perfect, and profitable; grounded upon so much good reason, that if God had not commanded it, yet it had been best for us to have practised it. Isaiah 48:17 , "I am the Lord that teacheth thee to profit, &c. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments!" &c. q.d. It is for thy profit, and not for mine own, that I have given thee a law to live by. But they have trespassed, or prevaricated; and this out of pride and malice, as the word signifieth; and as before he had oft convinced them of many particulars, and more will do, therefore are they justly punished.
Hos 8:2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.
Ver. 2. Israel shall cry unto me ] It is their course and custom to do so; they will needs do it, though I take no delight in it. Hypocrisy is impudent, as Hos 5:6 Jeremiah 3:4-5 . No, nay, but it will despite God with seeming honour; and present him with a ludibrious devotion. Israel, though revolted and degenerated into Jezreel, Hosea 1:4 , shall cry, yea, cry aloud, vociferabuntur, cry till they are hoarse, as criers do; and unto me, but not with their heart, Hosea 7:14 . It is but clamor sine fide fatuus, an empty ring, that God regards not. For, "not every one that saith unto him, Lord, Lord," &c., Matthew 7:21 . Many lean upon the Lord and say, "Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come unto us," Micah 3:11 , who yet shall hear, Discedite, Avaunt, ye workers of iniquity; I know you not. Woe then to all profligate professors, carnal gospellers; their prayers shall not profit them, neither shall they be a button the better for their loud cries to the most High, Proverbs 1:28 , and odious fawnings.
My God, we know thee ] When their hearts are far from him. Of such pretenders to him and his truth it is that the apostle speaketh, Titus 1:16 , "They profess that they know God" (which yet God denies, Hosea 4:1 ; Hos 5:4 ), "but in works they deny him; being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate." To come and call God Father, the guide of our youth, and then to fall to sin, this is to do as evil as we can; we cannot easily do worse, Jeremiah 3:4-5 . To cry, "The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord," and then to "steal, murder, and commit adultery.," &c., this is painted hypocrisy, Jeremiah 7:4 ; Jeremiah 7:9 . When men shall take sanctuary, and think to save themselves from danger by a form of godliness (as the Jews fable that Og, king of Bashan, escaped in the flood by riding astride upon the Ark) when they are perfect strangers to the power of it, this is to hasten and heap up wrath, Job 36:13 . Religion, as it is the best armour, so the worst cloak; and will serve hypocrites as the disguise Ahab put on, and perished. Castalio maketh this last clause to be the speech of the blessed Trinity, We know thee, O Israel: q.d. Though thou collogue and cry, My God; yet we know thine hypocrisy and the naughtiness of thy heart. But the former sense is better, though the placing of the word Israel in the end of the verse seem to favour this; for thus it runs in the Hebrew, "To me they shall cry, My God, we know thee, Israel."
Hos 8:3 Israel hath cast off [the thing that is] good: the enemy shall pursue him.
Ver. 3. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good ] Heb. the good: as, first, the good God, who is good, original, universal, all-sufficient, and satisfactory, proportionable and fitting to our soul. He both is good and doeth good, Psalms 119:68 , and that both naturally, abundantly, freely, and constantly. "Good thou art, O Lord, and ready to forgive," saith David, Psalms 86:5 . And, the good Lord be merciful, saith Hezekiah in his prayer for the people, 2Ch 30:9 ; 2 Chronicles 30:18 . To speak properly, there is none good but God, saith our Saviour, Matthew 19:17 , but Israel cast him, or rather kicked him, off ( procul a se reiecit ), as the word signifieth. So do all gross hypocrites; they are rank atheists, practical atheists, though professional Christians. Secondly, they reject Christ as a sovereign, thongh they could be content to have him as a Saviour; they send messages after him, saying, We will not have this man to rule ever us; they will not submit to the laws of his kingdom, nor receive him in all his offices and efficacies; they are Christless creatures, as without God, so without Christ in the world. Thirdly, hypocrites reject the good Spirit of God (as David calleth him, Psa 143:10 ), the fruit whereof is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth, Ephesians 5:9 . When God striveth with them by his good Spirit, as Neh 9:20 they, by yielding to Satan’s suggestions, grieve that Holy Spirit, and by grieving resist him, and by resisting quench him, and by quenching maliciously oppose him, and offer despite unto him; and so cast themselves into the punishing hands of the living God, Hebrews 10:29 ; Hebrews 10:31 . Lastly, they cast off the good word and true worship of God; those "right judgments, true laws, good statutes and commandments,"Nehemiah 9:13; Nehemiah 9:13 ; they put the promises from them, and judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, Acts 13:46 ; they hate instruction, and cast God’s words behind them, Psalms 50:17 . In a word, "he hath left off to be wise, and to do good: he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil," Psalms 36:3-4 . The words may be read thus, The good (God) hath rejected Israel; the enemy, shall pursue him according to that in the Psalm, "God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him," Psalms 71:11 . Sure it is that the Lord is with us while we are with him; and if we seek him he will be found of us. But if we forsake him he will forsake us. And if he forsake us woe be to us, Hosea 9:12 , we are in danger to be caught up by every paltry enemy, as young lapwings are to be snatched up by every buzzard. If Israel cast away the thing that is good, 2 Chronicles 15:2 , what marvel if evil hunt him to overthrow him, Psalms 140:11 , and if he find himself in all evil in the midst of the congregation and the assembly, Proverbs 5:14 . Hence Cain’s fear, when cast out by God; and Saul’s complaint, that the Philistines were upon him, and God had forsaken him.
Hos 8:4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew [it] not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
Ver. 4. They have set up kings, but not by me, &c. ] The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin render it, "They have reigned themselves"; like as St Paul telleth the haughty Corinthians, who, carried aloft by their waxen wings, domineered and despised others, "ye have reigned as kings without us," &c., 1 Corinthians 4:8 . But our reading is according to the original; and so they are charged with a double defection; the one civil, from the house of David, "they have set up kings," &c.; the other ecclesiastical, from the sincere service of God, "they had made them idols." For the first, it was not their fault to set up kings; but to do it without God, without his license and approbation. They took counsel, but not of God; they covered with a covering, but not of his spirit, that they might add sin to sin, Isaiah 30:1 . They went headlong to work, in setting up Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. For although the things were done by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, as was likewise Christ’s crucifixion, Acts 2:23 , see 1 Kings 11:31 ; 1Ki 12:15 ; 1Ki 12:24 yet because the people were led by their own pride and ambition to choose a new king, without either asking God’s consent or eyeing his decree, they did it rashly and seditiously; neither aimed they at anything else, but at the easing of their burdens, and drawing to themselves the wealth of the kingdom. As for Jeroboam, it is before noted, that although he had it cleared to him, that God’s will was he should be king over the ten tribes, yet because it was a will of God’s decree, not of his command, as of a duty to be done by him; and because he did not as David, who when he had the promise of the kingdom (yea, was anointed king) yet invaded not the kingdom, but waited till he was lawfully exalted thereunto by God; therefore passeth he for a usurper. And the people are here worthily reprehended, since whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and it is obedience when men obey a divine precept; but not ever when they follow a divine instinct.
They have made princes, &c. ] Some render it, They have removed princes (as if in the word Hasiru Sin were put for Samech, R. Sal. Jerki.), they have taken liberty to make and unmake princes at their pleasure; as the Roman army did emperors; and as that potent Earl of Warwick, in Henry VI’s time, who is said to have carried a king in his pocket. But because the former reading is confirmed by the Chaldee paraphrase, and the sense is agreeable to what went before, neither read we of any kings of Israel deposed by the people, we retain it as the better.
Of their silver and their gold have they made them idols ] Of the guts and garbage of the earth had they made them terricula, fray-bugs (or spectres), or molestations ( Gnatsabim): terrorem enim et tristitiara duntaxat afferunt suis cultoribus, for they cause terror and heaviness only to those that worship them (Polan.). "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god," Psalms 16:4 . The Greek Churches, for instance, so set upon image worship, and therefore now subjected to the Turkish tyranny; a type whereof were these ten tribes carried captive by the Assyrian, without any return. Idols are called griefs, or sorrows, saith Peter Martyr, because they torment the mind and trouble the conscience; neither can they quiet or pacify it; so that idolaters must needs be always in doubt and despair, as Papists are, whose whole religion is a doctrine of desperation. Their penances and pilgrimages to such or such an idol might still their consciences for a while; but this was a truce rather than a peace; a palliate cure, which would not hold long; a corrupting of the sergeant, but not compounding with the creditor.
That they may be cut off ] Not their silver and gold, the matter of their idols, as some sense it; but the whole nation, princes and people together. Idolatry is a God-provoking and a land-desolating sin, as in this prophecy. Often it is not so much the enemies’ sword as the sin of idolatry that destroyeth cities and kingdoms, through the justice and jealousy of Almighty God.
Hos 8:5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast [thee] off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long [will it be] ere they attain to innocency?
Ver. 5. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off ] That is, it can do thee no stead, nor deliver thee from the destroyer. "Be not afraid of such idols" (saith Jeremiah), "for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good," Jeremiah 10:5 , they can neither hurt nor help; for an idol is nothing in the world, 1 Corinthians 8:4 , nothing but a mere fiction; it hath no godhead or power divine in itself, as the following words show, "that there is none other God but one." How then can help be reasonably expected from it? Israel had cast off the thing that is good for calf worship, Hosea 8:3 , therefore is he worthily cast off by his calf, called here Samaria’s calf, or calves, because that was the chief city, the palace of the king, and is therefore put for the whole province; and their idols called a calf, by way of contempt, as the brazen serpent is called Nehushtan, or a piece of brass, when once it was idolized. See how Rabshakeh insults over those heathen deities, 2 Kings 18:33-35 , and blasphemously applieth it to the God of Israel, who never casteth off his faithful servants; but is with them in trouble, to deliver them, and honour them, Psalms 91:15 . Surely "the Lord will not cast off his faithful people, neither will he forsake his inheritance," Psalms 94:14 . "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man," Job 8:20 . "But though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies," Lamentations 3:32 . Some read it thus, "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath been carried away into a far country," namely, into Assyria; as the idols of the nations which were overcome were carried away captive in triumph by the conquerors. See Hosea 10:6 .
Mine anger is kindled against them ] God is said to be angry against idolaters, because he doth that which an angry man useth to do, viz. 1. chide, 2. fight: see the second commandment in the sanction of it, and tremble at God’s displeasure, which when once kindled, and comes into his face, or nostrils (as here), it burneth to the lowest hell, consumeth the earth with her increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains, Deuteronomy 32:22 . It is ill angering him that is the Ancient of days, and a consuming fire. The Jews use to say to this day, that there is no punishment befalleth them in which there is not an ounce of Aaron’s golden calf.
How long will it be ere they attain to innocency? ] Quousque non poterunt innocentiam? a forcible ellipsis; as if God were so vexed, that be could not fully utter himself, nor at all speak to Samaria as he had begun, but turns his discourse to others, saying, How long will they not be cleansed? or, not abide innocence? By which powerful expression three things are intimated. First, that these Israelites were refractory and desperate; not only unclean, but enemies to innocence, such as could not abide it: they were inveterate and incurable, their diseases ingrained, and not easily stirred by any potion. Secondly, that God is most patient, who though he thinks over a long period of time that men continue in their evil courses, and therefore cries, Quousque, How long? &c., and, when will it once be? yet bears with their evil manners, and inviteth them to better. Thirdly, that he will at length break off his patience, and proceed to punishment, since there is no other remedy, 2Ch 34:16 Proverbs 29:1 .
“ Compenset longas ut gravitate moras. ”
Hos 8:6 For from Israel [was] it also: the workman made it; therefore it [is] not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
Ver. 6. For from Israel was it also ] There is an emphasis in "also," and it is as if the prophet should say, This calf of Samaria is no less from Israel, and came out of his shop or device, than that of old set up by them in the wilderness. Israel then brought a calf out of Egypt, Jeroboam brought two; and Israel hath received them, and are much taken with them; so that they cannot attain to innocence (as it is in the former verse), so far they are engaged and so fast joined to idols, that they cannot get off; there is so much of self in it; it was the bairn of their own brain; and hence so overly admired, so clasped and hugged, with the ape, &c.; or rather, as Cleopatra hugged her vipers that sucked her blood, and took away her life, so did they their own inventions, though fairly warned of the danger, Hosea 8:3-5 . Lo, this was Israel that acted thus madly. Israel that was wont to laugh at or pity other nations for their idolomany, for worshipping the works of their own hands, for going a whoring after their own inventions, for changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, Romans 1:23 ; as in Lapland, the people worship that all day for a god whatsoever they see first in the morning, Now that a calf worship should be found in Israel, and not only so, but found out by Israel; who was herein worse than Egypt; for that the Egyptians worshipped a living ox of God’s making; but Israel, a dead calf of their own making; such sots they were grown, and so thwart to the very principles of reason.
The workman made it ] Who confessedly is no God:
therefore it is not God ] for no man can give that divinity to another which himself hath not. Nay, it is certain that God himself by his infinite power cannot make anything to be a God to us. He cannot do this, I say; like as he cannot lie, he cannot die, he cannot deny himself, &c., so he cannot raise a created excellence to that height as to be a God to us. How vile, then, is the voluptuary, that maketh his belly his god! the mammonist, that maketh his gold his god! the ambitionist, that maketh his honour his god! How abominable the mass monger, that maketh his god and eateth him when he hath done! This made Averroes, the Mahometan, cry out; Quoniam Christiani Deum suum mauducant, sit anima mea cum Philosophis, that is, Forasmuch as Christians do eat their God, let my soul be rather with the souls of the philosophers. Those Pseudo Christians, the Papists, stick not to call the consecrated host their God and Lord; and Harding (that sottish apostate, for he was once a zealous preacher against Popery, and wished that he had a voice as loud as the bells of Oseney, to cry it down, Artic. 21), in his disputation against Jewel, is not ashamed to defend it. And yet we all know that that host or sacrament, as they call it, of the altar is the work of the baker, therefore it is no God, neither Lord nor God (whatsoever our Lord God the pope say to the contrary). Which yet further appeareth, in that (as the calf of Samaria here) it may be broken in pieces, or to shivers (which word of ours seemeth to come from the Hebrew shebharim here used), yea, ground to powder, as was the molten calf in the wilderness, whereto the prophet may well here allude. Is not their breaden god broken by the priest into three bits? Is it not chewed with his teeth? May it not be gnawed by mice, become meat for worms, &c.? Murescit, putrescit, et corrumpitur; all which things the Papists themselves confess may befall their god, which is therefore no god, or nomine tantum et non numine deus, a nominal god only ( in cautelis Missae ) in the sureties of the Mass. And the like we may say of images and relics (such as is at Genoa, the tail of that ass whereon Christ rode into Jerusalem); these and other monuments of idolatry may, nay, they ought to be broken, burnt, and utterly abolished, Exo 34:13 Deuteronomy 7:5 Ezekiel 20:7 ; as (blessed be God) they are lately among us, by our worthies in parliament; to whom, perhaps, for that and the like good services, we attributed but too much, we even idolized them; and the king of Sweden (that bright northern star) a little before his decease, being in discourse with Dr Fabricius, his chaplain, he told him that he thought God would ere long take him away, because the people did so overvalue and deify him (Mr Clark in his Life).
Hos 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Ver. 7. For they have sown the wind, and shall reap the whirlwind ] To sow the wind is to labour in vain, as Ecclesiastes 5:16 , to labour for the wind, and Proverbs 11:29 , to possess the wind, to feed on the wind, Hosea 12:1 , and to be eaten up of the wind, Jeremiah 22:22 . The Greeks express the same by hunting after and husbanding the wind, ανεμους γεωργειν . The wind, we know, maketh a mighty bustle, as if it were some great business, solid and stable; but presently it blows over, and comes to nothing. Or if it get, as seed, into the bosom of the earth, either it breeds an earthquake, or at least ariseth in a whirlwind, which blows dust into the eyes, and once at least buried a considerable army in the Libyan sands. Solomon saith, "He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity," Proverbs 22:8 . But our prophet here saith more. He that soweth the wind of iniquity shall reap the terrible tempest of inconceivable misery. By the "blast of God he shall perish, and by the breath of his nostrils he shall be consumed," Job 4:8-9 . As the beginnings of idolatry, hypocrisy, vain glory, carnal policy, &c., are empty and unhappy (it is but the sowing of blasted grain, as the Septuagint here hath it, seed corrupted by the wind, ανεμοφθορα ), so the end thereof is very sad and dismal. The word here rendered the whirlwind hath a syllable in it more than ordinary (Suphathah), to note (saith Tremellius) the fearfulness of the divine vengeance that will befall the forementioned; and especially at death, when they are entering upon eternity. Oh what a dreadful shriek gives the guilty soul at death, to see itself launching into an infinite ocean of scalding lead, and must swim naked in it for ever; not having the least cold blast of that wind it sowed all its life long to cool it; but rather to add to its torment! Then will God speak to such, as once he did to Job out of a whirlwind, but after another manner; Go to now, ye formalists, false worshippers, triflers, troublers of Israel; ye that have been mere mutes and ciphers, nullities in the world, superfluities in the earth, or worse than all this; go to now, I say, weep and howl for the miseries that are come upon you. "Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter," James 5:5 . But now an end is come, is come; an evil, an only evil, without mixture of mercy, sorrow without succour (help), mischief without measure, torments without hope of ever either mending or ending, are the portion of your cup; the dregs of that cup of mine must you now drink off, that hath eternity to the bottom. Oh lamentable! Oh did but men forethink what would be the end of sin, they dare not but be innocent. Oh let that terrible tempest at death be timely thought on and prevented: Job 27:20-21 , &c., "Terrors take hold of him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand," &c.
It hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal] Nihil habet fertilitatis firmitatisque, as Ruffinus expoundeth it. It hath no firmness or fruitfulness; the wind of wickedness that thou hast sown, the blasted grain that thou hast committed to the earth, will yield thee nothing but loss and disappointment. A blade there may be, but not a stalk; or if a stalk, yet not a bud; or if a bud, yet it shall be nipped in the bud, it shall yield no meal, but only dust and chaff; or if it come to the meal, yet strangers shall swallow it up, so that you shall be never the better for it; but after that ye have sown the wind of iniquity, ye shall reap the wirlwind of misery, maledictionem omnimodam, curses of all kinds, which God hath hanged at the heels of your idolatry, a pernicious evil (whatever those superstitious she-sinners bragged to the contrary, Jer 44:17 ). Or if they flourish for a season, and have hopes of a large crop; yet God will curse their blessings, and frustrate their fair hopes, Psalms 37:2 , as he dealt by that rich wretch mentioned by Mr Burroughes in his comment on the second chapter of this prophecy. I had certain information, said he, from a reverend minister, that in his own town there was a worldling who had a large crop of grain. A good honest neighbour of his walking by his grain said, Neighbour, you have a very fine crop of grain, if God bless it. Yes, said he, I will have a good grain, speaking contemptuously. And before he could come to get it into the barn, it was blasted, that the grain of the whole crop was not worth sixpence.
Hos 8:8 Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure.
Ver. 8. Israel is swallowed up ] Not their meal only, as Hosea 8:7 , but themselves also are devoured by those workers of iniquity, that eat up God’s people as they eat bread, Psalms 14:4 . Persecutors are men-eaters, more cruel than those American cannibals, that devour men piecemeal; they make but a breakfast of God’s people, as Sennacherib meant to do of Jerusalem, and the powder-papists of England. "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us. But blessed be God, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth," Psalms 124:2-3 ; Psalms 124:6 . Let us keep us out of the claws and clutches of that old manslayer, who night and day walketh about (in a circular motion) that he may take us at advantage, seeking whom he may swallow down his wide gullet, 1 Peter 5:8 , καταπιη , which he hath even made red with the blood of souls; and is therefore happily called the great red dragon, Revelation 12:3 , that hath seven heads to plot, and ten horns to push men into the sin of idolatry, and thereby into hell. So long as Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase, all that devoured him found that they offended; for evil came upon them, Jeremiah 2:3 , they could no more digest him than the whale did Jonah; a cup of trembling or of poison he was to all the people round about, Zechariah 12:2 : see the note there. But "when he offended in Baal he died"; when he "chose new gods, then was war in the gates," Judges 5:8 ; when they made leagues with idolaters, then were they even swallowed up by them; as were likewise the Greek and Latin Churches by the Eastern and Western Antichrist, those crooked Leviathans, those dragons in the sea, as the Egyptian and Assyrian are called, Isaiah 27:1 .
Now shall they be among the Gentiles ] Whose favour and friendship they have basely sought, and dearly bought. It was threatened in the former chapter, Hosea 7:16 , that "they should be a derision in the land of Egypt." See Trapp on " Hos 7:16 " To have Egyptians deride us, and that for sin, is a heavy judgment. So here, to be disdained and vilified by such, as an old broken vessel, fit for none but unclean uses.
As a vessel wherein is no pleasure ] No delight or complacence; vas despectum, reieculum, abiectum, a vessel that is for the carrying up and down of excrements: so shall Israel be employed by Gentiles in base and contemptible offices, as they were by the Babylonians, Jeremiah 51:34 ; yea, Jehoiakim himself (though a king) was no better used, Jeremiah 22:18 , and Moab, that haughty nation, Jeremiah 48:38 . In which sense, "Moab shall be my washpot," saith David, Psalms 60:8 , that is, brought into most abject slavery, as your scullions or scavengers; they shall "lie among the pots," Psalms 68:13 , not only to make pots for the king of Babylon’s use (as those servile souls, the base brood of their degenerated forefathers, 1Ch 4:23 ), but also to hold pots, or empty pots and vessels of dishonour, matulam praebere, that they might know a difference between God’s service (which is all clean and fair work, fit for a vessel of honour, an elect vessel, elect and precious, sanctified and fit for the master’s use, 2Ti 2:21 ) and the service of their enemies, base and beastly; such as is beneath the excellence of an ingenuous man, such as the Turks at this day put the Jews to, and the Spaniards the poor Indians.
Hos 8:9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.
Ver. 9. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself ] This was that that most moved the Lord to denounce and determine hard and heavy things against Israel, they had suspicious thoughts of God, as if he either could not or would not do for them, and help them out, as the Assyrian (though an enemy) would. This prank of theirs God uttereth here with as great indignation and dislike as old Jacob did his son Reuben’s incest, when he said, "He went up to my couch." The Lord is as jealous of his glory as any man can be of his wife; neither will he give it to another, Isaiah 42:8 ; he admits not of any co-rival in heaven or earth, as Potiphar’s wife was his own peculiar. Now God is no way more glorified by us than when we put our trust in his love and faithfulness, and expect from him safety here, and salvation hereafter. For in so doing, we set him up for our king, Judges 9:15 , and put the royal crown upon his head, Song of Solomon 3:11 . As in doing otherwise we turn his glory into shame, "loving vanity, seeking after leasing," Psalms 4:2 . Hence that angry expostulation, Jeremiah 2:36 , "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" How dost thou think to mend thyself by running to the creature, as if there were no God in Israel? "thou also shall be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria: yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head" (after the manner of mourners, 2Sa 13:19 ), "for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them."
A wild ass alone by himself ] Foolish and fierce above measure, untameable and untractable; loving to be alone, and so becomes a prey to the lion, as saith Siracides, chap. 13. ver. 21. Pliny speaketh much of the wild ass and his properties; and interpreters on this text bring many reasons why Israel is compared to him. Israel is as stupid and as mad as the wild ass, saith Lyra. He is all for himself, saith Junius; he casteth off God’s yoke, saith Tremellius; he is a contemptible creature, saith Kimchi; he walks where he lists, as masterless, saith the Chaldee; he seeketh water in the wilderness, but hardly findeth it, so doth Israel help of the cruel enemies, and hath it not, saith Oecolampadius; he taketh a great deal of pains for his belly, saith Mercer; he cannot be tamed and made serviceable, saith Gesner; he is left alone by God to be carried captive by the Assyrian, saith Ribera. The Scripture describeth the nature of this creature in many places, Gen 16:12 Job 6:5 ; Job 11:12 ; Job 24:5 ; Job 39:5 ; Job 39:8 Psalms 104:11 Isa 32:14 Jeremiah 2:24 ; Jeremiah 14:6 Daniel 5:21 .
Ephraim hath hired lovers ] This is the second similitude, taken from a most libidinous harlot. See the like baseness in Judah, Ezekiel 16:33 . They were so mad upon their idols and creature confidences, that they were at no small charge for them; they lavished money out of the bag, Isaiah 6:6 , and laid on, as if they should never see an end of their wealth. They sent great gifts and sums of money to the Assyrians and Egyptians, and leaned upon them as their champions; they hired loves, as the Hebrew here hath it. But love, as it cannot well be counterfeited (a man may paint fire, but he cannot paint heat), so it cannot at all be hired or purchased. Those that go about it shall find loathing for love, and be scorned of those mercenaries which are seldom either satisfied, or sure.
Hos 8:10 Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
Ver. 10. Yea, though they have hired among the nations ] The uncircumcised; strangers to the promises, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, that they should so far distrust God and debase themselves as to seek help of such; this went near to the heart of God, and was very grievous. They brought up an evil report upon God’s housekeeping, charged him with unfaithfulness to his people, whom he now seemed to leave in the lurch, to shift for themselves in their straits; and hardened his enemies in their wicked but yet more prosperous condition. Felix scelus virtus vocatur Pleasent wickedness is called virtue. (Cic. de Divin., lib. ii.). How would these heathens hug themselves in the conceit that Israel should do thus, who was God’s portion, Deuteronomy 32:9 , the dearly beloved of his soul, Jeremiah 12:7 , of whom it was anciently sung, and commonly said among the heathen, "The Lord hath done great things for them," Psalms 126:2 . "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help; and who is the sword of thine excellence! and thine enemies shall he found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places," Deuteronomy 33:29 . Whosoever was free of the city of Rome might not accept any freedom in another city; for they were counted a dishonour to Rome. And will not God take it in ill part from his covenanters, to seek or make after correspondence with his enemies, and safety by them? The help of the wicked are at the best perfidious, and at length pernicious to the Church: Ecclesiae sunt tandem perniciosa et semper perfidiosa.
Now will I gather them ] This the Chaldee and the Vulgate make to he a promise of bringing back their captivity; when indeed it is a commination of carrying them into captivity.
I will gather them ] That is, either the enemies against Israel or else Israel for the enemies; ut eos acervatim perdam, that I may lay them heaps upon heaps, and gather them, as dead corpses slain in battle are gathered together for burial. Or, I will gather them, to the end that I may disperse them.
And they shall sorrow a little ] And but a little now,
for the burden of the king of princes ] For the taxes and tributes exacted from them by the king of Assyria (whose nobles were princes, 2Ki 18:24 Isaiah 10:5-7 2 Kings 15:19 ; 2 Kings 15:29 . But all this is but a little; it is but the beginning of sorrows; it is but small drops forerunning the great storm; or as a crack forerunning the fall of the house. They shall sorrow much more hereafter, when carried captive, and made a scorn to the scum of the people: see Deuteronomy 32:42 . Some read the whole verse, "Yea, because they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them together (for they have begun a little): because of the burden of the king of princes." And they thus paraphrase it: Well may they bribe and hire, but this will be the end: the Israelites themselves shall fall by heaps; the nations whom they hire shall come so tumbling in upon them (as Isaiah told Ahaz, Isa 8:9 ). Do you not see it prettily well begun already? Look upon the late example that is yet now fresh and bleeding before your eyes; so you will the better believe my threatening in that which is to come; I mean, the sacking and carrying away of the tribes beyond Jordan, by Pul and Tiglathpileser. If you ask me the reason why God should be so angry with you? it is because you are so foolish, or so wicked rather, to send presents and tributes to the king of Ashur (who in the pride and vanity of his heart nameth himself the king of princes, the mighty and most potent king) with the pilling, polling, and burdening of your subjects.
Hos 8:11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
Ver. 11. Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin ] Because he hath multiplied altars against God’s express command, Lev 17:3-9 Deu 12:5-7 Joshua 22:22-23 Jeremiah 11:13 ; and that, to sin; as if it were on purpose to cross and provoke the Lord to anger by their superstitions and will worship, and to despite him with seeming honours (for displeasing service is double dishonour), therefore he shall have enough of it ere I have done with it. He shall be given up to a reprobate sense; that going on from one sin to another, he may fill up his measure, till wrath come upon him to the utmost.
“ Per quod quis peccat, per idem punitur et ipse. ”
Idolatry is sin with an accent, wickedness with a witness, 1 Kings 15:30 ; 1Ki 15:34 ; 1 Kings 16:2 ; 1 Kings 12:30 ; 1 Kings 13:34 , and shall be punished accordingly; for so the Chaldee paraphraseth here; Because they have multiplied their altars for sin, the altars of their idols shall be their ruin. There is one Hebrew word for sin and punishment: sin hails hell at the very heels of it, as one saith wittily. Polanus upon this text hath these three profitable observations. First, that as in the Old Testament one only altar was set up by God’s command in the tabernacle and temple, so also in the New Testament we have no other altar but Christ, Hebrews 13:10 . (Iren. lib. 4, contra Haeres, cap. 34.) Secondly, as the Israelites sinned in multiplying altars, so do the Papists most grievously, in that, not content with Christ and his satisfactory sacrifice alone, they set up other altars, and bring in other expiatory sacrifices. Thirdly, as the Israelites made many altars to sin, though they pretended good intention and devotion, so the Papists at this day multiply altars (even hundreds in some one church in Rome). to sin, though they falsely pretend their good retention therein, and the preservation and augmentation of God’s service.
Hos 8:12 I have written to him the great things of my law, [but] they were counted as a strange thing.
Ver. 12. I have written to him the great things of my law ] magnalia legis; great things of the law, there are also minutula legis, small things of the law, Matthew 5:22 ; both must be looked to: for though the civilian say of his law, De minutis non curat lex, The law takes no notice of small faults; yet it holds not true of the law of God, which is spiritual, and must be kept as the apple of the eye, Proverbs 7:2 , and observed in every point and part, nay, in every punctilio and particle thereof. But to come to the words; Ephraim could not plead ignorance of God’s mind, for their many altars and superstitions, Deus enim iure quaerat et queratur, for God might very well say and complain, as Proverbs 22:20 , "Have not I written for thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge?" and in the verse next before, "I have made known (my mind) this day to thee, even to thee." So here, "I have written," sc. by my penmen and secretaries, "to him" chiefly, and for his better direction in my service, that he might walk therein by rule, and not at random, see Deu 4:8 Psa 147:19 "the great things," or excellent documents (the multiplicity or multiformity, saith the Chaldee) "of my law," or of my wise doctrine; Proverbs 13:14 , which taketh in the gospel too, that law of Christ, Galatians 6:2 .
But they were counted as a strange thing ] As not pertaining to them, as that wherein they were little or nothing concerned, as the narration of foreign affairs. Whereas men should read and regard the Holy Scriptures as they do the statutes of the land; holding themselves as much concerned and intended as any other; threatening themselves in every threat, binding themselves in every precept, blessing themselves in every promise, mingling the whole word with faith in their hearts, and resolving upon the obedience of faith; as knowing that these are verba vivenda non legenda, words to be lived, not read only; and that they should indwell in us familiarly, and yet richly, Colossians 3:16 , and we should be as inwardly acquainted with them as any man is with his sister, or nearest allies, Proverbs 7:4 . All this the rather; First, because God is the author of the Holy Scriptures, both matter and words are his, 2 Peter 1:21 ; "he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began," Luke 1:70 ; and he guided their hands in writing the Bible. How dare Papists then say that they wrote it iniussi without command from God. Secondly, because God hath written his law for us, for our behoof and benefit, Romans 4:23 ; Romans 15:4 . The Scripture is God’s Epistle to us, saith Gregory. It "is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths," saith David, Psalms 119:105 . Not a light that I see at a distance, a great way off; but a light held to my feet, that I may see my way in this land of Chabul, this dirty and dark world; and not lift up one foot, till I discover and find sure footing for another, as those, Psalms 34:6 . Thirdly, because he hath written for us the honorabilia legis, honourable and precious things, such as a man would fetch from China or the uttermost part of the habitable world upon his bare feet, rather than be without. David prefers it before gold and silver, Psalms 19:11 ; Solomon, before pearls and rubies, Proverbs 3:15 ; Moses, before all the learning of other nations, Deuteronomy 4:6 . The Scripture is the soul’s food, saith Athanasius; the soul’s medicine, saith Chrysostom; the invariable rule of truth, saith Irenaeus. It is, saith another, the aphorisms short pity statements or maxims of Christ, the library of the Holy Ghost, the divine pandects, compendium in fifty books of Roman civil law made by the order of Justinian in the 6th century, complete body of laws the wisdom of the cross, the cubit of the sanctuary, the firmament of faith, the touchstone of error, &c. What reason then had Darbishire (Bishop Bonner’s kinsman and chaplain) to say to Mr Hawkes the martyr, that he was too curious; for he would have nothing but his little pretty God’s book? And is it not sufficient for my salvation? said Hawkes. Yes, said he, but not for your instruction. God send me the salvation (said Hawkes) and you the instruction. That the Scripture is full and sufficient for both instruction and salvation, see 2 Timothy 3:16-17 , and my treatise called the True Treasure. Has igitur nocturna versato manu, versate diurna, Psalms 1:2 . Let there not, by infrequence or disuse, grow an alienation or strangeness between us and the Holy Scriptures; but be ready in them, and have them, as Saul had his pitcher and spear at his bolster; as David had his chosen stones at hand in his scrip. Luther wishes all his own books burnt; because I fear, saith he, they hinder men from reading the Bible, that book of books; in comparison whereof all the books in the world are but waste paper. After which, I tremble, saith he, to think of the former age, wherein many divines spent so much time in reading Aristotle and Averroes, and so little in reading the Book of God. Melancthon saith that he heard some preach upon texts taken out of Aristotle’s Ethics. Carolostadius was eight years doctor when he began to read the Scriptures; and yet at the taking of his degree had been pronounced sufficientissimus most adequate (Joh. Manlius). Another doctor of divinity, being asked whether he had read the decalogue, negitabat se huiusmodi librum in Bibliotheca sua habuisse unquam; he denied that he had ever had, or heard of any book so called (Amama in Antibar. praef.); such a perfect stranger was he to the great things of God’s law. And if the learned doctors be thus bare and ignorant, what may we think of the poor misled and muzzled multitude, that lie fast locked up in the pope’s dark dungeon, and are flatly forbidden to meddle with the Scriptures, lest they should be infected with heresy, or possessed with a devil, as some (say they) have been by that means?
Hos 8:13 They sacrifice flesh [for] the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat [it; but] the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.
Ver. 13. They sacrifice flesh in the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it ] q.d. They would seem not to have rejected the great things of my law, not to be such strangers thereunto; since they were much in sacrificing according to the law. But their hypocrisy is most hateful: in that first, they offer (with Cain) non personam, sed opus personae, as Luther saith; not themselves, but their bare sacrifices, Isaiah 66:3 , which is but as a brainless head and soulless body; it is but flesh, as it is here called in contempt and scorn. See the like, Jer 7:21 Hosea 9:4 . And think the same of all external services, si careant anima sua, id est recta in Deum fide, et erecta in illum mente, if not performed in faith and obedience. Secondly, they pretended to serve God, when indeed they only served their own bellies, as those, Romans 16:18 , sought their own ends, Philippians 2:21 , catered for the flesh, Romans 13:14 , insigne donum quo afficior (as Luther paraphraseth the text) carnem offertis quam vos ipsi voratis, i.e. A goodly gift it is that you give me, viz. the flesh of your peace offerings which yourselves may feast with; and you therefore multiply sacrifices, that you may gorge yourselves with good cheer. Now one egg is not more like to another than these old fleshmongers were to the Popish flesh flies at this day. It was an honest complaint of one of them: We, saith he, handle the Scripture, tantum utnos pascat et vestiat, only that it may feed us and clothe us. And it is evident to all the world that their masses, pilgrimages, festivals, vowed presents and memorials, &c., are only to pamper their paunches; which made them so angry with Erasmus and Luther for meddling.
But the Lord accepteth them not ] How should he, pray, when there was nothing but flesh, nothing but self in them. See the like, Jer 4:10 Amos 5:22 Isaiah 1:10 , where God telleth them that their sacrifices were grievous and offensive to all his several senses, nay, to his very soul too. "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord," Proverbs 15:8 , yea, though he bring it with never so good an intent, Proverbs 21:27 ; how much more if he bring ex rapina holocaustum, a sacrifice of what he hath got by rapine and robbery! and so the Chaldee carrieth the sense of the former words; the sacrifices of mine offerings, quae collecta sunt ex iniuria, saith he, which were gathered and gotten by wrong dealing: how then should the Lord accept them?
Now will he remember their iniquity ] Even while they are sacrificing, let them not think to blind his eyes with the smoke of their offerings, to stop his mouth with their rich gifts and donaries; to bribe him into a connivance; to expiate and set off their sins with their sacrifices; for God will remember them, and punish them. Yea, now will he do it, in the time of their holy duties; he will come upon them then in his wrath, as Pilate came upon the Galileans, and mingled their blood with their sacrifices, Luke 13:2 . Sure it is that sin (brought into God’s holy presence) petitions against the sinner, as Esther did against Haman at the banquet of wine, Esther 7:6 ; picks out the time of prayer and other duties to accuse and call for vengeance. Take we heed, lest while we are confessing our sins (which yet we close with, and will not forsake) and judging ourselves worthy to be destroyed, God say not, Out of thine own mouth will I condemn thee, thou graceless person, that hast so much impudence as to bring thy Cozbi into my presence, Num 25:18 then, when all the people (as on a fastday) are weeping before the door of the tabernacle. God will be sanctified of all that draw nigh unto him; one way or other he will be sanctified, either in them, or on them, Leviticus 10:3 . Of such he saith, as Solomon once did of Adonijah, "If he show himself a worthy man, there shall not a hair of his head fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shal1 die," 1 Kings 1:52 . If any defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, 1 Corinthians 3:17 .
They shall return to Egypt ] They had a mind to run thither for refuge; they sent also to So, king of Egypt, for that purpose, 2 Kings 17:4 . Instead of making their peace with God, they betook themselves to base shifts, and sought help of the creature. This is the guise of graceless men when distressed. But they shall soon have enough of Egypt, Hosea 9:8 ; Hosea 9:6 . Their strength (or their Egypt) had been to have sat still, in expectation of help from heaven, Isaiah 30:7 , and to have considered that the last and greatest curse denounced against their disobedience was, "And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt," &c., Deuteronomy 28:68 .
Hos 8:14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
Ver. 14. For Israel hath forgotten his maker ] Not more his factor than his benefactor, as, 1 Samuel 12:6 , the Lord made Moses and Aaron, i.e. he advanced them to that honour in his Church. So our Saviour is said to have made twelve, when he ordained them to the apostleship, Mark 3:14 . And the apostle saith of Israel, that God exalted the people, when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, Acts 13:17 , sc. to the privilege of his peculiar people, the possession of the promised land, the custody of his oracles and services, &c., besides the many benefits and deliverances wrought for them. All which they are said to have forgotten: 1. Because they laid them not to heart, see Isaiah 57:11 , they saw not God in them; 2. Because their lives were not answerable; they walked not worthy of such a God; but said (in effect), "We are delivered to do all these abominations," Jeremiah 7:10 . God challengeth remembrance, and well he may, Ecclesiastes 12:1 , for he hath created us for his glory, Isaiah 43:7 , he hath formed us, yea, he hath made us (as it followeth there, and all that we might remember him): the word (made) is used for a degree of grace after creation. Those that are his workmanship, his artificial facture ( ποιημα ), created in Christ Jesus (who is the beginning of this creation of God, Rev 3:14 ) unto good works, Ephesians 2:10 , if ever they should forget God (which is the character of a wicked man, Psa 50:22 ); if they should forsake God that made them, and lightly esteem tha Rock of their salvation, Deuteronomy 32:15 , as Solomon did the Lord that had appeared unto him twice; if they should not prefer him above their chief joy, or make him ascend above the head of their joy (as the Hebrew hath it, Psa 137:6 ), and set him over all, as Pharaoh did Joseph (causing sun, moon, and stars to do obeisance to him), I mean, all their natural, moral, temporal, and spiritual abilities to be subject and serviceable to him; he would have an unanswerable action against them, and both heaven and earth Would have cause to blush at their disingenuity and unthankfulness. Let it ever be remembered, that of all things God cannot abide to be forgotten.
And buildeth temples ] To God, no doubt; and yet, because they worshipped him not in his own way they are said to have forgotten him: so do Papists in all their structures, vowed presents, and memories (as they call them). In King Stephen’s time here, notwithstanding all the miseries of war, there were more Abbeys built than in a hundred years before. But who required those things at their hands? Christus opera nostra non tam actibus quam finibus pensat (Zanchius). Now the end why those temples and monasteries were built appears in stories to be pro remissione et redemptione peccatorum, pro remedio et liberatione animae: pro amore coelestis patriae: in honorem gloriosae Virginis, in eleemosynam animae, &c., for remission of sins, redemption of souls, honour of the Virgin Mary, and other superstitious ends and uses.
And Judah hath multiplied fenced cities ] As thinking thereby to fence themselves against God’s wrath, to mott themselves up against his fire that had burnt up the ten tribes, and threatened them. Strong cities and munitions may be lawfully built; but then their foundations must not be laid upon fireworks. If sin be at the bottom (as the voice from heaven is said to have told Phocas), though they build as high as heaven it will not do. Babylon’s thick walls and large provisions could not secure her from the enemy; Samaria held out for two or three years, but was surprised at last by the Assyrian; so was Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and then by the Romans, Isaiah 22:8-10 . Great fault is found with this people, for their warlike preparations with neglects of God, Hosea 8:11 , and of deep and downright humiliation, Hosea 8:12-14 . The name of the Lord is the strongest tower, Proverbs 18:10 . But cursed is he that maketh flesh his arm, that trusteth in men, though never so great; or means, though never so likely, Jeremiah 17:5 , those were never true to those that trusted them. The Jebusites were beaten out of their fort, though they presumed it impregnable. The men of Shechem were burned out, Judges 9:49 : so shall Judah be; for,
I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof ] The enemy did this, but not without the Lord; who cannot brook it that men should trust in palaces and strongholds; and as Luther well observeth, in this whole chapter is fully set forth whence it is that strong palaces and flourishing kingdoms come to nought; it is because men believe not in God, but trust to their own strength, Deuteronomy 28:52 ; they fortify themselves against an enemy, but do not pacify God’s displeasure; who is himself a devouring fire, and can quickly quash all our forces, and confute our confidences.