|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-8 A vine is only valuable for its fruit; but Israel now brought no fruit to perfection. Their hearts were divided. God is the Sovereign of the heart; he will have all, or none. Were the stream of the heart wholly after God, it would run strongly, and bear down all before it. Their pretences to covenant with God were false. Even the proceeding of justice was as poisonous hemlock. Alas, how empty a vine is the visible church even at this day! But all earthly prosperity is but a collection of bubbles, soon destroyed like foam upon the water. Sinners will in vain seek shelter from that Judge, whom they now despise as a Saviour.
Verse 3. - For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord. In the day of their destruction Israel would be brought to see and even feel that the king appointed through their own self-will and fancied plenitude of power was unable to protect or help them, and that because they had rejected Jehovah and cast aside his fear. The point of time denoted by "now" is either when they see destruction before their eyes, or when Israel is already in captivity. Rashi explains it in the former sense: "When destruction shall come upon them, they shall say, 'We have no king,' that is, our king on whom we set our hopes when we said, 'Our king shall go out before us and light our battles,' affords us no help whatever." Kimchi explains similarly, but fixes the "now" in the time of the Captivity: "Now, when they shall be carried out of their land, they shall recognize and say, 'We have no king;' the explanation is, as it' we had no king among us, for there is no strength in him to deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, as we thought when we asked for a king who should march at our head and fight our battles. God - blessed be he! - was our King, and we needed no king, and he it was that delivered us out of the hand of our enemies when we did his will." Aben Ezra and others understand it as the expression of a wild licorice on the part of Israel, recklessly giving vent to an anarchical and atheistic spirit: "As soon as their heart was divided they had no wish to have a king over them, and had no fear of Jehovah; therefore they had no fear, and every one did what was right in his own eyes." This exposition neglects the note of time, as also the causal particle that follows. They bethought themselves that, as they had not feared Jehovah, but neglected his Law, the king which they had demanded could do them no good. "What," they asked, "can the king do for us? He has no power to deliver us, since God is angry with us, for we have sinned against him?" Such is the confession of Israel in captivity. Pusey remarks in reference to this: "In sin, all Israel had asked for a king, when the Lord was their King; in sin, Ephraim had made Jeroboam king; in sin, their subsequent kings were made, without the counsel and advice of God; and now, as the close of all, they reflect how fruitless it all was."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For now they shall say, we have no king,.... This they would say, either when they had one; but by their conduct and behaviour said they had none; because they had no regard unto him, no affection for him, and reverence of him; but everyone did what was right in his own eyes: or during the interregnum, between the murder of Pekah, which was in the twentieth year of Jotham, and the settlement of Hoshea, which was in the twelfth of Ahaz; see 2 Kings 15:30; or when the land of Israel was invaded, and their king was shut up in prison, and Samaria besieged, so that it was as if they had no king; they had none to protect and defend them, to sally out at the head of them against the enemy, and fight their battles for them; or rather when the city was taken, the altars broke down, their images spoiled, and they and their king carried captive:
because we feared not the Lord: did not serve and worship him, but idols; and this sin, casting off the fear of the Lord, was the source and cause of all their troubles and sorrows; of the invasion of their land; of the besieging and taking their city, and having no king to rule over them, and protect them:
what then should a king do to us? if they had one, he could be of no service to them; for since they had offended God, the King of kings, and made him their enemy, what could an earthly king, a weak mortal man, do for them, or against him? it was now all over with them, and they could have no expectation of help and deliverance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. now, &c.—Soon they, deprived of their king, shall be reduced to say, We have no king (Ho 10:7, 15), for Jehovah deprived us of him, because of our not fearing God. What then (seeing God is against us) should a king be able to do for us, if we had one? As they rejected the heavenly King, they were deprived of their earthly king.
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