|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshipped Him in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraim forsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them, affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will not give his glory to another, and therefore all that worship images shall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to be expected any where but in God. God not only took care of the Israelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession of Canaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men's pride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord would meet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast that inhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greater severity.
Verse 5. - I did know thee in the wilderness. The pronoun at the beginning of the verse is emphatic: As for me; or, I it was that knew thee. The meaning of the sentiment is: I acknowledged thee with kindness, with paternal care and kind providence watching over thee. "Thou shouldest gratefully acknowledge me," is the comment of Kimchi, "because I knew thee in the wilderness, and cared for thy necessity in the wilderness, in which there were no means of livelihood." In the land of great drought. The root of the word תַּלְאוּבֹת is לאב, unused in Hebrew, but signifying, in Arabic, "to burn, dry, be dry," akin to לָחַב. Aben Ezra correctly explains it to be "a dry and thirsty laud, and so in the Arabic language; and (that it is so called) on account of all hardships being in it, is the allegorical explanation and not the literal sense." Instead of a lengthened enumeration of all God's loving-kindnesses to Israel at the Exodus and during the desert wanderings, the prophet sums up all in the expressive, "the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt;" and "I it was that did know thee in the wilderness." It is as though he had said, "I pitied thee in the bondage and among the brick-kilns of Egypt; I brought thee forth with a strong hand and outstretched arm; I led thee through the wilderness; I relieved thee in thy straits; I gave thee bread from heaven to satisfy thy hunger, and water from the rock to quench thy thirst; I defended thee from enemies; nor did I relax my care till I gave thee the goodly laud of promise."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I did know thee in the wilderness,.... Where there were no food nor drink, where were scorpions, serpents, and beasts of prey; there the Lord knew them, owned them, and showed a fatherly affection for them, and care of them; and fed them with manna and quails, and guided and directed them in the way, and protected and preserved them from their enemies, and from all hurt and danger. So the Targum explains it,
"I sufficiently supplied their necessities in the wilderness:''
in the land of great drought; or, "of droughts" (c); the word is only used in this place; and is by Aben Ezra interpreted a dry and thirsty land; and so he says it signifies in the Arabic language and the same is observed by the father of Kimchi, and by R. Jonah (d); but is by some rendered "torrid" (e), or "inflamed", as if it had the signification of a Hebrew word which signifies a flame: and the Targum takes it to be akin to another, which signifies to "desire", rendering it,
"in a land in which thou desirest everything;''
that is, wants everything. The first seems best, and is a fit a description of the wilderness, which was a place of drought, wherein was no water, Deuteronomy 8:15.
(c) "an terra siccitatum", Vatablus, Drusius, Schmidt. (d) Apud R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed. fol. 35. 1.((e) "In terra torridonum locorum", Montanus; "torridissima", Junius & Tremellius, Heb. "infammationum", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. I did know thee—did acknowledge thee as Mine, and so took care of thee (Ps 144:3; Am 3:2). As I knew thee as Mine, so thou shouldest know no God but Me (Ho 13:4).
in … land of … drought—(De 8:15).
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