Hosea 4:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow?

New Living Translation
Israel is stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. So should the LORD feed her like a lamb in a lush pasture?

English Standard Version
Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the LORD now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?

New American Standard Bible
Since Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn heifer, Can the LORD now pasture them Like a lamb in a large field?

King James Bible
For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn cow. Can the LORD now shepherd them like a lamb in an open meadow?

International Standard Version
For Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn mule! Nevertheless, will not the LORD feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?

NET Bible
Israel has rebelled like a stubborn heifer! Soon the LORD will put them out to pasture like a lamb in a broad field!

New Heart English Bible
For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will the LORD feed them like a lamb in a meadow.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"The people of Israel are as stubborn as a bull. How can the LORD feed them like lambs in an open pasture?

JPS Tanakh 1917
For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn heifer; Now shall the LORD feed them as a lamb in a large place?

New American Standard 1977
Since Israel is stubborn
            Like a stubborn heifer,
            Can the LORD now pasture them
            Like a lamb in a large field?

Jubilee Bible 2000
for Israel has turned away as a wild heifer; shall the LORD now feed them as rams in a large place?

King James 2000 Bible
For Israel slides back like a stubborn heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in an open pasture.

American King James Version
For Israel slides back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

American Standard Version
For Israel hath behaved himself stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer: now will Jehovah feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For Israel hath gone astray like a wanton heifer: now will the Lord feed them, as a lamb in a spacious place.

Darby Bible Translation
For Israel is refractory as an untractable heifer; now will Jehovah feed them as a lamb in a wide [pasture].

English Revised Version
For Israel hath behaved himself stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer: now will the LORD feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Webster's Bible Translation
For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

World English Bible
For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will Yahweh feed them like a lamb in a meadow.

Young's Literal Translation
For as a refractory heifer hath Israel turned aside, Now doth Jehovah feed them as a lamb in a large place.
Study Bible
God's Charges against Israel
15Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Do not let Judah become guilty; Also do not go to Gilgal, Or go up to Beth-aven And take the oath: "As the LORD lives!" 16Since Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn heifer, Can the LORD now pasture them Like a lamb in a large field? 17Ephraim is joined to idols; Let him alone.…
Cross References
Psalm 78:8
And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Isaiah 5:17
Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture, And strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.

Isaiah 7:25
As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the hoe, you will not go there for fear of briars and thorns; but they will become a place for pasturing oxen and for sheep to trample.

Isaiah 30:23
Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.

Jeremiah 31:18
"I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, 'You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained calf; Bring me back that I may be restored, For You are the LORD my God.

Hosea 10:11
Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, But I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself.

Hosea 11:6
The sword will whirl against their cities, And will demolish their gate bars And consume them because of their counsels.
Treasury of Scripture

For Israel slides back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

slideth.

Hosea 11:7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called …

1 Samuel 15:11 It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned …

Jeremiah 3:6,8,11 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you …

Jeremiah 5:6 Why a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings …

Jeremiah 7:24 But they listened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the …

Jeremiah 8:5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slid back by a perpetual backsliding? …

Jeremiah 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do you it for your …

Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to listen, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped …

as a lamb.

Leviticus 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword …

Isaiah 7:21-25 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a …

Isaiah 22:18 He will surely violently turn and toss you like a ball into a large …

(16) Slideth back.--More correctly, is stubborn as a stubborn cow.

Will feed them as a lamb in a large place.--An expression of tender commiseration (so Ewald). But most commentators understand it in an unfavourable sense, i.e., will lead them forth into the desolate wilderness, a prey to wild beasts, or into the loneliness that a lamb would feel in a boundless pasture.

Verse 16. - For Israel slideth back as a back, sliding heifer: now the Lord will feed them s, a lamb in a large place. This verse conveys the reason of the warning contained in the preceding; and that reason is the punishment which is to overtake Israel as the consequence of their refractoriness. If this view of the connection be correct, it will help to the right understanding of a difficult passage. The "backsliding," according to the Authorized Version, is rather "stubbornness," "intractableness," or "unmanageableness." Keil renders it "refractory." 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. Aben Ezra explains סֹרֵרָה (which, by the way, has tsere before the tone syllable) as follows: "סי is he who turns aside from the way that is appointed him, so that he does not walk in it. And, behold, he compares Israel to a stubborn cow, with which a man cannot plough." So also Kfinchi: "Like a heifer which goes on a crooked way, and curves itself from under the yoke, that a man cannot plough with it; so Israel are crooked under their God, as they have taken upon them the yoke of the Law and of the command-meats which he commanded them, and curve themselves under the yoke, and break from off them the yoke of the commandments." 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. Aben Ezra gives as an alternative sense: "Now (Jehovah will feed them like a lamb) alone in a wide place, and it wanders to and fro." Kimchi cites as the opinion of others: "Some say, 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." Another meaning has been attached to the verse, to the effect that Israel, subdued by chastise-meat, will renounce their stubbornness, and, rendered tractable and tame, become like a lamb, which, brought to feel its helplessness amid a wilderness, requires and receives the shepherd's care. We much prefer the former. For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer,.... A heifer or young cow Israel is compared unto; the rather, because of the object of their idolatrous worship, the calves at Dan and Bethel: the Septuagint calls them "heifers": which they are hereby put in mind of, and upbraided with; as also to express their brutish stupidity in worshipping such idols, in which they obstinately persisted: and so were like a "refractory" and "untamed" heifer, as some (w) render it, which will not be kept within bounds, either within doors or without, but breaks through, and passes over, all fences and enclosures; as they did, who transgressed the laws of God, and would not be restrained by them: or like a heifer unaccustomed to the yoke, which will not submit to it, but wriggles its neck from under it: so the Israelites would not be subject to the yoke of the law of God, were sons of Belial, children without a yoke; or like one, though yoked, yet would not draw the plough, but slid back in the furrows, even though goaded; so they, though stimulated by the prophets, whose words were as goads and pricks to push them on, yet would not hearken to them, but pulled away the shoulder, and slid back from the ways and worship of God; hence called backsliding Israel, Jeremiah 3:6, and this is either a reason why Judah should not follow their example, because backsliders, or why they should be punished, as follows:

now, or "therefore" (x),

the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place: not that they were like lambs for the good properties of them, innocence, harmlessness, meekness, and patience; nor fed as the Lord feeds his lambs, and gathers them in his arms; but either as a heifer in sheep pasture, in short commons, for that creature cannot live where sheep and lambs can; or rather as a lamb that is alone, separate from the flock, not under the care of any shepherd; but exposed to every beast of prey upon a large common, on a wild desert and uncultivated place; afraid of every thing it hears and sees; bleating after its dam, of whose sustenance and nourishment it is destitute; and so is expressive of the state and condition of Israel in captivity, in the large Assyrian empire; and dispersed among the nations, where they were weak and helpless, destitute of all good things, and exposed to all dangers, and to every enemy. Aben Ezra and Kimchi understand the words in a good sense, that the Lord would have fed them as lambs in a large place, in an affluent manner, but that they rebelled and backslided: and to this sense the Targum seems to incline, which paraphrases the whole verse thus,

"for as an ox which is fattened and kicks, so Israel rebels because of the multitude of good things; now the Lord will lead them as a choice lamb in a valley,''

or plain: and so Noldius, "though Israel is refractory", &c.

notwithstanding the Lord will feed them, &c.; and indeed the phrase is used in a good sense in Isaiah 30:23, but there herds and flocks are spoken of, and not a single lamb, as here; though Kimchi thinks the singular is put for the plural, lamb for lambs.

(w) "refractaria", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius, Schmidt; "indomita", Calvin, Drusius. (x) "quare, ideo, nunc itaque", Schmidt; "igitur nunc", Coeceius. 16. backsliding—Translate, "Israel is refractory, as a refractory heifer," namely, one that throws the yoke off her neck. Israel had represented God under the form of "calves" (1Ki 12:28); but it is she herself who is one.

lamb in a large place—not in a good sense, as in Isa 30:23. Here there is irony: lambs like a large pasture; but it is not so safe for them as a small one, duly fenced from wild beasts. God will "feed" them, but it shall be with the "rod" (Mic 7:14). It shall be no longer in the narrow territory of Israel, but "in a large place," namely, they shall be scattered in exile over the wide realm of Assyria, a prey to their foes; as lambs, which are timid, gregarious, and not solitary, are a prey when scattered asunder to wild beasts.4:12-19 The people consulted images, and not the Divine word. This would lead to disorder and sin. Thus men prepare scourges for themselves, and vice is spread through a people. Let not Judah come near the idolatrous worship of Israel. For Israel was devoted to idols, and must now be let alone. When sinners cast off the easy yoke of Christ, they go on in sin till the Lord saith, Let them alone. Then they receive no more warnings, feel no more convictions: Satan takes full possession of them, and they ripen for destruction. It is a sad and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin. Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin. May we be kept from this awful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest, will soon hurry impenitent sinners into ruin.
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