|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:8-15 The destruction of impenitent sinners is not mere talk, to frighten them, it is a sentence which will not be recalled. And it is a mercy that we have timely warning given us, that we may flee from the wrath to come. Compliance with the commandments of men, who thwart the commandments of God, ripens a people for ruin. The judgments of God are sometimes to a sinful people as a moth, and as rottenness, or as a worm; as these consume the clothes and the wood, so shall the judgments of God consume them. Silently, they shall think themselves safe and thriving, but when they look into their state, shall find themselves wasting and decaying. Slowly, for the Lord gives them space to repent. Many a nation; as well as many a person, dies of a consumption. Gradually, God comes upon sinners with lesser judgments, to prevent greater, if they will be wise, and take warning. When Israel and Judah found themselves in danger, they sought the protection of the Assyrians, but this only helped to make their wound the worse. They would be forced to apply to God. He will bring them home to himself, by afflictions. When men begin to complain more of their sins than of their afflictions, then there begins to be some hope of them; and when under the conviction of sin, and the corrections of the rod, we must seek the knowledge of God. Those who are led by severe trials to seek God earnestly and sincerely, will find him a present help and an effectual refuge; for with him is plenteous redemption for all who call upon him. There is solid peace, and there only, where God is.
Verse 11. - Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment. The expression retsuts mishpat is
(1) by some explained, "crushed by the judgment," that is, of God, according to which mishpat would be the genitive of the agent as mukkeh Elohim. But "crushed of judgment" or in judgment is justly preferred by others, the genitive taking the place of the accusative. Again, though the combination of 'ashuq with rutsuts is frequent, occurring as early as Deuteronomy 28:33, the latter is the stronger term. The oppression is
(2) not that which their own kings and princes practiced upon their subjects, according to Aben Ezra, "Their kings oppressed and cheated them;" nor the injustice practiced by the people of Ephraim among themselves, as implied by the LXX., "Ephraim altogether prevailed against his adversary, he trod judgment underfoot." The reference
(3) is rather to Ephraim being oppressed and crushed in judgment by the heathen nations around; thus Rashi explains, "Oppressed is Ephraim ever by the hand of the heathen - chastised with chastisements;" so also Kimchi, "By the hand of the heathen who oppressed and crushed them through hard judgments." The construction is asyndetous, like Song of Solomon 2:11, "The rain is over, is gone." Because he willingly walked after the commandment. This clause assigns the reason of Ephraim's oppression. They evinced ready willing-hood in following
(1) the commandments of men instead of the commandments of God. Tsav is thus understood by Aben Ezra, and in like manner Ewald explains it to mean an arbitrary or self-imposed precept. The LXX.
(2) seem to have read שָׁו, equivalent to שָׁוְא, vanity, translating, "for he began to go after vanities (τῶν ματαίων);" which the Chaldee and Syriac fellow. But
(3) it is rather the commandment of Jeroboam about the worship of the calves which lay at the root of the nation's sin. It is welt explained by Kimchi: "Although the word 'Jeroboam' is wanting, so that he makes no mention of it after tsar, such is the scriptural usage in certain places, i.e. to omit a word where the sense is plain. For it was a well-known fact that in that generation they walked not after the commandment, but after that of Jeroboam; therefore he has abbreviated the word to indicate the worthlessness, and used tsav instead of mitsvah." Perhaps it may have the concrete sense of the object of idolatrous worship.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ephraim is oppressed, and broken in judgment,.... Here the prophet again returns to the ten tribes, who were oppressed and broken, either by their own judgments, as the Targum; by the tyranny of their kings, and the injustice of their judges, who looked only for the mammon of unrighteousness; or by the judgment of their enemies, the Assyrians, the taxes they laid upon them, the devastations they made among them, and by whom, at last, they were carried captive; or by the judgments of God upon them; for all the enemy did was by his permission, and according to his will:
because he willingly walked after the commandment; not after the commandment of God, but after the commandment of men, as Aben Ezra; or after the commandment of the prophets of Baal, as Jarchi; or after the commandment of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, as Kimchi, by worshipping the calves at Dan and Bethel he set up there.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. broken in judgment—namely, the "judgment" of God on him (Ho 5:1).
walked after the commandment—Jeroboam's, to worship the calves (2Ki 10:28-33). Compare Mic 6:16, "the statutes of Omri," namely, idolatrous statutes. We ought to obey God rather than men (Ac 5:29). Jerome reads "filthiness." The Septuagint gives the sense, not the literal translation: "after vanities."
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