|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-7 The piercing eye of God saw secret liking and disposition to sin, the love the house of Israel had to their sins, and the dominion their sins had over them. Pride makes men obstinate in other sins. And as Judah was treading in the same steps, they would fall with Israel. By dealing treacherously with the Lord, men only deceive themselves. Those that go to seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds only, and not with their hearts and souls, cannot expect to find him; nor shall any speed who do not seek the Lord while he may be found. See how much it is our concern to seek God early, now, while it is the accepted time, and the day of salvation.
Verse 3. - I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me. All attempts at concealment are vain, though sinners try ever so much to hide their sins from the Divine Majesty. However deep they dig downward, God will bring their evil doings up and out to the light of day and punish them. For now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. Israel is the northern kingdom, and Ephraim, being the most powerful tribe, is often identified with Israel; here, however, they are distinguished - Israel is the kingdom as a whole, and Ephraim is its leading tribe. This powerful tribe, ever envious of Judah, was the ringleader in the calf worship of Jeroboam and other idolatries; and through Ephraim's evil influence the other tribes, and so all Israel, were defiled.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me,.... Though they may cover their designs from men, and seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and make plausible pretences for what they do, and put on an appearance of religion; yet God, who knows all men, and their hearts, cannot be deceived; he judges not according to outward appearance; all things are naked and open to him; nor can any hide themselves from him; he knows their persons, intentions, and designs, as well as actions. Kimchi interprets Ephraim of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was of that tribe; others, of the tribe itself, and Israel of the other nine tribes; others take Ephraim for the ten tribes, and Israel for the two tribes: but it is best to understand Ephraim and Israel of the same, even of the ten tribes; whose works, as the Targum paraphrases it, the Lord knew, particularly what follows:
for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom; both corporeal and spiritual adultery, which frequently went together, as observed in the preceding chapter: the Lord knew their corporeal whoredom, though ever so secretly committed, and their spiritual adultery or idolatry, under all the specious pretences of worshipping him; which was an abhorrence to him, as well as a pollution to them:
and Israel is defiled; with the same sins; for all sin is of a defiling nature, and especially those mentioned, which defile body and soul, and render men loathsome and abominable in the sight of God.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Ephraim—the tribe so called, as distinguished from "Israel" here, the other nine tribes. It was always foremost of the tribes of the northern kingdom. For four hundred years in early history, it, with Manasseh and Benjamin, its two dependent tribes, held the pre-eminence in the whole nation. Ephraim is here addressed as foremost in idolatry.
I how … not hid from me—notwithstanding their supposed profound cunning (Ho 5:2; Re 2:2, 9, 13, 19).
now—"though I have been a rebuker of all them" (Ho 5:2) who commit such spiritual whoredoms, thou art now continuing in them.
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