|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:8-16 Israel was as a cake not turned, half burnt and half dough, none of it fit for use; a mixture of idolatry and of the worship of Jehovah. There were tokens of approaching ruin, as grey hairs are of old age, but they noticed them not. The pride which leads to break the law of God leads to self-flattery. The mercy and grace of God are the only refuge to which obstinate sinners never think of fleeing. Though they may howl forth their terrors in the form of prayers, they seldom cry to God with their hearts. Even their prayers for earthly mercies only seek fuel for their lusts. Their turning from one sect, sentiment, form, or vice, to another, still leaves them far short of Christ and holiness. Such are we by nature. And such shall we prove if left to ourselves. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.
Verse 8. - Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. The people of the northern kingdom had fallen away from Jehovah, and mixed themselves with the heathen nationalities. They resembled a cake which, through neglect of turning, was burnt on the one side and raw on the other. The best commentary on the first clause of this verse is found in Psalm 106:35, 36, and 39; they "were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.... Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a-whoring with their own inventions." The second clause is well explained by Bishop Horsley as follows: "One thing on one side, another on the other; burnt to a coal at bottom, raw dough at the top. An apt image of a character that is all inconsistencies. Such were the ten tribes of the prophet's day; worshippers of Jehovah in profession, but adopting all the idolatries of the neighboring nations, in addition to their own semi-idolatry of the calves." Similarly, the Geneva Bible has, "Baked on one side and raw on the ether, he is neither through hot nor through cold, but partly a Jew and partly a Gentile." Jehovah had chosen Israel out of the nations of the earth, and given them a special constitution. The object of this segregation was that Israel should be a peculiar people and a holy nation. Thus distinguished, they were to dwell alone; but, ungrateful for this high distinction, and unmindful of their high destiny, they mingled with the nations, learned their heathenish ways, and worshipped their hateful idols. Thus they forfeited their theocratic pre-eminence. While it was their privilege as well u duty to follow the precepts of Jehovah, and serve him with undivided affection, they fell away from his service and adopted the idolatries and habits of the heathen; it was only a just retribution, therefore, when God gave them ever into the hand of those heathen peoples to waste their resources and leave them shorn of their strength. The second clause is the counterpart of this; exactly like the peoples subsequently brought from Assyria, and planted in the lands of the dispossessed Israelites, they worshipped the Lord, but served their own gods - they were neither true worshippers of Jehovah nor out-and-out followers of Baal. In religion they were mongrels - inconsistent and worthless hybrids; they were, in fact, what Calvin in rather homely phrase says of them," neither flesh nor fish." The comment of Kimchi is concise as it is clear: "The prophet means to say, He (Israel) mixes himself among the peoples; though God - blessed be he I - separated them from them, yet they mix them. selves among them and do according to their works." His explanation of the second clause is not so satisfactory when he says, "As a cake which is baked upon the coals; if they do not turn it, it is burnt below and not baked above, so is the counsel that is not right when they do not turn it from side to side (sense to sense) until they bring it upon their wheels (into action). So (thoughtless and hasty) is Ephraim in his determination to serve the calves and other gods without proving and choosing what is good."
(2) Other explanations need only be referred to in order to be rejected, as
(1) that of Rashi, who is followed by Grotius. He takes the verb in the future sense: "Ephraim in exile shall be mixed among the peoples." But it is obviously the present, not the future time, that is intended - the present sin, not its future punishment. There is
(2) the explanation of Aben Ezra, followed by Eichhorn and Maurer, referring to the alliances or treaties which the northern kingdom formed with their neighbors to repel their enemies, and by which the resources of the land were consumed; while the second clause,
(a) according to Aben Ezra, refers to the over-hastiness and thoughtlessness with which Israel proceeded in their resolutions; and,
(b) according to Maurer, Jerome, and Theodoret, it signifies what is spoiled, ill-advised, and worthless.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people,.... Either locally, by dwelling among them, as some of them at least might do among the Syrians; or carnally, by intermarrying with them, contrary to the command of God; or civilly, by entering into alliances and confederacies with them, as Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel did with Rezin king of Syria, Isaiah 7:2; or by seeking to them for help, calling to Egypt, and going to Assyria, as in Hosea 7:11; so Aben Ezra; or morally, by learning their manners, and conforming to their customs, especially in religious things: though some understand this as a punishment threatened them for their above sins, that they should be carried captive into foreign lands, and so be mixed among the people, and which is Jarchi's sense: but it is rather to be considered as their evil in joining with other nations in their superstition, idolatry, and other impieties; and it is highly offensive to God when his professing people mix themselves with the world, keep company with the men of it, fashion themselves according to them, do as they do, and wilfully go into their conversation, and repeat it, and continue therein, and resolve to do so: for so it may be rendered, "he will mix himself" (r); it denotes a voluntary act, repeated and persisted in with obstinacy;
Ephraim is a cake not turned; like a cake that is laid on coats, if it is not turned, the nether part will be burnt, and the upper part unbaked, and so be good for noticing; not fit to be eaten, being nothing indeed, neither bread nor dough; and so may signify, that Ephraim having introduced much of the superstition and idolatry of the Gentiles into religious worship, was nothing in religion, neither fish nor flesh, as is proverbially said of persons and things of which nothing can be made; they worshipped the calves at Dan and Bethel, and Yet swore by the name of the Lord; they halted between two opinions, and were of neither; they were like the hotch potch inhabitants of Samaria in later times, that came in their place, that feared the Lord, and served their own gods: and such professors of religion there are, who are nothing in religion; nothing in principle, they have no scheme of principles; they are neither one thing nor another; they are nothing in experience; if they have a form of godliness, they deny the power of it; they are nothing in practice, all they do is to be seen of men; they are neither hot nor cold, especially not throughout, or on both sides, like a cake unturned; but are lukewarm and indifferent, and therefore very disagreeable to the Lord. Some take this to be expressive of punishment, and not of fault; either of their partial captivity by Tiglathpileser, when only a part of them was carried captive; or of the swift and total destruction of them by their enemies, who would be like hungry and half starved persons, who meeting with a cake on the coals half baked, snatch it up, and eat it, not staying for the turning and baking it on the other side; and thus it should be with them. So the Targum,
"the house of Ephraim is like to a cake baked on coals, which before it is turned is eaten.''
(r) "miscebit sese", Zanchius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. mixed … among the people—by leagues with idolaters, and the adoption of their idolatrous practices (Ho 7:9, 11; Ps 106:35).
Ephraim … cake not turned—a cake burnt on one side and unbaked on the other, and so uneatable; an image of the worthlessness of Ephraim. The Easterners bake their bread on the ground, covering it with embers (1Ki 19:6), and turning it every ten minutes, to bake it thoroughly without burning it.
Hosea 7:8 Parallel Commentaries
Hosea 7:8 NIV
Hosea 7:8 NLT
Hosea 7:8 ESV
Hosea 7:8 NASB
Hosea 7:8 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible