Hosea 5:14
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
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(14) As a lion.—First the trans-Jordanic tribes, then additional provinces, and lastly the whole population, were carried away as in the teeth of a beast of prey. (Comp. Amos 3:6.) Assyria is here referred to as represented by Tiglath-pileser. We might also quote from the inscription of Sargon in fulfilment of this prediction: “Samaria I besieged; I captured 27,290 people dwelling in the midst of it; I carried captive” (George Smith, Assyrian Eponym Canon, p. 125). A similar fate overtook Jerusalem in 587 B.C., at the hands of Babylonia, in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (2Chronicles 36:4-10; 2Kings 24:10-16; 2Kings 25:1-11).

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.For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion - He who would thus strengthen himself by Outward help against God's chastisements, challenges, as it were, the Almighty to a trial of strength. So then God, unwilling to abandon him to himself, changes His dealings, and , "He who had heretofore, in His judgments, seemed but as a tender moth or a weak worm," now shows forth His resistless power, imaged by His creatures in whom the quality of power is most seen. It may again be, that the fiercer animal (literally, the roaring) is associated with the name of Ephraim; that of the younger lion, fierce and eager for prey, yet not full-grown, with that of Judah.

I, I will tear - "It is a fearful thing, to fall into the Hands of the Living God" Hebrews 10:31. The Assyrian was but the rod of God's anger, and the staff, He says, in thine hand is His indignation" Isaiah 10:5. Whatever is done, is done or overruled by God, who gives to the evil his power to do, in an evil way, what He Himself overrules to the end of His wisdom or justice. God, Himself would tear them asunder, by giving the Assyrians power to carry them away. And since it was God who did it, there was no hope of escape. He who was faithful to His word would do it. There is great emphasis on the I, I. God and not man; He, the author of all good, would Himself be the cause of their evil. What hope then is there, when He, who is mercy, becomes the avenger?

14. lion—The black lion and the young lion are emblems of strength and ferocity (Ps 91:13).

I, even I—emphatic; when I, even I, the irresistible God, tear in pieces (Ps 50:22), no Assyrian power can rescue.

go away—as a lion stalks leisurely back with his prey to his lair.

For I, the Lord, whose power is infinite, whose wrath they have enkindled, who hath threatened to extirpate them,

will be unto Ephraim as a lion; a panther, say some, a very swift beast, wherein he excels the lion, and a very fierce and ravenous creature, wherein he equals the lion; or a lioness, say others: but to leave that, God will make the Assyrian a chirurgeon, such as a fierce, ravenous lion would be to a wounded man. As a young lion to the house of Judah; which is grown up to his strength for mischief, and retains his inclination to gamesomeness, or to play with his prey; so should Judah find himself when caught by this lion, first made a sport to please the tyrannous humour, and after made a feast to feed his ravenous hunger.

I, even I, will tear: the threat is doubled to ascertain it and make it more dreadful. Divine vengeance by the Assyrians shall be as a lion tearing his prey.

And go away: when satisfied, the lion goes away, fleeth not for fear.

I will take away: he leaveth not ally behind him, carrieth away what he did not cat; so should Assyria devour the land, and carry away the people.

None shall rescue him: none have courage to attempt or power to effect a rescue, the prey must hopelessly perish; so it will be with Ephraim and Judah, when God appears as a lion against them.

For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah,.... Being provoked by their above conduct and behaviour in seeking to others, and not to him, for help, he threatens to punish them in a more public and severe manner; not be to them only as a moth and rottenness, but as a lion, and as a young lion, creatures strong and fierce, that destroy and devour all that come into their hands, and from whom there is no deliverance: thus the Lord was both to Israel and Judah, by means of the Assyrians and Babylonians; the former are compared to a lion, that devoured Israel; and the latter to a young lion, that broke the bones of Judah; see Jeremiah 50:17; and last of all by means of the Romans, especially to Judah:

I, even I, will tear and go away; as a lion tears its prey in pieces it seizes upon, and goes away, and leaves it torn, having satisfied itself; and is in no fear of being pursued, or any vengeance taken on him for what he has done; so the Lord would destroy Israel and Judah, and leave them in their ruinous state, none being able to rise up and avenge their cause. The "I" is doubled, to express the certainty of it:

I will take away, and none shall rescue him; as the lion, having glutted itself with its prey, takes the rest away, and carries it to its den, where none dare come and take it from him; so the Lord signifies, that those of Israel and Judah that perished not by the sword of the enemy, or by famine or pestilence, should be carried captive, and none should be able to return them till he pleases: under the wrath and displeasure of God, and under this tearing, rending, and afflictive dispensation, they now are, and will continue till the time of their conversion.

For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
14. If a stronger figure is necessary to warn Israel of the destructiveness of his present course, Jehovah will compare himself to a lion (comp. Isaiah 31:4).

as a lion, and as a young lion] Hebrew has at least five words for ‘lion’; of the two selected here, the first describes this terror of ancient Palestine as a roarer (so Hosea 13:7), the second as covered with a mane.

I, even I] For the axe may be human, but the hand which wields it is divine (Isaiah 10:15).

I will take away …] i.e. I will carry off the prey. The passage reminds us of the comparison of the Assyrians to a lion in Isaiah 5:29.

Verses 14, 15. - These verses assign a reason for the powerlessness even of the mighty Assyrian monarch to help; and that reason is the Divine interposition. The irresistible Jehovah himself (the addition of the pronoun intensifies, yet more its repetition) now interferes for the destruction of the apostate and rebellious people. For I am unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah. As we are taught in these words, Jehovah's mode of procedure is now changed. Before it had been slow and silent, though sure destruction, as signified by the moth and woodworm; but now it will be public and patent to the eyes of all, as wall as decisive and powerful, as intimated by the comparison of a lion and young lion. Nor is that all: lion-like, lie will rend before removing the prey - a tearing in pieces and then a carrying away. This well-known habit of the lion finds its counterpart in the subsequent facts of Hebrew history. The northern kingdom was first rent or broken up by Shalmaneser; subsequently the population were carried away into captivity; in like manner the southern kingdom suffered at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. I will go and return to my place. The figurative comparison with a lion is continued in the first clause of ver. 15 also. The lion tears his victim and carries it away, then he retires into his cave or den; so Jehovah, after bringing calamity upon Israel, withdraws from the scene and retires to his own place in heaven, though the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. There, in that unapproachable ether, he is inaccessible to and beyond the reach of the guilty nation that knew not nor valued the former times of merciful visitation. One remedy, and only one, is left and that is found in penitence and prayer. Once they find out their guiltiness and humble themselves in repentance, they may hopefully seek his face and favor. Turning away from human help, and supplicating the gracious help of the Divine presence, they are encouraged by the prospect of relict' and revival; while the means to that end are, no doubt, painful, yet profitable. In the school of affliction they learnt penitence and were brought to their knees in prayer.

Hosea 5:14No help is to be expected from Assyria, because the Lord will punish His people. Hosea 5:14. "For I am like a lion to Ephraim, and like the young lion to the house of Judah: I, I tear in pieces, and go; I carry away, and there is no deliverer. Hosea 5:15. "I go, return to my place, till they repent and shall seek my face. In their affliction they will seek me early." For the figure of the lion, which seizes its prey, and tears it in pieces without deliverance, see Hosea 13:7 and Isaiah 5:29. אשּׂא denotes the carrying away of booty, as in 1 Samuel 17:34. For the fact itself, compare Deuteronomy 32:39. The first clause of Hosea 5:15 is still to be interpreted from the figure of the lion. As the lion withdraws into its cave, so will the Lord withdraw into His own place, viz., heaven, and deprive the Israelites of His gracious, helpful presence, until they repent, i.e., not only feel themselves guilty, but feel the guilt by bearing the punishment. Suffering punishment awakens the need of mercy, and impels them to seek the face of the Lord. The expression, "in the distress to them," recals בּצּר לך in Deuteronomy 4:30. Shichēr is to be taken as a denom. of shachar, the morning dawn (Hosea 6:3), in the sense of early, i.e., zealously, urgently, as the play upon the word כּשׁחר in Hosea 6:3 unmistakeably shows. For the fact itself, compare Hosea 2:9 and Deuteronomy 4:29-30.
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