Hosea 9:13
Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.
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(13) The LXX. suggest a doubt as to the validity of our text. They render “Ephraim, even as I saw, gave their children for a prey.” The reference to Tyre is very obscure. Some would render the Hebrew word for “meadow” by “resting-place,” and interpret, “I look on Ephraim even as I look on Tyre, planted in a sure resting-place.” The impregnable fortress of Tyre was a conspicuous object in the days of Hosea. Similarly Samaria was a stronghold which was able to resist prolonged sieges. (Comp. Isaiah’s graphic words: Isaiah 28:1-4, and Amos 6:1)—“Yet Ephraim shall bring forth sons to the murderer,” i.e., in the impending overthrow and massacre, 721 B.C.

9:11-17. God departs from a people, or from a person, when he withdraws his goodness and mercy from them; and when the Lord is departed, what can the creature do? Even though, for the present, good things seem to remain, yet the blessing is gone if God is gone. Even the children should perish with the parents. The Divine wrath dries up the root, and withers the fruit of all comforts; and the scattered Jews daily warn us to beware, lest we neglect or abuse the gospel. Yet every smiting is not a drying up of the root. It may be that God intends only to smite so that the sap may be turned to the root, that there may be more of root graces, more humility, patience, faith, and self-denial. It is very just that God should bring judgments on those who slight his offered mercy.Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place - Or (better) "as I saw (her) toward Tyre," or "as I saw as to Tyre." Ephraim stretched out, in her dependent tribes, "toward" or "to" Tyre itself. Like to Tyrus she was, "in her riches, her glory, her pleasantness, her strength, her pride," and in the end, her fall. The picture is that of a fair tree, not chance-sown, but "planted" carefully by hand in a pleasant place. Beauty and strength were blended in her. On the tribe of Joseph especially, Moses had pronounced the blessing; "Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep which coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moons (i. e., month by month) and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills and for the precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof, and for the good pleasure of Him who dwelt in the bush" Deuteronomy 33:13-16. Beautiful are the mountains of Ephraim, and the rich valleys or plains which break them. And chief in beauty and in strength was the valley, whose central hill its capital, Samaria, crowned; "the crown of pride to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine" Isaiah 28:1. The blessing of Moses pointed perhaps to the time when Shiloh was the tabernacle of Him, who once dwelt and revealed Himself in the bush. Now that it had exchanged its God for the calves, the blessings which it still retained, stood but in the more awful contrast with its future.

But Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer - Literally, "and Ephraim is to bring forth etc." i. e., proud though her wealth, and high her state, pleasantly situated and firmly rooted, one thing lay before her, one destiny, she "was to bring forth children only for the murderer." Childlessness in God's providence is the appropriate and frequent punishment of sins of the flesh. Pride too brought Peninnah, the adversary of Hannah, low, even as to that which was the ground of her pride, her children. "The barren hath born seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble" 1 Samuel 2:5. So as to the soul, "pride deprives of grace."

13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus … in a pleasant place—that is, in looking towards Tyrus (on whose borders Ephraim lay) I saw Ephraim beautiful in situation like her (Eze 26:1-28:26).

is planted—as a fruitful tree; image suggested by the meaning of "Ephraim" (Ho 9:11).

bring forth his children to the murderer—(Ho 9:16; Ho 13:16). With all his fruitfulness, his children shall only be brought up to be slain.

Ephraim; the kingdom of Israel.

Tyrus; of which see Ezekiel 26 Eze 27 Ezekiel 28; a very rich, well-fortified, and pleasant city, and secure too, that afterward held out thirteen years’ siege against all the power of the Babylonian empire in Nebuchadnezzar’s time.

Is planted in a pleasant place; is now well provided, seems invincible, is as secure as Tyrus was in her prosperity; perhaps reckons either strength shall break the enemies, or money buy friends, or the magnificence and beauty of their places and dwellings shall be some safety to them; but all this shall avail nothing.

Shall bring forth his children to the murderer; though a multitude of children to send forth in mighty armies against the enemy, yet it will be but a sending them out to the slaughter: God is departed from them, and will not go out with their armies, so they shall fall by the sword of the enemy, as they needs must whom God doth not befriend in a war.

Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place,.... That is, either as the city of Tyre, a very famous city in Phoenicia, was situated in a very pleasant place by the sea, and abounded in wealth and riches, and was well fortified, and seemed secure from all danger, and from all enemies; so Ephraim or the ten tribes, the kingdom of Israel, were in like circumstances, equal to Tyre, as the Targum paraphrases it, in prosperity and plenty; yet as the prophet in the vision of prophecy saw that Tyre, notwithstanding all its advantages by power and wealth, by art and nature, would be destroyed, first by Nebuchadnezzar, and then by Alexander; so by the same prophetic spirit he saw that Ephraim or the ten tribes, notwithstanding their present prosperity, and the safety and security they thought themselves in, yet should be given up to ruin and destruction by the hand of the Assyrians; or it may be rendered thus, "Ephraim as", or "when I saw it, unto Tyre" (k); reaching unto that place, and bordering upon it, as part of the ten tribes did; I saw it, I observed it, took a survey of it, and I perceived it was "planted in a pleasant place"; like a tree planted in a fruitful soil, well rooted, and in a flourishing condition; so were they, abounding with all good things, and having a numerous offspring; from all which they promised themselves much happiness for ages to come:

but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer; to sacrifice them to Mo, as some; so the Targum,

"they of the house of Ephraim have sinned in slaying their children to the service of idols;''

with which Jarchi agrees; but rather the sense is, with Kimchi, and others, when their enemies shall come against them, as the Assyrian army, they shall go out with their sons to fight with them, and these shall be destroyed and murdered by them; it will be like leading lambs to the slaughter to be butchered and devoured by them.

(k) "quando vidi usque ad Tyrum", Schmidt.

Ephraim, as I saw {o} Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.

(o) As they kept tender plants in their houses in Tyrus to preserve them from the cold air of the sea, so was Ephraim at the first to me: but now I will give him to the slaughter.

13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, &c.] The passage is most obscure, and it is difficult to believe that Hosea meant what A.V. supposes. ‘As I look at Tyre’, would be better; but then it becomes difficult to extract a sense. Tyre is, in fact, very much out of place in a description of the fortunes of Ephraim; and it is a relief to find that it has been introduced by critics contrary to Hebrew usage, for Tyre is elsewhere spelt without a Vâv. How, too, can Ephraim be said to be planted, without any explanatory figurative words? The Sept. seems to have had a different text, ‘As for Ephraim, according as I see, they have set their sons for a prey’; and this seems preferable to the received text. The prophet sees in imagination the Ephraimites taken like wild beasts, and put to death by their cruel captors.

but Ephraim shall, &c.] Taking the passage as a contrast between Ephraim’s past glory and the dreadful fate impending over it. But if Hosea is throughout describing the judgment, render rather, and Ephraim shall (or better, must), &c.

Hosea 9:13The vanishing of the glory of Ephraim is carried out still further in what follows. Hosea 9:13. "Ephraim as I selected it for a Tyre planted in the valley; so shall Ephraim lead out its sons to the murderer. Hosea 9:14. Give them, O Jehovah: what shalt Thou give him? Give them a childless womb and dry breasts." In Hosea 9:13 Ephraim is the object to ראיתי (I have seen), but on account of the emphasis it is placed first, as in Hosea 9:11; and ראה with an accusative and ל dna evi signifies to select anything for a purpose, as in Genesis 22:8. The Lord had selected Ephraim for Himself to be a Tyre planted in the meadow, i.e., in a soil adapted for growth and prosperity, had intended for it the bloom and glory of the rich and powerful Tyre; but now, for its apostasy, He would give it up to desolation, and dedicate its sons, i.e., its people, to death by the sword. The commentators, for the most part, like the lxx, have overlooked this meaning of ראה, and therefore have not only been unable to explain letsōr (for a Tyre), but have been driven either to resort to alterations of the text, like letsūrâh, "after the form" (Ewald), or to arbitrary assumptions, e.g., that tsōr signifies "palm" after the Arabic (Arnold, Hitzig), or that letsōr means "as far as Tyre" (ל equals עד), in order to bring a more or less forced interpretation into the sentence. The Vav before 'Ephraim introduces the apodosis to כּאשׁר: "as I have selected Ephraim, so shall Ephraim lead out," etc. On the construction להוציא, see Ewald, 237, c. In Hosea 9:14 the threat rises into an appeal to God to execute the threatened punishment. The excited style of the language is indicated in the interpolated mah-titteen (what wilt Thou give?). The words do not contain an intercessory prayer on the part of the prophet, that God will not punish the people too severely but condemn them to barrenness rather than to the loss of the young men (Ewald), but are expressive of holy indignation at the deep corruption of the people.
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