Hosea 13:15, 16
Though he be fruitful among his brothers, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness…
The end of the kingdom is first described in expressive figure; it is then foretold in plain terms, which give a fearful idea of its horrors.
I. THE FIGURE ANSWERS TO THE FACTS. (Ver. 15.) Ephraim was as a fruitful tree among his brethren. But:
1. The east wind would blight him. To this answers the statement that Samaria would become desolate. Ephraim fed on wind, and pursued the east wind; now its hot, scorching breath was his destruction.
2. His spring would become dry. To this answers the statement that mothers and children would be destroyed. These were the spring, the fountains of his fruitfulness. He would be dried up at his roots. The hope of revival through offspring would be cut off from him.
3. His treasures of goodly vessels would be plundered. This leaves the image of the tree. It returns to realism. Plundering would succeed victory. We may apply to sin. It blights the soul; robs it of its bloom and fruitfulness; dries up the springs of its life, which are in God; despoils it of its costly treasures of goodness, truth, holiness, affection, etc.
II. THE FACT IS NOT LESS TERRIBLE THAN THE FIGURE. (Ver. 16.) We are apt, in reading figurative descriptions of the doom of the sinner - the worm, the fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth, etc. - to break their force to our minds by the secret reflection that they are "only figures." "Only figures." But the figures surely mean something. And is the reality likely to be less terrible than the figures of it? The verse before us should warn us against this delusion. We have in ver. 15 the figure; we have the reality in plain terms here. Which is the more awful? The naked description of what will happen to Samaria greatly surpasses in terribleness all the figures that are employed to image it. And what was predicted actually occurred. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.
WEB: Though he is fruitful among his brothers, an east wind will come, the breath of Yahweh coming up from the wilderness; and his spring will become dry, and his fountain will be dried up. He will plunder the storehouse of treasure.