The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.…
I. A PEOPLE IS A COMMUNITY THAT ARE MOST FAVOURED WITH PRIVILEGES ARE OFTENTIMES THE MOST SINFUL. Ephraim was not only one of the largest, but one of the most favoured of the Jewish tribes. He descended from Joseph, the highly favoured of God. He received the benediction from the lips of Jacob; and yet this tribe was so prominent in the rebellion that it stands as the representative of the ten rebellious tribes. Two of its sins are referred to here.
1. Cowardice in battle (ver. 9). They had weapons for battle, but they had not the patriotic bravery to use them.
2. Disobedience to God (ver. 10).
II. GOD WORKS SPECIALLY IN HUMAN HISTORY FOR MAN'S ADVANTAGE (vers. 11, 12).
III. HIS SPECIAL WORKINGS ON BEHALF OF MAN, WHILST THEY SHOULD DETER FROM SIN, FREQUENTLY FAIL OF THIS PURPOSE (ver. 17). "When God," says an old author on this verse, "began thus to bless them, they began to affront Him." As sin sometimes takes occasion by the commandment, so at other times it takes occasion by the deliverance, to become more exceedingly sinful.
Parallel VersesKJV: The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.