Though he be fruitful among his brothers, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness…
This and the following verse set forth the devastation and destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes which was to precede the deliverance promised in that which precedes.
I. Reverses in human fortune are SOMETIMES VERY STRIKING. Ephraim was "fruitful among his brethren." The very name signifies fruitful ness. Its territory was most fertile; its people the most numerous.
1. Its riches would give way to poverty. Ephraim was at once a rich and a populous tribe; but see the change predicted: "His spring shall become dry He shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels." The enemy would invade the country, impoverish husbandry, check merchandise.
2. Its populousness would give way to paucity. The enemy would reduce its numbers, and almost depopulate it. Such reverses are frequent. They teach us to hold all worldly good with a light hand, and to settle our interests on the good that is permanent.
II. REVERSES ARE GENERALLY BROUGHT ABOUT BY SECONDARY INSTRUMENTALITY. Nations, communities, and individuals may always trace their calamities to certain natural causes. This should teach us to study natural laws, and to be diligent in checking all elements inimical to human progress.
III. REVERSES ARE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF GOD. The change in the fortunes of Ephraim was under the superintendence of the Almighty. Both true philosophy and religion teach us to trace all the events of life to God. Learn to acquiesce in His dispensations, and to look to Him for all that is good.
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.