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For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.
Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
Because Ephraim bath made many altars to sin, altars shall be upon him to sin.
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not : now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins ; they shall return to Egypt.
For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
They shall not dwell in the LORD's land ; but Ephtaim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him : and they shall be wanderers among the nation.
For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?
O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thy iniquity.
Take with you words, and turn to the LORD; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.
Ashur shall not save us : we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Yeare our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: far nine anger is turned away from them.
I will be as the dew unto Israel ; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine : the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall
say, What have I to do any more with idols ?. I have heard him, and observed him : I am like a green fir-tree : frein me is thy fruit found.
Who is wise, and he shall understand these things ? prulent, and he shall know them ? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them : but the transgressors shall fall therein.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
By these extracts from Hosea, who prophesied in the reigns of the kings, whose history has just been related, we may perceive why the Lord resolved to bring judgments on the land of Israel.
From the beginning of this Section we find, that they were warned not to go down to Egypt and Assyria for help: and that the great offence of the Israelites was worshipping idols, the golden calf in particular. The punishment threatened for these crimes appears perfectly just and proper forthose who had forsaken their MAKER.
In the latter part of this Section, the prophet calls on the people to repent and return to the Lord, and furnishes them with a prayer, very suitable to their necessities; he then, in the name of their all-merciful God, promises blessings to those who should be truly penitent; and under the emblem of a green flourishing figtree, foretells the reformation of Israel from idolatry, and their consequent prosperity.
The prophet concludes by saying, that whosoever is wise and prudent, that is, all those who are truly religious, and desirous of knowing the ways of the LORD, shall understand these things. Such persons (as the Psalmist says) will observe these things *. They will me. ditate on the mercies and judgments of God, that they may learn how to obtain the one, and to escape the other.
THE REIGN OF JOTHAM KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Kings, Chap. xv.—2 Chron. Chap. xxvii.
In the second year of Pekah, the son of Remaliah king of Israel, began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done, however he entered not into the temple of the Lord, and the people yet did corruptly.
Howbeit, the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still on the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD, and the wall of Ophel.
Moreover, he built cities in the mountains of Judah and in the forests he built castles and towers.
He fought also with the king of Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Animon pay unto him, both the second and third : So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God. * Psal. crii. 43.
(In those days the Lord began to send against Judalı Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.)
Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the book of the kings ofs Israel and Judah.
He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. By Jotham's doing right in the sight of the Lord we can only understand, that he kept from idolatry, and worshipped the LORD ; for he did not do much towards the reformation of his kingdom, his chief attention was given to the fortifying it, and subduing his enemies ; however in these things he proceeded agreeably to the will of the LORD; therefore he is ranked among the good kings of Judah.
THE BEGINNING OF THE REIGN OF AHAZ KING OF
From Isaiah, Chap. vii. In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.
And it was told the house of David saying, Syria i confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the high-way of the fuller's-field :
And say unto him, take heed, and be quiet ; fear not, neither be faint-hearted for the two tails of the smoaking fire-brands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Sy. ria, and of the son of Remaliah :
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal :
Thus saith the Lord God, It shallnot stand, neither shali it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin : and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, Burely ye shall not be established.
Moreover, the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God, ask it either in the depth or in the height above.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my
God also ? Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may
kpow to refuse the evil, and choose the good : for before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good; the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
The LORD shall bring upon thee and upon thy people and upon thy father's house, days that have not