Lecture Fourteenth

Hosea 5:5

5. And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.

5. Et respondebit (vel, testificabitur superbia Israel ad faciem ejus: Israel ergo et Ephraim concident in sua iniquitate; concidet etiam Jehudah cum ipsis.


The Prophet having condemned the Israelites on two accounts -- for having departed from the true God -- and for having obstinately refused every instruction, now adds, that God's vengeance was nigh at hand. "Testify then shall the pride of Israel in his face"; that is, Israel shall find what it is thus to resist God and his Prophets. The Prophet no doubt applies the word, pride, to their contempt of instruction, because they were so swollen with vain confidence, as to think that wrong was done them whenever the Prophets reproved them. It must at the same time be observed, that they were thus refractory, because they were like persons inebriated with their own pleasures; for we know that while men enjoy prosperity, they are more insolent, according to that old proverb, "Satiety begets ferocity."

Some think that the verb hne, one, means here "to be humbled;" and this sense is not unsuitable: "The pride of Israel shall then be humbled before his face." But another exposition has been most approved; I am therefore inclined to embrace it, and that is, that God needed no other witness to convict Israel than their own pride; and we know that when any one becomes hardened, he thinks that there is to be no judgment, and has no thought of rendering an account to God, for his pride takes away every fear. For this reason the Prophet says, "God will convict you, because ye have been hitherto so proud, that he could effect nothing by his warnings."

But he adds, Israel and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity. He pursues the same subject, which is, that they in vain promised impunity to themselves, for the Lord had now resolved to punish them. He adds, Judah also shall fall with them. The Prophet may seem to contradict himself; for when he before threatened the people of Israel, he spoke of the safety of Judah, -- 'Judah shall be saved by his God, not by the sword, nor by the bow.' Since then the Prophet had before distinguished or made a difference between the ten tribes and the kingdom of Judah, how is it that he now puts them all together without any distinction? To this I answer, that the Prophet speaks here not of those Jews who continued in true and pure religion, but of those who had with the Israelites alienated themselves from the only true God, and joined in their superstitions. He then refers here to the degenerate and not to the faithful Jews; for to all who worshipped God aright, salvation had been already promised. But as many as had abandoned themselves to the common superstitions, he declares that a common punishment was nigh them all. The Jews then shall fall together, that is, "As many of the Jews as have followed impious forms of worship and other deprivations, shall not escape God's judgment." We now then perceive the true meaning of the Prophet. It now follows --