13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, 1 is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.
13. Ephraim, sicut vidi in Tyro plantatam (subaudi arborem) in habitaculo: Ephraim tamen ad educendum (hoc est, educet) ad excidium (vel, mactationem) filios suos.
Hosea here confirms his previous statements that the Israelites in vain trusted in their present condition, for the Lord could reverse their prosperity whenever it pleased him. Men, we know, harden themselves in their vices, when they enjoy their wishes and when they are sunk in pleasures; for prosperity is not without reason often compared to wine, because it inebriates men; nay, rather it dementates them. We see what happened to the Sodomites and to others; yea, the abuse of God's forbearance has ever been the cause of destruction to almost all the reprobate, as Paul also says. Such pride reigned in the people of Israel, that they heedlessly despised all threatening, as it has been already often stated. To this then the Prophet refers when he says,
Some render this place thus, "I have seen Ephraim planted like Tyrus;" and they render the next word,
The meaning is, that Ephraim was like tender trees, preserved by men with great care and with much expense; but that they should hereafter bring forth their children for the slaughter. This bringing forth is set in opposition to the house or dwelling. They had been kept without danger from the cold and heat, like a tender tree under cover; but they would be constrained to draw forth their children to the slaughter; that is, there would be no longer any dwelling for them to protect them from the violence of their enemies, but that they would be drawn forth to the light.
We now see that the words harmonise well with the view, that the people of Israel in vain flattered themselves because they had hitherto been subject to no evils, and that God had preserved them free from calamity. There is no reason, the Prophet says, for the people to be proud, because they had been hitherto so indulgently treated; for though they had been like tender trees, they would yet be forced to draw forth their children to be killed. And this comparison, which he amplifies, is what often occurs in Scripture. 'If Jehoiakim were as a ring on my right hand, saith the Lord, I would pluck him thence. 2 Men are wont to abuse even the promises of God. As king Jehoiakim was of the posterity of David, he thought it impossible that hid enemies could ever deprive him of his kingdom; "But it shall not be so; for though he were as a ring on my hand, I would pluck him thence." So also in this place; "Though the Israelites had been hitherto brought up in my bosom, and though I have kindly given them all kinds of blessings, and though they have been like tender trees, yet their condition hereafter shall be entirely different." Then it follows --
1 Both Horsley and Newcome render 'tyrus,' 'a rock,' and are countenanced by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion; and the Septuagint give not the word 'Tyrus.' But there is a difficulty in this case to fix any meaning to the words rendered in our version, 'as I saw;' and all here have failed to give any satisfaction. Hence the rendering of our translators, and of Calvin, seems on the whole to be the best. And as to the idea of a tree put under cover, it comports well with the passage: only to suppose 'tree' understood seems not necessary: for the word rendered 'planted' is in my view a noun, and means a plant. The verse may be thus translated: --
'Ephraim is, according to what I have seen at Tyrus,
A plant in the house:
Yet Ephraim is to bring forth
to the slayer his children.' --Ed.