8. 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. From me is thy fruit found.
8. Ephraim, quid mihi adhuc cum idolis? 1 Ego respondi et respexi eum (vel, exaudivi:) Ego tanquam abies frondosa: a me fructus tuus inventus est.
The Prophet again introduces the Israelites speaking as before, that they would deplore their blindness and folly, and renounce in future their superstitions. The confession then which we have before noticed is here repeated; and it is a testimony of true repentance when men, being ashamed, are displeased with themselves on account of their sins, and apply their minds to God's service, and detest their whole former life. To this subject belongs what the Prophet now says. It is a concise discourse; but yet its brevity contains nothing obscure.
The reason follows, because God will hear and look on Israel, so as to become to him a shady tree. Some so explain this, as though God promised to be propitious to Israel after they had manifested their repentance. But they pervert the sense of the Prophet; for, on the contrary, he says, that after the Israelites shall perceive, and find even by the effect, that God is propitious to them, they will then say, "How foolish and mad we were, while we followed idols? It is now then time that our souls should recumb on God." Why? "Because we see that there is nothing better for us than to live under his safeguard and protection; for he hears us, he regards us, he is to us like a shady tree, so that he protects us under his shadow." We now perceive how these two clauses are connected together; for God shows the reason why Ephraim will renounce his idols because he will perceive that he was miserably deceived as long as he wandered after his idols. How will he perceive this? Because he will see that he is now favoured by the Lord, and that he was before destitute of his help. When God then shall give such a proof to his people, he will at the same time produce this effect, that they will cast away all false confidences, and confess that they were miserable and wretched while they were attached to idols. He therefore says,
1 Horsley renders the first clause thus, -- "Ephraim! What have I to do any more with idols?" He considers it "the exultation of Jehovah over idols;" but the expression is so strange, taken in this sense, that the opinion cannot be entertained. It is doubtless the confession of Ephraim, as most commentators regard it. Newcome's emendation, founded only on the Septuagint, is no less admissible, -- "What hath Ephraim to do any more with idols?" He changes