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God Accuses Israel


Hear the word of the L ord, O people of Israel;

for the L ord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.

There is no faithfulness or loyalty,

and no knowledge of God in the land.


Swearing, lying, and murder,

and stealing and adultery break out;

bloodshed follows bloodshed.


Therefore the land mourns,

and all who live in it languish;

together with the wild animals

and the birds of the air,

even the fish of the sea are perishing.



Yet let no one contend,

and let none accuse,

for with you is my contention, O priest.


You shall stumble by day;

the prophet also shall stumble with you by night,

and I will destroy your mother.


My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I also will forget your children.



The more they increased,

the more they sinned against me;

they changed their glory into shame.


They feed on the sin of my people;

they are greedy for their iniquity.


And it shall be like people, like priest;

I will punish them for their ways,

and repay them for their deeds.


They shall eat, but not be satisfied;

they shall play the whore, but not multiply;

because they have forsaken the L ord

to devote themselves to 11whoredom.


The Idolatry of Israel

Wine and new wine

take away the understanding.


My people consult a piece of wood,

and their divining rod gives them oracles.

For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,

and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.


They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,

and make offerings upon the hills,

under oak, poplar, and terebinth,

because their shade is good.


Therefore your daughters play the whore,

and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.


I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,

nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery;

for the men themselves go aside with whores,

and sacrifice with temple prostitutes;

thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.



Though you play the whore, O Israel,

do not let Judah become guilty.

Do not enter into Gilgal,

or go up to Beth-aven,

and do not swear, “As the L ord lives.”


Like a stubborn heifer,

Israel is stubborn;

can the L ord now feed them

like a lamb in a broad pasture?



Ephraim is joined to idols—

let him alone.


When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;

they love lewdness more than their glory.


A wind has wrapped them in its wings,

and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.


Here the Prophet amplifies the wickedness and impiety of the people, by adding this circumstance, that they the more perversely wantoned against God, the more bountiful he was to them, yea, when he poured upon them riches in full exuberance. Such a complaint we have before noticed: but the Prophets, we know, did not speak only once of the same thing; when they saw that they effected nothing, that the contempt of God still prevailed, they found it necessary to repeat often what they had previously said. Here then the Prophet accuses the Israelites of having shamefully abused the indulgence of God, of having allowed themselves greater liberty in sinning, when God so kindly and liberally dealt with them.

Some confine this to the priests, and think the meaning to be, that they sinned more against God since he increased the Levitical tribe and added to their wealth: but the Prophet, I doubt not, meant to include the whole people. He, indeed, in the last verse, separated the crimes of the priests from those of the people, though in the beginning he advanced a general propositions: he now returns to that statement, which is, that all, from the highest to the lowest, acted impiously and wickedly against God. Now we know that the Israelites had increased in number as well as in wealth; for they were prosperous, as it has been stated, under the second Jeroboam; and thought themselves then extremely happy, because they were filled with every abundance. Hence God shows now that they had become worse and less excusable, for they were grown thus wanton, like a horse well-fed, when he kicks against his own master, — a comparison which even Moses uses in his song, (Deuteronomy 32:15.) We now see what the Prophet means. Hence, when he says כרובם, carubem, according to their multiplying, I explain this not simply of men nor of wealth, but of every kind of blessing: for the Lord here, in a word, accuses the people of ingratitude, because the more kind and liberal he was to them, the more obstinately bent they were on sinning.

He afterwards subjoins, Their glory will I turn to shame. He here denounces God’s judgment on proud men, which they feared not: for men, we know, are blinded by prosperity. And it is the worst kind of drunkenness, when we seem to ourselves to be happy; for then we allow ourselves every thing that is contrary to God, and are deaf to all instruction, and are, in short, wholly intractable. But the Prophet says, I will commute this glory into shame, which means, “There is no reason for them to trust in themselves, and foolishly to impose on themselves, by fixing their eyes on their present splendor; for it is in my power,” the Lord says, “to change their glory.” We then see that the Prophet meant here to shake off from the Israelites their vain confidence; for they were wont to set up against God their riches, their glory, their power, their horses and chariots. “This is your glorying; but in my hand and power is adversity and prosperity; yea,” the Lord says, “on me alone depends the changing of glory into shame.” But at the same time, the Prophet intimates, that it could not be that God would thus prostitute his blessings to unworthy men as to swine: for it is a kind of profanation, when men are thus proud against God, while he bears with them, while he spares them. This combination then applies to all who abuse God’s kindness; for the Lord intends not that his favor should be thus profaned. It follows —

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