a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Relentless Judgment on Israel


When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;

he was exalted in Israel;

but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.


And now they keep on sinning

and make a cast image for themselves,

idols of silver made according to their understanding,

all of them the work of artisans.

“Sacrifice to these,” they say.

People are kissing calves!


Therefore they shall be like the morning mist

or like the dew that goes away early,

like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor

or like smoke from a window.



Yet I have been the L ord your God

ever since the land of Egypt;

you know no God but me,

and besides me there is no savior.


It was I who fed you in the wilderness,

in the land of drought.


When I fed them, they were satisfied;

they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;

therefore they forgot me.


So I will become like a lion to them,

like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.


I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,

and will tear open the covering of their heart;

there I will devour them like a lion,

as a wild animal would mangle them.



I will destroy you, O Israel;

who can help you?


Where now is your king, that he may save you?

Where in all your cities are your rulers,

of whom you said,

“Give me a king and rulers”?


I gave you a king in my anger,

and I took him away in my wrath.



Ephraim’s iniquity is bound up;

his sin is kept in store.


The pangs of childbirth come for him,

but he is an unwise son;

for at the proper time he does not present himself

at the mouth of the womb.



Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?

Shall I redeem them from Death?

O Death, where are your plagues?

O Sheol, where is your destruction?

Compassion is hidden from my eyes.



Although he may flourish among rushes,

the east wind shall come, a blast from the L ord,

rising from the wilderness;

and his fountain shall dry up,

his spring shall be parched.

It shall strip his treasury

of every precious thing.


Samaria shall bear her guilt,

because she has rebelled against her God;

they shall fall by the sword,

their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,

and their pregnant women ripped open.


But he afterwards adds, I will rend, or will tear, the inclosure of their heart. They who understand the enclosure of the heart to be their obstinate hardness, seem to refine too much on the words of the Prophet. We know, indeed, that the Prophets sometimes use this mode of speaking; for they call that a hard heart, or a heart covered with fatness, which is not pliant, and does not willingly receive sound doctrine. But the Prophet rather alludes to the savageness of the bear, when he says, I will rend or tear in pieces the membrane of the heart, and will devour you as a lion. For it is the most cruel kind of death, when the lion with his claws and teeth aims at the heart itself and tears the bowels of man. The Prophet therefore intended to set forth this most cruel kind of death. “I will therefore,” he says, “tear asunder the pericardium, or the enclosure of the heart.” I do not at the same time say, that the Prophet does not allude to the hardness of the people, while he retains his own similitude.

And the beast of the field shall rend them He speaks now without a similitude; for God means that all the wild beasts would be his ministers to execute his judgement. “I will then send all the beasts of the field to rend and tear them, so that nothing among them shall remain safe.” We now see the purport of this passage, and to what use it ought to be applied. If we are by nature so slothful, yea, and careless, and when God does not stir us up, we indulge our own delusions, we ought to notice those figurative representations which tend to shake off from us our tardiness and show to us how dreadful the judgement of God is. For the same purpose are those metaphors respecting the eternal fire and the worm that never dies. For Gods seeing the feelings of men to be so torpid has in Scripture applied those things which may correct their sluggishness. Whenever then God puts on a character not his own, let us know that it is through our fault; for we suffer him not to deal with us according to his own nature, inasmuch as we are intractable. Let us go on —

VIEWNAME is study