Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Israel. God divided the kingdom, that by this chastisement the people might be converted. But Jeroboam set up calves, and caused them to grow worse. (Worthington) — How often did God send his prophets to reclaim them! — Without. Most of the kings were of this stamp, while foreign nations invaded the land.
Ver. 2. Face. I do not search (Calmet) into their past lives; they sin publicly, and without ceasing. I have been too indulgent. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Glad, &c. To please Jeroboam and their other kings, they have given themselves up to the worship of idols, which are mere falsehood and lies. (Challoner) — We do not find one good king of Israel. (Calmet) — But Jeroboam principally caused Israel to sin. (Haydock) — His infernal policy changed the religion of his subjects.
Ver. 4. Leaven. Jeroboam invited the people simply to a feast, and used no violence to make them adopt his novelties. But they soon prevailed, and brought on ruin. The cake, or whole nation, was burnt, (ver. 8.) as well as the princes, ver. 7. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Princes. The chief men joined in the schism and idolatry. (Worthington) — Mad, with drinking at the king’s coronation, or at his coming to the crown. (Calmet) — Bacchus presents three cups to the wise; the fourth is the cup of petulance, the fifth of shouts, the sixth of debauchery, &c. (Athen. Dipsc. ii. 1.) (Ecclesiasticus xxxi. 38.) — Scorners. Septuagint, “pestilent people,” who turn religion and piety to ridicule. Instead of repressing them, the king admits them to favour.
Ver. 6. Them. Jeroboam seduces the subjects of the house of David, by indulging the passions of the great and small. He may then sleep; the poison gains ground. (Calmet) — But soon his own family will feel the direful effects of his policy. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Judges, or rulers. Idolatry proved fatal to all, ver. 3.
Ver. 8. Mixed, like oil and flour. (Hebrew) — Ashes. Thin cakes (Calmet) of this kind are used by the poor, in Spain, (Sanctius) and by the Arabs. (Thevenot. Levant. xxxii.) — Turned. There was no time allowed by the enemy, who came and took the Israelites away. (Calmet) — They became like other nations, and would not repent. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Strangers: kings of Assyria, Damascus, &c. — Hairs. He is grown old in misery, and yet is insensible of it, and sees not that he will shortly cease to be a people, Isaias vii. 8.
Ver. 10. Humbled. Hebrew, “answer,” chap. v. 5. Pride is visible on his face, though he be so much reduced. (Calmet) — For all these sins Israel shall be severely punished. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Decoyed. Hebrew, “stupid,” chap. iv. 11. The dove is the only bird which is not grieved at the loss of its young. (St. Jerome) — It returns to the same nest, though repeatedly robbed, forgetting past dangers. (Theodoret) — Thus Israel is not reclaimed, though idolatry has so often proved its ruin. — Egypt. Jeroboam had returned thither, and at his return brought about a division of the kingdom, 3 Kings xi. 40. Osee, the last king, applied to Sua, and this provoked the Assyrians to destroy the kingdom. They pretended that it was tributary to them, after Phul had been invited to assist Manahem for a thousand talents, 4 Kings xv. 19., and xvii. 4. Thus was a worldly policy confounded.
Ver. 12. Heard the menaces of Moses, (Deuteronomy xxvii.) and of the prophets, 4 Kings xxvii. 13. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “I will instruct (or chastise) them by the hearing of their misery,” (Haydock) when it shall become the subject of conversation throughout the world.
Ver. 13. Lies, attributing their deliverance to the golden calf, (3 Kings xii. 28.; Calmet; Exodus xxxii. 8.; Menochius) and always denying my justice or power.
Ver. 14. Thought: “ruminated.” (Haydock) — Hebrew, “assembled, or been afraid.” Septuagint, “they were cut,” (Calmet) in honour of idols, hoping to avert the famine. (St. Cyril)
Ver. 15. Arms. I gave them my laws and power to resist the enemy. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Returned, imitating Apis, the folly of Egypt. They have repeatedly followed idols in Egypt, and in the desert, under Jeroboam, Achab, Jehu, &c. — Deceitful. Septuagint, “bent.” Theodoret reads, “unbent.” It never hits the mark, (Calmet) but wounds the person who uses it. (St. Jerome) — Derision. The Egyptians laugh at them; (Calmet) or thus they acted heretofore, in Egypt. (Chaldean)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The manifold sins of Israel, and of their kings, hinder the Lord from healing them.
1 When I would have healed Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria, for they have committed falsehood, and the thief is come in to steal, the robber is without.
2 And lest they may say in their hearts, that I remember all their wickedness: their own devices now have beset them about, they have been done before my face.
3 They have made the king glad with their wickedness: and the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers, like an oven heated by the baker: the city rested a little from the mingling of the leaven, till the whole was leavened.
5 The day of our king, the princes began to be mad with wine: he stretched out his hand with scorners.
6 Because they have applied their heart like an oven, when he laid snares for them: he slept all the night baking them, in the morning he himself was heated as a flaming fire.
7 They were all heated like an oven, and have devoured their judges: all their kings have fallen: there is none amongst them that calleth unto me.
8 Ephraim himself is mixed among the nations: Ephraim is become as bread baked under the ashes, that is not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knew it not: yea, grey hairs also are spread about upon him, and he is ignorant of it.
10 And the pride of Israel shall be humbled before his face: and they have not returned to the Lord, their God, nor have they sought him in all these.
11 And Ephraim is become as a dove that is decoyed, not having a heart: they called upon Egypt, they went to the Assyrians.
12 And when they shall go, I will spread my net upon them: I will bring them down as the fowl of the air, I will strike them as their congregation hath heard.
13 Woe to them, for they have departed from me: they shall be wasted, because they have transgressed against me: and I redeemed them: and they have spoken lies against me.
14 And they have not cried to me with their heart, but they howled in their beds: they have thought upon wheat and wine, they are departed from me.
15 And I have chastised them, and strengthened their arms: and they have imagined evil against me.
16 They returned, that they might be without yoke: they became like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword, for the rage of their tongue. This is their derision in the land of Egypt.