Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Reward, or “present.” The kings took the tithe, 1 Kings viii. 15. Other infidel nations rejoice in their wealth. Israel ought not to do so; and, in punishment of idolatry, it shall be despoiled. After Jeroboam II, all went to ruin.
Ver. 2. Deceive. The grapes shall yield no wine. (Calmet) — Spem mentita seges. (Horace ii. ep. 2. and 3. ode 1. and 16.)
Ver. 3. Egypt, through distress, chap viii. 13. (St. Jerome, ver. 6.) (Worthington) — Sua afforded no protection, and the country proved a grave to those who retired thither. — Unclean. The people observed these prescriptions, though they neglected the more important duties. Only some pious souls, like Tobias, Daniel, &c., refrained from such meats in exile. (Calmet) — Ezechiel (iv. 9.) foreshewed this by his bread. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 4. Wine. They shall be at a distance from the temple, and in a country where the wine will not be deemed pure. The Jews will drink none which they have not made; and they usually lift up the cup, and pour out a little in God’s honour. This they could not do in Assyria, (Calmet) not having liberty to do all about the wine. — Sacrifices. The Israelites had long neglected to offer any in the temple, (Haydock) though they had no hindrance. In exile, the fruits, &c., were all accounted unclean, like meats used in mourning, (Calmet) which defiled those who partook of them, Deuteronomy xxvi. 14., and Numbers xix. 11. “The sacrifices of heretics are the bread of mourning. They offer them not to God, but to the dead, to wicked heresiarchs.” (St. Jerome) — Soul. They have need enough of it. (Haydock) — “Let them gratify their appetite; I love not what is unclean.” (St. Jerome)
Ver. 5. Lord, when he shall punish you, Isaias xxxiv. 6. (Haydock) — Israel did not go to the temple, but they kept the festivals and banquets in their own manner, the privation of which they would feel.
Ver. 6. Gather into the grave. Yet some shall escape, chap. xi. 11. — Silver, which they have buried at the approach of the enemy, hoping to recover it when they should depart. The Arabs do so still, (Calmet) and the Indians likewise, that they may have something to support them in the next world! (Bernier) — Bur. Hebrew, “thorns.” (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Mad. Israel shall promise itself all prosperity, not being inspired by God, but full of madness. (Worthington) — There were many false prophets. The true ones were often accounted fools, 4 Kings ix. 11., and Ezechiel iii. 25. (Calmet) — “What is said respecting Israel, in this prophet, must be understood of heretics, who being truly mad, utter falsehoods against God.” (St. Jerome) — Septuagint, “and Israel shall be hurt like the prophet beside himself, the man having (or hurried away by) the spirit.” (Haydock)
Ver. 8. My God. I am such; but the false prophets strive to seduce you. (Calmet) — Jeroboam ought to have restrained the people, and he did the reverse, setting up a calf at Bethel, which proved more ruinous than the crime of Gabaa, (Judges xix.) or the election of Saul. “In ancient records, I cannot find that any have divided the Church but those who were appointed by God, priests and prophets, that is watchmen.” (St. Jerome) — Indeed, almost all heresies owe their rise to the pride or lust of some who have been in high stations. — Madness. Hebrew, “and hatred in (marginal note: against) the,” &c. (Protestants) (Haydock) — Instead of standing up for the people, he provokes God.
Ver. 9. Sin. As they have imitated the citizens of Gabaa, they may expect a similar fate. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Top. These are the best. (Haydock) — The patriarchs were pleasing to God. He chose the Hebrews; but they began to worship Beelphegor or Adonis, even before the death of Moses. This worship was most shameful. What will not passion do when the gods shew the example!
Ver. 11. Conception. Their children, in whom they glory, shall be destroyed (Calmet) in the very embryo. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. When. Septuagint Theodotion, “my flesh is taken from them,” which Theodoret, Lyranus, &c., explain of the incarnation; but Aquila, &c., agree with the Vulgate which is more natural. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Tyre. The kingdom of Israel was no less proud, Ezechiel xxvi. (Worthington) — It was in the highest prosperity under Jeroboam II. Osee saw this and the subsequent overthrow. Tyre was a most populous and wealthy city. (Calmet) — Other interpreters have, “a rock;” Septuagint, “a prey.” The latter read d for r. (St. Jerome) (Haydock) — The Vulgate seems best. (Calmet) — Tsor denotes, “Tyre and a rock.” (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Children, as they have exposed them to the fury of the Assyrians, (Calmet) or to their idols. (Drusius) — The prophet appears to demand vengeance through zeal; but it is only a prediction. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Galgal: “heaped together.” (Haydock) — When they erected profane altars here, I could spare them no longer. (Calmet) — No more, so as to suffer them to pass unpunished. (Haydock) — He afterwards restored them to favour, chap. i. 10., and ii. 14. (Calmet) — At Galgal they rejected the Lord’s spiritual and temporal dominion. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Dried up. They are compared to a vine, chap. x. 1. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The distress and captivity of Israel for their sins and idolatry.
1 Rejoice not, O Israel: rejoice not as the nations do: for thou hast committed fornication against thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every corn-floor.
2 The floor and the wine-press shall not feed them, and the wine shall deceive them.
3 They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land: Ephraim is returned to Egypt, and hath eaten unclean things among the Assyrians.
4 They shall not offer wine to the Lord, neither shall they please him: their sacrifices shall be like the bread of mourners: all that shall eat it shall be defiled: for their bread is life for their soul, it shall not enter into the house of the Lord.
5 What will you do in the solemn day, in the day of the feast of the Lord?
6 For behold they are gone, because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them together, Memphis shall bury them: nettles shall inherit their beloved silver, the bur shall be in their tabernacles.
7 The days of visitation are come, the days of repaying are come: know ye, O Israel, that the prophet was foolish, the spiritual man was mad, for the multitude of thy iniquity, and the multitude of thy madness.
8 The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: the prophet is become a snare of ruin upon all his ways, madness is in the house of his God.
9 *They have sinned deeply, as in the days of Gabaa: he will remember their iniquity, and will visit their sin.
10 I found Israel like grapes in the desert: I saw their fathers like the first-fruits of the fig-tree in the top thereof: but they went in to Beelphegor, and alienated themselves to that confusion, and became abominable, as those things were, which they loved.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory hath flown away, like a bird from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.
12 And though they should bring up their children, I will make them without children among men: yea, and woe to them, when I shall depart from them.
13 Ephraim, as I saw, was a Tyre, founded in beauty: and Ephraim shall bring out his children to the murderer.
14 Give them, O Lord. What wilt thou give them? Give them a womb without children, and dry breasts.
15 *All their wickedness is in Galgal, for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their devices I will cast them forth out of my house: I will love them no more, all their princes are revolters.
16 Ephraim is struck, their root is dried up, they shall yield no fruit. And if they should have issue, I will slay the best beloved fruit of their womb.
17 My God will cast them away, because they hearkened not to him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
9: Judges xix. 25.
15: 1 Kings viii. 5.