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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Hosea 5:13

Commentary On Hosea by Jean Calvin

Hosea 5:13

13. When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.

13. Et vidit Ephraim dolorem suum (morbum suum potius,) et Jehudah vulnus suum: profectus wst Ephraim ad Assur, et misit ad regem Jareb: ipse tamen non potuit mederi vobis, et non sanabit a vobis vulnus (dicunt Hebraei, sanare ab aliquo vulnus pro auferre vulnus: potius Latine dicendum est, non sanabit vos a plaga.)

Here the Lord complains that he had in vain chastised the Israelites by the usual means, for they thought that they had remedies ready for themselves, and turned their minds to vain hopes. This is usually done by most men; for when the Lord deals mildly with us, we perceive not his hand, but think that what evils happen to us come by chance. Then, as if we had nothing to do with God, we seek remedies, and turn our minds and thoughts to other quarters. This then is what God now reproves in the Jews and the Israelites: Ephraim, he says, saw his disease, and Judah his wound What then did he do? Ephraim went to Assyria, he says, and sent to king Jareb, that is, |They returned not to me, but thought that they had remedies in their own hand; and thus vain became the labour which I have taken to correct them.| This is the meaning.

He says that Ephraim had seen his disease, and Judah his wound: but it is not right so to take this, as if they well considered the causes of these; for the ungodly are blind to the causes of evils, and only attend to their present grief. They are like intemperate men, who, when disease seizes them, feel heat, feel pain in the head, and other symptoms, at the same time there is no concern for the disease, neither do they inquire how they procured these pains for themselves, that they might seek fit remedies.

So Ephraim knew his disease, but at the same time overlooked the cause of his disease, and was only affected by his present pain. So also Judah knew his wound; but he understood not that he was struck and wounded by the hand of God; but was only affected with his pain, like brute beasts who feel the stroke and sigh, while they have, in the meantime, neither reason nor judgment to understand whence, or for what cause the evil has come to them. In a word, the Prophet here condemns this brutish stupidity in both people; for they did not so far profit under God's rod as to return to him, but, on the contrary, they sought other remedies; because stupor had taken such hold on their minds, that they did not consider that they were chastised by God, and that this was done for just reasons. As then no such thing came to their mind, but they only felt themselves ill and grieved as brutes do, they went to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb.

The Prophet seems here to inveigh only against the ten tribes; but though he expressly speaks of the kingdom of Israel, there is no doubt but that he accused also the Jews in common with them. Why then does he name only Ephraim? Even because the beginning of this evil commenced in the kingdom of Israel: for they were the first who went to the king of Assur, that they might, by his help, resist their neighbors, the Syrians: the Jews afterwards followed their example. Since then the Israelites afforded a precedent to the Jews to send for aids of this kind, the Prophet expressly confines his discourse to them. But there is no doubt, as I have already said, but that the accusation was common.

We now perceive what the Prophet meant: Ephraim, he says, saw his disease, and Judah his wound; that is, |Though I have, like a moth and a worm, consumed the kingdom of Israel as well as the kingdom of Judah, and they have felt themselves to be, as it were, decaying, and though their disease ought to have led them to repentance, they have yet turned their thoughts elsewhere; they have even supposed that they could be made whole by seeking a remedy either from the Assyrians or some others: thus it happened that they hastened to Assyria, and sought help from king Jareb.| We then see, in short, that the stupidity and hardness of the people are here reproved, because they were not turned by these evils to repentance.

Some think Jareb to have been a city in Assyria; but there is no ground for this conjecture. Others suppose that Jareb was a neighboring king to the Assyrian, and was sent to when the Assyrian, from a friend and a confederate, became an enemy, and invaded the kingdom of Israel; but this conjecture also has no solid grounds. It may have been the proper name of a man, and I prefer so to take it. For it seemed not necessary for the Prophet to speak here of many auxiliaries; but after the manner of the Hebrews, he repeats the same thing twice. Some render it, |to revenge;| because they sent for that king, even the Assyrian, as a revenger. But this exposition also is forced. More simple appears to me what I have already said, that they sent for the Assyrian, that is, for king Jareb.

Then it follows, Yet could he not heal you, nor will he cure you of your wound Here God declares that whatever the Israelites might seek would be in vain. |Ye think,| he says, |that you can escape my hand by these remedies; but your folly will at length betray itself, for he will avail you nothing; that is, king Jareb will not heal you.| In this clause the Prophet shows, that unless we immediately return to God, when he warns us by his scourges, it will be in vain for us to look here and there for remedies: for in this world many allurements come in our way; but when we hope for any relief, the Lord will at length show that we have been deluded. There is, then, but one remedy, -- to go directly to God; and this is what the Prophet means, and this is the application of the present doctrine. He had said before that Ephraim had felt his disease and Judah his wounds; that is, |I have led them thus far, that they have acknowledged themselves to be ill; but they have not gone on as they ought to have done, so as to return to me: on the contrary, they have turned aside to king Jareb and to other delusions.| Then it follows, |But these remedies have turned ant rather for harm to you; they certainly have not profited you.| A confirmation of this sentence follows --

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