Hosea 4:16. For Israel slideth back, &c. As if the Lord had said, As for Israel, I give him up to a reprobate mind. And now the discourse passes naturally into the detail and amplification of Israel’s guilt. Bishop Horsley renders this clause, Truly Israel is rebellious like an unruly heifer; observing, “I restore the rendering of the Bishops’ Bible, and the English Geneva.” Certainly the word סררה , here used, properly means headstrong, untractable, or refractory, and describes a heifer, “indocili jugum collo ferens,” untamed to the yoke, which she will neither bear, nor be confined in her allowed pasture. Now the Lord will feed them as a lamb Or sheep, solitary, timid, defenceless, and exposed to various beasts of prey; in a large place That is, “In an unenclosed place, a wide common. They shall no longer be fed with care in the rich enclosures of God’s cultivated farm, but be turned to browse the scanty herbage of the waste. That is, they shall be driven into exile among the heathen, freed from what they thought the restraints, and of consequence deprived of all the blessings and benefits of religion. This dreadful menace is delivered in the form of severe derision; a figure much used by the prophets, especially by Hosea. Sheep love to feed at large. The sheep of Ephraim shall presently have room enough. They shall be scattered over the whole surface of the vast Assyrian empire, where they will be at liberty to turn very heathen. It is remarkable, however, that it is said that even in this state, Jehovah will feed them. They are still, in their utmost humiliation, an object of his care.” Horsley.
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