Hosea 4:17-18. Ephraim, &c. The Ephraimites were numerous and potent, and are here put for the whole ten tribes. Is joined to idols The word עצבים , here rendered idols, properly means, sorrows and pains, idols being the cause of much misery to their worshippers. Bishop Horsley reads the verse, A companion of idols is Ephraim; leave him to himself. Leave him undisturbed in his idolatrous course. He is irreclaimable. Their drink is sour Hebrew, is gone, turned, or vapid. “The allusion is to libations made with wine grown dead, or turning sour. The image represents the want of all spirit of piety in their acts of worship, and the unacceptableness of such worship in the sight of God; which is alleged as a reason for the determination, expressed in the preceding clause, to give Ephraim up to his own ways. ‘Leave him to himself,’ says God to the prophet, ‘his pretended devotions are all false and hypocritical. I desire none of them.’” Horsley. They have committed whoredom continually. They have gone on in a course of idolatry: or carnal whoredom may be intended. Her rulers with shame do love, Give ye Their rulers, to their shame be it spoken, are continually asking or expecting bribes, or are greedy of gifts. The Hebrew word translated rulers, properly signifies shields: it is taken for rulers in Psalms 47:9, as well as here.
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