Hosea 11:3-4. I taught Ephraim also to go Hebrew, תרגלתי לאפרים , I directed the feet of Ephraim. In this time of Ephraim’s childhood, I supported and directed his steps, as a mother or nurse those of a child whom she is teaching to walk. Taking them by their arms To guide them, that they might not stray from the right way; and to hold them up, that they might not stumble and fall: see notes on Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 32:11-12; Isaiah 63:0. Thus did God deal with Israel in the wilderness; and thus he directs and supports the steps of his spiritual Israel, amidst all their difficulties and dangers. But they knew not that I healed them They did not acknowledge this my care over, and kindness to, them. I drew them with cords of a man I made use of those means of drawing them to myself, which were most proper to work upon them as creatures possessed of understanding and affection. The explanation in the Chaldee is just and beautiful: “As beloved children are drawn, I drew them by the strength of love.” And I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws Or rather, on their cheek. As a careful husbandman, in due season, takes the yoke from his labouring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating when at work; so compassionately did I give relief to, and provide sustenance for Israel. I laid meat unto them Brought them provision in their wants. God seems here to allude to the manna and quails which he provided for his people in the wilderness.
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