Hosea 13:1. When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself While he behaved himself submissively and obediently, and humbled himself before God, he was reckoned among the principal tribes of Israel. Here Ephraim is spoken of as distinct from the other tribes: in other places of this prophecy he is put for the whole kingdom of the ten tribes. But when he offended in Baal, he died When he gave himself to idolatry, his strength immediately declined, and had manifest symptoms of ruin and destruction. Bishop Horsley’s version of the verse is, When Ephraim spake there was dread: he was exalted in Israel. But he offended in Baal and died “The former part of the verse describes the consequence and pre-eminence of Ephraim in his own country, and among the neighbouring nations; the latter part, his diminution and loss of consequence by his idolatry.” The word Baal is here taken in a general sense for all false gods or idolatrous ways of worship, so as to comprehend the worship of the golden calves, though they were designed for symbolical representations of the true God.
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