1: Pride - That proud and insolent kingdom. Drunkards - Having many and excellent vines among them, they were much exposed to this sin. Ephraim - Of the kingdom of the ten tribes. Who are - Who have their common abode. The head - Samaria, might well be called the head, as being seated upon a mountain, and the head of the kingdom, and the head of the fat valleys, because it was encompassed with many fat and rich valleys.
2: A strong one - The king of Assyria. Shall cast down - The crown of pride. The hand - By the hand of God, which shall strengthen him in this work.
3: Trodden - The expression is emphatical; the crown which was upon their own heads, shall be trodden under the feet of others; and they, whose drunkenness made them fall to the ground, shall be trodden down there.
4: He eateth - Which, as soon as a man sees he plucks it off, and devours it, as soon as he can get it into his hand. And so shall it be with Ephraim's glory, which his enemies shall devour greedily.
5: In that day - When the kingdom of Israel shall be destroyed. A diadem - God shall give eminent glory and beauty, to the kingdom of Judah.
6: To them - Who not only drive their enemies from their land, but pursue them into their own lands, and besiege them in their own cities.
7: But - Judah is guilty of the same sins with Israel, therefore they also must expect the same calamities; of which he speaks afterward. The prophet - The teachers, who should have been patterns of sobriety to the people. They err - The prophets miscarry in their sacred employment. Stumble - The priests mistake in pronouncing the sentence of the law, which was their duty.
9: He - God. Them - Who is there among this people that are willing to be taught the knowledge of God? A minister may as soon teach an infant as these men.
10: For - They must be taught like little children, because of their great dullness. Line - One line of the book after another, as children are taught to read.
11: Another tongue - By people of a strange language, whom he shall bring among them, seeing they will not hear him speaking, by his prophets, in their own language.
12: This - This doctrine. The rest - The only way, in which you will find rest.
13: Here a little - As this method has been used and was altogether necessary for them; so it still is, and for the future shall be. As they were children in understanding, they shall still continue to be such; they shall be ever learning, and never come to the knowledge of the truth. That - This will be the event, or consequence of their sin: they will fall backward, which is the worst, and most dangerous way of falling; and so be broken to pieces.
15: Said - In your hearts. We - We are as safe from death, and hell, or the grave, as if they had entered into covenant with us. The scourge - The judgment of God. Through - The land. For - We shall secure ourselves by lying and dissimulation.
16: Therefore - Because your refuges are so vain, and deceitful; therefore I will direct you to a surer refuge, which God hath laid in Zion. But if you despise that refuge; then know, that I will lay judgment to the line, &c. I lay - I have promised it, and will, in the fulness of time, perform it. In Zion - In my church. A foundation - Upon which I will build my church. A stone - The Messiah. Tried - Which I have tried, and approved as every way sufficient. Corner - stone - Uniting the several parts of the building together. Sure - Upon whom you may securely rest. Believeth - This promise. Shall not - Hastily catch at any way of escaping danger, but shall patiently wait upon God in his way, 'till he deliver him.
17: Plummet - I will execute just judgment, as it were by a line and plummet annexed to it; that is, with exactness and care: I will severely punish, and utterly destroy all who reject that stone. For the line and plummet, or the plumb - line, was not only used in erecting buildings, but also in pulling them down; those parts of the building being thus marked out, which were to be demolished.
19: Pass over - It shall not only come to you, but it shall abide upon you; and when it hath passed over you, it shall return again to you, morning after morning; and shall follow you day and night, without giving you the least respite. The report - So dreadful shall the judgment be, that it shall strike you with horror, when you only hear the rumour of it.
20: For - For those lying refuges, to which you trust, will not be able to give you that protection, which you expect from them; no more than a man can stretch himself upon a bed that is too short for him.
21: Perazim - Where he fought against the Philistines,(2Sa 5:20). Gibeon - Where he fought against the Canaanites, (Jos 10:10), &c. and afterwards against the Philistines, (1Ch 14:16). Strange work - For this work of bringing total destruction upon Israel, was contrary to the benignity of his own nature, and to the usual way of dealing with his people.
22: Lest - Lest thereby you make the judgments of God sure and unavoidable. For - God hath assured me, that he will utterly destroy the people of Israel.
24: Doth - The plowman doth not spend all his time in plowing the ground; but he has several times for several works. And so God has his times and seasons for several works, and his providence is various at several times, and towards several people. Therefore those scoffing Israelites were guilty of great folly, in flattering themselves, because of God's long patience towards them; for God will certainly take a time to thresh, and break them with his judgments, as at present he plowed and harrowed them, and so prepared them for it by his threatenings. Open - Understand, all day. Break - Which they used to do with a kind of harrow.
25: Made plain - By breaking the clods. The wheat - The best which he chuses for seed. Barley - That proportion of barley which he appointed. Place - Heb. in his border; each seed in a several place.
27: A threshing instrument - This then was made like a sledge shod with iron, which was drawn by men or beasts, over the sheafs of corn, to bruise them, and tear the grain out of them. A wheel - A lower wheel than a cart wheel, but of the same form, upon which possibly the threshing instrument was drawn.
28: Bruised - With a threshing instrument. Break it - Understand, forever. Horses - This was another way of threshing out the corn, by driving horses, or other cattle, over the sheaves to tread it.
29: This also - This part of the husbandman's discretion. These words contain the application of the similitude. The husbandman manages his affairs with common discretion; but God governs the world, and his church, with wonderful wisdom: he is great and marvellous, both in the contrivance of things, and in the execution of them.
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