Notwithstanding the goodness of God, and his sending prophets to warn and instruct the people, they went on with all the vices so common to idolatrous nations; they plundered one another, and justice was utterly perverted.
Sad is it when the great ones of a nation are patrons of iniquity and take pleasure in falsehood. What can be expected of the common people when the princes delight in crime?
They were as hot with depraved desires as a baker’s oven when prepared for baking.
Drunkenness and blasphemy were common in the court. Have we not these sins even among us in all ranks of society?
As the baker, though he sleeps, rises early to light his fire, so were they, even when they were quiet, meditating fresh sin.
He is neither one thing nor the other; he professes to fear God and yet worships idols. This double-mindedness is common now-a-days, and is very distasteful to God, who says, “I would thou wert cold or hot.”
The nation did not know its own decays, even as sinners do not know how sad is their condition.
Bad as they were, they yet had a high opinion of themselves, and therefore did not repent nor cry for mercy; this is the secret cause of all impenitence and rejection of Christ.
They ran after many false trusts, and instead of relying upon God they veered from one of the great rival nations to another.
When God cries, “Woe,” it is woe indeed. Against every impenitent sinner, such words as these are levelled. It is a dreadful thing to remain at enmity with the Lord.
Men can be loud enough in their cups, but they are dumb as to prayer or praise.
The strength which God gave them they used to rebel against him. Are any of us acting in this manner?
Their punishment would have an element of shame in it, for the heathen nation to which they looked for help would treat them with supreme contempt. If we will make earthly things our gods, we shall be for ever clothed with shame. Lord save us from this. Amen.
Unite my heart to fear Thy name.”
If all that we do is for ourselves and to serve our sins, we are worse than fruitless, yet many very active and busy persons deserve no better description. They work for self, and toil for sin.
For a time Israel had no king. Jeroboam the Second was dead, and his son was kept from the throne by civil strife. A king was necessary to keep the land in order, but without God the best human arrangements are useless.
They made a covenant with Shalmaneser in the days of king Hoshea, and broke it basely; their justice was no better than a poisonous weed, it was rank villainy.
The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven:
or the cow-calf of the house of vanity, a contemptuous description of the calf of Bethel:
king Jareb or the strifeful king
He floated aloft like a bubble, and was destroyed as readily.
The mountains which they selected for their confidence shall be called upon by themselves to overwhelm them, and hide them from the armies of the terrible king of Assyria.
Once they fought for God against Benjamin, but from that day and onward they had been found upon the side of evil. On which side are we?
Though they unite like two oxen which tread the furrows, when yoked together, they shall be unable to escape.
to ride or to carry. They had been luxuriously employed like oxen in treading out the corn, but a yoke shall be put upon them, and they shall be burdened
Shalman or Shalmaneser
The fierce Assyrian king appears to have made a terrible example of a certain city, and in such a manner would he deal with all the land of Israel if they continued in their sin.
Speedily would their idolatrous calf be the ruin both of themselves and their king. All this was fulfilled when the Assyrian devastated the land, carried away their king, Hoshea, imprisoned him till he died, and put a final end to the very existence of the kingdom of the ten tribes. Thus will the Lord deal out justice to those who sin against him; let us cry to him for mercy, and turn from every evil way.