11. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
11. Praedae expositus est Ephrain (vel, direptus est;
Here again the Prophet shows that the vengeance of God would be just against Israel, because they willingly followed the impious edicts of their king. The people might indeed have appeared to be excusable, since religion had not been changed by their voice, or by public consent, or by any contrivance of the many, but by the tyrannical will of the king alone: Jeroboam was not induced by superstition, but by subtile wickedness, to erect altars elsewhere, and not at Jerusalem. The people then might have appeared to be without blame; for the king alone devised this artifices to secure himself from danger. But the Prophet shows that all were implicated in the same guilt before God, because the people adopted with alacrity the impious forms of worship which the king had commanded. He therefore says, that
He says that God would justly punish all the Israelites, yea, even all the common people; for though Jeroboam alone had commanded them to worship God corruptly, yet all of them willingly embraced what he wished to be done: and thus it became manifest that they had in them no fear of God. We now see how vain is the excuse of those who say that they ought to obey kings, and at the same time forsake the word of God: for what does the Prophet reprove here, but that the Israelites had been too submissive to their king? "But this in itself was worthy of praise." True, when the king commanded nothing contrary to God's word; but when he perverted God's worship, when he set up corrupt superstitions, then the people ought to have firmly resisted him: but as they were too pliant, nay, willingly allowed themselves to be drawn away from the true worship of God, the Prophet says here, that they had no reason to complain, that they were too sharply and too severely chastised by the Lord. It follows --
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