12. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.
12. Obsignatum est peccatum Ephraim (vel, obsignata est iniquitas Ephraim;) reconditum peccatum ejus.
13. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.
13. Dolores parturientis venient ei; ipse filius insipiens (non sapiens,) quia tempore non staret in ruptura filiorum (ad verbum.)
He says, first, that
'The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron,
with the point of a diamond,' (Jeremiah 17:1;)
so now also does Hosea say, that the iniquity of Ephraim was sealed up. For writings may perish, when they spread abroad: but what is laid up and put under a seal always remains. What, then, Hosea now means is, that the people flattered themselves in vain, while a truce was granted them; for the Lord kept their sins under his seal; as though he said "God forgets not your iniquity: as he, however, spares you only for a time, it would be far better to suffer immediate punishment, for thus the memory of your sin would pass away; but he now carefully keeps all your iniquities as it were under seal, and your sins are laid up in store."
We now see that what the Prophet means in this verse is, that the Israelites had made such advances in their sins, that now no pardon or remission could be hoped for. "God then shall never be propitious to you, for
He afterwards says, that the
He then adds,
It must be noticed, that the Prophet alludes to the time of birth; for he had said before, that the sorrows of one in travail would come on the people of Israel; he now declares that these sorrows would be filial. Though a woman be in labour and in great danger in giving birth, she is yet freed in a moment, and as Christ says, joy and gladness arise from that sorrow, (John 16:21.) But the Prophet says that this bringing forth would be very different; for it would be an abortion, and the child would be retained to putrefy in the womb. If a woman in the very birth restrains effort and shrinks in her strength, she destroys the child and herself at the same time; for she cannot bring forth without exertion. Since then the safety of the woman depends on the exertion made, the Prophet now says, that the contrary would be the case with the people of Israel. They are, he says, like a woman in travail; but they are at the same time blinded with folly, for they retain the child in the womb and make no effort: so this parturition must at last be fatal to them. Why? Because they make no effort to bring forth the child.
The Prophet by these figurative representations no doubt glances at the obstinate hardness of the people; for when they ought to bewail and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, we know how perversely they hardened themselves against all punishment. Since, then, this people did thus as it were champ the bridle, and at the same time make hard their heart, partly by their fierce temper, partly by stupidity, partly by desperation, it was no wonder that the Prophet said that they were an unwise and insane people,
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast given us thy only begotten Son to rule us, and hast by thy good pleasure consecrated him a King over us, that we may be perpetually safe and secure under his hand against all the attempts of the devil and of the whole world,- O grant, that we may suffer ourselves to be ruled by his authority, and so conduct ourselves, that he may ever continue to watch for our safety: and as thou hast committed us to him, that he may be the guardian of our salvation, so also suffer us not either to turn aside or to fall, but preserve us ever in his service, until we be at length gathered into that blessed and everlasting kingdom, which has been procured for us by the blood of thy only Son. Amen.
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