on Hosea 11 :12
Ephraim compasseth me about with lies - I think this verse does not well unite with the above; it belongs to another subject, and should begin the following chapter, as in the Hebrew.
Judah yet ruleth with God - There is an allusion here to Genesis 32:24, where Jacob having "wrestled with the Angel," had his name changed to Israel, one that rules with God. That glory the Israelites had lost by their idolatry; but Judah still retained the true worship, and alone deserved the name of Israel.
Bp. Newcome translates this clause thus: -
"But hereafter they shall come down a people of God, even a faithful people of saints."
Even allowing this to be the most correct view of the original, I do not see what we gain by this change.
on Hosea 11 :12
Ephraim compasseth Me about with lies - Having spoken of future repentance, conversion, restoration, he turns back to those around him, and declares why they can have no share in that restoration. Nothing about them was true. If ever they approached God, it was "with lies." : "God, being infinite, cannot really be "compassed about." The prophet so speaks, to describe the "great multitude of those who thus lied to God, and the multitude and manifoldness of their lies. Wherever God looked, in all parts of their kingdom, in all their doings, all which He could see was lying to Himself." All was, as it were, one throng of lies, heaped on one another, jostling with one another. Such is the world now. "Their sin was especially a lie, because they sinned, not through ignorance, but through malice." Their chief lie was the setting up of the worship of the calves, with a worldly end, yet with pretence of religion toward God; denying Him, the One true God, in that they joined idols with Him, yet professing to serve Him. And so all their worship of God, their repentance, their prayers, their sacrifices were all one lie. For one lie underlay all, penetrated all, corrupted all. All half-belief is unbelief; all half-repentance is unrepentance, all half-worship is unworship; and, in that each and all give themselves out for that divine whole, whereof they are but the counterfeit, each and all are "lies," wherewith men, on all sides, encompass God. From these wrong thoughts of God all their other deceits flowed, while yet, "they deceived, not Him but themselves, in that they thought that they could deceive Him, who cannot be deceived." When Christ came, the house of Israel surrounded Him with lies, the scribes and lawyers, the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians, vying with one another, "how they might entangle Him in His talk" Matthew 22:15.
But Judah yet ruleth with God - Ephraim had cast off the rule of God, the kings and priests whom He had appointed, so that his whole kingdom and polity was without God and against Him. In contrast with this, Judah, amid all His sins, was outwardly faithful. He adhered to the line of kings, from whom was to spring the Christ, David's Son but David's Lord. He worshiped with the priests whom God had appointed to offer the typical sacrifices, until "He" should come, "the high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedek," who should end those sacrifices by the Sacrifice of Himself. Thus far Judah "ruled with God;" he was on the side of God, maintained the worship of God, was upheld by God. So Abijah said to Jeroboam, "The Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him, and the priests which minister unto the Lord are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but ye have forsaken Him, and behold God is with us for our Captain, ..." 2 Chronicles 13:10-12.
And is faithful with the saints - Or (better perhaps, with the E. M) "with the All-Holy." The same plural is used of God elsewhere (Joshua 24:19; and in Proverbs 30:3); and its use, like that of the ordinary name of God, is founded on the mystery of the Trinity. It does not teach it, but neither can it be accounted for in any other way. This faithfulness of Judah was outward only, (as the upbraiding of the prophet to Judah testifies,) yet did it much favor inward holiness. "The body without the soul is dead;" yet the life, even when seeming to be dying out, might be brought back, when the body was there; not, when it too was dissolved. Hence, Judah had many good kings, Israel none. Yet, in that he says, "yet ruleth with God," he shows that a time was coming when Judah too would be, not "with God" but against Him, and also would be cast off.
on Hosea 11 :12