on Hosea 13 :1
When Ephraim spake trembling - When he was meek and humble, of a broken heart and contrite spirit.
He exalted himself in Israel - He became great in God's sight; he rose in the Divine esteem in proportion as he sank in his own. But this did not continue.
He offended in Baal - He became an idolater.
He died - The sentence of death from the Divine justice went out against him.
This has been differently understood: "As soon as Ephraim spake (To your tents, O Israel!) There was a trembling or commotion: then the kingdom was exalted in Israel." Thus taken, it refers to the division of the ten tribes from Rehoboam, son of Solomon, 1 Kings 12:16, etc., and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam in opposition to that of Judah; which breach was never healed.
on Hosea 13 :1
When Ephraim spake trembling - that is, probably "there was 'trembling.'" : "Ephraim was once very awful, so as, while he spake, the rest of the tribes were ready to tremble." The prophet contrasts two conditions of Ephraim, of prosperity, and destruction. His prosperity he owed to the undeserved mercy of God, who blessed him for Joseph's sake; his destruction, to his own sin. There is no period recorded, "when Ephraim spake trembling," i. e., in humility. Pride was his characteristic, almost as soon as he had a separate existence as a tribe (see the note at Hosea 5:5). Under Joshua, it could not be called out, for Ephraim gained honor, when Joshua, one of themselves, became the captain of the Lord's people. Under the Judges, their pride appeared. Yet God tried them, by giving them their hearts' desire. They longed to be exalted, and He satisfied them, if so be they would thus serve Him. They had the chief power, and were a "terror" to Judah. "He exalted himself," (or perhaps "he was exalted,) in Israel; but when he offended in Baal he died;" literally, "and he offended in Baal and died."
He abused the goodness of God; his sin followed as a consequence of God's goodness to him. God raised him, and he offended. The alliance with a king of Tyre and Sidon, which brought in the worship of Baal, was a part of the worldly policy of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 16:31, see Introduction). "As if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took to wife the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him." The twenty-two years of Ahab's reign established the worship. The prophets of Baal became 450; the prophets of the kindred idolatry of Ashtoreth, or Astarte, became 400; Baal had his one central temple, large and magnificent 2 Kings 10:21-22, 2 Kings 10:25, a rival of that of God. The prophet Elijah thought the apostasy almost universal; God revealed to him that He had "reserved" to Himself "seven thousand in Israel." Yet these were "all the knees which had not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which had not kissed him" 1 Kings 19:18.
And died - Death is the penalty of sin. Ephraim "died" spiritually. For sin takes away the life of grace, and separates from God, the true life of the soul, the source of all life. He "died more truly, than he who is dead and at rest." Of this death, our Lord says, "Let the dead bury their dead" Matthew 8:22; and Paul, "She who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" 1 Timothy 5:6. He "died" also as a nation and kingdom, being sentenced by God to cease to be.
on Hosea 13 :1
13:1 Ephraim - The ten tribes, of which Ephraim was the chief. Spake trembling - Humbled himself before God. Exalted himself - The kingdom flourished. When he offended - So soon as they sinned, taking Baal to be their God. He died - They lost their power and glory.