on Hosea 10 :11
Ephraim is as a heifer that is taught - One thoroughly broken in to the yoke.
And loveth to tread out - Goes peaceably in the yoke; and is pleased because, not being muzzled, she eats of the corn.
I passed over upon her fair neck - I brought the yoke upon it, that she should not tread out the corn merely, but draw the plough and drag the harrow. These operations of husbandry are all referred to here, with some others. Ephraim shall tread out the corn, that there may be seed for the fields.
Judah shall plough - That the furrows may receive it.
Jacob shall break his clods - Harrow - that the seed may be covered with the mould.
Israel very frequently made great depredations on Judah; and as this heifer loved to tread out the corn, and not plough, it is therefore added that he should be made to plough, be put under the yoke, namely, that of the Assyrians. What is added, "Judah and Jacob shall plough for themselves," means, that Judah should not now plough for Israel, but for himself; as Israel shall no more make depredations upon him. - Dodd.
on Hosea 10 :11
Ephraim is an heifer that is taught and that loveth to tread out the corn - The object of the metaphor in these three verses seems to be, to picture, under operations of husbandry, what God willed and trained His people to do, how they took as much pains in evil, as He willed them to do for good. One thing only they did "which" He willed, but not because He willed it - what pleased themselves. Corn was threshed in the East chiefly by means of oxen, who were either driven round and round, so as to trample it out with their feet, or drew a cylinder armed with iron, or harrow-shaped planks, set with sharp stones which at the same time cut up the straw for provender. The treading out the grain was an easy and luxurious service, since God had forbidden to "muzzle the ox" Deuteronomy 25:4, while doing it. It pictures then the sweet gentle ways by which God wins us to His service. Israel would serve thus far, for she liked the service, "she was accustomed" to it, and "she loved it," but she would do no more. "She waxed fat and kicked" Deuteronomy 32:15.
: "The heifer when accustomed to the labor of treading out the corn, mostly, even unconstrained, returns to the same labor. So the mind of the ungodly, devoted to the slaveries of this world, and accustomed to the fatigues of temporal things, even if it may have leisure for itself, hastens to subject itself to earthly toils, and, inured to its miserable conversation, seeks the renewal of toil, and will not, though it may, cease from the yoke of this world's slavery. This yoke our Lord would remove from the necks of His disciples, saying, "Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with cares of this life, and that day come upon you unawares" Luke 21:34. And again, "Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you." : "Some, in order to appear somewhat in this world, overload themselves with earthly toils, and although, amid their labors, they feel their strength fail, yet, overcome by love of earthly things, they delight in their fatigue. To these it is said by the prophet, "Ephraim is a heifer taught and loving to tread out the corn." They ask that they may be oppressed; in rest, they deem that they have lighted unto a great peril."
And I passed over her fair neck - handling her gently and tenderly, as men put the yoke gently on a young untamed animal, and inure it softly to take the yoke upon it. Yet "to pass over" , especially when it is said of God, always signifies inflictions and troubles." To pass over sins, is to remit them; to pass over the sinner, is to punish him. "I will make Ephraim to ride or I will make it," i. e., the yoke, "to ride on Ephraim's" neck, as the same word is used for "place the hand on the bow;" or, perhaps better, "I will set a rider on Ephraim," who should tame and subdue him. Since he would not submit himself freely to the easy yoke of God, God would set a ruler upon him, who should be his master. Thus, the Psalmist complains, "Thou hast made men to ride on our head" Psalm 66:12, directing us at their pleasure.
: "'The beauty of the neck' designates those who sin and take pleasure in their sins. That passing over or ascending, said both in the past and the future, 'I passed, I will make to ride,' signifies that what He purposes is most certain. It expresses that same vengeance as, 'Ye are a stiffnecked people; I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and cosume thee' Exodus 33:5. The 'beauty' of the 'neck' here is the same as the ornament there, when the Lord says, 'therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.' As long as the sinner goes adorned, i. e., is proud in his sins, as long as he stiffens his fair neck, self-complacent, taking pleasure in the ills which he has done, God, in a measure, knows not what to do to him; mercy knows not how, apart from the severity of judgment, to approach him; and so after the sentence of the judge, 'thou art a stiffnecked people, etc.' He gives the counsel 'put off thine ornaments etc.' i. e., humble thyself in penitence, that I may have mercy upon thee."
Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods - In the will of God, Judah and Israel were to unite in His service, Judah first, Jacob, after him, breaking the clods, which would hinder the seed from shooting up. Judah being mentioned in the same incidental way, as elsewhere by Hosea, it may be, that he would speak of what should follow on Ephraim's chastisement. : "When they shall see this, the two tribes shall no longer employ themselves in treading out the grain, but shall plow. To "tread out the corn" is to act "in hope of present gain; to "plow," is to labor in that, which has no instant fruit, but promiseth it hereafter, i. e., the fulfillment of God's commands." "Jacob" will then be the remnant of the ten tribes, who, at Hezekiah's invitation, out of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Zebulun, joined in celebrating the passover at Jerusalem, and subsequently in destroying idolatry 2 Chronicles 30; 31. Hosea had already foretold that Judah and Israel shall be "gathered together," under "one Head" Hosea 1:11. Here, again, he unites them in one, preparing His way first in themselves, then, in others. Judah is placed first, for to him was the promise in his forefather, the patriarch, and then in David. Ephraim was to be partaker of his blessings, by being united to him. The image of the heifer has been dropped. He had spoken of them as farmers; as such he addresses them.
on Hosea 10 :11