on Hosea 13 :13
The sorrows of a travailing woman - These judgments shall come suddenly and unavoidably.
The place of the breaking forth of children - As there is a critical time in parturition in which the mother in hard labor may by skillful assistants be eased of her burden, which, if neglected, may endanger the life both of parent and child, so there was a time in which Ephraim might have returned to God, but they would not; therefore they are now in danger of being finally destroyed. And, speaking after the manner of men, he must be deemed an unwise son, who if he had power and consideration, would prolong his stay in the porch of life, where he must necessarily be suffocated; so is Ephraim, who, though warned of his danger, having yet power to escape, continued in his sin, and is now come to destruction. I could illustrate the allusion in the text farther, and show the accurate propriety of the original; but the subject forbids it.
on Hosea 13 :13
The sorrows of a travailing woman are come upon him - The travail-pangs are violent, sudden, irresistible. A moment before they come, all is seemingly perfect health; they come, increase in vehemence, and, if they accomplish not that for which they are sent, end in death, both to the mother and the child. Such are God's chastisements. If they end not in the repentance of the sinner, they continue on in his destruction. But never is man more secure, than just before the last and final throe comes upon him. "The false security of Israel, when Samaria was on the point of falling into the hands of its enemies, was a picture of that of the synagogue, when greater evils were coming upon it. Never did the Jews less think that the axe was laid to the root of the trees." This blind presumption is ever found in a people whom God casts off. At the end of the world, amid the awful signs, the fore-runners of the Day of Judgment, people will be able to reassure themselves, and say, "Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape" 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
The prophet first compares Israel to the mother, in regard to the sufferings which are a picture of the sudden overwhelming visitations of God; then to the child, on whose staying or not staying in the womb, the welfare of both depends.
He is an unwise son, for he should not stay long - Senseless would be the child, which, if it had the power, lingered, hesitated, whether to come forth or no. While it lingers, at one time all but coming forth, then returning, the mother's strength is wasted, and both perish. Wonderful picture of the vacillating sinner, acted upon by the grace of God, but resisting it; at one time all but ready to pour out before his God the hidden burden which oppresses him, at the next, withholding it; impelled by his sufferings, yet presenting a passive resistance; almost constrained at times by some mightier pang, yet still with-held; until, at the last, the impulses become weaker, the pangs less felt, and he perishes with his unrepented sin.
: "He had said, that the unwise cannot bring forth, that the wise can. He had mentioned 'children,' i. e., such as are not still-born; who come forth perfect into the world. These, God saith, shall by His help be redeemed from everlasting destruction, and, at the same time, having predicted the destruction of that nation, He gives the deepest comfort to those who will to retain firm faith in Him, not allowing them to be utterly cast down."
on Hosea 13 :13
13:13 The sorrows - The punishment of his sins will overtake him suddenly, with great anguish. An unwise son - A foolish son, who endangers himself and his mother. He should not stay - As a child that sticks in the birth, so is Ephraim, one while will, another while will not return to God; and thus dies under the delay.