on Hosea 5 :5
The pride of Israel doth testify to his face - The effrontery with which they practise idolatry manifests, not only their insolence, but the deep depravity of their heart; but their pride and arrogance shall be humbled.
on Hosea 5 :5
And the pride of Israel - Pride was from the first the leading sin of Ephraim. Together with Manasseh, (with whom they made, in some respects, one whole, as "the children of Joseph, Joshua 16:4; Joshua 17:14), they were nearly equal in number to Judah. When numbered in the wilderness, Judah had 74,600 fighting men, Ephraim and Manasseh together 72,700. They speak of themselves as a "great people, forasmuch as the Lord has blessed me hitherto" Joshua 17:14. God having chosen, out of them, the leader under whom He brought Israel into the land of promise, they resented, in the following time of the Judges, any deliverance of the land, in which they were not called to take a part. They rebuked Gideon (Judges 8:1 ff), and suffered very severely for insolence (Judges 12:1 ff) to Jephthah and the Gileadites. When Gideon, who had refused to be king, was dead, Abimelech, his son by a concubine out of Ephraim, induced the Ephraimites to make Him king over Israel, as being their "bone and their flesh" Judges 8:31; Judges 9:1-3, Judges 9:22.
Lying in the midst of the tribes to the North of Judah, they appear, in antagonism to Judah, to have gathered round them the other tribes, and to have taken, with them, the name of Israel, in contrast with Judah 2 Samuel 2:9-10; 2 Samuel 3:17. Shiloh, where the ark was, until taken by the Philistines, belonged to them. Samuel, the last judge, was raised up out of them 1 Samuel 1:1. Their political dignity was not aggrieved, when God gave Saul, out of "little Benjamin," as king over His people. They could afford to own a king out of the least tribe. Their present political eminence was endangered, when God chose David out of their great rival, the tribe of Judah; their hope for the future was cut off by His promise to the posterity of David. They accordingly upheld, for seven years 2 Samuel 5:5, the house of Saul, knowing that they were acting against the will of God 2 Samuel 3:9. Their religious importance was aggrieved by the removal of the ark to Zion, instead of its being restored to Shiloh Psalm 78:60, Psalm 78:67-69.
Absalom won them by flattery 2 Samuel 15:2, 2 Samuel 15:5, 2 Samuel 15:10, 2 Samuel 15:12-13; and the rebellion against David was a struggle of Israel against Judah 2 Samuel 16:15; 2 Samuel 17:15; 2 Samuel 18:6. When Absalom was dead, they had scarcely aided in bringing David back, when they fell away again, because their advice had not been first had in bringing him back 2 Samuel 19:41-43; 2 Samuel 20:1-2. Rehoboam was already king over Judah 1 Kings 11:43, when he came to Shechem to be made king over Israel 1 Kings 12:1. Then the ten tribes sent for Jeroboam of Ephraim 1 Kings 11:26, to make him their spokesman, and, in the end, their king. The rival worship of Bethel provided, not only for the indolence, but for the pride of his tribe. He made a state-worship at Bethel, over-against the worship ordained by God at Jerusalem. Just before the time of Hosea, the political strength of Ephraim was so much superior to that of Judah, that Jehoash, in his pride, compared himself to the cedar of Lebanon, Amaziah king of Judah to the thistle 2 Kings 14:9. Isaiah speaks of "jealousy" Isaiah 11:13 or "envy," as the characteristic sin of Israel, which perpetuated that division, which, he foretold, should be healed in Christ. Yet although such was the power and pride of Israel, God foretold that he should first go into captivity, and so it was.
This pride, as it was the origin of the schism of the ten tribes, so it was the means of its continuance. In whatever degree any one of the kings of Israel was better than the rest, still "he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin." The giving up of any other sin only showed, how deeply rooted this sin was, which even then they would not give up. As is the way of unregenerate man, they would not give themselves up without reserve to God, to do all His will. They could not give up this sin of Jeroboam, without endangering their separate existence as Israel, and owning the superiority of Judah. From this complete self-surrender to God, their pride shrank and held them back.
The pride, which Israel thus showed in refusing to turn to God, and in preferring their sin to "their God," itself, he says, witnessed against them, and condemned them. In the presence of God, there needeth no other witness against the sinner than his own conscience. "it shall witness to his face," "openly, publicly, themselves and all others seeing, acknowledging, and approving the just judgment of God and the recompense of their sin." Pride and carnal sin are here remarkably united.
: "The prophet having said, the spirit of fornication is in the midst of them, assigns as its ground, the pride of Israel will testify to his face, i. e., the sin which, through pride of mind, lurked in secret, bore open witness through sin of the flesh. Wherefore the cleanness of chastity is to be preserved by guarding humility. For if the spirit is piously humbled before God, the flesh is not raised unlawfully above the spirit. For the spirit holds the dominion over the flesh, committed to it, if it acknowledges the claims of lawful servitude to the Lord. For if, through pride, it despises its Author, it justly incurs a contest with its subject, the flesh."
Therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in - (or by) their iniquity Ephraim, the chief of the ten tribes, is distinguished from the whole, of which it was a part, because it was the rival of Judah, the royal tribe, out of which Jeroboam had sprung, who had formed the kingdom of Israel by the schism from Judah. All Israel, even its royal tribe, where was Samaria, its capital and strength, should fall, their iniquity being the stumbling-block, on which they should fall.
Judah also shall fall with them - "Judah also, being partaker with them in their idolatry and their wickedness, shall partake with them in the like punishment. Sin shall have the like effect in both." Literally, he saith, "Judah hath fallen," denoting, as do other prophets, the certainty of the future event, by speaking of it, as having taken place already; as it had, in the Mind of God.
on Hosea 5 :5
5:5 Doth testify - Is an evident witness against him.