1 When I would heal Israel, then is the iniquity of Ephraim uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood, and the thief entereth in, and the troop of robbers ravageth without. 2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now have their own doings beset them about; they are before my face. 3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
These verses refer back again to the corrupt priests.
4 They are all adulterers; they are as an oven heated by the baker; he ceaseth to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough, until it be leavened.
The oven mentioned describes the heat resulting from their drunkenness, sexual passion, political maneuvering, and anger caused by their adulterous actions.
5 On the day of our king the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with scoffers. 6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, while they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
Sleepy bakers, drowsy bakers, both symbolize people who cannot maintain attention even in the simplest matter of watching and waiting.
7 They are all hot as an oven, and devour their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
The rulers will be consumed in the oven of indifference.
8 Ephraim, he mixeth himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, and he knoweth it not.
Now the scene shifts from local to international politics. An interesting aspect of this verse is that the term “grey” should be understood as the “white hairs” of a mold’s filaments. What is described here is mold on bread that goes unnoticed and thereby consumed!
10 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: yet they have not returned unto Jehovah their God, nor sought him, for all this. 11 And Ephraim is like a silly dove, without understanding: they call unto E gypt, they go to Assyrill spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the birds of the heavens; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. 13 Woe unto them! for they have wandered from me; destruction unto them! for they have trespassed against me: though I would redeem them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
The people are “bird brained”! Like a silly bird they fall from the nest and are devoured by the nearest predator.
14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, but they howl upon their beds: they assemble themselves for grain and new wine; they rebel against me. 15 Though I have taught and strengthened their arms, yet do they devise mischief against me. 16 They return, but not to him that is on high; they are like a deceitful bow; their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Instead of turning to God the people turn to false gods. They turn to impotence in an effort to gain potency!!!! Can there be anything more foolish or useless?
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