When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
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.
 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.
Of them — Of the idols.
Let the man — Let all that bring their offerings to these idols, worship and adore, and shew they do so by kissing the calves.
 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
Thou shalt know — I forbad thee to know any other God but me, in gratitude thou shouldest know no other.
 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
I did know — Owned, took care of, guided and supplied.
 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.
Their pasture — When they were come into Canaan, and had abundance of all things, they ran into luxury.
Was exalted — They grew proud.
 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:
Observe them — Watch for them, that I might be sure to take them.
 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.
Rent — First kill, then tear in pieces, and pull out the very heart.
 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
Thy king — I would have been thy king to govern and save thee, but thou refusedst me in both: yet I will be thy king to punish thee.
Thy judges — Where are they now? And princes - Necessary to assist the king.
 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.
A king — Such as Shallum, Menahem, Pekah.
 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.
Is bound up — As sins unpardoned; for to loose sins is to forgive, and to bind sins is to charge them upon the sinner, Matthew 16:19.
Hid — Not from God, but laid up with God against the day of recompense.
 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.
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.
 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Ransom — By power and purchase, by the blood of the lamb of God, and by the power of his Godhead.
Them — That repent and believe.
From the grave — He conquered the grave, and will at the great day of the resurrection open those prison-doors, and bring us out in glory.
From death — From the curse of the first death, and from the second death, which shall have no power over us.
Thy plagues — Thus I will destroy death. I will pull down those prison-walls, and bring out all that are confined therein, the bad of whom I will remove into other prisons, the good I will restore to glorious liberty.
Repentance shall be hid — I will never, as a man that repenteths, change my word and purpose, saith the Lord. What a glorious promise is this, which is interposed in the midst of all these judgments!
 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.
He — Ephraim.
His brethren — Either the rest of the tribes, or the nations who by league are become as his brethren.
An east-wind — An enemy as pernicious to his estate as the east-wind is to fruits.
Of the Lord — A mighty enemy, called here the wind of the Lord, the usual superlative in Hebrew.
The wilderness — Which lay south-east from Canaan. The south-east winds in that country were of all, most hot and blasting.
He — The Assyrian army.
Shall spoil — Shall carry away all desirable vessels and furniture.