Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Come — The prophet here brings them in, exhorting one another.
He hath torn — We now see his hand in all we suffer.
 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
After two days — After some short time of suffering, God will shew us his favour, and revive our dead state.
Revive us — Though we were as dead men, buried in our miseries, yet our merciful God will quicken us.
Live — Flourish in peace, wealth, and joy; in righteousness and safety.
In his sight — The eye of our God being upon us for good.
 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
Know — What worship he requires. And the knowledge of God shall be to us a spring of all holy, righteous, sober conversation.
Follow on — By a diligent attendance to the word, and works of God, we shall know experimentally, how holy, how good, how faithful God is.
His going forth — Before his people; his gracious, faithful, holy, just, and wise providence, for his peoples good and comfort.
As the morning — As sure, beautiful, grateful, and as clear as the morning; which dispels the darkness, and proclaims its own approach.
As the rain — Which revives, makes it fruitful, beautifies it, and gives a new face to all.
 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
What shall I do — What shall I do more to save you from ruin, and save my own honour, truth, and justice?
 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.
Therefore — Because I would do for you whatever might be done.
Hewed them — I have severely, and unweariedly reproved, and threatened them.
By thy words — As I did by word foretel, so I did effect in due time.
Thy judgments — The punishments threatened, which fell upon this people, did so fully answer the prediction that every one might see them clear as the light, and as constantly executed as the morning.
 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
For — I so hewed and slew them, because they did not what I most of all required; they were full of sacrifices, but either to idols, or else in formality and pride.
Mercy — Compassion and charity towards men, this one principal duty of the second table put for all. In this I delight, I have found little of this among you.
Not sacrifice — Rather than sacrifice.
The knowledge of God — The affectionate knowledge of God, which fills the mind with reverence of his majesty, fear of his goodness, love of his holiness, trust in his promise, and submission to his will.
 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
The covenant — The law of their God.
There — In that very place, the good land which by covenant I gave them: they have broken my covenant.
 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
A city — A city full of notorious transgressors, the inhabitants though Levites and priests, work all manner of wickedness.
With blood — Murders committed there.
 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
The company of priests — The priests by companies lay wait, and rob, and murder.
 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
The whoredom — Idolatry.
Of Ephraim — Which was brought in by an Ephraimite, by Jeroboam, two hundred years ago, and is there still.
Israel is defiled — It hath overspread all Israel.
 Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.
He — But God hath appointed an harvest for thee; thou shalt not as Israel be cut off; a seed of thee shall be sowed, and thou shalt reap the harvest with joy.