When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.
Of Ephraim — Of Ephraim the chief tribe of this revolting kingdom.
 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
Own doings — The guilt and punishment of the works they have done; their own doings, not their fathers, as the incorrigible are ready to complain.
Beset them — As an enemy invests a town on every side.
Before my face — All their ways were under mine eye.
 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
They — The courtiers in particular make it their work to invent pleasing wickedness, and to acquaint the king with it.
With their lies — With false accusations against the innocent.
 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.
As an oven — This vice is grown raging hot among them, as the fire in an oven, when the baker having called up those that make the bread, to prepare all things ready, doth by continued supply of fuel, heat the oven, 'till the heat need be raised no higher.
 In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.
In the day of our king — Probably the anniversary of his birth or coronation.
Stretched out his hand — In these drunken feasts it seems the king forgat himself, and stretched out his hand, with those who deride religion, and with confusion to the professors of it.
 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
They — Those luxurious and drinking princes.
Like an oven — Hot with ambition, revenge, or covetousness.
Lie in wait — Against the life or estate of some of their subjects. As the baker, having kindled a fire in his oven, goes to bed and sleeps all night, and in the morning finds his oven well heated and ready for his purpose; so these when they have laid some wicked plot, tho' they may seem to sleep for a while, yet the fire is glowing within, and flames out as soon as ever there is opportunity for it.
 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
Devoured — As a fire destroys, so have these conspirators, destroyed their rulers.
Their kings — All that have been since Jeroboam the second's reign, to the delivery of this prophecy, namely, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, Pekah, fell by the conspiracy of such hot princes.
That telleth — Not one of all these either feared, trusted, or worshipped God.
 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Ephraim — The kingdom of Israel.
Mixed himself — With the Heathens by leagues and commerce and by imitation of their manners.
Not turned — Burnt on one side, and dough on the other, and so good for nothing on either: always in one extreme or the other.
 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
Knoweth it not — He is not aware of the loss he hath sustained.
Gray hairs — Of old age and declining strength are upon their kingdom.
 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
Like a silly dove — Ephraim is now become like the dove in weakness and fear, as well as in imprudence and liableness to be deceived.
Without heart — Without either discretion or courage.
To Assyria — Instead of going to God, who alone can help.
 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.
Go — To seek aid of Egypt or Assyria.
Bring them down — Though they attempt to fly, yet as fowls in the net they shall certainly fall.
Hath heard — From the prophets whom I have sent unto them.
 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
Spoken lies — They belied his corrections as if not deserved; they belied the good done, as if too little, or not done by God, but by their idol.
 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.
They assembled — In the houses of their idols.
 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
Bound — As a surgeon binds up a weak member, or a broken one; so did God for Ephraim, when the Syrians and other enemies had broken their arms.
Imagine mischief — They devise mischief against my prophets, and let loose the reins to all impieties.
 They return, but not to the most 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.
Not to the most high — What shew soever of repentance was among them, yet they never throughly repented.
A deceitful bow — Tho' they seemed bent for, and aiming at the mark, yet like a weak bow they carried not the arrow home, and like a false bow they never carried it strait toward the mark.
The rage of their tongue — Against God, his prophets and providence.
Their derision — They shall be upbraided with this.