Ephraim provoked [him] to anger most bitterly
The Vulgate Latin version supplies it, me; that is, God, as Kimchi; or his Lord, as it may be supplied from the last clause of the verse; the sense is the same either way: it was God that Ephraim or the ten tribes provoked to stir up his wrath and vengeance against them; notwithstanding all the favours that they and their ancestors had received from him, they provoked him in a most bitter manner, to bitter anger, vehement wrath and fury: or, "with bitternesses" F14; with their sins, which are in their own nature bitter, displeasing to God; and in their effects bring bitterness and death on those that commit them; meaning particularly their idolatry, and all belonging to it; their idols, high places, altars The word here used is rendered "high heaps" F15, ( Jeremiah 31:21 ) ; and is here by Kimchi interpreted of altars, with which, and their sacrifices on them, they provoked the Lord to anger: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him;
the blood of innocent persons, prophets, and other good men shed by him; the sin of it shall be charged upon him, and he shall bear the punishment of it. So the Targum,
``the fault of innocent blood which he shed shall return upon him:''or "his own blood shall be poured out upon him" F16; in just retaliation for the blood of others shed by him, and for all the blood sired by him in idolatrous sacrifices, and other bloody sins; or his own blood being shed by the enemy shall remain upon him unrevenged; God will not punish those that shed it: and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him:
that is, as he has reproached the prophets of the Lord for reproving him for his idolatry, and reproached fire Lord himself, by revolting from him, and neglecting his worship, and preferring the worship of idols to him; so, as a just recompence, he shall be delivered up into the hands of the enemy, and become a reproach, a taunt, and a proverb, in all places into which he shall be brought. God is called "his Lord", though he had rebelled against him, and shook off his yoke, and would not obey him; yet, whether he will or not, he is his Lord, and will show himself to be so by his sovereignty and authority over him, and by the judgments exercised on him. Some understand this of the Assyrian king, become his lord, by taking and carrying him captive, the instrument in God's hand of bringing him to reproach; but the former sense seems best.
F14 (Myrwrmt) "amaritudinibus", Pagninus, Vatablus, Piscator, Schmidt.
F15 And is so understood by R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 64. 1.
F16 (vwjy wyle wymdw) (kai to aima autou epi auton ekcuyhsetai) , Sept. so Syr. & Ar. "ideo sanguis ejus super eum diffundetur, [sive] effundetur", Zanchius.