Yea, though they have hired among the nations
That is, lovers, as before; got into confederacies and alliances with the nations about them, thinking thereby to strengthen their hands, and secure themselves and their kingdom; particular regard may be had to the Egyptians, as distinct from the Assyrians, whom they privately engaged on their side to shake off the Assyrian yoke, or their obligation to send yearly presents to the Assyrian king: now will I gather them;
either the Assyrians against them, to invade their land, besiege their city, and take and carry them captive; or the Israelites in a body into the city of Samaria, and there be cooped up, and taken and destroyed, or carried captive; for this is not to be interpreted of the collection of them out of their captivity, as the Targum and Jarchi, but of the gathering of them together for their destruction: and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes;
the tax or tribute imposed upon them by the king of Assyria, whose princes were altogether kings, ( Isaiah 10:8 ) ; and who used to be called king of kings, being at the head of a monarchy, which had many kings subject to it; as the kings of Babylon were afterwards called, ( Ezekiel 26:7 ) ; this may refer to the yearly present or tribute, which Hoshea king of Israel was obliged to give to the king of Assyria, which he was very uneasy at, and did not pay it, which drew upon him the resentment of the Assyrian king; and that sorrow and uneasiness which that tribute gave the king of Israel and his people were but little and small in comparison of what they after found; it was the beginning of sorrows to them: and so some render the words, "they began" F12; that is, to sorrow and complain "a little"; or this may refer to their burdens and oppressions when in captivity, which were laid upon them by the king of Assyria, and the princes, the rulers, and governors of the several places where the Israelites were carried captive: even the "few [that] shall remain" F13, as some render it; and not die by famine, pestilence, and sword. Kimchi and Ben Melech think there is a deficiency of the copulative and between king and princes; which is supplied by the Targum, and by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, which read, "the king and princes".
F12 (wlxyw) "incipient", Calvin; "ceperunt enim paululum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Zanchius, Drusius, Tarnovius, so Ben Melech.
F13 (jem wlxyw) "et remanebunt pauci", Schmidt; a rad. (lwx) "durare, permanere".