Because Ephraim hath, made many altars to sin
Not with an intention to commit sin, but to offer sacrifice for sin, and make atonement for it, as they thought; but these altars being erected for the sake of idols, and sacrifices offered on them to them, they sinned in so doing, and were the cause of sin in others, who were drawn into it by their example; as they were made to sin, or drawn into it, by Jeroboam their king, These altars were those set up at Dan and Bethel, and in all high places, and tops of mountains, where they sacrificed to idols; and which was contrary to the express command of God, who required sacrifice only at one place, and on one altar, ( Deuteronomy 12:5 Deuteronomy 12:6 ) ; typical of the one altar Christ, and his alone sacrifice, who is the only Mediator between God and man; and they are guilty of the same crime as Ephraim here, who make use of more, or neglect him; altars shall be unto him for sin;
either these same altars, and the sacrifices offered on them, shall be reckoned and imputed to him as sins, trod shall be the cause of his condemnation and punishment: or, "let the altars be unto him for sin", so some F14; since he will have them, let him have them, and go on in sinning, till he has filled up the measure of his sins, and brought on him just condemnation; or else other altars are meant, even in the land of Assyria, where, since they were so fond of multiplying altars, they should have altars enough to sin at, whereby their sins would be increased, and their punishment for them aggravated. The Targum is,
``seeing the house of Ephraim hath multiplied altars to sin, the altars of their idols shall he to them for a stumbling block,''or ruin; so sin is taken in a different sense, both for guilt, and the punishment of it.
F14 (ajxl twxbzm wl wyh) "santo ergo illi altaria ad peccandum", Rivet.