Hosea 5:13

13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah 1his wound, then Ephraim went 2to Assyria, and sent to the great king.[a] 3But he is not able to cure you or heal 4your wound.

Hosea 5:13 Meaning and Commentary

Hosea 5:13

When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah [saw] his wound
That their civil state were in a sickly condition, very languid, weak, feeble, and tottering, just upon the brink of ruin; see ( Isaiah 1:6 ) ; then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb;
that is, the ten tribes, or the king of them, went and met the Assyrian king; and Judah the two tribes, or the king of them, sent ambassadors to King Jareb; which sense the order of the words, in connection with the preceding clause, seems to require: by the Assyrian and King Jareb we are to understand one and the same, as appears from the following words, "yet could he not heal &c.", whereas, if they were different, it would have been expressed, "yet could they not heal &c.", and the king of Assyria is meant, who: also is called King Jareb, or rather king of Jareb F14; see ( Hosea 10:6 ) ; for this does not seem to be the name of the king of Assyria himself; though it may be that Pul, or Tiglathpileser, or Shalmaneser, might have more names than one, whoever is meant; but rather it is the name of some place in Assyria, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, from which the country may be here denominated; though the Targum takes it to be, not the proper name of a man or place, but an appellative, paraphrasing it,

``and sent to the king that shall come to avenge them;''
and so other interpreters F15 understand it, rendering it, either the king that should defend, as Tremellius; or the king the adversary, or litigator, as Cocceius, Hillerus F16, and Gussetius F17; a court adversary, that litigates a point, contends with one, and is an advocate for another; or, as Hiller elsewhere F18 renders it, the king that lies in wait: this was fulfilled with respect to Ephraim, when Menahem king of Israel, or the ten tribes, often meant by Ephraim, went and met Pul king of Assyria, and gave him a thousand talents to depart out of his land; perceiving his own weakness to withstand him, and in order to strengthen and confirm the kingdom in his hand, ( 2 Kings 15:19 ) ; or when Hoshea king of Israel gave presents to Shalmaneser king of Assyria, and became a servant to him, till he could get stronger, and shake off his yoke, ( 2 Kings 17:3 ) ; and with respect to Judah it had its accomplishment when Ahaz king of Judah sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria to come and help him against the kings of Syria and Israel, finding he was not strong enough to oppose them himself, ( 2 Kings 16:7 ) ; now all this was highly provoking to the Lord, that when both Israel and Judah found themselves in a weak condition, and unable to resist their enemies, instead of seeking to him for help they applied to a foreign prince, and which proved unsuccessful to them: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound;
but, on the contrary, afflicted them, hurt and destroyed them; there being a "meiosis" in the words, which expresses less than is designed; for though, with respect to Ephraim or Israel, Pul king of Assyria desisted from doing any damage to Israel, yet a successor of his, TiglathPileser, came and took several places of Israel, and carried the inhabitants captive; and at last came Shalmaneser, and took Samaria, the metropolis of the land, and carried all the ten tribes captive, ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) ( 17:4-6 ) ; and so, with respect to Judah, Tiglathpileser, whom Ahaz sent unto for help, not only did not help and strengthen him, but afflicted him, ( 2 Chronicles 28:20 ) ; thus when sensible sinners see their spiritual maladies, and feel the smart of their wounds, and make a wrong application for relief, to their tears, repentance, and humiliation, and to works of: righteousness, or to anything or person short of Christ the great Physician, they meet with no success, find no relief until better directed.

F14 (bry Klm la) "ad regem", Jarchi, Zanchius, Liveleus, Drusius; so Luther in Tarnovius.
F15 (bry) "altorem", V. L. "qui eum vindicaret", Tigurine version; "propugnaturum", Junius & Tremellius; "qui litigaret", Piscator.
F16 Onomast. Sacr. p. 219.
F17 Ebr. Comment. p. 780.
F18 Onomast. Sacr. p. 430.

Hosea 5:13 In-Context

11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.
12 But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.

Cross References 4

  • 1. [Isaiah 1:5, 6]
  • 2. Hosea 7:11; Hosea 8:9; Hosea 12:1; 2 Kings 15:19
  • 3. Hosea 14:3
  • 4. [Isaiah 1:5, 6]

Footnotes 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.