Hosea 10:11

11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.

Read Hosea 10:11 Using Other Translations

And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.
Ephraim was a trained calf that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put Ephraim to the yoke; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself.
“Israel is like a trained heifer treading out the grain— an easy job she loves. But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck. I will force Judah to pull the plow and Israel to break up the hard ground.

What does Hosea 10:11 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Hosea 10:11

And Ephraim [is as] an heifer [that is] taught, [and] loveth
to tread out [the corn]
Like a heifer taught to bear the yoke, and to plough; but learned it not, as the Targum; does not like it; chooses to tread out the corn where it can feed upon it, its mouth not being then muzzled, according to the law; oxen or heifers were used both in ploughing and treading out corn, to which the allusion is. The sense is, that Ephraim or the ten tribes were taught to bear the yoke of the law, and yield obedience to it, and perform good works; but did not like such a course of life; had no further regard for religion than as they found their own worldly profit and advantage in it: or they did not care to labour much in it; they liked the fruit and advantage arising from working, rather than the work itself; and thus, like a heifer, doing little, and living well, they grew fat, increased in power, wealth, and riches; and so became proud and haughty, and kicked against the house of David, and rent themselves from it; and set up a kingdom of their own, and lived and reigned according to their own will and pleasure, like a heifer without yoke and muzzle: but I passed over upon her fair neck;
or, "the goodness of her neck" {c}; which is expressive of the flourishing and opulent state and condition of the ten tribes, especially in the times of Jeroboam the second, which made them proud and haughty: but the Lord was determined to humble them, and first in a more light and gentle manner; or caused the rod of correction to pass over them more lightly; or put upon them a more easy yoke of affliction, by causing Pul king of Assyria to come against them; and to get rid of whom a present was given him, exacted of the people; and afterwards Tiglathpileser, another king of Assyria, who carried captive part of their land; and this not having its proper effect, the Lord was determined to proceed against them in a heavier manner: I will make Ephraim to ride;
some, taking the future for the past, render it, "I have made Ephraim to ride" F4; that is, to rule and govern, having royal dignity and power given them, and that greater than that of Judah; and ride over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were sometimes very much afflicted by them; and this is thought to be the sense of the following phrases, Judah shall plough, [and] Jacob shall break his clods;
or, "break the clods for him" F5; for Ephraim while he rides, and uses them very hard; as in the days of Joash and Pekah, kings of Israel, when many of the tribes of Judah were slain by them, ( 2 Kings 14:12 2 Kings 14:13 ) ( 2 Chronicles 28:6 2 Chronicles 28:8 ) ; but rather the meaning is, "I will cause to ride on Ephraim" F6; that is, the Assyrians shall ride upon them, get the dominion over them, carry them captive, and use them to hard service and bondage, as a heifer rid upon by a severe rider while ploughing; and the other tribes shall not escape, though they shall not be so hardly dealt with: "Judah shall plough, and Jacob shall break his clods"; these shall be carried captive into Babylon, and employed in hard and servile work, but more tolerable; as ploughing and breaking clods are easier than to ride upon; and as they had hope of deliverance at the end of seventy years; whereas no promise of return was made to the ten tribes, which is the sense some give; but Pocock and others think that these words regard the tender and gentle methods God took with these people to bring them to obedience to his law. Ephraim being teachable like a heifer, he took hold of her fair neck, and stroked it to encourage her, and accustom her to the hand, and to the yoke; and then put the yoke of his law upon them, add trained them up in his institutions, and used also gentle methods to keep them in obedience; and also set Judah to "plough", and Jacob to "break the clods", prescribed for them; and employed them in good works, in the duties of religion, from whence answerable fruit might have been expected; saying to them, by his prophets, as follows:


FOOTNOTES:

F3 (hrawu bwj le) "super bonitatem cervicis ejus", Montanus; "super bonitatem colli ipsius", Schmidt; "super praestantiam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F4 (bykra) "equitare feci", Munster, Rivet.
F5 (wl ddvy) "occabit ei", De Dieu; "occabit illi?" Schmidt.
F6 "Equitare faciam in Ephraim", Lyra, Tarnovius; "equitare faciam super Ephraim", so some in Calvin.
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