The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him
Upon Ephraim, or the ten tribes; that is, afflictions, distresses, and calamities, which are often in Scripture compared to the pains and sorrows of a woman in childbirth; and may denote the suddenness and inevitableness of them; see ( Isaiah 13:8 ) ( Jeremiah 30:6 Jeremiah 30:7 ) . So the Targum,
``distress and trouble shall come upon them, as pains on a woman with child;''
which may respect the invasion of their land, the siege of Samaria, and their captivity; he [is] an unwise son
taking no warning by his ancestors, by their sins, and what befell them on account of them, but persisting in his sins, and in impenitence and hardness of heart: so the Targum,
``he is not wise to know my fear:'' for he should not stay long in [the place of] the breaking forth of children
that is, in the womb, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it; though the Targum and Jarchi understand it of the stool or seat of women in travail. The sense is, either that he is foolish and unwise, that he does not endeavour to extricate himself from these troubles; or rather to prevent them by repentance, by leaving his idols, and returning to the Lord; or that, should he do so, be would soon be delivered from all his sorrows, and not stay a moment longer in them. Though the words may be better rendered, "for he stays not", or "would not stay, the time for the breaking forth of children" F16
; now this time is the time of the Gospel dispensation, the time of the Messiah's birth, the fulness of time appointed for his coming, and the time of the church's ringing forth many children in a spiritual sense; see ( Isaiah 54:1
) ( Galatians 4:26 Galatians 4:27
) ; for which Ephraim or the ten tribes should have waited, but did not, which was their folly and their ruin; they did not "stand", or continue, in the belief and expectation of the Messiah, and in the true worship of God, but left that, and served idols; and so continued not to the times of the Messiah, when the blessings mentioned in the following verse would be obtained and enjoyed; so Schmidt.