Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people
Either locally, by dwelling among them, as some of them at least might do among the Syrians; or carnally, by intermarrying with them, contrary to the command of God; or civilly, by entering into alliances and confederacies with them, as Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel did with Rezin king of Syria, ( Isaiah 7:2 Isaiah 7:5 ) ; or by seeking to them for help, calling to Egypt, and going to Assyria, as in ( Hosea 7:11 ) ; so Aben Ezra; or morally, by learning their manners, and conforming to their customs, especially in religious things: though some understand this as a punishment threatened them for their above sins, that they should be carried captive into foreign lands, and so be mixed among the people, and which is Jarchi's sense: but it is rather to be considered as their evil in joining with other nations in their superstition, idolatry, and other impieties; and it is highly offensive to God when his professing people mix themselves with the world, keep company with the men of it, fashion themselves according to them, do as they do, and wilfully go into their conversation, and repeat it, and continue therein, and resolve to do so: for so it may be rendered, "he will mix himself" F18; it denotes a voluntary act, repeated and persisted in with obstinacy; Ephraim is a cake not turned;
like a cake that is laid on coats, if it is not turned, the nether part will be burnt, and the upper part unbaked, and so be good for noticing; not fit to be eaten, being nothing indeed, neither bread nor dough; and so may signify, that Ephraim having introduced much of the superstition and idolatry of the Gentiles into religious worship, was nothing in religion, neither fish nor flesh, as is proverbially said of persons and things of which nothing can be made; they worshipped the calves at Dan and Bethel, and Yet swore by the name of the Lord; they halted between two opinions, and were of neither; they were like the hotch potch inhabitants of Samaria in later times, that came in their place, that feared the Lord, and served their own gods: and such professors of religion there are, who are nothing in religion; nothing in principle, they have no scheme of principles; they are neither one thing nor another; they are nothing in experience; if they have a form of godliness, they deny the power of it; they are nothing in practice, all they do is to be seen of men; they are neither hot nor cold, especially not throughout, or on both sides, like a cake unturned; but are lukewarm and indifferent, and therefore very disagreeable to the Lord. Some take this to be expressive of punishment, and not of fault; either of their partial captivity by Tiglathpileser, when only a part of them was carried captive; or of the swift and total destruction of them by their enemies, who would be like hungry and half starved persons, who meeting with a cake on the coals half baked, snatch it up, and eat it, not staying for the turning and baking it on the other side; and thus it should be with them. So the Targum,
``the house of Ephraim is like to a cake baked on coals, which before it is turned is eaten.''