For the people turneth not to him that smiteth
Who was the Lord of hosts, as it is explained in the next clause; it was he that had smote the people with the rod of correction and chastisement, by various afflictions and distresses which he had brought upon them; in order to bring them to a sense of their sin and duty, to reclaim and recover them from their backslidings; but they had not such an effect upon them; they returned not to him by repentance and reformation, from whom they had turned themselves by their evil ways; nor to his worship, as the Targum interprets it, to his word and ordinances; for afflictions; unless sanctified, are of no use to restore backsliders. This is to be understood of the people of Israel, the ten tribes, whom the prophet calls "the people", not my people, nor the people of the Lord, because unworthy of that character. The Septuagint render the words, "the people returned not until they were smitten", and so the Syriac version intimating, as if they did return when smitten; but the following words, and the whole context, show the contrary: neither do they seek the Lord of hosts;
by prayer and supplication, for pardoning grace and mercy through Christ the Mediator; nor in his word and ordinances, for his presence and communion with him, or instruction or doctrine from him, as the Targum; to be taught true doctrine, and their duty to God and man; this is one part of the character of an unregenerate man, ( Romans 3:11 ) .