Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Branches.
Septuagint, "Wood." Symmachus, This is all: it yields no fruit. Protestants, "empty." (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "plucked." The
grapes are taken away, as the Israelites were; though they boasted of their numbers, chap. ix. 16. They are often compared
to a vine, the symbol of fecundity, Isaias v. 3., and Psalm cxxvii. 3. (Calmet) --- The greater benefits of God enhanced their
ingratitude. (Worthington) --- On every noted hill (Haydock) profane altars were erected.
Ver. 2. Divided
between the Lord and idols, 3 Kings xviii. 21. (Calmet) --- The Jews relate that Osee, the last king of Israel, gave the people
leave to go to Jerusalem; (4 Kings xvii. 2.) and as they would not take advantage of it, their ruin was decreed. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 3. No
king, in captivity; or they give this title to the golden calf. Manahem had destroyed one, so that they could not but
see its vanity. The neighbouring nations looked upon their idols as their kings.
Ver. 4. Covenant
with Phul, who seeks only your destruction, 4 Kings xv. 19. (Calmet) --- Bitterness. Hebrew, "poison," (Haydock) or
a bitter herb. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. The
kine of Bethaven. The golden calves of Jeroboam, (Challoner) one of which (Haydock) was set up at Bethel. (Worthington)
--- The feminine cows, is spoken in ridicule; as (Calmet) O vere Phrygiæ, (Virgil) Æneid ix. Isis was represented
with a cow's head. (Herodotus ii. 41.) --- Rejoiced. To avoid this apparent contradiction, the Jews relate that the
priests had sent a brazen calf to the Assyrian, and secreted the golden one. While they rejoiced at their success, Salmanasar,
(Seder. Olam.) or Sennacherib, discovered the cheat, and came to destroy the kingdom. (St. Jerome) --- This has the air of
a fable. If (Calmet) we substitute é for g, in yagilu, (Haydock) we may give a good sense to the Hebrew. "The people shouting,
or in black, (cemaraiv) have been in sorrow, because their glory is taken from them: so the idol is called,
Psalm cv. 20. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Itself
also is carried, &c. One of the golden calves was given by king Manahem to Phul, king of the Assyrians, to engage
him to stand by him. (Challoner) --- Avenging. Chap. v. 13. --- Will, or expectation of aid. (Calmet) --- He
had recourse to this nation, without consulting God. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Pass.
Hebrew, "As for Samaria, it is undone. Its king is like froth, or a bubble," &c., chap. xi. 1. The calf;
(ver. 3.) Zacharias or Osee may be meant.
Ver. 8. Us,
as the Jews would do at the last siege, and sinners before the day of judgment, Luke xxiii. 30., and Apocalypse vi. 16. Too
happy, if they could by a speedy death escape eternal torments! (Calmet) --- People shall be in the utmost consternation at
the approach of the Assyrians. (Haydock) --- They will not think themselves secure enough in their caverns.
Ver. 9. Gabaa.
Septuagint, "high places;" or he alludes to the brutality of the citizens, Judges xx. 13. --- Stood. Those of Gabaa
were speedily punished by the other tribes. Now, all are perverse. At that time one tribe was guilty, and yet some were spared;
but all Israel shall be now led into captivity. (Calmet) --- From the time that Dan adored Micha's idol, (Judges xviii. 14.)
the evil has spread among the rest of the tribes, which did not punish this transgression. Hence all shall at last suffer.
Their two iniquities. Their two calves; (Challoner) or because they have abandoned God, and followed idols, Jeremias
ii. 13. Many render, "when I shall have tied them, like oxen, in their two furrows." But the Vulgate is plainer, and
adopted by most.
Neck. I will confine her to harder labour. While the oxen tred out corn, they may eat, Deuteronomy xxv. 4. --- Himself.
Juda shall be chastised after the ten tribes; so that none of my people shall escape.
Mouth. Hebrew, "in proportion to (Calmet) your piety." Septuagint, "gather a vintage of the fruit of life."
(Haydock) --- Ground. Reform your conduct. (Calmet) --- Justice, when Christ shall appear, the source of all
our grace and justice. (St. Jerome, &c.) (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "Light up for yourselves the light of knowledge, for
it is time; seek the Lord, till ye obtain the fruit of justice."
Ploughed. Septuagint, "Why have you concealed impiety," refusing to confess? (Haydock) --- Iniquity, or punishment.
--- Lying. Your hopes are frustrated, and no fruit is seen. (Calmet) --- Ways: idols. (St. Jerome)
Tumult. Hebrew shaon; the din of war, (Haydock) or cry of soldiers. (Calmet) ---Salmana, king of the
Madianites, was destroyed by the house; that is, by the followers of him that judgeth Baal; that is, of Gideon,
who threw down the altar of Baal, and was therefore called Jerobaal. See Judges vi. and viii. (Challoner) --- Of him.
Roman Septuagint, "of Jeroboam." But St. Jerome, &c., have, Jerobaal. Theodoret, "in the house of Arbeel." Hebrew,
"as Salmana ruined the house of Arbela." There were many places of this name; but none of great note, taken by Salmanasar.
Some think that he took it before he was king. Yet this is all uncertain, and the Hebrew seems rather changed, so that we
should read with the Alexandrian manuscript. St. Jerome, &c., Jerobaal, who defeated the Madianites, and treated
Succoth with great severity, Judges viii. 15. (Calmet)
Bethel. This place, defiled by an idol, shall be the scene of your misery. Septuagint, "So I will treat you, O house
of Israel," &c., (Haydock) which is not in Hebrew (St. Jerome) but seems as good. (Haydock) --- Hebrew adds here properly,
(Calmet) "Presently, or in the morning, shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off," which we have in the next chapter.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
After many benefits, great affliction shall fall upon
the ten tribes, for their ingratitude to God.
1 Israel, a vine full of branches, the fruit is agreeable to it: according
to the multitude of his fruit, he hath multiplied altars, according to the plenty of his land, he hath abounded with idols.
2 Their heart is divided, now they shall perish: he shall break down
their idols, he shall destroy their altars.
3 For now they shall say: We have no king: because we fear not the Lord:
and what shall a king do to us?
4 You speak words of an unprofitable vision, and you shall make a covenant:
and judgment shall spring up as bitterness in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria have worshipped the kine of Bethaven: for
the people thereof have mourned over it, and the wardens of its temple, that rejoiced over it in its glory, because
it is departed from it.
6 For itself also is carried into Assyria, a present to the avenging
king: shame shall fall upon Ephraim, and Israel shall be confounded in his own will.
7 Samaria hath made her king to pass as froth upon the face of the water.
8 And the high places of the idol, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed:
the bur and the thistle shall grow up over their altars; and they shall say to the mountains: *Cover us; and to the hills:
Fall upon us.
9 *From the days of Gabaa, Israel hath sinned, there they stood: the
battle in Gabaa against the children of iniquity shall not overtake them.
10 According to my desire, I will chastise them: and the nations shall
be gathered together against them, when they shall be chastised for their two iniquities.
11 Ephraim is a heifer taught to love, to tread out corn, but I passed
over upon the beauty of her neck: I will ride upon Ephraim, Judah shall plough, Jacob shall break the furrows for himself.
12 *Sow for yourselves in justice, and reap in the mouth of mercy, break
up your fallow ground: but the time to seek the Lord is, when he shall come that shall teach you justice.
13 You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped iniquity, you have eaten
the fruit of lying: because thou hast trusted in thy ways, in the multitude of thy strong ones.
14 A tumult shall arise among thy people: and all thy fortresses shall
be destroyed, as *Salmana was destroyed by the house of him that judged Baal in the day of battle, the mother being dashed
in pieces upon her children.
15 So hath Bethel done to you, because of the evil of your iniquities.
8: Isaias ii. 19.; Luke xxiii. 30.; Apocalypse vi. 16.
9: Judges xx. 1.
12: Jeremias iv. 3.
14: Judges viii. 12.