It’s not true to say only that “All things work together for good”, a part truth is a lie. What is true is that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28; cf. Eph. 1:11). Neither “things” nor “works” themselves are the cause, rather, they are the substance moulded by the cause, and the cause proceeds from God.
1Shimu-zot Hear, listen, receive, understand this, ha-kohaniym you the priests!
Ve’hakshiyvu and pay attention, be attentive, heed, incline your ears beiyt Yisrael house of Israel! Uveiyt ha-melekh And house of the king ha’azinu give ear, listen, harken, be obedient! Kiy For lachem upon you hamishpat is the judgment, kiy because you have been a pach bird trap le’Mitzpah at Mizpah (look out, watch point, watchtower), vereshet and a net perusah spread out, breaking in pieces al-Tavor (mound, breaking) on Tabor (Mt Tabor).
1Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, house of Israel!
Listen, you of the house of the king!
For the judgment applies to you,
Because you have been a trap at Mizpah,
And a net spread out on Tabor.
a. “Hear… Pay attention… Listen” are a trifold admonishment in response to Israel’s wilful decision to block her ears, ignore and refuse to listen to God.
b. “You priests” is spoken to the illegitimate priests of the north but also regards Israel being a nation of priests called by God (Exodus 19:6) and finds its triplet in the “house of Israel” and the “house of the king”. Each of the three were responsible for maintaining justice: a. Priest [Godly, spiritual justice] b. Israel [social justice] c. King [justice of governance].
c. “House of the king” could refer to HaShem as King [the King], or to the king of Judah, linking to the reference to Judah in verse 5, it could also be a reference to Menachem [the then king of the north] or a symbolic reference to Jeroboam: of Ephraim, as first king of the north).
d. “Judgement” corresponds to “a trap” and “a net”.
e. The two locations of “Mizpah” and “Tabor” are mentioned as locations relating to Israel’s idolatrous sin against God. They mark two places where idolatry was being practiced, a reference to high places of occult worship. They may also have been look out stations intended to prevent members of the northern tribes from going up to Jerusalem to worship (Rashi).
“Hear this you priests”
God had called all Israel a “priesthood”:
“and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” -Exodus 19:6 NASB
It’s important to note that the priests of the northern kingdom appointed by Jeroboam were not Levites and therefore were illegitimate priests.
“And he (Jeroboam) made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.” -1 Kings 12:31 KJV
We could read “Hear this you illegitimate priests!”
“incline your ears house of Israel! And house of the king give ear”
The distinction made by admonishing the “house of Israel” and the “house of the king” could mean that God is addressing both the northern tribes and Judah (Benjamin). The remaining verses and the greater context makes this the most likely interpretation. However, as stated in the points above regarding the poetic mechanisms, there are at least two other possible interpretations.
“For upon you is the judgment, because you have been a bird trap at Mizpah (look out, watch point, watchtower), and a net spread out, breaking in pieces (mound, breaking) on Tabor.”
Bird traps and the like are used in Scripture as a metaphor of the practices of the wicked in entrapping innocent people (Job 18:8-10; Psalm 140:5; Proverbs 29:5; Lamentations 1:13). This adds weight to Rashi’s assertion that Mizpah and Tabor were look outs intended to prevent members of the northern tribes from going up to worship in Jerusalem.
Mizpah could be one of two places: 1. Mizpah in Gilead east of the Jordan (Genesis 31:43-49) 2. Mizpah in Benjamin (1 Samuel 7:5-6; 10:17). Given the historical context it seems more likely that Mizpah in Benjamin is being alluded to, making the indictment equally against the northern and southern kingdoms. However, Rashi infers that both locations were in the northern kingdom and were high points where look outs were placed to prevent members of the northern tribes from going up to Jerusalem to worship.
“On these two mountains they stationed sentries so that Israel would not make the pilgrimage to the Temple.” -Rashi
Regardless, as a result of her occult and idolatrous practices on the high places of Mizpah and Tabor, the northern kingdom and perhaps Benjamin (Mizpah: 1 Samuel 7:5-6; 10:17) have set a trap for all residents of Israel (and Judah) and have caused a breaking out of violence and debauchery that has permeated through the entire northern region and as a result has overflowed into Judah.
Mizpah means “look out” and Tabor “breaking”. Thus, both Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah have invited demonic false deities to have access to the north (Tabor) and south (Mizpah). They have done this by a. preventing those who wish to come to worship at the God appointed location of the temple mount and b. by worshipping other deities in syncretism with their worship of HaShem.
There is a warning here for all who believe. When we compromise the clear instruction of God and in turn allow other forms of worship to converge with our faith practice, we too invite demonic influence, and if we leave these things unaddressed, that influence becomes a stronghold with the potential to lead us to destruction.
2 Veshachatah And the slaughter seitiym of the rebels he’miyku has gone deep,
va’aniy And I musar will discipline lechulam all of them. 3 Aniy yadatiy I know Efrayim (doubly fruitful), veYisrael and Israel (Overcome in El) lo-nichchad is not hidden/cut off mimeniy from Me; kiy for now nitma unclean, impure Efrayim (doubly fruitful), has been, as has Israel.
2 And the rebels have gone deep in [a]depravity,
But I will discipline all of them.
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me;
Because now, Ephraim, you have been unfaithful,
Israel has defiled itself.
a. “Depravity” is the fruit of “Rebellion”, and a loving God disciplines the ones He loves.
b. “Ephraim” and “Israel” (northern tribes) are synonymous terms. The northern tribes are neither hidden nor cut off from HaShem YHVH (Mercy).
c. “Unfaithfulness (in particular, sexual unfaithfulness)” is “Self-defilement”.
“the slaughter of the rebels has gone deep”
Iben Ezra calls them “those idolaters, revolters, or worshippers of Baal.”
This refers to the fruit of idolatrous blood sacrifices. Both the spiritual and physical implications have found their way into the depths of societal and individual consciousness.
“The extent of their straying they have deepened. I said that anyone who does not go up to Jerusalem on the Pilgrimage festivals transgresses a positive commandment, and they decreed that anyone who does go up to Jerusalem shall be put to death. Hence, they went deeper than I. I.e., they were more stringent than I (Sanhedrin 102a).” -Rashi
“I will discipline all of them”
“All of them” refers to all who have sinned. God is just, those who are part of the righteous remnant will go into exile along with the wicked but will be kept set apart from the punishment of the wicked.
“I know Efrayim, and Israel is not hidden/cut off from Me;”
“I know” is an intimate phrase denoting God’s relationship to Ephraim. “Not hidden” is an affirmation of God’s intimate knowledge of Israel and is a reminder of His All Knowing (omniscient) nature.
“Until Hosea son of Elah, they blamed their sins on their kings, who prevented them from going on the pilgrimages. This one arose and abolished the sentries; yet they did not go up. Therefore, they were exiled. For now you have committed harlotry, O Ephraim, and they cannot blame the king. I learned this in Seder Olam [Order of the world] (ch. 22).” -Rashi
4 Lo yitnu Nothing will be given them ma’aleiyhem from their deeds, lashuv to return el-Eloheiyhem to their God. Kiy For ruach a spirit, wind, breath of zenuniym prostitution, adultery, fornication bekirbam is within them, ve’et-YHVH and the particular YHVH (Mercy) lo yadau they do not know.
4 Their deeds will not allow them
To return to their God.
For a spirit of [b]infidelity is within them,
And they do not know the Lord.
a. “Their deeds” and “infidelity” are connected to a spirit (demonic) of infidelity which has gained access through the perpetual nature of their sin.
b. Their ability to “return to” is corrupted by the fact that they “do not know”.
“Nothing will be given them from their deeds, to return to their God.”
The fruit of idolatry does not lead to repentance. To the contrary, an awareness of God’s holiness exposes sin and leads to godly sorrow and returning. It’s not true to say only that “All things work together for good”, a part truth is a lie. What is true is that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28; cf. Eph. 1:11). Neither “things” nor “works” themselves are the cause, rather, they are the substance moulded by the cause, and the cause proceeds from God.
Persistent intentional sin, the decision to make sin a lifestyle, eventually leads a person to a place where repentance is impossible (Jeremiah 13:23; Hebrews 6:4-6).
“For a spirit, wind, breath of prostitution, adultery, fornication is within them,”
Israel, through perpetual and intentional sin has opened the door of her inner self to the demonic and the demonic has taken up residence “within” her. All of this is a result of her wilful ignorance of God:
“They do not know the LORD”
This is because they have refused to know Him. In one sense this is consistent with the sexual sin metaphor, in that they have rejected intimacy with their Husband and have “known” (in the Biblical sense: sexually) other husbands (false gods, foreigners, strangers).
They have sinned both corporeally and spiritually by practicing orgies of worship before false deities, on the high places that God had commanded them not to worship at.
5 Ve’anah and testifies, geon-Yisrael the pride of Israel befanayv in his face,
ve’yisraeil and Israel ve’Efrayim (doubly fruitful) and Ephraim yikashelu have stumbled, staggered ba’avonam in their depravity, iniquity, perversity; kashal stumbling gam-Y’hudah also Judah (praise) imam with them.
5 Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him,
And Israel and Ephraim stumble in their wrongdoing;
Judah also has stumbled with them.
a. The “pride of Israel”, “their wrong doing”, and the “stumbling” of Judah are a trifold indictment.
b. The sin itself (pride) is testifying against the sinner (Israel).
“and testifies, the pride of Israel in his face,”
The outworking of Israel’s pride is staring her in the face. Her sin is obvious to her. The use of the Hebrew befanayv denotes intimacy and affirms the idea of the previous verse that notes Israel’s intimacy with other lovers. One of her other lovers is her own pride.
“Israel and Ephraim have stumbled in their perversity…”
The Hebrew avon denotes vile perversity, the English (NASB) “wrong doing” is a benign translation. The imagery is of one who is caught in the quagmire of his own debasement, sin and death being both cause and effect.
“also Judah with them”
As evidenced by the repeated references to Judah, Israel (northern kingdom) are not alone in idolatrous practice (1:7; 3:5; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 12, 14; 6:11; 12:3). Judah has, of her own freewill chosen to adopt the idolatrous practices of Israel.
6 Betzonam With their flocks uvivkaram and herds yelechu they will walk (go out)
levakeish to seek et-YHVH (Mercy) the particular Lord, velo yimtzau and they will not find Him; chalatz He has withdrawn meihem from them.
6 They will go with their flocks and herds
To seek the Lord, but they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn from them.
a. “Flocks and herds” and “seek the LORD” qualify the flocks and herds as sacrificial animals intended for the covering of sin before YHVH.
b. “Will not find Him” and “withdrawn from them”, establish the fact that Israel’s intentional and perpetual idolatry has made it impossible, at this juncture, for her to find Him. They intend to defile the sacrifices commanded by God and as a result the sin sacrifices will be ineffective, leaving them incapable of reconciliation to YHVH, at this point in time.
“With their flocks and herds they will walk out”
“To seek the particular Lord, and they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them.”
They intend to seek the LORD with syncretized worship practices. Therefore, He will not be found by them. It will be as if He has withdrawn from them. Grace and mercy are offered to all through blood covering but only the truly repentant can receive God’s free gift.
To seek to offer compromised sacrifices to YHVH in their situation was abhorrent (Isaiah 1:10-14; Amos 5:21-25; Micah 6:6-8). Note that when the prophets speak of God not wanting sacrifices and festivals they are not speaking of the proper observance of the LORD’s appointed times or the proper offering of sacrifices according to His Torah, but the syncretized, compromised observance of festivals and the offering of defiled sacrifices.
Rashi interprets “withdrawn” as “slipped off” and infers that God as Husband has removed Israel’s marital covering like the removal of a garment. This is consistent with the marriage metaphor.
“Heb. חָלַץ, slipped away. Comp. (2 Samuel 2:21) “and take to yourself his clothing (חֲלִצָתוֹ),” the clothing that you will slip off them.” -Rashi
This verse is not saying that Israel will never return to the LORD, but that she was unable to at that time. Elsewhere we are told that Israel will return to the LORD when she repents in the true integrity of her inner being (3:5; 5:15; Dt. 4:29—31; Jer. 29:13).
7 Ba-YHVH Against the LORD they have dealt bagadu treacherously,
Kiy For vaniym children zariym strangers yaladu they have given birth to.
Now yochlem chodesh the new moon/new month is devouring them et-chelkeiyhem with their portion, share, territory, possession.
7 They have dealt treacherously with the Lord,
For they have given birth to [c]illegitimate children.
Now the new moon will devour them with their [d]land.
a. “Dealt treacherously” finds its correlation in “given birth”.
b. “The LORD” and “illegitimate children” are connected phrases because a point is being made that Israel has birthed children of idolatrous practices and the children are therefore worshipping false gods because they are not the legitimate children of YHVH. In some cases the children in question are literally children born of the sexual union of Israelites and foreigners (idolaters).
“For children strangers they have given birth to…”
Israel had attributed the successful birth of her children to the Canaanite fertility god Ba’al and therefore have made Ba’al the father, making them legitimate children of Satan illegitimate children of Israel.
“the new moon/new month is devouring them with their portion, share, territory, possession.”
The desecration of the God appointed new moon celebration will become a sign of the punishment coming against Israel. The punishment will happen over a metaphorical month and she will be removed from her tribal territories and taken into captivity. Why, because the reason for the removal of the inhabitants of the land given to Israel, was their idolatrous behaviour (Lev. 20:23). Therefore, being a just God and Father, YHVH removes (temporarily) Israel for the same reason. However, being Israel’s Father YHVH intends this removal as temporal discipline and not permanent banishment (as some fools teach).
8 Tiku Blow shofar a ram’s horn ba-Givah in Gibeah (bowl, in the mountain district of Judea), And chatzotzerah the trumpet in ba-Ramah (high place, near to Gibeah).
Hariyu Shout, raise an alarm at Beit Aven (Beth-aven, House of vanity, wickedness, sorrow, iniquity): “Behind you, Benyamiyn (son of the right hand [strength])!”
8 Blow the horn in Gibeah,
And the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound an alarm at Beth-aven:
“Behind you, Benjamin!”
a. “Ram’s horn” and “Trumpet” are both instruments for calling the people. However, they serve different purposes in calling. The Ram’s horn is associated with the binding of Isaac (Gen. 22), the giving of the Torah (Ex. 19:16), the jubilee (Lev. 25:9), war & miracles (Jos. 6:4; Jdg. 6:34; 7:8) etc., whereas the silver trumpets were associated with the movement of the camp in the desert (Num. 10:2), the priesthood (Num. 10:8; 1 Ch. 15:24), worship (1 Ch. 13:8; 2 Ch. 5:12), and the coronation of kings (2 Ch. 23:11-13).
b. “Gibeah”, “Ramah”, and “Beth Aven” are all locations of idolatrous worship, two of which are in the territory of Benjamin (Gibeah and Ramah), and one on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (Beth Aven), or, if Beth Aven and Bethel are the same place, then it is located in the territory of Benjamin just east of the border.
“Ram’s horn” (shofar) As stated, the ram’s horn is associated with the giving of the Torah (Ex. 19:16), the jubilee (Lev. 25:9), war & miracles (Jos. 6:4; Jdg. 6:34; 7:8) etc. And finds its true origin in the “binding of Isaac” (Gen. 22). Meaning that at its root it is the sound of redemption.
“Trumpet” (chatzotzerah, silver trumpet) As stated, is associated with the movement of the camp in the desert (Num. 10:2), the priesthood (Num. 10:8; 1 Ch. 15:24), worship (1 Ch. 13:8; 2 Ch. 5:12), and the coronation of kings (2 Ch. 23:11-13).
Therefore, all aspects of meaning associated with both instruments are denoted in the naming of them:
1. The Torah has found you wanting (Ex. 19:16).
2. You will not be in the land to celebrate the jubilee (Lev. 25:9).
3. War is at hand, but the power of God is levelled against you by way of punishment at the hand of the Assyrian Empire (Jos. 6:4; Jdg. 6:34; 7:8).
4. The camp is about to move, into exile (Num. 10:2).
5. Your compromised priesthood will fall (Num. 10:8; 1 Ch. 15:24).
6. There will be an end to your apostate worship (1 Ch. 13:8; 2 Ch. 5:12).
7. The north will see no more kings (2 Ch. 23:11-13).
“Gibeah” and “Ramah” are situated in the territory of Benjamin. This means that the alarm being sounded is a warning to Judah and in particular to Benjamin. The Assyrian invasion is immanent.
“Beit-Aven” (House of vanity, wickedness, sorrow, iniquity) is a sarcastic way of referring to Bethel (House of God)[Talmud], and or a place very close to Bethel (Joshua 7:2), it was a main centre of northern apostate worship located in the territory of Ephraim/Benjamin. A place that has a strong connection to both the physical and spiritual journeys of the Patriarchs and in particularly to Jacob, who became Israel. It was on the border of the territories of Ephraim and Benjamin (according to the interpretation that equates it to Bethel it is technically located in the territory of Benjamin to the east of the border between the two territories).
It seems likely, given Hosea 4:15, that Beth Aven was considered to be part of the territory of Ephraim (northern tribes):
“Judah must not become an offender in the Gilgal; and don’t go into Beth-Aven” -Hosea 4:15
Proximity is important. Benjamin had absorbed the practices of the northern tribes. “Bad company corrupts good character” (Proverbs 1:8-19; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
“Sound a shofar: [O prophets, raise your voices like a shofar.] The news of the sword which is coming as retribution for the iniquity of crowning Saul, who was in Gibeah, and for disobeying Samuel, who was from Ramah. And their kings caused them to turn away from following Me, such as Jeroboam and his ilk. Shout over them, ‘Violence and great destruction!’” -Targum Yonatan
Some claim that this warning refers to the Aramean/Syrian and Ephraimite war 734-733 BCE recorded in 2 Kings 16:5-9 and alluded to in Isaiah 7:1-9. This cannot be determined definitively.
9 Efrayim (doubly fruitful) le’shamah will become a horror bayom in the day tocheichah of correction; beshivteiy Among the tribes of Yisrael I make known what is ne’emanah to be established.
9 Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is trustworthy.
a. “Ephraim” and “Israel” are in one sense synonymous, however, Ephraim is mentioned as a symbol of the kings of the north (Jeroboam of Ephraim being the first king of the north), whereas Israel encompasses all the tribes. Thus, all are culpable.
b. “made known” and “firmly established” are phrases denoting the obvious outcomes of Israel’s sin and the just indictment made against her to her face by YHVH.
The plain meaning denotes the exile of the northern tribes at the hand of the Assyrians. Their exile will be a horror to both the northern tribes, who endure it, and the southern tribes who observe it. Nonetheless, the southern tribes failed to heed the warning and were taken into exile in Babylon approximately a hundred years later.
“Said Rabbi Abahu in the name of Rabbi Yose bar Chanina. On the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, debates with them in judgment, they will not be able to open their mouths, for among their tribes I made known that the judgment is a true judgment. You find that, when the ten tribes were exiled, Benjamin and Judah were not exiled, and the ten tribes were saying, Because they are the dwellers of His palace, He did not exile them. There is favouritism in this matter. God forbid, there is no favouritism, but their measure of sin was not yet full. As soon as they sinned, they were exiled. Then the ten tribes were bewildered, without an answer in their mouths, and they said, “Behold God! Behold the Mighty One! Behold the Just One! For even to those who dwell in His house He shows no favouritism.” This is to fulfil what is stated: Among the tribes of Israel I made known a true judgment. [from Lam. Rabbah, Proem 6]” -Rashi
10 The sareiy princes of Y’udah have become kemasigeiy like those who remove gevul a boundary (territory) marker; aleiyhem on them eshpoch I will pour out kamayim evratiy My fury like water.
10 The leaders of Judah have become like those who displace a boundary marker;
On them I will pour out My anger like water.
Idolatry is also present in Judah, perhaps not yet to the same extent but it is nonetheless growing. The exile of the northern tribes is to be an unheeded warning and the sins of Judah are being called out. The indictment against Judah addresses a sin against all the tribes. The moving of territory markers which secure the tribal allotments assigned by HaShem.
The Torah forbids the moving of boundary stones because it is an act of stealing from another tribe and a desecration against Israel as a whole.
“You shall not displace your neighbor’s boundary marker, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to [q]possess.” -Deuteronomy 19:14 NASB
“Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.” - Deuteronomy 27:17 NKJV
This sin is abhorrent to HaShem because it is in direct opposition to His provision of an inheritance for all Israel. It would be a king of Judah who would one day rule over all the tribes in the Messianic age, therefore, for the then kings and princes of Judah to be likened to those who remove boundary markers is to say they have dishonoured their role as protectors of the inheritance of Israel.
11 Efrayim (doubly fruitful) ashuk is oppressed, retzutz crushed mishpat by judgment,
Kiy Because hoiyl he was determined halakh to walk achareiy after tzav a command.
12 Va’aniy And I am cha’ash like a moth to Efrayim, ve’charakav and like decay leveiyt Y’hudah to the house of Judah.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, broken by judgment,
Because he was determined to follow [e]man’s command.
12 Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim,
And like rottenness to the house of Judah.
a. Ephraim’s oppression is the result of following a command of men, or of Ba’al (as opposed to the commands of God).
b. Oppression is the fruit of human sin, whereas judgement (in this case) is of God, Elohiym (the Judge).
c. “Moth” and “Rottenness” progressively destroy and are the result of neglect. In Israel’s case they have neglected the Torah of YHVH and have instead followed the doctrines of men.
“Now why does he suffer with all this? Because he wished and desired and followed the new commands of the prophets of Baal.” -Rashi
13 When Efrayim saw chalyo his sickness, and Y’udah his et-mezoro particular wound,
Efrayim then went to Ashur (Assyria, a step) vayishlach And sent to Melekh Yarev a king of Jareb (Contender). But he is unable lirpo to heal lachem you, or to yigheh take away mikem from you mazior your wound.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
And Judah his [f]sore,
Ephraim then went to Assyria
And sent word to [g]King Jareb.
But he is unable to heal you,
Or to cure you of your [h]sore.
a. “Sickness” and “wound” are the result of idolatry.
b. “Ephraim (northern tribes)” and “Judah (including Benjamin)”
c. The northern kings went to Tiglath Pileser II for help.
Despite the protests of revisionist liberal scholars both Jewish and Christian, there is clear evidence here of the Assyrian threat.
“King Jareb” or “king of Jareb” appears to be another name for Tiglath Pileser II whom Assyrian records say received a tribute paid by the Israelite (northern tribes) kings Menachem and Hoshea (2 Kings 15:19-20; 17:2). The reading “Of Jareb” would mean that he was a king of a province called Jareb rather than a king named Jareb. This is consistent with the correlation to Tiglath Pileser II.
“This is Hosea son of Elah, who was his vassal and then rebelled against him (II Kings 17:4).” -Rashi
"and sent to the king that shall come to avenge them;'' -Targum Yonatan
14 Kiy For Anochiy I will be chashachal like a lion to Efrayim, vechakefiyr and like a young lion leveiyt to the house of Y’hudah. Aniy Aniy I, indeed I, etrof will tear to pieces ve’elech and go away, esa carrying away, ve’eiyn matziyl and there will be no one to rescue.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim
And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, yes I, will tear to pieces and go away,
I will carry away, and there will be no one to rescue.
The metaphor “like a lion” used of YHVH is consistent with similar usage elsewhere in prophetic literature. The King Messiah is known as the “Lion of Judah” (Rev. 5:5).
The Assyrian Empire will take away the northern tribes, however, God is in control of what takes place, therefore, He is the One who carries Israel away as prey.
15 I eilech will go ashuvah and return el-makumiy to My place, ad until asher-yeshemu they acknowledge their guilt uvikshu and seek panay My face; batzar In their distress lahem yeshacharuniy they will earnestly search for Me.
15 I will go away and return to My place
Until they [i]acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their distress they will search for Me.
“I will go and return to My place,”
While the plain meaning indicates that God will withdraw His protection over Israel. It is worth noting that the Hebrew el-makumiy can be understood to refer to the temple mount in Jerusalem ha-makum.
“Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face”
According to the redemptive rhythm of the prophetic work an opportunity for repentance is given along with hope for reconciliation.
The acknowledgement of sin is necessary and to seek intimate knowledge of God is essential in order for reconciliation to take place.
“In their distress they will search for Me.”
The discipline that will result in Israel’s distress is intended to bring her to godly sorrow unto repentance and to deliver her from her self-harming lifestyle of idolatry.
“29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things happen to you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.” - Deuteronomy 4:29-30 NASB
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.