1 Ephraim feeds on wind, and pursues the east wind (hot wind. Spiritual fruit is dead): he all day long increases lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians (cp. 5:13; 7:11), and oil is carried into Egypt. (As a present, to obtain favor and help. Cp. 5:13. Isa. 30:2-7; 57:9. See 2 Kings 17:4. Remember Camp David peace accord?)
2 The LORD has also a controversy with Judah, and will visit upon Jacob (put for Israel, especially the natural seed) according to his ways; according to his doings will He repay him. (God is joining back Israel. See the parable of the fig tree. This goes even to a personal level, good and bad.)
3 He took his very own brother by the heel in the womb (hence his name Jacob. see Gen. 25:26), and by his manhood (i.e. another example, later in life, but of a similar nature) he contended with God: (Hence his name Israel. Gen. 32:28.)
4 Yes, he contended with the Angel, and prevailed (= He [the Angel] overcame him [Jacob]. Hence the change of Jacob's name to "Israel" = the prince that fights with [not against] God): he wept (i.e. Jacob), and made supplication to Him:
He found him (i.e. God found Jacob) in Beth-el (= house of God. Gen. 28:17,19. Note the implied contrast, Beth-el being now the seat of idolatry), and there He spoke with him;
5 And the LORD is God of hosts (all children - sons); the LORD (YHVH, Yahaveh) is His memorial [Name]. (This is for strong confirmation.)
6 Therefore turn you to your God: keep grace (or, loving-kindness) and judgment (be just) and wait (be patient) for your God continually. (See Gen. 49:18. Cp. Ps. 37:7. Isa. 25:9; 26:8; 33:2. Mark 15:43. Luke 2:25; 23:51.)
7 He, [Ephraim], is a merchant (this is the 1st of 2 provocations. Like a Kenite), the unjust balances (see Lev. 19:36) are in his hand: he loves to oppress. (Cheat. Money was obtained by oppression. See Lev. 6:2; 19;13. When someone is so blind that he cannot discern spiritually sin. They don't know they are doing wrong because they haven't been taught the Law. Blood ordinances were fulfilled in Christ. But ask yourself, is it o.k. to murder? steal? Don't be silly, law exists.)
8 And Ephraim said, "Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my toils they shall find none perversity in me which is sin." (Rips everybody off and thinks he is being blessed by God in his own sin.)
9 And [you forgot that] I (these verses [9,10] correspond with v.14, and give the cause of the provocation), the LORD your God from the land of Egypt, [that I have promised that] I will yet make you to dwell in tents (this is again promised in Zech. 14:16), as in the Feast of Tabernacles. (See Lev. 23:42,43.)
10 I have also spoken by the prophets (cp. 2 Kings 17:13. Heb. 1:1. 2 Pet. 1:21), and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes (they were types to tell you exactly what's going to happen. You don't need 'modern day' prophets), by the ministry of the prophets.
11 [Surely] Gilead is iniquity? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yes, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.
12 And Jacob fled into the country of Syria (Gen. 28:5. Deut. 26:5), and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. ([Yet in after days] Israel was brought out of Egypt...and preserved [in the wilderness].)
13 And by a prophet (i.e. Moses. Ex. 12:50,51; 13:3. Num. 12:6-8. Cp. Deut. 18:15) the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he kept.
14 Ephraim (as represented by Jeroboam [1 Kings 12:25-13:5], and Hosea [2 Kings 17:11-23) provoked Him to anger most bitterly:
therefore shall He leave his blood (put for blood-guiltiness) upon him, and his reproach (Deut. 28:37) shall his LORD (Adonim) return to him.