I know Ephraim - I know the whole to be idolaters.
I know Ephraim - There is much emphasis on the “I.” It is like our, “I have known,” or “I, I, have known.” God had known him all along, if we may so speak. However deep they may have laid their plans of blood, however they would or do hide them from man, and think that no eye seeth them, and say, “Who seeth me? and who knoweth me? I, to whose eyes all things are naked and opened Hebrews 4:13, have all along known them, and nothing of them has been hid from Me. For, He adds, even now, now when, under a fair outward show, they are veiling the depth of their sin, now, when they think that their way is hid in darkness, I know their doings, that they are defiling themselves. Sin never wanted specious excuse. Now too unbelievers are mostly fond of precisely those characters in Holy Scripture, whom God condemns. Jeroboam doubtless was accounted a patriot, vindicating his country from oppressive taxation, which Rehoboam insolently threatened. Jerusalem, as lying in the Southernmost tribe, was represented, as ill-selected for the place of the assemblage of the tribes. Bethel, on the contrary, was hallowed by visions; it had been the abode, for a time, of the ark.
It lay in the tribe of Ephraim, which they might think to have been unjustly deprived of its privilege. Dan was a provision for the Northern tribes. Such was the exterior. God says in answer, “I know Ephraim.” “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” Acts 15:18. Although (in some way unknown to us) not interfering with our free-will, known unto God are our thoughts and words and deeds, before they are framed, while they are framed, while they are being spoken and done; known to Him is all which we do, and all which, under any circumstances, we should do. This he knows with a knowledge, before the things were.: “All His creatures, corporeal or spiritual, He doth not therefore know, because they are; but they therefore are, because He knoweth them. For He was not ignorant, what He was about to create; nor did He know them, after He had created them, in any other way than before. For no accession to His knowledge came from them; but, they existing when and as was meet, that knowledge remained as it was.” How strange then to think of hiding from God a secret sin, when He knew, before He created thee, that He created thee liable to this very temptation, and to be assisted amidst it with just that grace which thou art resisting! God had known Israel, but it was not with the knowledge of love, of which He says, “The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous” Psalm 1:6, and, “if any man love God, the same is known of Him, but with the knowledge of condemnation, whereby He, the Searcher of hearts, knows the sin which He judges” 1 Corinthians 8:3.