Hosea 8 - Outline of Hosea (Menu page)
B. The LORD's case against Israel expanded (6:4-11:11)
1. Israel's Guilt and Punishment (6:4-8:14)
  1. Convicted of transgression by God's Word, they deal more treacherously with Him (6:4-7:7)
  2. Confronted by the Excellency of Israel, they foolishly refuse to turn to Him (7:8-12)
  3. Continued disregard for God's Word requires retribution (8:1-14)
    1.They reject the One who is Good. (8:1-4)
1. [Set] the trumpet to thy mouth.
[He shall come] as an eagle against the house of the LORD,
because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.
2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.
3 Israel hath cast off [the thing that is] good: the enemy shall pursue him.
4 They have set up kings, but not by me:
they have made princes, and I knew [it] not:
of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
...the trumpet to thy mouth... as an eagle against the house of the LORD...-
The suddenness and swiftness of the Assyrian invasion are depicted here. The alarm can barely be sounded before the enemy overtakes God's people. (This is as foretold in Deu 28:49. The cause of this calamity is clearly given, both in Deu 28:15f, and here.)
because they have transgressed {HB='abar, passed beyond, alienated themselves from} my covenant... and... my law.
Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.-
When this trouble would come upon them, they would seek His help. But their profession of knowing God is false, because they have rejected His Word, by which He reveals Himself to men. Mat 7:22,23; John 8:54,55
Israel hath cast off {HB=zanach, rejected as worthless} that which is good (ie., the LORD and His Word, Psa 81:10,11; Mat 19:17)
...the enemy shall pursue him.- Deu 28:25
They have set up kings, but not by me ...-
The northern kingdom was establish through rebellion against the Davidic kingdom, which had been established by God (1Kin 12:16-20). The succession of kings, in the northern kingdom, was frequently violent, as men took matters into their own hands, without regard for the will of the LORD. As their rulers did not know Him, so, He did not know them as His own (2Tim 2:19).
...they have made them idols, that they may be cut off.-
Idolatry was a root cause for the termination of the nation. Jer 44:7,8
2. They are rejected by the false ones they sought:
  1. Their calf (8:5-7)
5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast [thee] off; mine anger is kindled against them:
how long [will it be] ere they attain to innocency?
6 For from Israel [was] it also:
the workman made it; therefore it [is] not God:
but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:
it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal:
if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Thy calf, O Samaria... -
The nation is addressed through Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom. The first king of the northern kingdom, Jeroboam I, set up a golden calf in Bethel and another in Dan (at the southern and northern extremes of his realm), as centers of an idolatrous counterfeit religion (1Kin 12:25-33).
thy calf... for from Israel was it... -
This idol was Israel's invention. It was their construction. It certainly was not from God.
Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off... - It would be the undoing of the nation. (v.3,4; 1Kin 13:33,34)
Their faith in this god of their own making was worthless. It could not help them, and they had cast off the One who was worthy of trust.
the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces... -
Soon, the Assyrians would break it up and carry the gold away, demonstrating that it had no power to save.
they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind... -
The worship of these idols was supposed to bring bountiful harvests (eg., Hos 7:14). But they would reap what they had sown (Prov 22:8; Hos 10:12,13; Gal 6:7). They had 'sown the wind,' ie., they had planted and invested nothing of lasting value (see a similar expression in Ecc 5:16). The return on their investment would be:
  • the whirlwind - ie., the fierce 'storm-wind' of judgment and trouble.
  • no stalk...- ie., drought
  • no meal...- ie., blight
  • strangers shall swallow it up...- During much of the history of the northern kingdom, the LORD had warned the nation of the consequences of their sin, by allowing limited loss of their harvests to marauders from the surrounding nations who troubled and taxed them. But now, the harvest was about to be entirely taken up by others. Deu 28:33; Isa 17:10,11
2. They are rejected by the false ones they sought:
  1. Their ally, Assyria (8:8-10)
8. Israel is swallowed up:
now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure.
9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself:
Ephraim hath hired lovers.
10 Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them,
and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
Israel is swallowed up...-
Foreigners would not only swallow up their harvest, but also the nation itself would be swallowed up by the impending Assyrian invasion and captivity.
...among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein in no pleasure {ie., no delight}.-
The nation would be broken, and become like a broken pot which was of no use to its owner. Her people would be humbled and brought low, like a vessel designated for dishonorable purposes. Isa 30:14; 2Kin 17:1-6; 18:11; Lam 2:2,5,16; 2Tim 2:20,21
For they are gone up to Assyria... a wild ass alone by himself... hired lovers.-
Like a wild donkey, in mating season, Israel had run eagerly in search of lovers, including Assyria (Hos 2:5; 7:10,11; Jer 2:24). But now those lovers had turned against her, and she found herself isolated from them, yet, surrounded by them. Her former lovers had become her enemies.
...they shall sorrow a little {or, be defiled for awhile} for the burden of the king of princes.-
The word 'burden' {HB=massa} refers to a heavy load. It is sometimes used of tribute paid to another nation. From time to time, Israel was forced to pay tribute to other nations (eg., 1Kin 15:19,20; 2Kin 17:3). But here, the weight of their final deportation is in view, when they would come under the heavy hand of 'the king of princes.' This phrase ('the king of princes') refers to the king of Assyria, who was identified as 'the great king,' when he threatened Jerusalem at the time of Israel's captivity (2Kin 18:9-12,17-19,28).
3. The LORD remembers their sins (8:11-14)
11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
12 I have written to him the great things of my law, [but] they were counted as a strange thing.
13 They sacrifice flesh [for] the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat [it;]
[but] the LORD accepteth them not;
now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins:
they shall return to Egypt.
14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples;
and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities:
but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin... altars shall be unto him to sin.-
As they had erroneously sought many false gods, so, false gods would be multiplied to them as the fruit of their error. Deu 4:27,28; Jer 16:13
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.-
Note that the LORD Himself was the writer. Moses was His pen.
God's Word is full of 'great things.' The word translated by this expression refers to numerical greatness, abundance, and multiplied thousands (eg., Psa 40:5). But His people, had not received His Words, reckoning them as foreign or loathsome.
They sacrifice flesh for... mine offerings, and eat it.
The sacrifices which they brought, purportedly to honor the LORD, were unacceptable. For having no regard for His Word, they performed their rituals, not for Him, but for their own pleasure: 'they eat it.' Jer 7:21-23
they shall return to Egypt...-
The judgment which would be visited upon them, would, in effect, return them to the state in which they were prior to the Exodus: in servitude to gentiles, in a land full of false gods.
     Some have imagined a conflict between v.13 ('They shall return to Egypt.') and 11:5, which says they "shall not return to Egypt." In reality, there is no conflict. Physically, the northern kingdom was taken captive to Assyria, not to Egypt. But, spiritually they had already turned back from the land of promise, to serve the elements from which the LORD had previously delivered them. (See also 9:3; with 7:16)
For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples...-
In accord with His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the LORD had formed and established the nation of Israel (consisting of all twelve tribes). But, forgetting Him, the northern kingdom had built temples to multiple gods, the gods of the nations in whom they trusted. Ex 20:2-6; Deu 32:16-18; Psa 106:21
and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities...-
Seeing the unfriendliness of surrounding nations, the southern kingdom had put their trust in the arm of flesh, building up their military defences. Yet, in reality, the peace which they enjoyed was a gift from the LORD. (2Chr 14:1-6; 16:7-9; 26:9)
     Around the time of the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom, godly king Hezekiah wisely took action to prepare Jerusalem against a possible attack. 2Kin 20:20; 2Chr 32:1-5,30
     While Judah prepared their fortifications, they failed to prepare their hearts. They did not turn from their sin to seek the LORD, the Rock upon whom the nation rested. Isa 22:9-13
     Because they had forgotten the LORD, who had established and sustained them, He would remind them of who He is.
I will send a fire upon his cities...-
When the Assyrians invaded Israel, the LORD also allowed them to take the fenced cities of Judah (eg. 2Kin 18:13).
But when the Assyrians threatened Jerusalem, the LORD delivered the city supernaturally, by His own arm (2Kin 19:32-35).
Yet, Judah did not take heed, and continued along the path of apostasy, toward destruction.

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