Hos 8: "The day of judgment thundered against the evil
generation in the days of Hosea. The ecclesia had warped its responsibility, and
were facing inevitable punishment because Yahweh is just, and will not forsake
His holiness, even though the people did (vv 1-4). Apostasy must be dealt with,
so that Yahweh is seen to be holy. The nation had allowed a compromise religion
to occur: Jeroboam had set up calves at Bethel and Dan when he returned to
Israel from Egypt (1Ki 12:28,29). This religion was supported by the government
ultimately set up in Samaria. This probably reflected the Egyptian environment
conveyed through Jeroboam (1Ki 11:40). The Egyptians worshipped the calf or ox
by the name Apis at Memphis and Mnevis, at On (Heliopolis). There was thus an
admixture of truth and error in the worship of the northern kingdom, as in 2Ki
17:33. To the spiritual influence of Egypt they consistently turned (Hos 8:13;
9:3,6). But there would unavoidably come the judgment of Yahweh against the
brotherhood of Israel. Even the claim by the ecclesia that they upheld Yahweh's
honour (Hos 8:2) was answered by the divine statement that the people were
hypocritical (v 3). Their religious devotions (v 13) were unacceptable to God,
because there was no true response. It was merely a stage appearance. The final
v of the ch says it all!" (GEM).
PUT THE TRUMPET TO YOUR LIPS: The blowing of the
"shophar" announced that an invader was coming (cp Hos 5:8; Eze 33:6).
AN EAGLE IS OVER THE HOUSE OF THE LORD: Israel's enemy
would swoop down on the nation as an eagle attacking its prey (cf Deu 28:49; cf,
more generally, Hos 5:14).
O MY GOD, WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOU: "Many will say to me on
that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive
out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never
knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' " (Mat 7:22,23). The Israelites claimed
that they acknowledged (knew) the authority of their God, but their
transgressions and rebellion proved that they did not (Hos 4:1,6; 5:4). Also cp
Isa 29:13; Jer 22:9; Luk 6:46.
BUT ISRAEL HAS REJECTED WHAT IS GOOD: Yahweh's moral
and ethical requirements.
AN ENEMY WILL PURSUE HIM: Cp Deu 28:45: God's curses
will pursue them and overtake them.
THEY SET UP KINGS WITHOUT MY CONSENT: No king of
Israel, after the invasion, was ever anointed by God.
THROW OUT YOUR CALF-IDOL: "Thy calf hath cast thee off"
(AV) is incorrect. Either Israel is being commanded, once again, to throw out
the idol. Or, alternatively, it is Yahweh who has rejected the calf-idol that
had come to mark Israelite worship since Jeroboam I first set up images of
calves in Dan and Bethel (1Ki 12:28-30).
A CRAFTSMAN HAS MADE IT; IT IS NOT GOD: The simplest
and most conclusive proof against any form of idolatry: the "god" has been made
by man, not the other way around (Isa 40:18-20; 44:9-20)! When Jeroboam I
originally presented these idols to the people of Israel, he said, "Behold your
gods, O Israel" (1Ki 12:28; cp Exo 32:4).
IT WILL BE BROKEN IN PIECES: Thus demonstrating the
impotence of the idols themselves.
THEY SOW THE WIND AND REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Israel had
sown the wind, something foolish and worthless (cp Job 7:7; Prov 11:29; Ecc
1:14,17), namely idolatry. Sowing the "wind" of vanities (idols) will yield the
"whirlwind" of Divine judgment! "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man
reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that
nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the
Spirit will reap eternal life" (Gal 6:7,8).
THE STALK HAS NO HEAD; IT WILL PRODUCE NO FLOUR: The
"whirlwind" from God will destroy their crops.
WERE IT TO YIELD GRAIN, FOREIGNERS WOULD SWALLOW IT UP:
And even if the "whirlwind" of God does not destroy all their crops, then alien
marauders will take anything that is left.
ISRAEL IS SWALLOWED UP: The nation would be swallowed
up, as when someone eats grain (v 7). Israel would become a part of the nations
having gone into captivity, and thus having lost its own sovereignty and even
NOW SHE IS AMONG THE NATIONS LIKE A WORTHLESS THING: "A
vessel wherein is no pleasure" (AV). Like an earthenware pot that no one wants
because it is broken (cp Jer 22:28; 48:38; 2Ti 2:20).
FOR THEY HAVE GONE UP TO ASSYRIA: Ephraim, or Israel,
had made treaties with Assyria to help protect her from her enemies (Hos 7:11),
but the Assyrians would turn and devour Israel.
WILD DONKEY: Wild donkeys were notorious for their
willfulness and vanity and lust, and for being difficult to control (Jer 2:24;
EPHRAIM HAS SOLD HERSELF TO LOVERS: Ephraim was also
like a harlot, but even worse in that she paid others to love her rather than
receiving pay from them (cp Hos 2:5; Jer 2:23-25). This was a bitter experience
for Yahweh -- since He had promised to care for the nation because He loved
MIGHTY KING: Heb "melek sarim" = "king of princes". Sig
the king of the Assyrian Empire, the very king to whom the Israelites appealed
for protection (cp Hos 10:6; Isa 10:8).
THOUGH EPHRAIM BUILT MANY ALTARS FOR SIN OFFERINGS, THESE
HAVE BECOME ALTARS FOR SINNING: In rebellion against Yahweh's covenant the
Israelites had also built many altars. They built them to offer many sin
offerings, but since God had not authorized these altars they became places for
sinning rather than places for being forgiven.
I WROTE FOR THEM THE MANY THINGS OF MY LAW, BUT THEY
REGARDED THEM AS SOMETHING ALIEN: The king should have written out a copy of
the law and studied it daily (Deu 17:18); then he would have be able to teach
the people faithfully. King Jeroboam is being reproved because of the way in
which he dismissed those "great things" (AV) which the law contained.
THEY WILL RETURN TO EGYPT: He would send them back to
Egypt where they used to live as slaves before He redeemed them in the Exodus
(Hos 9:3). Perhaps many Israelites fled there, as a result of the Assyrian
depredations. Others were carried captive to Assyria, which for all practical
purposes was but another "Egypt" (Hos 11:5; Deu 28:68). Since they would not
live "free" with their God, they would be sold into "slavery" to Sin (cp Rom
ISRAEL HAS FORGOTTEN HIS MAKER AND BUILT PALACES; JUDAS HAS
FORTIFIED MANY TOWNS. BUT I WILL SEND FIRE UPON THEIR CITIES THAT WILL CONSUME
THEIR FORTRESSES: Both Israel and Judah had forgotten that Yahweh had made
her what she had become. Instead of continuing to trust and obey Him, the people
had put their confidence in their own ability to provide for themselves. This
attitude of self-reliance manifested itself in their building palaces and
fortified cites as places of prominence and protection.
Palaces and fortified cites are not wrong in themselves, but
in this context, set against remembering Yahweh, they were expressions of
As judgment the Lord would burn down their palaces and
fortified cities. He would remove the objects of their confidence and teach the
people their personal inadequacy. Tiglath-Pileser III did this when he destroyed
Samaria and the other Israelites cities, and Sennacherib did it when he attacked
all the fortified cities of Judah (2Ki 17:6; 18:13).