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Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 8

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


An Announcement of Coming Judgment

-- Hosea Eight --

God told his prophet Hosea to make an announcement concerning coming judgment. He was to blow the trumpet because Israel's enemy would soon invade her. Israel had rebelled against God and now they faced the consequences of their iniquity. God had said, "Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me." ( Hos_7:13 ) Israel claimed to love God yet they rebelled against Him and transgressed His covenant.

Israel had become very wicked as a nation. They were both immoral and unethical. This was a nation filled with blood. They did not take counsel of God when appointing rulers and kings. The nation was filled with idolatry. They had followed the lead of Jeroboam that had set up the calves at Dan and Bethel. God asked them how long they would be incapable of purity. Israel had become so corrupt that idols were now coming from her. These idol gods were powerless and would be broken to pieces. Israel had "sown the wind, and now they shall reap the whirlwind." The physical seed that Israel sowed produced mostly stalks. The grain that was produced was stolen by strangers.

When God's judgment came upon Israel they were consumed as when one ate grain. They lost their identity among the gentiles. They became like a broken pot that no one wanted. Ephraim made treaties with Assyria and that became the very nation that devoured them. "Ephraim was also like a harlot but even worse in that she paid others to love her rather than receiving pay from them."

In rebellion against God Israel built many altars to idol gods. These altars became places for sinning rather than places for worship. More gods and more altars meant more sinning. Israel had the advantage of having God's written law and yet they continued to rebel. What they did at their altars had no sacrificial value to God. God would send Israel into a place of bondage, like Egypt. Instead of continuing to trust and obey God, both Israel and Judah put their confidence in their own ability to provide for themselves. Israel arrogantly disregarded God and His law! Now they must pay for their sins!

Verses 1-4

Israel broke God's covenant -- Hos_8:1-4 : Hosea eight begins with God, Israel and the Assyrians. Israel had broken her covenant with God and ignored His teaching. Now it was time to sound the warning because Assyria would swoop down on Israel like an eagle to its prey. Assyria came against Israel at the mandate of God to punish her because of her transgressions. When the persecution came against Israel she called to God saying, "We claim you, the LORD, as our God." Sadly, with Israel, love for God was only talk. God said, "They have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law."

Hosea said, "Israel hath cast off the thing that is good." The thing that Israel had cast off was the covenant or the good agreement that they had made with God. The enemy, in this case the Assyrians, pursued Israel to her destruction. Israel left God out of their thinking. They choose kings and other leaders without consulting God. They made idols of silver and of gold. This led to their spiritual downfall. Israel had forgotten her maker.

Verses 5-7

Israel sowed the wind -- Hos_8:5-7 : Israel was the name of the nation. Ephraim was the larger tribe in the Northern Kingdom. Samaria was the city that was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. God was angered by the idolatrous calf at Samaria. Their idols caused God's anger to wax hot against Israel. He would cast them off and the idols were powerless to help. God challenged them with the question "How long will it be ere they attain to innocency?" or "When will you ever be innocent again?"

Someone in n Israel made the idol. The idol can do nothing. However, Jehovah God made all things. He demands and deserves our worship. The children of Israel were worshipping a god made by their own hands. The true and living God would smash their idol to pieces. Isaiah wrote, "And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." ( Isa_1:25 ) Israel had "sown the wind, and now they shall reap the whirlwind." A whirlwind is a great and strong thing and it is very destructive. The punishment of Israel would be severe. If any grain was left by the storm strangers would devour it. The punishment for sin is great!

Verses 8-11

Israel made altars to sin -- Hos_8:8-11 : Idolatry brought spiritual ruin upon Israel. The idolatry of Israel had ruined that nation and the gentile nations considered them worthless. "They be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure." They were looked at as if they were a broken vase or a broken piece of pottery. They were of no value to anyone. Israel was like a wild donkey that had run off just to go its own way. They ran off to Assyria and hired them as allies. Israel had committed idolatry. This was compared to a man's wife committing adultery, and even worse in that she hired her lovers. Israel is like an unfaithful wife that would use money given to her by her loving husband to pay men to come in to her.

Israel had made a bargain with Assyria for help. Sadly that heathen nation was as helpless as Israel herself. God's people would be scattered from their own land and be gathered into the net of the heathen country. The worthless kings and rulers of Israel would be of no help to deliver her from the hands of Assyria. Israel had built many altars. Sadly the altars led to sin and not to true worship. Their altars literally became places for sin. In Assyria, the horrible practice of idolatry would be forced upon Israel and would continue to produce even more sin.

Verses 12-14

Israel had forgotten her maker -- Hos_8:12-14 : Israel could not claim ignorance as a reason for her failure to obey God. His "instructions for sacrifices were written in detail, but you ignored them." It is a wonderful blessing to have God's law in written form. He said "I have written to him the great things of my law." Sadly they did not treat the law as a great gift from their Creator. At times Israel did make the correct sacrifices and do so in the proper way. However, these sacrifices were unacceptable to God because of the corruption and iniquity of the nation. God remembered their sin and now they would face their punishment. They would return to Egypt. Egypt was used in a figurative way to tell the nation that they were headed into captivity. This captivity would be a cruel and destructive enslavement under the Assyrians.

In Hos_8:14 God gave a summary of His feeling of both the nations of Israel and of Judah. "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." God had created them, yet they had forgotten their Maker. Judah also received a warning because they were becoming more and more corrupt. "Both houses of Jews were destined to be overthrown by the for-eign forces to be brought against them." God said, "Now I will send fire to destroy your towns and fortresses." Sin brings certain and sure misery!

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 8". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-8.html. 2014.
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