Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-14



Verses 1-14:

Verse 1 is an imperative of sudden nature, calling upon Israel to put the trumpet to her mouth or palate, to give warning of the coming of the enemy like a cyclone against Israel, or like an eagle swooping down, Job 31:30. Shalmaneser swooped down from Assyria, first to conquer the ten northern tribes, while Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon followed later, to conquer Judah and Benjamin the southern kingdom, because they had transgressed His covenant and trespassed against His law, Deuteronomy 28:49; Numbers 12:7; Jeremiah 12:7; Thus Israel, as God’s house or heritage, was driven out of the holy land.

Verse 2 prophesies that Israel in captivity will cry to God, that she knows Him. But their cry is one of deceit, hypocrisy, and of covetous design, to try to get mercy from Him whom they had lied about, treated with contempt, Hosea 7:13. In their acts they knew Him not, or did not recognize Him and what He had told them, Exodus 20:1-5; Jeremiah 7:4; Isaiah 29:13. So it is with many in this age, Matthew 7:21-22; Titus 1:16.

Verses 3 asserts that Israel has cast off, like an unwanted or soiled garment, the goodness of God, those holy virtues and attributes that should adorn men of faith, Psalms 119:68; 2 Peter 1:4-9. In retribution, for her casting off the good, the moral, ethical, and holy things of life and the law, God warns that the enemy shall pursue Israel, like a hound after the rabbit, till the kill, Hosea 5:15; Psalms 78:34.

Verses 4 itemized certain acts of anarchy Israel had pursued against God, 1Ki 12:31.
1) they set up kings, not of His sanction or approval, and
2) made princes (secular rulers) rulers, did, their own thing in affairs of government, without consulting Him or His law, and
3) they made idols of silver and gold, in defiance of his first two commandments, which they were supposed to keep or guard in a holy or sanctified way, Exodus 20:1-5; Jeremiah 7:15; Jeremiah 44:8. Though forewarned, Israel pursued her chosen path of idolatrous anarchy against her God. Though forewarned, they went heedlessly on.

Verse 5 laments the calf-worship in Samaria, which caused her to be cast off from God’s mercy for certain chastisement. The calf is called "thy calf," because Israel worshipped it at Dan and at Bethel; The wonder is how long it will be that they can even endure or tolerate innocence. They had nigh become incapable of purity before God, Jeremiah 19:4.

Verse 6 expresses the reason of God’s displeasure against Israel. For both their rulers and the calf gods were set up of their choosing, not that of God, v. 4. Idolatry is folly in the extreme. The calf was to be broken in pieces or destroyed.

Verse 7 announces the reaping of judgment for Israel, with a deadly increase over their sowing, Proverbs 22:8; Galatians 6:7. They made a vain show of worship, while faith and obedience were lacking. Prayers for prosperity, made to an idol calf-god brought the violent whirlwind storm of God’s disapproval and judgment, Hosea 10:12-13. The corn sown, shall have no sturdy stalk, and the bud will not grow fit for meal, so that their labors shall be fruitless, in vain, Proverbs 11:29; Ecclesiastes 5:16. The little that is grown shall be seized by foreigners or heathens, while they pine away under judgment for their sins; Proverbs 29:1.

Verse 8 describes the swallowing up of rebellious Israel by heathen, Gentile nations, as if devoured by wild beasts of prey. They have become as unclean, worthless vessels, dishonored and no longer useful to God, yet too stubborn to return to Him, 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 31:12; Jeremiah 22:28; Jeremiah 48:38; 2 Timothy 2:20

Verse 9 reports the trip to Assyria for a negotiated alliance of friendship with the Gentiles or heathens. Here Israel is compared with a stubborn, obstinate ass, controlled by folly, undisciplined, heady, untamable, as a paramour or lover burning in lust While even wild asses usually keep to themselves, Israel acted more stupid by going up alone to defy God, in seeking an unholy alliance with Assyria, Jeremiah 2:24 Israel was to dwell alone, separated from the heathen and Gentiles by law, Numbers 23:9; Job 39:5-8. Israel had hired lovers, reversing the ordinary way, that lovers should hire her, Ezekiel 16:33-34.

Verse 10 announces coming sorrow for Ephraim and Israel. They had "hired" or sought to buy friendship from heathen nations who took them as captives to oppress them, not to help, Ezekiel 16:37. For the king and princes under him imposed tribute on them to bring greater sorrow, 2 Kings 15:19-20; Isaiah 10:8.

Verse 11 indicates that God will give them the consequences of their own chosen sins, as just retribution, Proverbs 1:31. For they had built to themselves "many altars", in opposition to God’s command that sacrifices were to be offered at the altar in Jerusalem only, Deuteronomy 12:3; Deuteronomy 12:5-6; Deuteronomy 12:13-14. To them their plurality of altars came to be the calf-gods, 1 Kings 12:30; 1 Kings 13:34.

Verses 12 certifies that Israel could not plead ignorance as a cause for her sins, because God had written,, addressed, the law directly to them, Deuteronomy 4:6; Deuteronomy 4:8; Psalms 119:18; Psalms 147:19-20. To count the instructions directed to them as "strange", or inventions, involved them in the graver sin, for repeatedly it had been taught to them, 2 Kings 4:23; Hebrews 1:1; Romans 3:1-2.

Verse 13 explains that idolatrous Ephraim slew multiplied animals at the heathen altars, as purported gifts to Him, offerings that should have been burnt, they slew, purported to offer to Him, that they might devour the flesh for their own gratification, not as an acknowledgment of their sins. He resolved "now" or immediately to show His rejection of their sacrifices for their iniquities in which they continued as idolators. He, instead, declared that they should be abandoned again into bondage of Egypt, or a bondage like that from which He had once set them free, because of their presumptuous sins, Hosea 9:3; Hosea 9:6; Hosea 11:11, as also formerly threatened, Deuteronomy 28:68. His covenant of deliverance was to be suspended for a time of their chastening, Jer chs.43, 44; Hosea 9:9; Amos 8:7.

Verses 14 asserts that Israel had forgotten her maker, or disregarded her maker and keeper, and gone a whoring after heathen idols and temples, embracing their gods and worship. And Judah had increased her fortified cities. Both Israel and Judah had come to trust in their own wisdom of the flesh, had deified themselves, above the laws of their God. In judgment there is no safety, no hiding place, except that provided by, or in harmony with the law of the Lord, Deuteronomy 32:18; Jeremiah 17:27; Amos 2:5. Instead of turning to God, to make peace, Judah trusted her fenced cities, Isaiah 22:8; Jeremiah 5:17; Micah 5:10-11. God warned that He would send fire upon Judah’s cities, which He did, including Jerusalem, 2 Kings 18:13; and it did devour the "palaces of Jerusalem." Neither men nor nations can defy God and get by, Galatians 6:7-8.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/hosea-8.html. 1985.
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