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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 8

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-14

Hosea 8:1 . Set the trumpet to thy mouth. Give alarm, for the king of Assyria is coming; he is stretching his wings like an eagle to take the prey. Isaiah uses the same figure, in Isaiah 58:1.

Against the house of the Lord, the temple in Jerusalem. After Samaria shall have fallen under his power, then Judea shall fall, because she also has utterly transgressed the covenant by idols.

Hosea 8:4 . They have set up kings, but not by me, This refers to the later kings of the ten tribes, for Jeroboam was promised the kingdom, if he would remain faithful to the true worship of the Lord. Jehu and others had a similar promise. The Lord being himself the great shepherd, ought to be consulted in the election of governors and princes.

Hosea 8:5 . Thy calf, oh Samaria, hath cast thee off. Complaint is made in Hosea 8:3, that they had cast off the Lord. Now in times of trouble, their calf could do nothing for them. It would seem from this apostrophe, that Samaria had a golden calf at the head of her idols. See on Exodus 32:4.

Hosea 8:12 . I have written to him the great things of my law. They had the five books of Moses, but counted the law a strange thing. Very great and holy prophets fought hard battles for the Lord, but the priests and the princes disregarded them. Idolatry was too much enrooted to be eradicated by the prophets; therefore the Lord cut it down with the sword.

Hosea 8:14 . I will send a fire upon his cities. This was kindled by the Chaldean army, as we read in Jeremiah 52:13, and 2 Chronicles 36:0. These were the flames that extinguished the fire of Baal’s altars. When they forsook the Lord, they trusted their safety to fenced cities.


Here the man of God appears clothed with his proper character. He knew his master, he knew his mission, he knew how to magnify his ministry. The boldness of his figures, the force of his words, the terrors of his address, are worthy of Him that sent him.

He came not to Ephraim’s feasts; he blew the trumpet of war, he spread the banners of the Lord. The priest, the prince, the calves of Dan and Bethel trembled at his voice. He impeached them in their own court, and before their idol gods. He impeached them with having elected kings, not of God’s anointing; with despising his law, with offering to Baal the victims which belonged to Jehovah: sacrilege loathsome in the eyes of heaven.

While he blew the trumpet with one hand, he pointed with the other to the golden eagle of the east, already stretching out his wings for flight, and preparing to roost in the summits of Lebanon. And what could their helpless calves do against the eagle of the forest, and the lion of the thicket?

He deplores the condition of Ephraim, drunk with wine, feasting with his calves, and dancing before the altars of Baal. He rebukes their imbecility, sending gifts and embassies to the king of Assyria, who is like a wild unsocial ass, seeking solely his own pasture. This was in effect a renunciation of the Lord, as one that could not save. Their sorrows and complaints were unavailing, like the moanings of a silly dove, begging her life in the eagle’s claws.

Oh Ephraim: alas for Ephraim! Now become like the worthless shoars of earthenware, about to be scattered back to Egypt, and to other nations; and her fractures so disjoined as never to be restored again.

Oh let not my heart be like that of Ephraim, resting for a time in carnal ease. Let me hear the trumpet, and prepare to meet my God. Let me not cast off thy law, nor slight thy ministers, nor join in the drunkard’s song. Let me learn true wisdom from Israel’s folly. Let me contemplate thy dealings with the Hebrew nation, as the grand theatre of providence, for the instruction of all future ages.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hosea 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/hosea-8.html. 1835.
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