Hosea 8


‘Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the LORD because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law. Israel cries out to me, ‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’ But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. Samaria, throw out your calf-idol! My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity? They are from Israel! This calf—a metalworker has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, that calf of Samaria.’ Hosea 8:1-6

Israel To Reap The Whirlwind

Here we read that the trumpet is blown as an alarm. The coming judgment is portrayed as an eagle, Job 39:27-30, that is, Assyria, hovering over the people.

Ward, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The eagle was a familiar Assyrian state symbol and since Assyria was the obvious threat to Israel’s sovereignty in the eighth century B.C., there is every reason to conclude that the eagle symbolizes Assyria here.’

The reason for judgment is given, they have broken the covenant and rebelled against the law. The people make a shallow, unconvincing cry to God, hence, why God didn’t answer them.

They claimed to know God but they didn’t and so God was no longer their God. Israel had the opportunity to do good, but now the eagle will come.

They set up their own kings which God never wanted them to have, 1 Samuel 8:19-22. They made idols with their silver and gold, they get involved in calf worship in Samaria, 1 Kings 12:28, which is condemned, Exodus 20:3-6 / Exodus 20:23 / Exodus 34:17. It was men who made these things, not God, 1 Kings 8:27.

‘They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like something no one wants. For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers. Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king.’ Hosea 8:7-10

Here we read that they will reap the consequences of what they sowed, Galatians 6:7. They were to reap national destruction and captivity. They would be swallowed up, that is they would become worthless vessels that wouldn’t hold water.

Israel’s alliances are mentioned, which is Israel’s tribute to Assyria in order to buy their preservation from an invasion by the Assyrians. Israel sold herself to lovers, that is, they went into alliances with the nations in order to stand against those who would seek to conquer her.

As far as God is concerned, they have already gone into exile. Their alliances will be of no use to them. God would bring them into judgment as they began to waste away as a nation.

‘Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings, these have become altars for sinning. I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something foreign. Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me, and though they eat the meat, the LORD is not pleased with them. Now he will remember their wickedness and punish their sins: They will return to Egypt. Israel has forgotten their Maker and built palaces; Judah has fortified many towns. But I will send fire on their cities that will consume their fortresses.” Hosea 8:11-14

Ephraim had built many altars of sin but they should have been altars of forgiveness.

Hindley, in his commentary, says the following.

‘At any one time, only one altar was to be set up for the nation in the place which God would choose, Deuteronomy 12:26f / Deuteronomy 14:24 / Deuteronomy 27:4-8 / 2 Kings 21:4-5. No special stress on write in the following verse suggests that Hosea was already familiar with a written law.’

Their sacrifices are meaningless to God. God’s law had become foreign to them, they simply couldn’t see the difference between God and their idols, God’s laws and their own made-up laws, Psalm 19:7-1. It appears the only reason they enjoyed sacrificing was because they were allowed to eat it.

The sacrifices which should have been devoted to God had become a time where they could enjoy the food themselves. God didn’t accept their sacrifices because all they did was offer them and eat them, without really acknowledging God and His ways, Micah 6:6-9.

Egypt is referred to as a symbol of bondage, but it is to Assyria that they will be taken. They had forgotten the very One who brought them out of Egypt and as a result, they built temples to their foreign gods, they forgot that God doesn’t dwell in temples, Acts 17:24-27.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘As a matter of fact, the bondage into which the northern kingdom fell was far worse than that of Egypt.’

1. The nation would not continue to grow as it had in Egypt.

2. There would be no terminus of it.

3. The complete amalgamation of the once chosen people with their pagan captors would be final. They would no longer exist as a separate people, distinguished in any manner from the populations of the world.

When God says He will send fire on their cities which will consume their fortresses, this would apply to both Israel and Judah. God would send the Assyrians to burn the cities and temples of the Northern Kingdom in 722/21 B.C. and He would send the Babylonians to burn Jerusalem and its temple in 586 B.C.

Go To Hosea 9