Prophecy of the Irruption of the Assyrians, in
Punishment for Israel's Apostasy, Idolatry, and Setting Up of Kings
without God's Sanction.
In Ho 8:14,
Judah is said to multiply fenced cities; and in Ho 8:7-9, Israel, to its great hurt, is said to
have gone up to Assyria for help. This answers best to the reign of
Menahem. For it was then that Uzziah of Judah, his contemporary, built
fenced cities (2Ch 26:6, 9, 10). Then also Israel turned to Assyria and
had to pay for their sinful folly a thousand talents of silver (2Ki 15:19) [Maurer].
1. Set the trumpet, &c.—to give
warning of the approach of the enemy: "To thy palate (that is,
'mouth,' Job 31:30,
Margin) the trumpet"; the abruptness of expression indicates the
suddenness of the attack. So Ho 5:8.
as … eagle—the Assyrian (De 28:49; Jer 48:40; Hab 1:8).
against … house of …
Lord—not the temple, but Israel viewed as the family of
God (Ho 9:15; Nu 12:7; Zec 9:8; Heb
3:2; 1Ti 3:15; 1Pe 4:17).
2. My God, we know thee—the singular,
"My," is used distributively, each one so addressing God. They, in
their hour of need, plead their knowledge of God as the
covenant-people, while in their acts they acknowledge Him not
(compare Mt 7:21, 22; Tit 1:16; also Isa 29:13; Jer 7:4). The Hebrew joins "Israel," not
as English Version, with "shall cry," but "We, Israel,
know thee"; God denies the claim thus urged on the ground of their
descent from Israel.
3. Israel—God repeats the name in
opposition to their use of it (Ho 8:2).
the thing that is good—Jerome translates, "God" who is good and doing good
119:68). He is the chief
object rejected, but with Him also all that is good.
the enemy shall pursue him—in just
retribution from God.
4. kings … not by me—not with My
sanction (1Ki 11:31; 12:20). Israel set up Jeroboam and his
successors, whereas God had appointed the house of David as the
rightful kings of the whole nation.
I knew it not—I approved it not
of … gold … idols—(Ho 2:8;
that they may be cut off—that is,
though warned of the consequences of idolatry, as it were with open
eyes they rushed on their own destruction. So Jer 27:10, 15;
5. hath cast thee off—As the ellipsis of
thee is unusual, Maurer
translates, "thy calf is abominable." But the antithesis to
Ho 8:3 establishes English
Version, "Israel hath cast off the thing that is good";
therefore, in just retribution, "thy calf hath cast thee off," that is,
is made by God the cause of thy being cast off (Ho 10:15). Jeroboam, during his sojourn in Egypt,
saw Apis worshipped at Memphis, and Mnevis at Heliopolis, in the form
of an ox; this, and the temple cherubim, suggested the idea of the
calves set up at Dan and Beth-el.
how long … ere they attain to
innocency?—How long will they be incapable of bearing
6. from Israel was it—that is, the calf
originated with them, not from Me. "It also," as well as their "kings
set up" by them, "but not by Me" (Ho 8:4).
7. sown … reap—(Pr 22:8; Ga
6:7). "Sow … wind,"
that is, to make the vain show of worship, while faith and obedience
are wanting [Calvin]. Rather, to offer
senseless supplications to the calves for good harvests (compare Ho 2:8); the result being that God will make
them "reap no stalk," that is, "standing corn." Also, the phraseology
proverbially means that all their undertakings shall be profitless
11:29; Ec 5:16).
the bud—or, "growth."
strangers—foreigners (Ho 7:9).
8. vessel wherein is no pleasure—(Ps 41:12; Jer 22:28; 48:38).
9. gone … to Assyria—referring to
Menahem's application for Pul's aid in establishing him on the throne
(compare Ho 5:13; 7:11). Menahem's name is read in the
inscriptions in the southwest palace of Nimrod, as a tributary to the
Assyrian king in his eighth year. The dynasty of Pul, or Phalluka, was
supplanted at Nineveh by that of Tiglath-pileser, about 768 (or 760)
B.C. Semiramis seems to have been Pul's
wife, and to have withdrawn to Babylon in 768; and her son, Nabonassar,
succeeding after a period of confusion, originated "the era of
Nabonassar," 747 B.C. [G. V. Smith]. Usually foreigners coming to Israel's
land were said to "go up"; here it is the reverse, to intimate
Israel's sunken state, and Assyria's superiority.
wild ass—a figure of Israel's
headstrong perversity in following her own bent (Jer 2:24).
alone by himself—characteristic of
Israel in all ages: "lo, the people shall dwell alone" (Nu 23:9; compare Job 39:5-8).
hired lovers—reversing the ordinary
way, namely, that lovers should hire her (Eze 16:33, 34).
10. will I gather them—namely, the
nations (Assyria, &c.) against Israel, instead of their
assisting her as she had wished (Eze 16:37).
a little—rather, "in a little" [Henderson]. English Version gives good
sense: They shall sorrow "a little" at the imposition of the tribute;
God suspended yet the great judgment, namely, their deportation
the burden of the king of princes—the
tribute imposed on Israel (under Menahem) by the Assyrian king Pul,
15:19-22), who had many
"princes" under his sway (Isa 10:8).
11. God in righteous retribution gives them up
to their own way; the sin becomes its own punishment (Pr 1:31).
many altars—in opposition to God's law
12:5, 6, 13, 14).
to sin … to sin—Their altars
which were "sin" (whatever religious intentions they might plead)
should be treated as such, and be the source of their punishment (1Ki 12:30;
12. great things of … law—(De 4:6, 8; Ps 19:8; 119:18, 72;
147:19, 20). Maurer not so well translates, "the many
things of My law."
my law—as opposed to their inventions.
This reference of Hosea to the Pentateuch alone is against the theory
that some earlier written prophecies have not come down to us.
strange thing—as if a thing with which
they had nothing to do.
13. sacrifices of mine offerings—that
is, which they offer to Me.
eat it—Their own carnal gratification
is the object which they seek, not My honor.
now—that is, "speedily."
shall return to Egypt—(Ho 9:3, 6;
11:11). The same threat as in
28:68. They fled thither to
escape from the Assyrians (compare as to Judah, Jer
42:1-44:30), when these
latter had overthrown their nation. But see on Ho
14. forgotten … Maker—(De 32:18).
Judah … fenced cities—Judah,
though less idolatrous than Israel, betrayed lack of faith in Jehovah
by trusting more to its fenced cities than to Him; instead of making
peace with God, Judah multiplied human defenses (Isa 22:8; Jer 5:17; Mic 5:10, 11).
I will send … fire upon …
cities—Sennacherib burned all Judah's fenced cities except
Jerusalem (2Ki 18:13).
palaces thereof—namely, of the land.
Compare as to Jerusalem, Jer 17:27.