World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
8. Israel to Reap the Whirlwind
Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. 2Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. 3Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. 4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
5Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? 6For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. 7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. 8Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. 9For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. 10Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes. 11Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. 12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. 13They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the Lord accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt. 14For 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.
Ho 8:1-14. 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.
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 (Ps 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.
I knew it not—I approved it not (Ps 1:6).
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 innocency? [Maurer].
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 (Pr 11:29; Ec 5:16).
the bud—or, "growth."
strangers—foreigners (Ho 7:9).
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).
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 by Assyria.
11. God in righteous retribution gives them up to their own way; the sin becomes its own punishment (Pr 1:31).
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 De 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 9:3.
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.