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The Book of Hosea
All of the prophets of God, had not only a message for the people of that day, but one that reached far out into the future, far beyond us today. Those messages DO apply to us today, especially the prophecies of Hosea and Jeremiah. These prophets prophesied right down to the downfall of Israel. These messages should make us sit up and take notice! They should alarm us as a nation, for the same sins are here! But . . . it is very doubtful that many will pay attention. I really fear that our nation has over-stepped its bounds. There seems to be NO regrets, NO repentance, NO remorse for any sin. This nation, like Israel in Hosea's time, bring their vile and vulgar sin out into the open, with NO shame whatsoever! The judgment of God is certain for ALL who sin, just as it was for Israel.
Israel Turns To Golden Calves And Altars Of Sin (8:1-14)
Hosea 8:1 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. (KJV)
Set the trumpet to thy mouth . . . the Lord commands the prophet to sound the trumpet, to try to awaken apostate Israel, with the alarm of war. Trumpets in war: (Num.10:9; 31:6; Josh.6:4,13;20; Judg.3:27; 6:34; 7:8,16; 1 Sam.13:3; 2 Sam.2:28; 15:10; 18:16; 20:1,22; 2 Chron.13:12; Neh.4:20; Job 39:24; Isa.18:3; Jer.4:19; 6:1; 42:14; 51:27; Eze.7:14; 33:3; Hos.5:8; Joel 2:1; Amos 3:6; Zep.1:16; 1 Cor.14:8).
He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord . . . he is the king of Assyria, Shalmaneser, who carried Israel captive. "As an eagle" . . . swift, hungry, overcoming all difficulties, and seizing his prey (Deut.28:49). So shall the Assyrian army come. "Against the house of the Lord" . . . is the Temple, the place where God had chosen to place His Name. It is also used for the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, where the temple was. From there God says:
Jer.11:15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. (KJV)
Jer.12:7 I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. (KJV)
The title "God's house" is older than the Temple, for God Himself uses it for all His people. Num.12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. (KJV)
The ten tribes (Israel), separated as they were from the Temple worship, were apostates from true faith of God, were not, as yet, counted by Him as totally excluded from the "house of God." God threatens that removal, as something still to come. Hosea 9:15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. (KJV) . . . Gilgal: (Hosea 4:15; 9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4; 5:5).
The eagle, then coming down "against or upon" the house of the Lord, is mainly Shalmaneser, who came down and carried off the ten tribes. Yet since Hosea, in these prophecies, also includes Judah, "the house of the Lord" should be taken to include all the people of God, among whom He dwelt, and the temple where His Name was placed. Nebuchadnezzar also was called the "eagle" by other prophets (Eze.17:3; Jer.48:40; Hab.1:8).
Because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law . . . they disobeyed God, and took other gods instead. They were idolaters. The law was given to Israel by Moses at the command of God, to which they all agreed and promised to observe. So it truly was in the form of a covenant to them. The bounds of this law and covenant, they transgressed, and willingly and wilfully broke all its commands by their idolatry, murder, adultery, theft, and other sins. "Trespassed against my law" . . . this confirms the former; covenant and law are the same, and so are transgressing and trespassing. They have violated the whole law and covenant, and are apostates from their God, rebels against Him as their King.
Since all people are sinners, the principle of sin is the same and the punishment the same. God will NOT tolerate sin from anyone! That was so in Hosea's time, and it is so today!
Hosea 8:2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. (KJV)
Israel shall cry unto me, my God, we know thee . . . Israel is the ten tribes, and they shall cry in deep distress when Assyria rages over their country. When Samaria is besieged, they will cry out loudly, but hypocritically; they will howl, they will roar, but do not pray. "My God" . . . they will look to the ancient alliance between their fathers and the Lord. "We know thee" . . . their only Saviour. They cry out in hypocrisy, but not from the heart. Isaiah 26:16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. (KJV) . . . In their distress they shall cry to the Lord to help them, to have mercy on them, as they used to do when in trouble, when the eagle is come upon them, and just ready to devour them.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (KJV)
Hosea 8:3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. (KJV)
Israel hath cast off the thing that is good . . . God is GOOD (Ps.52:1; Rom.2:4; 11:22), but Israel had cast Him off! How utterly foolish! Yet millions today are doing the exact same thing! Israel, the whole house of Israel, had cast off the Best "Thing" that they ever had, with disgust and hatred, as an adulterous wife would put away her husband. God, through Hosea refuted their deceptive charade of a personal relation and interest in God, telling them what would happen; trouble! .
Israel had also cast off all moral good, all virtue and goodness and the supreme good to be enjoyed, that comes only from God. They had cast off true religion and virtue . . . all just so they could run to their idols, false religion and immoral wickedness. Almighty God is telling them (and us), that those who do such things cannot be His people, for they certainly do NOT know Him.
The enemy shall pursue him . . . that enemy, the Assyrian army, shall overthrow and then pursue, until Israel was cooped up in Samaria, and until Assyria had taken them captives out of their own land into Halah, Habor and Gozan (2 Ki.17:6; 18:11; 1 Chron.5:26). WHY?? 2 Kings 18:12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.(KJV) . . . They shall know that I know and can see what they do, I see their transgressions and hypocrisy.
Hosea 8:4 They 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. (KJV)
They have set up kings, but not by me . . . "they" are Israel's prevailing faction in Hosea's time. "Have set up kings" . . . Shallum, Menahem, Pekah and Hoshea, who took over the throne. "But not by me" . . . not by God's command. They did not pray for God's blessing nor ask for His advice. This can be applied to the very beginning of the kingdom of Israel, divided from the house of David.
They have made princes, and knew it not . . . they set up secondary governors, judges, civil magistrates and elders over the people, WITHOUT God's approval. This was very disagreeable to God. He knew exactly what was done by them, as His is the One and Only omniscient God, but He did NOT approve of what they did.
God's omniscience: http://www.hisservants.org/describing_god_h_s.htm
And I knew it not . . . God will NOT approve of any one who does evil, for His omniscience is aware of all, and He is not reluctant to say of what He did not approve. "I knew it not" means it did not have God's approval. In this sense the word know is frequently understood.
Of their silver and their gold have they made their idols . . . some of their idols were made of silver (Ex.20:23; Isa.30:22; Hos.13:2), others of gold, including the golden calves at Dan and Bethel (1 Ki.12:28-33; 2 Ki.10:29), and as was the calf in the wilderness (Ex.32; Deut.9:16; Neh.9:18; Ps.106:19; Acts 7:41). God had multiplied their silver and gold (Hos.2:8), and they dishonored the Giver, using to make idols with what He had given them to be used for His glory.
That they may be cut off . . . which means not the end, intentions, and design of making these idols of silver and gold, but the event of the destruction of the idols themselves. Because of the silver and gold of which they were made, they were cut in pieces by a foreign enemy. Or possibly the gold and silver were cut off from the people, their riches and wealth were wasted by such means.
"As an eagle against the house of the LORD" referred to Assyria coming to attack Israel and take the people into captivity (2 Ki.15:28-29). The people would then call to God, but it would be too late because they had stubbornly refused to give up their idols. We too, so much like Israel, often call on God to ease our pain without wanting Him to change our ways. And we too, so much like Israel, may repent AFTER it is too late to avoid the painful consequences of sin. And some never call on God except when disaster strikes, like America's 9-11. BEWARE!!! Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV)
Hosea 8:5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? (KJV)
Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off . . . Jeroboam started by setting up two idolatrous calves at Dan and Beth-el. It is very possible that there were more set up in other places, because when Israel "forgot" the One and Only TRUE God, and "cast Him off," he built temples (Hos.8:14). The "calf" here is the chief idol set up in Samaria, and worshipped there. The prophet, in contempt of the idol, and ridiculing Israel's foolishness, gives it its right name. It is NOT a god, but a "calf," senseless and without life. "Hath cast thee off" . . . in that by this they had provoked God to wrath, and He had cast them off. "Thy calf" . . . the chief idol in Samaria . . . "hath cast thee off" . . . had provoked God to cast Israel off.
Mine anger is kindled against them . . . the calves at Dan and Bethel, the one before, is here plural. Idol worship highly provoked God, for it robbed Him of His glory, and gave it to graven images. His anger is evident; it burned as fire, against the idols, the idol-makers and the idol-worshippers, and that anger shall so burn until they are purified or consumed.
How long will it be ere they attain to innocency . . . "how long" would it be until there would be purity of worship and their lifestyle? "How long?" This may be a question of the prophet, asking how long the wrath of God would burn against the people before it would end. "How long?" When would they go back to purity of doctrine, of worship of heart and life? "How long" will it be, before they repent and reform?
Hosea 8:6 For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. (KJV)
For from Israel was it also . . . because from Israel, by their invention and authority, came both the idol and the worship of it.
The workman made it; therefore it is not God . . . the silversmith, or goldsmith (a man, a creation of God), made it; fashioned the calf. A creature cannot make a God, for deity is NEVER in any workman, so he could never give deity it to a golden image, a lifeless statue made by him. "Therefore it is not God" . . . they were fools to think it is was a god. Their making it should have convinced them it was no god. Maybe the destruction of it will prove the fact.
But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces . . . when the idol is broken into pieces, Samaria shall see it was just a golden image of a calf (Ex.20:4), and confess their folly in worshipping it. But, the destruction of it will be an eternal witness of Samaria's sin, and God's just displeasure in its ruin.
Hosea 8:7 For 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. (KJV)
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind . . . a proverbial speech, meaning either lost labor, or labor that will undo and tear to pieces him that labors. Both these are in the verse. Man's life and labor is a seed that brings forth fruit; but when this life and labor is a continuance of sin, as was Israel's, it will bring forth fruit the sinner does NOT want to reap. "They shall reap the whirlwind" . . . a violent, scattering tempest, which comes down and destroys everything in its path. This is a symbol of the wrath of God breaking out against these idolatrous and sinful men. Ephraim reaped the "whirlwind" in his civil wars, and much more in the Assyrian war, which ended with them being scattered into unknown countries, and where they have remained buried in forgetfulness over 2400 years.
It hath no stalk . . . what they sowed did not come up, or if it did, it had no promise of fruit. Israel's idolatrous practices had no real good, no profit, no advantage . . . no promise of fruit.
The bud shall yield no meal . . . even though it rise up into a stalk, and this stalk produced ears of corn, the stalk would be so thin, that no meal or flour could be gotten from them, thus of no worth and use. It will be no profit, with all labor lost. The bud shall be sagging, shriveled and diseased, and never yield meal. This was like the fruit Israel reaped, from Pul to Menahem, and from Egypt's assistance to Hoshea against Shalmaneser.
If so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up . . . if here were any chance fruit was found, Israel would not benefit because foreigners would devour it. This was so when Pul (1 Chron.5:26) came, then Shalmaneser (2 Ki.18:9) came and eat it all up.
Israel took great pains in the idolatrous worship of the calves, and made a great stir and noise in it, like a wild wind. They made a great show of religion and devotion, and promised themselves great things from it, peace and plenty, wealth and riches, all prosperity and happiness, enjoyed by Heathen nations; but this was lost labor because they had cast off their God, and they would reap the whirlwind. Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (KJV)
Hosea 8:8 Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. (KJV)
Israel is swallowed up . . . not only their substance, but the people also, the whole nation. This notes the utter destruction of them by the Assyrians, so that nothing of them and theirs remained; just as anyone is swallowed up and devoured by a beast of prey; the present is put for the future, because of the certainty of it:
In verse 7, the prophet foretells the lost labor of such pains and seed as Ephraim bestowed; now he adds something worse, the harvest is ruin and destruction to the seedsman, he is swallowed up; and this is the effect of the whirlwind. Normally whirlwinds scatter the fruit, but this one swallows up both labor and laborer. "Swallowed up" very quickly and with no hope of repair, as a man that is swallowed alive by a great and mighty sea creature.
Now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure . . . when Shalmaneser took Samaria, he swallowed up the whole kingdom of Israel, and carried captive the inhabitants, placing them in "Halah, Habor, by the river Gozan", and in the cities of the Medes (2 Ki.17:6). They lived poor, with no hope, and were treated terribly, with the utmost neglect and contempt. They were like a broken useless vessel, or a vessel of dishonor, that is made and used for the ease of nature. All idolaters, then and now, who dishonor God by their idolatries, shall, sooner or later, be brought to disgrace and dishonor themselves.
Just as a vessel that is broken, thus worthless and useless, is cast out, or if it were of any use, it would be basest and most contemptible. So shall these captives be among the nations whom they must serve. Israel is now looked upon with contempt by them all, and cast off.
Hosea 8:9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. (KJV)
For they are gone up to Assyria . . . Israel had sent ambassadors with rich presents to buy help from Assyria; or to pay tribute to obtain the continuance of the Assyrian confederacy and aids. This confidence and trust in Assyria was coupled with a casting off of God, and of their dependence on Him and their subjection to Him. Their sin was great indeed, and their punishment shall, as was their sin, be great as well. Others interpret this "going up" to their going into captivity into Assyria.
Assyria was at that time, a mighty nation, with great kings, and they were more proud than great (2 Ki.18:27-37), as appears in Sennacherib's manner toward God and man. Assyria had grown on through Pul, Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, and Sennacherib's reigns. It was a terror to enemies, and the vain confidence of the foolish and sinful Israelites, for which they are particularly threatened and severely punished.
A wild ass alone by himself . . . this could mean the king of Assyria, and be considered as a description of him, to whom Israel went for help and friendship. Although the king took their present, and made them promises, he was deceitful and inhuman, looking only to benefit himself, not Israel's good. "A wild ass" . . . is applied differently by interpreters. Some refer it to the king of Assyria, who is fierce, swift, and haughty as the wild ass, while others refer "wild ass" to Israel, who, wild, untamed, and burning in lust, ranges far and wide for lovers, seeks every where for aids and help. "Alone by himself" . . . isolated, secluded or in a wilderness, this will suit them well in their captivity, when they shall be left as in a wilderness, and may, as possibly many did, flee into more remote and desolate places, and wander into uninhabited places. Or possibly, alone by himself, in a position fit to become a prey to the lion of Assyria. This was so reported of the lions that make a prey of the wild asses in the wilderness; so will Assyria make Israel a prey.
Ephraim hath hired lovers . . . had paid dearly for the friendship of Assyria in Pul and Shalmaneser's time, and also bought the friendship of Egypt in the time of king So (2 Ki.17:4). Beside all they laid out on this, they cast off their God for it, and set Him against Israel.
By giving presents to the kings of Assyria and Egypt, to be their allies and confederates, patrons and defenders (2 Ki.15:19); Ephraim (Israel, or the ten tribes) committed adultery, departing from God their Husband, their Lord and King Who was entitled to allegiance and service, and from His true worship (Eze.16:26). Ephraim sinfully made a covenant with her lovers.
Hosea 8:10 Yea, 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. (KJV)
Yea, though they have hired among the nations . . . Israel thinks this is the way to prevent their calamities, but it shall prove to be just the opposite, it shall bring great calamities upon them. Because they have hired the help of the nations (enemies) to secure them against their God and His judgments, therefore, God shall cast them off.
Now will I gather them . . . God would bring Israel together, assembling and herding them together, that they may be taken and destroyed together. Some interpreters say this means God will gather the nations together against Israel. Either way, Israel is in trouble!
And they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes . . . they shall sorrow for a while before their final captivity. They shall complain and grieve because of the tax burden, the tribute laid on them by the king and princes of Israel, by their giving presents to the kings of Assyria and Egypt. There was a tax or tribute imposed upon Israel by the king of Assyria, whose princes were kings (Isa.10:8; Eze.26:7). This may refer to the yearly present or tribute, which Hoshea king of Israel was obliged to give to the king of Assyria (2Ki 17:3-6), which he was very uneasy with, and did not pay it, which brought on the anger of the Assyrian king.
Ephraim (Israel) thought that they would have peace, plenty and victory by worshipping idols, but that did NOT happen! What they had sown had no stalk, no blade, or, if it did, the bud yielded no fruit, there was nothing in them. ALL works of darkness are unfruitful, and the end of those things is death. The hopes and dreams of sinners are deceptive indeed! All their gains will be snares, trapping them to the devil's delight. In times of danger, especially in the day of judgment, ALL carnal devices shall fail, making them stand the course alone, like a "wild ass" by himself, easy and sure prey for the hungry lion. Man in all his frailty is like a wild ass's colt, seeking for help and that satisfaction in the creature, which is to be had in God the Creator, alone! Though mankind may sorrow in life, IF they try to go it alone without God, that shall bring everlasting sorrow. Change course, my friend! Go with God! John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV)
Jesus IS God! http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (KJV)
Eph.5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (KJV)
Hosea 8:11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. (KJV)
Because Ephraim hath, made many altars to sin . . . "because" refers to what follows. Ephraim had made many altars, either to many idols, every one having his altar, or multiple altars in different places to the same idol. They had many high places, and altars in all of them. These altars were "to sin" . . . acting against the law of God would only require only one altar (Ex.20:3-5), but these "many" altars were to sin, in that they were for sacrifices to be offered on them to idols instead of Almighty God.
Altars shall be unto him for sin . . . altars, either those erected by them, or those Israel found in Assyria when they came as captives there, shall be unto him to sin; either because forced in captivity to worship Assyrian idols, or else by a just and dreadful judgment from God delivering them over to their wilful blindness and idolatrous heart. Since they would not stop from sinful multiplying altars, God would let them follow their own hearts, much like that spoken of in revelation. Rev. 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (KJV) . . . These altars shall be the cause of Ephraim's greater guilt and punishment; his altars, his idolatrous worship, shall be the sin that ruins him.
No joy or pleasure, just punishment would they receive from their ungodly altars. The prophet had shown them their foolishness in forsaking God for the help of man; now he shows them the foolishness of trying to secure themselves by their pretence of religion and devotion in a false way. God had appointed "one" altar at Jerusalem. It was there that He wanted the sacrifices to Him be offered, ones which He would accept. When they multiplied altars, they simply multiplied their sin. Hosea charges Israel later in his book with this multiplying, or "increasing" of altars, as a grievous sin (Hos.10:1; 12:11). They pretended that they did it for a religious (godly) end, that they might offer sacrifices for the expiation of their sins and appeasing of God. They tried to unite their self will with the will of God. It would NOT work! They might deceive themselves; but they would never deceive God.
When they made altars at their own pleasure and offered sacrifices upon them, under ANY pretence whatsoever, it was sin. So as many altars as they made and as often as they repeated their sin; that sin would be their only fruit. 1 Kings 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. (KJV) 1 Kings 13:33-34 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth. (KJV) . . . Ephraim's multiplied altars for their idols was a stumbling block that would lead to their ruin.
Hosea 8:12 I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. (KJV)
I have written to him the great things of my law . . . the One and Only Almighty and TRUE God had written "the great things" of His law . . . "great things" because of their importance, great for their excellency, great because they are precious; great for the multitude of counsels and directions, great for their sufficiency; and great because God's law has all this in it for their conduct (and ours too) in all righteousness towards God and man. God's great and good laws: (Deut.4:6-8; Neh.9:13-14; Ps.119:18; 147:19-20; Pro.22:20; Eze.20:11; Rom.7:12).
But they were counted as a strange thing . . . but all the great and good things which God had written, were counted as a strange thing to Israel. These "great" things of God's law, should have continually and willingly been before their eyes, in their mind and in their mouth (Deut.6:7-9) . . . but it was not so. Even though God had written the laws for them, they were "counted as a strange thing," foreign to them, with which they had no concern. Almighty God had written to Israel the great things of His law, but they had no interest in them. Times have not changed at all in that respect. People still want NO part of God's laws, or God's rules for them.
For Israel, it was the laws respecting sacrifices in particular. The place where these were to be offered, are the things mentioned in the context, and they had so long been disregarded and misused by Ephraim (the ten tribes), that when they were brought to mind to them by the prophets, they looked at them as things for which they had no concern, as laws that belonged to other people, not to them. These great things, revealed divinely to them, were treated by most as having no interest to them at all. It is so sad that in today's world, this same sin widely exists!
Today, the great doctrines of the Gospel, are treated by many as things they want nothing to do with. They simply are NOT interested! The doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are actually nauseous and despicable to people instead of being great and important: great because of their excellence of counsels, directions and guidance, important because they are ever so precious and are the only way we can ever enter the blissful and eternal Golden City. People simply look at the doctrines with scorn and contempt, they are extremely blasphemous, disagreeable and ungrateful in this same strange sense as was Israel. Rejecting God's laws: (Hos.4:6; 2 Ki.17:15-16; Neh.9:26; Ps.50:17; Isa.30:9; Jer.6:16-17).
Hosea 8:13 They 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. (KJV)
They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it . . . the sacrifices and gifts which they call the Lord's, which they pretend to give to Him, is meat that they sacrifice, and then they eat it. God did NOT consider it a gift to Him. They sacrifice so that they may feast afterward, and fill themselves with wine and mirth, which does NOT have any consideration whatsoever for the Lord!
But the Lord accepteth them not . . . He did not accept the sacrifices or the sacrificers, but instead despised them. NO sacrifice was acceptable to God unless it was offered according to law, and where He directed, and in the faith, looking forward to Christ. The Lord did not accept them, nor did He own them as His, nor take any pleasure in them. That kind of sacrifices can never expiate sins, nor reconcile sinners to God. I think hatred and detestation, is what God bears towards such abominable sacrifices.
Now will he remember their iniquities, and visit their sins . . . because of this, He shall "remember their iniquity" and visit their sins with judgment, in His just and hot displeasure. He will reckon with them, by punishing them for all. He will make them know that He remembers all their sins. "Remembering and visiting" are the same, and include punishment. It is the opposite of "remembering their sins no more" (Heb.8:12; 10:17).
They shall return into Egypt . . . could be referring to their bondage in Egypt; or else it is chastising them for running to Shalmaneser instead of God. They were covenant-breakers with God and man, and of this treachery God will punish. Or maybe they shall return to Egypt to save their lives fleeing from the Assyrian into Egypt, and there seek their safety; and if they do save their life there, the punishment of their sins shall follow them; exile, with misery as bad as captivity, shall be their lot there (Hos.7:16; 9:3,6; 11:5; Deut.28:68).
Hosea 8:14 For 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. (KJV)
For Israel hath forgotten his Maker . . . Israel is the ten revolted idolatrous tribes. "Hath forgotten his Maker" (Hos.2:5; 4:1,6). This could be either remembers not at all, or without love, thankfulness and consideration that certainly is due Him.
And buildeth temples . . . to idols, to the calves at Dan and Bethel, at which places, as there were altars set up, and priests appointed, so temples and houses of high places were built to worship in (1 Ki.12:31). Their idol temples were magnificent, so that they might boast of them. They were strong like towers, that they might fortify them, and trust in their strength in a day of war and trouble.
And Judah hath multiplied fenced cities . . . to protect them from their enemies, which was not unlawful . . . but they should NOT put their trust and confidence in them, and not in the Lord their God, which was their sin. When Judah saw the ten tribes carried captive by the Assyrians, they thought it necessary to turn to such methods for their security, but were not careful to avoid those sins which brought ruin upon Israel.
But I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof . . . God would bring an enemy upon them that would besiege them and burn their cities. This took place when Nebuchadnezzar and his armies came about one 130 years later. "It shall devour the palaces" . . . the stately palaces of their princes and nobles in their cities would be burnt too (Jer.52:13-14). Judah had imitated Israel in sin, and God would bring upon them like sufferings. The Creator and Preserver of all of them, who had raised them up to a kingdom, and had made them great and rich, and populated them, bestowing many favors and blessings on them . . . but they forgot Him, gave Him NO glory, and did NOT serve and worship Him.
It is a grievous sin to corrupt the worship of the Almighty God, and shall be charged as sin to all who do such things, no matter how many foolish excuses they make. The Lord God had written His law for them, to reveal what He expected of His own, but they did NOT want to know it, nor would they obey it. God is GOOD (Ps.52:1; Rom.2:4; 11:22), and He wants nothing but good for Israel and us, but when a person or a nation forgets God, casting Him away and hardening their heart against Him, the anger of the Lord rises and He will bring down judgment! As long as men despise the truths and precepts of God's Holy Word, and the ordinances of His worship, all the observances and offerings of their own devising, will be unto them SIN! For the only sacrifices and services that are acceptable to God, are those which are done according to God's Word, and that is through Christ Christ, the one and "only begotten Son of God" (Jn.1:18; 3:16-18,36; Heb.11:17; 1 Jn.4:9).
Book of Hosea
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