Hosea 8

1 “Put the trumpet to your lips! Something like an eagle is over the LORD’s house, because they have broken my covenant, and rebelled against my law. 2 They cry to me, ‘My God, we Israel acknowledge you!’ 3 Israel has cast off that which is good. The enemy will pursue him. 4 They have set up kings, but not by me. They have made princes, and I didn’t approve. Of their silver and their gold they have made themselves idols, that they may be cut off. 5 Let Samaria throw out his calf idol! My anger burns against them! How long will it be until they are capable of purity? 6 For this is even from Israel! The workman made it, and it is no God; indeed, the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. 7 For they sow the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind. He has no standing grain. The stalk will yield no head. If it does yield, strangers will swallow it up. 8 Israel is swallowed up. Now they are amongst the nations like a worthless thing. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has hired lovers for himself. 10 But although they sold themselves amongst the nations, I will now gather them; and they begin to waste away because of the oppression of the king of mighty ones. 11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they became for him altars for sinning. 12 I wrote for him the many things of my law; but they were regarded as a strange thing. 13 As for the sacrifices of my offerings, they sacrifice meat and eat it; but the LORD doesn’t accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins. They will return to Egypt. 14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire on his cities, and it will devour its fortresses.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-4

When Israel was hard pressed, they would claim protection from God, but this would be disregarded. What stead will it stand in to say, My God, I know thee, if we cannot say, My God, I love thee, serve thee, and cleave to thee only?

Verses 5-10

They promised themselves plenty, peace, and victory, by worshipping idols, but their expectations came to nothing. What they sow has no stalk, no blade, or, if it have, the bud shall yield no fruit, there was nothing in them. The works of darkness are unfruitful; nay, the end of those things is death. The hopes of sinners will deceive them, and their gains will be snares. In times of danger, especially in the day of judgment, all carnal devices will fail. They take a course by themselves, and like a wild ass by himself, they will be the easier and surer prey for the lion. Man is in nothing more like the wild ass’s colt, than in seeking for that succour and that satisfaction in the creature, which are to be had in God only. Though men may sorrow a little, yet if it is not after a godly sort, they will be brought to sorrow everlastingly.

Verses 11-14

It is a great sin to corrupt the worship of God, and will be charged as sin on all who do it, how plausible soever their excuses may seem to be. The Lord had caused his law to be written for them, but they cared not to know, and would not obey it. Man seems by the temples he builds to be mindful of his Maker, yet really he has forgotten him, because he has cast off all his fear; but none ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. So long as men despise the truths and precepts of God’s word, and the ordinances of his worship, all the observances and offerings, however costly, of their own devising, will be unto them for sin; for those services only are acceptable to God, which are done according to his word, and through Jesus Christ.

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