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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,'
Margin) the trumpet"; the abruptness of expression indicates the
suddenness of the attack. So
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
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.
5. hath cast thee off--As the ellipsis of thee is unusual,
translates, "thy calf is abominable." But the antithesis to
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
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.
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--
"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
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
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.
10. will I gather them--namely, the nations (Assyria, &c.)
against Israel, instead of their assisting her as she had wished
11. God in righteous retribution gives them up to their own way; the
sin becomes its own punishment
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."
13. sacrifices of mine offerings--that is, which they offer to Me.
14. forgotten . . . Maker--