Corruption of Cult, Domestic and Foreign Politics
1Put the trumpet to your lips!a
One like an eagle* is over the house of the LORD!
Because they have violated my covenant,
and rebelled against my law,
2They cry out to me,
“My God! We know you!”
3But Israel has rejected what is good;
the enemy* shall pursue him.
4* They made kings, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my knowledge.
With their silver and gold
they made idols for themselves,
to their own destruction.
5He has rejected your calf,* Samaria!b
My wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be incapable of innocence
6An artisan made it,
it is no god at all.c
The calf of Samaria
will be dashed to pieces.
7When they sow the wind,
they will reap the whirlwind;d
The stalk of grain that forms no head
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.
8Israel is swallowed up;
now they are among the nations,
like a useless vessel.
9For they went up to Assyria—*
a wild ass off on its own—
Ephraim bargained for lovers.e
10Even though they bargain with the nations,
I will now gather them* together;
They will soon succumb
under the burden of king and princes.
11* When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
they became altars for sinning.
12Though I write for him my many instructions,
they are considered like a stranger’s.
13They love sacrifice,
they sacrifice meat and eat it,
but the LORD is not pleased with them.f
Now he will remember their guilt
and punish their sins;g
they shall return to Egypt.* h
14Israel has forgotten his makeri
and has built palaces.
Judah, too, has fortified many cities,
but I will send fire upon his cities,
to devour their strongholds.j
* [8:1] Eagle: perhaps an image for Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria, who overran the land of Israel in 733 B.C. (Jer 48:40; 49:22; Ez 17:3).
* [8:3] Enemy: Assyria.
* [8:4] Hosea is not against the monarchy, but against the conspiracies at the royal court (see note on 7:3–7). The king should be chosen by God (1 Kgs 19:15–16).
* [8:5] Calf: a cultic object introduced by Jeroboam I after the separation of the Northern Kingdom from the Southern Kingdom (1 Kgs 12:26–30; cf. Ex 32).
* [8:9] They went up to Assyria: a reference to the politics of appealing to Assyria (cf. 5:13; 7:11). There is a play on the Hebrew word for “wild ass” (pere) and “Ephraim.”
* [8:10] I will now gather them: for judgment and for deportation.
* [8:11] The altars had become places of self-serving worship (cf. v. 13).
* [8:13] Return to Egypt: to punish their violation of the covenant they will experience a reversal of the exodus.
b. [8:5] 1 Kgs 12:28.
c. [8:6] Ex 20:4; 34:17; Is 40:19–20; 44:9–20; Jer 10:1–16.
d. [8:7] Jb 4:8; Prv 22:8; 2 Cor 9:6; Gal 6:7–8.
i. [8:14] Dt 32:15, 18; Is 51:13.