Hosea had warned Israel that the opportunity to repent and turn to the LORD was fleeting, but rather than repent, the people rejected the prophet’s plea (7:1). Ephraim, the principal tribe of the northern ten tribes, and Samaria, the capital city, were guilty: They were liars (having committed “falsehood”), thieves, and robbers (7:1). Though the LORD declared He knew “all their wickedness” (7:2), they continued in their sins.
The Leaders Failed the People (7:3-7)
Not even the king and leaders could be trusted with doing right, but celebrated the wickedness of the people (7:3). They burned with lusts like an “oven heated by the baker” (7:4). The king, drunk with wine, demeaned himself, party to those who scorned and mocked the LORD (7:5). Even as the nation failed, there were none who called on the LORD (7:7).
Israel Compromised with Other Nations (7:8-12)
Like a cancer, Israel allowed the influence of the heathen (i.e., “mixed,” non-Hebrew people) to eat away at their national sovereignty (7:8). “Strangers …devoured his [Israel’s] strength” (7:9), and the people were too proud to humble themselves and return to the LORD (7:10).
“Like a silly dove without heart,” the people were common, simple and foolish. Rather than turn to the LORD in their time of affliction, they turned to Egypt and Assyria (7:11).
The prophet warned, Israel would be brought down; like a bird ensnared in a net, He would “chastise them” (7:12).
God’s Lamentation for Israel (7:13-16)
Israel had rejected the LORD, and could not find it within to turn from their sin (7:13). Rejecting God’s offer of grace and redemption (7:13b), the people turned to lies, instead of truth. They cried pitifully in their afflictions, but continued in their drunkenness (7:14). For all the LORD did to turn them back, they set their hearts to do evil (7:15-16).
Hosea 8 – The Wickedness of Israel Brought God’s Judgment
Hosea 8 presents a denouncement of Israel’s sins, and a progression of God’s judgment against the nation. Picturing Israel’s enemy as an “eagle against the house of the LORD” (8:1), the transgressions of the people were numbered.
The Sins of Israel (8:1-4)
Israel’s sin had brought them low (8:1). They were hypocrites, crying unto the LORD, saying, “My God, we know thee” (8:2), and yet, they had rejected that which was good and acceptable in the eyes of the LORD (8:3).
Judged and Condemned (8:5-14)
Jeroboam had made calves for Israel to worship, and with no protest, the people cast aside the Living God for a manmade god (8:5). The LORD declared, they and their idols would be destroyed (8:5-6). Israel had, in the words of the prophet, “sown the wind, and they [would] reap the whirlwind” (8:7a; note 10:12-13). They had sown nothing, and would reap nothing (8:7). That which they had sown, “strangers” [foreign, non-Hebrew people]would devour (8:7).
Hosea declared; the people of Israel would be “swallowed up…[by] the Gentiles as a vessel” (8:8). The nation’s resources and its people devoured by its enemies (8:8-9), would be returned to the bondage it had suffered in Egypt (8:13). The prophet’s lamentations over Israel concludes with the declaration:
“For Israel hath forgotten [and forsaken] 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” (8:14).
Closing thoughts – The description of Israel’s sins and its consequences should awaken all believers to the effects of personal, family, and national sins. In the words of Hosea, the nation and people who “have sown the wind…shall reap the whirlwind” (8:7a).
Warning: Because God is sovereign and just, you will notice in history a cyclical pattern in the rise and fall of nations. When a people set their hearts to worship and serve the LORD, God blesses the nation with His grace and preserves it. When a nation turns from the LORD, rejecting His Word, Law, and Commandments, the people follow a path of moral depravity and self-destruction.
Wickedness, like a cancer, will bring a nation to nothing (8:7a). The people become a silly, foolish people, and aliens devour their strength and resources (7:8-10). The final sign of dying nation is when its people are “swallowed up” by a foreign force (8:8-9).
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith