Hosea 8:8-14

Hosea 8:8 (KJB)

Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.


Just like Jonah was swallowed by the big fish, Israel will be swallowed up in like manner by the Assyrians.  God had at one time made Israel unique among the nations and nations respected them and feared because they knew God was protecting them from the time of the exodus to the time they became a nation.  Now sin had permeated the nation and that caused the distinction they enjoyed to be eradicated and now God takes no pleasure in them.  Psalm 149:4 (KJV) For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.  They are nothing more than one of the heathen nations they so detested.


Hosea 8:9 (KJB)

For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.


Ephraim had attempted to go to Assyria with rich presents so they could buy an alliance with them or just to have a friendship with them.  Since Assyria at this time was a very powerful and large empire, they had now placed their confidence in their strength.  By doing this they had cast off the keeping power of God and had just departed from him and transferred their allegiance to Assyria.  The wild ass represents them going in a stubborn, undisciplined, and obstinate manner in their desire for Assyria and their departure from the true God.  The lovers that Ephraim hired was Assyria as they attempted to bribe the Assyrians with large gifts to take them under their wings as a subordinate country in their empire.


Hosea 8:10 (KJB)

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.


Even though Israel had gone to Assyria to forge an alliance with them and this gave them a false sense of security.  The king of Assyria would not just be satisfied with gifts but will begin to extract from them more treasure until such a time they are broke and can no longer pay tribute.  Once they are exhausted of all their treasures, then the time will come when the LORD is going to gather those heathen nations but not for the purpose of protecting Israel but for the purpose of destroying it.  Before the final captivity, there will be much complaining concerning the amount of tribute they will have to pay and those verbal oppositions will add to the reasons that they will go into Assyria as captives and not a protected country.


Hosea 8:11 (KJB)

Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.


The prophet now attempts to show Israel how foolish they were to walk away from the LORD and to pursue the false religions and idolatry that they walked in.  Whenever they sacrificed on the altar to the false gods they created, it was counted to them as sin because they departed from the LORD.  Anytime a person walks away from the LORD, whatever they do is sinful rebellion as Israel had done


Hosea 8:12 (KJB)

I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.


Israel had no excuses for the sinful rebellion they decided to live in.  God had given them the written law which was their guide for life and he also sent to them prophets to bring different words at different times.  These laws and prophets were considered to be strange things to Israel as if it was something they never heard of.  They had abandoned the law and the worship of the true God and they could make no excuse for their sinful rebellion.


Hosea 8:13 (KJB)

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.


Their sacrifices were tainted with sin as they tried to appease God by including him in their ritual worship.  The problem was that they were doing this according to the ways of false religion.  They made the sacrifices and then ate the food as if it was accepted by the LORD but he did not accept those sacrifices because they were not made in sincerity or exclusively to God.  As a result of their erroneous ways of bringing the sacrifices and gifts, God will now remember their evil and will visit their sins, that is, they will now pay for those sins they committed while engaging in false religion.  The allusion to Egypt carries a two-fold meaning, the first is that since they wanted false religion, they will now become slaves to it just as they were slaves in Egypt.  The second meaning is that some of them had gone physically to Egypt and as a result they died there.


Hosea 8:14 (KJB)

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.


Israel had intentionally shown that they had refused to think about the LORD.  It was a conscious and willful act which will have dire consequences.  They not only forsook the LORD but built temples to the false gods.  They would trust in the strength of those temples in the day of calamity but it will be futile.  Judah had built walls around many of the cities as they too were going into apostasy under the reign of Ahaz who was a wicked king.  They were following in the footsteps of the northern ten tribes with their idolatry.  God states that he will bring fire upon the cities as Babylon will come down with the same fierceness that Assyria will on the northern kingdom.  They will come through the cities of Judah as a fire goes through a barn full of wheat.  All the palaces will be devoured which means the kings and rulers will not escape the judgment of God.  Judah made themselves like Israel and were following their evil ways but they too will realize the futility when they go into captivity with the Babylonians.