King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Hosea 8

Destruction threatened for the impiety of Israel. (1-4) For their idolatry. (5-10) Further threatenings for the same sins. (11-14)

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Destruction threatened for the impiety of Israel

1 Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.

3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

For their idolatry

5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?

6 For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.

7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

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

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

10 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.

Further threatenings for the same sins

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

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

13 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.

14 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Eagle. It makes a noise like a trumpet. Pliny x. 3. — Osee denounces judgments on the house of Israel, which, though schismatical, was not entirely abandoned by the Lord. Salmanasar overturned the kingdom, and may be compared to an eagle, as Nabuchodonosor is frequently, Ezechiel xvii. 3. But he is not here meant. C. — The temple shall be destroyed by him; (S. Jer.) yet not so soon. W. — Sept. “In their bosom like earth appears, like an eagle,” &c. H.

Ver. 2. Know thee. They resemble those to whom our Saviour will reply, Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mat. vii. 22. C.

Ver. 3. Him. Sept. “they have pursued the enemy.” But the former sense is better. H. — The Assyrians prevailed. S. Jer. — They carried Israel into captivity, before Juda. v. 9. W.

Ver. 4. They. Jeroboam and Jehu were assured by the prophets that they should reign, yet this was not a sanction of their right. God condemned their ambition and wicked conduct. The successors of Zarharias had still less pretensions to the throne. God permits such things. The people had not consulted him in these changes. C. — Kings were their own choice. 1 K. xviii. Saul rose by their “error.” S. Jer. — Knew, or approved not. v. 2. Mat. xxv. 12. C. — Perish. This was the effect, though contrary to their intention. H.

Ver. 5. Calf. The idol is broken in pieces, and carried away by the victorious enemy. Thus does the vanity of such gods appear. Their captivity is therefore often foretold. Jer. xliii. 12. — Cleansed. The physician is disgusted with the obstinacy of the sick. C. — How long will Israel resist the Holy Ghost? Acts vii. 51. H.

Ver. 6. Israel. This enhances the crime. Can a people so highly favoured adore the work of an artist? — Webs, such as appear on a fine day in autumn. S. Jerom’s master suggested that this was the sense. Interpreters vary. C. — Sept. and Th. “is delusive.” Sym. &c. “instable;” shebabim. H. — Some erroneously read v instead of i. “The Lord casts off the calves of heretics, … and wonders that people should prefer heretical filth before the cleanliness of the Church.” S. Jer.

Ver. 7. Whirlwind. They shall be punished for their folly, nor shall they reap any advantage from idols. — In it, or in Israel. The seed which I have sown yields no fruit. If any come up, the mildew destroys it. Yea, though any should come to perfection, which is impossible, it should be given to strangers. My people perform no acts of religion; or at least they render them useless, by adoring idols. C. — He speaks in general terms, as few continued faithful. Yet even in the worst of times, seven thousand were found. 3 K. xix. 18. H.

Ver. 8. Vessel. The nations around despised them, after they had applied to the Assyrians, who were looked upon as enemies of all independent states. Israel was not yet in captivity: but this event may be spoken of as if already past.

Ver. 9. Wild ass. It is very jealous of liberty, (Job xi. 12.) and of its females, so that it prevents the young males from becoming its rivals. Pliny viii. 30. Solin xxx. — If this were true, the species would soon perish. H. — The Israelites disdained subjection to strangers. They even rejected God, their king; for which reason he abandons them to servitude, in a foreign land. They had run furiously after idols, and had given presents to such lovers.

Ver. 10. Princes. Heb. “king of kings.” This proud title was afterwards taken by the monarchs of Babylon and Persia. Israel ceased to pay taxes, having nothing left. They shall cease to be a people. C. — Sept. “I will receive them, and they shall cease a little to anoint a king and princes.” H. — They had none during the captivity, as they would not consult God before in their appointment. v. 4. He speaks ironically. I will conduct them beyond the Euphrates, where they shall have nothing to pay for some time. C. — This wretched condition was of long continuance; (Tournemine) though short, if compared with their crimes. H.

Ver. 12. Foreign. Shall I give them laws again to despise? Sept. “I shall write down their number.” It will be an easy task, they shall be so diminished. “His laws,” &c. (C.) or, “I will describe to him a multitude, and his regulations: The beloved altars have been deemed foreign. S. Jerom’s and Grabe’s edit. H.

Ver. 13. Egypt, to escape the Assyrian. C. ix. 3. C. — They have imitated the Egyptian idols. S. Jer. — Osee had applied to their king for aid. 4 K. xvii. 4.

Ver. 14. Temples, or “palaces.” C. — Cities. The two tribes, witnessing the calamities of their brethren, will not avoid a similar conduct, but trust in their fortifications. W. — Fire of war destroys both kingdoms. — Thereof. Sept. of S. Jerom adds, “and among the Assyrians they have eaten unclean things,” which may be taken from C. ix. 3. H. — It is not found in the present Heb. or Gr. copies. C.