Hosea 7:
The manifold sins of Israel. (1-7):
A practical disbelief of God’s government was at the bottom of all Israel’s wickedness; as if God could not see it or did not heed it. Their sins appear on every side of them. Their hearts were inflamed by evil desires, like a heated oven. In the midst of their troubles as a nation, the people never thought of seeking help from God. The actual wickedness of men’s lives bears a very small proportion to what is in their hearts. But when lust is inwardly cherished, it will break forth into outward sin. Those who tempt others to drunkenness never can be their real friends, and often design their ruin. Thus men execute the Divine vengeance on each other. – Matthew Henry.
V.1…when I would have healed… shows God’s generosity, not His threats.
V.2…do not consider… This means that any sign of remorse for Israel’s guilt is completely absent.
V.3…make a king glad with their wickedness,… Evil rulers delight in the sins of their subjects. Pleasing royalty becomes the main purpose of the citizens who are around king.
Vs.4-7…Oven…ceases stirring… The fire in the oven is seen active only the baker stir the fire. The fire is there; however the fire is not flaming, but inwardly active. It is like burning simmer, and when everything is ready, it flames on high and visible to all. …heated over… represents a quiet/silent passion growing inwardly and stays like unstirred fire. It is a suppressed passion that suddenly, unexpectedly, and violently erupts. This passage talks about the people who are pleasing the kings will suddenly come against them. Last 4 of the kings of Israel were assassinated.
Their senselessness and hypocrisy. (8-16):
Israel was as a cake not turned, half burnt and half dough, none of it fit for use; a mixture of idolatry and of the worship of Jehovah. … The pride which leads to break the law of God leads to self-flattery. The mercy and grace of God are the only refuge to which obstinate sinners never think of fleeing. Though they may howl forth their terrors in the form of prayers, they seldom cry to God with their hearts. Even their prayers for earthly mercies only seek fuel for their lusts. – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.
V.8…mixes himself…cake unturned… Israel had entered into foreign alliances and assimilated other cultures, it had lost the distinctions that gave it worth. Further, Israel was like a cake burned on one side and underdon on the other, fit only to be tossed aside. Their worship of Jehovah is the cooked side of the bread; and their worship of idols and foreign gods is the uncooked/undercooked side.
V.9…aliens have devoured his strength…does not know… Their alliances, rather that empowering them, have sapped their strength. They were misused, abused, and manipulated by foreigners. …grey hairs… The nation is like a man who has sudden grown older and weaker but does not yet realize it.
V.10…Pride… do not return to the LORD their God nor seek him… This explains the reason as to why Israel will be devastated despite the LORD’s promises of forgiveness and restoration.
V.11…like a silly dove… Dove is admired about it’s innocence. But here it is about the oscillating character of Israel between Egypt and Assyria. Silly dove is about prone and open to deception, easily misled. They thought they could get human help from Egypt or Assyria.
V. 12…I will bring them down like birds… The punishment for the wickedness God announced to them already.
V.13…fled from me… God wanted to and would have redeemed them, but they rejected His offer.
Vs.14 & 15…do not cry out to me with their heart…assemble…for grain and new wine… They have not sought God for their souls, but for their food and drink. We are not sure if they prayed to Jehovah or Baal for their food and wine.
V. 16.…Egypt… is a general symbolic name for all foreign powers. …A treacherous bow… a slack and loose bow that does not shoot straight.
Hosea 8: Apostasy of Israel – Hypocrisy of Israel.
Destruction threatened for the impiety of Israel. (1-4):
V. 1.…trumpet… Trumpet will sound when the enemy’s attack is imminent. Eagle… Eagle/vulture is a symbol of aggressor. So the Assyrians arrival will be imminent on the appointed day.
…they have transgressed My covenant…
Note that he says “transgressed,” not “annulled” (cf. 6:7). The Lord had not “annulled” his covenant with Israel; she was still his estranged wife. While it was a foregone conclusion that Israel would violate the covenant, provisions for reconciliation were put in place (Lev. 26:40–45; Deut. 31:27–29; cf. Deut. 30:1–10). ESV Study Bible.
V.2…cry..’My God, we know You!’ … This chapter is a response to Israel’s cry. They say they know God, but God says it is hypocritical. God is exposing the idolatry, corrupt politics, and false worship of the nation.
V. 3.…enemy will pursue… Explaining the reference to eagle/vulture in verse 1.
V. 4.…set up kings…made princes,…made idols… God’s grievance is twofold. Their leaders are not God’s choice.
I knew it not. Hosea and his readers were well aware that God knows everything; the point is not whether God was aware of the princes they had set up, but rather, that the people had never asked him for guidance before choosing these leaders. ESV Study Bible.