The Nations As Worthless Pottery!
Israel is [as if] swallowed up. Already they have become among the nations as a vessel [of cheap, coarse pottery] that is useless.
Hosea 8:8 (AMP)
Israel’s land was situated between Assyria and Babylon to the northeast and Egypt to the southwest. Similarly, it stood between Asia Minor and Syria to the northwest and the trading lanes of the Arabian Desert to the southeast. All land traffic had to go through Israel, so all nations wanted to control their territory.
God announced that such desire would be history. Enemies would swallow up the nation just as strangers swallowed up whatever grain might be produced. Arrogant Israel stood as a worthless, broken pot that no one wanted, and they stood on foreign soil, not their own.
A Stupid Donkey and A Prostitute
For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers. Yes, though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them; and they shall sorrow a little, because of the burden of the king of princes.
Hosea 8:9-10 (NKJV)
Israel wanted to be a part of the alliances that were forming to fight Assyria, but she was actually very much alone. She was like a dumb animal that had lost its way in the wilderness. Israel had forsaken her God, and her allies had forsaken her, so she was abandoned to face a terrible future alone.
In negotiating with the Gentile nations for protection, Ephraim (Israel) acted like a common prostitute selling herself for money. Israel’s kings paid tribute to the king of Assyria and also sent gifts to Egypt (12:1). Instead of being faithful to her Husband, Jehovah God, Israel prostituted herself to the Gentile nations—and lost everything. God promised to gather them together for judgment and they would “waste away” (NIV) under the ruthless hand of the Assyrian king.
Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin, They have become altars of sinning for him.
Hosea 8:11 (NASB)
The altars that were supposed to remove sin were actually increasing sin through their misuse in worshiping Baal.
I write him so many things from my Torah, yet he considers them foreign.
Hosea 8:12 (CJB)
Though the laws (Torah) were written for them, the people of Israel acted as if those laws didn’t apply to them. It is easy to listen to a sermon and think of all the people we know who should be listening, or to read the Bible and think of those who should do what the passage teaches. The Israelites did this constantly, applying God’s laws to others but not to themselves to avoid making needed changes.
As you think of others who need to apply what you are hearing or reading, check to see if the same application could fit you. Apply the lessons to your own life first because often our own faults are the very first ones we see in others.
As for My sacrificial offerings, they sacrifice the meat [as a mere formality] and eat it, but the Lord is not pleased with them and does not accept them. Now He will remember and take into account their wickedness and guilt, and punish them for their sins. They will return [in captivity] to [another] Egypt [that is, Assyria].
Hosea 8:13 (AMP)
The exodus theme is turned upside down. It does not promise Israel eternal statehood, eternal safety, or eternal pardon from sin. God is free to respond to the current generation of Israel and their response or lack of it to him. He is the sovereign Lord with the right to reject sacrifices that are given in the wrong spirit, with the wrong expectations, under false theological presuppositions.
For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces [and pagan temples], and Judah has built many fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon their cities so that it may consume their palaces and fortresses.
Hosea 8:14 (AMP)
God’s summary accusation explains all the others: Israel has forgotten his Maker.
How did this play out in the real world?
Israel built royal palaces or temple forts. They plotted with Judah, so that even the Southern Kingdom forgot its dependence on God and turned to military bases for fortified cities. Israel and Judah thought they had unassailable protection from the enemy. They did not realize they had just made God their enemy. Nothing would protect them from him.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Amazed
Holman Old Testament Commentary
The Moody Bible Commentary