Hosea 8:8. Israel is swallowed up Under this image the Hebrew language, the Greek, and our own, describe any sudden destruction, so complete as to leave no visible vestige of the thing remaining. The prophet speaks of what was future, as though it were already present; and signifies that the Israelites would be as certainly carried captives into Assyria, as if they were already gone thither into captivity. Now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel, &c. In a short time they shall be despised, as a vessel or utensil that is broken, or become useless. For they are gone up to Assyria Namely, of their own accord, as the original expression, המה עלו , seems to imply. So do also the versions of the LXX. and the Vulgate; the former read, αυτοι ανεβησαν εις Ασσυριους , ipsi ascenderunt ad Assur; they themselves have gone up to Assyria. This is not meant of their going into captivity. The captivity, though near at hand, was yet to come; but this going up was past. It was a voluntary going up, and a crime; a going up both for alliance, and also for idolatrous commerce. The captivity was to be the punishment. A wild ass alone by himself The meaning is, that Ephraim was such; that is, as Archbishop Newcome interprets it, Ephraim was like the solitary wild ass, he was as untamed to the yoke, and traversed the desert as earnestly in pursuit of idols, as the wild ass in quest of his mates. “Though wild asses,” says Pocock, “be often found in the deserts in whole herds, yet it is usual for some one of them to break away, and separate himself from his company, and run alone at random by himself; and one so doing is here spoken of.” Ephraim hath hired lovers He alludes to the flagitiousness of adulteresses hiring men to have commerce with them, to which he compares Israel’s procuring foreign allies with great expense, and relying on them, and not on God, for succour and protection. And the reference may be, not only to the bargain with Pul, but to the general profusion of the government in forming foreign alliances; in which the latter kings, both of Israel and Judah, were equally culpable, as appears by the history of the collateral reigns of Ahaz and Pekah. It must be observed, “every forbidden alliance with idolaters was a part of the spiritual incontinence of the nation.” Horsley.
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