Hosea 8:14
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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(14) Temples.—The word here used for temple is used sixty times for Jehovah’s temple. The building of these temple-palaces was a distinct sin against the unity of the Godhead.

Judah hath multiplied fenced cities.—Referred to by Sennacherib, in the inscription relating to the campaign of 701 B.C. “Forty-six of his (Hezekiah’s) strong cities, fortresses . . . I besieged, I captured.” These were erected by Uzziah and Jotham (2Chronicles 26:10; 2Chronicles 27:4). With the allusions to Israel’s temples (palaces) compare Amos 3:11; Amos 3:15.

Hosea 8:14. For Israel hath forgotten his Maker — Hath forgotten him who formed them into a people, preserved and advanced them, and conferred on them all those privileges wherein they excelled all other nations: either they have not remembered him at all, or have done it without reverence, gratitude, love, or consideration of the duty and service which they owe him. And buildeth temples — For idolatrous worship. And Judah hath multiplied fenced cities — To secure themselves from the invasion of the enemy. When the Jews saw what incursions were made upon the Israelites, or the ten tribes, by the Assyrians, they diligently set about fortifying their cities, thinking to find security in so doing, and putting greater confidence in their fortifications than in God’s protection. But I will send afire upon his cities — My judgments shall destroy them, as surely as if a fire had been kindled in them. Or the threatening may be interpreted literally; for when Sennacherib took all the fenced cities of Judah, except Jerusalem, he undoubtedly set fire to many of them, as conquerors were wont to do in those days.

8:11-14 It is a great sin to corrupt the worship of God, and will be charged as sin on all who do it, how plausible soever their excuses may seem to be. The Lord had caused his law to be written for them, but they cared not to know, and would not obey it. Man seems by the temples he builds to be mindful of his Maker, yet really he has forgotten him, because he has cast off all his fear; but none ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. So long as men despise the truths and precepts of God's word, and the ordinances of his worship, all the observances and offerings, however costly, of their own devising, will be unto them for sin; for those services only are acceptable to God, which are done according to his word, and through Jesus Christ.For Israel hath forgotten his Maker - God was his Maker, not only as the Creator of all things, but as the Author of his existence as a people, as He saith, "hath he not made thee, and established thee?" Deuteronomy 32:6.

And buildeth temples - as for the two calves, at Bethel and at Dan. Since God had commanded to build one temple only, that at Jerusalem, to "build temples" was in itself sin. The sin charged on Ephraim is idolatry; that of Judah is self-confidence ; from where Isaiah blames them, that they were busy in repairing the breaches of the city, and cutting off the supplies of water from the enemy; "but ye have not looked unto the Maker thereof, neither had respect unto Him, that fashioned it long ago Isaiah 22:11. Jeremiah also says, "that they shall impoverish (or, crush) the fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword" Jeremiah 5:17.

But I will send a fire upon his cities - In the letter, the words relate to Judah; but in substance, the whole relates to both. Both had forgotten God; both had offended Him. In the doom of others, each sinner may read his own. Of the cities of Judah, Isaiah says, "your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire Isaiah 1:7 and in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah," (some twelve years probably after the death of Hosea) "Sennacherib came up against all the cities of Judah and took them" 2 Kings 18:13; and of Jerusalem it is related, that Nebuchadnezzar "burnt the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house he burnt with fire" 2 Kings 25:8-9. Man set them on fire; God brought it to pass; and, in order to teach us that He doeth all things, giving all good, overruling all evil, saith that He was the doer of it.

14. forgotten … Maker—(De 32:18).

temples—to idols.

Judah … fenced cities—Judah, though less idolatrous than Israel, betrayed lack of faith in Jehovah by trusting more to its fenced cities than to Him; instead of making peace with God, Judah multiplied human defenses (Isa 22:8; Jer 5:17; Mic 5:10, 11).

I will send … fire upon … cities—Sennacherib burned all Judah's fenced cities except Jerusalem (2Ki 18:13).

palaces thereof—namely, of the land. Compare as to Jerusalem, Jer 17:27.

Israel; the ten revolted idolatrous tribes.

Hath forgotten; the same with Hosea 2:5, which see; or Hosea 4:1,6. Either remembers not at all, or it is without love, thankfulness, and consideration what becomes him towards God. His Maker; who made, who preserved, who advanced them, and gave them all those privileges wherein they excel other nations; who brought them out of Egypt, &c.

Buildeth temples; the word will bear palaces, or towers. It is like their idol temples were magnificent, that they might boast of them, and strong like towers, that they might for need garrison and fortify them, and trust in their strength in a day of war and trouble.

Judah hath multiplied fenced cities; on like designs and motives doth Judah multiply strong holds, fortifying against threatened judgments, making flesh their arm, whilst their heart (as at this time of Ahaz’s reign and apostacy) did depart from the living God.

Send a fire upon his cities; bring an enemy upon them that shall besiege them in their cities, and burn them, which was effected by Nebuchadnezzar and his armies about one hundred and thirty years after.

It shall devour the palaces; the stately palaces of their princes and nobles in their cities, these shall be burnt too. Judah hath imitated Israel, and made himself like to Israel in sin, and God will make them like in sufferings; the fire which their sin hath kindled shall consume both.

For Israel hath forgotten his Maker,.... The Creator and Preserver of everyone of them, and who had raised them up to a state and kingdom, and had made them great and rich, and populous, and bestowed many favours and blessings on them; and yet they forgot him, to give him glory, and to serve and worship him:

and buildeth temples; to idols, as the Targum adds; to the calves at Dan and Bethel, at which places, as there were altars set up, and priests appointed, so temples and houses of high places built to worship in; see 1 Kings 12:31;

and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities; to protect them from their enemies, which was not unlawful; but that they should put their trust and confidence in them, and not in the Lord their God, which was their sin; when they saw the ten tribes carried captive by the Assyrians, they betook themselves to such methods for their security, but were not careful to avoid those sins which brought ruin upon Israel:

but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof; that is, an enemy, that should set fire to their cities, particularly Jerusalem their chief city, and burn the temple of the Lord, the palaces of their king and nobles, and all the fine houses of the great men; which was done many years after this prophecy, by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Jeremiah 52:13.

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.
14. A fresh reason for the ‘swallowing up’ of which the prophet has spoken (Hosea 8:8)—Israel’s worldliness and self-dependence.

buildeth temples] It seems doubtful however whether Hosea would have laid such stress on the wickedness of many temples and many altars (see Hosea 8:11). More probably ‘temples’ should be palaces (the primitive meaning of the Assyrian cognate is ‘great house’), in which case for ‘palaces’ at the close of the verse we had better substitute castles. It is not so much the ‘palaces’ and the ‘castles’ themselves as the worldliness and the tyranny of those who lived in them that Hosea denounces.

but I will send a fire …] Referring to both Israel and Judah. Remarkably enough, we find these words repeated seven times in Amos as a refrain to as many denunciations (Amos 1:4 to Amos 2:5). It seems hardly likely that so original a prophet should have quoted these words; perhaps they were a well-known prophetic commonplace.

Hosea 8:14"Slain-offerings for gifts they sacrifice; flesh, and eat: Jehovah has no pleasure in them: now will He remember their transgression, and visit their sins: they will return to Egypt. Hosea 8:14. And Israel forgot its Creator, and built palaces: and Judah multiplied fortified cities: and I shall send fire into its cities, and it will devour its castles." With the multiplication of the altars they increased the number of the sacrifices. הבהבי is a noun in the plural with the suffix, and is formed from יהב by reduplication. The slain-offerings of my sacrificial gifts, equivalent to the gifts of slain-offerings presented to me continually, they sacrifice as flesh, and eat it; that is to say, they are nothing more than flesh, which they slay and eat, and not sacrifices in which Jehovah takes delight, or which could expiate their sins. Therefore the Lord will punish their sins; they will return to Egypt, i.e., be driven away into the land of bondage, out of which God once redeemed His people. These words are simply a special application of the threat, held out by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:68, to the degenerate ten tribes. Egypt is merely a type of the land of bondage, as in Hosea 9:3, Hosea 9:6. In Hosea 8:14 the sin of Israel is traced back to its root. This is forgetfulness of God, and deification of their own power, and manifests itself in the erection of היכלות, palaces, not idolatrous temples. Judah also makes itself partaker of this sin, by multiplying the fortified cities, and placing its confidence in fortifications. These castles of false security the Lord will destroy. The 'armânōth answer to the hēkhâloth. The suffixes attached to בּעריו and ארמנתיה refer to both kingdoms: the masculine suffix to Israel and Judah, as a people; the feminine to the two as a land, as in Lamentations 2:5.
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