Hosea 8:14
For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and builds temples; and Judah has multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire on 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.In these verses there is a fuller statement of the manner in which he treats the princes of the covenant and takes possession of their territory. The וat the beginning of Daniel 11:23 is explicative, and the suffix in אליו, pointing back to נגיד ב, is also to be interpreted collectively. אליו מן־התחבּרוּת, literally, "from the confederating himself with them" (התחבּרוּת is infin. formed in the Syriac manner), i.e., from the time when he had made a covenant with them, he practised deceit. This was done by his coming (עלה of a warlike coming) and gaining strength with a few people, namely (Daniel 11:24), by his coming unexpectedly into the fattest and richest places of the province, and there doing unheard-of things - things which no previous king, no one of his predecessors, had ever done, scattering among them (his followers) spoil and prey and riches. Thus rightly, after the Syriac and the Vulgate (dissipabit), Rosenmller, Kranichfeld, and Ewald; while, on the contrary, v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, and Kliefoth interpret בּזר in the sense of to distribute, and refer the words to the circumstance that Antiochus Epiphanes squandered money lavishly, and made presents to his inferiors often without any occasion. But to distribute money and spoil is nothing unheard of, and in no way does it agree with the "fattest provinces." The contest decidedly refers to conduct which injured the fat provinces. This can only consist in squandering and dissipating the wealth of this province which he had plundered to its injury (להם [to them], dativ. incommodi). An historical confirmation is found in 1 Macc. 3:29-31. To bring the provinces wholly under his power, he devises plans against the fortresses that he might subdue them. ועד־עת, and indeed (he did this) even for a time. We cannot, with Klief., refer this merely to the last preceding passage, that his assaults against the fortresses succeeded only partly and for a time. The addition ("and that for a time") denotes a period determined by a higher power (cf. Daniel 11:24 and Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:6), and relates to the whole proceedings of this prince hitherto described; as C. B. Michaelis has already rightly explained: nec enim semper et in perpetuum dolus ei succedet et terminus suus ei tandem erit.
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