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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Hosea 8:1

Commentary On Hosea by Jean Calvin

Hosea 8:1

1. Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

1. Super palatum tuum tuba, tanquam aquila super domum Jehovae, quia transgressi sunt foedus meum, et contra legem meam impie egerunt (vel, perfide segesserunt.)

Interpreters nearly all agree in this, that the Prophet threatens not the kingdom of Israel, but the kingdom of Judah, at the beginning of this chapter, because he names the house of God, which they take to be the temple. I indeed allow, that the Prophet has spoken already, in two places, of the kingdom of Judah, but as it were in passing. He has, it is true, introduced some reproofs and threatening, but so that the distinction was quite clear; and we see that he now goes to the kingdom of Judah, but in the second verse, he names Israel, and yet continues his discourse. To thy mouth, he says, the trumpet, etc.; and afterwards he adds, To me shall they cry, My God; we know thee, Israel. Here, certainly, the discourse is addressed to the ten tribes. I am therefore by no means induced to explain the beginning of the chapter by applying it to the kingdom of Judah: and I certainly do wonder that interpreters have mistaken in a matter so trifling; for the house of God means not only the temple, but also the whole people. As Israel retained this boast, that they were a people holy to God, and that they were his family, he says, |Put or set the trumpet to thy mouth, and proclaim the war, which is now nigh at hand; for the enemy hastens, who is to attack the house of God, that is, this holy people, who cover themselves with the name of God, and who, trusting in their election and adoption, think that they shall be free from all evils; war shall come as an eagle against this house of God.|

Had the Prophet added any thing which could be referred peculiarly to the kingdom of Judah, I should willingly accede to their opinion, who think that the house of God is the sanctuary. But let the whole context be read, and any one may easily perceive, that the Prophet speaks of Israel no less in the first verse than in the second and third. For, as it has been said, he lays down no difference, but pursues throughout his teaching or discourse in the same strain.

He says first, A trumpet to thy mouth, or, |Set to thy mouth the trumpet.| It is an exhibition, (hypotyposis;) for we know that God, in order to affect more powerfully the people, clothes his Prophets with various characters. The Prophet then is introduced here as a herald who proclaims war, or a messenger, or by whatever name you may be pleased to call him. Here then the Prophet is commanded, not to speak with his mouth, but to show by the trumpet that war was nigh, as though God himself by his trumpet declared war against Israel, which was to be carried on soon after by earthly enemies. The enemies were soon after to come, and the herald was to come in the usual manner to declare war. The Greeks call them kerrukes, proclaimers, we say, |Les heraux|. As these earthly kings have their proclaimers, or kerukes, or heralds, or messengers, who proclaim war; so the Lord sends his Prophet with the usual charge to declare war: |Go then, and let the Israelites know, not now by thy mouth, but even by thy throat, by the sound of the trumpet, that I am an enemy to them, and that I am present with a strong army to destroy them.| It is indeed certain that the Prophet did not use a trumpet; but the Lord by this representations as I have already said increased the reality of what was taught that the Israelites might perceive, that it was not in sport or in play that the Prophet threatened them, but that it was done seriously, as though they now saw the heralds who was to proclaim war; for this was not usually done except when the army is already prepared for battle.

He then says, As an eagle against the house of Jehovah We have already said what the Prophet means by the house of Jehovah, even that people who thought that they would be exempt from every evil, because they had been adopted by the Lord. Hence the Israelites called themselves God's household; and though under this cover, they impiously and profanely abandoned themselves to every kind of turpitude, yet they thought that they were on the best of terms with God himself. |There shall come,| he says, |a common ruin to you all; this boasting shall not prevent me from taking vengeance at last on your sins.| But he adds As an eagle, that the Israelites might not think that there was to be a long delay; for the impious procrastinate, when they see any danger at hand. Hence, that the Israelites might not continue torpid in their vices, the Prophet says, that the destruction of which he spoke would be like the eagle; for in a moment the eagle goes over an immense distance, and we wonder when we see it over our heads, though a little before it did not appear. So also the Prophet says, that destruction, though not yet seen, was however nigh at hand, that being smitten with terror, though now late, yet as the Lord was thus urging them, they might return to him.

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