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Hosea 8 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Hosea 8 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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.

2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.

3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

"They have made princes, and I knew it not."
Does God know everything?
The meaning of “I knew it not” is that God had not commanded it. John Gill on “knew it not’:

that is, they set up subordinate governors, judges, civil magistrates, elders of the people, over them, without his approbation, and such as were very disagreeable to him; otherwise he knew what was done by them, as being the omniscient God, but he did not approve of what they did.

5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?

6 For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.

7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

8 Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.

9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.

10 Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.

11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.

12 I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

13 They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.

The author of the SAB compares this verse, where it is said that Ephraim shall return to Egypt, while in chapter 11:5 it is said Ephraim shall not return to Egypt. He also mentions chapter 9:3. The latter verse is probably a contradiction in itself according to the logic of the author of the SAB: how you can go to Egypt and go to Assyria?
The return to Egypt here is probably more figuratively: so read this as they shall return into bondage, as before when they dwelt in Egypt. Ephraim didn't listen so some time later Hosea prophesied that their bondage would be even worse than Egypt, chapter 11:5. It would be bondage, but in Assyria.
Some returned physically to Egypt though, as was prophesied in Deut. 28:68 and as is clear from chapter 9:3. But the majority would go into a more severe bondage in Assyria as can be seen in that verse.
Also chapter 11:5 can be read in a slightly different sense: Ephraim sought protection in Egypt, so not return to Egypt in that verse is that they would not receive that protection, but would be taken captive.

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.

"I will send a fire upon his cities."
Forgetting God meant that they murdered, robbed, and committed adultery, see chapter 7:1. Forgetting God didn't mean they became peace-loving, kind atheists. Such people don't exist. If you forget God, you forget His laws.