on Hosea 8 :8
Now shall they be among the Gentiles - They shall be carried into captivity, and there be as a vessel wherein there is no pleasure; one soiled, unclean, infectious, to be despised, abhorred, not used. The allusion is to a rotten, corrupted skin-bottle; a bottle made of goat, deer, or calf hide, still commonly used in Asia and Africa. Some of them are splendidly ornamented. This is the case with one now before me made of a goat's skin well dressed, variously painted, and ornamented with leather fringes, tassels, etc. In such a bottle there might be pleasure; but the Israelites are compared to such a bottle, rough, ill-dressed, not ornamented, old, musty, and putrid. This shows the force of the comparison.
on Hosea 8 :8
Israel is swallowed up - Not only shall all which they have, be swallowed up by the enemy, but themselves also; and this, not at any distant time, but "now." "Now," at a time all but present, "they shall be among the Gentiles, as a vessel wherein is no pleasure," or, quite strictly, "Now they have become, among the Gentiles." He speaks of what should certainly be, as though it already were. "A vessel wherein is no pleasure," is what Paul calls "a vessel to dishonor" 2 Timothy 2:20, as opposed to "vessels to honor" or honorable uses. It is then some vessel put to vile uses, such as people turn away from with disgust. Such has been the history of the ten tribes ever since: "swallowed up," not destroyed; "among" the nations, yet not of them; despised and mingled among them, yet not united with them; having an existence, yet among that large whole, "the nations," in whom their national existence has been at once preserved and lost; everywhere had in dishonor; the Pagan and the Muslim have alike despised, outraged, insulted them; avenging upon them, unconsciously, the dishonor which they did to God. The Jews were treated by the Romans of old as offensive to the smell, and are so by the Muslims of North Africa still. "Never," says a writer of the fifth century , "has Israel been put to any honorable office, so as, after losing the marks of freedom and power, at least to have the rank of honorable servitude; but, like a vessel made for dishonorable offices, so they have been filled with revolting contumelies." "The most despised of those in servitude" was the title given by the Roman historian to the Jews, while yet in their own land.
Wealth, otherwise so coveted, for the most part has not exempted them from dishonor, but exposed them to outrage. individuals have risen to eminence in philosophy, medicine, finance; but the race has not gained through the credit of its members; rather, these have, for the most part, risen to reputation for intellect, amid the wreck of their own faith. When Hosea wrote this, two centuries had passed, since the fame of Solomon's wisdom (which still is venerated in the East) spread far and wide; Israel was hated and envied by its neighbors, not despised; no token of contempt yet attached to them; yet Hosea foretold that it should shortly be; and, for two thousand years, it has, in the main, been the characteristic of their nation.
on Hosea 8 :8