on Hosea 4 :8
They eat up the sin of my people - חטאת chattath, the sin-offering, though it be offered contrary to the law; for their hearts are set on iniquity, they wish to do whatever is contrary to God.
on Hosea 4 :8
They eat up the sin of My people - The priests made a gain of the sins of the people, lived upon them and by them, conniving at or upholding the idolatries of the people, partaking in their idol-sacrifices and idolatrous rites, which, as involving the desertion of God, were "the sin of the people," and the root of all their other sins. This the priests did knowingly. True or false, apostate or irregularly appointed, they knew that there was no truth in the golden calves; but they withheld the truth, they held it down in unrighteousness, and preached Jeroboam's false-hood, "these be thy gods, O Israel." The reputation, station, maintenance of the false priests depended upon it. Not being of the line of Aaron, they could be no priests except to the calves, and so they upheld the sin whereby they lived, and, that they might themselves be accounted priests of God, taught them to worship the calves, as representatives of God.
The word, "sin," may include indirectly the sin-offerings of the people, as if they loved the sin or encouraged it, in order that they might partake of the outward expiations for it.
And they set their heart on their iniquity - , as the source of temporal profit to themselves. "Benefited by the people, they reproved them not in their sinful doings, but charged themselves with their souls, saying, on us be the judgment, as those who said to Pilate, His blood be upon us." That which was, above all, "their iniquity," the source of all the rest, was their departure from God and from His ordained worship. On this they "set their hearts;" in this they kept them secure by their lies; they feared any misgivings, which might rend the people from them, and restore them to the true worship of God. But what else is it, to extenuate or flatter sin now, to dissemble it, not to see it, not openly to denounce it, lest we lose our popularity, or alienate those who commit it? What else is it to speak smooth words to the great and wealthy, not to warn them, even in general terms, of the danger of making Mammon their god; of the peril of riches, of parade, of luxury, of immoral dressing, and, amid boundless extravagance, neglect of the poor; encouraging the rich, not only in the neglect of Lazarus, but in pampering the dogs, while they neglect him? hat is the praise of some petty dole to the poor, but connivance at the withholding from God His due in them? "We see now," says an old writer , "how many prelates live on the oblations and revenues of the laity, and yet, whereas they are bound, by words, by prayers, by exemplary life, to turn them away from sin, and to lead them to amendment, they, in various ways, scandalize, corrupt, infect them, by ungodly conversation, flattery, connivance, cooperation, and neglect of due pastoral care. Whence Jeremiah says, "My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray." O how horrible and exceeding great will be their damnation, who shall be tormented for each of those under their care, who perish through their negligence" Jeremiah 50:6.
on Hosea 4 :8
4:8 They - The priests who minister to the idols. The sin - Probably by sin is meant sin - offering, in which the priest had his share. And they - Covetous, luxurious, idolatrous priests.