on Hosea 8 :4
They have set up kings, but not by me - Properly speaking, not one of the kings of Israel, from the defection of the ten tribes from the house of David, was the anointed or the Lord.
I knew it not - It had not my approbation. In this sense the word know is frequently understood.
That they may be cut off - That is, They shall be cut off in consequence of their idolatry.
on Hosea 8 :4
They have set up kings, but not by ME - God Himself foretold to Jeroboam by Ahijah the prophet, that He would "rend the kingdom out of the hands of Solomon, and give ten tribes" to him, "and" would "take" him, "and" he "should reign according to all that" his soul desired and" should "be king over Israel" 1 Kings 11:31, 1 Kings 11:37; and, after the ten tribes had made Jeroboam king, God said by Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam and the two tribes, "Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me" 1 Kings 12:22-24.
Yet although here, as everywhere, man's self-will was overruled by God's will, and fulfilled it, it was not the less self-will, both in the ten tribes and in Jeroboam. It was so in the ten tribes. For they cast off Rehoboam, simply of their own mind, because he would not lessen the taxes, as they prescribed. If he would have consented to their demands, they would have remained his subjects 1 Kings 12:4. "They set up kings, but not by or through" God, whom they never consulted, nor asked His will about the rules of the kingdom, or about its relation to the kingdom of Judah, or the house of David. They referred these matters no more to God, than if there had been no God, or than if He interfered not in the affairs of man. It was self-will in Jeroboam himself, for he received the kingdom (which Ahijah told him, he "desired") not from God, not requiring of him, how he should undertake it, nor anointed by Him, nor in any way acknowledging Him, but from the people. And as soon as he had received it, he set up rebellion against God, in order to establish his kingdom, which he founded in sin, whereby he made Israel to sin.
In like way, the Apostle says, "against Thy holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done" Acts 4:27, Acts 4:8. Yet not the less did they sin in this Deicide; and the Blood of Jesus has ever since, as they imprecated on themselves, been on the Jews and on their children, as many as did not repent.
As was the beginning of the kingdom of Israel, such was its course. "They made kings, but not from God." Such were all their kings, except Jehu and his house. During 253 years, for which the kingdom of Israel lasted eighteen kings reigned over it, out of ten different families, and no family came to a close, save by a violent death. The like self-will and independence closed the existence of the Jewish people. The Roman Emperor being afar off, the Scribes and Pharisees hoped, under him, without any great control, to maintain their own authority over the people. They themselves, by their "God forbid!" Luke 20:16, owned that our Lord truly saw their thoughts and purpose, "This is the heir; come let us kill Him, that the inheritance may be ours." They willed to reign without Christ, feared the Pagan Emperor less than the holiness of Jesus, and in the words, "We have no king but Caesar," they deposed God, and shut themselves out from His kingdom.
And I knew it not - "As far as in them lay, they did it without His knowledge" John 8:54. They did not take Him into their counsels, nor desire His cognizance of it, or His approbation of it. If they could, they would have had Him ignorant of it, knowing it to be against His will. And so in His turn, God knew it not, owned it not, as He shall say to the ungodly, "I know you not" Matthew 25:12.
Of their silver and their gold have they made them idols - God had multiplied them, (as He said before Hosea 2:8), and they ungratefully abused to the dishonor of the Giver, what He gave them to be used to His glory.
That they may be cut off - Literally, "that he may be cut off." The whole people is spoken of as one man, "one and all," as we say. It is a fearful description of obstinate sin, that their very object in it seemed to be their own destruction. They acted with one will as one man, who had, in all he did, this one end - to perish. : "As if on set purpose they would provoke destruction, and obstinately run themselves into it, although forewarned thereof." Holy Scripture speaks of that as people's end, at which all their acts aim. "They see, not, nor know, that they may be ashamed" Isaiah 44:9; i. e., they blind themselves, as though their whole object were, what they will bring upon themselves, their own shame. "They prophesy a lie in My Name, that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you" Jeremiah 27:15. This was the ultimate end of those false prophecies. The false prophets of Judah filled them with false hopes; the real and true end of those prophecies, that in which they ended, was the ruin of those who uttered, and of those who listened to them. We ourselves say almost proverbially, "he goes the way to ruin himself;" not that such is the man's own object, but that he obstinately chooses a course of conduct, which, others see, must end in utter ruin. So a man chooses destruction or hell, if he chooses those tilings which, according to God's known law and word, end in it. Man bides from his own eyes the distant future, and fixes them on the nearer objects which he has at heart. God lifts the veil, and discovers to him the further end, at which he is driving, which he is, in fact, compassing, and which is in truth the end, for his own fleeting obiects perish in the using; this and this alone abides.
on Hosea 8 :4
8:4 They - Israel. Kings - Shallum, Menahem, Pekah, and Hosea. Not by me - Not by my direction. Knew it not - Did not approve of it.