Hosea – Chapter 8

A Broken Utensil and a Wild Donkey

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d told Hoshea to call out with a voice as loud and clear as a shofar. He is to swoop down on the people like an eagle, or perhaps to warn the people that the invaders are about to swoop down upon them like an eagle, because of their evil deeds. The people will turn to G-d in their hour of need, but He will not answer a “fair weather” nation such as this. The Ten Tribes made Yeravam (Jeroboam) their king without being instructed by G-d to do so. They deposed and installed other kings without His approval. They used their wealth to make idols. They worshipped two statues of calves. These were not “gods” – a craftsman made them! How long will the nation allow this behavior to go on?

Worshipping these idols is like trying to sow the wind or reap the storm – nothing will come of it. In the unlikely event that something does grow, strangers will come along and take it away from them. Israel is like a broken utensil among the other nations. They went to Assyria like a wild donkey, going their own way, rather than following their prophets. They even buttered up the king of Assyria in order to win his favor. Even though they have done this, G-d will redeem them in the proper time (though they will be humbled in exile).

The nation of the Ten Tribes built many altars to serve their many idols. G-d sent His prophets to remind them of His Torah, but the people acted as if they never heard of it before. As far as the sacrifices they offer to Him, they might as well just eat them, since He’s not interested. He will repay them for their sins when the survivors are driven back to Egypt. Israel forgot G-d and relied on their idols, and on their own strength. G-d will destroy their cities and the temples they built for their “gods.”

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