Rejecting all that is good – Tuesday, 14th Week in ordinary time – Hosea 8:4-7,11-13

When we compare yesterday’s reading from chapter 2 and today’s reading in chapter eight, we notice a shift in the mood of the prophet Hosea. From restitution Hosea returns to the theme of Israel’s infidelity. The Assyrians are now at the gate (metaphorically speaking) and even now Israel is insincere; they have rejected all that is good and broken God’s covenant.

Once again, Israel (also called Ephraim in Hosea) has her sins stacked up high. Before a detailed charge is brought up against them, a summary of their sins is presented. Israel who has set up rulers and princes against the Lord, and were steeped in idolatry make a claim to ‘know’ God (8:2). The text is so reminiscent of Matthew 7;22-33 where Jesus says  “Many will say to me in that day, Lord Lord, have we not prophesied in your names, cast our demons in your name and done wonders in your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew your, depart from me, you who are evil.” 

 So what are the specifics of the charges? We are told that the kings of the northern kingdom ascend the throne but clearly this is not the mind and will of God. This passage refers to the dynastic upheavals of Israel’s declining days. Between the death of Jeroboam II and the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians, a matter of some 25 years, there were four separate dynasties on the throne and as many murdered kings. In fact, after Jeroboam II there were five kings in 13 years and three of them took power violently. These kings were certainly not God’s choice! In this there is a lesson to learn; those who follow their own wisdom in the choice of leaders inevitably get what they deserve. We have seen this play out so often in the world. What happens if someone gets into positions in government, someone who acts out like Hitler? Make no mistake, Hitler did not seize powers, he was elected by a democracy. Someone who is power hungry and full of pride seeks not the good of God but wants to become God himself and Israel had perfected this art through its kings. 

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