Destruction is threatened both to Israel and Judah for their impiety and idolatry, 1-14.
1 "Set the trumpet to your mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant and trespassed against my law.
2 Israel shall cry to me, 'My God, we know you.'
3 Israel has cast off the thing that is good. The enemy shall pursue him.
4 They have set up kings, but not by me. They have made princes, and I did not know it. Of their silver and their gold they have made for themselves idols, so that they may be cut off.
5 Your calf, O Samaria, has cast you off. My anger is kindled against them. How long will it be before they attain to innocence?
6 For it was also from Israel. The workman made it; therefore, it is not God. But the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
7 For they have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind. It has no stalk. The bud shall yield no meal. If it yields, the strangers shall swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up. Now they shall be among the Gentiles as a vessel in which there is no pleasure.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey alone by himself. Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Even though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
11 Because Ephraim has made many altars to sin, altars shall be for him to sin.
12 I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
13 They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of my offerings and eat it, but the LORD does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and visit their sins. They shall return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and builds temples, and Judah has multiplied fortified cities. But I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Hosea, Chapter 8[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter treats of the sins and punishment of Israel for them, as the preceding; it is threatened and proclaimed that an enemy should come swiftly against them, because of their transgression of the covenant and law of God (Hosea 8:1); their hypocrisy is exposed (Hosea 8:2); they are charged with the rejection of that which is good, and therefore should be pursued by the enemy (Hosea 8:3); with setting up kings and princes without consulting the Lord (Hosea 8:4); and with making of idols, particularly the golden calves, which would be of no use to them, disappoint them, and at last be broke to pieces (Hosea 8:4-6); their seeking to their neighbors for help, and entering into alliances with them, are represented as vain and fruitless, and issuing in their ruin and destruction (Hosea 8:7-10); their sins of multiplying altars, contrary to the law of God, and in contempt of it, and offering sacrifices to the Lord, are observed; and they with a visitation from him (Hosea 8:11-13); and the chapter is concluded with some notice and Judah, the one building temples, and multiplying fenced cities, which should be by fire (Hosea 8:14).
[v.3] - "Israel has cast off the thing that is good" - This may also be read as, "Israel has cast away good far from himself." From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet, I have no doubt, simply accuses the Israelites of having receded from all justice and uprightness; and even of having driven far off everything right and just."
[v.11a] - "made many altars to sin" - This may also be read as, "made many altars for the purpose of sinning."