Hosea 8:4

4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

Hosea 8:4 Meaning and Commentary

Hosea 8:4

They have set up kings, but not by me
Not by his authority, order, and command; not by asking advice of him, or his leave, but of themselves, and of their own, accord: this refers to the case of Jeroboam their first king, after their separation from the house of David, and from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; for though his becoming king of Israel was according to the secret will of God, and by his overruling providence; yet it was done without his express orders, and without asking counsel of him, or his consent, and of their own heads; and many of his successors were conspirators, and set up themselves with the consent of the people, to the dethroning of others, and upon the slaughter of them, as Shallum, Menahem, Pekah, and Hoshea: the people of Israel had no right to choose a king for themselves; the right was alone in the Lord; it was he that chose, appointed, and constituted their kings, ( Deuteronomy 17:15 ) ; thus Saul, David, and Solomon, were chose and appointed by him, ( 1 Samuel 10:24 ) ( 2 Samuel 5:2 ) ( 1 Chronicles 28:5 ) ; it was not the person of Jeroboam chosen God disliked; but their taking it upon them to choose and set him up without his leave; they have made princes, and knew [it] not;
that is, they set up subordinate governors, judges, civil magistrates, elders of the people, over them, without his approbation, and such as were very disagreeable to him; otherwise he knew what was done by them, as being the omniscient God, but he did not approve of what they did. Some observe, that (v) , in the word used, is put for (o) , and should be rendered, "they have removed", so Jarchi and Japhet; that is, they have set up kings, and they have removed them; they have took it upon them to make and pose kings at pleasure, without seeking the Lord about it, when this is his prerogative, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, ( Daniel 2:21 ) ; which sense makes a strong and beautiful antithesis; of their silver and their gold have they made their idols;
some of their idols were made of silver, others of gold; particularly the calves at Dan and Bethel, which are called the golden calves, because made of gold; as was the calf in the wilderness, ( 1 Kings 12:28 ) ; see ( Isaiah 46:6 ) ( Hosea 2:8 ) ; that they may be cut off:
which denotes not the end, intentions, and design of making these idols of silver and gold, but the event thereof; namely, either the destruction of the idols themselves, which, for the sake of the silver and gold they were made of; were cut in pieces by a foreign enemy; or the gold and silver were cut off from the people, their riches and wealth were wasted by such means; or rather the people were cut off, everyone of them, because of their worship of them, or this would be the case.

Hosea 8:4 In-Context

2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.
3 Israel hath 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 knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?
6 For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
The King James Version is in the public domain.