1 Set the trumpet to your lips, for a vulture is over the house of the LORD, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law. 2 To me they cry, My God, we Israel know thee. 3 Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him.
The trumpet here is actually a shofar, or rams horn. It was used to raise the alarm or direct troop movements in battles. Here it warns that one vulture has already arrived. Some translations may say eagle but there are no eagles in the Hebrew Bible, they are always vultures. When one arrives others are soon to follow.
The Ten Northern Tribes have not keep God’s law. They have not kept their faith pure. They have been repeatedly warned, yet they continue to follow after Baal, Ashtaroth or Molech. This spiritual adultery will no longer be over looked. They cry to God, they claim that they know Him. But it is now to late. The enemy i.e. Assyria is upon them, and God will not intervene on their behalf.
4 They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. 5 I have spurned your calf, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will it be till they are pure 6 in Israel?
A workman made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.
God gives a list of some their crimes. The things of their lives and culture that were not in accordance with His Law. First up, is that they made kings and princes that were not of God’s choosing. What any nation needs more than anything else are leaders that fear God. With men who trust only in their own understanding, foolish mistakes are made.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Prov. 29:2
They have turned from the pure worship of God and have mixed in idols and idolitrust ideas. Israel repeatedly returned to this calf god. From the time Moses was up on the mountain, till they were taken captive they kept this up [Ex 32; 2 Kings 10:29; Acts 7:41-43]. When the Southern Tribes return from 70 years in Babylon, this calf god never reappeared. No one knows exactly what the fascination this bovine god had, so utterly was its memory wiped out. We know almost nothing about it, except what is here in God’s word.
7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it shall yield no meal; if it were to yield, aliens would devour it. 8 Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Though they hire allies among the nations, I will soon gather them up. And they shall cease for a little while from anointing king and princes.
This disobedience God calls “sowing the wind” which reaps only a whirlwind. One of natures more destructive wind patterns. It is indiscriminate and unpredictable as to what it will destroy and what it will skip over. It takes all the grain from the wheat and leaves only the empty stocks. But God warns that even if the tornado didn’t wipe out the grain, their enemies would. He will leave them with nothing, because of their disobedience. They will be like a utensil or weapon that does not work right. They are flawed or broken.
They will be taken by Assyria, where they will be like a wild ass that is wandering alone. The only reason that a wild ass would wander alone is that it has been put out of the herd by the stallion. This happens after the colt is weaned and has become sexually mature. The stallion drives them out, this keep inbreeding from happening. They wander till they are strong or bold enough to get their own herd or harem of females. They have wandered for 2500 years. Lost in the nations. But Israel has never become bold or strong. He has had to hire lovers. Unable to establish a harem, he has had to find the kind of females that will serve him for money. All the lovers in the world will not save them from the true lover that they have spurned. They will have no more kings or princes. They will not be a separate distinguished people.
They multiplied their altars, thinking that God would be pleased with more sacrifice rather than obedience. Whereas the Law had said that there was only one place for sacrifice [Ex. 15:17]. But they were making up their own religion. Mixing the true God with ideas of Baal, Ashtaroth, and Molech. They refused to learn and follow the Law. For some reason they thought that the Law did not apply to them. They thought it was no longer in effect. But that was never to be, for it never passes away.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:18-20
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Rom. 3:31
11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they have become to him altars for sinning. 12 Were I to write for him my laws by ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing. 13 They love sacrifice; they sacrifice flesh and eat it; but the LORD has no delight in them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. 14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds.
Then a final warning is given to Judah who has in the mean time built their own fortified cities. They have done this because they are no longer trusting in God to protect them. All these cities will be sacked by the Assyrians, except Jerusalem. This will cause Judah to repent for a short time. But we know that they ended up in the same sin of spiritual adultery, and they spent 70 years in Babylon, for this lack of faith. It is in Babylon that they got a full education in what was pagan and what was of God. For all paganism has its roots in Babylon [Gen. 11:4; Zech. 5:5-11; Rev 17]. That is the Mystery of Babylon, everybody every where is worshiping the same pagan deities under different names. (see Paganism 101)
It is easy for us 2500 years later to point the finger at these people and say look what they did, look how bad they were. We never seem to think that what we are doing is the same thing. The only difference is that this time around we changed all the names. But Christmas is just the feast of Molech, Kronos, Saturn, and Easter is just the feast of Ishtar or Ashtorah. It goes on and on. Most Christian traditions come right out of Babylon, with a little white wash to sooth our souls.
For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Rom. 11:21
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; Rev. 18:4