calf of Samaria

Hosea 8:6

8:6 calf of Samaria. The “calf of Samaria” refers to Israel’s idols. Samaria was the capital of Israel and, like “Ephraim,” the term “Samaria” is often used to refer to all ten tribes of the northern kingdom. When the ten tribes first separated from Jerusalem and the true temple, their leader Jeroboam led Israel into idolatry. He made “two calves of gold” and said: “Behold thy gods, O Israel,” the idols supposedly representing the true God who “brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (I Kings 12:28). This reflected the much earlier time when the children of Israel, encamped at Mount Sinai to receive God’s law, made a golden calf and attributed deity and their deliverance to it (Exodus 32:4). The worship of the calf idol incurred God’s wrath at both the beginning and ending of Israel’s history in the land.

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