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3'0 Introduction


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Title: 3'0 Introduction

3.0 Introduction Studies in Hosea
  • Studies in the Scroll of the Twelve

3.1 General Introduction
  • Hosea is the only writing prophet of the
    Northern Kingdom. This means that there is no one
    with whom we can compare him, and that we cannot
    separate what is his own message from those
    matters of style, subject-matter, and prophetic
    tradition which he may have inherited.... Only
    two basic date specific to the north need be
    mentioned The disintegration of patriarchal
    Jahwism in the Canaanite fertility cult, and the
    peculiar political and governmental system which
    existed there, which meant that even a prophets
    intervention in public affairs and their problems
    took on an essentially different aspect from that
    of the Southern Kingdom. von Rad, Old Testament
    Theology, II, 139

3.1 General Introduction
  • Hosea was more nuanced than Amos in his critique
    of the kingdoms and more imaginative in proposing
    a solution to the problem of Israels perennial
    infidelity. Amos said that their worship was
    senseless, but Hosea thought it was mistaken.
    Amos thought that people were devoid of common
    sense and incapable of justice and therefore
    doomed, but Hosea thought that they were devious
    and disobedient and determined to die. Amos
    argued from traditional examples and by analogy
    with the liturgical and agricultural calendars
    that the history of Israel was coming to an
    inevitable end. Hosea imagined that the fate of
    Israel was bound by affection to Yahweh and that
    its history was designed to continue and repeat
    itself like every living thing. Peckham,
    History and Prophecy The Development of Late
    Judean Literary Traditions, 183

3.2 The Title
  • The prophecy was named after its attributive
    author Xwh, whose name in the Latin and Greek
    versions appeared as VWshe, . Harrison,
    Introduction to the Old Testament, 859

3.3 The Nature of the Text
  • The text is traditionally regarded as the most
    corrupt and poorly preserved of the Hebrew Bible.
    A little fragment containing parts of Hos
    1.17-2.5 is found among manuscripts from Qumran
    (4QXII). It is very similar to the MT and, hence,
    of little value for reconstruction of the text.
    The LXX is frequently literalistic and
    incomprehensible in part. The other versions are,
    likewise, garbled at critical junctures. It
    appears that the translators of the versions were
    themselves struggling to understand the texts
    before them. Seow, Hosea, Book of, ABD, III,

3.3 The Nature of the Text
  • "The single most textually problematic part of
    the book is perhaps 4.18-19." Stuart, WBC
    Hosea-Jonah, 13
  • The Hebrew text of Hosea is probably more
    corrupt than that of any other Old Testament
    book, although many of the alterations appear to
    be accidental. These include transpositions of
    consonants (Hos 1.6 5.2, 11 10.13 13.10, 14),
    different division of the letters making up words
    (Hos 5.2 6.3, 5 11.2), and the occasional
    confusion of similar consonants (Hos 2.14 4.18
    5.8, 11 7.14 12.2, 12 13.5, et al.).
    Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament,

3.3.1 Possible Explanations Solutions
  • The linguistic peculiarities in much of Hosea
    may be explained as a dialectal idiosyncrasies,
    rather than errors or textual corruptions. many
    of the difficulties one encounters in the book
    may be attributed not to the scribal process, but
    rather to our lack of familiarity with the N
    dialect of Hebrew. Seow, ibid., 292
  • A recognition that Hoseas oracles reflect often
    in their very wording the vocabulary of the
    Pentateuchal blessings and curses of Lev 26 and
    Deut 4, 28-29 helps determine likely original
    readings in several instances. Frequently the
    Masoretic consonantal text proves largely
    correct, and must simply be revocalized on the
    evidence of the Septuagint, with regard for the
    Mosaic covenant vocabulary. Stuart, ibid., 13

3.3.2 Literary Style
  • Hoseas language is personal and concrete his
    style is vivid and dramatic and both vary from
    triptych to triptych. . . . Peckham, History
    and Prophecy The Development of Late Judean
    Literary Traditions, 195
  • Hoseas text has rhyme and some literal
    repetitions, but it relies mainly on interlinear
    assonance and alliteration. . . . Peckham, 198

3.4 Date of Composition
  • The difficulty involve
  • The consideration of chaps. 1-3 and 4-14 being
    separately circulated
  • The consideration of Hosea only speaking a
    message of judgment or if the hope of restoration
    was original
  • The basically positive image of Judah (1.7, 11
    3.5 4.15 11.2). The question here is if there
    really was a Judean redaction. It definitely
    would have had to be early since the 7th century
    Judean prophecies would hardly have had this
    level of positive imagery of Judah.

3.4 Date of Composition
  • The first three chapters of the book of Hosea
    are distinguished from the rest so radically as
    to justify the assumption that the present book
    contains two distinct literary units, whose
    authors lived at different times. Chapters 1-3
    develop an ordered series of events except for
    2.4-6 the style is almost mantic. The prophet
    sets forth the peoples sins and their
    consequences objectively there is no lyrical
    strain. In chapters 4-14 on the other hand, there
    is no chain of events, but a formless aggregation
    of impassioned reproof, argument, threats
    pleading, and hope. The metaphor of marriage for
    Gods covenant with Israel, and adultery for
    Israels idolatry, does not recur in these
    chapters. Here the relation between God and
    people is symbolized

3.4 Date of Composition
  • altogether differently Israel is grapes in the
    wilderness (9.10), a trained calf (10.10f.
    cf. 11.4), an adopted son (11.1f.). Perhaps the
    most deep-rooted difference between the two parts
    is that in 1-3 the moral corruption of the people
    - concern with which is the hallmark of classical
    prophecy - never figures. As in the early
    literature, only one national sin is referred to
    idolatry. Moreover, while Baal worship is
    depicted in chapters 1-3 as a present sin, in
    chapters 4-14 it is a sin of the past (9.10
    13.1). The present sin of 4-14 is Samarias
    calves these, however, are never mentioned 1-3.
    Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel From its
    Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile, 368-369

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • 1. Problems involved in speculating about Hoseas
    personal life
  • We are told only such details as happened to
    serve metaphorical / typological purposes. The
    focus of the early chapters is not on Hosea and
    his family but on God and Israel. Stuart, WBC
    Hosea-Jonah, 12
  • 2. The Prophets Name
  • The name Hosea (properly Hoshea) is fairly
    common in the 8th and 7th centuries. Several
    seals and seal impressions bearing that name have
    been found from that period. The last monarch of
    the N kingdom, a younger contemporary of the

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • was also called Hoshea (2 Kgs 17.1). The name is
    probably a shortened form of hws6)yh(w), YHWH
    has delivered, or Deliver, O YHWH! This name
    appears as an alternate of Joshua (Num 13.8 Deut
    32.44). Seow, ibid., 292

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • 3. Hosea's Wife Gomer bat-Diblaim yIl'b.DI-tB
  • The primarily sources are chapters 1and 3, the
    first containing a third-person account of the
    marital relations of Hosea, and the second
    comprising a short selection of similar material
    written in the first person. . . . These two
    sources constitute a single unit, comprising
    biographical and autobiographical material inked
    by a sermon to Israel in the second chapter.
    Harrison, ibid., 861

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • She is called a promiscuous woman (ynIWnzgt
    tv,ae ). Some say she was a cultic prostitute,
    but others suggest that she was or became a
    harlotrous woman, but was not a professional
    whore.... The medieval commentators Ibn Ezra,
    David Kimchi, and Maimonides, for instance,
    regarded the whole experience as a prophetic
    vision. Finding the command morally offensive,
    many modern scholars have insisted that there was
    no real marriage with such a woman Gomer
    bat-Diblaim is unfaithful Israel personified and
    nothing more. Others have concede that Hosea did
    marry the harlotrous woman as a symbolic act.
    Still other argue that God did not in fact
    command Hosea to

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • marry such a woman. Rather, the prophet
    interpreted his marriage as divinely arranged
    when he learned of his wifes adultery and saw in
    his own experiences the meaning of Gods love and
    commitment. Seow, ibid., 292-293
  • The problem of dw in 3.1
  • again as in taking Gomer back
  • again as in taking another promiscuous wife
  • There is no date in chap. 3 to prove that Gomer
    is to be identified with the promiscuous wife, as
    has so often been suggested.... Sin it can not be
    proved that

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • Gomer is the same wife described in chap. 3,
    nothing about Gomers marital fidelity can be
    learned. Stuart, WBC Hosea-Jonah, 11
  • The problem of interpreting the narratives of
    chapters 1 and 3
  • Are the narratives of chaps. 1 and 3 the
    prophets actual experience (history) or a story
    he composed to convey a spiritual truth
    (allegory)? They will be treated here as history
    for several reason. First, the book itself does
    not suggest that it be taken other than at face
    value. Second, certain details do not fit an
    allegorical pattern no suitable meaning for
    Gomers name has been found no purpose is

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • apparent in references to the weaning of
    Not-pitied (1.8) or in the order of the
    childrens births. Furthermore, use of such an
    allegory would have strange effects on the
    reputation of the prophet and his family....
    Finally, the traditional reason for considering
    the story as allegory is to avoid the stigma on
    the morality of God and the prophet which the
    command to marry a harlot apparently involves.
    But does what is morally doubtful as history
    become any less questionable when viewed as
    allegory? La Sor, Hubbard Bush, Old Testament
    Survey, 335

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • 4. His Children
  • The key to these stories must be sought in what
    is told regarding the children, for their history
    at least is complete and unambiguous and does not
    require imaginative reconstruction. They were
    born to Hosea legitimately, for there is no hint
    that Gomer played the harlot after her marriage,
    or that the children were not Hoseas. In what
    sense, then, are they children of harlotry, and
    why do they bear names symbolizing hatred and
    estrangement? It must be supposed that they play
    the role of children of harlotry, in a dramatic
    representation. Like the wounds and bandage of
    the prophet in the days of Ahab (1 Kgs 20.35ff.),
    the nakedness of Isaiah (20.2), and the bands and
    bars of Jeremiah (27.2 28.10ff.)

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • their import is representational. Gomer too is
    not an adulterous wife but a wife of
    harlotries in 2.4 it is said Let her remove
    her harlotries from her face and her adulteries
    from between her breasts. The harlotries seem
    to be something material, some cosmetic or face
    covering, and some whorish ornament on her
    breast. Gomer must play the role of a harlot,
    going about with the appearance of a harlot to
    symbolize the apostasy of Israel. As such her
    children are children of harlotry, and are
    called by names expressing hatred. Here, as in
    all prophetic theatrical acts, the appearance is
    the essence, not the objective truth. Kaufmann,
    The Religion of Israel From its Beginnings to
    the Babylonian Exile, 370-371

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • 5. Characterization of Hosea himself
  • A Fool a Crazy Fellow ...he was labeled a
    fool and a crazy fellow (9.7). The former is a
    technical term in the wisdom tradition,
    characterizing a person who is quarrelsome,
    hot-tempered, lacking self-control, promiscuous,
    or associating with promiscuous people. Perhaps
    in the eyes of Hoseas opponents his frequent
    tirades and his association with the promiscuous
    Gomer marked him as a fool, a simpleton who was
    easily seduced by the wicked temptress. Seow,
    ibid., 293

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • Respecter of the Prophetic Office Although he
    condemned a certain prophet (4.5), Hosea held the
    prophetic office in highest regard. The prophets
    received their authority from YHWH. Through the
    prophets God dealt with humans (12.10 6.5) and
    through them God delivered Israel (12.13). the
    prophet was a watcher of and a snare to the
    people (9.8). In this connection, Moses is
    regarded as the prophet to whom the prophetic
    office may be traced. Seow, ibid., 293

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • Hoseas Personality Using his diction to draw
    conclusions about his person, we are given the
    impression that Hosea was a man of extremely
    strong feelings. His preaching, more than that of
    any other prophet, is governed by personal
    emotions, by love, anger, disappointment, and
    even by the ambivalence between two opposite
    sentiments. Since the prophet lends this
    emotional ardor to the words of God himself - or,
    to put it better, since Yahweh catches the
    prophet up into his emotions - in Hosea the
    divine word receives a glow and favor the
    intensity of which is characteristic of the
    message of this prophet alone. von Rad, ibid.,

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • Speculations about Hosea's life Although
    details of his personal life are rather scanty,
    it appears that his father was named Beeri (not
    the Reubenite prince of 1 Chr 5.6). Hosea was
    unique among the literary prophets in that his
    childhood home was in the northern kingdom. His
    actual birthplace remains unknown, however, as
    does his occupation in life, through the
    reference in Hosea 7.4ff. it has been assumed
    that he worked as a baker. From the various
    agricultural allusion in the book it could be
    maintained with equal seriousness that Hosea was
    a farmer. However, a peasant origin seems
    improbable in the light of his knowledge of
    history, his grasp of political affairs, and the
    elegant, well-chosen imagery with which his style
    abounds. Harrison, ibid., 859

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • Date when Hosea Ministered
  • The date of Hosea cannot be set with certainty,
    but the material in the book suggests at least
    the period from the end of Jeroboams reign to
    the fall of Samaria, approximately 752-721 BCE.
    This makes Hosea a contemporary of Amos, who
    prophesied in the N kingdom, and of Isaiah, who
    prophesied in the S. Seow, ibid., 293
  • The ministry of Hosea thus extended from about
    753 BC to a time just before the fall of Samaria
    in 722 BC. Precisely what transpired in the life
    of the prophet at that point is unknown, but the
    fact that the superscription in Hosea 1.1
    mentioned Judean kings as contemporaries

3.5 The Prophet, Hosea
  • might indicate that the message of the prophet,
    if not actually the personage of the man himself,
    was by no means unknown in the southern kingdom
    after the fall of Samaria. It is not outside the
    bounds of possibility that Hosea spent his latter
    days in Judah in retirement, though certainty on
    this particular point is lacking. Harrison,
    ibid., 860

3.6 Historical Context
  • 1. The last years of Jeroboam II and its
    Social-Economical Situation
  • Several passages in the book reflect the
    relative political stability and wealth in the
    Jeroboam era. The people were gluttonous, drunk,
    and far too complacent, if not arrogant
    (4.1-5.7). the atmosphere of Israel described
    here is very similar to that which Amos
    confronted in the days of Jeroboam. The
    sanctuaries of Gilgal and Beth-aven (Bethel) had
    been abused and foreign elements were introduced
    into the cult of YHWH (4.15-5.7 9.15). The
    people had misplaced their trust on cultic acts
    (8.13 6.6). They were more concerned about
    accumulating wealth than they were with justice
    (12.8-9 12.7-8). They had

3.6 Historical Context
  • become overly confident in the military might of
    the nation (10.13-14 8.14). The wealthier they
    became, the more readily sanctuaries multiplied.
    Seow, ibid., 294
  • 2. Inner Political Climate
  • The possibility of sedition was certainly in the
    air. Indeed, from the death of Jeroboam in 746
    till the fall Samaria in 721 six kings ascended
    the throne in Israel all except one died by
    violence. Assassination was the order of the day.
    Several of Hoseas oracles reflect this state of
    instability and confusion (5.1 7.5-7 8.4 9.15
    13.10-11). Seow, ibid., 294

3.6 Historical Context
  • 3. The International Scene as it shaped Israel
  • 3.1 Tiglath-pileser III (745-727) and Menahem
  • Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria launched his
    famous attack on Syria-Palestine in 743 BCE.
    According to Hos 7.11 Israel went back and forth
    between Egypt and Assyrian allegiance. Finally
    Menahem submitted to Tiglath-pileser and paid a
    heavy tribute (2 Kgs 15.19-20 ANET, 283). This
    was paid by heavy taxes on the people. Hosea
    alludes to this capitulation in 7.11 and 8.9. The
    situation was to change after Menahems death,
    which inaugurated Pekahiahs 2 year reign.
    Pekahiah is

3.6 Historical Context
  • assassinated by Pekah ben-Remaliah who turned
    Israel against Assyria. Pekahs used a gang of 50
    from Gilead (2 Kgs 15.23-26). This is probably
    the reason for Hoseas comments about Gileadites
    in 6.8 12.12 11.
  • 3.2 Pekah ben Remaliah and the Syro-Ephraimitic
    War (735-733)
  • Under Pekah, Israel joined the Arameans and the
    Philistine in an anti-Assyrian alliance. The
    coalition tried to persuade and then coerce Judah
    to join their ranks, thus initiating the
    Syro-Ephraimitic war (735-733). Albrecht Alts
    thesis that this war lies in the background of
    5.8-6.6 is accepted by most scholars.... The
    prophecy concerning the breaking of Israel

3.6 Historical Context
  • bow at Jezreel (1.4-5 probably alludes to the
    decisive battle which Tiglath-pileser won in 733.
    Only Samaria and the hill country of Ephraim
    remained in Israelite control. Tiglath-pileser
    ravaged the land and deported a large segment of
    the population (5.13-14 2 Kgs 15.29). Seow,
    ibid., 294
  • Pekah himself was assassinated by a pro-Assyrian
    faction led by Hoshea ben-Elah, who quickly sent
    tribute to the king of Assyria (2 Kgs 1530).

3.6 Historical Context
  • Tiglath-Pilesers annals record
  • (Israels) inhabitants (and) its possessions I
    led to Assyria. They overthrew their king Pekah
    and I placed Hoshea as king over them. I received
    from them 10 talents of gold, 1,000(?) talents of
    silver as their tribute and brought them to
    Assyria. ANET, 28
  • Then later Hoshea himself rebelled against
    Assyrian after Tiglath-pileser died in 727 and
    turned to Egypt (7.11). He withheld tribute from
    Assyria (2 Kgs 17.4). This is the background to
    the return to Egypt passages (9.3 11.5 12.1).

3.6 Historical Context
  • 3.3 Shalmaneser V and the end of Israel
  • Shalmaneser V launched his punitive expedition
    against Israel in 725. The oracles about the
    demise of Israels king (10.7 13.10-11) are
    commonly taken to be allusions to the punishment
    of Hoshea by the Assyrians. The mention of
    Shalman who destroyed Beth-arbel (10.14) is
    sometimes taken to be a reference to Shalmaneser
    , who was supposed to have destroyed Beth-arbel
    en route to Samaria. This would put the oracle
    sometime just before the fall of Samaria in 721
    BCE. Others identify Shalman with the Moabite
    king Salamau who is mentioned in one of
    Tiglath-Pilesers inscriptions (ANET, 282).
    Seow, ibid., 294

3.6 Historical Context
  • There are several probable allusions in the book
    to the last days of Samaria (9.1-9 10.3-10
    11.5-7). But there is no mention of the actual
    destruction of Samaria anywhere. Indeed, in the
    conclusion of the book, Samaria is apparently
    still standing, but her end is nigh (14.1
    13.16). Seow, ibid., 294

Canaanite Baal
Canaanite Baal
3.7 The Canaanite Religion
  • 1. The Dominance of Baalism over Yahwism in
  • Many personal names on Hebrew seals discovered
    in Israel bear Canaanite theophoric element,
    contrasting dramatically with the personal name
    of seals from Judah. The Samaria ostraca from
    this general period also contain numerous Baal
    names. At Kuntillet Ajrud in the Sinai, the site
    of an ancient Israelite (as opposed to Judean)
    colony has be discovered with evidence of a
    syncretistic Yahwistic cult. On one pithos one
    finds the drawing of a couple with bovine
    features, and above it is the inscription. . . .
    "May you be blessed by YHWH of Samaria and by his
    Asherah." Seow, ibid., 294-295

3.7 The Canaanite Religion
  • In the name Gomer bat-Diblaim it is possible to
    see the Diblaim as meaning two figs which may
    be a veiled reference to the raisin cakes of
  • 2. The Origins of Israelite Baal worship
    according to Hosea
  • Hosea sites Baal-peor as the location (9.10 Num
  • 3. Baal Cult Practices as depicted in Hosea
  • Baal as fertility god (2.7, 10-11 2.5, 8-9)
  • Sympathetic magic in fertility rite (2.5 2.7
    note especially the comment in verse 4.12). Here
    the idea is humans copulating as representing
    Baal and Anat.

3.7 The Canaanite Religion
  • 4. Other references to Canaanite Religion
  • 4.12 refers to "wood" that was used to get
    oracles. This is considered to be an reference to
    the goddess Asherah and / or the sacred tree in
    the sanctuary.
  • 8.5 refers to the calf of Samaria 10.5 to the
    calf of Beth-aven (1 Kgs 12.28 cf. Ex 32.1-10)
  • 5. Kaufmanns Thesis that Baalism was entirely
    wiped out in time of Jehu and only existed during
    the period of Jezebels influence.

3.7 The Canaanite Religion
  • The book of Kings relates that Jehu destroyed
    Israels Baal cult once for all upon his
    accession (2 Kgs 10.28). Amos, Isaiah, and Micah
    make no mention of Baal and Hosea 4-14 speaks of
    his cult only as a sin of the past. The setting
    of Hosea 1-3 is necessarily, then, the time
    before Jehu. The dates of the superscription in
    Hosea 1.1 (the reigns of Uzziah to Hezekiah of
    Judah, and Jeroboam 2 of Israel) refer only to
    chapters 4-14. Kaufmann, The Religion of
    Israel From its Beginnings to the Babylonian
    Exile, 369

3.8 Structure
  • The book of Hosea provides only a few clear
    pointers towards division. Chapters 1-3 are a
    thematic unity in which the relationship between
    YHWH and Israel is described with the image of
    marriage and symbolically by Hoseas marriage.
    Chapter 4-11 are marked off as a further unit by
    the introductory formula, Hear the word of YHWH,
    you Israelites (4.1) and the concluding formula
    Saying of YHWH (11.11). Along with the closing
    section, chaps. 12-14, this produces three major
    units. Common to them is that each of them begins
    with an accusation and an announcement of
    judgment against Israel and ends with an
    announcement of salvation (3.5 11.8-11 14.2-9)
    here an important role is played on the one hand
    by the keyword legal

3.8 Structure
  • dispute (rb, 2.4 4.1 12.3) and on the other
    hand the word return or lead back (sub 3.5
    11.11 14.2, 3, 8). Rendtorff, The Old
    Testament An Introduction, 216
  • Thus in chaps. 4-11 Buss distinguishes four
    cycles I (4.1-9 10, 11-14, 15-19 5.1-7) with
    the them cult and the keyword whoredom II
    (5.8-10 5.11-7.7 7.8-16 8.1-7, 7-10) with the
    theme social and political abuses and frequent
    mention of the king (5.13 7.3, 5, 7 8.4, 10)
    and prince (5.10 7.3, 5, 16 8.4, 10) III
    (8.11-13 9.1-9), again with the theme cult and
    the motive of a return to Egypt IV (9.10-17
    10.1-8, 9-15 11.1-11) with a series of
    historical retrospective surveys. In chaps. 12-14
    the sections 12.3-15 13.1-14.1 can be marked off

3.8 Structure
  • also makes a division at 13.11) here there are
    quotations from the cultic tradition about
    Jacob (12.4-7, 13), the exodus (12.10f., 14
    13.4f.) and creation (13.14, Buss). The
    concluding announcement of salvation (14.2-9) is
    followed by a postulate in the style of wisdom
    (14.10). Rendtorff, The Old Testament An
    Introduction, 217

3.9 Notable Vocabulary
  • Hoseas use of the root hnz prostitution, to
    prostitute, etc.
  • The other major theological terms are bwv
    return, dsx loyalty, bz abandon, bha
    love, dy know / acknowledge
  • The relatively frequent mention of Egypt and

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 1. Mosaic Tradition
  • This is a conditional covenant tradition that was
    alive in the N Kingdom. Its main point was that
    the validity of the covenant depended on
    faithfulness of the covenant partners.
  • Sinai allusions in the book Not my people, my
    people Ex 6.7 3.7, 10 Presupposition
    concerning obedience to the command of YHWH,
    i.e., keep the covenant (Ex 19.5) The use of
    YHWH (38X)
  • Allusions to Exodus Exodus event 2.17 2.15
    11.1 12.10, 14 12.9, 13 13.4 The Wilderness
    experience 2.16 2.14 9.10 13.4

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 2. Doctrine of Sin
  • 2.1 Religious, Cultic, Covenantal Sin
  • The vassal had betrayed the suzerain the people
    of Israel had rebelled (5.7 6.7 7.1 7.13, 14
    8.1-2 9.15 14.1 13.16.
  • Transgression of covenant and violated its
    stipulations (4.1-3 6.7 7.1 8.1)
  • Made molten images of silver and gold just as in
    the days of Moses and Aaron (Ex 32 Hos 8.4-5
  • Israel turned to Canaanite religious practices
    sexual rituals (2.7b-15 2.5b-14 9.10) sin
    depicted as unfaithfulness in sexual terms, i.e.,

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • and adultery (1.2 2.4-15 2.2-13 4.10-19
    5.3-4 6.10 7.4 9.1)
  • Made and worshipped idols (4.17 8.4 10.5 11.2
    13.1-3 14.9 14.8)
  • Condemnation of altars and local sanctuaries
    (10.1-2, 8 12.11) Viewed Jerusalem as the sole
    legitimate sanctuary to worship YHWH, therefore
    Gilgal and Bethel were condemned (4.15 9.15)
  • 2.2 Political Sin
  • Turning to Assyria and Egypt (5.13 7.8, 11
    8.9-10 12.2 12.1)
  • Contra attitude toward the kingship of Israel
    following the tradition of Elisha (8.4 13.11)

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 3. Knowledge of God
  • Knowledge of God marked Israels special
    relationship with YHWH. People and priest alike
    are rejected by YHWH because of their lack of
    knowledge (4.1, 6 5.4). The verb yd( indicates
    intimate knowledge as of partners in a covenant
    or marriage. Israels relationship with YHWH was
    once correct they knew no other God but YHWH,
    and YHWH knew them in their wilderness wanderings
    (13.4). But as soon as they were satiated with
    the nourishment that YHWH had provided them, they
    forgot the benevolence of YHWH (13.6). They
    claimed to know KHWH (8.2), but they had
    flagrantly broken the covenant with YHWH and
    violated the law (8.1). Seow, ibid., 296

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • They did not know YHWH because they were
    possessed by the spirit of harlotry (5.4). But
    YHWH knew them (5.3). They had rejected
    knowledge, the absence of which was evident in
    their violation of commandments of God (4.1-3,
    6). The lack of knowledge is taken to be
    synonymous with treachery (5.7 6.6-7), and for
    this treachery she was to go into exile (4.1, 6).
    But beyond the judgment Hosea saw hope for a new
    relationship established by YHWH and based on
    faithfulness, loyalty, justice, and mercy. Then
    would Israel truly know YHWH (2.22 2.20). to
    that end, Hosea urged his audience to know YHWH
    and pursue the knowledge of YHWH (6.2). Seow,
    ibid., 296

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • Unfortunately, this term, so characteristic of
    Hosea, is not easy to translate. Knowledge of
    God points too much in the direction of what is
    theoretical in the problem or religious and
    philosophic epistemology. On the evidence of its
    occurrences, however, the term must also mean
    something much more specific than simply a
    general inner disposition toward God in fact it
    seems actually to convey the essence of the
    priestly service, for in Hos 4.6 it is parallel
    to torah. It must therefore describe a particular
    form of knowledge of God which, to her hurt,
    Israel had lost the term will therefore have to
    be related in particular to familiarity with the
    historical acts of Yahweh. It could also be put
    in this way - Israel had lost her profession of
    loyalty to Yahweh. von Rad, ibid., 142-143

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 5. Loyalty
  • 5.1 Loyalty as Covenant faithfulness
  • . . . There is no loyalty )emeth and no
    steadfastness h9esed , and no knowledge of God
    in the land (4.1). This is the core and essence
    of the prophets message. Kaufmann, The
    Religion of Israel From its Beginnings to the
    Babylonian Exile, 370-373
  • For Hosea, loyalty marked the covenant of
    mutuality. Both covenant partners were expected
    to demonstrate this quality. There was
    inequality. YHWHs reliability was likened to the
    predictability of dawn and the spring rain

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • Israels loyalty, on the other hand, was as
    fleeting as the morning cloud and the dew that
    evaporates all too quickly (6.4). She must repent
    and sow righteousness in order to reap the fruits
    of hesed (10.12). The people must keep loyalty
    and justice (12.7). Israel will, indeed, be
    punished for the abandonment of her covenant
    responsibilities. But beyond judgment there is
    hope. Eventually, God will take Israel back as
    bride in righteousness, justice, mercy,
    faithfulness, and loyalty, and Israel will truly
    know YHWH (2.2-23 2.19-20). Seow, ibid., 296

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 5.2 Loyalty as Love
  • The Love of YHWH for Israel is substantiated and
    exemplified in Hoseas own relationship with his
    wife (chaps. 1-3) and this is mirrored in Gods
    relationship with Israel (chaps. 4-14).
  • Gods love is viewed also from the parent for a
    child (11.1-4).
  • This same love is freely given with
    reconciliation (14.5 14.4), while it is
    withheld when Israel violates the covenant
    (9.15). (9.8ff 2.16 2.14)
  • H9esed is the foundation of the religious life.
    It means love of God and devotion to him, and it
    includes love of the good (6.4ff. 10.12 12.7).
    But more than that, it implies complete and

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • trust in God, with the refusal to look for
    support and help except to him. Hosea insists
    that what the earlier literature acknowledged as
    a private virtue be made the policy of national
    life. Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel From
    its Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile, 373

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • 6. Covenant Curses and Judgment
  • Cursed with hunger (4.10 9.2) threshing floors
    and wine vats would stop (9.2)
  • Cursed with barrenness and dryness of breasts
    (4.10 9.11)
  • Cursed to die by the sword (7.16 9.13 11.6)
  • Cursed to have their children dashed in pieces
    and their pregnant women cut open (11.6 14.11
  • Cursed by war (10.9 14)
  • Cursed by burnt cities (8.14)

3.10 The Theology of Hosea
  • Cursed by bereft parents (9.11-14, 16)
  • Cursed to a reversal of the Exodus (8.13 9.3
    11.5 14.1-2), or exile (9.3, 17 11.5, 11).

3.11 An Outline
  • I. Preface The Family of Hosea (1-3)
  • A. Hoseas Call and His Family (1.2-2.3 1.1-11)
  • B. God and the Wife (2.4-25 2.1-23)
  • C. Restoration (3.1-5)
  • II. Faithful God and Unfaithful Israel (4-13)
  • A. Unfaithfulness of Israel (4.1-8.14)
  • B. Proclamation of Judgment (9.1-13.16)
  • III. Restoration (14)
  • A. Call to Return (14.2-4 14.1-3)
  • B. Promise of Restoration (14.5-9 14.4-8)
  • C. Summary Call to Faithfulness (14.10 14.9)
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