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Hosea's Prophecy for Israel

Discuss about the Sources for Old Testament Study.

The marriage topic is striking in the first chapter and grabs the attention of the reader. Marriage has extensively been talked about by Hosea by portraying God as an envious Man due to His wife’s betrayal. This brings out the imagery in the story where Hosea represents God and Gomer; his wife is Israel. God is angry with the Israelites who have betrayed him by forging political affiliation and promoting corruption on ethical issues.  The marriage between Israelites and God is more of a covenant where the Israelites even after going beyond the terms of the agreement with God by not following Him, He still takes care of them and maintains His ways of being righteous and forgiving and giving second chances. However, since Yahweh is angry, the Israelites must suffer by being conquered by the Assyrians (Landy, 1995).

The first verses of the first chapter of the book of Hosea, Hosea explores the spiritual harlotry which the Israelites were committing which had increased the anger of the Lord and prompted Yahweh to allow Assyrians defeat the Israelites who were taken into exile. However, despite the anger that the Lord had on Israelites still, He considered Israelites as His children; therefore, He still had plans of liberating them from exile. Hosea goes ahead to talk about the salvation and the emancipation of Israelites from captivity (Arnold, Beyer, 2002).


Hosea speaks of the Northern Kingdom which had currently stolen the patriarchal lineage in the king's succession from the Davidic line of leadership. Hosea brings out the conditions which the Northern Kingdom was experiencing. During the period which Hosea was delivering the prophecy, Ephraim as the Northern Kingdom was being referred to as undergone a lot of change regarding leadership. Interestingly there were around 19 kings. This explains that Yahweh’s favor was not upon the kingdom due to the sins being committed by Gods people. One indeed, God had benevolently allowed the chipping of the United Kingdom (1 Kings 11:29-38). However, in spite of the fact that he would pass along these lines humble Judah given its two-timing excessive admiration, this would not keep going forever, Hosea further explains when the Israelites will be liberated. This will happen once the rightful kings sit on the throne. The southern kingdom (Judah) had the legitimate Davidic lineage. Therefore, the Israelites will be liberated once they have accepted Yahweh as their ruler by allowing the rightful leaders chosen by him to lead. Therefore, one of the prophecies that Hosea delivered was the end of Jeroboam reign. It came to pass when Jeroboam was killed, and his son assassinated barely six months as the king which marked the end of a lineage. (Arnold, Beyer, 2002)

God's Love for Israel

Hosea is credited with giving a warning and a message of judgment to the Israelites on behalf of Yahweh. The Lord was discontented by His people who had left Him and put their trust on the Baal gods Yahweh summons Hosea to find Gomer who is a harlot and to marry her, this was to symbolize the relationship that the Lord God of Israel had with His people. It is hard to be possible that Yahweh ordered Hosea to accept a harlot as a wife. The scriptures greatly condemn prostitution, and therefore it could be possible that Gomer being a harlot is symbolic. Therefore, it may be possible to say that Gomer was not a prostitute, but rather her spiritual beliefs were corrupted; hence, she could be a believer of Baal.

Precisely when the firstborn son was delivered, Hosea was to name him Jezreel ("God will sow/scatter"). The name signified that the child was indebted to overcome sin and to make sure that the children of Yahweh start receiving attention from the Lord. Jezreel was looked upon to change the king lineage and deliver it to the Davidic lineage. Jezreel was also inclined to be the basis of righteousness in the eyes of the Lord. Jehu who was reigning in the time of Jezreel went against the Lord by prosecuting the innocent and developed pagan worship regardless of the fact that earlier he had executed the prophets of Baal. The second child of Hosea was a girl named Lo-Ruhamah ("no pity/kindness"). The northern kingdom had fallen off from the favor of God. This name was a reflection of Yahweh’s action in the nation. God wanted to punish the Israelites as they had fallen of short of His grace. The third child was named Lo-Ammi (not my people) where God felt that His people had apparently turned their back on Him and therefore abandoned them. This shows why the Assyrians captured the Northern Kingdom which was wicked in the eyes of the Lord. Interestingly the Southern country had favor from God and was not conquered.


In conclusion, God's old covenant was with Jews. However, through the death and revival of Jesus, he set up another everlasting covenant with both the Jews and Gentiles. We are the new people of God, and the prophecy of Hosea applies to us as much as it did to the Jews coming back from the outcast. 1 Peter 2:9-10 and Romans 9 demonstrates to us that while the new covenant is unlimited, we ought not just expect that we will naturally be spared just by saying we accept. God is the person who picks who will acknowledge Him and just the individuals who are genuinely chosen by him will uncover themselves by preserving till the end. (cf. 2 Tim. 2:11–21; 1 John 2:19) Those who don't proceed with confidence, regardless of the possibility that they proclaim to be Christians, will face God's judgment. Just on the off chances that we comprehend this, we can grasp being spared by elegance, not by works – there is nothing we can help to procurer’s out or alter his opinion. This is the essence of the Christian gospel

Yahweh's Anger towards Israelites

Hosea chapter 11, verse 1-11 highlights Gods love to Israel.  Hosea is a prophetic book which was written around 785-745 B.C. which were the years when Jeroboam the king of Israel, was reigning. Hosea originated from the Northern kingdom of Israel. Hosea was the son of Beeri.  Hosea spreads the love and repentance to the people of Israel towards God. He clearly communicated a message of judgment to Israelites for the peoples continued unfaithfulness to Yahweh. Hosea succeeded Amos of whom both condemned the way Israel was wasting wealth through extravagance.  Hosea saw the reign of seven kings in his three decades of prophetic work. All of these kings were wicked in the eyes of Yahweh: this explains the reason for their short reign. These kings were Jeroboam, Zechariah, Shallum among others. Hosea spread the word of Yahweh shortly before Israel was conquered by the Assyrians.

Hosea writes about how the Israelites involved themselves with worshipping Baal instead of Yahweh. This resulted in the community being corrupt, selfish and doing actions that were only for personal gains which made the Lord Almighty angry hence concluding that Assyrians will capture the Israelites. This meant that Gods anger was upon the Israelites and Hosea was a messenger. Hosea’s prophecy was intended to warn the people about the looming judgment that the Lord was going to impose upon the Israelites. (Arnold, Beyer, 2002)

Verse 1 and 2 describes how Yahweh loved Israel from the beginning. Israel was born in Egypt and Yahweh is being affectionate and loving to his first-born child. “Thus, says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22). Therefore, this shows that Yahweh considered Israel as a child from the beginning when Israel was created in Egypt. Israel went to Egypt as an extended family, but by the time Yahweh delivered them, Israel was already a nation. The verse continues to explain that after their delivery, almost immediately the Israelites started worshipping Baal and going further to burn incense under this idols.  Even before entering the Promised Land, they yoked themselves to Baal” (Numbers 25:3)—and after entering the Promised Land, they quickly succumbed to Baal worship (Judges 2:11-13).

Verse 3 and 4 shows how Ephraim is a Northern tribe from Israel, in Hosea, Ephraim is used to referring to the whole of Israel. Yahweh refers to Ephraim as His son and speaks of how Yahweh has taught Ephraim to walk which is a significant moment in a child’s life as well as the father. Yahweh was taking care of Ephraim regardless of the failure of Ephraim to take note. The verse goes further to explain how Yahweh was bidding the Israelites with a cord of love. Instances of kindness which Yahweh gave to the Israelites as a reason for them reciprocating with love. Yahweh comforted them and even went further to bend down and feed them, for instance when Yahweh fed Israelites in the wilderness with manna and water from the rocks (Dearman, 2010).

Salvation and Emancipation of Israelites


In verse 5, 6 and 7, With the Israelites being faced by an attack from the Assyrians that result to their conquest, the Israelites will not be able to go back to Egypt to avoid slavery in Israel, rather. They will be configured. Yahweh has always been Israel’s rightful king, but Israel long ago sought a human king, to be like other nations (1 Samuel 8:5). This explains the reason why all the kings of northern Israel were evil, and they were a total of 19. The verse goes further to explain after the conquest; they shall fall and be killed by the Assyrians. Israelites refused to repent hence Yahweh will not hear their cry, although they will cry for help (Dearman, 2010).      

Verse 8 and 9 points out how Yahweh regardless of His anger refuses to give up on Israel. He says He cannot hand over Israel and He will not make the Israelites cities fall like Admah and Zeboiim which were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. Although Yahweh will punish Israel, Israel will not be entirely destroyed. However, regardless of the anger that Israel invokes on Yahweh, still compassionate as He contemplates Israel’s punishment. Yahweh promises that He will not utterly destroy Ephraim because His ways are not the ways of a man. Yahweh concludes that He will not come in wrath. (Stuart, 1987). Finally verse 10 and 11 shows ho Yahweh goes further to indicate that although His roar will be loud still Ephraim will come to Him. Therefore, the roar is to scare Israel’s enemies who will be protected by Yahweh and settled safely in their house. (Dearman, 2010)

Hosea 11 outlines God's enduring adoration for his children– an affection so strong that it proceeds in spite of defiance, a love that leads God to reestablish his people after he has rebuffed them. Hosea 11 delineates God's driving forward adoration utilizing a story based on the analogy of a father's love for an insubordinate child. The subject is created comparatively: unfaithfulness and insubordination, discipline and rebuilding. The message, as it is set up in Hosea 11, resembles a four-act dramatization in which Hosea is the leading performing artist, representing God. (Dearman, 2010)


In conclusion, Chapter 11 contains the most powerful yet touching words in all of Hosea. It highlights a sharp complexity between God's tender memories of His first association with Israel but then His distress at their dismissal of Him for Baal regardless of all that He had accomplished for them. His people had underestimated His adoration and watch over them, and the Lord was worried for their steady absence of constancy, which now required their coming judgment. In a moment show off His empathy, the Lord uncovers that His standing affection for Israel would imply that His judgment couldn't and would not spell the end for His people. For in a future day Israel would react to His call and they would come back to their homes and His favors.

References

Dearman, J.A., 2010. The Book of Hosea (Vol. 29). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.       

Sweeney, M.A., 2000. The Twelve Prophets. 2 vols. Berit Olam.

Stuart, D.K., 1987. Hosea-Jonah (Vol. 31). W Pub Group.

Arnold, B.T., and Beyer, B.E., 2002. Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study. Baker Academic.

Landy, F., 1995. In the Wilderness of Speech: Problems of Metaphor in Hosea. Biblical Interpretation, 3(1), pp.35-59.

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