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Monday, July 24, 2017

Part II (Hosea 4-14)

The Second half of Hosea is a series of oracles alternating between condemning Israel, and sort of Judah, and predicting the return of Israel to God's fold.

This selection ties in interestingly with a couple of themes.  First, I've noted elsewhere the evolution of the merging of the northern and southern religions. It connects them by reference to both Israel & the religion beginning when leaving out of Egypt. "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." Hosea 11:1.  However, later there is a strong suggestion that YHWH only began to be there God after Egypt, "But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me."  Hosea 13:4.

Also, there is some significant retroactive Christianity temptation in this prophet.  Toward the end of the oracles, we have this promise from YHWH:
I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?

Indeed, this is the lyric to a Christian hymn sung on Easter.

Otherwise, Hosea's oracles reflect the theme of other prophets, weeping for the coming doom for Israel & Judah.  Honestly, Hosea focuses much more on fidelity to the worship of YHWH than social justice in comparison to Isaiah.  Although, we do have this from Hosea 6
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
7 As at Adam, they have broken the covenant;
they were unfaithful to me there.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers,
stained with footprints of blood.
9 As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
carrying out their wicked schemes.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
There Ephraim is given to prostitution,
Israel is defiled.

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