The Book of Hosea



Background of Hosea
Time: Mid-8th Century BCE
Place: North (Israel/Ephraim/Samaria)
Kings: Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah; Israel: Jeroboam II
(According to Hosea 1:1. However, JII died during Uzziah’s reign…)


Political Backdrop:
·      Egypt and Assyria are the main political powers – Assyrian Empire is getting terrifyingly powerful
·      Israel (Northern Kingdom) is relying on foreign powers for political aid; late in the game, becomes Assyrian vassal
o   Later tries to team up with other small states against Assyria, hoping for the help of Egypt
·      Israel goes through 5 kings in just 10 years after JII’s death
·      Primary sin of Israel is idolatry


Metaphors of Hosea:
·      Israel as unfaithful wife
·      Israel as rebellious son
·      Agricultural metaphors


Structure of Hosea

SECTION 1: THE MARRIAGE
UNFAITHFUL WIFE, FORGIVING HUSBAND

1-3
·      Introduction to Prophet
1:1
·      God instructs Hosea to find a ‘wife of whoredom’
·      Metaphor of husband and wife
1:2-9
·      Unpacking the metaphor: Israel has abandoned God
·      God will punish Israel
·      God will then take Israel back
2
·      Marriage metaphor
3

SECTION TWO:
UNFAITHFUL ISRAEL, REBUKING GOD, FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILLATION


·      Prophetic Speech: Israel has abandoned God
Includes promiscuous women
Israel = cows + sheep
       
4
4:13
4:16
·      Further rebuke and punishment
Fornicated, defiled himself, lecherous impulse
Israel = masculine?
Sacrificial animals won’t help
Sound the ram’s horn
God is a beast
5
5:3-4
5:5
5:6
5:8
5:14
·      God is reluctant to hear appeal
·      Further condemnation
Fornicated, defiled himself
6

6:10
·      Further condemnation
·      Israel’s crying out is not sincere
Metaphors of kings and ovens
God will catch the people like birds
7


7:12
·      Israel is unfaithful
Ram’s horn to mouth, ‘like an eagle’
Golden calf idolatry
8
8:1
8:6
·      Divine punishment
‘You have loved a harlot’s fee’
Romantic (though masculine) imagery
Childbirth imagery (Israel’s womb)
9
9:1
9:10
9:14-16
·      The vine and the heifer
10
·      Father and son metaphor
·      God doesn’t want to give us up
·      God will save us
God is a lion, we are sparrows
11


11:10-12

SECTION THREE:
UNFAITHFUL ISRAEL, REBUKING GOD, FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILLATION


·      Further condemnation and consequences
12 + 13
·      Conclusion: Turn back, and God will take you back!
14







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