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  • Hosea

    Hi everyone,
    I wish to share the following which I received from a member of my "Are We Ostriches" E-group.
    Hosea. A mnemonic device to aid in remembering major themes-BAD, MAD, SAD, GLAD

    I. The people of Israel and Judah are bad, bad, very BAD; which makes

    II. Yahweh mad, mad, very MAD; resulting in a

    III. Fate that is sad, sad, very SAD; except some elect who

    IV. May be made glad, glad, very GLAD.

    I. BAD-Only Ezekiel can hold a candle to Hosea in the colorfulness and variety of his unique, imaginative, exotic imagery as he attempts to plumb the depths of Israel's utter wickedness. Adulterous, prostituting, promiscuous, whoring Israel is likened to; a half-baked loaf of bread; a flitting-about silly pigeon; a rootless plant; a fruitless tree; a gang of robbers; ambushers; murderers; assassins; a reluctant-to-emerge fetus. They are as stubborn; as mules, as wild donkeys. Earlier on, Israel was a well- rained, willing-worker young cow. Later, Yahweh placed a yoke upon her beautiful neck for harder plowing. Categorically, they are hopelessly evil in everything they do, and everything they do is useless and destructive. Their hatred burns like a smoldering oven about to burst into flames. They are as useless as a broken pot; their fickle, insincere devotion, like smoke, straw and the soon-gone morning mist. Yahweh says, "All I can see is their wickedness and their evil. They are all treacherous and disloyal-their sins surround them". They cheat, break in houses and steal; rob one another in the streets; lie; make and break promises. Crimes increase, and there is one murder after another. The worst of the lot are the priests, although the prophets are no better. The more priests, the more sin. The priests actually want the people to sin more since they grow rich on the people's sins. Treachery and violence increase. How wretched-stumbling and falling; sick beyond curing, wounded beyond healing-too foolish, Israel.

    II. MAD-After all that He has done for them, Yahweh is now bitterly angry at unfaithful, ungrateful Israel. The aggrieved Husband is furious. How could you? How could you give your love to these disgusting gods, after I was the One who rescued you from Egypt; cared for you; taught you to walk; took you up in My arms ; drew you to Me with love and affection; picked you up and held you to My cheek; bent down and fed you? Yahweh now hates ingrate Israel, and will show them no mercy. "I will destroy you, people of Israel. Soon you will writhe in pain", thunders the irate deity. "Even though I was the One who brought them up and made them strong, they plotted against Me. They keep on turning away from Me to a god who is powerless. They are as unreliable as a crooked bow. Because their leaders talk arrogantly, they will die a violent death, and the Egyptians will laugh. Bring on your plagues, death! Bring on your destruction, world of the dead! I will no longer have pity for this people".

    III. SAD-Hosea is as imaginatively gruesome in describing their horrible fate, as he is graphically drastic in describing their sinful state. He will emphasize what happens to sinners in the hand of an angry god. Yahweh, the offended, all powerful sovereign will lash out His extreme punishments, which at times, Hosea chooses to portray in inhumane pictures. Because of their great sin, Hosea has Yahweh say, perhaps hyperbolically, no more children will be borne to them-the opening and closing of a woman's womb being one of the methods the divine uses to bless or punish. But, even if children were borne, Yahweh would kill the children so dear to their heart. Women and children fare especially poorly in the revelation given to Hosea. He envisions the divine will to be that babies will be dashed to the ground, and pregnant women will be ripped open. His god will act like a wild animal. He will attack the people of Israel and Judah like a lion. He will tear them to pieces and leave them-this full, satisfied, proud, forgetful people. Like a leopard, He will lie in wait along their path (see Good News Bible for stalking leopard picture). Like a bear who has lost her cubs, Yahweh will tear them open. Like a lion, He will devour them on the spot, and will tear them to pieces like a wild animal. And, for emphasis, and so there will be no misunderstanding, Hosea has his god say, "I will attack the people of Israel and Judah like a lion. I Myself will tear them to pieces and then leave them. When I drag them off, no one will be able to save them. When I abandon these people, terrible things will happen to them".

    Twice, husband Yahweh threatens to strip naked as the day she was borne, His adulterous, prostituting wife. He will make her like a dry and barren land, and she will die of thirst. He will show no mercy to the children of the shameless prostitute. The catastrophe that ensues upon rebelling against the sovereign god effects the entire created order, individual, communal, political, economic, and ecological. God will destroy grapevines and vineyards; the people and their lands will soon be destroyed; the land will dry up, and everything that lives on it will die. All the animals and birds, and even the fish, will die. God has ordained an encompassing doom and destruction because of the disobedience of His people.

    IV. GLAD-The author-editor, being privileged to know the mind of God, is able to set forth some of His inner monologue. The musings of the Almighty show some ambivalence about wielding the terrible sword of vengeance in such great anger. Such is His conflict, that He even might change His mind as He had done in the past when He was sorry, and repented of what He had done. All of this is a bit cloudy tho', because we are not sure of compositional nature of the received text. What has come down to us contains both aspects of the typical, fundamental conviction held by some, that, whereas, disobedience to the jealous god, Yahweh, brings awful punishment; so, obedience, brings bounteous blessing. The glorious hope is based on divine initiative. The Spurned Lover will again pursue His wayward wife. Luring her again into the wilderness, He will win her back with words of love. Once again, she will call Him, her Husband, as it was when they were younger. No longer will she call Him, her Baal. Then, Yahweh, will call off the agents of His punishment. At that time, God says, "I will enter into a covenant with all the wild animals and the birds, so that they will no longer harm My people".

    My people. For Hosea, the Great Lover's love is exclusive, focused on a particular Beloved, My people. Isaiah's vision of a non-exclusive, universal love for all mankind; reaching out, and including all the nations, is not Hosea's vision. It is for His chosen Beloved that Yahweh has second thoughts. How could I do this to them! Give you up, Israel; abandon you; destroy you! The author-editor will have Yahweh reconsider. All the promised, reiterated terrible punishment is wiped out, when God says, "My heart will not let Me do it! My love for you is too strong." The author of the reconsidering God, perhaps aghast at the intensity of His well- known, furious anger and its' dire
    consequences, will, two times within two verses, take away Yahweh's anger, 11:9.10 And, for the elect ( 16 times in vss. 14:4-8 they are specified) Loved, all will be made right in their land, and with their Lord, Who is the initiator and source of all their blessings.

    Hosea was not a popular man with his contemporaries, so he reports. It was because of their great sin, that they hated him so much. They said he was a fool and insane. Why? Was he too harsh; his God too severe? How many agreed with his understanding of the meaning of events? Not all deemed him to be an insane fool. Since the victors write the history, it appears the people who really count, the literate, the ones who read, write and edit books, liked Hosea's ideas. In that sense, Hosea's understanding of God, and his interpretation of events, carried the day, and being preserved, have impacted man's ideas about God and His world down the years, and to the present.

  • #2
    …It took me a little while to figure out the core theme of this post. Somedays, I'm just a little slow. A device for aiding memory and structuring biblical commentary can’t hurt me. Sometimes my brain cells seem to be failing at retention, in the way that a windows run computer crashes. I reach for the memory and my brain says, "system error in kernal (xyz?) You need a restart!!!!!^#$*@…" Damn! And I was right in the middle of an important thought. So, any help has to be appreciated. When the brain goes, It’s BAD. And then I get MAD, because I was working on an important thought, that I can’t recover, I’ve now become very SAD. If I give it a rest, my failing brain cells will again begin working, making me GLAD. Though, now I will lose a whole day recovering, and that will be BAD all over again.

    …I was actually working on an idea that relates to Hosea. I’m wondering whether the faith of YHWH has become prostituted to christianity? Many elements of christianity now infuse the JEWish faith. Heaven and hell, demons, the idea of guardian angels {that don’t guard very well}, or Gd, as carrier of the purse, who personally deals with everyone’s economic problems, etc. I’m sure that you could add to these defiling concepts. Salvation, as saving souls, instead of salvation as saving lives, is another example of prostituting the faith of YHWH, to christianity. Yet, another example is seen in the central theme of “atonement”, replacing the name of YHWH, as the centerpiece of YHWH’s faith. It’s no wonder that JEW’s play the loosing role in christianities drama. The JEWish people need to take back the tanakh in the way that they took the land of Israel in the first place, and possess it. After all, it is JEWish. When the door to the faith is redefined, others can come into the faith in honor of the name of Yahudah. When gentiles see that the owner of the tanakh, has their name written on their document in the form of a (Sacred Name), they will learn that you can’t dishonor the Name, and expect a favor from it. ….Michael


    • #3
      Great post, Thummim, and I enjoyed the humor too.