Manage episode 302552068 series 2974553
This week, we are continuing our study of Hosea so be sure to read Hosea chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 as part of our Bible Reading challenge.
As a refresher, the first three chapters of Hosea are all about the prophet’s marriage to Gomer and how Gomer’s infidelity is an extended metaphor for Israel’s unfaithfulness. Chapters 4 and 5 begin the message of Hosea. Gomer is never mentioned again and the prophet oscillates back and forth between a message of mercy and a message of judgement. Chapters 6 through 9, however, are almost all judgement. Switching between third person and first-person voice, the prophet offers a litany of metaphors, similes, and analogies for the ways Israel has gone wrong and their coming punishment. More than the other minor prophets, Hosea catalogs the sins of the people with his own unique focus on their inner life, the relational aspect of Israel’s approach to God.
As your tour guide through Hosea, I want to go deeper into the chapters and verses to further explain the concepts that I briefly introduced. Consider this the equivalent of actually reading the placards at the museum and not just breezing through the hallways.
Hosea 6:4 to 11:7 is one long decree, written mostly in first person but occasionally slips into third person. The speech begins with Yahweh speaking directly to the people: “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree” (Hos. 9:10). In verses like these, Yahweh is the obvious speaker. But four verses down, in Hosea 9:14, it is no longer the voice of Yahweh but of Hosea uttering a prayer to the Lord. In Hosea 8:13, the voice changes from first to third person within two sentences: “For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” These are abrupt changes in perspective writing and can make reading Hosea disorienting. The book of Daniel is written similarly.