The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes on Hosea 2:16-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 7, 2012

Introduction and Outline:
Note: Unless otherwise noted I will be using my own translation of Hosea. This translation should in no way be considered authoritative. It is done by me as a personal exercise. For this reason I also provide links to the RSV. Please also note that some translations of Hosea employ different chapter and verse divisions. I’ll be following the RSV numbering.

My last post on Hosea looked at 1:2-2:1 as a structural unit. Here it should be noted that there are very good reasons for not connecting 2:1 with the verses which precede it, but, rather, with those that follow. For this reason I will look again at 2:1, now in the context of 2:1-3:5. First, however, let me try to outline the passage.

2:1-2 A call to the children to plead (contend) with their mother.

2:3-4 Purpose of the plea.

1. So their mother can avoid punishment (vs 3)

2. So the children can avoid punishment (vs 4).

2:5 Reason for the plea being needed

2:6-23 Consequences if the plea is not heeded

1. She will be blocked from pursuing the Baals (Vss 6-8)

2. The blessings she thought were from the Baals will be removed (Vss 9-13)

Ultimate consequence and purpose of the previous 2 consequences-reunion with God (Vss 14-23)

1. God will seduce her (vss 14-15)

2. She will respond and be blessed (vss 16-20)

3. God’s relation to the children will be restored (vss 21-23)

3:1-5 Explains the purpose of Hosea’s marriage and its troubles. They symbolize God’s relation with Israel

(Note: As you read through the first three chapters of Hosea, it is important to keep in mind that both the mother and the children are figures which symbolize-each in its own way-the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel; or, perhaps, the mother is meant to symbolize the priestly and political authorities, while the children symbolize the average Israelite).


She will respond and be blessed

2:16 It will come to pass on that day, says the Lord, you will call me “my husband,” and no longer will you call me “my Baal”. 2:17 And I will cause to turn aside the name of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be brought to mind no more. 2:18 For them I will make a covenant on that day with the wild beasts, the birds in the heavens, and the crawling things on the ground; I will remove the bow and the sword and the ones who do battle from the land; I will make you lie down in security. 2:19 And I will betroth you to myself for the ages; I will betroth you to myself in righteousness, and in justice, in love and in mercy. 2:20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.

The act of love on the part of God narrated in vss 14-15 will, it is hoped cause a reversal in Israel’s attitude towards the Lord.

you will call me “my husband,” and no longer will you call me “my Baal”- Their confusion about where their blessings and gifts come from will be ended. By attributing the gifts to the Baals who do not exist, they were in effect treating God as a Baal rather than a husband. The names and memories of the Baals will be brought to an end when God when God renews the covenant with them (vss 17-18). The land will not be given over to scavenging beasts, one of the covenant curses (vs 18). Warfare, one of the covenant curses, will also be abolished, thus the people will lie down in security (vs 18). They will come to know God as the source of their blessings (vs 20).

God’s relation with the children will be restored.

2:21 It will come to pass on that day that I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and the heavens shall answer the earth; 2:22 and the earth shall answer the grain the wine and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; 2:23 I will sow him for myself in the land, and I will pity Lo Ruhamah, and to Lo Ammi I will say, “my people you are,” and he shall answer “my God you are.”

I will answer- is a phrase often found in legal contexts denoting testimony. The heavens and the earth had been called upon by Moses several times in Deuteronomy as a witness to what will happen if Israel was unfaithful. God is testifying to the fact that he is willing to accept the illegitimate children of Israel (made such by the nations harlotries) as his own. Towards this end he answers (testifies) to the heavens he had shut up as part of the covenant curses (see 2:5). In response to this testimony the heavens will answer to the earth (by giving rain); which will in turn answer to the produce of the land: the grain, the wine and the oil, which will be an answer to Jezreel, who had called upon his illegitimate siblings to plead with there mother to end her unfaithfulness (vs 2). God’s love and Israel’s repentance has thus set in motion a renewal of the covenant blessings. Jezreeel (meaning “God sows” or “God plants”) will be sown (planted) in the land, apparently signifying the end of the threat of exile from the land, the culmination of the covenant curses in Deuteronomy 28. The reason for the Illegitimate children’s pleading in thus being portrayed as successful.

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