Well, it’s come to my attention that a ‘readers guide’ is actually something different than I was use the term to mean. For that reason, I shall no longer refer to my little series on the Minor Prophets as such. Instead, I will now call them a ‘reading guide’.
On that note, I want to introduce Hosea. Douglas Stuart, writing the commentary for the Word Biblical Commentary, says ‘With the possible exception of the book of Job, no other OT book contains as high a proportion of textual problems as does Hosea’, similarly the New American Commentary starts off with ‘ Hosea is not an easy book.’ Also, James Boice calls Hosea the ‘second greatest story ever told.’ So, I figure as a pretend theologian with no knowledge of Hebrew, I’d weight in. Actually, this is just my attempt to continue on my idea of trying to make the minor prophets easier to understand. See my previous posts – Reading the Minor Prophets and my Cheat Sheet to the Minor Prophets.
Intro to Hosea
We have in the text when Hosea claims to have prophesied ‘during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaze, and Hezikiah, kings of Judah.’ This would be roughly 50 years, from 760 B.C. until 710 B.C. Hosea is called to marry a prostitute. This seems unlikely, and many scholars do not take this approach. Some view her description as meaning someone who will become a harlot. That is to say that she will betray Hosea. A minority opinion is that she is not a prostitute at all, but however, she is someone whom will become an adulteress. That is, Hosea was commanded to marry someone whom he knew would eventually be unfaithful.
Either way Hosea marries Gomar, whom is a representative of Israel. That is because Israel is a prostitute, and adulteress before Yahweh. She claims to be with him, but instead wonders and looks to find solace and protection in others. Israel was not faithful to Yahweh, she hedged her bets and worshiped other gods, in synchronicism, because she did not believe. Hosea is called upon to show Israel, in vivid example, what it is they are actually doing in their relationship with Yahweh.
Hosea, Joel: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary)
The Minor Prophets: Hosea-Jonah (Expositional Commentary) (Volume 1)
Hosea (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Hosea-Jonah, Volume 31 (Word Biblical Commentary)