Reading Guide to Hosea 1

I am continuing on with my series on reading the minor prophets. See my cheat sheet for the minor prophets and my Intro to Hosea. My reccomended way to use this guide is to go read Hosea 1, come back here look through the post, then basically read them side by side, reading through the verse and checking here if there is something you find confusing. Note I am using the Chapter breaks that take what is verse 2:1-2 in some versions and makes it verses 1:10-11. 

Chapter 1
2. Many variants exist here for the whom he is told to marry. Version will say promiscuous, adulterous or possible unfaithful, or as in the ESV, wife of whoredom, or you’ll see prostitute. The word in the Hebrew means promiscuous. The NAC helpfully points out, that there is very little difference in a promiscuous woman and prostitute in these times. Women had no way to work or make money to support themselves, so either she is promiscuous and lives off the support and ‘gifts of her lovers’, or she is directly paid to have sex. Either way, she is breaking covenant vows as well as receiving money for sex. WBC takes this as symbolism, in that all are promiscuous, living in unfaithful company. This is why the children are likewise called promiscuous. I tend to agree with the NAC that he married an ‘immoral woman’. One who was known to be promiscuous before the marriage and one Hosea may have suspected would be so after marriage as well.
The children obviously are not prostitutes, but, if not symbolic, they are possible out of wedlock, or likely, at least for the second two, illegitimate children of other men, during her marriage to Hosea.

4. Jezreel was a place and valley that may have stuck in the minds of Israelite as a place where there was bloodshed. Specifically that which Jehu was commanded to do in Kings. Why would his house then be punished? NAC translate the sentence to be – God will bring the bloodshed of Jezreel to the house of Jehu. Not necessarily for what Jehu did, but what he and his household failed to learn from the commands and actions.

6. While Jezreel doesn’t necessarily mean anything (possibly God sows), the second child is given a name of meaning. The name Lo-Ruhamah means ‘no compassion/mercy. ‘

7. Judah will be saved from destruction, but not through soldiers or war, for some as of yet unspecified reason.

8. Not sure why we are given this detail. Children were typically weaned at roughly three years old. This is perhaps to give us an understanding of the length of time of the prophecy.

9. The third child is also given a symbolic mean. Lo-Ammi means ‘not my children.’

10-11. Seems to contradict the oracle of the third child. Not my children, then assurance of the children. This actually follows many prophets actions in that there will be immediate punishment, followed by restoration with God as the covenant people. This is a reminder of that covenant and promise of future blessings. Instead of Jezreel meaning the coming destruction, as in v. 4, it will be remembered due to a ‘Day of the Lord’ type event where enemies of Israel are destroyed, either literally or metaphorically. That is, it will go from having a name like ‘Pearl Harbor’ to being ‘Normandy/D-Day.’

Commentaries
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)

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