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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Hosea 2

 

 

Introduction

PART I., 1-3.—These chapters form a distinct section consisting of two narrative pieces, mainly in prose (Hosea 1:2 to Hosea 2:1 and Hosea 3), which narrate the story of the prophet's unhappy marriage with Gomer; and a prophetic discourse, in which the lessons to be deduced from his own domestic experience are applied to the nation (Hosea 2:2-23). 17 is probably an interpolation, while Hosea 1:10-11 is, at least, out of order. Steuernagel suggests that Hosea 1:1-9 and Hosea 3 are really parallel narratives, one, written by the original editor, being in the third person (Hosea 1:1-9), while the other, written in the first person, is the work of the prophet himself (Hosea 3), each describing the prophet's marriage. If Hosea 3 be read immediately after Hosea 1:9 the sections will gain in coherence.


Verse 1

Hosea 2:1. brethren and sisters: read with LXX, "brother" and "sister."

The whole passage is clearly out of place, and may be a later insertion. Still the language is not inharmonious with Hosea's diction, especially if "go up from the land" can mean "gain the mastery over the land." Further, the conception of north-Israelites and Judans marching together under one head suggests a date prior to the downfall of the Northern Kingdom (722 B.C.). Many scholars think that the section should follow Hosea 2:23. A better suggestion is that Hosea 3 was originally intended to follow immediately on Hosea 1:2-9. Then the promise of restoration, ethically conditioned, would follow on Hosea 3:4 f.


Verses 2-23

Hosea 2:2-23 (Hebrews 2:4-18). In this discourse, which seems to be based upon and imply the narrative in Hosea 1, 3, the prophet sets forth the unfaithfulness of the people and land of Israel to her Divine husband, Yahweh. Israel had played the harlot in going after other lovers (the local Baalim) for gifts (the fertility of land, flocks, etc.); the consequent punishment will end in her return to her first husband. The section sub-divides at Hosea 2:13; the first part (Hosea 2:2-13) predicts severe punishment, and the second (Hosea 2:14-23) contains a promise of restoration following amendment.

Hosea 2:2-13. In urgent tones Yahweh bids the Israelites (her sons) "plead" with their mother (i.e. the land and people as a whole) on account of her unfaithfulness. She has destroyed the moral relation of wife to her Divine husband, and the children are hers but not His—their mother has played the harlot, she has sold herself for gifts, bread and water, wool and flax, oil and drinks. The new generation has grown up ignorant of His true character; they are no longer His people, nor can He compassionate them as His children. His experience with Israel is exactly parallel to the prophet's own bitter experience with his wife. Unless the profligate mother puts away her whoredoms (i.e. the foreign cultus) she shall be put to open shame (stripped naked) and perish as a homeless wanderer in the wilderness (Hosea 2:2-5). She will discover by bitter experience that her lovers (the Baalim) cannot guarantee the material blessings for which she has pursued them; Yahweh will withhold these, and teach her by the discipline of siege, famine, and poverty to return to her first husband (Hosea 2:6-13).

Hosea 2:14-23. In the last calamity of all, exile from the land figured by the wilderness, Yahweh will again woo her as a lover, as He had done in the desert when she was young and innocent. There she will respond, as in the Exodus, and be once more blessed (Hosea 2:14 f.). Heathen worship shall be abolished, and the names of the heathen Baalim shall be banished from remembrance (Hosea 2:16 f.) A "new covenant," which will include in its scope all living creatures, shall banish strife from the earth (Hosea 2:18); Israel shall be betrothed to Yahweh a second time "in righteousness" (Hosea 2:19 f.), and the new era of loyalty shall be marked by rich abundance both in crops and men. Heaven will respond to the longing of earth for fertility; Israel, in accordance with the name Jezreel ("whom God soweth," Hosea 2:22 mg.), shall be sown anew in the promised land (cf. Jeremiah 31:27 f.), and the names Lo-ruhamah ("uncompassionated") and Lo-ammi ("not my people") shall no longer apply to the regenerated people (Hosea 2:21-23).

Hosea 2:2. A brazen, shameless countenance and exposed breasts betoken the harlot (cf. Jeremiah 3:3). The "whoredoms" of Israel, in Hosea's eyes, mean the cultus, which he regards as not in any sense a real worship of Yahweh, though associated with Yahweh-worship. The heathen elements attaching to it make such service worthless.

Hosea 2:3. It was, apparently, part of the punishment of an adulterous wife in old Israel to be stripped and exposed naked, before being executed (cf. Ezekiel 16:38 ff.). So here Israel (the land) shall be stripped bare (made into a wilderness). Note that the figures of the land and the children of the land interchange.

Hosea 2:5. The old popular religion of Canaan attributed the fertility of the land to the local deities (the Baalim). The Israelites, without ostensibly giving up the worship of their national God, had lapsed into this worship. Hosea regards this mixed cultus as pure heathenism.

Hosea 2:6. Read, "her way" (LXX), i.e. Israel's false cultus, which Yahweh will impede by rendering it ineffective and impotent. For the figure cf. Job 3:23; Job 19:8, Lamentations 3:7; Lamentations 3:9.

Hosea 2:8. Cf. Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 11:14; Deuteronomy 12:17. Read mg.; but this clause is probably a later addition.

Hosea 2:10. and now: render "and so" (‘attâ denoting logical consequence; cf. Hosea 5:7, Hosea 10:3). The Baalim (her lovers) are helpless in sight of her shame.

Hosea 2:11. Note the joyous character of the ancient feasts.

Hosea 2:12. Vines and fig-trees were the choicest products of Canaan.

Hosea 2:13. the days of the Baalim: i.e. the festival days devoted to Baal-worship (the mixed cultus). In Hosea 2:13 b follow mg., but render "sacrificed" for "burned incense."

Hosea 2:14. wilderness: a figure for exile; or it may be meant literally of the Arabian desert through which Israel must again return to the promised land from exile.

Hosea 2:15. Some scholars omit "from thence" and read, "and I will make the valley of Achor," etc. The reference will then be not to blessings in the wilderness, but in Canaan itself, where Israel shall again enjoy abundance. The valley of Achor ("troubling"), so named because of an unhappy episode at the first entry into the land (Joshua 7:26), shall become a starting-point of hope at the return from exile.

Hosea 2:16. As Wellhausen points out, the title Baali ("my husband") was not applied by the Israelites to Yahweh, though He was called the "Baal" ("the owner") of the land. The application of "Baal" to Yahweh at all was objected to in later times, and proper names containing it were altered (e.g. Ishbaal became Ishbosheth). See Numbers 32:38*, 1 Samuel 14:47-51*, 1 Kings 16:32*. Read, perhaps (cf. LXX). "she shall call upon her husband, and shall no longer call upon the Baalim."

Hosea 2:17. Baalim: a generic term for the various local deities, which have their own proper names.

Hosea 2:18. Cf. Job 5:23, Leviticus 26:6.—for them: read, "for her."—them: read. "her."—break: read perhaps, "cause to cease"; cf. Ezekiel 34:25.

Hosea 2:19 f. Read the third for the second person throughout. After exile, which dissolves the first betrothal, Yahweh effects a second and eternal one. Render: "Yea, I will betroth her unto me with righteousness . . . with faithfulness and the knowledge of the Lord." These qualities make up the new covenant by which the betrothal is effected, and they are bestowed by Yahweh.

Hosea 2:21 f. answer: i.e. "meet with satisfaction," "gratify" (cf. Ecclesiastes 10:19). In the Messianic time harmony reigns between heaven and earth, man and nature, under the Divine impulse. Jezreel is the name of the new Israel, sown by God (cf. Hosea 2:23, "and I will sow her unto me"); it is an easy variant of Israel. Note how the prophet brings out the manifold significance of the name, which in the first instance is that of a place where a crime was committed (the massacre of Jezreel), but later becomes the rallying-spot and personification of the new and transformed Israel.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hosea 2:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/hosea-2.html. 1919.

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