1: Unfaithful Israel (Hosea 2:2-23)
C. Rebuke—due to Israel’s infidelity (2:2-13)
The account of Hosea’s marriage to Gomer and the resultant condition of the children born to them is resumed in chapter three. The symbolism inherent in Hosea’s family relations prepares the reader for the present account dealing with the Lord’s relation to Israel.
2:2 Plead earnestly with your mother
(for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband),
so that she might put an end to her adulterous lifestyle,
and turn away from her sexually immoral behavior.
3 Otherwise, I will strip her naked,
and expose her like she was when she was born.
I will turn her land into a wilderness
and make her country a parched land,
so that I might kill her with thirst.
4 I will have no pity on her children,
because they are children conceived in adultery.
5 For their mother has committed adultery;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, “I will seek out my lovers;
they are the ones who give me my bread and my water,
my wool, my flax, my olive oil, and my wine.
6 Therefore, I will soon fence her in with thorns;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 Then she will pursue her lovers, but she will not catch them;
she will seek them, but she will not find them.
Then she will say,
“I will go back to my husband,
because I was better off then than I am now.”
8 Yet until now she has refused to acknowledge that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;
and that it was I who lavished on her the silver and gold –
which they used in worshiping Baal!
9 Therefore, I will take back my grain during the harvest time
and my new wine when it ripens;
I will take away my wool and my flax
which I had provided in order to clothe her.
10 Soon I will expose her lewd nakedness in front of her lovers,
and no one will be able to rescue her from me!
11 I will put an end to all her celebration:
her annual religious festivals,
monthly new moon celebrations,
and weekly Sabbath festivities –
all her appointed festivals.
12 I will destroy her vines and fig trees,
about which she said, “These are my wages for prostitution
that my lovers gave to me!”
I will turn her cultivated vines and fig trees into an uncultivated thicket,
so that wild animals will devour them.
13 “I will punish her for the festival days
when she burned incense to the Baal idols;
she adorned herself with earrings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but she forgot me!” says the Lord.
Exegesis and Exposition
As Israel’s rejection was symbolized in Hosea’s marriage (1:2-9) yet followed by a prophecy of God’s future restoration of his people (1:10-2:1), so in chapter two God’s rebuke yet future renewal of chastised Israel (2:2-13; 2:14-23) is portrayed with many additional details.
Hosea displays his literary skill throughout the second chapter by his use of rich imagery and literary figures. The account of God’s spiritual relation with Israel is built upon several distinctive metaphors, which are symbolized in Hosea’s situation with Gomer. Just as Hosea was married to Gomer, who became the mother of their three children, so Yahweh is presented metaphorically as a husband to Israel, who is the mother of the present day Israelites (i.e., the children—corporate Israel as typified especially in its leadership).1 These metaphors are extended and may portray an allegory, in which God’s on-going relation with his people is pictured.2
Although husband Yahweh has provided for his wife Israel through the ages the benefits of their covenant relations (vv. 8-9; cf. Num. 18:11-12; Deut. 8:18; 27:3-14; 28:51), that provision was taken for granted, progressively more ignored, and capped by Israel’s spiritual adultery in serving Baal. Therefore, as Hosea was to separate himself from Gomer for awhile, so in accordance with the terms of the covenant (e.g., Deut. 8:19-20; 28:18, 30-42, 64-68), God will separate himself from Israel by sending his people into exile. In the future, however (2:14-23), just as Hosea is to seek and return Gomer to full familial status (cf. 3:1-3; Deut. 30:1-10), so Yahweh will one day restore a chastised and repentant people to full covenant privileges (cf. 1:10-2:1; 2:16-23; 3:4-5). Indeed, Hosea builds upon the emphasis of the previous verse (2:1) concerning the changed symbolic names attached to the future Israelites by advising the present day Israelites (the children) to “plead earnestly” with their mother (corporate Israel, especially its leadership). It is a strong call for a rebuke that hopefully will result in such conviction that Israel will change its ways. The Hebrew verb (rîbu‚) in the twice-pronounced command most commonly is used in the sense of “strive/contend.” As elsewhere in the prophetic writings, whether the root is used in its verbal or nominal forms, Hosea employs it in delivering the Lord’s complaint against his covenant people (cf. Jer. 2:9; Mic. 6:1). God’s basic charge against Israel, which is duly noted in verse 5, reflects the opening statement against Israel’s “adulterous lifestyle” (v. 2).
In what follows Hosea reiterates the Lord’s warnings by revealing what Israel may expect to experience in the face of God’s coming judgment of his people. Did Israel put its trust in Baal’s supposed provision of the basic necessities of life: food, water, and clothing as well as the fertility of the soil and economic prosperity (vv. 3-5, 13)? She would soon learn that it was Yahweh, not Baal, who has provided these things (v. 8). What he had given he will take away (vv. 3-4, 9-10, 12).
God’s charges against Israel are not without foundation. By Hosea’s day Israel had already formed a strong attachment to the Canaanite god Baal. Indeed, as early as their wilderness journey some Israelites had become infatuated with Baal and even indulged in the heinous rituals associated with his worship (Num. 25:3-5). As Cole points out, “Baal … would become the primary antagonist to Yahweh for the hearts of the people of Israel from this setting to the end of the two Israelite kingdoms.”3 Once in the land some of the people even built an altar to Baal (Judg. 6:25-34) and by the era of the divided kingdom Baalism became the chief besetting sin of the people (e.g., 1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:16-40, etc.). Therefore, his worship is often condemned in the latter prophets (e.g., Jer. 2:8; 7:9; 11:11-17; 32:26-35; Zeph. 1:4).
To be sure, contemporary Israel still followed the religious traditions of its forefathers; yet these had become largely meaningless rituals (v. 11). Such syncretistic practices would avail nothing and could not prevent Israel’s soon coming judgment (v. 13). God had a purpose in this. By taking away the blessings that he had bestowed upon Israel, it could be hoped that Israel would come to her senses and say, “I will go back to my husband, because I was better off then than I am now” (vv. 6-7).
Here Hosea employs an interesting play on words. For in worshiping Baal Israel regarded the Canaanite god as its providing husband rather than Yahweh. Because the noun baàal can mean husband as well as such other meaning as master and lord, by worshiping Baal they were acknowledging him as both lord and as husband. Such even is highlighted further in that God’s relation to Israel is described metaphorically under the figure of marriage with God as husband and Israel as his wife (Isa. 54:1, 5). Unfortunately, the Lord’s “wife” had proven to be unfaithful (Jer. 2:1-3:10). Hosea avoids any confusion between God as husband and Baal by pointing out that chastised wife Israel will return to her husband (MT, áîsŒ; lit., “man”) some day. So distasteful had Israel’s capitulation to Baal been, that her return to her husband is designated by a term other than baàal (cf. 2:16-17). Only when Israel has realized just who is her natural spiritual husband, will it regain the blessings of its marriage relationship (cf. Isa. 2:4-5; Hos. 3:5).
Hosea’s warnings to Israel serve as precedent for the church. Just as Israel was spiritually speaking the wife of Yahweh, so the church is the bride (Rev. 9:7) of her heavenly bridegroom Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:22-27). As Israel and Old Testament believers were called and charged to be faithful to the Lord and his standards, so the church and New Testament believers are to be careful to avoid anything that may compromise either their faith or faithfulness to Christ (cf. 1 John 5:21).
2:2 The root rîb appears in contexts dealing with strife or quarrels. At times it is used of formal situations of adjudications before either civil or religious authorities (e.g., Deut. 19:17; 2 Sam. 15:1-6). Therefore, some have suggested the existence in prophetic texts of a rîb pattern involving the thought of a lawsuit in which Yahweh brings formal charges against his people. Thus The New Jerusalem Bible translates the lines in question: “To court, take your mother to court!” Stuart proposes that in this passage Yahweh is not only the plaintiff but the prosecuting attorney, judge, and jury as well as “the police officer who will carry out the court’s judgment.”4 Israel is the defendant who must answer the charge of adultery with her lover, Baal. Such a position seems strained at best, however. Thus Garrett points out, “Not every accusation is a courtroom accusation, even metaphorically; people often accuse one another of misdeeds outside courts of law.”5 Rather than a lawsuit, God’s word against Israel is brought as a means of correction and a warning as to coming judgment should his people not change their ways. Thus the NET rightfully treats the verb in question in a manner reflecting God’s great concern for his people.6
2:2 The NLT’s “adulterous lifestyle” and “sexually immoral behavior” are ad sensum translations of the Hebrew “adulteries from her face” and “adultery from between her breasts.” Sweeney7 suggests that the terms may refer to jewelry or ornaments worn by a bride (cf. 2:13 with Gen. 24:22, 30, 34) and may be deliberately sarcastic “to signify both the wife’s marriage state and the adultery with which the husband chargers her.”
2:2-3 The statement that Israel is “no longer my wife” has occasioned a great deal of discussion. In an earlier study C. H. Gordon proposed on the basis of supposed parallels from Nuzi that the statement reflects common ancient Near Eastern divorce language.8 To the contrary, after a thorough study of divorce formulae in ancient Mesopotamia and Israel as well as the Talmud, Maria Dass9 decides that Hosea and Gomer are to experience separation, not divorce. Still others propose a mediate position suggesting that although a divorce has been contemplated such has not been decided.10
2:3-5 Although in ancient Mesopotamia the denuding of a wife appears to have played a role in the divorce proceedings, the stripping of Israel naked may be explained metaphorically as referring to the devastating of Israel’s land in order to destroy its food supply. Whether such was to occur through draught, plague, or by foreign invaders is not specified. Such a sentence would make good sense because Israel is guilty of wrongly attributing the produce that she enjoyed to the false deities, which she worshiped.
2:6-7 Israel’s being fenced in or walled would prohibit its further resorting to false idolatrous practices. Stuart finds in this metaphor an allusion to the confining of “a dumb animal who tends to wander off from its owner (cf. 4:16; 8:9)” and suggests that the threatened restraining will be realized in progressive foreign encroachment, which eventually will lead to Israel’s subjugation.11
2:8-9 Grain, new wine, and olive oil were not only key products in ancient Israel but understood to come from God as blessings for covenant faithfulness (cf. Deut. 7:12-13; 11:13-14). Unfaithfulness, however, could occasion God’s withholding of such products as a means of punishment (e.g., Joel 1:10-18; Hag. 1:7-11) or they could be taken away by foreign invaders (cf. Deut. 28:47-51).
2:10 By Israel’s “lewd nakedness” is meant its fascination and flirtation with pagan deities. As Andersen and Freedman observe, “There is a poignancy in this. Israelite society had strict taboos against public nakedness.”12 Indeed, nakedness was viewed as shameful (e.g., 2 Sam. 10:4; Micah 1:11). Israel was warned that such could be imposed upon them for covenant infidelity (Deut. 28:48). Israel’s nakedness would consist in the devastation of its land as penalty for covenant violation (cf. Lev. 26:33). God had provided wool and flax to “clothe her” but now with the land denuded Israel’s “nakedness” would be evident to all. The gods whom she supposed clothed her and provided her needs (vv. 5, 12) will be shown to be powerless before Yahweh. Nakedness therefore serves as a metaphor for God’s coming judgment, as is often the case in the prophetic literature (e.g., Jer. 13:26-27; Ezek. 16:39; cf. Nah. 3:5).
2:11 Because Israel’s worship practices had become syncretistic, they were mere ritual observances at best and a mockery of God’s exclusive standards.13 Agricultural commodities played an important part in Israel’s festivals and religious observances (e.g., Exod. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:14-18; Num. 28:3-8). With these products cut off, such services and celebrations would soon suffer and become impossible to observe. Indeed, Joel describes just such a situation (Joel 1:5-10). Hosea makes a clever play on words here. God would “put an end to” Israel’s worship observances, including the “weekly Sabbath festivities and all her appointed festivals.” The Hebrew root shābat underlies both the verbal phrase “put an end to” and the Sabbath (God’s appointed day of rest). Because the Sabbath was the basis of Israel’s entire worship calendar, by putting the Sabbath “to rest” the entire worship structure would collapse.
2:12 “The vine and the fig tree … were often used to symbolize the blessings of the relationship between God and Israel (see Ps 80:8-15[9-16 MT]; Isa 5:2-6; Jer 2:21; Mic 4:3-4; Zech 3:10; cf. Matt 21:18-21, 28-46).”14 Isaiah (5:1-2) portrays Israel as God’s vineyard and Jeremiah calls Israel a “choice vine” (Jer. 2:21). Wine, the fruit of the vine, figured prominently in Israel’s drink offering, which symbolized the fruitfulness of a life willingly poured out for God (Lev. 23:12-13; Num. 6:17). Unfortunately, the vine and its fruit could also become corrupt (e.g., Isa. 5:2-7), especially by becoming entangled in idolatry (Hos. 10:1). Therefore, God would be forced to destroy his vineyard (cf. Jer. 6:9; Mic. 1:6; Zeph. 1:13) as is the case that Hosea presents here.
Together with the vine the fig tree often depicted God’s blessings upon an obedient people (e.g., 1 Kings 4:25). Thus the fruitful fig tree is what may be expected in that future era of God’s established reign on earth (Mic. 4:4; Zech. 3:10). Like the fruit of the vine, the fig tree could show promise of a tasteful experience. Israel had been like this; but alas, it had become distasteful before God because of its shameful idolatry (Hos. 9:10; 10:1-2). When God judges his fig tree and vine, they will produce fruit fit only for animals. A double meaning is possible here. Not only would Israel’s land become an “uncultivated thicket,” fit only for wild animals, but the land’s produce will be seized by foreign invaders.
2:13 God’s judgment upon Israel is because of his people’s spiritual flirtation with Baalism. The “Baal idols” (NET; lit., “Baals”) doubtless refer to the many places of cultic worship of the god Baal, especially at festival times. Israel is again portrayed as an immoral woman who adorns herself with jewelry aimed at attracting lovers. Faithless wife Israel has forgotten her husband Yahweh by chasing after pagan deities.
The validation of Israel’s covenant status with the Lord continues. Following the enforcement of the penalties for covenant violation (2:2-13), the Lord reveals Israel’s future rewards based upon Israel’s renewed commitment to him.
2:14 However, in the future I will allure her;
I will lead her back into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 From there I will give back her vineyards to her,
and turn the “Valley of Trouble” into an “Opportunity for Hope.”
There she will sing as she did when she was young,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 “At that time,” declares the Lord,
“you will call, ‘My husband’;
you will never again call me, ‘My master.’
17 For I will remove the names of the Baal idols from your lips,
so that you will never again utter their names!”
18 “At that time I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals,
the birds of the air, and the creatures that crawl on the ground.
I will abolish the warrior’s bow and sword
– that is, every weapon of warfare – from the land,
and I will allow them to live securely.”
19 I will commit myself to you forever;
I will commit myself to you in righteousness and justice,
in steadfast love and tender compassion.
20 I will commit myself to you in faithfulness;
then you will acknowledge the Lord.”
21 “At that time, I will willingly respond,” declares the Lord.
“I will respond to the sky,
and the sky will respond to the ground;
22 then the ground will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;
and they will respond to ‘God Plants’ (Jezreel)!
23 Then I will plant her as my own in the land.
I will have pity on ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah).
I will say to ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), ‘You are my people!’
And he will say, ‘You are my God!’”
Exegesis and Exposition
Israel’s necessary chastisement will one day prove to accomplish its intended goal (cf. 2:7). God himself will then take the initiative to see to its restoration to covenant privileges. As in those early days after Israel’s exodus from Egypt when God led his people into the wilderness, so he would do once again. That earlier wilderness experience was designed for his people’s training and spiritual growth. They were to learn not only to trust the Lord completely for their provisions and every need, but to love him for who he was (Exod. 14:31; 15:13; Deut. 2:7; Jer. 2:2). Unfortunately, Israel proved to be a disappointment. Far from being a grateful people, Israel turned into a band of perpetual whiners and complainers (Exod. 15:24; 16:1-3; 17:1-2). Even worse, Israel quickly became enamored with pagan Baalism (e.g., Num. 25:1-3), a fascination that continued into Hosea’s time. Yet through it all God remained faithful despite Israel’s infidelity. Therefore, a patient Lord would one day lead Israel once again into a new wilderness experience. Thus the wilderness, which was used metaphorically of Israel’s punishment (Num. 14:32-33; Deut. 9:28), would be transformed to become a metaphor of renewed trust in God and fellowship with him (Jer. 31:2-3).15
In a future day God will return his people to the land. In places of Israel’s past failure, such as in the days of Achan’s sin (Josh. 7), there will be renewed “opportunity for hope.”16 Those very places that were denuded of vital agricultural produce due to Israel’s punishment will flourish once again. Once more the vineyards will grow bountifully. Those products that were to be taken away due to Israel’s sin will be restored as all nature responds to God’s blessings for Israel (vv. 15, 21-22). As in the days of the exodus, Israel will sing praises of joy to the Lord (cf. Exod. 15:1-18; Ps. 96:7-13; Jer. 31:7-14). All hints of Baal will disappear and God’s relation with Israel will be represented by a new term for husband (cf. 2:6). God will no longer be known as “my master” (or husband in a legal sense, i.e., baàali) but “my husband” (in a dear familial relationship, i.e., áîsŒî).17
The “newness,” which Hosea describes (vv. 18-20) is reflective of the prophetic teachings concerning the New Covenant. As a culmination of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:2-7; 13:14-17; 15:17-19; 17:1-8), later channeled through the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:8-16; 1 Chr. 17:7-14), God promised to institute a future New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-37; 32:36-41; 33:14-26; Ezek. 34:20-31; 36:24-32; 37:20-27). In that grand era God’s people will live in intimate communion with the Lord and enjoy his blessings forever. It will be a time of great joy and worldwide peace (cf. Isa. 11:6-9), for the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) will be in their midst (Ezek. 34:23; 37:24).
Hosea points out that all nature will be changed and Israel will live in peace and security while enjoying God’s just and righteous rule among his people. Then to a degree never experienced before God’s people will come to enjoy the fullness of Yahweh’s “steadfast love,” “tender compassion,” and “faithfulness” (vv. 19-20). There will be no more Baals, for they will “acknowledge the Lord” their true husband.
Hosea closes this section of this prophecy as he did in the corresponding earlier portion (vv. 21-23; cf. 1:10-2:1) by noting the complete reversal of affairs relative to Israel’s relation to God during the time of Israel’s punishment. In that future time of God’s blessing the scattered people (Jezreel) will be replanted (sown) in the land. When as a sinful Israel would receive “no pity” (or mercy; cf. 1:8) and be set aside and treated as “not my people” (cf. 1:9), they would now once again receive God’s mercy and be called “my people” (cf. 2:1). Rather than Baal or any other so-called deity, only Yahweh would henceforth be Israel’s God.
2:15 As noted in the NET footnotes, the rendering, “Opportunity for Hope” is based upon the Hebrew, “entrance/door of hope.” Although the noun petah£ commonly is used of a literal entrance or door, it is at times employed metaphorically for an entrance for opportunity for a new situation or change of circumstance (e.g., Gen. 4:7; Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12).18 The circumstances that God will initiate in the future will transform former scenes of trouble and defeat into places of renewed vitality and spiritual growth. The pristine relations between Yahweh and Israel in the days when his people first entered the Land of Promise will be relived again.
2:17 Because of the corrupting nature of the worship of Baal, the scribes who copied the Old Testament at times changed titles containing his name. Thus Baal Zebul (Prince Baal) became Baal Zebel (lord of dung) or Baal Zebub (lord of flies). The name Baal Zebub became associated with Satan (e.g., Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27). Scribes would even at times alter personal names to reflect the shame associated with Baal. Thus Saul’s son Eshbaal (1 Chr. 8:33; 9:39) is altered to Ishbosheth (e.g., 2 Sam. 2:8-11), Jonathan’s son
Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40) became Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4:4) and Jerub-baal (Judg. 6:32) was altered to Jerubbesheth (2 Sam. 11:21). Baalism and other pagan idolatrous practices disappeared in the Inner Testamental Period.19
2:18 As noted in the Introduction, the covenant theme figures prominently in Hosea. The context here makes it clear that it is referring to what Ezekiel calls a “covenant of peace” (Ezek. 34:25-31; 37:26-28) and Jeremiah identifies as a “new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34). It is also to be an everlasting covenant (Isa. 55:3; Jer. 32:40; 50:5), which is enacted by the Lord himself (Isa. 59:2) and centered in the long awaited Messiah (Jer. 33:15-16). This One will reign over a completely transformed earth (Isa. 11:1-9). Hosea can rightly prophesy that in that great era of peace even nature and the creatures of earth will be included in its terms.
2:19-20 Hosea’s group of five divine characteristics is attested elsewhere (e.g., Deut. 32:4; Jonah 4:2). Righteousness and justice appear often together (e.g., Deut. 32:4; Pss. 89:14; 97:2), the former emphasizing God’s consistency in acting in accordance with his holiness while the latter underscores his honesty, integrity, and fairness toward all. Yahweh is also a God of love and compassion. The former emphasizes his loving grace in making provision for Israel as his very own possession and treating them as family (KJV, lovingkindness). The latter speaks of God’s tender mercies in dealing with mankind in general and Israel in particular (Deut. 4:31; Ps. 78:38). Moreover, God is faithful in acting in accordance with his holy, divine nature and attributes as well as faithful to his revealed word.20 In that era when Israel will experience fully all of these great divine characteristics she will remember Yahweh whom she had forgotten (v. 13) and live in full acknowledgement and surrender to him.21
2:22 That which Israel falsely attributed to Baal and was therefore cut off by Yahweh (vv. 8-9) will be graciously restored to a repentant and forgiven Israel under the terms of the New Covenant. The prophet Joel likewise reports how these products were cut off because of Judah’s religious syncretism. With natural repentance, however, they could experience the restoration of these products (Joel 2:15-19) as well as rain in its proper season (vv. 22-24).
1 For issues concerning the marriage as symbolic of the Lord’s covenant with Israel, see Irene Kerasote Rallis, “Nuptial Imagery in the Book of Hosea: Israel as the Bride of Yahweh,” St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 34 (1990): 197-219; Paul A. Kruger, “The marriage metaphor in Hosea 2:4-17 against its ancient Near Eastern background,” JNSL 14 (1988): 143-53. Ehud Ben Zbi (“Observations on the Marital Metaphor of YHWH and Israel in its Ancient Israelite Context: General Considerations and Particular Images in Hosea 1:2,” JSOT 28 : 370) remarks, “The husband-wife metaphor belonged to a set of metaphors that were associated with fundamentally hierarchical relationships and served as metaphors for that of deity and people.”
2 For Hosea 2 as an allegory based upon the family metaphor to represent God’s relation to Israel, see John B. Gabel, Charles B. Wheeler, and Anthony D. York, The Bible as Literature, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 31. Normally allegories are formed in such a way that, “The basic metaphor or symbol is analyzed into component parts, and these parts are brought together in a series of one-to-one relationships,” (28). Nevertheless, as Leland Ryken (How to Read the Bible as Literature [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984], 201) points out such is not always exactly the case: “Great literary allegory is bifocal, engaging a reader’s interest at two levels (literal and allegorical) simultaneously. Literary allegory does not give us a simple one-for-one correspondence because surface details … are too connotative and multifaceted to be reduced to a single conceptual parallel.” He adds (200), “It is a very rare exception, not the rule, to find allegories in which every detail has a corresponding meaning.” Accordingly, one need not account for all of the surface background details of Hosea 2 in order to form an interpretative basis for Hosea’s allegories. Moreover, it is possible to see an underlying story line (as is so often is the case with allegories) in Hosea 2. Whether one views this chapter simply as an extended metaphor or an allegory the underlying metaphor of God’s relation to Israel as represented in Hosea’s marriage and family situation is certainly the intended symbolism.
3 R. Dennis Cole, Numbers, NAC (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000), 437.
4 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 45.
5 Garrett, Hosea, Joel, 75. Charles H. Silva (“Literary Features in the Book of Hosea,” Bib Sac 164 : 40-44) decides that the pattern here reflects a covenant lawsuit not only in 2:2-13 but in 4:1, 4 and 12:2. Silva builds his discussion upon a supposed relation in form to an underlying suzerain-vassal treaty. This again appears to be a bit strained. As Andersen and Freedman (AB, 219) point out, “A legal note is certainly present but the juridical framework is neither rigid nor realistic.”
6 See also the KJV and NRSV. La Sainte Bible translate the verb as “plead” (cf. AB; La Sacra Bibbia, “contend with”; NLT, “call to account”; NIV, HCSB, “rebuke”).
7 The Twelve Prophets, 1:29
8 C. H. Gordon, “Hosea 2:4-5 in the Light of New Semitic Inscriptions ,” ZAW 54 (1936): 277-80.
9 “The Divorce (?) Formula in Hos. 2:4a,” ITS 34 : 56-88.
10 See McComiskey, “Hosea,” 132; David Allan Hubbard, Hosea, TOTC (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1989), 72.
11 Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, 49.
12 Andersen and Freedman, Hosea, 248-49.
13 Laetsch (The Minor Prophets, 30) remarks concerning the significance of ‘her festivals,” “God says ‘her feasts,’ not ‘My feasts.’ Israel retained the formal celebration of these festivals, but had stamped them with a character altogether foreign to their intention.”
14 Richard D. Patterson, “Joel,” EBC, ed., Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 7:241.
15 For an excellent discussion of the wilderness as a motif, see Garrett, Hosea, Joel, 88-91. For a thorough study of the desert motif, see S. Talson, “The ‘Desert Motif’ in the Bible and in the Qumran Literature,” in Biblical Motifs. ed., A. Altmann (Cambridge: Harvard, 1966), 31-64.
16 Literally, “I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope”; see NET notes.
17 So painful did the name Baal become that Jewish scribes often substituted the element “shame” in names compounded with nouns associated with that deity: Saul’s son Eshbaal (1 Chr. 8:33; 9:39) became rendered Ishbosheth (2 Sam. 2:8-11); Jonathan’s son Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40) became Mephibosheth (2 Sam 4:4), and Jerub-baal (Judg. 6:32; 8:35) was later rendered Jerubbesheth (2 Sam 11:21). For Baal Zebul, see the discussion in Patterson and Austel, “1 & 2 Kings,” 4:172.
18 In 1878 settlers from Jerusalem wished to establish themselves in the original biblical location in the vicinity of Jericho in the Jordan plain. Unable to do so, they went westward toward the Mediterranean coast, where they established the oldest Jewish agricultural settlement in what would become the state of Israel. The modern Israel town of Petah Tikva (“gate of hope” is situated a short distance east of Tel Aviv.
19 A. Terian, (“Idolatry,” ISBE, Rev. ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982], 2:799) remarks, “Never again would Jews to take idolatry seriously. Rather, idol worship became for them a matter of semi-humorous satire and ridicule.”
20 For a discussion of this Hebrew word, see Richard D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (Biblical Studies Press, 2001), 200-203.
21 See further J. T. Willis, “‘I Am Your God’ and ‘You Are My People’ in Hosea and Jeremiah,” Restoration Quarterly 36 (1994): 291-303. Something of the fullness of Israel’s experience may be reflected in the grand Christian hymn by Wade Robinson, “In a love, which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.”