Oh the Drama!!

dramatic

Prophets are dramatic. They are making huge points and dramatic prophecies in artistic ways, it should only follow that they themselves would be dramatic. When I say dramatic, I’m thinking kind of like the prophet Samuel when David was first anointed King of Israel at fifteen – “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬. NO, WE WILL NOT SIT DOWN UNTIL HE COMES HERE!! Do you see what I mean? Dramatic!
The prophet Hosea, however, might be the most dramatic of all the prophets. Hosea is considered a minor prophet because his book is a shorter one in our bible, but his message is anything but minor. All three of the major prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel – portrayed Israel as as unfaithful wife, emphasizing that Israel’s idolatry was the same thing as adultery. Hosea takes this imagery into a literal symbolic act, marrying a woman who was continually unfaithful to him, turning his own life into a dramatic symbol of Israel’s unfaithfulness.

prostitute
“When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Reading two different explanations this passage, one says this must all be symbolic because of the “loathesomeness of such a marriage”, or that Gomer became unfaithful and a prostitute after her marriage to Hosea. I read this and it clearly says at the minimum that Hosea knew his wife would be unfaithful, yet married her because of a direct command from Yahweh. He is making his life a dramatic, prophetic symbol of the continued unfaithfulness of Israel. He married Gomer, and she gives him a son…
And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” This was coming during the reign of Jeroboam II, the most successful King of Israel since King Solomon. Yet, despite the material success the nation was enjoying, they still worshipped idols and did not follow in the way of the Lord. The people expected their success to continue forever (don’t we all), this prophecy would have been a shock to their senses.
The current kingdom had gotten its beginning at the anointing of King Jehu and his subsequent destruction of the previous kingdom in the valley of Jezreel.

with-a-prostitute
She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. This says Gomer conceived again, but does not specify the daughter as being from Hosea – so maybe an illegitimate birth?? So just as Hosea will have no mercy on Gomer for her unfaithfulness, so will Yahweh turn away from the adulterous nations of Israel, leaving them to worship all of their false gods. Again, very dramatic!!

have-mercy-on-me
But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen. Judah is mentioned here as a contrast to Israel, for the most part they had stayed faithful. Yahweh Himself will deliver them, and not by force which Israel had relied on since the days of King David. This, more short term, predicts the deliverance of Jerusalem from Babylon. I read it long term with hindsight of knowing Christ came from Judah to save the world from itself. And He, of course, comes to save not through force, but love. Not by the blood of others, but through His own blood.
When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Again, not specified as a son of Hosea, so probably the result of an unfaithful wife. As soon as she weans the daughter, she is out following her lusts and passions again. This was not symbolic of Israel, which was not suddenly weaned from the breast of Yahweh but had been cast off slowly, over time.
The nation of Israel was having great material success, but that success did not bring them back to the piety, they were still not God’s people as He had intended. They had broken their covenant.

lonely young woman
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” Despite breaking their covenant, God will have mercy on His people. Dramatic doom and gloom predicted, but with hope of restoration held out for His people. This prophecy was fulfilled with return from Babylon, when many Israelites joined with Judah, the believing seed. Children of the living God, instead of their dead idols.
And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. Israel and Judah, and all the Gentiles as well, will be gathered under the head, the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

worship
 “Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.” Verse 2:1, actually a continuation of the end of Chapter 1. No longer named “Not my people” or “No Mercy”. At the coming of Christ, we are all His people. The Pope declared this the year of mercy, Hosea declared this 700 years before Christ. Every day, every week, every month, every year since the coming of Messiah has been the year of mercy under Christ. Broken covenants, false Gods, broken world, all are healed and forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Very dramatic indeed.

“When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭1:2-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/hos.1.2-11.esv
 “Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.””

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/hos.2.1.esv

John Lewis

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Oh the Drama!!

  1. John,

    Great post. Thanx for sharing it. As usual, you deal with a lot of things here, not just one or two. I enjoy responding/dialoging etc, but I must pick out one or two bits here and there. Otherwise, it’s too much to handle.

    I will tell you this much, I wrote a short book a couple of years ago called Proph-O-Drama. It is not an expose of Hosea, though Hosea is featured briefly in a couple spots. Rather it is sort of a laymans prophecy manual for the modern church. I wrote it to be brief with several short chapters – each with the idea that perhaps a Sunday School class might examine a few pages each week for a quarter.

    It is not yet published, but it is one of my works most nearly ready for publishing, and I have thought about putting out piecemeal on my blog. Your post here has me thinking about it again after shelving it for the last year and a half.

    Hosea very definitely engages in what the scholars call prophetic symbolic act. I term it Proph-O-Drama. There are two overarching kinds of prophecy. Symbolic acts and Oracles. I specialize in symbolic acts, and so I wrote a book about it. And I think there are a number of features to Hosea’s very heartbreaking and troubling Proph-O-Drama worth noting in regard to your post.

    1st, I would say that Hosea is not so much depicting wayward Israel as he is faithful God. He is the jilted husband who keeps coming back even to buy his wife at the sex-slave auction when she is going for bottom dollar! YHWH does that with Israel, who is unwittingly played by Gomer – assuming Gomer is the wife all through the book.

    A second feature I find, but I have never read any scholars comment on, is that though there is more grace in Hosea’s prophetic symbolic acts toward his wayward wife than nearly any text in the Bible – and certainly rivals any New Testament books to find a richer display of grace – there is also a lot of rage and wrath mixed in too. Ripping babies from the womb as a part of judgment is some of the harshest language ever used for YHWH’s wrath (Hosea 13:16). And the whole thing about naming the kids “Not my children” and so forth displays the back and forth of so many abusive on-again/off-again relationships like we see on TV or among friends (or some of us have experienced ourselves). The husband who beats his wife only to beg her forgiveness and express his sorrow for unrealistic wrath. There is a fine line between that kind of behavior and what we see between YHWH and his wife Israel even as depicted by Hosea and Gomer!

    I do not mean to drag YHWH through the mud by pointing this out, but rather to say that I sense that when humans engage in this behavior and all the emotional turmoil that goes with it, I think they are trying to be god and finding the status too much to bear and yet perhaps addictive too! And playing god is always a temptation that when succumbed to always gets abused and messed up by we fallen human creatures.

    And yet, bearing his image is our calling! And so there is a tangle there worth unraveling if we can.

    X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks as always X!! I think I agree with you that it is more about faithful God than unfaithful Gomer. She is the foil used by Hosea to compare and contrast Israels unfaithfulness to Yahwehs true faithfulness

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s