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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Hosea

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

4.1–12.1 : The Lord has an indictment against Israel.

4.1 :

Hear the word of the Lord, an introduction in the prophetic style, which serves both the immediate speech and the remainder of the book. Israel, the primary referent here is the Northern Kingdom (also known as Ephraim) but, like all of Hosea's prophecies, after 722 the prophecy is transmitted in Judah; so the address is also to Israel in its broader sense. Indictment is a legal term: On God's behalf, the prophet files suit against the people for breach of covenant. Faithfulness, loyalty (steadfast love), and knowledge of God are major theological terms in Hosea ( 2.19–20; 4.6; 5.4,7; 6.3,6; 10.12; 11.3–4,12b; 12.6 ).

2 :

Swearing …, a full five of the Ten Commandments are listed (Ex 20.7,13–16; Deut 5.11,17–20 ).

3 :

See 2.21n.

11.12–12.1 : The futility of foreign alliances.

11.12 :

But Judah still …, perhaps a later addition.

12.1 :

Cf. 8.7 . Treaty with Assyria, see 2 Kings 15.19–20; 17.3 . Oil … to Egypt, Samaria was renowned for its olive oil, used here as a commodity of tribute to Egypt, which produced little.

12.2–14.9 : Rebellion and restoration.

Another major division in the book (like 4.1–12.1 ), which begins with the announcement of an indictment and ends with an oracle of hope.

12.2–13.16 : A divine lawsuit against Israel, which mixes historical retrospection with contemporarycritique.

For a historical summary with a similar tone, see Ps 106 .

12.2 :

The Lord has an indictment, cf. 4.1 .

3 :

Gen 25.26; 32.22–30 .

4–5 :

Gen 28.11–17; 35.5–8 .

7 :

see Am 8.5 .

8 :

As if prosperity were proof of virtue.

9 :

Tents, a customary feature of seasonal rites (Lev 23.34–43; Deut 16.13 ) and symbolic of the wilderness period, will be all that remains for Israel following the divine punishment.

11 :

Cf. 6.8n.; 9.15n.

12 :

Gen 29.1–30 .

13 :

By a prophet, the first reference is clearly to Moses; the second may be Moses as well, or Samuel (1 Sam 3.20 ) or Elijah (1 Kings 18.22 ).

13.1 :

An allusion to Ephraim's relative prosperity during much of the Divided Monarchy.

2 :

Kissing calves, see 8.5–6n.

3 :

Morning mist, cf. 6.4 .

5 :

Cf. 11.4 .

8 :

A bear robbed of her cubs, a popular image for ferocity (2 Sam 17.8; Prov 17.12 ).

9–11 :

This may refer to the deposing of Hoshea by the Assyrians in 723 (2 Kings 17.4 ).

10 :

King … may save, read this in light of 13.4 : The LORD alone is Israel's savior.

11 :

I gavea king in my anger, cf. 1 Sam 12 .

13 :

The pain of divine judgment is designed not to kill but to induce new life, yet Israel, unwise, refuses to budge.

14 :

Death (Mot), the Canaanite deity of the underworld, is probably referred to here; cf. Job 18.13; Ps 49.14; Isa 28.15; Hab 2.5 . Sheol, in this era, the abode of all dead, righteous and unrighteous. In this judgment speech, compassion is hidden, unlike 11.8 .

15 :

Flourish among rushes, alludes to political reliance on Egypt, which will be blown away by the “east wind,” Assyria. The east winda blast from the Lord, contrast this with an earlier east wind, the vehicle of the LORD's deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea (Ex 14.21; 15.8 ).

16 :

The ravages of conquering armies; cf. 10.14; 2 Kings 8.12; Ps 137.9; Am 1.13 .

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