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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Hosea

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2, 4 :

Lo‐ammi: “not my people.” The Lord speaks of Israel, still using the example of Hosea's wife.

2, 5 :

I will strip her naked: contemporary documents indicate that this was a conventional punishment for adultery.

2, 7 :

My lovers: the local fertility deities to whom, rather than to the Lord (v 10 ), the unfaithful Israelites attributed the produce of the land.

2, 15 :

The days of the Baals: ritual observances held in various local shrines in honor of Baal.

2, 8f :

The crop failures, blight, etc., sent by the Lord (vv 11–14 ) have as their purpose to make Israel see the folly of her ways.

2, 16f :

Israel's journey in the desert represents for Hosea the time of Israel's fidelity, before it was corrupted by the ways of Canaan; cf Jer 2, 2–7; Am 5, 25 . Thus, he pictures a restoration in terms of a new entry into the promised land.

2, 18 :

My baal: the word means “lord, master.” It was commonly used by women of their husbands, but it is to be shunned as a title for the Lord because of its association with the pagan god Baal. Probably it had been so used by many Israelites, who saw little if any difference between the worship of the Lord and the worship of Baal.

2, 21f :

The Lord will once more espouse Israel; the qualities ascribed to the renewed people are the bridal gift (cf Gn 24, 53 ) with which he will endow it. In right and in justice: two terms dear to Hosea, used by him especially to condemn the popular social injustice and corruption of the legal processes. Here they mean right conduct in general. Love: one of the most characteristic words of Hosea's prophecy. It means a dutiful love, based on a social relation; here it refers to the covenant between God and his people. It is a love fulfilled by the performance of mutual obligations. Mercy: from the same root as the word translated pity in Hos 1, 6; cf v 25 . And you shall know the Lord: another characteristic expression of Hosea; cf Hos 4, 1; 5, 4; 6, 3.6 . It means not an abstract but a practical knowledge, i.e., acknowledgment of his will, obedience to his law.

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