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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

1.2–2.1 : Hosea's marriage to Gomer, and the birth, naming, and renaming of their children as prophetic signs.

The marital states of Jeremiah (Jer 16.1–2 ) and Ezekiel (Ezek 24 ) also took on prophetic significance; Isaiah gave children symbolic names (Isa 7.3,10,14; 8.1,3 ).

1.2 :

Wife of whoredom, a promiscuous woman. Children of whoredom, children born of promiscuity.

4–8 :

Birth of three children, each with symbolic names.

4 :

Jezreel (“God sows”), the site where Jehu's bloody coup d'etat began (2 Kings 9–10 ). House of Jehu, the Israelite dynasty founded by Jehu in 842 BCE extended for a century, ending with Jeroboam II.

6 :

Loruhamah, “Not loved;” cf. Ezek 16.4–5.

7 :

Judah, Hosea's prophecies, originally addressed to Israel (Ephraim), were subsequently extended to the Southern Kingdom, whether by the prophet or later followers.

8 :

Weaned the child, probably at age three (1 Sam 1.22; 2 Chr 31.16 ).

9 :

Loammi, “No‐kin‐of‐mine.” I am not your God can also be read, “I am not I AM” (see note d), as if God now withdraws the intimacy extended to Moses through revelation of the divine name (Ex 3.14 ).

1.10–2.1 :

Jezreel's exaltation ( 1.11 ) and the renaming of Lo‐ruhamah ( 2.1 , Ruhamah, “Loved”) and Lo‐ammi ( 2.1 , Ammi, “My‐kin”) signal restoration.

1.10 :

For the sand of the sea, see the divine promise to Abraham (Gen 22.17 ) and Jacob (Gen 32.12 ); cf. Gen 15.5; 16.10; 1 Kings 3.8 .

2.2–23 : A prophetic speech based on the preceding sign‐acts.

Israel wrongly attributed its agricultural fertility to Baal, a Canaanite god. For this infidelity, the LORD first initiates divorce against Israel, the promiscuous wife; then promises a rebetrothal.

2 :

Plead with, take legal action against.

3 :

Ezekiel 16 expands this image.

4 :

No pity, a pun on Lo‐ruhamah.

5 :

My lovers, foreign gods. Wool and … flax, pastoral and agricultural products, respectively, used for clothing.

8 :

The LORD, not Baal, is Israel's benefactor.

11 :

The seasonal agricultural festivals (Ex 34.21–24 ) and the customary occasions for worship (Num 29.6; Ex 20.8 ) were now diluted by elements of Baalism.

13 :

Offered incense, incense itself was a lawful Israelite element of worship (Ex 30.7–8 ) but here, unlawfully, it is offered to other gods (cf. 1 Kings 22.44; Isa 65.3 ). Decked herself, cf. Isa 3.16–22 .

14 :

Allure her, courtship language. The wilderness signifies Israel's early years after the Exodus, remembered here, in terms of the marital metaphor, as a honeymoon (Jer 2.2 ). The wilderness can also be a place of judgment (Ezek 20.33–38 ). In both cases, the wilderness is a place for transformation.

15 :

Achor, a site just east of the Dead Sea where Israel got into “trouble” (the meaning of “Achor”) soon after leaving the wilderness (Josh 7.22–26 ).

16 :

My Baal, in secular usage, “baal” could also mean “husband.” In this word play, Israel is to address the LORD as “husband” (Heb “՚ish”), not as “husband” (Heb “baal”).

18 :

Animals, birds …, creeping things, the phrases recall Gen 1.27–31 and suggest a return to a state of blessing. See also Lev 26.6 .

20 :

You shall know, “knowledge” implies covenant faithfulness and, in terms of the marital metaphor employed, intimacy.

20–23 :

A conclusion to chs 1–2 : The renaming of the children (see 1.4,6,9n.; 2.1n. ) follows the rebetrothal of the LORD and Israel.

21–22 :

Human faithfulness (or lack thereof) to the LORD has implications for the natural world.

23 :

Cf. Ex 6.7; Lev 26.12 .

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