the main Central Park Church of Christ page.

Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Hosea 10 - 11

Produced by TheMediaDesk, ©2022
Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

      This is a long term, in depth, wide focus study of the Minor Prophets, drawing as much from the history of their times as possible, as well as looking at the original language of the prophet.
chapter 10

      Half the translations got half the verse half right.

      .... 'by the' “ke·to·wb” (goodness) of the land “he·ti·bu” ('they are' pleased with / take pleasure in) “mas·se·bo·wt" (standing stone / pillar).

      The altars they're building with the bounty of the land are not dedicated to GOD.

      “ha laq” (divided (deceitful)) “lib bam” (inner man / understanding / mind / 'heart of hearts') now “ye’·sa·mu” (have offended / caused injury (implies legal liability)), HE will break their altars, “ye·so·ded” (he will violently demolish) their pillars.

      The translations about their lack of a king are on point.

      The speak words, “’a·lo·wt” (taking an oath) “saw” (empty / false) in making a “be rit” (pledge / covenant) thus sprouts poisonous plants in judgment in the furrows of the fields.

      Because of the “le·‘eg·lo·wt” (heifer / young cow) of “'a wen” (Beth Aven). ...
      Beth Aven (also called Bethel in Hosea 4 and 5) was first mentioned in Joshua 2 as a village close to Ai. Which is somewhere east of Bethel, which itself was just northeast of Jerusalem (but may still have been in Judah, or in on the border (a DMZ) of the two kingdoms). By the time we get to Joshua 7, Beth Aven has become the “house of wickedness” and appears to have been given over to idolatry, which, in this case, was a 'calf'. Later in 1 Samuel 13 and following there was a major battle against the Philistines. In any case, Hosea didn't like the place, and he lets them know.

      “ya·gu·ru” (dread, be afraid of (word can also me 'abide / sojourn') the inhabitants of Samaria, “'a bal” (lament / mourn) for it, “‘am·mow” (its kinsmen / people) and “u·ke·ma·raw” (priest (pagan / devoted to an idol)) for it “ya·gi·lu” (exult / rejoice / be glad) “'al-” (on account of / because of) “ke·bo·w·dow” (splendor / glory) has “ga lah” (removed / departed) from it.

      The former holy site for Jewish worship is now devoted to a brazen image of a calf. Something they've done before.

Pardon our cattle tangent:
      One of the fertility symbols of Egypt, and elsewhere, was the Apis Bull, a manifestation of the primordial god Ptah, and then later the god of the underworld, Osiris. The bull associated with the cult based in the ancient capital of Memphis. However, the Apis incarnation of the deity was ALWAYS male, so this Jewish idol, which is specified as a young female cow (unless that was another bit of humor from the prophet at the idol's expense), we have to keep looking.
      The female cow god from Egypt was first Bat, who was later merged with Hathor (the Mistress of Heaven). As time went on, depictions of Hathor as a cow became less frequent, possibly due to the ease of confusion with the Apis figures. The fact that by this period her influence was waning means she's not likely to be our calf, unless, the Jews were returning to the idols of their forefathers who may have carried with them the memory of Bat/Hathor from long ago, which may or MAY NOT have been the 'golden calf' featured in the fiasco with Moses during the Exodus.
      Looking east, there was a minor figure in the Sumerian pantheon which was a cattle god by the name of Lahar whose job description included ensuring their cattle were fertile and the herd increased. But that isn't a likely candidate for the Jewish idol. The two major female deities from that culture, who in some ways were merged, Inanna and Ishtar, were never depicted as a cow.
      To the north we see several fertility goddesses in the Hittite empire (the 'land of a thousand gods'), however, they were almost always depicted as human, or at least humanoid, and, such as with Hannahanna, the mother goddess, who had a thing for bees, is depicted as a woman.
      Closer to home, to Hosea's home at any rate, the Canaanite creation god, El, was described as having attributes of a bull. In some ways he was an adaptation of the Apis bull as seen in Egypt and in Minoan Crete. But El was Always a Bull. There were a couple of appearances of female cattle in the Ba'al legends, including one that Ba'al has multiple flings with and who bears him a son. No, really:

"Aliyan Baal hearkens.
He loves a heifer in Deber,
A young cow in the fields of Shechelmemet.
He lies with Her seventy-seven times,
Yea, eighty-eight times,
So that She conceives
And bears Moshe."
    There's a link to the Ba'al Cycle below.
      So it is possible that the heifer of the Jews was Ba'al's 'girlfriend'.

End cattle drive

      The translations are on message.
      The cattle idol will be taken to Assyria as a prize to the king, where it will most likely be melted down and made into another idol. And the palace staff in Israel will be embarrassed that they gave such bad advice.

      “Samaria is cut off”, her king is “ke·qe·sep” (splinter (of wood) / small twig) on the water.

      “we·nis·me·du” (exterminated / destroyed (implies violence)) “ba mo wt” (the high places (pagan altar on a hill)) of Aven, the sin/guilt of Israel...

      And then they have a gardening problem. Also see Luke 23 : 30 and Revelation 6 : 16 (compare Isaiah 2 : 10).

      We've seen reference to “Gibeah” before, this verse references the battle from Judges 19 - 21.

      “be·’aw·wa·ti” (my will / desire) “we·’es·so·rem” (chastise / admonish), 'nations will gather against them' “be·’a·se·ram” ('when I' imprison 'them') “lis·te” (two / 2) “‘o·w·no·tam” (heat (meaning uncertain)).

      And “’ep·ra·yim” is a “‘eg·lah” (young female cow (same root as 5)) ...

      The verse goes on to state that Israel has lost their cushy job and will now be doing dirty and dangerous work.

      Sow “lis·da·qah” (justice / righteousness), reap “he sed” (goodness / kindness), “ni ru” (break 'plow') your “nir” (untilled) ground... 'for it is time to seek YHWH until He comes and' “we·yo·reh” (pours / casts) on you “se deq” (righteousness / justice).

      “ha·ras·tem” (you have devised / engraved / cut in) “re sa” (wrong / wickedness), you have consumed the “ka has” (deception / lies), because you trusted in “be·dar·ke·ka” (your habits / way / manners), and the “be rob” (abundance / greatness) of your “gib·bo·w·re·ka” (mighty / strong men)

      The end of the verse harkens back to David's elite warriors in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11.

      shall arise “sa o wn” (uproar / din / crash) in your people, and your fortified cities shall be “yus·sad” (despoiled / devastated / plundered)....
      'the following reference seems to be to the sacking of cities by Shalmansar, the king of Assyria'
      and then there is a reference to the mourning of a mother when her children are killed. Which is an echo from Jeremiah 31 : 15, which is a prophecy of the “slaughter of innocents” from Matthew 2.

      Once again the target of the prophecy is the worship center at Bethel, and that the king will have a bad day.

Chapter 11

      The statement that God loved Israel when it was 'a child' is on target. Then see Matthew 2 : 15.

      There's some disagreement between some of the translations as to who is calling. However, there is no dispute as to the result.
      ... they went to the Ba'al's and “ye·zab·be·hu” (slaughtered for sacrifice), and to graven images “ye·qat·te·run” (burned sacrifice / incense).

      The translations are in agreement.

      “be·hab·le” (ropes) “'a dam” (usually translated as 'a man', sometimes as 'mankind', rarely as 'people / persons' NEVER as 'gentle') “’em·se·kem” (I dragged / drew 'them' along), “ba·‘a·bo·to·wt” (woven cords (can mean chains)) “’a·ha·bah” (love), and I became to them “kim·ri·me” (one who lifts / removes a burdon) “'ol” (yoke) from the neck, and I “we 'at” (gently / softly) fed them.

      'He shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria will be king' because “me·’a nu” (refused) “la sub” (turn back / return / repent).

      There is some difference in the 'nots' in the translations, there is only one in the Hebrew, and it references Egypt.

      “we·ha·lah” (whirl (the word means, essentially, 'to dance')) “he·reb” (the sword) “be·‘a·raw” (cities), and consume his parts, and consume them “mim·mo·‘a·so·w·te·hem” (because of their own devices / plans / counsels).

      “we·‘am·mî” (My nation / people) “te·lu·’îm” ('hanging on to' doubt / hesitation / uncertainity) “lim·su·ba·tî” (apostasy / turning away) and though they are called to the Most High, none “ye·ro·w·mem” (life Him up / exalt Him).

      'ek ’et·ten·ka, ’ep·ra·yim?
      Read this one in the New Living Translation.

      “'ad mah” and “kis·bo·yim” is (was) probably Admah and Zeboiim, see Genesis 14.

      “lo ’e·‘e·seh” (not will I make / accomplish / produce) the “ha·ro·wn 'ap pi” (burning heat 'of GOD's' anger), “lo 'a sub” (not return to) “le·sa·het” (destroy / corrupt / cause to decay) ’ep·ra·yim - for GOD “’a·no·kî” (I AM) and not a mortal man among you “qa·do·wos” (the Holy One), and not will I come “be·‘ir” (usually translated as 'city').

10 and 11
      The translations are mostly good here.
      The direction they shall come from is “mi yam” (usually: the sea, sometimes: the west), refers to the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, even the Sea of Galilee. Which makes sense once the Northern Kingdom is scattered across the world. Which is pointed out in 11.
      'Perhaps the translators that went with 'west' didn't know where Assyria was in relation to Jerusalem.'

12 Some of the translations missed the second half of this one (NAS and NIV for starters).
      Per the Hebrew, Judah is still faithful, it is Israel that is overrun with lies and deceit. Let's go word for word:

      “se·ba·bu·ni” (has surrounded me) “be ka has” (deception / lies) ep·ra·yim, “u·be·mir·mah” (and with treachery deceit) “bet” (house) yis·ra·’êl”; (semicolon) “wi” (but) hu·dah, “'od” (still) “rad em 'el” (walks with God), “we 'im” (even with) “qe·do·wo·sim” (the Holy One (same root as in 9)) “ne·’e·man” ('confirmed' faithful).

End 11

Selected Sources for this chapter:
Bethel- ancient-city-Palestine

Inside the Ancient Bull Cult

and more from Egypt:

The Gods and Goddesses of Canaan

The Baal Cycle:

The cities of: Zeboiim / Admah

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

With the assistance and cooperation of The Media Desk.