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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Hosea 12 - 14

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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 12

      ’ep·ra·yim “ro 'eh” (grazes / feeds) on the wind, “we ro dep” (chases / follows after) the east wind all the time- “ka zab” (falsehoods / lies) and “wa sod” (violence / havoc / destruction / etc) “yar beh” (increase / become numerous) they make an alliance with Assyria and pay tribute (olive oil) to Egypt.

      A charge YHWH has against “ye hu dah”, “we lip qad” (attend to / punish) “ya·‘a·qob” (Jacob) “kid ra kaw” ('by his' course / habits) - “ke·ma·‘a·la·law” ('by his' deeds / practices) “ya sib low” (He will (pay him back)).

      How about that? Actions instead of words count for something in the eyes of God.

      A biographical section on Jacob, beginning with Genesis 25, then: “u·be·’o·w·now” “in his vigour / strength (of manhood)) “sa rah” (contended / exerted himself 'against') God.

      The translations know their Jacob.
      And here we are reminded of the origin of Bethel, and why when the idols were installed it was worse for them to be there than most other places.

      YHWH the God of an army, YHWH is “zik row” (to be remembered).

      “we at tah” (you) “be·lo·he·ka” (a work of / special action of Mighty GOD) “ta sub” (turn back / come back), “he sed” (kindness / goodness / faithfulness) and “u·mis·pat” (justice) “se mor” (keep / guard / observe), and “we·qaw·weh” (look for / wait with expectation) “'e·lo·he·ka” (your GOD (same root as before)).

      “ke na an” (Cannan) in his hand balance scales are “mir·mah” (deceitful / treacherous), “la 'a soq” (violence / oppression / fraud) he loves.

      ’ep·ra·yim said, indeed “'a sar ti” (I'm wealthy), “ma sa ti” (acquired / attained / 'found') wealth for myself, “kal ye·gi·‘ay” (all my toil / work / product) not find “'a won” (perversity / depravity / iniquity / etc) which is sin.

      “we·’a·no·kî” (But, I am) YHWH “’e·lo·he·ka” (Creator God (root includes 'Mighty GOD'))
      Then there is a reminder of their time in Egypt, and a promise that once again they will go tenting.

10 The translations agree that the verse about His speaking through the prophets is on message (all puns intended)

11 The translations stop agreeing.
      Though Gilead (region east of the Jordan given to Manasseh) “'a wen” (wickedness / iniquity (this is the only place in the OT where it is made 'idols')) “'ak” (indeed) “saw” (empty / nothing / false / vain) “ha yu” (they are). “bag· gil·gal” (in Gilgal (we've seen reference to the old town before)) “se·wa·rim” (ox / bull (male)) “zib·be·hu” (slaughter for sacrifice) - 'yes, their altars shall be in the field'.

      Again, the bull was sacred to Ba'al worshipers as a symbol of the god.
      The use of the two locations is evidently to symbolize how widespread the pagan practices had become, as is the ruin to come.

      another history lesson

13 is a Mosaic Sidebar:
      This verse identifies Moses as a prophet, which is not how we usually think of him. Moses was the “man God knew face to face” Deuteronomy 34 : 10. Jude 9 refers to an ancient Jewish legend about the body of Moses. Christ talks about how Moses predicted His coming to talk about him at the end of John 5, as well as showing up at the Transfiguration, Luke 9 and related. Moses had the exit visa for the nation from Egypt. He was the Lawgiver, he instituted the majority of the feasts the Jews observed.
      There is no figure bigger to Judaism. You can talk about Elijah, or David, or 'father Abraham', or whoever. But Moses was MOSES ... was Charlton Heston.
      So when Hosea says Moses was a prophet, which he was in his spare time, he's saying in effect “if you listened to him, listen to me, I'm doing the same job.”
      Well, they didn't listen to Moses in his time, so why would Hosea expect them to listen to him?
End sidebar

      “his 'is” (provoke to wrath) ’ep·ra·yim “tam·ru·rim” (bitterness (implies mourning)) “we da maw” ('his' blood) upon him “yit to·wos” (will leave / remain) “we·her·pa·tow” ( reproach / scorn / disgrace) ”ya sib” (return / brought back) on him “’a·go·naw” ((Adonay) his Lord).

      Now just who has been provoked to terrible anger? Moses? Hosea? Well, Moses may be upset, as is Hosea, but they're rage is nothing compared to the One called Adonay.

Chapter 13

      “ke·dab·ber” (when declares / speak (as a promise)) ’ep·ra·yim “re tet” (trembling (shaking with emotion)), “na sa hu” (lifted up (exalted) himself) “be ·yis·ra·’el” (in Israel (the man Jacob)) - “way·ye’·sam” (but trespassed (commit crime)) “bab ba'al” ('serving' Ba'al) “way·ya·mot” (died / was executed).

      The translations are in agreement, so a bit of discussion is in order....

Silver Tangent:
      The metal listed in verse 2 is “mik·kas·pam” which is silver, not “za hab” or “paz” or “be·ke·tem” or any of the other handful of words used in the OT for 'gold'. Incidentally, those three words can be found in two verses in Job 28 : 16 and 17. They describe not the just metal, but how it is being used.
      Historically silver has been associated with the moon. Several lunar deities such as Selena of Rome held silver as 'their' metal of choice. Selena's alter ego in the Greek pantheon was Artemis who, while not a lunar goddess, was armed with a silver bow. So as the two merged during the Roman period, Artemis relocated to the Moon.
      On the Egyptian side of things, one of the several gods associated with the moon itself was Thoth, who when he wasn't weighing the souls of the dead spent his time perfecting the 365 day calendar we use today. Apparently this lunar god didn't have a metal of choice.
      To the north of Israel the Hittites had held that Kasku, also called Arma down the road a ways, was the god of the moon. Very little has been found about him and we have no idea what metal he liked.
      But it is likely that any idol made of silver would have been dedicated to a lunar god.

      Back to Silver.
      Besides being pretty, and valuable as coin and decoration, silver is one of the handful of metals known since ancient times. It was referred to in Psalm 12 as a symbol of how God purifies the people.
      And they are taking their silver and making idols out of it. Not a good scene.
End tangent.

      “they'll go away”

      see 12 : 9. then Egypt reference. A reminder of the First Commandment. Then the reason for that: “u mo·wo·si·a‘” (to be saved / delivered / victory) “'a yin” (nothing / no one) “bil ti” (but 'Me').

5 and 6
      more history in reference to the time in the wilderness

7 and 8
      The big cats are real. The Arabian Leopard is a subspecies that is listed as endandered on the Arabian peninsula. The lion is the same lion that David took care of in his job as shepherd in 1 Samuel 17.
      And while we're doing animal stories, the Syrian brown bear in the next verse was known in the area as well and is a 'medium sized' bear weighing about 500 pounds and up to 55 inches “nose to tail”.
      The most famous example of this type of bear is Wojtek, the “soldier bear” that served with the free Polish army in World War 2 where he saw action including the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy with the allies. It is said he carried crates of artillery shells, without dropping them! After his service, being promoted to corporal, he retired to a zoo in Scotland where he lived until 1963. He was twenty one years old at his death.

      As for the verses. Hosea is explaining that God is not happy and vengeance is on its way.

      “si·het·ka” (destroyed) yis·ra·’el, but, from Me “be·‘ez·re·ka” (succour / help).

      “'e hi” (I will be (NOT: where is)) “mal ke ka” (your king) - “'e po w” (what / who then) “we·yo·wo·si·‘a·ka” (to save / to deliver you) in your cities.
      Then more history with the Judges, this would be before 1 Samuel 8.

      'I gave you a king' “be·’ap·pi” (in anger), “we·’eq·qah” (snatch / take away) “be·‘eb·ra·ti” (in fury / wrath).
      This would be Saul.

12 and 13
      the translations do good here

      “mi yad” (the hand of / power of) “se·’o·wl” (Sheol / underworld / grave / pit) “'ep dem” (ransom / rescue / deliver) them “mim·ma·wet” ('from' Death / abode of the dead) “'eg 'a lem” (avenge (as a kinsman)), I will be “de·ba·re·ka” (pestilence / plague) “ma wet” (Death), I will be “qa·ta·be·ka” (destruction (as in extermination)) Sheol - “no ham” (sorrow) “yis·sa·ter” (concealed / hidden) from my sight.

15 and 16
      First a weather forecast. Not good, but worse is to come. And the images are not pleasant.
      The prediction in 16 is gruesome in most of the translations, and that is true to the Hebrew. No one is spared.

Chapter 14

      the translations are good, the reasons for their 'stumble' is a general 'iniquity' instead of the list of usual suspects.

2 (you've GOT to read the 1611 KJV on this one!)
“Take with you words, and turne to the Lord, say vnto him, Take away all iniquitie, and receiue vs graciously: so will wee render the calues of our lips.”

      Calves? And, to be fair, the 1560 Geneva Bible, the bulk source for the King James, has calves as well.
      The word in the text is “pa rim” (bull OR fruit). The others do OK on this one. The 'fruit of our lips' is praise to God.

      The translations are good with the Assyrians and the horses.
      AND the fact that they will no longer call hand made idols “their gods”.

      I will heal their “me·su·ba·tam” (apostasy / turning away) “’o·ha·bem” (love them as family) “ne·da·bah” ('of my free will') 'for my anger has turned away'.

5 and 6
      The gardening reference is on track. The “Lebanon” idea probably refers to the famous Cedars of Lebanon which were even mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh as the “Forest of God”.
      Some olive trees are known to be at least two thousand years old.

      Those who live under God will... be like grain and vines.
      NOT 'corne' (maize) like the 1611.

      ’ep·ra·yim 'will say' “mah- li 'o wd” ('what am I doing' continuing) “la·‘a·sab·bim” (idols / images)? 'they've seen and heard GOD'.
      More produce report.

9 This is the part from the scribe that wrote Hosea's teachings down:
      The 1611 did this justice:

“Who is wise, and hee shall vnderstand these things? prudent, and hee shall know them? for the wayes of the Lord are right, and the iust shall walke in them: but the transgressours shall fall therein.”

End Hosea

Outside references
Some more about: Thoth of Egype

BBC: “Story of Poland's 'soldier bear' Wojtek turned into film”

The Epic of Gilgamesh

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

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.

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