I’m gonna ruin the magic today. I’ve been writing posts in advance lately and building up a buffer. But Hosea 5 stymied me. Some theodicy-related stuff was coming to a head, inside my head, and I’ve been sitting on it for two days without writing a post. I think I’m finally ready to tackle the chapter, though, so let’s return to the world to God chastening ancient Israel for their unfaithfulness.
The word “harlot” appears nine times in this chapter. The passage details Israel’s sins against God, and it’s pretty clear in what light he views their disobedience. He brings numerous charges against Israel, but at their core, they’re all forms of unfaithfulness: ways of giving yourself to things that don’t deserve you because they’re not your all-powerful, all-good Creator.
Well, that was over quick. At just five verses, Hosea 3 is an incredibly short chapter. Unsurprisingly, Hosea’s wife has committed adultery, and the chapter gives his response.
The second chapter of Hosea hits the same notes as the first: Israel has prostituted herself to the nations around her, there will be consequences for her infidelity to the Lord, but the Lord will forgive her and bring her back to him. This time around, however, there are also Baals.
The book of Hosea begins with Hosea marrying a prostitute.
The second chapter of Hosea accuses Israel of violating the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2). The indictment is set up as a divorce case between God the faithful husband and his adulterous wife. He gives her grain, new wine, oil, silver, and gold, which she turns around and offers to the pagan god Baal. For her sin, he vows to take away not only the gifts, but also her Sabbaths: “I will also put an end to all her gaiety, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her festal assemblies” (Hosea 2:11). This verse can easily be another record-scratch moment: is God putting an end to Israel’s obedience, in essence compelling her to disobey?