The Literary Structure Of Hosea 4–8 -- By: Charles H. Silva
BSac 164:655 (July-September 2007) p. 291
The Literary Structure Of Hosea 4–8
Charles H. Silva is Pastor, Horizon Christian Church, Branson, Missouri.
This is the third article in a four-part series “A Literary Analysis of the Book of Hosea.”
While the divisions within Hosea 4–14 are difficult to discern,1 the chapters do reveal a distinct threefold structural arrangement (4:1–6:3; 6:4–11:11; 11:12–14:8).2 These three lengthy sections—cycles D, E, and F—are primarily
BSac 164:655 (July-September 2007) p. 292
This repetitive interplay serves the rhetorical purpose of intensifying two facts: (a) the people of Israel were guilty of violating the stipulations of the Lord’s covenant,5 and (b) as a consequence, judgment was unavoidable—the curses stated in the Mosaic Covenant were about to be released.
Also of note is the fact that each of these cycles concludes with restoration. Cycle D includes prophetic judgment oracles (4:1–5:15a), God’s promise of restoration (5:15b), and an exhortation to repent (6:1–3).6 Cycle E includes prophetic judgment oracles (6:4–11:7) and concludes with the Lord’s promise to restore Israel, based solely on His divine compassion and grace (11:8–11). Cycle F includes prophetic judgment oracles (11:12–13:16), an exhortation to repent (14:1–3), and a final all-encompassing salvation oracle (14:4–8; cf. 3:5), in which the Lord promised to love His wayward people and to restore them to their land and to His manifold blessings.
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