Exegetical Notes: Hosea 9:10-17 -- By: Stephen G. Burnett

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 06:2 (Fall 1985)
Article: Exegetical Notes: Hosea 9:10-17
Author: Stephen G. Burnett

Exegetical Notes: Hosea 9:10-17

Stephen G. Burnett

Marquette University

The prophet Hosea carried on his ministry to Israel during the eighth century B.C. He was a contemporary of Amos and preached during the reign of King Jereboam II. Hosea is perhaps best known for his tragically unhappy marriage to Gomer. His frustration with her was a prophetic illustration of God’s anger and frustration with his people Israel.

One major theme of the book of Hosea is adultery. In the first three chapters Hosea’s own relationship with adulterous Gomer is narrated. Hosea’s marital strife serves to introduce the spiritual adultery theme that recurs throughout the book. The remainder of the book consists of sermons and soliloquies (not always easily separated) speaking to aspects of this theme.

Hosea speaks frequently to the significance of Israel’s spiritual heritage and to her use and misuse of blessings as examples of spiritual adultery. A good spiritual heritage can be either a blessing or a curse. While festivals, sacrifices and a history of dealings with God served as resources for faith to Hosea’s contemporaries, they also brought greater condemnation to those who spurned the lessons which they taught (6:4–5).

The presence of blessings is also a vital sign of spiritual health in the book of Hosea. Israel’s God is the true source of children, grain, wine, gold, silver and every other necessary or good thing in life. Those who refuse to acknowledge God as the source of these gifts deny one aspect of his character. When they attribute these gifts to any other god they arouse his wrath (2:9–13); and even the blessings of the past brought greater condemnation upon Hosea’s religiously unfaithful contemporaries.

In this oracle (9:10–17) God speaks using the image of an embittered husband against his unfaithful wife. Not only has Israel been unfaithful to God, but she has credited Baal with the giving of children, not God who actually gives offspring. In two places Hosea himself prays, responding to God’s words.

This oracle is important because of the challenging questions it raises concerning the loyalty of God’s people. Have they compromised with the prevailing wisdom of the world at the expense of biblical truth?

v 10 As grapes in the wilderness I found Israel,
As newly ripe figs I regarded your fathers.
They went to Baal Peor
And dedicated themselves to Shame
And they became detestabl...

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