Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hosea 8-11

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Hosea 8 - No mention of any women.

9:1 - " Do not rejoice, O Israel! Do not exult as other nations do; for you have played the whore, departing from your God. You have loved a prostitute's pay on all threshing floors."

10:11 - "Ephraim was a trained heifer that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will make Ephraim break the ground; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself."

Hosea 11 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

This verse just seems so... scattered. I wasn't sure if I should put it in the facts section. First it seems Ephraim is a woman being denied the only glory a woman can gain - a child. But then in the next verse Ephraim is leading "his" children to slaughter. Then Ephraim shall no longer bear fruit, which I guess could go either way, but then God will kill the cherished offspring of their womb and it's no very clear if that's referring to the people of Ephraim individually or Ephraim as an entity made up of people. Ugh, I dunno. But here's the verses so you can see them for yourself.

9:11-16 - "Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird-- no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them until no one is left. Woe to them indeed when I depart from them! Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow, but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter. Give them, O LORD-- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal; there I came to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their officials are rebels. Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Even though they give birth, I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb."

These chapters have suddenly flipped the sex of these cities and tribes. Suddenly Israel is "he" and "him" and Ephraim is "his" and it's just weird why. The language has definitely changed, and I doubt this is any sort of "bias" that some people who don't see the inherent woman-hating in the Bible might assume I have. Seriously, read Hosea 10 and 11 for yourself. Then compare those chapters to Hosea 2 or Ezekiel 23 or Ezekiel 16. You would have to be seriously kidding yourself if you believe these chapters are even remotely similarly to each other in the way they treat Israel and other cities/tribes. Hosea 10 comes nowhere close. None of the verses or sections referring to these places are male are anywhere near close to the treatment the female versions at dealt.

And I can say with pretty fair certainty that verses like Hosea 11:8-9 ("How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. "), filled with such seeming remorse are not often found in the chapters concerning female Israel, et. al. When God states how his punishment of female Israel hurts him more than it does her and he will raise her back up and won't hurt her again as long as she remains faithful it's stated in almost a begrudging tone. It doesn't at all seem completely sincere or like God really thinks Israel didn't completely deserve what she got.

But in that one verse (surrounded by the light weight "punishment" verses) makes it really seem like God is honestly upset that he's had to do this to his people and he truly wishes to never have to do it again. Male Israel is surely a victim of God's wrath, while female Israel is simply a whore that God had to beat back into submission.

But, seriously, do not take my word for it. Hosea 10 and 11 aren't very long, go have a read and see if I am just blowing everything out of proportion. If anyone honestly thinks I am, I would love to hear about it.

I will give a SMALL benefit of the doubt and say that it looks like Hosea will continue to refer to Israel, et. al. as male and thus maybe some horrendous chapters are just around the corner. It's a VERY SMALL benefit of the doubt, but I will state no clear absolutes until the book is over.

I'm taking a MUCH needed mental health day from the world on Friday so no new posts until Monday. Hope everyone stays safe and the world treats you well enough until then. :)

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