Proposed Answers To The Puzzle
Hebrew is the dominant language the Jewish Scriptures were written in, and Hebrew poetry loves to use parallelism to get across its ideas. The way this works is that you have to think about the comparisons, contrasts, or progressive development that takes place from one line to the next.
Hosea’s text is not only poetic, but it’s also prophetic speech where we have to track the characters Hosea presented earlier to see how he develops them later. Unless we read Hosea from beginning to end we don’t even have a chance at understanding what he is saying.
“Jacob ran away to the land of Aram;
Israel served for a wifeand for a wife he took care (of sheep.)
By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up out of Egypt
and by a prophet he took care (of Israel).
But Ephraim has bitterly provoked the LORD to anger;
the LORD will leave upon His people the guilt of their murderous bloodshed.
His Master will turn against them and leave them in disgrace. “ Hosea 12:12-14
These are some thoughts on the questions I gave yesterday to help us track with Hosea.
The patriarch Jacob is obviously one of the husbands who went to a far country to find a wife. If we remember the symbolism in Hosea 2 where the LORD is presented as Israel’s husband, it’s easy to see how Hosea sees God, like Jacob, going into a far country, Egypt, to find his wife.
In the far country Jacob took care of sheep to get a wife and then took care of them by shepherding. Hosea used a Hebrew term that means “keep, watch over” to picture what Jacob did in Aram. It can be used to describe shepherding, but it also can be used of the tender care and protection a husband should provide for his wife and family. The Lord is the ultimate good shepherd and caring husband when it comes to taking care of his people.
The prophet Moses was used by the LORD to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt (cf. Deut. 18:15-10). Now Hosea is the prophet speaking God’s words. If the people will listen and obey, they will be delivered like they were in the time of Moses.
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