Prefacing Hosea

16/07/12 3:39 AM

Thank you for joining me in reading through and praying through the scriptures. Over the last months, I have been reading through the prophets. Today, I begin reading through the book of Hosea. The book of Hosea has been a difficult book for me to read; and so, I felt that it was appropriate and necessary to offer a prefacing commentary on the book. The following notes are taken from Gale Yee’s commentary in the New Interpreters Bible Commentary.


The prophetic book of Hosea provides a vivid and passionate look at the covenantal relationship between God and Israel, employing two metaphors from human relationships: the husband/wife relationship in marriage and the parent/child relationship. In biblical tradition, different metaphors are used to capture the unique covenantal relationship between God and Israel. The use of biblical metaphor seeks to draw from the bonds of human relationships (e.g. between king and servant, lord and vassal, etc) to communicate different facets of the covenantal union. The book of Hosea was the first to employ the metaphor of husband for God and casting Israel in negative female imagery as God’s adulterous wife. However, interpretive problems arise when the metaphorical character of the biblical image is forgotten.

In particular, the marriage metaphor for the covenant between God and Israel becomes problematic for women who continue to be victims of sexual violence and abuse. Hosea’s marriage metaphor arises from a particular ancient social context. The husband/wife metaphor of the God/Israel covenant in the book of Hosea Is embedded with specific, culturally conditioned notions of what it means to be male or female and how each should behave in a particular society. Present-day Euro-American societies are quite different in their understanding of marriage and gender relations. Thus, understanding Israel’s institution of marriage and its laws regarding adultery in marriage becomes critical to interpreting Hosea.

Regrettably, I am not able to walk us through an interpretive study of Hosea at this time (My plate will be full with preparing for Sunday worship, leading the Saturday Men’s studies and the Disciple Bible study on Genesis). My objective is simply to read through the book devotionally. However, I did not want to do so without acknowledging the challenges we might face as we read through the book together. Should the metaphor and imagery in the book present significant challenges for you, I want you to know that I am available to accompany you and share in your questioning and reflecting. Feel free to reach out to me and to others as you encounter need. Above all, I want to affirm for you that God is gracious to wrestle with you as you wrestle with the text.

Remember, as we devotionally read through the scriptures, we are asking two simple  questions: 1) what stands out for you (images, words, verses, etc) and why?; 2) what do you believe God might be saying to you through that?

I pray and hope that this journey will be an enriching journey for you. Thank you for deciding to covenant with me and share this journey with me.

In Christ, Pastor Shandi


2 Comments on “Prefacing Hosea”

  1. Janice Says:

    Do you assign chapters? Do we read one chapter a day? Is there a guideline for us?

  2. Shandi Says:

    I have no guide, per se, except the two guiding questions for reflections: 1) What stands out for you and why, and 2) What do you believe God might be saying to you through that scripture. I am assigning a chapter a day. I will indicate which chapter we’ve read for the day in my prayer. While, I am reading through the chapters devotionally, I am not writing traditional devotional reflections. (Sometimes I might do that but that is not my objective). At the moment, my reflections will be the prayers that I write for each day. I’m mainly inviting you to do your own reflections as you read the chapter a day. It that okay? 🙂