Hosea buys a prostitute (Hos 3:2-3: 3)

“So,

I bought her

For fifteen shekels

Of silver,

As well as a homer

Of barley,

With a measure

Of wine.

I said to her.

‘You must dwell

As mine

For many days.

You shall not play

The prostitute.

You shall not have

Intercourse

With a man.

Nor will I have

Intercourse with you.’”

Is Hosea buying back Gomer or another woman? The assumption is that this is Gomer, the original prostitute. He purchased her like a slave. It is not clear who he bought her from. Nevertheless, he paid 15 silver shekels, approximately a little over $3,000.00 for her, as well as some barley and wine. Hosea laid down some conditions for his newly purchased sex slave. She could not be a prostitute. She would not have intercourse with any man, not even himself. This would seem to indicate that women needed to control their sexual urges more than men, which seems unrealistic.

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Description of the false female prophetesses (Ezek 13:18-13:19)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

Say to them!

‘Woe to the women

Who sew bands

On all wrists!

Woe to the woman

Who make veils

For the heads of persons

Of every height,

In the hunt for human lives!

Will you hunt down lives

Among my people?

Will you maintain

Your own lives?

You have profaned me

Among my people

For handfuls of barley,

For pieces of bread.

You put to death

Persons

Who should not die.

You keep alive

Persons

Who should not live,

By your lies

To my people,

Who listen to lies.’”

Yahweh said to Ezekiel that these prophetesses should be cursed. Then he went into a description of their activities. One group of these female prophetesses sewed bands on the wrists of people. What exactly was that? Most commentators are not sure. It was some kind of band, pillow, or lucky charm on the arm by the wrist, elbow, or armpit. They also made veils or kerchiefs for the head. How they were hunting down human lives is not clear.   However, they were profaning Yahweh with their lies. Apparently, they received a few handfuls of barley or pieces of bread for their activities. More serious is the fact that these women were sometimes asked to be judges. They would judge the innocence or guilt of a person, leading to their free life or the death penalty of a person, perhaps wrongly as indicated in this passage. Whatever their lies, the people of Israel were listening to them.

Ezekiel’s bread (Ezek 4:9-4:10)

“You take wheat.

You take barley.

You take beans.

You take lentils.

You take millet.

You take spelt.

Put them into

One vessel!

Make bread

For yourself!

During the number of days

That you lie

On your side,

Three hundred ninety days,

You shall eat it.

The food

That you eat

Shall be twenty shekels

A day,

By weight.

You shall eat it

At fixed times.”

The voice of Yahweh continued telling Ezekiel how to make his bread. It will be a combination of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt. These last two were grains and flours. This sounds more like a stew or a soup, than rich bread. Ezekiel was to be put this combination of ingredients into one pot or vessel to make bread for himself. He was to eat this bread while he was laying on his side for the 390 days. He could eat 20 shekel weight of food daily at specific times, maybe once a day. It is not clear who was preparing his food.

 

Ishmael kills the pilgrim worshippers (Jer 41:6-41:8)

“Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Came out from Mizpah

To meet

The weeping pilgrims.

As he met them,

He said to them.

‘Come to Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.’

When they reached

The middle of the city,

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

With his men

Slaughtered them.

He threw them into a cistern.

But there were ten men

Among them

Who said to Ishmael,

‘Do not kill us!

We have stores

Of wheat,

Of barley,

Of oil,

Of honey

Hidden in the fields.’

So he refrained.

He did not kill them

Along with their companions.”

Ishmael went out to meet these 80 mourning crying pilgrims as they approached Mizpah. He told them to come and meet the new governor of Judah, Gedaliah. When they got to the center of Mizpah, Ishmael and his 10 men killed these 80 pilgrims. He saved 10 of these northern pilgrims because they said that they hidden provisions of wheat, barley, oil, and honey in the fields. However, the other dead people were thrown into a cistern well. It is amazing how strong these 10 men with Ishmael were.

Harvesting (Isa 28:7-28:29)

“Dill herbs are not threshed

With a threshing sledge.

Nor is a cart wheel rolled over carrot seeds.

But the dill herbs are beaten out with a stick.

The carrot seeds are beaten with a rod.

Grain is crushed for bread.

But one does not thresh it forever.

One drives the cart wheel with horses over it.

But he does not pulverize it.

This also comes from Yahweh of hosts.

He is wonderful in counsel.

He is excellent in wisdom.”

Each crop has a different form of harvesting. The dill herbs and carrot seeds are too fragile to be smashed with a threshing sledge hammer. You do not roll the cart wheels over the herbs and seeds like you do to the wheat and the barley. You beat the herbs and seeds with a stick or a rod that is gentler than the wheel cart. However, the threshing of the wheat and barley requires a heavy horse drawn cart wheel in order to provide grain for bread. However, you do not want to pulverize these grains into nothing. How do these farmers know how to do this? Why, the Lord of hosts, Yahweh has told them how to do it. Yahweh is wonderful in his counsel and excellent in his wisdom, as in the later wisdom tradition.

The famers plant the crops (Isa 28:24-28:26)

“Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?

Do they continually open their ground?

Do they continually harrow their ground?

When they have leveled its surface,

Do they not scatter dill herbs?

Do they not sow carrot seeds?

Do they not plant wheat in rows?

Do they not plant barley in its proper place?

Do they not plant spelt hardy wheat as the border?

They are well instructed.

Their God teaches them.”

Here is a story or parable about farmers asked in a series of questions. First, they had to plow the ground before the planting of seeds. They had to open and turn the land over by harrowing it. Then they leveled it out. After this, they were able to scatter some dill herbs and sow some carrot seeds. Then they properly put the wheat and barley in rows with hardy inferior spelt wheat as the border to their farms. How did they know how to do this? Well, God has instructed them on how to do this.

Job provided for the land (Job 31:38-31:40)

“‘If my land has cried out against me,

If its furrows have wept together,

If I have eaten its yield without payment,

If I have caused the death of its owners,

Let thorns grow instead of wheat.

Let foul weeds grow instead of barley.’

The words of Job are ended.”

It seems that we have come to the end of the words of Job. In fact, there will be other words of Job. However, this passage seems to indicate that Job is done talking. He said that he had not mistreated the land. He had paid all his fees. He had not caused any deaths. If he had mistreated the land, he wanted thorns and weeds to grow instead of wheat and barley.