The assassinations of the Israelite kings (Hos 7:5-7:7)

“On the day of our king,

The officials

Became sick

With the heat of wine.

He stretched out his hand

With mockers.

They are kindled

Like an oven.

Their hearts

Burn with intrigue.

All night,

Their anger smolders.

In the morning,

It blazes

Like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot

As an oven.

They devour their rulers.

All their kings have fallen.

None of them calls upon me.”

Yahweh was upset about the northern Israelite kingdom. Even at the enthronement of the king, some conspirators, drunk with wine, were plotting an overthrow of the new king. This intrigue burned in their hearts. Finally, this smoldering anger would blaze into a flaming fire. They devoured their own rulers. Many kings had fallen. Thus, one of the wicked deeds of the northern kingdom of Israel was their various assassination plots that changed kings. At least 7 kings were murdered in this northern territory. King Pekah (737-732 BCE) had murdered King Pekahiah (7378-737 BCE), the son of King Menahem (743-738 BC). However, the worst crime of all was that no one called on Yahweh for help.

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The title of Hosea (Hos 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Hosea,

The son of Beeri.

This was in the days

Of King Uzziah,

Of King Jotham,

Of King Ahaz,

Of King Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

This was in the days

Of King Jeroboam.

The son of Joash,

The king of Israel.”

Hosea was a prophet during the last days of the kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. He also was the earliest Israelite written prophet that we know of. This work of Hosea is considered the first of the 12 minor prophets. In a classic prophetic phrase, the word of Yahweh came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, who may have been a prophet himself. At that time, the kings of Judah were King Uzziah (781-740 BCE), King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), spanning nearly 100 years. Meanwhile, the king of Israel mentioned here was only King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), the son of King Joash (798-783 BCE). That would eliminate all the Judean kings after King Uzziah. The last 4 kings of Israel were King Menahem, (743-738 BCE), King Pekahiah (738-737 BCE), King Pekah (737-732 BCE), and King Hoshea (732-724 BCE), but they were not mentioned here.

The message of Yahweh for King Ahaz (Isa 7:4-7:6)

“Say to King Ahaz.

‘Take heed!

Be quiet!

Do not fear!

Do not let your heart be faint               

Because of these

Two smoldering stumps of firebrands,

Because of the fierce anger

Of King Rezin from Syria,

Because of the son of Remaliah.

Syria with Ephraim,

The son of Remaliah,

Has plotted evil

Against you.

Saying.

‘Let us go up against Judah!

Let us cut off Jerusalem!

Let us conquer it for ourselves!

Let us make the son of Tabeel king in it.’”

The message of Yahweh for King Ahaz via Isaiah was to take heed and be quiet. King Ahaz had nothing to fear, so that he should not be faint hearted. Two firebrands from Syria and Ephraim had plotted together. King Rezin of Syria (792-732 BCE) and the son of Remaliah from Ephraim or northern Israel were coming after him. The unnamed Ephraim son of Remaliah was King Pekah (742-432 BCE), who had been a captain in the king’s army before he killed King Pekahiah and took over. The two of them were going to attack Judah and isolate Jerusalem. They were going to conquer this territory and put their own king of Judah in charge, who was the son of Tabeel. Actually Tabeel is a region on the other northern side of the Jordan River. We do not know much else about this king that never took the throne. Nevertheless, Yahweh via Isaiah wanted to let the King of Judah know what was happening.