The sorrow of the exile (Hos 9:1-9:3)

“Do not rejoice!

O Israel!

Do not exult

As other nations do!

You have played

The prostitute!

You departed from

Your God!

You have loved

A prostitute’s pay

On all the threshing floors.

Threshing floor

With wine vat

Shall not feed them.

The new wine

Shall fail them.

They shall not remain

In the land of Yahweh.

But Ephraim shall return

To Egypt.

They shall eat

Unclean food

In Assyria.”

Hosea told the people of Israel, perhaps at a harvest festival, that they would no longer rejoice and exalt like other countries. They had prostituted themselves. They had departed from their God. They had accepted the prostitute’s pay on the threshing floor. No longer would grain and wine feed them, as the new wine would fail. They were not going to remain in the land of Yahweh. They would be sent to Egypt and Assyria, where they would eat unclean food.

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The punishment for Israel (Hos 2:13-2:13)

“‘I will punish her

For the festival days

Of the Baals.

There she burned

Incense to them.

She decked herself

With her ring,

With jewelry.

She went after

Her lovers.

She forgot me.’

Says Yahweh.”

The “her” here is clearly Israel in this oracle of Yahweh. Israel had prostituted itself by running to the false idol Baal gods. Yahweh was going to punish the people of Israel, because they were burning incense to these gods on the festival days of Baal. Israel, like Gomer, decked herself out with a ring and jewelry. When she sought her idol lovers, she forgot Yahweh.

Take a prostituting wife (Hos 1:2-1:2)

“When Yahweh

First spoke

Through Hosea,

Yahweh said to Hosea.

‘Go!

Take for yourself

A wife of prostitution!

Have children

Of prostitution!

The land commits

Great prostitution

By forsaking Yahweh.’”

The command of Yahweh to Hosea is a little strange at first sight. Yahweh God wants Hosea to take a wife, which is not odd. However, she should be a prostitute or whore. He should have children with this prostitute. Thus, the life of Hosea the prophet became symbolic in itself. The reason for the emphasis on prostitution was that the land of Israel had prostituted itself by giving up on Yahweh. The great theme of the infidelity of the Israelites was lived out by Hosea in a real symbolic way. The later prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel would mention this infidelity of Israel also.

Prostitution with the Assyrians (Ezek 16:28-16:28)

“You played the whore  

With the Assyrians.

Because you were insatiable.

You played the prostitute

With them.

Still you were not satisfied.”

Yahweh said that they prostituted themselves with the Assyrians, their neighbors to the north. In fact, Yahweh said that they were insatiable. They could not get enough of the Assyrians, who were the natural enemies of the Egyptians. They were never satisfied. They always wanted more Assyrians gods in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem as a street prostitute (Ezek 16:23-16:25)

“After all your wickedness,

‘Woe!

Woe to you!’

Says Yahweh God.

You built yourself

A platform.

You made yourself

A lofty place

In every square.

At the head

Of every street,

You built your

Lofty place.

You prostituted

Your beauty.

You offered yourself

To every passer-by.

You multiplied

Your prostitution.”

Yahweh said that things were not going to go well for Jerusalem with all her wickedness. She had built a lofty platform for herself in every major square and at the street corners. There she prostituted her beauty. She offered herself to every passer-by. She exponentially multiplied her prostitution ways.