The indictment of Israel (Hos 4:1-4:1)

Hear the word of Yahweh!

O people of Israel!

Yahweh

Has an indictment

Against the inhabitants

Of the land.

There is no faithfulness.

There is no loyalty.

There is no knowledge

Of God

In the land.”

Hosea announced the word of Yahweh to the people of Israel. Yahweh was going to bring an indictment against all the people living in Israel. They were unfaithful and not loyal. They had no knowledge about God or their land. They were in big trouble.

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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 two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

Prophesy of the dry bones (Ezek 37:3-37:4)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Son of man!

Can these bones live?’

I answered.

‘O Yahweh God!

You know!’

Then he said to me.

‘Prophesy

To these bones!

Say to them!

O dry bones!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!’”

This is a short crisp dialogue between Yahweh and Ezekiel. Normally, these oracles were long Yahweh monologues. Yahweh here asked Ezekiel if these dry bones could live. Ezekiel wisely responded that if anyone knew about them, it would be Yahweh himself. Then Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize to these dry bones. Ezekiel was to tell these dry bones to listen to the word of Yahweh, a common theme of many Yahweh oracles.

The reasons for the scattered Israelites (Ezek 36:16-36:19)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When the house

Of Israel

Lived

On their own soil,

They defiled it

With their ways,

With their doings.

Their conduct was,

In my sight,

Like the uncleanness

Of a woman

In her menstrual period.

Thus,

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the blood

That they had shed

Upon the land.

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the idols

With which

They had defiled it.

I scattered them

Among the nations.

They were dispersed

Through the countries.

I judged them

In accordance

With their conduct.

I judged them

In accordance

With their deeds.’”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, but without a specific date. Yahweh said that when the house of Israel lived on their own soil, they defiled it with how they acted. They were unclean, like the uncleanness of the menstrual female, who was considered to be unclean at the time of her period. They had shed blood throughout the land. They had worshipped idols, thus defiling the land. Yahweh then poured out his wrath and scattered them among the various nations. Thus, they were dispersed throughout the different countries. Yahweh judged them according to their conduct and their deeds.

The mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:1-36:1)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy

To the mountains

Of Israel!

Say!

‘O mountains of Israel!

Hear

The word of Yahweh.’”

Next Yahweh, via Ezekiel, turned to the mountains of Israel. As opposed to the mountains of Edom, Mount Seir, Yahweh wanted these mountains to listen to the word of Yahweh as presented by Ezekiel.

King Nebuchadnezzar and Tyre (Ezek 29:17-29:18)

“In the twenty-seventh year,

In the first month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Made his army

Labor hard

Against Tyre.

Every head

Was made bald.

Every shoulder

Was rubbed bare.

Yet neither he

Nor his army

Got anything

From Tyre

To pay

For the labor

That he had expended.”

This appears to be one of the last oracles of Ezekiel. Once again, there is an exact date, the 1st day of the 1st month of the 27th year of King Zedekiah, making it 571 BCE, well after the captivity of Jerusalem. As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh explained how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had made his army work very hard against Tyre. They were baldheaded and wore out their shoulders. However, neither he nor his army got anything out of Tyre to pay for all the energy that they had spent against it.