1 O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2 Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
Return to the land is contingent on Israelís repentance. That repentance is shown by their abandonment of foreign powers and gods.
4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the grain, and blossom as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and will regard him: I am like a green fir-tree; from me is thy fruit found.
In this segment, God responds to His contrite people. God is here compared to a great tree under which the exiles will find rest. This is a reversal of the Israelite practice of resting under trees during the worship of Baal and Asherah. See also the Song of Solomon where these images are used of the Bridegrooms love for the Bride.
9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? prudent, that he may know them? for the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein.
The last verse of the book, like the first, was added by the final redactor. It shows the important influence of the wisdom movement on the composition of the book.
ASSIGNMENT: Choose a text from Hosea and write a 5 page sermon based on it -- making use of the materials used for this course, and others which you may possess.
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