The same fire that warms the righteous consumes the wicked.
As is the case with all of Hebrew Scripture, there are no chapter breaks in the scroll of the 12 Prophets in which Hosea is located. It’s important to see the text of this chapter as a continuation of the previous chapter:
“Ephraim has provoked bitter anger; and his blood will be left upon him, and his scorn Adonai will return to him.”
1 When Efrayim (doubly fruitful) spoke, reteit trembling. He nasa hu lifted himself up beYisrael in Israel, vayesham and incurred guilt baBa’al in Baal (master, lord, husband, Canaanite fertility deity) vayamot and died.
“When Ephraim spoke, trembling.” This is most likely an allusion to Jeroboam trembling before Solomon in whose court he had served prior to his rebellion and the setting up of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 11:26).
The text speaks of Ephraim (the kings of northern Israel) who exalted himself (pride) in Israel (the 10 northern tribes), in the past tense saying that he has already died as a result of his guilt in worshipping the Canaanite fertility deity Ba’al. In other words, the end of the northern kingship was predetermined by the idolatrous actions of her first king (1 Kings 12:25-33) and the subsequent actions of Ahab, who sinned in worship of Ba’al under the influence of Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31).
With regard to the pride that caused Jeroboam to engage Ba’al Rashi says:
“As soon as he assumed greatness and became guilty with Baal.”
“‘he died’ i.e., Jeroboam’s dynasty was terminated, and so was Ahab’s dynasty. Jonathan renders: When one of the house of Ephraim would speak, fear would seize the nations. They were great among Israel, but when they sinned by worshipping idols, they were slain.” -Rashi
There is strong textual evidence supporting an intrinsic link between the calf deities of Jeroboam, the calf of Sinai and the Ba’aliym (Canaanite deities). Therefore, it is inconsistent to make the claim that the tribes of the north considered the calves to be representations of YHVH. They clearly linked the calves to the false Canaanite deities the Ba’aliym. The fact that there were two calves (1 Kings 12:29) supports this polytheistic understanding, and blatantly contradicts a monotheistic Deity. Both the leaders of Israel (Sinai) [Exodus 32:4] and Jeroboam I [1 Kings 12:28] had appropriated the actions of YHVH and attributed them to other gods (calf deity of Egypt, calf deity representing Baal).
The text teaches us that humble position does not necessarily denote a godly outcome. It is true that the Scripture says “humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up” (Yaakov 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6), however, although Jeroboam was in a humble position before the Lord he had not humbled himself but had been appointed as servant to Solomon (1 Kings 11:26). Additionally Jeroboam lifted himself up (God allowed his kingship in response to Solomon’s disobedience, He did not appoint Jeroboam). His belief in his own strength over that of the Lord’s (in spite of the fact that the prophet Ahijah [1 Kings 11:26-39] had informed him that it was YHVH Who was allowing him to have dominion over the 10 northern tribes) resulted in idolatry.
Note: In this verse “Israel” is used of the 10 tribes and not all of Israel (as some foolish commentators suggest). We know this because the kings of the north beginning with Jeroboam I lifted themselves up over the 10 tribes of the north only. The sin of the southern kingdom under Solomon was the worship of Ashtoret, Molek and Chemosh (1 Kings 11:4-8) and not the worship of Ba’al (who is not mentioned in the indictment against Solomon), as is the case concerning the indictment of Israel in the present verse. Therefore, the resulting death is that of the northern kingship and the exile of the northern tribes, and not, as some erroneously suggest, the death of all Israel (all 12 tribes).
2 And now yosifu they increase lachato their sin (miss the mark of God’s glory), vayasu and they have made lahem for them maseichah cast metal icons, mikasoam from silver, kitvunam skilfully made atzabiym idols ma’aseih charashiym kuloh lahem all from the work of an engraver, to them. Heim They omeriym say zovecheiy adam “sacrifice a man (human sacrifice) agaliym yishakun kiss the calves [alt. they say ‘a man sacrifices to calves he kisses!’]”
This is a description of human sacrifices offered to man-made cast metal and silver plated idols. “They increase their sin” is an allusion to the fact that idolatry diversified and increased under the reign of Ahab and was maintained under the reigns of the pursuant kings of the north. In short the calf idol worship was merely the beginning.
The silver mentioned tells us that idols other than the calves of Bethel and Dan (made of gold ref. 1 Kings 12:28) were being made.
Sadly, human sacrifice to false gods was not alien to Israel (2 Kings 17:17; 23:10; Eze. 20:26; Mic. 6:7).
“Kiss the calves” This is an allusion to worship of the two calf deities of Bethel and Dan. A “kiss” is a symbolic act of intimacy, homage, submission (Psalms 2:12; 1 Kings 19:18).
“Those who sacrifice man may kiss the calves The priests of Molech say to Israel, “Whoever sacrifices his son to the idol is worthy of kissing the calf” for he has offered him a precious gift. So did our Sages explain this in Sanhedrin (63b), and it fits the wording of the verse better than Jonathan’s translation.” -Rashi
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” -1 Kings 19:18 NIV
3 Lachein Therefore, yihu they have become ka’anan-boker like a morning cloud vechatal and like night mist (dew) mashkiym holeich and leave early, kemotz like chaff yesoeir driven by the storm winds migoren from the threshing floor, ucheashan and like smoke meiarubah from a chimney.
Each of the examples given here are short lived, they appear and are gone soon after. The inference is that the northern kingdom and its kingship, will, historically speaking, be brief.
4 Ve’Anochiy And I Am YHVH the Lord Eloheycha your God/Judge, meieretz mitzrayim from the land of Egypt (double distress); veilohiym zulatiy lo and no gods but Me teida did you know umoshiya nor any other saviour.
YHVH reminds Ephraim (northern tribes) that He is her God and Judge, and has been from before she existed as a people. He has been with Israel from her bondage in Egypt and is the One Who delivered her from her captivity.
“no gods but Me” is in response to the false claim of Jeroboam I, who pointed out the calf idols and said “Behold your gods, Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (1 Kings 12:28).
5 Aniy I yedatiycha yes I knew you bamidbar in the desert be’eretz taluvot in the land of drought.
YHVH was present, in the cloud of the presence, in provision of quail and manna, in provision of water, leading Israel through her desert journey, and continuing to do so even after she had rebelled against Him (Numbers 13 & 14).
6 Kemariytam Because of their pasture, vayisbau they became full, shaveu they were satisfied [alt. they became fully filled], vayarom and exalted with pride libam in their inner being (heart); al-kein shecheichuniy Therefore they’ve forgotten Me.
Due to God’s provision and care Israel became comfortable, full, “well grazed”. Rather than give glory to God for their comfort as their forefather Abraham had done, Israel instead turned to other gods and appropriated God’s gifts naming them as evidence of the provision of false gods.
7 Vaehiy And I will become lahem to them kemo like shachal a lion; kenamer like a leopard I al-derech I will lie in wait in the way, ashur observing.
YHVH previously depicted as the Shepherd of Israel (4:16) is now seen as a Lion Who, like a leopard, a bear, and other predatory wild animals, attacks the sheep and rips them apart (cf. Jeremiah 5:6).
God is pictured figuratively as a Lion throughout Hebrew Scripture. YHVH as Lion is both a terrifying and comforting use of imagery. When Israel sins He comes as a Lion of discipline (Hosea 13:7-8), and when Israel repents He comes as a Lion of fierce protection and comfort (Hosea 11:10-11).
“A lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken! Who can do anything but prophesy?” -Amos 3:8 NASB
“I yes, I will lie in wait in the way, (Ashur) observing.” The Lord will not only attack in discipline, He will lie in wait even as Israel is taken into exile. The Hebrew “ashur” observe is identical in spelling to the proper noun of the Empire. Thus, HaShem will ashur (observe) them on the way to Ashur.
“by the way I will lurk Heb. אָשּׁוּר. Every instance of אָשּׁוּר in Scripture is punctuated with a “dagesh,” but this one is “weak,” since it is not a place name but it means, “I will lurk and ambush.” Comp. (Num. 24:17) “I see him (אֲשּׁוּרֶנוּ) but not near.” -Rashi
Both the king of Assyria and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon are referred to as lions scattering the sheep of Israel:
“Israel is a scattered [a]flock, the lions have driven them away. The first one who devoured him was the king of Assyria, and this last one who has gnawed his bones is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” -Jeremiah 50:17 NASB
8 Efgesheim I will encounter them kidov like a bear shakul bereaved of her cubs, ve’ekra and tear open segor the enclosure libam of their inner being (hearts); veocheleim I will eat them sham there kelaviy like a lioness, chayat hasadeh a beast of the land tevake’eim that tears them to pieces.
The imagery of the bear is ambiguous. HaShem comes as a bear bereaved of her cubs. Israel are His cubs, and at the same time are the abductors of His cubs (leading their own children astray) [cf. 2 Sam. 17:8; 2 Kings 2:24; Pr. 17:12].
Rashi rightly observes that HaShem is bereaved in the loss of His children the people of Israel and in the need for the disciplining of them.
“as a bereaving bear Heb. שַׁכּוּל. Like שּׁוֹכֵל, as you say חָנּוּן, gracious, and רַחוּם, merciful, so שַּׁכּוּל, i.e., entirely attired with bereavements and ready to bereave people.” -Rashi
“tear open the enclosure of their inner being (hearts)” This denotes the “heart surgery” that will be required in order to fix Israel’s disobedient heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). The heart is the core being and the centre of consciousness. Note that the Hebrew libam (hearts) is plural and that the text says “their”. Therefore the present text denotes God’s intention to open and convert the heart of rebellion at the centre of His people.
“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” -Ezekiel 11:19 NASB
The Targum Yonatan supports this understanding:
“My word shall meet them as a bear bereaved, and I will break the wickedness of their hearts…'' -Targum Yonatan
9 Shichetcha It is to your own destruction, Yisrael (overcome in God) Israel, kiy-viy ve’ezrecha that you are against Me, against your help.
God would help Israel, but she has turned her back on Him. The northern kingdom will suffer the consequences of their own sin and therefore, “your own destruction”. The destruction that is coming is a direct consequence of Israel’s poor political decisions and abhorrent worship practices (sacrificing children to false gods). Israel has weakened herself. God will simply pull back His hand of protection and Israel’s discipline will be the fruit of her actions. As I have previously stated, sin, among other things, is self-harm.
Now, as always, our help is in YHVH, and not of our own strength.
10 Ehiy Where is malkecha your king, eifo where? Veyoshiyacha And who will save you bechol-areycha in all your cities? Veshofeteycha And your judges/rulers, asher to whom amarta you said, “tenah-liy melech Give me a king vesariym and princes”?
“Where is your king?” This can be understood as a rhetorical question relating to the withdrawing of YHVH’s (King of Israel) hand. It may refer to the death of Israel’s (the northern kingdom) last king. The former is the most likely given the follow up question “And who will save you?” In short, “Without Me (YHVH) Who will save you?”
And where are “your judges?” God is Israel’s Judge. Israel had asked both God and her human judges and rulers for a king like the other nations (1 Sam. 8:5, 20), however, here the text is referring to the request of the northern tribes for a king other than the king of Judah (1 Kings 12:26).
“I will be, where is your king? Heb. אֱהִי מַלְכְּךָ אֵפוֹא. Jonathan renders: Where is your king? But I say that it is unnecessary to interpret it other than its apparent meaning. I will be standing from afar to see where your king is, for I will make Myself see what your end will be, where your saviour is.” -Rashi
11 Eten-lecha I gave you melekh a king beapiy while My nostrils flared (fierce anger), ve’ekach and snatched him away be’evratiy in the excess of My wrath.
The monarchy of the northern kingdom is considered apostate and rebellious by God Who had allowed it in His anger against Solomon’s sin but did not appoint its kings (1 Kings 12:16). Additionally the first king of all 12 tribes of Israel was given as a response to rebellion against God and that same king Saul likewise rebelled and was taken away by God (killed by the Philistines) [1 Sam. 8:7].
12 Tzarur Bound up avon is the perversity of Efrayim; tzefunah chatato His hidden sin (missing the mark of God’s glory).
The sin of Ephraim is more than a simple missing of the mark, it is intentional and perpetual perversity. It is bound up, kept for a time of punishment. Additionally, the depravity of Ephraim has bound him up. Perversity binds the one who practices it. It comes back upon the sinner. The fornicator contracts a deadly sexually transmitted disease, the murderer is killed by the relative of his victim, the liar tells so many lies that when he speaks the truth he is not believed to his hurt and so on.
"the sins of the house of Ephraim are treasured up; they are reserved to punish all their offences;'' -Targum Yonatan
"the sins of the house of Ephraim are treasured up; they are reserved to punish all their offences;'' -Job 14:17 NASB
13 Chevleiy The (umbilical) cord yoledah of childbirth yavou will wrap (come) around (on) lo him; hu-vein lo chacham He is not a wise son (brain oxygen starved at birth), kiy for eit-lo ya’amod it is not the time to remain, bemishbar in the breaking forth baniym of children [alt. the time for hesitation is not at the moment of birth].
First and foremost this is an analogy concerning new birth. Israel has been offered numerous opportunities to repent and be delivered into a new season of favour in right standing with God, but has instead resisted to her own hurt.
The analogy speaks of a child who knows that it’s time to break forth from the womb but instead twists itself into a breech position and in doing so strangles itself on its own umbilical cord, starving itself of oxygen and impairing its cognitive development. In these circumstances the father of ancient Israel must come and forcibly move the baby into birthing position or cut open the mother performing a C-section delivery. In both cases there is great suffering as a consequence but the baby’s life is saved.
Therefore, YHVH is explaining to His wayward people that they have placed themselves in a position where they are unable to see the predicament they have put themselves in, nor are they able to deliver themselves.
"distress and trouble shall come upon them, as pains on a woman with child; he is not wise to know my fear:'' -Targum Yonatan
14 Miyad From the hand of sheol (the place of the departed) efdeim shall I ransom them? Mimavet From death egaleim I will redeem them! Ehiy Where are they? Devareycha Your plagues mavet Death, Ehiy Where are they? katavecha Of your destruction Sheol (the place of the departed), nocham repent! Yisateir It shall be concealed (covered) from mei’eiynay My eyes.
“From the hand of sheol (the place of the departed) shall I ransom them?” The question is rhetorical, the answer is “Of course yes, I will ransom them!”, in fact the answer is given in the proceeding phrase.
Note: Sheol is NOT the grave (kever). Sheol is the holding place of the departed. Nor are Biblical Israelites (Jews) buried under the earth. Therefore, kever (grave) in Biblical Hebrew means an above ground interment in either a tomb or by piling large rocks over the body above ground. Numerous false theologies regarding death and the afterlife can be avoided by this one simple piece of basic Hebrew understanding.
“From death I will redeem them!” This is a promise, the answer to the previous question. YHVH will redeem Israel from death, not natural death (although He has often delivered Israel this way) but from eternal death. We know that at the time of Israel’s exile to Assyria many died, therefore, HaShem is not alluding to the temporal death of the body but to the eternal death of the soul/spirit, the neshama (transcendent consciousness). Hosea is prophesying the redemption that comes through Yeshua the King Messiah, through His atoning/covering blood and His resurrection living. The fullness of this promise culminating in the salvation of all the remnant of Israel (Romans 11:25-27).
“Where are they? Your plagues Death, Where are they? Of your destruction Sheol (the place of the departed), repent! It shall be concealed (covered) from My eyes.”
How does God conceal death? By covering it. Kippur, to cover, atone for. The beginning of the verse explains that the concealing of death will come about through “ransom” and “redemption”. Therefore, the covering and concealment of death from the eyes of HaShem will be made possible through vicarious sacrifice, a kaparah (atonement, sacrifice, reconciliation) that puts death to death permanently. Those who have met Yeshua the King Messiah know that He performed that atoning sacrifice by giving His sinless body into the hands of God and died on the Roman cross, rising again on the third day according to Scripture and thus offering redemption through the ransom He paid, perpetually to the Jew first, and also to the nations in perpetuity unto the judgement and life everlasting (Romans 1:16).
It is this verse that Rav Shaul is quoting in 1 Corinthians 15:55:
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” (NIV)
“I am He Who would ransom them from the clutches of the grave and redeem them from death…” -Rashi
15 Kiy For hu he bein among achiym brothers and sisters yafriy is fruitful, yavo kadiym ruach an east wind will come, YHVH (Mercy) The Lord mimidbar from the wilderness oleh comes up; ve’yeivosh mekoro and his fountain will become dry veyecherav and dried up ma’yano his spring; hu yishseh he will plunder otzar the treasure kol-keliy chemdah of all the precious vessels.
“For he among brothers and sisters is fruitful” This refers to Ephraim and is the literal meaning of his name. Ephraim was prophesied to be fruitful (Gen. 48:10-20), and became a powerful tribe (Judges 8:1-3; 12:1-7; 1 Sam. 1:1-4). Prominent leaders such as Joshua (Josh. 24:30) and Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:26) came from Ephraim and the tribe was subsequently named for the 10 tribes of the north.
“An east wind will come” This refers specifically to the wind of the Assyrian empire wielded by God as a sword of discipline (Hosea 5:13, 7:11, 8:9; 2 Kings 17:3).
The Targum supports this understanding:
"now will I bring against him a king strong as a burning wind;''-Targum Yonatan
The king of Babylon is also referred to as a violent wind in Jeremiah 4:11.
The “east wind” is used as a metaphor for false knowledge (Job 15:2), imminent onslaught (Isaiah 27:21), a scattering force (Jeremiah 18:17), it is a wind of discipline wielded by YHVH for the purpose of returning His people to Himself.
“The Lord from the wilderness comes up;” The Lord is in control of all that is about to happen, He is wielding the winds of Assyria and Babylon.
"by the word of the Lord, through the way of the wilderness shall he come up;'' -Targum Yonatan
“And his fountain will become dry and dried up his spring” This is a metaphor for the drying up of Israel’s access to the living waters of YHVH poured out on the faithful among His people.
The LORD is the fountain of Israel, who have access to His waters through repentance and return.
“Lord, the hope of Israel, All who abandon You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, that is the Lord.” -Jeremiah 17:13 NASB
It is also a metaphor denoting the reduction of progeny over the period of exile (cf. Deut. 33:28). Israel (the sons of Jacob) are called the “fountain of Jacob” in Scripture (Psalms 68:26).
The fear of the Lord is also called a fountain (Prov. 14:27). Therefore, this is an indication that Israel’s fear of God has dried up and resulted in Israel’s discipline.
“He will plunder the treasure of all the precious vessels.” This does not concern the vessels of the Temple which were taken away over 100 years later by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:7). Rather it refers to vessels associated with the worship of false gods, removed by the Assyrians when they invaded the northern territories of Israel.
“he shall destroy the house of his treasures, and shall lay waste the city of his kingdom; he shall spoil the treasuries, all vessels of desire.'' -Targum Yonatan
16 [14:1] Tesham Shomeron (guardian mountain) Samaria will pay for her guilt (offense), kiy Because maretah she rebelled beiloheyah against her God. Bacherev In the sword yipolu they will fall oleleiyhem their infants yerutashu dashed to pieces vehariyotayv and their pregnant women yevukau will be ripped apart.
Samaria was the head/capital of Ephraim (Isaiah 7:9) which was besieged for three years by Shalmaneser king of Assyria (the east wind); and eventually conquered and its inhabitants taken into exile (2 Kings 17:5) [Assyria invaded in 734 BCE then conquered and exiled its residents between 722 and 721 BCE]. Samaria was a hot bed of idolatry and vile sacrificial practices to false deities, a beacon of pagan worship. God would give a foreign idolater the strength to topple it and destroy its altars. Samaria’s guilt would come upon her own head because she rebelled against her God to her own harm.
1  Shuvah Return, Yisrael, ad to YHVH the Lord Eloheycha your God/Judge, kiy for chashalta you have stumbled ba’avonecha in your depravity.
"return to the fear of the Lord.'' -Targum Yonatan
“to the Lord your God One taught in the name of Rabbi Meir: Return, O Israel, while He is still יהוה, with the Divine Attribute of Mercy; otherwise, He is אֶלֹהֶיךָ with the Divine Attribute of Justice, before the defense becomes the prosecution. [from Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, p. 164a]” -Rashi
YHVH continues to offer a hand of mercy and calls Israel to return to Him and turn away from her depravity. The rhythm of Mercy, judgement and the fruit of judgement Mercy, continues just as it does in the words of Hosea’s contemporaries (Isaiah, Amos, Micah).
"great is repentance, for it brings a man to the throne of glory;'' -Talmud Bavliy Yoma, fol. 86. 1.
Rashi understands this as a warning to the southern kingdom of Judah (& Benjamin):
“Return, O Israel You, who are in the land of Judah, lest what happens to Samaria happens to you. Therefore, the topics are juxtaposed. This can be compared to a king against whom a province rebelled. The king sent a general and commanded him to destroy it. That general was expert and deliberate. He said to them, “Take for yourselves days (sic); otherwise, I will do to you as I have done to such-and-such a province and to its allies, and to such-and-such a prefecture and to its allies.” Therefore it says, “Samaria shall be accounted guilty,” and then Scripture says: “Return, O Israel.” As is found in Sifrei in the section commencing. (Num. 25:1), “And Israel abode in Shittim.” -Rashi
2  Kechu Take imachem with you devariym words, essences, things veshuvu and return el-YHVH to the Lord. Imru Say to Him, “Eilayv away kol-tisa avon take all depravity away vekach-tov and receive good uneshalemah and a covenant of peace, wholeness, wellbeing pariym sefateiynu fruit [calves] of our lips.
The text uses “devariym” (words, essence, things) rather than ketuviym (written words) or Torah (Instruction) because God is admonishing Israel to carry and walk in His living Word that is His written Word in action, the Word not only the Torah but of the prophets and writings, the right action of faith in Him, Halakhah (the way we walk). Yeshua the King Messiah is revealed as the Living Word (Davar) Essence of the Universe Who is both Author and Goal of the TaNaKH (Bible) [John 1; Romans 10:4]. We note that only in the Word is Israel able to return to YHVH (Mercy).
“Say to Him, “take all depravity away and receive good and a covenant of peace, wholeness, wellbeing fruit [calves] of our lips.” This is an instruction to the people to ask God to take away all their iniquity through a covenant that brings peace. This is a reference to the blood sacrifice of Yeshua the King Messiah and the covenant of peace that His shed blood establishes. Only by receiving it can Israel be saved from the rightful punishment for her sin. We note that this covenant becomes an act of worship that overflows from her lips, that is, the testimony of salvation through Yeshua the King Messiah. This is why the ambiguity occurs in the Hebrew text. The Hebrew prym can mean either the plural of fruit peri or of calf par. This is because the author of the prophetic work is conveying the Divine Word of God indicating both sacrifice and the testimony of that same sacrifice as it is heard on the lips of those who receive it. The ambiguity therefore, conveys an intended convergent meaning.
“and teach [us the] good [way] Heb. וְקַח-טוֹב. And teach us the good way. Another explanation: The few good deeds in our hands take in Your hand and judge us accordingly. And so does David say (Psalms 17:2): “Let my sentence come forth from before You, may Your eyes behold the right.” Another explanation: And accept good And accept confession from us, as it is said (Psalms 92:2): “It is good to confess to the Lord.
and let us render [for] bulls that we should have sacrificed before you, let us render them with the placation of the words of our lips.” -Rashi
3  Ashur (a step) Assyria lo yoshiyeinu will not save us, al-sus lo nirkav on horses we will not ride; velo-nomar and nor will we say od again, ‘eloheiynu Our god’ lema’aseih To the work yadeiynu of our hands; asher-becha For in You yerucham there is mercy, compassion for yatom the fatherless.”
These words continue the proposed confession of repentant Israel at a future time post exile. Assyria to whom the northern kings had turned would not only not save them but would in fact conquer and subjugate them.
“Assyria shall not save us Say this also before Him, “We no longer seek the aid of man, neither from Assyria nor from Egypt.” -Rashi
“nor will we say again, ‘Our god’ To the work of our hands” Part of Israel’s repentance involves turning their backs on all false idols. I am reminded of the son of a Hindu High Priest who came to faith in our community and was being immersed (tevilah) in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He excitedly answered my question to him, “Do you choose to worship of the God of Israel alone, do you forsake the worship of all other Gods? Do you acknowledge that Yeshua the King Messiah is Imanu with us El God?” his response was a resounding “I do!”
When we turn to God in Messiah we are in one sense taking a wedding vow, “I cleave to You alone, forsaking all others…”
“For in You there is mercy, compassion for the fatherless.” An acknowledgement that only the Greatest of father’s the Creator of the universe can truly understand and gift compassion for the fatherless.
4  Erpa I will heal, repair meshuvatam their turning away, ohaveim I will love them nedavah freely, voluntarily, kiy Because shav afiy turned away is My flaring nostril (anger) mimenu from them.
“I will heal, repair their turning away” This is a certain promise. YHVH will heal, repair, cure Israel of her turning away. In short, turning away from God is an illness that leads to death. Through His Son the King Messiah He has provided the cure for that illness and with it wholeness and eternal life.
“I will love them freely, voluntarily” The Calvinists avoid this verse because it describes free will as an attribute of God and is therefore one of many Scriptures that refute their false supposition. In fact, without free will there is no love, only mindless robotic subjugation.
“Because turned away is My flaring nostril (anger) from them.”
God will yet turn away His wrath from His people because His purpose has always been to discipline them unto repentance and restoration.
“I will remedy their backsliding Said the prophet: So has the Holy Spirit said to me. After they say this before Me, I will remedy their backsliding, and I will love them with My charitable spirit. Although they do not deserve the love, I will love them charitably since My wrath has turned away from them.” -Rashi
5  Eyeh It will be chatal like night mist (dew) leYisrael to Israel; kashoshanah He will blossom like the lily, veyach And he will cast forth sharashayv his roots kalevanon like Lebanon (whiteness from lavan).
“It will be like night mist (dew) to Israel” Here, it’s the wrath of God that will disperse like the dew. This is the counterpoint to Ephraim’s temporal reign and Israel’s (northern tribes) fading prosperity in the land (v.3).
“He will blossom like the lily, and he will cast forth his roots kalevanon like Lebanon (whiteness, from lavan).” Whiteness, purity, is multiplied here (Lilly [white] & Lebanon [whiteness]). This is an allusion to the purity that will blossom and put down roots as a result of the salvation that comes through Yeshua the King Messiah from YHVH the Deliverer of Israel.
"they shall dwell in the strength of their land, as a tree of Lebanon, which sends forth its branch.'' -Targum Yonatan
There is also a picture of strength such as that of the strong well rooted trees of the northern region (not the modern state of Lebanon).
“and it shall strike I.e. the dew shall strike its roots and cause them to prosper like the Lebanon like the roots of the trees of the Lebanon, which are large.” -Rashi
6  Yeilechu And he will send out yonekotayv his young branches, vihiy like chazayit an olive tree hodo in its beauty, vereiyach lo and his aroma kalevanon like Lebanon (whiteness).
"they shall multiply or increase with sons and daughters:'' -Targum Yonatan
When Israel returns to HaShem through the King Messiah, he will send out his branches like an olive tree and his aroma will draw the nations to the purity (Lebanon/whiteness) of Messiah in him. This has a correlation to the olive tree imagery of Rav Shaul (Romans 11).
“Its branches shall go forth Sons and daughters shall increase and it shall be Their beauty shall be like the beauty of the menorah of the Temple, and their fragrance like the fragrance of the incense.” -Rashi
7  Yashuvu yosheveiy They shall return and dwell vetzilo in His shadow yechayu they will revive dagan grain veyifrechu and sprout forth chagafen like a grape vine. Zichro keyeiyn His remembrance, memorial like wine levanon of Lebanon.
“They shall return and dwell in His shadow” This is a reference to God and is also seen by our ancient Jewish forebears as a reference to the King Messiah. Therefore, acknowledging an intrinsic link between the two.
"and they shall be gathered out of the midst of their captivity, they shall dwell under the shadow of their Messiah;'' -Targum Yonatan
“they will revive grain and sprout forth like a grape vine. His remembrance, memorial like wine of Lebanon.” Redeemed Israel (chosen, ethnic, religious, empirical) will be revived in Messiah and produce fruit, the fruit that Ephraim should have produced but did not. The true King will be of Judah and will be the Vine Who breaks forth and spreads in righteousness. His Name/Remembrance will be like whiteness/purity, the strength of the trees of Lebanon (the northern mountain ranges of ancient Israel).
“its fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon Jonathan renders: Like the remembrance of the blasts of the trumpets over the old wine poured for libations in the Temple. For they would blow the trumpets over the libations when the Levites would recite the song.” -Rashi
8  Efrayim, mah-liy od says what more have I to do la’atzabiym with idols? Aniy I aniytiy I answer va’ashurenu and watch over you. Aniy kivrosh I am like a juniper ra’anan luxuriant, green. Mimeniy From Me peryecha your fruit nimtza is attained.
"they of the house of Israel shall say, ‘what is it to us to serve idols anymore?’ ‘I by my Word will receive the prayer of Israel, and will have mercy on him:’'' -Targum Yonatan
Redeemed Ephraim (kings and tribes of the north) who will come under the kingship of Judah over all Israel, will say “What more do I have to do with idols?” In short, “I’m forever done with idolatry!”
“Ephraim will say, ‘What more do I need to follow the images?’ And they will turn away from idolatry. I will answer him I will answer him from his trouble.” -Rashi
“I, yes, I answer and watch over you.” YHVH will answer redeemed Ephraim in her repentance and say “I hear and answer you with mercy and protection!”
“I am like a juniper luxuriant, green. From Me your fruit is attained.” This is the only instance in the Tanakh where God is figuratively compared to a tree and it is not a cedar but a juniper (a fruit bearing evergreen tree). We note that the fruit of redeemed Ephraim is not of Ephraim but of God. Ephraim in her sinful state bore fruit of destruction but through the King Messiah she has been created anew to bear the fruit of God’s character.
“Therefore if anyone be in Messiah, he is a new creation: the old has gone; behold, pay attention, all things have become new.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (Author’s translation)
Our righteousness is in God and not of ourselves. Our right actions proceed from the Spirit of God in us through the King Messiah Yeshua.
9  Miy Who chacham is wise, veyavein let him understand, discern, consider eileh these things; Navon understand, ve’yeida’eim and they will know, comprehend. Kiy For yeshariym straight, right darcheiy are the ways YHVH of the Lord (Mercy), vetzadikiym and the righteous ones yeilechu will walk vam in them, ufoshe’iym and rebels, transgressors yikashelu shall stumble vam in them.
This final challenge is issued to all who have ears to hear. It is much like the former challenge of HaShem to the tribes of Israel as they entered the land:
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil. 16 What I am commanding you today is to love Adonai your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His mitzvot, statutes and ordinances. Then you will live and multiply, and Adonai your God will bless you in the land you are going in to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not listen, but are drawn away and bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I tell you today that you will certainly perish! You will not prolong your days on the land, where you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess. 19 “I call the heavens and the earth to witness about you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 by loving Adonai your God, listening to His voice, and clinging to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell on the land that Adonai swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob—to give them.” -D’varim (Deuteronomy) 30:15-20 TLV
“Who is wise and will understand these Who among you is wise and will ponder to put his heart to all these and return to Me?” -Rashi
“Who is wise, let him understand, discern, consider these things; understand, and they will know, comprehend.” Only those who take the time to pause and consider these things will gain the understanding required to act on the warning of God in repentance. Today many pass on information they have no real knowledge of, spreading rumours and falsehoods on social media, email, message boards and the like without bothering to consider, discern, investigate and learn the truth of a mater. We would do well to take pause here and allow the Spirit of God to expose our hearts, and with sober judgement to access the state of our being and repent.
“For straight, right are the ways YHVH of the Lord (Mercy), and the righteous ones will walk in them, and rebels, transgressors shall stumble in them.” To the wicked the Instruction/Ways of YHVH (the Torah) are an indictment that condemns them to death, but that same Way/Instruction (Torah) points the righteous to its Goal Yeshua (Romans 10:4). How does one know that he is redeemed? The evidence of Messiah in us is seen in our halakhah (the way we walk), “For straight, right are the ways of Mercy (YHVH), and the righteous ones will walk in them!”
The same fire that warms the righteous consumes the wicked.
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
The Mercy of God both precedes Judgement and is the result of it.
Scroll of the Twelve Prophets:
The book of Hosea is the first of twelve books collected into a single scroll some time prior to the second century BCE (ref. Dead Sea Scrolls 4QXII; Sirach [Ecclesiasticus] 49:10). The orthodox Jewish order of the books within the scroll of the twelve prophets is: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah (from the period of Assyrian empire), Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (from during the decline of the Assyrian empire), Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (dating from the post exilic era).
Given what we know from extra-Biblical textual sources, it is likely that the twelve prophets were combined into one scroll within a century of the completion of the book of Malachi. Thus, the scroll of the twelve prophets has taken its place alongside the other canonical Jewish prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Daniel is considered part of the Ketuvim [poetry books] in the Jewish canon [TaNaKH].
Author and Dating of the book of Hosea:
Regardless of the specific date of writing (be it by a scribe or by Hosea himself), Hosea prophesied sometime in the mid eighth century BCE. His ministry began in tandem with that of Amos, who threatened God’s judgement at the hands of an unnamed foreign power which Hosea identifies as Assyria (7:11; 8:9; 10:6; 11:11).
Given the kings mentioned in Hosea 1:1, Hosea would have ministered for approximately 60 years. The Talmud calls Hosea the greatest prophet of his generation (Pesachim 87a), a bold claim given that Isaiah was one of his contemporaries. Hosea is unique in that he is the only one of the writing prophets to come from the northern kingdom (10 tribes/Israel). His prophecy is addressed to the northern kingdom. However, his work references the kings of Judah as a means of dating and is therefore, most likely to have been written in the territory of Judah following the fall of the northern capital, Shomron (Samaria) (722-721 BCE) [1:7, 11; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 13; 6:4, 11; 10:11; 11:12; 12:2]. This means that Hosea’s warnings to the northern kingdom were also intended as a warning to Judah. While Judah continued to dwell in the land under the repentant king Hezekiah, the southern kingdom was eventually taken into captivity by the Babylonian empire in 586 BCE (136 years after the demise of the northern kingdom) through a succession of invasions and as a result of political intrigue. This exile, while leaving a remnant of Judah in the land, nonetheless (generally speaking) meant the fullness of the exile of the entire nation (12 tribes) and was a judgement decreed by God of seventy years (Jeremiah 29:10) which ended in 516 BCE (there are varied scholarship estimations of the dating of the Babylonian exile).
Hosea lived in the final days of the northern kingdom, during which six kings reigned within a 25 year period (2 Kings 15:8-17:41). These kings are said to have been given by God “in anger” and taken away “in wrath” (13:11). The Assyrian empire was expanding to the west and Menachem king of Israel submitted the northern kingdom to the Assyrian empire, and paid tribute (2 Kings 15:19-20). Shortly afterward in 733 BCE Assyria dismembered the northern kingdom following the murder of Pekahiah, Menachem’s son by Pekah. Leaving only the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh. Then, due to the disloyalty of Pekah’s successor Hoshea (the king), Shomron (Samaria) was captured and its people exiled from 722 - 721 BCE. This was the end of the northern kingdom, but it was not the end of Israel.
Like the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, Hosea’s ministry proclaims a message of judgement and redemption pretexted by the holiness and love of God. The rhythm of the book is consistent with the redemptive meta-narrative of the Bible as a whole. Hosea’s book is essentially a Gospel (Good News) message. One that calls out the evil deeds of those to whom the offer of redemption is given. Like the Gospel, the book of Hosea recognizes the need for labeling and rebuking sinful behavior and exposing its consequences in order to inspire its hearers to return to God and receive His redemptive sacrificial love.
Throughout the book loving discipline is followed by the offer of unmerited favor, grace, mercy, and a return to right relationship. Hosea, like all God’s prophets, demands that the wicked acknowledge and repent of their sinful lifestyles and return to God. This too is the message of the Gospel. All are offered forgiveness but only the repentant receive it. Those who present God as love but fail to convey the message of repentance, turning away from evil, are enablers of the wicked. A Gospel devoid of rebuke is a false Gospel, nothing more than a vehicle carrying souls to torment. Like Hosea we are tasked with a message that exposes wickedness and requires repentance in order to receive redemption through the sacrificial love of God.
The first three chapters tell of Hosea’s family life, an historical account that also acts as an allegory for God’s relationship with Israel. Chapter 3 is likely a sequel to Chapter 1, making chapter 2 the observation of the actions of the wayward woman Gomer. Chapters 4 through 14 detail the idolatrous practices of Israel and her adoption of Canaanite deities. Hosea calls Israel to return to HaShem (YHVH). Hosea observes that it is Israel’s failure to acknowledge God which is at the root of her suffering and spiritual darkness (4:6; 13:4). God’s relationship with Israel is one of immutable love (2:19), likened to that of husband and wife, and later compared to the relationship between Father and child (11:1-4). Israel’s disloyalty toward God is likened to the behavior of a promiscuous woman and is a metaphor for idolatrous worship (4:13-14; 5:4; 9:1). Hosea details Israel’s worship of the Baalim (masters/husband gods) of the Canaanites and their sacrificing at high places used for the worship of false gods. Israel had also been worshipping the calf deity at Shomron (Samaria) [8:5; 10:5-6; 13:2], a return to the sin at Sinai (Exodus 32).
Ultimately the message of Hosea is one of God’s love for Israel and based on His character, a story relating His inability to utterly forsake her even when He has cause.
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” -Hosea 14:4 (NIV)
Hosea in Jewish liturgy:
It is interesting to note that Hosea plays a special role in orthodox Jewish liturgy. Hosea 14:2-10 is read in the afternoon service of Tish’ah b’av (the ninth day of the month of Av [coincides with July and/or August], and is the major day of communal mourning in the Jewish calendar. Although a large number of disasters are said to have befallen the Jews on this day, the major commemoration is of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively. Central to the observance of this day is fasting) by Sephardi and Yemenite communities. On Shabbat Shuvah (Sabbath of turning/returning) between Rosh HaShanah (New Year a.k.a Yom Teruah [Day of soundings]) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Hosea 2:1-22 is read as haftarah (completion of the Torah) for the parashah B’midbar (Num. 1:1-4:20). Additionally, Hosea 2:21-22 (19-20) is prayed while binding Tefillin shel Yad (Prayer box of the hand) to the wedding finger (fingers) on the left hand.
“I will betroth you to me in perpetuity;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in immutable love and compassion.
I will betroth you in fidelity,
and you will acknowledge YHVH.” -Hosea 2:21-22 (19-20)
Hosea Transported in to Today’s Context:
Some things worth considering…
In the midst of today’s immoral world, and given the fact that even in ancient Israel during her days of immorality there were still a remnant community who were faithful to God, what would it be like for a righteous man who has been asked by God to marry a promiscuous woman for the purpose of revealing the love of God? Then to be instructed not to divorce her (though he had cause), and further to take her back and remain faithful to her in spite of her unrepentant nature.
How would such a man be viewed by the righteous remnant community of today’s world?
Consider the difficulties faced by such an individual as a result of his obedience and devotion toward HaShem (YHVH). Some among his righteous pairs in ancient Israel may well have challenged Hosea’s choices with sound Biblical reasoning. Others among the immoral majority may have used Hosea’s choice to marry the wayward woman as an excuse to take on promiscuous partners and even become promiscuous themselves. How we view and apply the lessons of Hosea to our lives today will directly influence our walk before HaShem, for better or worse.
Remember that for all intents and purposes Hosea was marrying a woman of his own ethnic religious faith community and was therefore not becoming unequally yoked (according to Torah). The indictment issued by this prophetic work is not against Hosea but against the hypocrisy of Gomer (Israel). Many righteous people among the faith community of today marry fellow believers in good conscience only to discover that a true heart change within that person has yet to occur.
Hosea’s calling should not be considered an excuse for believers as a whole to marry promiscuous people (of the same faith). However, nor does it negate the very real principle that teaches a salvation offered to all, including those who seem least likely or able to receive it. In truth, even the most hardened sinner can be redeemed through Yeshua our King Messiah. A lifestyle of sin can be incinerated by the blood of our King, and a new creation made from the ashes. It is important to recognize that new actions are the evidence of a person made new in Messiah.
Hosea Chapter 1:1-2:2 (1:1-11)
1 1 A Word, Essence, Substance (Devar) of the Lord (YHVH: Mercy) which happened (hayah) to, through Hosheia (Salvation) the son of Be’eiriy (My well/spring) , during the days of UziYah (My might is YHVH), Yotam (YHVH is perfect, complete), Achaz (grasp, seize), and YechizkiYah (Hezekiah: My strength has been YHVH), kings of Y’hudah (praised), and during the days of Yarav’am (Jeroboam: quarrelling people) the son of Yoash (YHVH fire), king of Israel (Yisra: overcome, El: in God).
In the Hebrew text the opening phrasing reveals the Word of God as the substance of God’s mind present and happening to and through Hosea, whose name is salvation. The beauty here is that the Word (Ha-Davar [John 1:1]), Who is Salvation Himself, the King Messiah, is manifest in substance upon the tongue of Salvation (Hosea). This book of prophecy begins and reaches its goal with Salvation, the son of Mayiym Chayiym (living waters), Be’eiriy “My wellspring”.
The Word, Essence, Substance of God doesn’t just come to Hosea, He (the Word) happens in Hosea.
HaShem, Who is the source of Israel’s living waters has been forsaken by the majority of Israel’s people. Therefore, out of love for Israel He has sent yet another prophet to draw their attention to their spiritual dehydration which has resulted from their rejection of Him.
“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” -Jeremiah 2:13
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” -Isaiah 12:3
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” -Zechariah 13:1
Yeshua answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” -John 4:10
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Yeshua stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified.” -John 7:37-39
The kings of Judah and the king of Israel who collectively spanned the ministry of Hosea are listed as they are for a number of reasons. By listing them this way the scribe gives us an approximation of the length of Hosea’s prophetic ministry and the historical period in which the prophet lived God’s Word in the presence of the people of Israel and Judah. As previously stated Hosea ministered for approximately 60 years in the mid eighteenth century BCE. We know this because the reigns of the kings listed begin in 793 BCE and span to 686 BCE, making it possible for Hosea to have lived to be over 100 years old. It is likely that Hosea began his ministry around the age of 25 years. Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah, Amos and Micah. Therefore, it’s good to be aware of the messages of these three prophets when considering the message of Hosea.
We note that the kings of Judah are listed first and with some detail, while the king of Israel is listed last. The prophet clearly intends that the people of Judah take the demise of the northern kingdom seriously and repent of their own wickedness and unfaithfulness toward God. The destruction of the northern kingdom was inevitable at this point in time and acted as a dire warning to Judah, lest she too fall at the hands of a foreign power (Babylon 586 BCE).
Jeroboam II died during the reign of Uzziah (2 Kings 15:8). Therefore, from the Israelite perspective the book is understood from the last period of the northern kingdom’s waning strength. Whereas from the perspective of Judah, according to the listing of the kings of Judah, the book finds its context in the slightly earlier period where Israel first began to move from a position of political strength into one of political demise. Each perspective is relevant and the Hebrew text clearly intends to make the words of the prophet poignant for both Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah.
Additionally, the names of the kings have prophetic significance past, present, future, and when reading the text according to the meaning of the names one sees the redemptive purposes of God conveyed.
NB: In order to help non Hebrew readers understand the depth of meaning within the Hebrew text the following is an allegorical [drash (comparative), remez (hint) & sod (mystery)] reading, utilizing the Hebrew meanings of words and names:
A Word essence of Mercy happened through Salvation the son of My well-spring, during the days of my might is Mercy, Mercy is perfectly complete, grasping, my strength has been Mercy, kings of praise during the days of a quarrelling people, the son of Mercy’s fire, king of those who overcome in God. (Authors Paraphrase)
The allegorical reading presents a message of fire (judgement, purification) and Salvation (overcoming in God). Therefore, the literal, literary and allegorical interpretations are convergent. This is an excellent example of how one should utilize the rabbinic method of interpretation PaRDeS (P’shat [Plain meaning], Remez [hint], Drash [comparative], Sod [mystery]). All the components of PaRDeS that proceed from the P’shat (plain meaning) must submit to the plain meaning, which is precisely what occurs here when each sub-method of interpretation is applied to the text.
2 Beginning (Techilat) a Word, Essence, Substance (Diber) of the Lord (YHVH: Mercy) in Hosheia (be’Hosheia), and said (vayomer) the Lord (YHVH: Mercy) to (el) Hosheia (Salvation), “Go (leich), take (kach) to yourself (lecha) a woman (eishet) of promiscuities, fornications (zenuniym), and children (veyaldeiy) of promiscuities, fornications (zenuniym); for (kiy) a whore, fornicator, promiscuous woman (zanoh) of whoredom (tizneh) is the land (Ha-Aretz: Israel), from ceasing to follow after (mei’achareiy) the Lord (YHVH: Mercy).”
The command to marry (legitimize) a promiscuous woman presents Hosea with an opportunity to empathize with the grief of God regarding His promiscuous wife Israel. Hosea’s marriage to the promiscuous woman is not mere allegory as some suggest. The false choice between allegory and practical reality is unnecessary (Rashi & Abravanel say that this is literal [Pes. 87a], whereas Ibn Ezra, Radak & Maimonides claim that it is a prophetic vision, this is supported by the Targum). Hosea literally marries a promiscuous woman and this reality acts as a vehicle for allegory reflecting God’s relationship to wayward Israel. This verse sets the stage for the remainder of the book.
“Techilat” is not a new beginning, as in the case of “Bereishit”, but a beginning that takes place mid journey. The Word begins in Hosea in the midst of a faltering people who having begun in God have now stepped off the path and gone after other gods. Therefore, God sends His messenger to call Israel to return to right relationship with Himself.
The imagery of the marriage between God and Israel is also seen in the works of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
In Biblical Hebrew narrative the repetition of something denotes that it is firmly established. In this verse the Hebrew root “zanah” (fornicator, harlot, whore) is employed four times, emphasising the fact that the idolatry of Israel has exceeded even the most debauched practices of the godless. This is a tragic indictment. One that could well be levelled at the community of believers today.
Hosea is instructed to take not only a promiscuous wife but also the children who are the fruit of her promiscuity. In light of the figurative application regarding God and Israel it is important to understand and sympathise with Hosea’s appointed task and the spiritual, emotional and practical turmoil that he must certainly have experienced. He is choosing to marry (legitimize) an unrepentant fornicator and to welcome her unrepentant children, who have grown in the knowledge of sexual sin (idolatry) as seed of that same sexual sin. We see this generational sin at work in the modern world. The reality of generational sexual sin is palpable. In fact, our movie and tv screens advocate for it. This present reality reflects the idolatrous spiritual condition of today’s secular world, but more poignantly, it reflects the present syncretised condition of the body of believers. After all, the message of Hosea is to the people of God (Israel), those who claimed to have overcome in God but were in fact hypocrites, idolaters, fornicators. This was no foreign harlot Hosea was marrying, but an Israelite woman. Sadly the modern body of believers is in no position to say “Thank God we are not like the whoring nation of Israel during the time of Hosea!” To the contrary, we are. Many claim to be followers of Messiah while practicing sexual sin, superstition, idolatry, debauchery, and the list goes on. Therefore, we to must repent or suffer the discipline of God.
The land of Israel is intrinsically linked to the people and the condition of the land is therefore affected by the behaviour of the people. Therefore, when God speaks through the prophet saying that the land of Israel is full of fornication (idolatry) and the fruit thereof, He is speaking of both physical and spiritual consequences. The disease of the spirit is reflected in the sexual diseases and the death that results from them. The people are weakened by their sin and are unable to resist their enemies, as a result of the physical condition of the people the land is unfruitful and unable to provide nutrition for the people, and so the cycle of sin and death are perpetuated. All this is happening among a people who have been afforded the instruction of God and the living waters that flow from Him.
So how has all this come about? The text is clear, it is the result of a people “ceasing to follow after the Lord”.
Why is the body of believers in such disarray today? Are we not guilty of this same cycle of perdition. If so, how have we arrived here? The same way Israel did, by turning away from devotion to God. We have made our religious practice just another app on our home screens, and we wonder why the world is turning to custard.
Rav Shaul (Paul) illuminates the abhorrent reality of Hosea’s experience when he writes to the early believers at Corinth:
“Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually members of Messiah? Should a man take his body, which is part of Messiah, and join it to a prostitute? Never!” -1 Corinthians 6:15
To say that God’s instruction to Hosea contradicts His Word is a lie. While it was forbidden for a priest to take a promiscuous woman as a wife, it was not a sin for a prophet to take a once promiscuous woman to wife. It was in fact an opportunity for that woman to be redeemed through the sacred unity of godly marriage. However, any subsequent act of adultery by that same woman was punishable by death. Hosea’s long suffering was to reflect the fact that in spite of Israel’s continued adulteries (idolatries) God had shown patience and great mercy toward her.
Allegorical Reading continued:
When a Word essence of Mercy in Salvation began to speak through Salvation, He said “Go, take to yourself a woman of promiscuous lifestyle and the children who are the fruit of her promiscuity, for the land of Israel is like a whore of whoring because they stopped following after Mercy. (Authors Paraphrase)
3 So he (Hosea: Salvation) went and took the certain, specific, definite (et) Gomer (complete, perfect, end, goal) the daughter (bat) of Divlayim (multiple pressed figs), and she conceived and bore him (lo) a son (ben).
It is worth noting that Gomer means “perfect, goal etc.” and that we can understand this to convey the idea that Salvation (Hosea, a figure for Messiah) sees the yet to be redeemed Israel (Gomer) as perfect outside of time and space, in the sense that he knows she will eventually repent through discipline and receive the atoning work of God. This reflects the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive purpose which finds its ultimate fullness in the redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua’s substitutionary sacrifice and the eternal covering blood of God.
We also note that Gomer is the daughter of sweet and abundant provision. The fig is the fruit of the tree which symbolises the seat of Israel’s teachers and commentators. This means that Gomer (Israel) is without excuse because she has been brought up in the ways of God’s Torah instruction and in the fruitfulness of godly life but has chosen to reject good instruction and turn aside to other gods.
The Hebrew “lo (him)” referring to Hosea is omitted in verses 6 and 9, making it more than likely that the two subsequent children were the progeny of adulterous relationships with other Israelite men, relationships entered into by Gomer while she was married to Hosea.
Allegorical Reading continued:
Salvation went and took a chosen woman Whom He saw perfect, in spite of her sinful lifestyle, she was the daughter of the abundant sweet fruit of the land, and she conceived and bore him a son. (Authors Paraphrase)
4 And the Lord (YHVH: Mercy) said to him (Hosea: Salvation), “Name him Yizre’el (sown by God); for in a little while I will visit, reckon, punish, care for (ufakadtiy) the (et) shed blood (demeiy) of Yizre’el (sown by God) upon (al) the house (beit) of Yeihu (YHVH is He), and I will cause to cease (vehishbatiy) the kingdom (mamlechut) of the house (beit) of Israel (the northern kingdom, Yisra: overcome, El: God). 5 And it will happen (v’hayah) in that day (be’yom) of the him (hahu) that I will break into pieces (veshavartiy) the (et) bow, (keshet) of Israel (Yisra: overcome, El: God) in the Valley (be’eimek) of Yizre’el (sown by God).”
The literal historical outworking of this prophecy sees the just punishing of Yeihu for the blood his house shed and the demise of the northern kingdom at the hand of the Assyrian Empire. Subsequently (136 years later) Judah also went into exile, however a remnant of Judah remained in Judea throughout the Babylonian exile. The allusion to the valley of Yizre’el (a plain in central Israel and a city on its perimeter [Joshua 17:16]) likely refers to the events described in 1 Kings 21:1-24; 2 Kings 9:21-35 (The demise of Jezebel [Baal exalts]).
In addition to the literal historic fulfilment of the prophecy there are the far reaching Messianic implications and the seeding of Messiah into time and space followed by the dispersion and return of Israel (the Jewish people) and the coming of God’s kingdom.
The name Yizre’el means “Seeded by God” and conveys both judgement and redemption. Seed is scattered and so the tribes of the north will be scattered in judgement against their idolatry. In addition a son seeded by God will bring both retribution and redemption to Israel as a whole (born of Judah), making the seeding a means of salvation.
This, Hosea’s firstborn son to Gomer is according to the previous verse “his” (Hosea’s) son, that is, of his seed. It is important to recognise that the name of this son denotes direct connection to God in a figurative sense and that this one seeded by God (Yizre’el) is a figure for justice and restoration. This son is a figure for One yet future (at the time of Hosea’s prophecy) seeded by God through the Jewish people, Who will put an end to apostate faith and break Israel into pieces, eventually sending all Israel into exile and then returning all the tribes of Israel to Judea where Israel in her entirety now known as Y’hudiym (Jews) will be reconciled to God through Him. This is why a distinction is made later in Hosea’s prophecy between the northern kingdom (Israel) and Y’hudah (Judah). Messiah will be seeded in Judah in the line of David.
We note that an end is to be put to the northern kingdom (Israel) but not to Israel/Jacob/Judah as a whole. This is of the utmost importance given the misuse of this text by the satanic “Continuationist” (Supersessionist, Replacement etc.) ideology of many modern Christian scholars and practitioners.
As alluded to in my commentary of the previous verse, there is no indication that the subsequent two children (v.6, v.9) were of Hosea’s seed, possibly denoting their illegitimacy.
“In that day” is an ambiguous phrase referring to the day, days, time period of God’s work of redemption and judgement through the One seeded by YHVH (Yizre’el), who is a figure for the King Messiah Yeshua, the only human being born of a woman to be directly seeded of God (Yizre’el).
Allegorical Reading continued:
And Mercy said to Salvation, “Name your son ‘Sown by the Judge’”; for in a little while I will require blood for the shed blood of he who I have sown from the house of the one who pretends that I AM his God, and I will put an end to the hypocritical kingdom of the house of those who claim to overcome in Me but do not. And it will come to pass that in the day of Him (Messiah) I will break into pieces the strength of those who claim to overcome in Me but do not, in the valley of the One Whom I have sown. (Authors Paraphrase)
6 Then she (Gomer) conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And He (YHVH) said to him (Hosea), “Call, declare (kera) her name (shemah) Lo-ruchamah (no mercy, love, compassion, tenderness), for I will no longer have mercy (arachem) on the house of Israel (Yisra: overcome, El: God), nor (kiy) will I lift them up, carry them (naso), take them away (esa).
As mentioned previously Gomer conceived again but it is not said that she conceived by “him” Hosea. It is possible that lo-ruchamah was the daughter of another man (another Israelite).
We note that while the firstborn son was “named” the daughter and the subsequent son are “Declared by name”. In other words, the firstborn son is named without proclamation, whereas the children of judgement are declared as a warning to all who have ears to hear. This reflects the nature of Messiah’s (Yizre’el) first earthly ministry and the present declaration that warns our people in order to redeem all Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen) through Yeshua upon His return (Rom. 11:25-27).
“I will no longer have mercy” is directed toward the apostate among Israel. We must remember that in every generation Israel and Judah had a faithful remnant who served God, or else where did the prophets come from?
“Nor will I lift them up” is a statement of deep love and beautiful saving irony. God will give of Himself, not lifting up Israel but lifting up His Son the King Messiah Who is of her, seeded by Him, making the King Messiah (Yizre’el, Yeshua) to become accursed and hanging on a tree for the sake of Israel’s sins. Therefore, “He Who was without sin became a sin offering for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Allegorical Reading continued:
Then the one perfect in Salvation conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Mercy instructed Salvation to call the daughter “No Mercy” for Mercy said “I will no longer have mercy on those who claim to overcome in Me but have instead rejected Me. Nor will I lift them up, or help them escape the fruit of their own wickedness.” (Authors Paraphrase)
7 And on the (ve’et) house (beit) of Y’hudah (praised) I will have mercy (arachem) and save (ve’hoshatiym) them in the Lord (Ba’YHVH: Mercy) the Judge (Elohim: God), and will not save them (oshiyeim) by bow, (be’keshet) or sword (uvecherev), or battle (uvemilchamah), by horses (be’sosiym), or horsemen (uve’farashiym).”
This reference is first to the temporal salvation of Judah during the Assyrian Empire but does not negate the later exile of Judah due to her sin (Babylonian exile 586 BCE). It is also a prophetic allusion to the fact that salvation Himself (Yeshua, Yizre’el) will come through the line of David of the tribe of Judah. Therefore, “Not by might or by power but by My Spirit says the Lord Who goes warring.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Allegorical Reading continued:
“And upon the house of praise I will have mercy and save them in Mercy the Judge, and will not save them by the strength of temporal things.” (Authors Paraphrase)
8 When she (Gomer) had weaned Lo-ruchamah (no mercy, love, compassion, tenderness), she conceived and gave birth to a son. 9 And He (YHVH) said to him (Hosea), “Call, declare (kera) his name (shemo) Lo-amiy (not My people), because you are not My people, and I (ve’anochiy) have not existed (lo Ehyeh) to you (lachem).”
Once again this child is not attributed to the seed of Hosea and is likely the progeny of an adulterous relationship with another Israelite.
NB: “Ehyeh asher Eyeh” is “I AM that I AM”, “I Exist for I Exist”. Therefore, when the Hebrew text of Hosea records HaShem’s words as “lo Eyeh lachem” it translates literally as “I don’t exist to you” rather than the popular English mistranslation “I am not your God”.
YHVH has never ceased to be Israel’s God.
Allegorical Reading continued:
When the one perfect in Salvation had weaned no mercy, she conceived again and gave birth to a son. Mercy instructed Salvation to call the son “’Not my people’ because you are not My people, I don’t exist to you”. (Authors Paraphrase)
I cannot emphasize enough the fact that God’s declaration “You are not My people” (Hosea 1:9) is not Him denying His people but an observation of their denial of Him. It is the inverse of the fact that the statement “He is our God” does not mean He belongs to us but that we belong to Him. The former is idolatry, the latter is, right relationship.
2:1 [1:10] And it will happen (ve’hayah) that the number (mispar)
of the children of Israel (beneiy Yisrael)
Will be like the sand (kechol) of the body of water (hayam),
Which cannot be measured (yimad) or counted, recorded (yisafeir);
And it will happen (ve’hayah) in the place (bimkum: the temple mount, hamakum)
Where it is said to them,
“Lo-amiy Not My people,”
It will be said to them,
“Beneiy El-Chay Children of the God of life.”
Almost as if in the same breath that issued the disappointment of God at the rejection shown Him by His people, He issues the promise born of His deep love for them.
In the first verse of the second chapter God immediately reverses the name and fate of His people Israel. Where He had said that He would put an end to her He now numbers her offspring as the sands of the waters. Where He had said “Not My people” He now says “Children of the God of Life!”
How is this possible? Through the seeded One (Yiz’re’el). Those who once chose to put an end to themselves through sin will repent and be numbered exponentially, and those who chose not to be called the people of God will repent and through the seeded One become Children of the God (Judge) of Life.
The God of Israel is God of Merciful Judgement. We know Him as Adonai (YHVH: Merciful) Elohim (Judge). His Mercy precedes His judgement. Put another way “Mercy triumphs over judgement”. (Yaakov [James] 2:13)
The rhythm of mercy, judgement, mercy fulfilled is the rhythm of all Scripture, the redemptive story of God and His creation.
In Israel’s sin we see our own sin and our desperate need to repent and be restored to right relationship with God. As Messiah followers we cannot afford to sit in judgement of Israel but must instead ask God to judge us and in sober self-examination, by His Spirit, allow Him to cleanse us of that which defiles Him in us (Imanu El) as our Groom, our Husband to be. We open ourselves to Him in the knowledge that “through one sacrifice Messiah has made perfect (Gomer) those who are being made holy (sanctification through discipline: Gomer in transition).” (Hebrews 10:14)
Allegorical Reading continued:
“And it will happen that the children of those who truly overcome in God will be as immeasurable as the sand of every body of water on earth. And it will happen that on the temple mount where I declared you ‘Not My people’ you will be declared ‘Children of the God of Life’”. (Authors Paraphrase)
2:2 [1:11] And gathered (ve’nikbetzu) shall be the children (beneiy) of Y’hudah (praised) and the children (beneiy) of Israel (Yisra: overcome, El: God), they will be gathered together (yachdav), And they will appoint, ordain, permanently fix (vesamu) to themselves (lahem) a Head, First, Leader (Rosh) Who is One (Echad: a complex unity) and they will ascend (ve’alu) from the land (min-ha-aretz: Israel),
For (kiy) great (gadol) is the day (yom) of Yizre’el (the sowing of God).
Many of our modern commentators claim that this prophecy was never fulfilled, and in part they are right, but not in full. This prophecy began its fulfilment at the first coming of the King Messiah Yeshua (Whom, in the first century CE, tens of thousands of Jews/Israelis received and followed as the ordain Son of David and High Priest over all peoples), and will reach its fullness at the end of days when on His return we Jews (all the tribes of ethnic, religious, chosen Israel) will look upon the One Whom we have pierced and mourn in repentance, receiving Him as the means of our redemption and restoration to right relationship with El Elohay Yisrael (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37).
“They will appoint to themselves a Head Who is One” means, “They will submit themselves to the authority of the Head Who is One”. “The Head Who is One” is God the Father and His King Messiah Imanu El (God with us) Yeshua, in the power of the unified Spirit of God. We need not make the false choice between this representing God or the King Messiah. God is One.
A local Chabad Rebbee says, “I’m okay with you believing Yeshua is the Messiah, but I am not okay with you believing Yeshua is a manifestation of God.” To which I respond, “If Yeshua is the Messiah, and we know that the Messiah will not lie concerning either Himself or the nature of God, then Yeshua is also God with us, for Yeshua says of Himself ‘I and the Father are Echad’, and when called ‘My Lord and My God’ by His disciple, Yeshua does not rebuke His disciple (T’oma) but says, ‘Because you have seen you have believed’. Therefore, if as you say, it is okay to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, it is also okay to believe what Yeshua says of Himself. Thus, your statement both contradicts itself while also agreeing that Yeshua is Imanu (with us) El (God), according to the prophet Yishayahu (Isaiah)!”
“They will ascend from the land”. To date Israel has returned in part to our land physically speaking. However, because over 7 million Jews still live outside of the land of Israel it is not true to say that the prophecy in question has been fully filled as yet. Therefore, this is ultimately a reference to all the tribes of Israel ascending from their various allotments of land to celebrate HaShem in the later days at the redemption of our people through Yeshua our King Messiah. “Land” may also refer to the land of our exile [to sin] and correlate to Isaiah 11:16. Regardless, this speaks of the unity of our people in Messiah and the perpetual day called the Olam Haba (world to come) when God will manifestly dwell with us and us with Him forever. In one sense this day began before the creation of the world and again with the first coming of our King Messiah Yeshua.
See Ezekiel 37:15-28 for another prophecy regarding the reunification of Israel’s tribes under the reign of David (the Messiah) in the Olam Haba (world to come).
Allegorical Reading continued:
And the children of praise will be gathered and the children of those who truly overcome in God will also be gathered, the two gathered together in praise and overcoming, and they will appoint over, submit themselves to the Head Who is One, the King Messiah under God, and they will ascend from all parts of the land of Israel to go up to the LORD of Mercy, for great will be the day that brings to perfection all that the Judge of the Universe has seeded. (Authors Paraphrase)
The first eleven verses of the book of Hosea reveal the whole of God’s redemptive purpose. These verses, which act as an overview to the remainder of the book, conclude with the goal. That being the appointment of the King Messiah and His rule over all Israel. This wonderful outcome made great through the seeding of Elohim (God and Judge).
The Mercy of God both precedes Judgement and is the result of it.
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
Our greatest hope is not found in our enlightened critique of the text but in the Author of it.
The primary reasons behind the misinterpretation of the Biblical text are best summed up by Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah in His response to a question posed by some of the Sadducees, concerning the resurrection of the dead:
“Yeshua responded, ‘You are in error, gone astray, seducing and deceiving, knowing neither the Scriptures or the power, the miraculous abundance and strength of G-d.’”
–Mattisiyahu /Matthew 22:29
When we rely on our education alone, on empirical data, scientific theory, personal experience or even just plain old—so called—common sense; we often find ourselves at odds with the Author of the text. It’s clear from the context of this quote from the Messiah, that the written Scripture must be “known”, and not merely studied or theorized about. That the miraculous and present power (denoting the work of the Spirit) must be “known”, and not merely experienced in some temporal way. Moreover, our ability to know is reliant on both the Scripture and the Power having first known us.
When we bring our intellectual and emotional baggage into our examination of Scripture, we fail to grasp its true meaning. Scripture itself has an agenda, one that we fail to comprehend when looking through the lens of our pretentious objectivity. To demand that the Scripture submit to science, is best described as the fallible seeking to subdue the infallible. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it” (John 1:5). Am I waging war on science? No! But I resist any mechanism that seeks to manipulate the holy text in order to validate its own agenda. Our greatest hope is not found in our enlightened critique of the text but in the Author of it. No one seeks to learn the true meaning of a book from its readership or from some expert in the genre, to the contrary, the true meaning can only be understood in relationship to the Author. In the end, only the Author is qualified to reveal His work.
Therefore, it’s in humility that we come to this text. We ask the Author of creation, the living Word of truth, the Spirit and power of G-d, to unite what is written and the practice of it. We ask that G-d purge our hearts and minds of false premises, human pride and the lies of the satanic agenda; cleansing us instead with the washing of His Word (D’var emet) and the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
This is not a new hope, but an ancient one. For every beginning has a goal, and the goal of The Beginning is Salvation (Yeshua).
Dating and Penmanship of Genesis:
As explained in the previous week’s introduction to Genesis, the Author is G-d Himself and the penman is Moses, aided by Joshua, who annotated, collated and completed the works written by Moses by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The dating of the text of Genesis is as varied as the many (fallible) methods of its calculation. I believe the best guess is that it was written down sometime between the latter part of the third century BCE and the middle of the second century BCE.
Is Genesis a Myth?
From ancient times the leaders of Israel, both political and spiritual, have understood the text of the Scriptures to be a trifold collection of documents arranged sequentially as Historical, Prophetic and Poetic books. Within these three categories there are sub-categories which allow for the different types of writing within the base genre. While it is true to say that Rabbinical Judaism latter developed its own pseudo-canonical texts and added a variety of mythological, even esoteric writings, these have never been accepted by the whole as inspired Scripture. The Hebrew Canon remains in structure and form devoid of myth.
The Hebrew Canon of Scripture known as the TaNaKH, is arranged as follows:
TORAH: Historical, The five books of Moses
NEVI’IM: Prophetic, The Books of the Prophets (Also Historical)
KETUVIM: Writings, Psalms, Proverbs etc. (Reflections of Historical events and observations of G-d and His creation)
Although there are some intersecting points in the various genres. There is one unifying factor, that of the Historical nature of the events that are recorded and expounded upon.
It is interesting to note that the Brit Ha-Chadashah (NT) is also arranged in this same order:
TORAH: Historical, The four Gospels and the book of Acts
NEVI’IM: Prophetic, The Letters to the Community of Faith (Also Historical)
KETUVIM: Writings, Revelation
Rav Shaul the Shaliach (Paul the Apostle) was aware of the destructive nature of mythos as it began to seep in to the post Hellenistic Jewish culture. He thus thought it necessary to make a clear distinction between the inspired truths of G-d’s Word and the mythology of humanity. As a result he wrote to Timothy and Titus saying:
“As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless
genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.” –1 Timothy 1:3-4
“But have nothing to do with worldly myths fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;” –1 Timothy 4:7
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” –2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” –Titus 1:14
What is abundantly clear from these letters is that Shaul, a devote Pharisee and a Jew of Jews, accepted the teaching of Scripture as factual information and regarded mythos as a contrary impediment to godliness and the understanding of the true nature of the Gospel of Yeshua.
Yeshua Himself testifies to the fact that He accepts the writings of Moses as factual information which accurately describes Him:
““Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” –Yochanan/John 5:45-47
Based on this succinct statement concerning the integrity and historicity of the Scriptures it is true to say that anyone who calls the Scriptures myth is also calling the Messiah a liar. This is of course blasphemy, which stems from the spirit of anti-Christ.
The Scriptures have been transmitted to us as history, prophecy and poetry; all of which convey a factual account of the physical and spiritual history of humanity as the glory of G-d’s creative order.
The Hebrew Writing Genre of Genesis:
The text of Genesis has an authentic literary continuity that makes it impossible to accept the lie of redactive theory. The genealogies and events read as historical fact rather than legend or parable. The characters of Genesis are affirmed as individuals by the wider body of Scripture and even the Messiah Himself is likened to the individual Adam, the first human being. The consistency of the two accounts of creation recorded in Genesis 1-3, and the subsequent genealogies stemming from the first created human being Adam, show that the intention of the Author was to convey a literal historical account using pictorial language to convey the complexity of both the overview (Genesis 1) and the detail of the creation of humanity as the glory of creation (Genesis 2-3).
As stated previously, the book of Genesis is part of the Torah, a grouping of historical books upon which the very existence and history of the ethnic people Israel is established. Genesis was not included in the Neviim (Prophets) or the Ketuvim (Poetry) because it was not considered to be of the same genre or importance as either of these two categories. It is true to say that the Torah (Genesis) is the historical starting point for all that proceeds from it. While it uses pictorial language (something you and I use on a daily basis when conveying factual information), it is neither poetic nor allegorical. This places Genesis in stark contrast to the New Testament book of Revelation, which is in the category of Ketuvim (Poetry, Allegory). Although Revelation draws on the imagery of the factual history of the Genesis account, it is none the less a book that uses an entirely different means of transmission. We are thus able to draw parallels and make correlations but we are not able to use the book of Revelation as evidence for an allegorical, poetic or metaphorical interpretation of Genesis.
Genesis, like the other four books of the Torah, uses pictorial language to convey factual, historical information concerning creation and the journey of humanity and subsequently Israel. Thus building the platform for a spirituality reliant on truth rather than mythological subterfuge.
Getting to know the text:
The purpose of this first study of Genesis 1:1-2:3 is to simply seek to understand the plain meaning of the Hebrew text devoid of the scientific, philosophical, theological, theoretical and emotional baggage that so often drives our desire to comprehend the depths of Scripture. Therefore, I’ve tried to translate the text as literally as possible in the word order of the Hebrew with qualifying illuminations of the Hebrew and supporting English phrases. My hope is that reading the text this way will help the student who has no Hebrew knowledge, to grasp something of the nature of Hebrew thinking.
The Text: (Translated from Hebrew by Yaakov ben Yehoshua)
1:1 In the beginning, creating from nothing (bara), Elohim made the waters of the sky, and He made the earth (eretz):
1:2 And the earth came into existence, desolate (tohu) and vacant (bohu), and darkness (choshekh) was over the face of deep, surging, subterranean waters, and the Spirit, Wind, Breath of Elohim brooded (Like a mother eagle), relaxed, over the face of the waters.
1:3 And commanded (vayomeir), Elohim, “Be light (Or)”, and light (Or) was:
1:4 And saw, Elohim, the light (Or), that it was good, and made a distinction, Elohim, between the light (Or) and the darkness (choshekh):
1:5 And proclaimed (Vayikra) Elohim, the light, “day” (yom), and the darkness (choshekh), Elohim proclaimed, “night, spiralling darkness” (laiyla) and there was evening (erev) and there was morning (boker), day (yom) one (echad), a compplex and intense unity. [Echad is a cardinal masculine Hebrew number that is also the Hebrew root meaning, “complex and intense unity”].
1:6 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Be, atmosphere, the visible ach of the sky, a hard shiny surface” by severing the waters and becoming distinct between the waters and from the waters.
1:7 And made (v’yaas) Elohim, the atmosphere, the visible ach of the sky, and distinguished it between the waters that were below the atmosphere and the waters that were above, and the atmosphere came into existence (stood upright).
1:8 And proclaimed (vayikra) Elohim, the atmosphere, “Sky waters”, and it was evening (erev) and it was morning (boker), day (yom) second (shinee) [a masculine ordinal number].
1:9 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “bind together the waters below the sky waters, uniting them in one place, appearing, the dry ground existed, it was so (stood upright).
1:10 And proclaimed (vayikra) Elohim, the dry ground, “Earth” (eretz), and the mikvah (gathering together) of the waters, He proclaimed, “Seas” (yamim), and saw Elohim, it was good.
1:11 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Sprout forth from the earth (eretz) vegetation, glistening shoots bearing fertile seed and fruit trees with fruit (p’ree), bearing fruit according to their species (kind) on the earth,” existing, it was so (stood upright).
1:12 And breaking out of the land, vegetation, glistening shoots, fertile seed and fruit according to their species (kind), and trees bearing fruit with fertile seed according to their species (kind), and seeing, Elohim perceived that it was good.
1:13 And it was evening (erev) and it was morning (boker), day (yom) third (shlishee) [a masculine ordinal number].
1:14 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Exist luminous bodies, in the expanse (space) above the sky waters, distinguishing between the day (yom) and the night (Laila) and become signs for the seasons of holy gatherings (moadim), and for days, and years.”
1:15 And they came into existence to serve in the expanse (space) above the sky waters, to give the light over the earth, existing, it was so (stood upright).
1:16 And making (yaas) Elohim, the two luminous bodies which were large, made the light that was greater to govern the day, and the light that was smaller to govern the night and the stars, rolling, round, pin pricks, blazing, shining.
1:17 And gave them, Elohim, to be the light in the expanse, visible arch of the sky, above the sky waters, to be light over the earth.
1:18 And to govern in the day and in the night, and to distinguish between the light and the darkness, seeing, Elohim, that it was good.
1:19 And it was evening (erev) and it was morning (boker), day (yom) fourth (revee’ee) [a masculine ordinal number].
1:20 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Breed in the waters small creatures, with souls that are living, and let birds that fly be over the earth on the face of the expanse in the sky waters.
1:21 And creating from nothing (bara), Elohim made sea creatures that were large, and all soul life that glides, which wriggles and breeds in the waters, according to their species (kinds), and all birds with wings according to their species (kinds), and seeing, Elohim perceived that it was good.
1:22 And blessing them, Elohim said, “Be fruitful, increase, fill the waters of the sea and birds increase in the earth.
1:23 And it was evening (erev) and it was morning (boker), day (yom) fifth (cha’mishee) [a masculine ordinal number].
1:24 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Break out on the earth, souls living according to species (kind) as dumb, mute, non-speaking beasts without higher intellect and reptiles and strong beasts of the earth according to their species (kind), existing, it was so (stood upright).
1:25 And made (yaas) Elohim, alive on the earth, according to their species (kind) animals; behemot (strong mammals) according to their species (kind), and all reptiles and things that creep on the land (ha-adamah) according to their species (kind), and seeing, Elohim perceived it was good.
1:26 And commanded (vayomeir) Elohim, “Let us make humanity (adam) in our image (to resemble us), shaped, modelled on us, having authority to rule, (subjugate, tread down) over the fish in the sea and the bird life of the sky waters and over all of the dumb, mute, non-speaking creatures without higher intellect, of the earth (eretz), and all the reptiles and creeping, gliding, creatures on the earth.
1:27 And creating from nothing (bara), Elohim made the human (ha-adam) in His image (to resemble him), in the image of Elohim He created from nothing, him (humanity); male and female, He created from nothing, them.
1:28 And blessing them, Elohim, and said to them Elohim, “Be fruitful, increase, and fill the earth and rule, (subjugate, tread down) over the fish in the sea and the bird life of the sky waters and over all of the non-speaking creatures of the earth (eretz), and all the reptiles and creeping, gliding, creatures on the earth.
1:29 And said Elohim, “Behold I give you every glistening shoot, seed bearing plant and vegetable, which is on the face of all the earth, all the trees that bear fruit and the plants that produce seed are yours, to be food (eating) for you.
1:30 And all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the sky waters, and all the creatures that glide, creep and crawl on the earth, and soul life, all of it, to them I give the glistening shoots and young grassy vegetation to devour as food existing, it was so (stood upright).
1:31 And seeing, Elohim, that all which He had made (asah) was behold good (tov) exceedingly (meod), And it was evening (erev) and it was morning (boker), the day (yom) sixth (shishee) [a masculine ordinal number].
2:1 And all the sky waters and the earth, everything was completed and vast, majestic.
2:2 And everything Elohim, in the day seventh (feminine ordinal number), was finished, from the work He had been making (asah), He ceased His work in the day seventh, from all the works which He had made (asah).
2:3 And blessing, Elohim, made it, day the seventh, a holy day, because on it He ceased from all the works created from nothing (bara) which Elohim had made (asah).
© 2016 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,