"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Hosea 6:1-6; 11:1-9 Commentary
by Richard W. Nysse
However one seeks to wrestle a word of good news from these two excerpts from Hosea one cannot escape the end of the narrative for Israel expressed in 2 Kings 17:6 ("The king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria").
We might too soon rush to Hosea 11:8-9 ("How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? ... I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim."). We are apt to slide past the "again" which acknowledges the reality of 2 Kings 17:6. As God pledges never again to flood the earth (Genesis 8:21), so in Hosea 11 God's inner musing concludes that God will never again wipe out Ephraim/Israel.
God determines to create a future for a relationship God has ended. The cancelation of the covenant signaled in the naming of Hosea's children (Not-Pitied and Not My People; Hosea 1:6-9) will be un-canceled. God's cancelation of God's own cancelation means the change occurs first in God's own determination. God changes; hope for the future hinges on God's changing. Human refusal to change has become deathly. Ephraim/Israel has died. God will need to perform a new act of creation. God has to create a people of God where none exists since the covenant has been nullified. ...
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 010: Hosea
November 13, 2011
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is Hosea: Hos 6:1-6; 11:1-9.