January 31, 2011

Minor Prophets II: Unfaithful Whores

In Hosea 2 God used the metaphor of marriage and adultery to characterize His relationship to Israel. Off the top of my head I can mention at least three other Old Testemant texts outside of Hosea that use this same kind of metaphor to portray this same relationship. It is a common metaphor and a powerful one that is often analogous of man's relationship with a faithful God. In other words...man is a cheater and violator of covenant.

Nearly the entirety of Ezekiel 16 is dedicated to the metaphor of God’s covenant/marriage to His people being violated with a form of adultery/idolatry. The actual sexual act or behaviors tied to the sexual act being described and elaborated on in rather risqué terms. “spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by” and more lewdly “You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity” . The repercussions and penalty for these atrocious acts is spelled out in detail in the middle to latter portions of Chapter 16. God will gather all the “lovers”, with whom “you” [Jerusalem] found pleasure. God will gather them against “you” [Jerusalem] from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked. [Perhaps stripped bare and left barren?]. They will be sentenced in a manner similar to women who commit adultery and who shed blood (the Biblical punishment for someone caught in adultery is stoning-Deut 22:23-24) . God will bring on you the blood vengeance of His wrath and jealous anger and then deliver them into the hands of your lovers [enemies/surrounding nations]. They will strip you…take your fine jewelry and leave you stark naked, bring a mob against you, stone you, hack you to pieces with their swords, burn down your houses and inflict punishment. Andy’s translation: They will be raped, pillaged and plundered (Collins 160).

The second metaphor of an unfaithful marriage that I found resides Ezekiel 23. It actually deals with two sisters becoming prostitutes in Egypt from their youth, Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were the Lord’s and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah being the North engaged in “prostitution” while she was still mine [the Lord’s]; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians (simultaneous with Egypt) so God handed them over to the Assyrians. Oholibah being the South or Jerusalem lusted after the Assyrians (and Babylonians). So God “turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister”. So the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians will be sent against them and they will be brutalized by them.

Last but not least we have a third metaphor of the adulterous marriage in Jeremiah 3 and it also takes up a majority of the chapter. Although it is not as explicit as Ezekiel it is damning to Israel. During Josiah’s reign of Israel, “has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there and Judah her unfaithful sister saw it also (v7). So, God “gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries (Assyria in 722 B.C.). Judah having witnesses this “had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery”. Judah was then essentially guilty of the same adulterous behavior as her sister Israel. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah “did not return to me [God] with all her heart, but only in pretense”. This action on Judah’s behave inevitably leads to their exile to Babylonian captivity.

So...I guess that makes them unfaithful whores? If it made them this raunchy of a person/nation imagine what it makes the unfaithful today having had this lesson to learn from if they would only read the Bible collecting dust on the nightstand?

Collins, John Joseph. "Part Three: Prophecy." A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. 160. Print.


Don and Shelly said...

Wow, Andy... that was thought-provokingly intense.

Andy Pierson said...

I wrestled with posting the explicit wordage in this post but it is the word of God so I decided not to alter anything or paraphrase. In prophetic language and rhetoric this langauge is critical to getting the prophet's point across to a spiritually desensitized nation in the most graphic and emphatic of terms to get them to repent. Obviously it didn't have its desired impact on everyone.

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