Monday, August 29, 2016

Vacation Week

Just a quick note today:  I'm on vacation, which means I'm away from this for the week.  I will be back for sure next week!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Aaron

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Last week, we talked about God as if he were a jilted lover who keeps providing for his beloved anyway.  He walled off his beloved's paths so she could not get to her lovers, but kept offering her the new wine, and fresh oil, and grain that provided for her life.  Such is God's grace-filled providence.  And then we get this:

11. Therefore I will return
    And I will take back my grain at its time,
    And my new wine at its appointed time,
And I will snatch away my wool and my flax
    That cover her nakedness.    

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ever Faithful

Sorry for the silence on this end.  Between some illness and some computer problems, this has gotten away from me.  I'm going to try to be more regular going forward.  (Though I will mention casually that it would be helpful to me to justify the time I spend working on this if I knew there were people actually reading it!  :)  )

We continue at Hosea 2:8.  As we do, I'll note along with Jed's comment that, since we are reading (very) slowly, looking at individual verses and even words in detail, we're missing important parts of the message that we might get if we read the whole of Hosea, or at least read in the context of more of Hosea, rather than just two verses.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Metaphors and Prostitution

Today's reading continues with God's (Hosea's) lawsuit against Israel (Gomer).

6. And her children, I will not love,
    For they are children of promiscuity.
7. For their mother was promiscuous.
    When she conceived them, she made herself wither.
For she said, "I will go after my lovers,
    Who give my bread and my water,
    My wool and my flax,
    My oil and my drink."

To start with, I need to note a translation challenge in verse 7.  The phrase, "She made herself wither," appears to be translated regularly instead by something like, "She acted shamefully" or "She behaved disgracefully."  I have no doubt that this is a Hebrew idiomatic expression--one that I don't know.  For the moment, I'm going to leave it as is; the literal translation has to do with withering or drying up.  I tend to like these sorts of idioms, where the words themselves are far more colorful and imaginative than their meaning.  When I get a chance to swing by the library, I may update it.  The commentaries at my personal disposal don't mention it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Gomer and Hosea

Last week was a good time to take a little break.  We're starting a new big section today.  Here's the next two verses of Hosea 2:
4. Accuse your mother!  Accuse [her]!
    For she is not my wife,
    And I am not her hubsand.
Let her turn her promiscuity away from her face
    And her adultery from between her breasts.
5. Or else I will strip her naked
    And I will make her as on the day of her birth.
And I will set her as in the desert,
    And I will make her like a land of drought,
    And I will kill her with thirst.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Learning Curve

People are slowly catching up this week, which means we're slowly seeing comments appear on old posts.  If you're interested, peek back at a few.  At the bottom of each entry on the main page, you can see how many comments exist for each post, and even jump straight to them.  You can post comments of your own, too; if you don't have (or want to use) one of the accounts suggested, you can choose Name/URL from the drop down list, and just leave URL blank.

In addition his thoughts on a few of our posts, Mark adds this general question:  
Hosea is proving to be complicated.  There's a lot of new stuff to learn to understand the meaning.  It reminds me of Revelation.  Is it intrinsic in Old Testament study that the context and history are so much more involved than the New Testament?  Or is this just a difference in the way we approach them?
It's a good question, so I thought we'd look at that today.  And like Hosea itself, the answer is complicated.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Prophetic Whiplash

I was reading a book recently which included in one of its appendices a bunch of notes about how that book quotes from the Bible.  In one of these notes, we are told that the author won't always quote whole verses, as if this should be a surprise to us.  But it occurs to me that there are some people in some traditions that would expect Bible verses to be whole units, always used in their entirety, never divided.

So it is worth pointing out here that the versification of our Bible was not passed down from antiquity.  I know less about the way that the Hebrew text was broken into verses.  In any Hebrew Bible, you'll find a large symbol that looks rather like a colon called a "Sof Pasuq."  This symbol is roughly equivalent to an English period, symbolizing the end of the phrase.  (Hebrew is actually a lot more complicated than that in its phrasing, but this will suffice for today.)  The verses of the Hebrew Bible match these Sof Pasuq, and as they've been passed down from antiquity, the division into verses is probably quite old.