God ‘courts’ His bride

In this allegory [i.e. Hos 2:2-15], Yahweh “courts” Israel in two senses. He takes Israel to court in the accusation of a crime–adultery. But as the passage unfolds, it is clear virtually from the outset that the actual purpose will be to “court” Israel in the sense of inviting her back to faithfulness after she has done penance for her sin. Yahweh will never lose his beloved nation. He will renew it. Playing all the decisive roles, judge, jury, prosecutor, police, he can put an end to her promiscuity by seeing that Israel, collectively and individually, is taken from her lovers and made chaste again. The legal metaphor thus stands alongside the love parable. Yahweh will invite and convict as the evidence dictates. But after serving her sentence, Israel has hope for the distant future even more glorious than was the distant past. That future is not to be fulfilled until after a sentence of exile and debasement. It will be truly fulfilled only in a new age, one we know to have been ushered in by Christ (Rom 11:28-32).

-Douglas Stuart, Hosea (Word Biblical Commentary) p 54.

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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