Hosea and Agriculture (3)
Review three major themes: Harlotry, children, agriculture.
Review of agriculture theme: Giving, prosperity, disaster. The means-weather and farming practices. The participants Jehovah and Israel-the covenant God and his people.
Today we looked at these participants in terms of agricultural imagery.
- Israel. Hosea 2:3-she will be made as a wilderness, a dry thirsty land. In the rest of Scripture we similar imagery in the vine of Isaiah 5, Psalm 80 and in NT John 15 and fig tree Matt.21:19. We have also the olive tree of Romans 11. Also described as a morning cloud (13:3), reaping the whirlwind (8:7), an animal feeding on the east wind (12:1), a dry fruit tree (9:16), an empty vine (10:1), fruit (first-fruits in early history of Israel (9:10).
2. God and Israel. God is as rain (6:3-4) and Israel as a morning cloud. Israel is a plant or a tree and God as good weather (dew) gives the fruit (14:5-8) cf Is.41:19.
3. God. He is the farmer exposing the lamb to danger (4:16), the caring farmer (11:4), the farmer allocating different jobs, some pleasant and easy (treading out the corn), some hard (ploughing) and he is the weather (on which all crops ultimately depend)(10:11-13).
The reason for all this imagery is clear, Israel was an agricultural society and when they fell into idolatry the major issue facing the prophets was to oppose Baal worship during which time prosperity was wrongly attributed to that idol. Worth noting that Amos, the herdsmen observed sunrises, sunsets, stars and mountains also spoke of them in his prophecy. Thus we see God sovereignly picking his mouthpieces, with their respective backgrounds, as his prophets to speak and scribes to record his word.
By way of application the name of Hosea’s son Jezreel (God sows) underlines the church’s utter dependence upon him as the divine sower (Christ’s parable!) of his people. These people, many of whom will be Gentiles (not my people) will be watered by the Spirit of God and will bear fruit in good works that glorify God whereas the unfruitful barren branches, not the planting of the Lord, but rather hypocrites will be cut off and burned. (JK).