Exile as Courtship

In Hosea 2, the LORD vents his frustration against his adulterous wife, Israel, threatening to strip away the good gifts he’d given her, which she had used in fornicating with her lovers, the Baals (2:1-13). At 2:14, however, there’s a surprising shift in tone: “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her…I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies” (2:14, 19). The LORD will drive Israel, stripped of all her ragged follies, into the wilderness — not to punish or humiliate her, but to woo her. Isn’t it obvious why? The wilderness of exile, at the foot of Sinai, is where Israel and the LORD first fell in love and were married. The exile the LORD promises is a kind of second honeymoon, stripping away everything inessential to remind Israel of her bond to the LORD.

This entry was posted in Bible, Covenant, Exile, Hosea and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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