Hosea

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Hosea, from Menologion of Basil II, 985. Vatican Library.

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Hosea. After 1132. Augsburg Cathedral.
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Hosea (at lower left), Cefalù Cathedral, 1145-1160.
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Hosea preaching to the Israelites and confounding the devil. Winchester Bible, 1160-75.

Hosea and Gomer. Stone relief quatrefoils, Amiens Cathedral, 1220-40.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

And the Lord said to him, ‘Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.’

She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.’

When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, ‘Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.’

 Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’, it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’ Hosea 1:2-10

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Hosea with Gomer. Franco-Flemish, about 1270.
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Duccio, Hosea, from the Maestà, 1308-11.
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Hosea and Gomer in an embrace. From the Bible Historiale, 1372.

Therefore, I will now persuade her,
   and bring her into the wilderness,
   and speak tenderly to her.
From there I will give her her vineyards,
   and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she shall respond as in the days of her youth,
   as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband’, and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal’. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.And I will take you for my wife for ever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.
On that day I will answer, says the Lord,
   I will answer the heavens
   and they shall answer the earth;
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
   and they shall answer Jezreel;
   and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah,
   and I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are my people’;
   and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’ Hosea 2:14-23

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Joel, Zephaniah, Amos, Hosea. Late 15th century. St. Mary’s Church, Fairford, Gloucestershire.

The Lord said to me again, ‘Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine. And I said to her, ‘You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.’ For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:1-5

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Pinturicchio, The Prophet Hosea and the Delphic Sibyl, 1492-94. Borgia Apartments, Hall of the Sibyls.
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Raphael, The Prophets Hosea and Jonah, c. 1510. / Conservation
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Louis-Felix de La Rue (1731-1765). The Prophets Hosea and Jonah (after Raphael).

I will return again to my place
   until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
   In their distress they will beg my favour:

‘Come, let us return to the Lord;
   for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
   he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
   his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
   like the spring rains that water the earth.’


What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
   What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
   like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
   I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
   and my judgement goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
   the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings. Hosea 5:15-6:6

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Moretto da Brescia, The Prophet Hosea, 1521-24. San Giovanni Evangelista, Brescia.
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Gillis van Coninxloo (1544-1607), Mountain Landscape with River Valley and the Prophet Hosea.
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Cornelis Galle I after Jan van der Straet, Hosea. 1613.  / British Museum
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Hosea’s Sermon. 1681. St. Catherine’s Church, Frankfurt.
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Hosea the Prophet, from iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi Pogost, Russia.
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Aleijadinho (Antônio Francisco Lisboa), Hosea, from the Twelve Prophets, 1800-05. Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, Congonhas do Campo, Brazil.

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
   and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
   the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
   and offering incense to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
   I took them up in my arms;
   but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
   with bands of love.
I was to them like those
   who lift infants to their cheeks.
   I bent down to them and fed them.

They shall return to the land of Egypt,
   and Assyria shall be their king,
   because they have refused to return to me.
The sword rages in their cities,
   it consumes their oracle-priests,
   and devours because of their schemes.
My people are bent on turning away from me.
   To the Most High they call,
   but he does not raise them up at all.

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
   How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
   How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
   my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;
   I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and no mortal,
   the Holy One in your midst,
   and I will not come in wrath.

They shall go after the Lord,
   who roars like a lion;
when he roars,
   his children shall come trembling from the west.
They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
   and like doves from the land of Assyria;
   and I will return them to their homes, says the LordHosea 11:1-11

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