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The City is a Jealous Mistress: A Socio-Historical Reading About Divided Loyalties in Hosea

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  1. That history of the society is where people and context unite-and, as such, becomes socio-historical.
  2. However, with the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE, Syria-Palestine came under the rule of the Assyrians.
  3. This is the possibility that the story of Hosea and Gomer might be a beautifully-shaped and carefully constructed leitmotif for what was really going on within the kingdom of Israel under the rule of a foreign power.
  4. It is here that a little care should be taken to deduce why this would have been the case.
  5. As noted in previous work, the tribes of Ephraim and Judah were rivals.
  6. Switching back to Hosea momentarily-perhaps he was under sway to present a persona that was different from the namesake of the king under whom he was prophesying.
  7. However, when Hosea entertains the notion of actually marrying one of the (what was most likely) temple prostitutes (Gomer), in order to show that he really was one of his own people.
  8. King Hoshea seems like he was able to strike the balance, because, even though his loyalties were divided, in the end, the real lesson here is that he was the person who did not get killed.
  9. Hosea's platform was to keep the tragedy of the nation's fading allegiance to God and Israel to itself, from continuing to happen.
  10. The Assyrians, being in power, were oppressing people by either forcing or endorsing women and men to become participants in the temple cult.


Here it will be attempted to examine three characters of within Hosea chapters one through three--from a socio-historical feminist viewpoint, ergo, socio-herstorical-in order to try to understand why they are portrayed the way they are in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament history. It is an attempt to try to dissect the politics of loyalty in ancient Israelite times. In order to present a better-rounded, three-dimensional personae in these three characters, the context out of which their common story arises becomes a crucial element in revealing who they are, versus the way in which they are chosen to be remembered as written in the book of Hoshea.

[...] King Hoshea seems like he was able to strike the balance, because, even though his loyalties were divided, in the end, the real lesson here is that he was the person who did not get killed.There's nothing super spiritual, idolatrous, or remotely selfish about self-preservation. To what extent, is a different debate entirely altogether. However, that should not be confused with the selfless acts that come with being an everyday hero as treating one's fellow human beings with dignity and respect. [...]


[...] First, however, what seems of primary importance here is that an entire book of the Bible was named after a Northern Israelite king who was captured in battle, and yet, didn't die-which would have made him the ancient equivalent of a prisoner of war. One should keep a few points of fact in mind when considering why-unlike two-thirds of the kings who also had held the throne of the Northern Kingdom-Hoshea, of all of them, had had his life spared. [...]


[...] Whether the story about Gomer and Hosea was indeed consisting of real people, or an elaborate allegory for the geographical politics of Assyrian domination of the land, it makes for an alluring reconnoiter for the oppressed (in this case, the children of Israel) to read this as a liberative text to be written and understood-- for and by the oppressed--amidst a forced occupation. Chapters one through three in Hosea demonstrate the fealty of: a king to keep his life; a prophet to stop his way of life from passing away from before his eyes; and a woman who, like the king, was [...]

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