We started this series examining an ethical dilemma that was presented in the opening of the book of Hosea. Over several posts we explored numerous solutions that are offered by various commentators and scholars to handle the challenge. In the last post a solution was offered as the most likely, as it was the only one that seems to fit all of the available information. However, that solution requires us to accept an uncommon translation of Hosea 1:4 that is not used in modern translations.
Here are the two possible translations of the passage, with the more common one on top:
in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel
in just a little while I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu
A short overview of the second translation, which is required for the preferred solution to the dilemma, is offered in this post. It should be noted that I do not know Hebrew and am indebted to the work of other scholars in examining this solution.
We started this series examining an ethical dilemma that was posed in Hosea.
And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just 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. (Hosea 1:4)
When one first reads the passage, the dilemma is not obvious. It is only when we explore who Jehu is and what the blood of Jezreel might mean that we find a challenge. What we find is the possibility that God asked Jehu to perform an action, then praised and rewarded him for doing what was asked, only to then punish him for it?
That should be an unsettling image of God, who is often described as good (Ps 100:5; 107:1).
We have examined numerous options that are used to address the challenge.
Numerous scholars and commentators disagree on which of these solutions is the correct one. Each of these answers has significant weaknesses when one reads through the numerous passages that relate to the events. It is reasonable to conclude that all of these actions were part of what God expected out of Jehu and were commended. It is also rationale to accept Jehu as having the right motives while performing these actions.
Welcome back to the series where we are exploring the dilemma that Hosea presents in the opening passages. If you are just joining the series I recommend starting with part one.
In the prior posts we examined three ways in which some commentators and scholars attempt to solve the dilemma. They are all rooted in the broad idea that Jehu went beyond what God commanded and that the excessive actions were not part of what was praised.
In this post we will look at a different approach to solving the dilemma. We saw what this approach was in the Gill entry regarding the slaughter of the Baal worshipers.
… because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes: in rooting out the idolatry of Baal, which was right in the sight of God, and was materially a good work, though it might not be done from a good principle, nor every step taken in doing it justifiable (Gill)
Gill argues, as did the prior post, that wiping out the worship of Baal was right but the motives behind the act were not. Therefore the punishment that will be brought against the house of Jehu will be rooted in the motives not the acts themselves.