Study Guide

The Twelve Minor Prophets Hosea Chapter 1

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Hosea Chapter 1

The Best Little Whorehouse in Israel

  • Long before Myles McNutt coined the term “sexposition” to describe how Game of Thrones uses NSFW scenes with prostitutes to, um, flesh out the story, the first book of the Minor Prophets grabs readers’ attention with some hot prophet-on-prostitute expository set-up.
  • Chapter 1 begins with God ordering the prophet Hosea to marry and have children with a woman in the sex trade. Some scholars argue that the words used for “whore” and “whoredom” are extreme ways of referring merely to sexual promiscuity, which would make this one of the earliest historical examples of slut-shaming.
  • God himself explains that this marriage will be a symbol of his relationship with the nation of Israel, which has been getting a bit too close with the surrounding nations if you catch his drift.
  • The woman Hosea marries is Gomer. Worst. Porn name. Ever.
  • Hosea and Gomer have three children. God playfully nicknames them “the children of whoredom,” thus securing decades of prosperity for Israel’s therapists.
  • In English, the kids’ real names literally mean “No Mercy,” “Not My People” and “God Will Sow,” a reference to the lush valley where God promises to destroy the kingdom of Israel.
  • The moral: never buy a baby-name book whose author is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
  • God makes a point of saying that he’s still cool with Judah--for now. He’s only angry with the Northern Kingdom.
  • (The message about Judah may have something to do with the reforms under King Hezekiah, who kicked out the foreign idols so Judah could go exclusive with Yahweh. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence of Hezekiah’s signet ring, although there is no guarantee that this was the class ring that God gave to Hezekiah when they agreed to go steady.)

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