1:2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him,
“Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her,
for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
1:3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Gomer, daughter of Diblaim
Hosea … more like Ho-sea!! Amiright folks?? Looks like Israel’s been hoin’ around with every Tom Dick and Harry she can get ‘er paws on eh? Yeah. That disturbing analogy has been used several times in the Bible so far, but with Hosea, we manage to get an entire book about it. Yay!! So if you’ve been reading the Bible up till this point and thinking, “You know, I’m kinda bummed that we’ve only focused on degrading women some of the time so far … I’d like more of that,” then you’re in luck! Hosea is the book for you.
Here’s the scoop. We’ve gotten several books leading into this that are considered as the books of the “Major Prophets” – Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Hosea, a far shorter book than any of those ones, apparently starts off the 12 books of the “Minor Prophets” that seem to be the ones that close out of the Old Testament. I think we’re in the home stretch here, folks.
In terms of chronology, Isaiah lived and prophesied first, during the reigns of Azariah (a.k.a. Uzziah), Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Then came Jeremiah, who lived through the Babylonian takeover of Judah/Jerusalem. Then lastly was Ezekiel, who showed up during the Babylonian exile. He started later than Jeremiah but overlapped him by a good bit, as far as I can tell. With Hosea though, we rewind back to the time of Isaiah. Hosea’s timeframe is listed here as being during the reigns of the exact same kings – Uzziah through Hezekiah. Both these guys were around before and into the takeover of Israel by the Assyrians, which happened a good while before the Babylonian takeover.
You know what’s crazy about Ezekiel? Two things:
- It took me so ridiculously long to get through all 48 chapters this book, and it was so mind-numbing, that by the time I finally went to type up this post, I nearly forgot to lead off with the Pulp Fiction connection.
- As disturbing as this scene is when put into the context of a Bible blog, it literally is no different and no less violent than Ezekiel itself. Put God in the Samuel L. Jackson (Jules) role and it’s 100% accurate. Just replace the gun with swords and arrows and stuff. Game of Thrones style.
The verse they quote as “Ezekiel 25:17” in Pulp Fiction is not actually a real bible verse. But the tail end of it, especially the most memorable line – “And you will know my name is the LORD, when I lay my vengeance upon thee!!” – really IS the way verse 25:17 ends. It’s also a phrase that is repeated over and over in various forms throughout Ezekiel. Funny thing is, Pulp Fiction‘s version of a fictional Ezekiel verse is actually a hell of a lot more pleasant than most of the stuff in Ezekiel itself.
6:19 Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. 16:20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” 16:21“Therefore I will teach them— this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.”
19:7 ”In this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds and the wild animals. 19:8 I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. 19:9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.”
That’s right, bitches. God is going to make you eat your children. And then after you eat your kids, you’re gonna have to eat your friends. Because you’re a disloyal a-hole. All you had to do was remain faithful to God, but oooohhhh no. Oh no Mr. Man. You just couldn’t do it. You had to start worshiping all those other gods out there. All those FALSE idols. And now the time has come to pay the piper, buddy boy.
Ack, this is bad. I was doing so well for the first half of last year, and I certainly slowed down in the second half, but still. I didn’t expect my progress on Isaiah to be this close to the speed of molasses. Slllooowly dripping molasses. It’s not entirely unexpected though. The last few books I’ve read have been in the short to medium length range, which spoiled me a little. Isaiah, however, was 66 chapters. Combine a long book with content quality that is somewhere between mind-numbing and nearly useless, and you’ve got me taking 4 full months to complete the damn thing (and then even longer to write this review). Well, and an extremely busy and stressful stretch at work certainly has not helped either.
Why are Isaiah’s eyes so bloodshot here??
But honestly, Isaiah felt like such a waste of time that it had me wondering where it would rank in a “Most Useless Bible Books” list. The books that have felt very useless to me thus far have been the ones that a) rehashed stories from previous books (e.g. 1st and 2nd Chronicles), and b) were very repetitive and added very little new information or revelations that hadn’t already been covered in previous books (e.g. Psalms). Isaiah, for the most part, is guilty of BOTH of these things (though I know Christians will disagree with me on this for one specific reason, which I address in the “Interesting Stuff” section a little ways down this review).
This book is named Isaiah because it is supposedly told by the 8th century prophet Isaiah ben Amoz. Wikipedia has a good breakdown of the book’s story sections:
- Proto-Isaiah (chapters 1–39), containing the words of Isaiah
- Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40–55), the work of an anonymous 6th-century author writing during the exile
- Trito-Isaiah (chapters 56–66), composed after the return from exile.