Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish - Hosea Explained It All A Few Words Changed

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel [America]
    for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or loyalty,
    and no knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing, lying, and murder,
    and stealing and adultery break out;
    bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who live in it languish;
together with the wild animals
    and the birds of the air,
    even the fish of the sea are perishing.

Yet let no one contend,
    and let none accuse,
    for with you is my contention, O priest [professor or Supreme Court Justice or TV here]
You shall stumble by day;
    the prophet [pundit] also shall stumble with you by night,
    and I will destroy your mother [family]

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.
The more they increased [prospered],
    the more they sinned against me;
    they changed their glory [freedom] into shame.
They feed on the sin of my people;
    they are greedy for their iniquity.
And it shall be like people, like priest;
    I will punish them for their ways,
    and repay them for their deeds.
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
    they shall play the whore [you can take your pick of vices, Trump can provide a long list as can the men of FOX], but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the Lord
    to devote themselves to whoredom.

Wine and new wine [big Pharma]
    take away the understanding.
My people consult a piece of wood [screen]
    and their divining rod [polls] gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom [pretty much all commerce] has led them astray,
    and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.
They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains [they sacrifice the whole mountain top]
    and make offerings upon the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth [change this to clear cutting]
    because their shade is good [air conditioning replaced that]
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.  [make that gender neutral and it's spot on]
I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
    nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with whores,
    and sacrifice with temple prostitutes [read "Hollywood" "the NFL" and the other actual venues of corporate Mammonism]
thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.

Though you play the whore, O Israel,
    do not let Judah become guilty.
Do not enter into Gilgal,
    or go up to Beth-aven,
    and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.”
Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them
    like a lamb in a broad pasture?
Ephraim is joined to idols—
    let him alone.
When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;
    they love lewdness more than their glory.
A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
    and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.

I was exposed to FOX TV in a waiting room and all I can think of is Hosea 4.  For "Israel" read "America", for "priest" read TV, for "sacrifice" read "indulge" for "wood" think "screen", and make a few other updates and it works to explain us quite well.  Especially if you think of "priest" as "TV preacher, or in the current media use of the word "evangelical" (they never mean the liberal ones), or "Values Voters".  You update the language to match our contemporary fetishizing of the kind of "freedom" that enslaves and it's a perfect match.You can come up with all kinds of equivalents for what Hosea was talking about in the context of Israel gone bad in the 8th century, BCE and it works just as well for the United States in 2017.

Speaking of Israel, Susannah Heschel on morality, vision, and corruption

I love Susannah Heschel.  What she said about Israel goes a thousand times for the United States.


  1. I'm always rankled by on-line atheists know-nothings whose knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures is "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which they haven't read, either, but think is an accurate picture of...well, something Christians are in denial about (because on-line atheists always know more than anyone else).

    This passage from Hosea is a fine summary of the causes and reasons for the Exile as explained by the prophets, and a refutation of the idea God just got angry and deciding some punishing was in order. that interpretation, God v Jesus, anger v. love, is actually one of the roots of historic anti-semitism, and it's ironic how many atheists foster it without ever realizing it.

    Being so much smarter than everyone else is its own burden, apparently.

    1. I like Brueggemann's idea that there are untransgressible limits built into the universe and this is a warning about what happens when those limits are transgressed. It's not as if we weren't warned about that.

      It was reading the Torah, the prophets, the books of wisdom in a different way that opened the meaning of them up. That I had to overcome the kind of stuff you mention to get there is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

    2. Underscores my contention, learned too late as well for me (all those years!), that Scripture is to be read in and with a community. Or all the rest is desolation.

  2. Hmmm...troll free.

    Must be a form of repellant. You should probably post more like this, then. ;-)

    1. Maybe it's Susannah Heschel. Maybe it's Hosea. Maybe it's too long to read for the trolls.