Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.
A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.
Hosea was active shortly after Amos. While both prophesied in Israel, Hosea was a northerner, an Israelite, Amos came from Judah.
Comments: So some scholars question whether Hosea’s marriage to a whore should be taken literally (or symbolically): NOAB and CAB consider that Hosea literally married the whore, “Gomer” (v. 3); NJBC appears to be less sure. He offers three ways of looking at Hosea’s marriage:
For the names of children being prophetically significant, see also:
The interpretations are fairly different, so I suggest that the reader read all of the Clippings by †NOAB and † CAB, and then those by †NJBC. Chapter 2 helps greatly in understanding Chapter 1.
1:1: This verse is really a superscription. The conviction that “the word of the Lord” comes to a prophet (in Joel 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zephaniah 1:1; Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1) is fundamental to Hebrew prophecy; it asserts that the prophet’s inspiration and authority are not self-generated, but come from God., whose will is disclosed through the prophet (see Ezekiel 2:3-5; 3:10-11; Amos 3:7; Zechariah 1:6), whose personal agent the prophet is (see Exodus 4:15-16 and Isaiah 6:8), and whom alone the prophet must obey (see 1 Kings 13; Amos 7:14-17; Acts 4:18-20). [ NOAB]
1:1: “Beeri”: In Genesis 26:34, Esau marries the daughter of a Hittite by this name. Perhaps Berri’s name is of that origin. The Hittites lived in the mountains of Canaan; they were more numerous in Syria and Asia Minor. [ CAB]
1:1: The dates of the kings are: Uzziah (783 to 742), Jotham (742 to 735), Ahaz (735 to 715), Hezekiah (715 to 687) and Jeroboam II (786 to 746). If Hosea was active through the reigns of all these kings, his period of activity was close to a century. An educated guess is that he was actually active from about 750 BC to the fall of Israel to the Assyrians in 722 BC. [ CAB]
1:2: “whoredom”: The Hebrew word is in the plural. Thus it expresses a quality, faithless or the like, and need not refer to an actual whore. So also “children of whoredom” can be children of a faithless mother, and not children born in adultery. The whoredom of the land is idolatry: 5:4 says “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they do not know the Lord”. [ NJBC]
1:3: “bore him a son”: This is Hosea’s own child. Yahweh gives the child a name, an action that always emphasizes the function of the person as a sign of divine intentions: see also Genesis 17:5 (Abram is renamed Abraham); 32:28 (Jacob is renamed Israel); Matthew 1:21 (an angel to Mary). So the names do not represent Hosea’s own attitude toward his children. So also in vv. 6 and 9. [ NJBC]
1:4-5: “Jezreel”: The name means God sows. These verses point back to the sin of “the house of Jehu” [ NOAB] and forward to the harvest of judgement God is about to bring on Israel [ CAB], and to Israel’s restoration: see 2:21-23. Jeroboam II belonged to the dynasty of Jehu: see 1 Kings 19:15-17 and 2 Kings 9-10. [ NOAB]
1:4: “Jezreel”: According to 1 Kings 18:45-46; 21:1 this was where the kings of Israel lived. For the story of Jezebel’s death at Jehu’s command, see 2 Kings 9:30-37. For Jehu installing himself as king, see 2 Kings 9:1-13. [ CAB]
1:5: “break the bow of Israel”: This is language typical of curses attached to ancient treaties, i.e. what will happen to one of the parties if he breaks the pact. [ NJBC]
1:5: “Jezreel”: The word means God sows. There are pointers here back to the sin of Jehu and forward to Israel’s restoration: 2:21-23 foretells: “On that day I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth; and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”. [ NOAB]
1:6: The name of the second child will be a living reminder of Yahweh not having pity on Israel because of her sin. [ NOAB] CAB says that “Lo-ruhamah” means not shown compassion. NJBC says that the name means she is not pitied or she no longer holds the love of the parent. She need not refer to the daughter; it may refer to “the land”, which is feminine in Hebrew. [ NJBC]
1:7: This verse, exempting Judah, is a later addition. [ NOAB] 2 Kings 19:35-37 tells us that Yahweh himself intervened to save Jerusalem from Sennacherib. See also Isaiah 31:1 and Psalm 20:7-9. [ NJBC]
1:9: “Lo-ammi”: For the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel, see Exodus 6:7 (“ I will take you as my people, and I will be your God”) and 19:5. See also Isaiah 40:1 (“Comfort, O comfort my people, ...”) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 (the new covenant). [ NJBC]
1:9: “I am not your God”: The Hebrew means literally I am not your Yahweh. The very name of God specially revealed to his people is lost to Israel. [ NJBC]
1:10-2:1: CAB suggests that these verses may be later, based on the change in vocabulary and imagery. They may have been written following the exile of Judah to Babylon in 586 BC.
2:2-13: Israel will suffer pubic shame and personal privation like a harlot, because it has adulterated the worship of Yahweh with Canaanite worship of Baal. [ NOAB]
2:2: “Plead”: The Hebrew word indicates a formal juridical situation. There is an indictment (v. 2a), warning (vv. 2b-4) and then accusation plus judgement repeated three times (vv. 5-7, 8-12, 13-15). Yahweh is “I”; he summons the children to bear witness against their mother (who is faithless Israel). The children are the people of Israel: judgement of Israel must be judgement of the people. [ NJBC]
2:3: In Isaiah 47:2-3, the prophet, speaking to Babylon, says “Take the millstones and grind meal, remove your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one”. See also Ezekiel 16:37-39 and Revelation 17:16. [ NOAB] NJBC says that Ezekiel 16:23-43 follows the earlier language of Hosea.
2:5: Jeremiah 2:23-25 says: “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done – a restive young camel interlacing her tracks, a wild ass at home in the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.” See also Jeremiah 3:1-2. [ NOAB]
2:5: “lovers”: Israel’s “lovers” and their gifts refer to the immoral fertility rites of the Canaanite religion. [ NOAB]
2:6: Faced by thorns instead of fruit and kept from the Baal rites (“pursue” and “seek” are cultic terms), Israel will learn where that she belongs to Yahweh. The return of the divorcee must symbolize restoration of the relationship with him. According to Mosaic law, divorced partners could not actually remarry: see Deuteronomy 24:1-4. [ NJBC]
2:6: As a result God will thwart Israel – symbolized by building “a wall against her”. [ CAB]
2:7-13: The Israelites’ failure to recognize Yahweh as the provider of their basic needs (silver and gold, grain, wine, and oil) will result in God taking away these necessities. This will expose the futility (“nakedness”, v. 9) of the people’s idolatry. [ CAB]
2:11-12: Yahweh will end their celebration of pagan festivals and will cease to supply what they think they are receiving from pagan gods.
2:12: This verse sets forth the Baalist doctrine: proper performance of rites must yield fertility, so it is exact to speak of a half-magical earning of what Yahweh knew to be grace. Deuteronomy 9:1-6: “... Know, then, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people”. [ NJBC]
2:13: A new accusation. [ NJBC]
2:14-16: Yahweh will allure Israel back, and renew his covenant with her, and betroth her to himself forever. [ NOAB]
2:14: The people must return to the desert (spiritually), to a re-establishment of contact with Yahweh. This is not a permanent withdrawal but an ideal place to seek God (as the next verse shows). [ NJBC]
2:15: “Valley of Achor”: It is a “door of hope” because the valley leads from the Jordan to the fertile land of central Palestine. Thus the restoration follows the route of the original entry into the Promised Land. [ NJBC] NOAB recalls that when Israel entered the Promised Land, they sinned at the “Valley of Achor” (see Joshua 7:20-26 and Isaiah 65:10), but not this time.
2:16: “My Baal”: The word baal, often used as the proper name of the leading Canaanite deity, means master or lord. [ NOAB]
2:17-23: The conclusion of the chapter promises the removal of the “Baals”, the establishment of a universal “covenant” (see also Leviticus 26:6; Job 5:23; Isaiah 11:6-9; Ezekiel 34:25-31) , the abolition of “war” (see Psalm 46:9 and Isaiah 2:4), and betrothal to Yahweh in “steadfast love” and “faithfulness”. [ NOAB]
Verses 1-2: These verses may recall the return from the Exile. [ JBC]
Verse 2: “Selah”: This word is probably a liturgical direction, added to the original text of the psalm. It may mean lift up, either to indicate the lifting up of the voices of the singers in a doxology, or to call for lifted-up instrumental music in an interlude in the singing. [ NOAB]
Verse 12: “give what is good”: NJBC says this is the autumn rains. In Leviticus 26:4, Yahweh promises the Israelites, conditional on them being faithful: “I will give you your rains in their season”. Deuteronomy 11:14-17 speaks of the gifts of “the early rain and the later rain”. See also Ezekiel 34:25-27 and Zechariah 8:12.
A reading of Augustine's City of God would help any reader understand that what the author is concerned with here is the Colossians' angelolatry and the elemental spirits; for Augustine discusses thoroughly the Platonist idea that God had made lesser gods to create and maintain the earth, and to act as mediators between God and humanity.
Augustine argues that the angels' nature depends on God just as much as humanity's does. For the author, the cosmic Christ is more than just the world-soul (which was another teaching of Platonism), but God himself through, by, and in whom God created everything. It's very complex. The author keeps warning his readers away from “philosophy” (v. 8), but you really have to know some philosophy to understand him here!
I think the problem the author may have perceived (as Augustine did several centuries later) is that Platonism was so close in many ways to Christianity, and in many ways so attractive, that it was all too easy to let Platonist assumptions creep unexamined into Christian faith. The author has to walk the thin line between the influences of Judaism and Platonism, obviously not easy for his readers! References to the bodily image of God that Jesus is may also be inserted as a way of pulling the Colossians back from Platonic notions that the body was inherently evil. The incarnate Christ leads the disembodied elemental spirits captive. [Abbott Conway]
Verse 8: “takes you captive”: The rare Greek verb sylagogeo has the added sense of carry you off as booty. [ NJBC]
Verse 8: “philosophy”: Some scholars render this as vain speculation, but this translation reads certain assumptions into the word. The Greek word philosophia itself implies simply love of wisdom. [ NOAB]
Verse 8: “human tradition”: In Matthew 15:2-3, 6, when some Pharisees ask Jesus “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?”, namely washing their hands before eating, he answers “for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God”. See also Mark 7:3, 5, 8-9, 13; Galatians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18. [ CAB]
Verse 8: “elemental spirits”: The elements of which the world was thought to be composed are earth, fire, air and water. Spirits were thought to infuse these elements. (Many centuries later, scientists discovered chemical elements, e.g. hydrogen.) There were also spirits of the upper air.
Verse 9: “in him”: Christ crucified, resurrected and exalted. [ CAB]
Verse 10: “the head of every ruler and authority”: Ephesians 1:21-22 says that Christ is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” and is “the head over all things for the church”. [ NOAB]
Verses 11-12: These verses reflect Romans 6:3-11, but here baptism is named as Christian circumcision. Circumcision is used figuratively in the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 44:7), in the Qumran literature (see 1QS (Rule of the Community) 5:5) and elsewhere in the New Testament (see Romans 2:28-29 and Philippians 3:3). [ NJBC]
Verse 11: “putting off ...”: Greek apekdysis. This noun is used only here in the New Testament. The verb apekdyomai is found in 2:15; 3:9. There may be an allusion to mystery cults here: in some of them, initiates laid aside their garments during the rite. In the early Church the first act of the baptismal rite was the taking off of one's vesture. [ NJBC]
Verse 12: “power”: Greek: energeia. This is a favourite word in Colossians and Ephesians: see also 1:29; Ephesians 1:19; 3:7; 4:16. Interestingly enough, in Greek philosophy energeia doesn't really mean power – that concept is rendered by the term dynamis. The Latin equivalent of dynamis is potentia, which is power (potency), but also potential, that which a thing is in itself before being manifested. The equivalent of energeia is operatio, that which is brought about to reflect the innate being of the thing. So energeia is really a bringing about, an actualizing, of something. I suspect that for the author, it is an important word because it signifies God actually having done the thing, not merely postulating it in some theoretical dimension. [Abbott Conway]
Verse 12: Comments: our appearance with Christ in glory will come later: 3:3-4 says: “... you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory”.
Verse 14: “erasing the record”: An accounting term. Ephesians 2:15 says: “He [Christ] has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two ...”. See also 1 Peter 2:24. [ NOAB]
Verse 14: “legal”: i.e. in Mosaic law. Death was the penalty for disobeying the Law: see Genesis 2:17 and Deuteronomy 30:19. [ JBC] Jews believed that the Law was given to Moses by angels: In Galatians 3:19, Paul writes that “it was ordained through angels by a mediator” (Moses).
Verse 15: “made a public example of them”: As captives, stripped of their armour, were displayed as proof of victory.
Verse 16: “festivals, new moons, or sabbaths”: In Galatians 4:10, Paul notes that some Christians in Galatia are “observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years”. This phrase (or variants of it) occur in 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 31:3; Ezekiel 45:17; Hosea 2:11. [ CAB]
Verse 17: “shadow ... substance”: NJBC sees this as reflecting the Greek shadow/reality notion. “Substance” here is soma, literally body. An earthy thing was seen as a pale imperfect shadow of the heavenly perfect reality. Hebrews 8:5 says of the Jewish high priests that “They offer worship in a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one”. See also Hebrews 10:1; 1 Corinthians 13:10.
Verses 18-19: “Do not let anyone ... dwelling on visions, ... head”: Another interpretation is that those who have given themselves to fanciful visions have also lost touch with their own heads.
Verses 20-23: These verses contrast the constraints of philosophy and the liberty of believers. [ NJBC]
Verse 1: “He was praying”: For prayer as a part of recorded momentous events in Jesus’ life, see, e.g., Mark 1:35; Luke 3:21 (Jesus’ baptism); 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28 (the Transfiguration); 22:41-46 (on the Mount of Olives). [ CAB]
Verse 1: “‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’”: BlkLk says that, in the days of Jesus’ ministry, Judaism considered a great part of the Eighteen Benedictions as obligatory. Here we have a request for a special prayer to express the particular outlook and concerns of a group of disciples of Jesus.
Verses 2-4: The versions of the Lord’s Prayer are compared in the following table:
Each of the clauses found in Matthew but not in the commonly accepted Lucan text is found in some manuscripts of Luke.
Matthew’s form is closer to Jewish prayers, and Luke’s to other Christian prayers. The Lord’s Prayer is probably based on Jewish prayers. [ JBC]
The doxology For the kingdom, ... (For thine is the kingdom... ) was added in the early Church. It is based on David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13: “Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name.”. It is found in some early manuscripts of Luke.
Verse 2: “Father”: God as a caring, provident, gracious and loving parent. In 10:21, we read “... Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father ...’”. In 22:42, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus prays: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done”. Jesus also addresses God as “Father” in 23:34, 46. [ NJBC]
Verse 3: “Give us each day our daily bread”: Throughout the gospels, the giving of bread has a eucharistic meaning. See also 9:17 (the Feeding of the Five Thousand). This is a petition for daily physical and moral renewal. [ JBC]
Verse 4: “forgive”: In Mark 11:25, Jesus instructs his disciples: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses”. See also Matthew 18:35 (the fate of those who do not forgive, in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant). [ CAB]
Verse 4: “trial”: Temptation is another translation. In Luke, it is always bad; it never has the effect of strengthening. [ NJBC]
Verse 7: “the door has already been locked”: A door was barricaded with a large wooden or iron bar, which would be tiresome and noisy to remove. [ JBC]
Verse 7: “my children are with me in bed”: In a one-room Palestinian house, the whole family slept on a mat in the raised part of the room. [ JBC]
Verse 7: “I cannot get up”: i.e. I won’t! [ JBC]
Verse 8: “persistence”: JBC puts a different spin on the Greek word: shamelessness.
Verse 9: The Greek implies an introduction: I personally tell you ... [ JBC]
Verse 9: In Matthew 18:19, Jesus tells his disciples: “... truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven”. See also Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; James 1:5-8; 1 John 5:14-15; John 14:13; 15:7; 17:23-24. [ NOAB]
Verses 11-12: See also Psalm 91:12-16: “... Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honour them ...”. [ JBC]
Verse 12: “scorpion”: A scorpion is black, so it could not possibly be mistaken for an “egg”. [ JBC]
Verse 13: “you ... who are evil”: “You” here is surely people in general. Opposed to God’s ways as shown by Jesus, they are even so made in the image of God, so reflect some of his ways.
Verse 13: “Holy Spirit”: The Holy Spirit enables our sharing in Jesus’ sonship: see also Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14. It is Luke who tells us of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (see Acts 2). Some manuscripts have Your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us rather than “Your kingdom come” (v. 2). Both Marcion (died ca 160 AD) and Gregory of Nyssa (ca 330 - ca 395) knew the prayer with these words. BlkLk says that it is likely that Your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us is a liturgical adaptation of the original form of the Lord’s prayer used perhaps when celebrating the rite of baptism or of the laying-on of hands.
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