Hosea’s Messiah is Great David’s Greater Son: An Inner-Canonical and Compositional Argument

The dominant voice within Hosean studies argues that reference to “David” in Hosea 3:5 (and Judah throughout) is (are) secondary, the work of a later Judean redactor. Such thinking, based on assumptions driven by prior philosophical commitments alien to the text of Scripture, significantly undermines one’s ability to read the final form of the text on its own terms, following its structural argument. A close reading of the final form of the text of Hosea together with an eye to its pervasive quotation of and allusion to Israel’s Scripture reveals a micro and macro structural repetition occurring first at Hosea 3:4–5 and then repeating itself in Hosea 10–11 and Hosea 13–14. Starting in Hosea 3:4–5 there is a movement from the removal of the apostate Northern kingship by means of exile in 3:4 to the installation of the promised Messiah from David’s line by means of “return” from exile in a new exodus and seeking of YHWH their God and David their king. Hosea 10 speaks of the demise of the kingship, and ultimately its removal in 10:15. This is followed by Hosea 11:10–11, which proclaims a new exodus in which the returnees from exile are coming to the roaring lion (an allusion to Num 24:9), an image of Messiah to come. Within the strong judgment language of Hosea 12:15–14:1, Hosea 13:10–11 contains YHWH’s mocking of Israel’s Kingship and its removal in language reminiscent of her forefather’s demand for a king recorded in 1 Samuel (see esp. Hos 13:10 and 1 Sam 8:6), whereas Hosea 14:8 (E. 7) very likely describes the returnees from exile coming to dwell beneath the “shade” of Messiah. Moreover, Hosea 3:5, 11:10–11, and 14:5–8 (E. 4–7) constitute concluding restoration passages at key points in the structure of the book. Together with Hosea’s allusions to and quotations of Israel’s Scripture in these passages of salvation and judgment, Hosea demonstrates a clear emphasis on the promise of the coming of the Davidic Messiah.

5 thoughts on “Hosea’s Messiah is Great David’s Greater Son: An Inner-Canonical and Compositional Argument”

  1. Perhaps a bit narrow, but theological and promising, I think
    “alien to the text of Scripture” is probably true, but alongside “final form of the text” might be a red flag for a simplistic reading (even if I agree with both claims); I think it is theological, though, and even if we want a more canonical theology approach, I think this counts more than some other things.

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  2. appreciate the attempt to move from text to theology
    This paper seems promising, and the attempt to move from text to theology would fit in what we might applaud. I have a question about his interpretation, but I find the approach refreshing.

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  3. Is this a literary reading of a theological theme?
    If so, ok. Then again literary/rhetorical reading towards theological vision seems to be the approach. I suppose it will be a good paper.

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  4. Focused with only a little connection to the broader canon
    I find this proposal interesting for those of us working in B12, but in the end too focused for an OT Theology session.

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