Day 174: the prophet hosea

2 Kings 5:1-19 Naaman the leper arrived at Elisha’s house and expected Elisha to cure him by way of magical gesture or incantation. Instead, his healing by Elisha’s instructions brought about a conversion experience that caused him to believe in the one true God. Christ alluded to this when he said, “There were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian” (Lk 4:27); he used this story as an example of a prophet not being welcome in his own country: the prophet performed mightier works among the foreigners than among his own people because their faith was stronger. This story bears resemblance to that of the ten lepers cured by Christ, of which only one returned to thank him (cf. Lk 17:12-19)

Ch 5:20-27 Gehazi’s act of greed earned him the affliction from which Naaman formerly suffered. (CCC 2536)

The Book of Hosea

Author and Date:


Main Themes:

Hosea 1-14 Hosea was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel around the 8th Century BC. The first three chapters serve as an explanatory introduction to the rest of the book. Hosea explains that marriage (particularly his own marriage) is a symbol of God’s covenant with Israel, which sheds light on and prepares the way for an understanding of Christian marriage as a permanent covenant between one man and one woman. More generally, Hosea and his prophecies reflect God’s view of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the covenant. (CCC 1610-1612, 1644)

Ch 1:2 The prostitute Gomer is a symbol of the infidelity of Israel to the covenant with God. Her infidelity to Hosea, her spouse, affects the children of their marriage, whom God gives names expressive of her sins of adultery. Hosea, on the other hand, symbolizes God’s unfailing fidelity to Israel. (CCC 762)

Ch 1:10-11 Despite God’s anger at Israel’s infidelity, he responded with mercy and love, willing to restore his people to unity and communion with him. (CCC 214)

Ch 2:1-23 This poem explains and summarizes the message of Hosea. Israel had sinned through idolatry. Although God punished Israel on account of their sins, he loved his people unconditionally and lavished his merciful love upon them; moreover, God is eternally disposed to forgive his people as long as they repent. (CCC 218, 2380)

Ch 2:16: Baal, the name of a specific pagan god, could also mean “husband” or “lord.” God demanded that he be called by a name that meant “husband” exclusively because he is the one true God, whose faithfulness to his people endures forever. He also condemned the accumulation of various pagan forms of worship, demanding that his people remain faithful to the laws and Commandments of his covenant.

Ch 2:21-23 In the Old Covenant, God showered his people with blessings, contingent on their fidelity. In the New Covenant established by Christ, we become, through Baptism, adopted sons and daughters of God. (CCC 2787-2793)

Ch 3:1-5 St. John Paul II described how the conjugal love between a man and a woman in marriage is meant to reflect Christ’s love for his Church. Since spousal love involves a permanent and ongoing total gift of self, infidelity to God in the form of idolatry is compared to adultery. Nevertheless, God remains faithful and eternally eager to forgive and restore a loving union with his people. God’s never-ending love for the Chosen People of his covenant sheds much light on the sacred bond between spouses in marriage (Cf. Eph 5:21-33).

Ch 3:2 I bought her: The handing over of money and goods symbolizes Hosea’s love and generosity toward Gomer, in effect buying her back-redeeming her-from her prostitution. Prostitution is a grave sin that violates the personal dignity and contradicts the sacred purpose of human sexuality. An even graver sin and attack on human dignity is the practice of forcing men and women into prostitution through threats or enslavement. (CCC 2355)

Psalm 101 Those in authority, like the kings themselves, must concern themselves chiefly with the common good of those entrusted to their care. In order to promote justice effectively in society, leaders themselves must lead virtuous lives; two of the virtues that leaders must exhibit are wisdom and justice. Those in authority must govern and make decisions in light of natural law and in a way that promotes justice for the entire population. The moral qualities of civil leaders must include the courage and fortitude not to compromise on fundamental issues of natural law.

It is the responsibility of legitimate authority to legislate just laws and enforce justice on those in violation of the law. Certainly no one who is not vested with authority can impose punishment on another who has broken the law. Where the citizen ought to exercise vigilance against sin and injustice is within himself or herself, said St. John Paul II, “by deciding to uproot from their own hearts and conduct, every morning, the evil sown by corruption and violence, by perversion and wickedness, as well as by every form of selfishness and injustice” (St. John Paul II, General Audience, April 30, 2003). (CCC 1931)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we love you. We receive your love from you because you show yourself to be faithful when we are faithless. You show that you want us even when we are wanton.  You show us, Oh God, that your love is unstoppable. Your love is unchangeable. It is not our beauty that draws you to us. It is your love that moves you to us. And so please continue to draw near. Continue to take us back when we stray. And continue to bar our way when we want to walk or run away. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Dustin's Insights

2 Kgs. 5:

My Study Color Code

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay