Yahweh’s rant against the sinning Israelites continues on, and on, and on. There would be nothing interesting to comment on here if it weren’t for v 7, which became famous when it was used during a speech in WWII. I had to turn to an apologist website to understand what it means.
The wind, in the bible, metaphorically refers to something empty, or which cannot be held onto; something worthless and foolish. That’s because pre-scientific people didn’t realize that air has mass; they believed it was literally nothing. Like in Proverbs 11:29 (‘whoever troubles his own house will inherit the wind’), or Ecclesiastes 1:14 and 17, where to attempt a pointless goal is described as ‘striving after wind’. So Israel’s history of sinful and foolish behavior (sowing the wind), will result in a whirlwind – destruction and chaos.
Now here is the full quote from Arthur Travers “Bomber” Harris, Marshall of the Royal Air Force, in 1942, at the start of the bombing campaign against Germany:
“The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”
And the rant goes on… Unbelievable just how cruel and unfeeling this vengeful god is. A true psychopath – what kind of an evil monster would wish this on innocent babies: “for your children will not be born or grow in the womb or even be conceived. Even if you do have children who grow up, I will take them from you.” (v 11-12); “I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth and breasts that give no milk” (v 14); and “if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children” (v 16).
Just more of Yahweh’s evil rant. In v 13 we get the metaphor “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity” – a variation on the ‘sow the wind’ theme.
Read the words of v 1-5, and think about the meaning: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols.” … “But since my people refuse to return to me, they will return to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria”.
It’s pretty clear that this is Yahweh talking about his relationship with Israel, and metaphorically referring to Israel as a wayward child. When Israel was young (ie back in the days of Moses), god loved Israel, and called (rescued) its people from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. But after that, the more he called to Israel, the more rebellious and distant its people became, openly defying god’s laws. So now Yahweh will no longer protect them.
The reason this is important is because it’s misinterpreted and misquoted in Matthew; in fact, cherry-picked – Matthew quotes only the bit that will support his assertion that Jesus is the Messiah who fulfills old prophesy. (See, it does pay to read the OT in its entirety). So here’s Matthew’s take on it:
“After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,’ the angel said. ‘Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (Matt 2:13-15)
Huh??? Is there even remotely any connection between these two scenarios????
Hosea really loves that wind metaphor. “The people of Israel feed on the wind” (v 1). Yahweh begs Israel to return to him, (v 6), but then declares that they have bitterly provoked him and must suffer and die for their sins (v 12). Make up your mind…
More ranting. Yahweh has it in for Israel in general, but the tribe of Ephraim in particular here. He lists more cruel and unusual punishments, including having the people of Samaria “killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords” – for the crime of rebelling against god.
Oh sure – now, after basically 13 chapters of non-stop ranting, Yahweh wants Israel to return to him and all will be forgiven, he will love and protect his people again, and they will live happily ever after. He says “my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.” (v 4) and “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” (v 8) Does anyone else see the classical apology of a habitual bully in an abusive relationship here? I’m gonna throw up. This chapter is ripe for cherry-picking; bet I’ll find some nice memes. Oh yeah…