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Ishi and Baali in Hosea


etana

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And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

Hosea 2:16

This is often translated as call me husband and not master, but both words can mean (my)husband, but have different connotations. This is in the context of Israel following after Baalim instead of the Lord and the Lord is contrasting his relationship with Israel with the kind of relationship they have with Baalim, so Baali (my husband/master) is clear in that sense. I suspect that Ishi (my man/husband) is also a reference to the name Israel itself which may mean "man ruled by God" or something similar.

No, i don't really have a point, but wanted to discuss it here, or see if I am completely off base.

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This is often translated as call me husband and not master, but both words can mean (my)husband, but have different connotations. This is in the context of Israel following after Baalim instead of the Lord and the Lord is contrasting his relationship with Israel with the kind of relationship they have with Baalim, so Baali (my husband/master) is clear in that sense. I suspect that Ishi (my man/husband) is also a reference to the name Israel itself which may mean "man ruled by God" or something similar.

No, i don't really have a point, but wanted to discuss it here, or see if I am completely off base.

The name Israel means, traditionally, "He strove with God." The etiology is found in Gen 32. The verse in Hosea is, in my opinion, exclusively aimed at avoiding the use of the epithet Baal. This would coincide with the changing of Meribaal and Eshbaal's names to Mephibosheth and Ishbosheth.

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16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

This is often translated as call me husband and not master, but both words can mean (my)husband, but have different connotations.

Wholly different, to be sure.

"Ba'al" means more "lord" than "husband". Many translations give it as "my master", others as "my Baal". Of my collection, only one, Young's Literal Translation, uses "my Lord". But that is the primary meaning.

The difference is, as John Gill says, "Ishi" is the loving husband, and "Baali" is the lordly; the one receiving his wife through love and marriage, the other through lordship (or duty) and fear.

This is in the context of Israel following after Baalim instead of the Lord

Not as I read it.

This is context of the wife (Gomer, the harlot, playing the role of Israel) returning to her husband (Hoshea, the prophet, playing the role of Jehovah) after He has punished her for her adultery, forgiven her, and courted her anew. See vv 9~15.

14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. 15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
the Lord is contrasting his relationship with Israel with the kind of relationship they have with Baalim, so Baali (my husband/master) is clear in that sense.

I suspect there are multiple ways of correctly understanding the passage. The one that leaps out to me is that Israel had feared Jehovah in the past, rather than loving Him. When the grass looked greener on the other side of the fence (idolatry of Ba'al), she showed Him the horns and went after gods that promised more wine, corn, and oil, not recognizing that it was her own husband, not her lovers, who'd given her the things she coveted. When she discovers that Baal, her lover, cannot protect her, and that she is in want, she determines to "go and return to my former husband; for then was it better with me than now." (Hos 2:7) But Jehovah is not quite so easy going as she thought. He will "discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers ... and cause all her mirth to cease ... and will destroy her vines and her fig trees ... whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me." (Hos 2:10~12)

It may be that your reading of v 17 has influenced your interpretation. I do not believe it should.

17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

But the phrase is "the names of Baalim", that is all of the apostate gods she'd been worshiping, not just Ba'al specifically. It was not the word "ba'al" that wold be taken out of her mouth, but the names of these false gods, as in, she will not be inclined to pray to them anymore.

I suspect that Ishi (my man/husband) is also a reference to the name Israel itself which may mean "man ruled by God" or something similar.

This seems less than likely to me. "SRA" does mean rule/er, etc., "EL", god. But the context of Gen 32:38 gives a different meaning than yours:

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

The "EL" part of Israel probably means "god", but a related word, ???, 'ayil, is "ram", in any of its meanings (sacrifice, food, etc.), ultimately from a root meaning "strong".

The fundamental meaning of "Israel" is hotly contested, in any case. It is not reasonable to expect that anyone will discover it in my lifetime, as people have been arguing over it since Jacob's thigh was put out of joint, and have not reached consensus.

Lehi

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Great feedback Mak and Lehi. And while I don't disagree substantially with either of you, I have to apologize for lack of clarity in the interest of being concise.

The verse in Hosea is, in my opinion, exclusively aimed at avoiding the use of the epithet Baal. This would coincide with the changing of Meribaal and Eshbaal's names to Mephibosheth and Ishbosheth.

This is certainly true and the clearest meaning, but i think there is more and that contrasting ishi with baali also indicates the type of relationship that the Lord (in his mercy, as Lehi pointed out) wants Israel to see themselves in.

I suspect there are multiple ways of correctly understanding the passage.

Absolutely! This is what makes it interesting to me, the sheer quality of the language used: that this one verse can say so much in so few words and tie the previous metaphors together.

I am aware of the controversy surrounding the etymology of "Israel", but that can make for interesting discussion, no?

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