Friday, March 22, 2013

Exodus Typology in the Book of Hosea

The book of Hosea exhibits a significant exodus typology. Typology is the phenomenon where aspects of present or future salvation history are modeled on persons, institutions, or events from past salvation history. The exodus typology of Hosea centers on the idea that Israel’s exile in Assyria is like a return to Egypt (Hos 8:13; 11:5). The background to this typology is the reality of the original exodus from Egypt (Hos 11:1; 12:9, 13). The punishment of exile, involving expulsion from the promised land, can be thought of, therefore, as being a kind of reversal of the exodus (Hos 9:3; 12:9).

Like Adam, who was brought from the wilderness into the garden (Gen 2:5–8), and then later expelled from the garden in order to return to the wilderness on account of his covenant rebellion (Gen 3:17–18, 23–24), Israel, having passed through the wilderness on the way to the promised land (Hos 13:5), would likewise leave the Holy Land to return to the wilderness on account of her covenant rebellion (Hos 2:3, 14).

But if the exile to Assyria constituted a reversal of the exodus, then God’s commitment to ultimately bring blessing upon Israel means that Israel’s future restoration can be pictured as constituting a new or second exodus (Hos 11:11). At this time of future restoration, Israel would sing like she had done previously in her youth when first rescued from Egypt (Hos 2:15; compare with Exod 15:1–21). This new exodus would mark the end of Israel’s exile from the presence of the Lord.

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