But it is a simple word meaning owner, lord, or husband. As a verb, it is married. So at the root of the problem of worship is the fact of gender and coupling. The gender of the worshiper is female. The desire of the worshiper is to be giving worth to the male. Not to get overly simplistic about this, but it does involve the body, and the true husband, God, is jealous, because the human can so easily yield its body, male or female, to what is less than perfection.
Hosea 2 outlines this perfectly. Bear in mind in this reading that owner and Ba'al are the same word in Hebrew. This little bit of reasoning undermines completely the dominance model of God over humanity and also undermines any authoritarian model of human relationships from a gender point of view, e.g. of husband over wife. Too bad it is too subtle for most believers. Too bad they don't have a clue how to read Paul.
It wouldn't be subtle (ערם, also = naked) for them if they were truly married to their God instead of their ideas about what God should be in their eyes. Rather, if truly betrothed to their maker, it would be exposed (ערה) as joy, the joy of a true lover.
Hosea could not be more explicit. And if you have learned to read with me, you can see this compassion everywhere in the Old Testament. And without such character (see verse 21), the New Testament if read with the usual legal blindness (עור, also = skin, as verb rouse, arouse), is the same Baal error in post-Jesus humanity including those who call themselves by the name of Christ, as it was in any pre-Jesus example portrayed by the canonical story of Israel.
If you have known Thomas's answer in John 20:28, then you will get Hosea too.
|וְֽ֠הָיָה מִסְפַּ֤ר בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ כְּח֣וֹל הַיָּ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יִמַּ֖ד וְלֹ֣א יִסָּפֵ֑ר |
וְֽ֠הָיָה בִּמְק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יֵאָמֵ֤ר לָהֶם֙ לֹֽא־עַמִּ֣י אַתֶּ֔ם יֵאָמֵ֥ר לָהֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֥י אֵֽל־חָֽי
|1||Yet the count of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea which neither is measured nor counted. |
And it will happen in the place where it was said of them, You are not my people, it will be said of them, Children of the living God.
|וְ֠נִקְבְּצוּ בְּנֵֽי־יְהוּדָ֤ה וּבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ יַחְדָּ֔ו וְשָׂמ֥וּ לָהֶ֛ם רֹ֥אשׁ אֶחָ֖ד וְעָל֣וּ מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ |
כִּ֥י גָד֖וֹל י֥וֹם יִזְרְעֶֽאל
|2||And the children of Judah and the children of Israel will be collected as one and they will set in place for themselves one head, |
and they will ascend from the land, for great is the day of Jezreel. (=the One אל has sown זרע.)
|אִמְר֥וּ לַאֲחֵיכֶ֖ם עַמִּ֑י |
|3||Say to your brothers, With Me, |
and to your sisters, Compassion,
|רִ֤יבוּ בְאִמְּכֶם֙ רִ֔יבוּ כִּֽי־הִיא֙ לֹ֣א אִשְׁתִּ֔י וְאָנֹכִ֖י לֹ֣א אִישָׁ֑הּ |
וְתָסֵ֤ר זְנוּנֶ֙יהָ֙ מִפָּנֶ֔יה וְנַאֲפוּפֶ֖יהָ מִבֵּ֥ין שָׁדֶֽיהָ
|4||Strive with your mother. Strive, for she is not my wife and I am not her man. |
Let her put aside her harlotries from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts,
|פֶּן־אַפְשִׁיטֶ֣נָּה עֲרֻמָּ֔ה וְהִ֨צַּגְתִּ֔יהָ כְּי֖וֹם הִוָּֽלְדָ֑הּ |
וְשַׂמְתִּ֣יהָ כַמִּדְבָּ֗ר וְשַׁתִּ֙הָ֙ כְּאֶ֣רֶץ צִיָּ֔ה וַהֲמִתִּ֖יהָ בַּצָּמָֽא
|5||lest I pillage her naked and exhibit her as the day she was born, |
and define her as wilderness and set her as arid land and render her lifeless with thirst.
|וְאֶת־בָּנֶ֖יהָ לֹ֣א אֲרַחֵ֑ם |
כִּֽי־בְנֵ֥י זְנוּנִ֖ים הֵֽמָּה
|6||And neither will I have compassion for her children, |
for the children of prostitution they are.
|כִּ֤י זָֽנְתָה֙ אִמָּ֔ם הֹבִ֖ישָׁה הֽוֹרָתָ֑ם |
כִּ֣י אָמְרָ֗ה אֵלְכָ֞ה אַחֲרֵ֤י מְאַהֲבַי֙ נֹתְנֵ֤י לַחְמִי֙ וּמֵימַ֔י צַמְרִ֣י וּפִשְׁתִּ֔י שַׁמְנִ֖י וְשִׁקּוּיָֽי
|7||For their mother has played the harlot, to her shame, she who was big with them, |
for she said, Let me go after those whom I love that give me my bread and my water my wool and my flax my oil and my drink.
|לָכֵ֛ן הִנְנִי־שָׂ֥ךְ אֶת־דַּרְכֵּ֖ךְ בַּסִּירִ֑ים |
וְגָֽדַרְתִּי֙ אֶת־גְּדֵרָ֔הּ וּנְתִיבוֹתֶ֖יהָ לֹ֥א תִמְצָֽא
|8||So note me well, I will entwine your way with prickles, |
and I will fence her fence and her pathways she will not find.
|וְרִדְּפָ֤ה אֶת־מְאַהֲבֶ֙יהָ֙ וְלֹֽא־תַשִּׂ֣יג אֹתָ֔ם וּבִקְשָׁ֖תַם וְלֹ֣א תִמְצָ֑א |
וְאָמְרָ֗ה אֵלְכָ֤ה וְאָשׁ֙וּבָה֙ אֶל־אִישִׁ֣י הָֽרִאשׁ֔וֹן כִּ֣י ט֥וֹב לִ֛י אָ֖ז מֵעָֽתָּה
|9||And she will pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she will seek them and not find. |
And she says, I will go and I will return to my first man for it was better for me then than now.
|וְהִיא֙ לֹ֣א יָֽדְעָ֔ה כִּ֤י אָֽנֹכִי֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לָ֔הּ הַדָּגָ֖ן וְהַתִּיר֣וֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָ֑ר |
וְכֶ֨סֶף הִרְבֵּ֥יתִי לָ֛הּ וְזָהָ֖ב עָשׂ֥וּ לַבָּֽעַל
|10||But she not did know that I, I gave to her the grain and new wine and clarified oil, |
and silver I increased for her, and gold they made for Baal.
|לָכֵ֣ן אָשׁ֔וּב וְלָקַחְתִּ֤י דְגָנִי֙ בְּעִתּ֔וֹ וְתִירוֹשִׁ֖י בְּמֽוֹעֲד֑וֹ |
וְהִצַּלְתִּי֙ צַמְרִ֣י וּפִשְׁתִּ֔י לְכַסּ֖וֹת אֶת־עֶרְוָתָֽהּ
|11||Therefore I will return and I will take my grain in its time and my new wine in its appointed place, |
and I will deliver my wool and my flax to cover her exposure.
|וְעַתָּ֛ה אֲגַלֶּ֥ה אֶת־נַבְלֻתָ֖הּ לְעֵינֵ֣י מְאַהֲבֶ֑יהָ |
וְאִ֖ישׁ לֹֽא־יַצִּילֶ֥נָּה מִיָּדִֽי
|12||So now I will disclose her senselessness in the sight of her lovers, |
and none will deliver her from my hand.
|וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי֙ כָּל־מְשׂוֹשָׂ֔הּ חַגָּ֖הּ חָדְשָׁ֣הּ וְשַׁבַּתָּ֑הּ |
|13||And I will eradicate all joy, her feast, her new moon and her Sabbath, |
and all engagement.
|וַהֲשִׁמֹּתִ֗י גַּפְנָהּ֙ וּתְאֵ֣נָתָ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמְרָ֗ה אֶתְנָ֥ה הֵ֙מָּה֙ לִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָֽתְנוּ־לִ֖י מְאַֽהֲבָ֑י |
וְשַׂמְתִּ֣ים לְיַ֔עַר וַאֲכָלָ֖תַם חַיַּ֥ת הַשָּׂדֶֽה
|14||And I will desolate her vine and her fig tree, of which she said, Fee they are to me that my lovers gave to me. |
And I will render them as forest and the animals of the field will devour them.
|וּפָקַדְתִּ֣י עָלֶ֗יהָ אֶת־יְמֵ֤י הַבְּעָלִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּקְטִ֣יר לָהֶ֔ם וַתַּ֤עַד נִזְמָהּ֙ וְחֶלְיָתָ֔הּ וַתֵּ֖לֶךְ אַחֲרֵ֣י מְאַהֲבֶ֑יהָ |
וְאֹתִ֥י שָׁכְחָ֖ה נְאֻם־יְהוָֽה פ
|15||Then I will visit on her the days of the Baalim to which she burned incense. She decked herself with earrings and jewels and she went after her lovers, |
and me she forgot. An oracle of Yahweh.
|לָכֵ֗ן הִנֵּ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ מְפַתֶּ֔יהָ וְהֹֽלַכְתִּ֖יהָ הַמִּדְבָּ֑ר |
וְדִבַּרְתִּ֖י עַל לִבָּֽהּ
|16||Therefore, behold I myself will seduce her and have her come to the wilderness, |
then I will speak in her heart.
|וְנָתַ֨תִּי לָ֤הּ אֶת־כְּרָמֶ֙יהָ֙ מִשָּׁ֔ם וְאֶת־עֵ֥מֶק עָכ֖וֹר לְפֶ֣תַח תִּקְוָ֑ה |
וְעָ֤נְתָה שָּׁ֙מָּה֙ כִּימֵ֣י נְעוּרֶ֔יהָ וִּכְי֖וֹם עֲלֹתָ֥הּ מֵאֶֽרֶץ־מִצְרָֽיִם ס
|17||And I will give to her, her vineyard from there, and the valley of agitation as a door of expectation, |
and she will answer there as in the days of her youth and as in the day she came up from the land of Egypt.
|וְהָיָ֤ה בַיּוֹם־הַהוּא֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה תִּקְרְאִ֖י אִישִׁ֑י |
וְלֹֽא־תִקְרְאִי־לִ֥י ע֖וֹד בַּעְלִֽי
|18||And it will be on that day, an oracle of Yahweh, you will call, My man, |
and you will not call to me any more, My Owner. [My Baal]
|וַהֲסִרֹתִ֛י אֶת־שְׁמ֥וֹת הַבְּעָלִ֖ים מִפִּ֑יהָ |
וְלֹֽא־יִזָּכְר֥וּ ע֖וֹד בִּשְׁמָֽם
|19||And I will put aside the names of Baalim from her mouth, |
and they will no longer be remembered by their name.
|וְכָרַתִּ֨י לָהֶ֤ם בְּרִית֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא עִם־חַיַּ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וְעִם־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה |
וְקֶ֨שֶׁת וְחֶ֤רֶב וּמִלְחָמָה֙ אֶשְׁבּ֣וֹר מִן־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהִשְׁכַּבְתִּ֖ים לָבֶֽטַח
|20||And I will cut for them a covenant in that day with the animals of the field and with the fowl of the heavens and the creeper of the ground, |
and bow and sword and battle I will break from the earth and I will make them lie down in trust.
|וְאֵרַשְׂתִּ֥יךְ לִ֖י לְעוֹלָ֑ם |
וְאֵרַשְׂתִּ֥יךְ לִי֙ בְּצֶ֣דֶק וּבְמִשְׁפָּ֔ט וּבְחֶ֖סֶד וּֽבְרַחֲמִֽים
|21||And I will betroth you to me forever, |
and I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in judgment and in loving-kindness and in compassion.
|וְאֵרַשְׂתִּ֥יךְ לִ֖י בֶּאֱמוּנָ֑ה |
וְיָדַ֖עַתְּ אֶת־יְהוָֽה ס
|22||And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness |
and you will know Yahweh.
|וְהָיָ֣ה ׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא אֶֽעֱנֶה֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה אֶעֱנֶ֖ה אֶת־הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם |
וְהֵ֖ם יַעֲנ֥וּ אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ
|23||And it will happen in day that I will answer, an oracle of Yahweh. I will answer the heavens, |
and they will answer the earth.
|וְהָאָ֣רֶץ תַּעֲנֶ֔ה אֶת־הַדָּגָ֖ן וְאֶת־הַתִּיר֣וֹשׁ וְאֶת־הַיִּצְהָ֑ר |
וְהֵ֖ם יַעֲנ֥וּ אֶֽת־יִזְרְעֶֽאל
|24||And the earth will answer the grain and the new wine and the fresh oil, |
and they, they will answer, the One has sown. (Jezreel)
|וּזְרַעְתִּ֤יהָ לִּי֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְרִֽחַמְתִּ֖י אֶת־לֹ֣א רֻחָ֑מָה |
וְאָמַרְתִּ֤י לְלֹֽא־עַמִּי֙ עַמִּי־אַ֔תָּה וְה֖וּא יֹאמַ֥ר אֱלֹהָֽי פ
|25||And I will sow her to me in the land, and I will have compassion on Not Compassion, |
and I will say to Not My People, My people you are, and he will say, My God.