Social Justice Project #8

What does the Bible say about justice?

Part 5: The Minor Prophets: Hosea

In the Hebrew Scriptures, prophets spoke for God, delivering His message to the two nations of Judah and Israel. They called the people to return to God and described the future penalty for failure to do so.

Sixty-two times in the seventeen prophetic books justice is mentioned. The prophet Hosea may be the most recognizable to us, because of the account of his marriage to an adulterous woman. He prophesied during the eighth century before Christ. His ministry took place around the time of the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Hosea mentions justice twice in his book.

In Hosea 2, Israel is first described as an adulterous woman. The nation had drifted away from God and He would put the nation to shame for her spiritual adultery. However, God would again persuade the nation to return to Him in verse 14. God would be the husband of the nation and their spiritual marriage would be one of “righteousness, justice, love, and compassion” (Hosea 2:19).

Later, Yahweh has a dispute with the nation of Judah and announces judgement on that country. God exhorts Judah, describing the history of His interaction with Jacob. He tells the Southern Kingdom to “maintain love and justice” (Hosea 12:6). Here the application of justice would be righteousness leading to a renewed relationship with God.

Each of these usages is consistent with our established definition of justice.

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