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In Bible versions:

Jesus: AVS TEV
a book of the Bible containing the writings and prophecies of Hosea the Prophet
son of Beeri; a prophet in the time of Uzziah and Hezekiah
son of Nun of Ephraim; successor of Moses
son of Azaziah; David's chief officer over the tribe of Ephraim
son of Elah; assassin and successor of King Pekah
an Israelite chief who signed the covenant to keep God's law
chief of a division of priests serving in David's sanctuary
a man a Levite assistant to Kore in managing the free will offerings of the temple under King Hezekiah
a chief priest and leader among those who returned from exile with Zerubbabel; son of Jozadak; father of Joiakim
father of Jozabad, a Levite on duty in the time of Ezra
a man whose descendants returned from exile in Babylon
the father of Ezer who helped to repair the wall
a Levite who helped Ezra explain the reading of the law; son of Kadmiel
son of Nun; successor of Moses
son of Azaniah; a Levite leader who signed the covenant to obey God's law
a town of Judah
the son of Mary; the Son of God; the Messiah or Christ
a son of Eliezer; the father of Er; an ancestor of Jesus
the son of Nun and successor of Moses
son of Nun of Ephraim; successor to Moses
a man: owner of the field where the ark stopped
governor of Jerusalem under King Josiah
son of Jehozadak; high priest in the time of Zerubbabel

savior; safety ( --> same as Hoshea)
savior; safety ( --> same as Hosea)
a savior; a deliverer ( --> same as Jehoshua, Joshua)
savior; deliverer
a savior; a deliverer ( --> same as Jehoshua, Jeshua, Oshea)
Google Maps: Jeshua (31° 9´, 35° 3´)
Arts Topics: Joshua Commanding the Army of the Israelites; Joshua Leads the Division of Canaan; Joshua to Succeed Moses; Joshua's Farewell to the Leaders; Joshua, the High Priest; Portraits of Joshua, Son of Nun; The Beginning of Joshua's Leadership


Strongs #5617: wshe Hosee

Hosea = "salvation"

1) the well known Hebrew prophet, son of Beeri and contemporary with

5617 Hosee ho-say-eh'

of Hebrew origin (1954); Hosee (i.e. Hoshea), an Israelite:-Osee.
see HEBREW for 01954

Strongs #2499: Iwshv Iose

Jose = "he will be sustained of Jehovah"

1) the son of Eliezer, in the genealogy of Jesus Christ

2499 Iose ee-o-say'

genitive case of 2500; Jose, an Israelite:-Jose.
see GREEK for 2500

Strongs #2424: Ihsouv Iesous

Jesus = "Jehovah is salvation"

1) Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind, God incarnate
2) Jesus Barabbas was the captive robber whom the Jews begged Pilate
to release instead of Christ
3) Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses' successor
(Ac 7:45, Heb 4:8)
4) Jesus, son of Eliezer, one of the ancestors of Christ (Lu 3:29)
5) Jesus, surnamed Justus, a Jewish Christian, an associate with
Paul in the preaching of the gospel (Col 4:11)

2424 Iesous ee-ay-sooce'

of Hebrew origin (3091); Jesus (i.e. Jehoshua), the name of our Lord
and two (three) other Israelites:-Jesus.
see HEBREW for 03091


Strongs #01954: evwh Howshea`

Hosea or Hoshea or Oshea = "salvation"

1) family name of Joshua, the son of Nun
2) the 19th and last king of the northern kingdom of Israel
3) son of Beeri, and the first of the minor prophets; prophet to the
northern kingdom of Israel in the reign of Jeroboam II
4) a son of Azaziah, a chief of Ephraim in the time of David
5) an Israelite chief who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah

1954 Howshea` ho-shay'-ah

from 3467; deliverer; Hoshea, the name of five
Israelites:-Hosea, Hoshea, Oshea.
see HEBREW for 03467

Strongs #03443: ewvy Yeshuwa` (Aramaic)

Jeshua = "he is saved"

1) an exilic priest who returned with Zerubbabel

3443 Yeshuwa` yay-shoo'-ah

(Aramaic) corresponding to 3442:-Jeshua.
see HEBREW for 03442

Strongs #03442: ewvy Yeshuwa`

Jeshua = "he is saved"

n pr m
1) son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim and successor to Moses as the
leader of the children of Israel; led the conquest of Canaan
2) son of Jehozadak and high priest after the restoration
3) a priest in the time of David who had charge of the 9th course
4) a Levite in the reign of Hezekiah
5) head of a Levitical house which returned from captivity in Babylon
6) father of a builder of the wall of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah

n pr loc
7) a town in southern Judah reinhabited by the people of Judah after
the return from captivity

3442 Yeshuwa` yay-shoo'-ah

for 3091; he will save; Jeshua, the name of ten Israelites,
also of a place in Palestine:-Jeshua.
see HEBREW for 03091

Strongs #03091: ewvwhy Y@howshuwa` or evwhy Y@howshu`a

Joshua or Jehoshua = "Jehovah is salvation"

n pr m
1) son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim and successor to Moses as the
leader of the children of Israel; led the conquest of Canaan
2) a resident of Beth-shemesh on whose land the Ark of the Covenant
came to a stop after the Philistines returned it
3) son of Jehozadak and high priest after the restoration
4) governor of Jerusalem under king Josiah who gave his name to a
gate of the city of Jerusalem

3091 Yhowshuwa` yeh-ho-shoo'-ah

or Yhowshua {yeh-ho-shoo'-ah}; from 3068 and 3467;
Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish
leader:-Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare 1954, 3442.
see HEBREW for 03068
see HEBREW for 03467
see HEBREW for 01954
see HEBREW for 03442

Hosea [EBD]

salvation, the son of Beeri, and author of the book of prophecies bearing his name. He belonged to the kingdom of Israel. "His Israelitish origin is attested by the peculiar, rough, Aramaizing diction, pointing to the northern part of Palestine; by the intimate acquaintance he evinces with the localities of Ephraim (5:1; 6:8, 9; 12:12; 14:6, etc.); by passages like 1:2, where the kingdom is styled 'the land', and 7:5, where the Israelitish king is designated as 'our' king." The period of his ministry (extending to some sixty years) is indicated in the superscription (Hos. 1:1, 2). He is the only prophet of Israel who has left any written prophecy.

Hoshea [EBD]

salvation. (1.) The original name of the son of Nun, afterwards called Joshua (Num. 13:8, 16; Deut. 32:44).

(2.) 1 Chr. 27:20. The ruler of Ephraim in David's time.

(3.) The last king of Israel. He conspired against and slew his predecessor, Pekah (Isa. 7:16), but did not ascend the throne till after an interregnum of warfare of eight years (2 Kings 17:1, 2). Soon after this he submitted to Shalmaneser, the Assyrian king, who a second time invaded the land to punish Hoshea, because of his withholding tribute which he had promised to pay. A second revolt brought back the Assyrian king Sargon, who besieged Samaria, and carried the ten tribes away beyond the Euphrates, B.C. 720 (2 Kings 17:5, 6; 18:9-12). No more is heard of Hoshea. He disappeared like "foam upon the water" (Hos. 10:7; 13:11).

Jeshua [EBD]

(1.) Head of the ninth priestly order (Ezra 2:36); called also Jeshuah (1 Chr. 24:11).

(2.) A Levite appointed by Hezekiah to distribute offerings in the priestly cities (2 Chr. 31:15).

(3.) Ezra 2:6; Neh. 7:11.

(4.) Ezra 2:40; Neh. 7:43.

(5.) The son of Jozadak, and high priest of the Jews under Zerubbabel (Neh. 7:7; 12:1, 7, 10, 26); called Joshua (Hag. 1:1, 12; 2:2, 4; Zech. 3:1, 3, 6, 8, 9).

(6.) A Levite (Ezra 8:33).

(7.) Neh. 3:19.

(8.) A Levite who assisted in the reformation under Nehemiah (8:7; 9:4, 5).

(9.) Son of Kadmiel (Neh. 12:24).

(10.) A city of Judah (Neh. 11:26).

(11.) Neh. 8:17; Joshua, the son of Nun.

Jesus [EBD]

(1.) Joshua, the son of Nun (Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8; R.V., "Joshua").

(2.) A Jewish Christian surnamed Justus (Col. 4:11).

Je'sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our Lord. To distinguish him from others so called, he is spoken of as "Jesus of Nazareth" (John 18:7), and "Jesus the son of Joseph" (John 6:42).

This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save (Matt. 1:21).

The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great periods, (1) that of his private life, till he was about thirty years of age; and (2) that of his public life, which lasted about three years.

In the "fulness of time" he was born at Bethlehem, in the reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; comp. John 7:42). His birth was announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Wise men from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born "King of the Jews," bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1-12). Herod's cruel jealousy led to Joseph's flight into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus, where they tarried till the death of this king (Matt. 2:13-23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in Lower Galilee (2:23; comp. Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with his parents. There, in the temple, "in the midst of the doctors," all that heard him were "astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:41, etc.).

Eighteen years pass, of which we have no record beyond this, that he returned to Nazareth and "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).

He entered on his public ministry when he was about thirty years of age. It is generally reckoned to have extended to about three years. "Each of these years had peculiar features of its own. (1.) The first year may be called the year of obscurity, both because the records of it which we possess are very scanty, and because he seems during it to have been only slowly emerging into public notice. It was spent for the most part in Judea. (2.) The second year was the year of public favour, during which the country had become thoroughly aware of him; his activity was incessant, and his frame rang through the length and breadth of the land. It was almost wholly passed in Galilee. (3.) The third was the year of opposition, when the public favour ebbed away. His enemies multiplied and assailed him with more and more pertinacity, and at last he fell a victim to their hatred. The first six months of this final year were passed in Galilee, and the last six in other parts of the land.", Stalker's Life of Jesus Christ, p. 45.

The only reliable sources of information regarding the life of Christ on earth are the Gospels, which present in historical detail the words and the work of Christ in so many different aspects. (See CHRIST.)

Joshua [EBD]

Jehovah is his help, or Jehovah the Saviour. The son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, the successor of Moses as the leader of Israel. He is called Jehoshua in Num. 13:16 (A.V.), and Jesus in Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 (R.V., Joshua).

He was born in Egypt, and was probably of the age of Caleb, with whom he is generally associated. He shared in all the events of the Exodus, and held the place of commander of the host of the Israelites at their great battle against the Amalekites in Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-16). He became Moses' minister or servant, and accompanied him part of the way when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the two tables (Ex. 32:17). He was also one of the twelve who were sent on by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (Num. 13:16, 17), and only he and Caleb gave an encouraging report. Under the direction of God, Moses, before his death, invested Joshua in a public and solemn manner with authority over the people as his successor (Deut. 31:23). The people were encamped at Shittim when he assumed the command (Josh. 1:1); and crossing the Jordan, they encamped at Gilgal, where, having circumcised the people, he kept the Passover, and was visited by the Captain of the Lord's host, who spoke to him encouraging words (1:1-9).

Now began the wars of conquest which Joshua carried on for many years, the record of which is in the book which bears his name. Six nations and thirty-one kings were conquered by him (Josh. 11:18-23; 12:24). Having thus subdued the Canaanites, Joshua divided the land among the tribes, Timnath-serah in Mount Ephraim being assigned to himself as his own inheritance. (See SHILOH; PRIEST.)

His work being done, he died, at the age of one hundred and ten years, twenty-five years after having crossed the Jordan. He was buried in his own city of Timnath-serah (Josh. 24); and "the light of Israel for the time faded away."

Joshua has been regarded as a type of Christ (Heb. 4:8) in the following particulars: (1) In the name common to both; (2) Joshua brings the people into the possession of the Promised Land, as Jesus brings his people to the heavenly Canaan; and (3) as Joshua succeeded Moses, so the Gospel succeeds the Law.

The character of Joshua is thus well sketched by Edersheim:, "Born a slave in Egypt, he must have been about forty years old at the time of the Exodus. Attached to the person of Moses, he led Israel in the first decisive battle against Amalek (Ex. 17:9, 13), while Moses in the prayer of faith held up to heaven the God-given 'rod.' It was no doubt on that occasion that his name was changed from Oshea, 'help,' to Jehoshua, 'Jehovah is help' (Num. 13:16). And this name is the key to his life and work. Alike in bringing the people into Canaan, in his wars, and in the distribution of the land among the tribes, from the miraculous crossing of Jordan and taking of Jericho to his last address, he was the embodiment of his new name, 'Jehovah is help.' To this outward calling his character also corresponded. It is marked by singleness of purpose, directness, and decision...He sets an object before him, and unswervingly follows it" (Bible Hist., iii. 103)

Hosea [NAVE]

HOSEA, one of the minor prophets. Called Osee, Rom. 9:25.
See book of Hosea.

Hoshea [NAVE]

1. Called also Oshea. The original name of Joshua, Num. 13:8, 16; Deut. 32:44.
2. A chief of Ephraim, 1 Chr. 27:20.
3. King of Israel. Assassinates Pekah and usurps the throne, 2 Kin. 15:30.
Evil reign of, 2 Kin. 17:1, 2.
Becomes subject to Assyria, 2 Kin. 17:3.
Conspires against Assyria and is imprisoned, 2 Kin. 17:4.
Last king of Israel, 2 Kin. 17:6; 18:9-12; Hos. 10:3, 7.
4. A Jewish exile, Neh. 10:23.

Jeshua [NAVE]

1. Called also Jeshuah. A priest, head of the ninth course, 1 Chr. 24:11.
Nine hundred and seventy-three of his descendants returned from Babylon, Ezra 2:36; Neh. 7:39.
2. A Levite, had charge of the tithes, 2 Chr. 31:15.
His descendants returned with Ezra from Babylon, Ezra 2:40; Neh. 7:43.
3. Called also Joshua. A priest who accompanied Zerubbabel from Babylon, Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7; 12:1.
Descendants of, Neh. 12:10.
He rebuilt the altar, Ezra 3:2.
Rebuilt the temple, Ezra 3:8-13.
Contends with those who sought to defeat the rebuilding, Ezra 4:1-3; 5:1, 2.
4. Father of Jozabad, Ezra 8:33.
5. Son of Pahath-moab, Ezra 2:6; Neh. 7:11.
6. Father of Ezer, Neh. 3:19.
7. A Levite who explained the law to the people when Ezra read it, Neh. 8:7; 12:8.
8. A Levite who sealed Nehemiah's covenant, Neh. 10:9.
9. A city of Judah, Neh. 11:26.
10. Joshua called, Neh. 8:17.
Symbolical: Prophecies concerning, Zech. 3; 6:9-15.
See: Joshua.

Joshua [NAVE]

1. Called also Jehoshua, and Jehoshuah, and Oshea. Son of Nun, Num. 13:8; 1 Chr. 7:27.
Intimately associated with Moses, Ex. 24:13; 32:17; 33:11.
A religious zealot, Num. 11:28.
Sent with others to view the promised land, Num. 13:8.
Makes favorable report, Num. 14:6-10.
Rewarded for his courage and fidelity, Num. 14:30, 38; 32:12.
Commissioned, ordained, and charged with the responsibilities of Moses' office, Num. 27:18-23; Deut. 1:38; 3:28; 31:3, 7, 23; 34:9.
Divinely inspired, Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9; Josh. 1:5, 9; 3:7; 8:8.
His life miraculously preserved when he made a favorable report of the land, Num. 14:10.
Promises to, Josh. 1:5-9.
Leads the people into the land of Canaan, Josh. 1-4; Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8. Renews circumcision of the children of Israel; reestablishes the passover; has a vision of the angel of God, Josh. 5.
Besieges and takes Jericho, Josh. 6.
Takes ai, Josh. 7; 8.
Makes a league with the Gibeonites, Josh. 9:3-27.
The kings of the six nations of the Canaanites confederate against him, Josh. 9:1, 2; make war upon the Gibeonites; are defeated and slain, Josh. 10.
Defeats seven other kings, Josh. 10:28-43.
Makes conquest of Hazor, Josh. 11.
Completes the conquest of the whole land, Josh. 11:23.
List of the kings whom Joshua killed, Josh. 12.
Allots the land, Josh. 13-19.
Sets the tabernacle up in Shiloh, Josh. 18:1.
Sets apart cities of refuge, Josh. 20; forty-eight cities for the Levites, Josh. 21.
Exhortation of, before his death, Josh. 23; 24.
Survives the Israelites who refused to enter Canaan, Num. 26:63-65.
His portion of the land, Josh. 19:49, 50.
Death and burial of, Josh. 24:29, 30.
Esteem in which he was held, Josh. 1:16-18.
Faith of, Josh. 6:16.
Military genius of, as exhibited at the defeat of the Amalekites, Ex. 17:13; at Ai, Josh. 8; in Gibeon, Josh. 10; at Hazor, Josh. 11.
Age of, at death, Judg. 2:8.
2. An Israelite, 1 Sam. 6:14, 18.
3. A governor of Jerusalem, 2 Kin. 23:8.
4. Called also Jeshua. The high priest of the captivity, Ezra 2:2.
Assists Zerubbabel in restoring the temple, Ezra 3; 4:1-6; 5; Hag. 1:1, 12-14; 2:2.
Of the restoration of the church, Zech. 3; 6:9-15.


(salvation), son of Beeri, and first of the minor prophets. Probably the life, or rather the prophetic career, of Hosea extended from B.C. 784 to 723, a period of fifty-nine years. The prophecies of Hosea were delivered in the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam II was on the throne, and Israel was at the height of its earthly splendor. Nothing is known of the prophet?s life excepting what may be gained from his book.


  1. The nineteenth, last and best king of Israel. He succeeded Pekah, whom he slew in a successful conspiracy, thereby fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah. (Isaiah 7:16) In the third year of his reign (B.C. 726) Shalmaneser cruelly stormed the strong caves of Beth-arbel, (Hosea 8:14) and made cruel tributary, (2 Kings 17:3) for three years. At the end of this period Hoshea entered into a secret alliance with So, king, of Egypt, to throw off the Assyrian yoke. The alliance did him no good; it was revealed, to the court of Nineveh by the Assyrian party in Ephraim, and Hoshea was immediately seized as a rebellious vasal, shut up in prison, and apparently treated with the utmost indignity. (Micah 5:1) Of the subsequent fortunes of Hoshea nothing is known.
  2. The son of Nun, i.e. Joshua, (32:44) and also in Numb 13:8 Though to there the Authorized Version has OSHEA.
  3. Shon of Azaziah, (1 Chronicles 27:20) like his great namesake, a man of Ephraim, ruler of his tribe in the time of King David. (B.C. 1019.)
  4. One of the heads of the people who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 10:23) (B.C. 410.)


(a saviour), another form of the name of Joshua of Jesus.
  1. Joshua the son of Nun. (Nehemiah 8:17) [JOSHUA]
  2. A priest in the reign of David, to whom the nine course fell by David, to whom the ninth course fell by lot. (1 Chronicles 24:11) (B.C. 1014.)
  3. One of the Levites in the reign of Hezekiah. (2 Chronicles 31:15) (B.C. 726.)
  4. Son of Jehozadak, first high priest after the Babylonish captivity, B.C. 536. Jeshua was probably born in Babylon, whither his father Jehozadak had been taken captive while young. (1 Chronicles 6:15) Authorized Version. He came up from Babylon in the first year of Cyrus, with Zerubbabel, and took a leading part with him in the rebuilding of the temple and the restoration of the Jewish commonwealth. The two prophecies concerning him in (Zechariah 3:1) ... and Zech 6:9-15 Point him out as an eminent type of Christ.
  5. Head of a Levitical house, one of those which returned from the Babylonish captivity. (Ezra 2:40; 3:9; Nehemiah 3:19; 8:7; 9:4,5; 12:8) etc.
  6. A branch of the family of Pahath-moab, one of the chief families, probably, of the tribe of Judah. (Nehemiah 10:14; 7:11) etc.; Ezra 10:30


(whom Jehovah helps), one of the towns reinhabited by the people of Judah after the return from captivity. (Nehemiah 11:26) It is not mentioned elsewhere.


a priest in the reign of David, (1 Chronicles 24:11) the same as JESHUA, No. 2. (B.C. 1014.)


  1. The Greek form of the name Joshua or Jeshua, a contraction of Jehoshua, that is, "help of Jehovah" or "saviour." (Numbers 13:16)
  2. Joshua the son of Nun. (Numbers 27:18; Hebrews 4:8) [JEHOSHUA]


called Jestus, a Christian who was with St. Paul at Rome. (Colossians 4:11) (A.D. 57.)


(saviour, or whose help is Jehovah). His name appears in the various forms of HOSHEAHOSHEA, OSHEA, JEHOSHUA, JESHUA and JESUS.
  1. The son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim. (1 Chronicles 7:27) (B.C. 1530-1420.) He was nearly forty years old when he shared in the hurried triumph of the exodus. He is mentioned first in connection with the fight against Amalek at Rephidim, when he was chosen by Moses to lead the Israelites. (Exodus 17:9) Soon afterward he was one of the twelve chiefs who were sent, (Numbers 13:17) to explore the land of Canaan, and one of the two, ch. (Numbers 14:6) who gave an encouraging report of their journey. Moses, shortly before his death, was directed, (Numbers 27:18) to invest Joshua with authority over the people. God himself gave Joshua a charge by the mouth of the dying lawgiver. (31:14,23) Under the direction of God again renewed, (Joshua 1:1) Joshua assumed the command of the people at Shittim, sent spies into Jericho, crossed the Jordan, fortified a camp at Gilgal, circumcised the people, kept the passover, and was visited by the Captain of the Lord?s host. A miracle made the fall of Jericho more terrible to the Canaanites. In the great battle of Beth-horon the Amorites were signally routed, and the south country was open to the Israelites. Joshua returned to the camp at Gilgal, master of half of Palestine. He defeated the Canaanites under Jabin king of Hazor. In six years, six tribes, with thirty-one petty chiefs, were conquered. Joshua, now stricken in years, proceeded to make the division of the conquered land. Timnath-serah in Mount Ephraim was assigned as Joshua?s peculiar inheritance. After an interval of rest, Joshua convoked an assembly from all Israel. He delivered two solemn addresses, recorded in (Joshua 23:24) He died at the age of 110 years, and was buried in his own city, Timnath-serah.
  2. An inhabitant of Beth-shemesh, in whose land was the stone at which the milch-kine stopped when they drew the ark of God with the offerings of the Philistines from Ekron to Beth-shemesh. (1 Samuel 6:14,18) (B.C. 1124.)
  3. A governor of the city who gave his name to a gate of Jerusalem. (2 Kings 23:8) (In the reign of Josiah, B.C. 628.)
  4. Jeshua the son of Jozadak. (Haggai 1:14; 2:12; Zechariah 3:1) etc.


HOSEA - ho-ze'-a:


1. Name

2. Native Place

3. Date

4. Personal History (Marriage)

(1) Allegorical View

(2) Literal View


1. Style and Scope

2. Historical Background

3. Contents and Divisions

(1) Hosea 1 through 3

(2) Hosea 4 through 14

4. Testimony to Earlier History

5. Testimony to Law

6. Affinity with Deuteronomy


I. The Prophet.

1. Name:

The name (hoshea Septuagint Osee-; for other forms see note in DB), probably meaning "help," seems to have been not uncommon, being derived from the auspicious verb from which we have the frequently recurring word "salvation." It may be a contraction of a larger form of which the Divine name or its abbreviation formed a part, so as to signify "God is help," or "Help, God." according to Nu 13:8,16 that was the original name of Joshua son of Nun, till Moses gave him the longer name (compounded with the name of Yahweh) which he continued to bear (yehoshua`), "Yahweh is salvation." The last king of the Northern Kingdom was also named Hosea (2 Ki 15:30), and we find the same name borne by a chief of the tribe of Ephraim under David (1 Ch 27:20) and by a chief under Nehemiah (Neh 10:23).

2. Native Place:

Although it is not directly stated in the book, there can be little doubt that he exercised his ministry in the kingdom of the Ten Tribes. Whereas his references to Judah are of a general kind, Ephraim or Samaria being sometimes mentioned in the same connection or more frequently alone, the situation implied throughout and the whole tone of the addresses agree with what we know of the Northern Kingdom at the time, and his references to places and events in that kingdom are so numerous and minute as to lead to the conclusion that he not only prophesied there, but that he was a native of that part of the country. Gilead, e.g. a district little named in the prophets, is twice mentioned in Hos (6:8; 12:11) and in such a manner as to suggest that he knew it by personal observation; and Mizpah (mentioned in 5:1) is no doubt the Mizpah in Gilead (Jdg 10:17). Then we find Tabor (Hos 5:1), Shechem (Hos 6:9 the Revised Version (British and American)), Gilgal and Bethel (Hos 4:15; 9:15; 10:5,8,15; 12:11). Even Lebanon in the distant North is spoken of with a minuteness of detail which could be expected only from one very familiar with Northern Palestine (Hos 14:5-8). In a stricter sense, therefore, than amos who, though a native of Tekoah, had a prophetic mission to the North, Hosea may be called the prophet of Northern Israel, and his book, as Ewald has said, is the prophetic voice wrung from the bosom of the kingdom itself.

3. Date:

All that we are told directly as to the time when Hosea prophesied is the statement in the first verse that the word of the Lord came to him "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel." It is quite evident that his ministry did not extend over the combined reigns of all these kings; for, from the beginning of the reign of Uzziah to the beginning of that of Hezekiah, according to the now usually received chronology (Kautzsch, Literature of the Old Testament, English Translation), there is a period of 52 years, and Jeroboam came to his throne a few years before the accession of Uzziah.

When we examine the book itself for more precise indications of date, we find that the prophet threatens in God's name that in "a little while" He will "avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu." Now Jeroboam was the great-grandson of Jehu, and his son Zechariah, who succeeded him, reigned only six months and was the last of the line of Jehu. We may, therefore, place the beginning of Hosea's ministry a short time before the death of Jeroboam which took place 743 BC. as to the other limit, it is to be observed that, though the downfall of "the kingdom of the house of Israel" is threatened (Hos 1:4), the catastrophe had not occurred when the prophet ceased his ministry. The date of that event is fixed in the year 722 BC, and it is said to have happened in the 6th year of King Hezekiah. This does not give too long a time for Hosea's activity, and it leaves the accuracy of the superscription unchallenged, whoever may have written it. If it is the work of a later editor, it may be that Hosea's ministry ceased before the reign of Hezekiah, though he may have lived on into that king's reign. It should be added, however, that there seems to be no reference to another event which might have been expected to find an echo in the book, namely, the conspiracy in the reign of Ahaz (735 BC) by Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Damascus against the kingdom of Judah (2 Ki 16:5; Isa 7:1).

Briefly we may say that, though there is uncertainty as to the precise dates of the beginning and end of his activity, he began his work before the middle of the 8th century, and that he saw the rise and fall of several kings. He would thus be a younger contemporary of amos whose activity seems to have been confined to the reign of Jeroboam.

4. Personal History (Marriage):

Hosea is described as the son of Beeri, who is otherwise unknown. Of his personal history we are told either absolutely nothing or else a very great deal, according as we interpret chapters 1 and 3 of his book. In ancient and in modern times, opinions have been divided as to whether in these chapters we have a recital of actual facts, or the presentation of prophetic teaching in the form of parable or allegory.

(1) Allegorical View.

The Jewish interpreters as a rule took the allegorical view, and Jerome, in the early Christian church, no doubt following Origen the great allegorizer, states it at length, and sees an intimation of the view in the closing words of Hosea's book: "Who is wise, that he may understand these things? prudent, that he may know them?" (Hos 14:9).

It is a mystery, he says; for it is a scandal to think of Hosea being commanded to take an unchaste wife and without any reluctance obeying the command. It is a figure, like that of Jeremiah going to the Euphrates (when Jerusalem was closely besieged) and hiding a girdle in the bed of the river (Jer 13). So Ezekiel is commanded to represent, by means of a tile, the siege of Jerusalem, and to lie 390 days on his side to indicate the years of their iniquity (Ezek 4); and there are other symbolical acts. Jerome then proceeds to apply the allegory first to Israel, which is the Gomer of chapter 1, and then to Judah, the wife in chapter 3, and finally to Christ and the church, the representations being types from beginning to end.

Calvin took the same view. Among modern commentators we find holding the allegorical view not only Hengstenberg, Havernick and Keil, but also Eichhorn, Rosenmuller and Hitzig. Reuss also (Das Altes Testament, II, 88 ff) protests against the literal interpretation as impossible, and that on no moral or reverential considerations, but entirely on exegetical grounds. He thinks it enough to say that, when the prophet calls his children "children of whoredom," he indicates quite clearly that he uses the words in a figurative sense; and he explains the allegory as follows: The prophet is the representative of Yahweh; Israel is the wife of Yahweh, but faithless to her husband, going after other gods; the children are the Israelites, who are therefore called children of whoredoms because they practice the idolatry of the nation. So they receive names which denote the consequences of their sin. In accordance with the allegory, the children are called the children of the prophet (for israel is God's own) but this is not the main point; the essential thing is the naming of the children as they are named. In the third chapter, according to this interpretation, allegory again appears, but with a modification and for another purpose. Idolatrous Israel is again the unfaithful wife of the prophet as the representative of Yahweh. This relation can again be understood only as figurative; for, if the prophet stands for Yahweh, the marriage of Israel to the prophet cannot indicate infidelity to Yahweh. The sense is evident: the marriage still subsists; God does not give His people up, but they are for the present divorced "from bed and board"; it is a prophecy of the time when Yahweh will leave the people to their fate, till the day of reconciliation comes.

(2) Literal View.

The literal interpretation, adopted by Theodore of Mopsucstia in the ancient church, was followed, after the Reformation, by the chief theologians of the Lutheran church, and has been held, in modern times, by many leading expositors, including Delitzsch, Kurtz, Hofmann, Wellhausen, Cheyne, Robertson Smith, G. A. Smith and others. In this view, as generally held, chapters 1 and 3 go together and refer to the same person. The idea is that Hosea married a woman named Gomer, who had the three children here named. Whether it was that she was known to be a worthless woman before the marriage and that the prophet hoped to reclaim her, or that she proved faithless after the marriage, she finally left him and sank deeper and deeper into sin, until, at some future time, the prophet bought her from her paramour and brought her to his own house, keeping her secluded, however, and deprived of all the privileges of a wife. In support of this view it is urged that the details are related in so matter-of-fact a manner that they must be matters of fact. Though the children receive symbolical names (as Isaiah gave such names to his children), the meanings of these are clear and are explained, whereas the name of the wife cannot thus be explained. Then there are details, such as the weaning of one child before the conception of another (Hos 1:8) and the precise price paid for the erring wife (Hos 3:2), which are not needed to keep up the allegory, and are not invested with symbolical meaning by the prophet. What is considered a still stronger argument is relied on by modern advocates of this view, the psychological argument that there is always a proportion between a revelation vouchsafed and the mental state of the person receiving it. Hosea dates the beginning of his prophetic work from the time of his marriage; it was the unfaithfulness of his wife that brought home to him the apostasy of Israel; and, as his heart went after his wayward wife, so the Divine love was stronger than Israel's sin; and thus through his own domestic experience he was prepared to be a prophet to his people.

The great difficulty in the way of accepting the literal interpretation lies, as Reuss has pointed out, in the statement at the beginning, that the prophet was commanded to take a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms. And the advocates of the view meet the difficulties in some way like this: The narrative as it stands is manifestly later than the events. On looking back, the prophet describes his wife as she turned out to be, not as she was at the beginning of the history. It is urged with some force that it was necessary to the analogy (even if the story is only a parable) that the wife should have been first of all chaste; for, in Hosea's representation, Israel at the time of its election in the wilderness was faithful and fell away only afterward (Hos 2:15; 9:10; 11:1). The narrative does not require us to assume that Comer was an immoral person or that she was the mother of children before her marriage. The children receive symbolic names, but these names do not reflect upon Gomer but upon Israel. Why, then, is she described as a woman of Whoredoms? It is answered that the expression 'esheth zenunim is a class-descriptive, and is different from the expression "a woman who is a harlot" ('ishshdh zonah). A Jewish interpreter quoted by Aben Ezra says: "Hosea was commanded to take a wife of whoredoms because an honest woman was not to be had. The whole people had gone astray--was an `adulterous generation'; and she as one of them was a typical example, and the children were involved in the common declension (see Hos 4:1 f) ." The comment of Umbreit is worthy of notice: "as the covenant of Yahweh with Israel is viewed as a marriage bond, so is the prophetic bond with Israel a marriage, for he is the messenger and mediator. Therefore, if he feels an irresistible impulse to enter into the marriage-bond with Israel, he is bound to unite himself with a bride of an unchaste character. Yea, his own wife Comer is involved in the universal guilt" (Prak. Commentary uber die Propheten, Hamburg, 1844). It is considered, then, on this view, that Gomer, after her marriage, being in heart addicted to the prevailing idolatry, which we know was often associated with gross immorality (see Hos 4:13), felt the irksomeness of restraint in the prophet's house, left him and sank into open profligacy, from which (Hos 3) the prophet reclaimed her so far as to bring her back and keep her secluded in his own house.

Quite recently this view has been advocated by Riedel (Alttest. Untersuchungen, Leipzig, 1902), who endeavors to enforce it by giving a symbolic meaning to Gomer's name, Bath-Diblaim. The word is the dual (or might be pointed as a plural) of a word, debhelah, meaning a fruitcake, i.e. raisins or figs pressed together. It is the word used in the story of Hezekiah's illness (2 Ki 20:7), and is found in the list of things furnished by abigail to David (1 Sam 25:18). See also 1 Sam 30:12; 1 Ch 12:40. Another name for the same thing, ashishah, occurs in Hos 3:1, rendered in the King James Version "flagons of wine," but in the Revised Version (British and American) "cakes of raisins." It seems clear that this word, at least here, denotes fruit-cakes offered to the heathen deities, as was the custom in Jeremiah's time (Jer 7:18; 44:17). So Riedel argues that Comer may have been described as a "daughter of fruit-cakes" according to the Hebrew idiom in such expressions as "daughters of song," etc. (Eccl 12:4; Prov 31:2; 2 Sam 7:10; Gen 37:3, etc.).

It will be perceived that the literal interpretation as thus stated does not involve the supposition that Hosea became aware of his wife's infidelity before the birth of the second child, as Robertson Smith and G. A. Smith suppose. The names given to the children all refer to the infidelity of Israel as a people; and the renderings of Lo'-ruchamah, "she that never knew a father's love," and of Lo-`ammi, "no kin of mine," are too violent in this connection. Nor does the interpretation demand that it was first through his marriage and subsequent experience that the prophet received his call; although no doubt the experience through which he passed deepened the conviction of Israel's apostasy in his mind.

II. The Book.

1. Style and Scope:

Scarcely any book in the Old Testament is more difficult of exposition than the Book of Hosea. This does not seem to be owing to any exceptional defect in the transmitted text, but rather to the peculiarity of the style; and partly also, no doubt, to the fact that the historical situation of the prophet was one of bewildering and sudden change of a violent kind, which seems to reflect itself in the book. The style here is preeminently the man. Whatever view we may take of his personal history, it is evident that he is deeply affected by the situation in which he is placed. He is controlled by his subject, instead of controlling it. It is his heart that speaks; he is not careful to concentrate his thoughts or to mark his transitions; the sentences fall from him like the sobs of a broken heart. Mournful as Jeremiah, he does not indulge in the pleasure of melancholy as that prophet seems to do. Jeremiah broods over his sorrow, nurses it, and tells us he is weeping. Hosea does not say he is weeping, but we hear it in his broken utterances. Instead of laying out his plaint in measured form, he ejaculates it in short, sharp sentences, as the stabs of his people's sin pierce his heart.

The result is the absence of that rhythmic flow and studied parallelism which are such common features of Hebrew oratory, and are often so helpful to the expositor. His imagery, while highly poetical, is not elaborated; his figures are not so much carried out as thrown out; nor does he dwell long on the same figure. His sentences are like utterances of an oracle, and he forgets himself in identifying himself with the God in whose name he speaks--a feature which is not without significance in its bearing on the question of his personal history. The standing expression "Thus saith the Lord" ("It is the utterance of Yahweh" the Revised Version (British and American)), so characteristic of the prophetic style, very rarely occurs (only in Hos 2:13,16,21; 11:11); whereas the words that he speaks are the very words of the Lord; and without any formal indication of the fact, he passes from speaking in his own name to speaking in the name of Yahweh (see, e.g. Hos 6:4; 7:12; 8:13; 9:9,10,14-17, etc.). Never was speaker so absorbed in his theme, or more identified with Him for whom he speaks. He seems to be oblivious of his hearers, if indeed his chapters are the transcript or summary of spoken addresses. They certainly want to a great extent the directness and point which are so marked a feature of prophetic diction, so much so that some (e.g. Reuss and Marti) suppose they are the production of one who had readers and not hearers in view.

But, though the style appears in this abrupt form, there is one clear note on divers strings sounding through the whole. The theme is twofold: the love of Yahweh, and the indifference of Israel to that love; and it would be hard to say which of the two is more vividly conceived and more forcibly expressed. Under the figures of the tenderest affection, sometimes that of the pitying, solicitous care of the parent (Hos 11:1,3,1; 14:3), but more prominently as the affection of the husband (Hos 1; 3), the Divine love is represented as ever enduring in spite of all indifference and opposition; and, on the other hand, the waywardness, unblushing faithlessness of the loved one is painted in colors so repulsive as almost to shock the moral sense, but giving thereby evidence of the painful abhorrence it had produced on the prophet's mind. Thus early does he take the sacred bond of husband and wife as the type of the Divine electing love--a similitude found elsewhere in prophetic literature, and most fully elaborated by Ezekiel (Ezek 16; compare Jer 3). Hosea is the prophet of love, and not without propriety has been called the John of the Old Testament.

2. Historical Background:

For the reasons just stated, it is very difficult to give a systematic analysis of the Book of Hos. It may, however, be helpful to that end to recall the situation of the time as furnishing a historical setting for the several sections of the book.

At the commencement of the prophet's ministry, the Northern Kingdom was enjoying the prosperity and running into the excesses consequent on the victories of Jeroboam II. The glaring social corruptions of the times are exhibited and castigated by Amos, as they would most impress a stranger from the South; but Hosea, a native, as we are led suppose, of the Northern Kingdom, saw more deeply into the malady, and traced all the crime and vice of the nation to the fundamental evil of idolatry and apostasy from the true God. What he describes under the repulsive figure of whoredom was the rampant Worship of the be`alim, which had practically obscured the recognition of the sole claims to worship of the national Yahweh. This worship of the be`alim is to be distinguished from that of which we read at the earlier time of Elijah. Ahab's Tyrian wife Jezebel had introduced the worship of her native country, that of the Sidonian Baal, which amounted to the setting up of a foreign deity; and Elijah's contention that it must be a choice between Yahweh and Baal appealed to the sense of patriotism and the sentiment of national existence. The worship of the ba`als, however, was an older and more insidious form of idolatry. The worship of the Canaanite tribes, among whom the Israelites found themselves on the occupation of Palestine, was a reverence of local divinities, known by the names of the places where each had his shrine or influence. The generic name of ba`al or "lord" was applied naturally as a common word to each of these, with the addition of the name of place or potency to distinguish them. Thus we have Baal-hermon, Baal-gad, Baal-berith, etc. The insidiousness of this kind of worship is proved by its wide prevalence, especially among people at a low stage of intelligence, when the untutored mind is brought face to face with the mysterious and unseen forces of Nature. And the tenacity of the feeling is proved by the prevalence of such worship, even among people whose professed religion condemns idolatry of every kind. The veneration of local shrines among Christians of the East and in many parts of Europe is well known; and Mohammedans make pilgrimages to the tombs of saints who, though not formally worshipped as deities, are believed to have the power to confer such benefits as the Canaanites expected from the ba`als. The very name ba`al, originally meaning simply lord and master, as in such expressions as "master of a house," "lord of a wife," "owner of an ox," would be misleading; for the Israelites could quite innocently call Yahweh their ba`al or Lord, as we can see they did in the formation of proper names. We can, without much difficulty, conceive what would happen among a people like the Israelite tribes, of no high grade of religious intelligence, and with the prevailing superstitions in their blood, when they found themselves in Palestine. From a nomad and pastoral people they became, and had to become, agriculturists; the natives of the land would be their instructors, in many or in most cases the actual labor would be done by them. The Book of Jdg tells us emphatically that several of the Israelite tribes "did not drive out" the native inhabitants; the northern tribes in particular, where the land was most fertile, tolerated a large native admixture. We are also told (Jdg 2:7) that the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and of the elders who outlived Joshua; and this hint of a gradual declension no doubt points to what actually took place. For a time they remembered and thought of Yahweh as the God who had done for them great things in Egypt and in the wilderness; and then, as time went on, they had to think of Him as the giver of the land in which they found themselves, with all its varied produce. But this was the very thing the Canaanites ascribed to their ba`als. And so, imperceptibly, by naming places as the natives named them, by observing the customs which the natives followed, and celebrating the festivals of the agricultural year, they were gliding into conformity with the religion of their neighbors; for, in such a state of society, custom is more or less based on religion and passes for religion. Almost before they were aware, they were doing homage to the various ba`als in celebrating their festival days and offering to them the produce of the ground.

Such was the condition which Hosea describes as an absence of the knowledge of God (Hos 4:1). And the consequence cannot be better described than in the words of Paul: "As they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Rom 1:28). Both Hosea and Amos tell us in no ambiguous terms how the devotees of the impure worship gave themselves up "to work all uncleanness with greediness" (Eph 4:19; compare Am 2:7 f; Hos 4:14); and how deeply the canker had worked into the body politic is proved by the rapid collapse and irretrievable ruin which followed soon after the strong hand of Jeroboam was removed. The 21 years that followed his death in 743 BC saw no fewer than six successive occupants of the throne, and the final disappearance of the kingdom of the ten tribes. Zechariah, his son, had reigned only six months when "Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him .... and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Ki 15:10). Shallum himself reigned only a month when he was in the same bloody manner removed by Menahem. After a reign of 10 years, according to 2 Ki 15:17 (although the chronology here is uncertain), he was succeeded by his son Pekahiah (2 Ki 15:22), and after two years Pekah "his captain" conspired against him and reigned in his stead (2 Ki 15:25). This king also was assassinated, and was succeeded by Hoshea (2 Ki 15:30), the last king of the ten tribes, for the kingdom came to an end in 722 BC. Hosea must have lived during a great part of those troubled times; and we may expect to hear echoes of the events in his book.

3. Contents and Divisions:

(1) Hosea 1 through 3.

We should naturally expect that the order of the chapters would correspond in the main with the progress of events; and there is at least a general agreement among expositors that Hosea 1 through 3 refer to an earlier period than those that follow. In favor of this is the reference in 1:2 to the commencement of the prophet's ministry, as also the threatening of the impending extirpation of the house of Jehu (1:4), implying that it was still in existence; and finally the hints of the abundance amounting to luxury which marked the prosperous time of Jeroboam's reign. These three chapters are to be regarded as going together; and, however they may be viewed as reflecting the prophet's personal experience, they leave no room for doubt in regard to the national apostasy that weighed so heavily on his heart. And this, in effect, is what he says: Just as the wife, espoused to a loving husband, enjoys the protection of home and owes all her provision to her husband, so Israel, chosen by Yahweh and brought by Him into a fertile land, has received all she has from Him alone. The giving of recognition to the ba`als for material prosperity was tantamount to a wife's bestowing her affection on another; the accepting of these blessings as bestowed on condition of homage rendered to the ba`als was tantamount to the receiving of hire by an abandoned woman. This being so, the prophet, speaking in God's name, declares what He will do, in a series of a thrice repeated "therefore" (2:6,9,14), marking three stages of His discipline. First of all, changing the metaphor to that of a straying heifer, the prophet in God's name declares (2:6 ff) that He will hedge up her way with thorns, so that she will not be able to reach her lovers--meaning, no doubt, that whether by drought or blight, or some national misfortune, there would be such a disturbance of the processes of Nature that the usual rites of homage to the ba`als would prove ineffectual. The people would fail to find the "law of the god of the land" (2 Ki 17:26). In their perplexity they would bethink themselves, begin to doubt the power of the ba`als, and resolve to pay to Yahweh the homage they had been giving to the local gods. But this is still the same low conception of Yahweh that had led them astray. To exchange one God for another simply in the hope of enjoying material prosperity is not the service which He requires. And then comes the second "therefore" (Hos 2:9 ff). Instead of allowing them to enjoy their corn and wine and oil on the terms of a mere lip allegiance or ritual service, Yahweh will take these away, will reduce Israel to her original poverty, causing all the mirth of her festival days to cease, and giving garments of mourning for festal attire. Her lovers will no longer own her, her own husband's hand is heavy upon her, and what remains? The third "therefore" tells us (Hos 2:14 ff). Israel, now bereft of all, helpless, homeless, is at last convinced that, as her God could take away all, so it was from Him she had received all: she is shut up to His love and His mercy alone. And here the prophet's thoughts clothemselves in language referring to the early betrothal period of national life. A new beginning will be made, she will again lead the wilderness life of daily dependence on God, cheerfully and joyfully she will begin a new journey, out of trouble will come a new hope, and the very recollection of the past will be a pain to her. As all the associations of the name ba`al have been degrading, she shall think of her Lord in a different relation, not as the mere giver of material blessing, but as the husband and desire of her heart, the One Source of all good, as distinguished from one of many benefactors. In all this Hosea does not make it clear how he expected these changes to be brought about, nor do we detect any references to the political history of the time. He mentions no foreign enemy at this stage, or, at most, hints at war in a vague manner (Hos 2:14 f). In the second chapter the thing that is emphasized is the heavy hand of God laid on the things through which Israel had been led astray, the paralyzing of Nature's operations, so as to cut at the root of Nature-worship; but the closing stage of the Divine discipline (Hosea 3), when Israel, like the wife kept in seclusion, neither enjoying the privileges of the lawful spouse nor able to follow after idols, seems to point to, and certainly was not reached till, the captivity when the people, on a foreign soil, could not exercise their ancestral worship, but yet were finally cured of idolatry.

The references to Judah in these chapters are not to be overlooked. Having said (Hos 1:6) that Israel would be utterly taken away (which seems to point to exile), the prophet adds that Judah would be saved from that fate, though not by warlike means. Farther down (Hos 1:11) he predicts the union of Israel and Judah under one head, and finally in Hos 3 it is said that in the latter day the children of Israel would seek the Lord their God and David their king. Many critics suppose that 1:10 f are out of place (though they cannot find a better place for them); and not a few declare that all the references to Judah must be taken as from a later hand, the usual reason for this conclusion being that the words "disturb the connection." In the case of a writer like Hosea, however, whose transitions are so sharp and sudden, we are not safe in speaking of disturbing the connection: what may to us appear abrupt, because we are not expecting it, may have flashed across the mind of the original writer; and Hosea, in forecasting the future of his people, can scarcely be debarred from having thought of the whole nation. It was Israel as a whole that was the original bride of Yahweh, and surely therefore the united Israel would be the partaker of the final glory. As a matter of fact, Judah was at the time in better case than Israel, and the old promise to the Davidic house (2 Sam 7:16) was deeply cherished to the end.

(2) Hosea 4 through 14.

If it is admissible to consider Hosea 1 through 3 as one related piece (though possibly the written deposit of several addresses) it is quite otherwise with Hos 4 through 14. These are, in a manner, a counterpart of the history. When the strong hand of Jeroboam was relaxed, the kingdom rapidly fell to pieces; a series of military usurpers follows with bewildering rapidity; but who can tell how much political disorder and social disintegration lie behind those brief and grim notices: So and So "conspired against him and slew him and reigned in his stead"? So with these chapters. The wail of grief, the echo of violence and excess, is heard through all, but it is very difficult to assign each lament, each reproof, each denunciation to the primary occasion that called it forth. The chapters seem like the recital of the confused, hideous dream through which the nation passed till its rude awakening by the sharp shock of the Assyrian invasion and the exile that followed. The political condition of the time was one of party strife and national impotence. Sometimes Assyria or Egypt is mentioned alone (5:13; 8:9,13; 9:6; 10:6; 14:3), at other times Assyria and Egypt together (7:11; 9:3; 11:5,11; 12:1); but in such a way as to show too plainly that the spirit of self-reliance--not to speak of reliance on Yahweh--had departed from a race that was worm-eaten with social sins and rendered selfish and callous by the indulgence of every vice. These foreign powers, which figure as false refuges, are also in the view of the prophet destined to be future scourges (see 5:13; 8:9 f; 7:11; 12:1); and we know, from the Book of Ki and also from the Assyrian monuments, how much the kings of Israel at this time were at the mercy of the great conquering empires of the East. Such passages as speak of Assyria and Egypt in the same breath may point to the rival policies which were in vogue in the Northern Kingdom (as they appeared also somewhat later in Judah) of making alliances with one or other of these great rival powers. It was in fact the Egyptianizing policy of Hoshea that finally occasioned the ruin of the kingdom (2 Ki 17:4). Thus it is that, in the last chapter, when the prophet indulges in hope no more mixed with boding fear, he puts into the mouth of repentant Ephraim the words: "Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses" (Hos 14:3), thus alluding to the two foreign powers between which Israel had lost its independence.

It is not possible to give a satisfactory analysis of the chapters under consideration. They are not marked off, as certain sections of other prophetical books are, by headings or refrains, nor are the references to current events sufficiently clear to enable us to assign different parts to different times, nor, in fine, is the matter so distinctly laid out that we can arrange the book under subjects treated. Most expositors accordingly content themselves with indicating the chief topics or lines of thought, and arranging the chapters according to the tone pervading them.

Keil, e.g., would divide all these chapters into three great sections, each forming a kind of prophetical cycle, in which the three great prophetic tones of reproof, threatening, and promise, are heard in succession. His first section embraces Hosea 4 to 6:3, ending with the gracious promise: "Come, and let us return unto Yahweh," etc. The second section, 6:4 to 11:11, ends with the promise: "They shall come trembling as a bird .... and I will make them to dwell in their houses, saith Yahweh." The third section, 11:12 to 14:9, ends: "Take with you words, and return unto Yahweh," etc. Ewald's arrangement proceeds on the idea that the whole book consists of one narrative piece (chapters 1 through 3) and one long address (chapters 4 through 14), which, however, is marked off by resting points into smaller sections or addresses. The progress of thought is marked by the three great items of arraignment, punishment, and consolation. Thus: from 4:1 through 6:11 there is arraignment; from 6:11 to 9:9 punishment, and from 9:10 through 14:10 exhortation and comfort. Driver says of chapters 4 through 14: "These chapters consist of a series of discourses, a summary arranged probably by the prophet himself at the close of his ministry, of the prophecies delivered by him in the years following the death of Jeroboam II. Though the argument is not continuous, or systematically developed, they may be divided into three sections: (a) chapters 4 through 8 in which the thought of Israel's guilt predominates; (b) chapter 9 through 11:11, in which the prevailing thought is that of Israel's punishment; (c) 11:12 through Hos 14 in which these two lines of thought are both continued (chapters 12, 13), but are followed (in chapter 14) by a glance at the brighter future which may ensue provided Israel repents." A. B. Davidson, after mentioning the proposed analyses of Ewald and Driver, adds: "But in truth the passage is scarcely divisible; it consists of multitude of variations all executed on one theme, Israel's apostasy or unfaithfulness to her God. This unfaithfulness is a condition of the mind, a `spirit of whoredoms,' and is revealed in all the aspects of Israel's life, though particularly in three things: (1) the cult, which, though ostensibly service of Yahweh, is in truth worship of a being altogether different from Him; (2) the internal political disorders, the changes of dynasty, all of which have been effected with no thought of Yahweh in the people's minds; and (3) the foreign politics, the making of covenants with Egypt and Assyria, in the hope that they might heal the internal hurt of the people, instead of relying on Yahweh their God. The three things," he adds, "are not independent; the one leads to the other. The fundamental evil is that there is no knowledge of God in the land, no true conception of Deity. He is thought of as a Nature-god, and His conception exercises no restraint on the passions or life of the people: hence, the social immoralities, and the furious struggles of rival factions, and these again lead to the appeal for foreign intervention."

Some expositors, however (e.g. Maurer, Hitzig, Delitzsch and Volck), recognizing what they consider as direct references or brief allusions to certain outstanding events in the history, perceive a chronological order in the chapters. Volck, who has tempted a full analysis on this line (PRE2) thinks that chapters 4 through 14 arrange themselves into 6 consecutive sections as follows: (1) chapter 4 constitutes a section by itself, determined by the introductory words "Hear the word of Yahweh" (4:1), and a similar call at the beginning of chapter 5. He assigns this chapter to the reign of Zechariah, as a description of the low condition to which the nation had fallen, the priests, the leaders, being involved in the guilt and reproof (Hos 5:6). (2) The second section extends from Hos 5:1 to 6:3, and is addressed directly to the priests and the royal house, who ought to have been guides but were snares. The prophet in the spirit sees Divine judgment already breaking over the devoted land (5:8). This prophecy, which Hitzig referred to the time of Zechariah, and Maurer to the reign of Pekah, is assigned by Volck to the one month's reign of Shallum, on the ground of Hos 5:7: "Now shall a month (the King James Version and the Revised Version margin, but the Revised Version (British and American) "the new moon") devour them." It is by inference from this that Volck puts Hos 4 in the preceding reign of Zechariah. (3) The third section, Hos 6:4 through 7:16, is marked off by the new beginning made at 8:1: "Set the trumpet to thy mouth." The passage which determines its date is 7:7: "All their kings are fallen," which, agreeing with Hitzig, he thinks could not have been said after the fall of one king, Zechariah, and so he assigns it to the beginning of the reign of Menahem who killed Shallum. (4) The next halting place, giving a fourth section, is at Hos 9:9, at the end of which there is a break in the Massoretic Text, and a new subject begins. Accordingly, the section embraces 8:1 to 9:9, and Volck, agreeing with Hitzig, assigns it to the reign of Menahem, on the ground of 8:4: "They have set up kings, but not by me," referring to the support given to Menahem by the king of Assyria (2 Ki 15:19). (5) The fifth section extends from 9:10 to l1:11, and is marked by the peculiarity that the prophet three times refers to the early history of Israel (9:10; 10:1; 11:1). Identifying Shalman in 10:14 with Shalmaneser, Volck refers the section to the opening years of the reign of Hoshea, against whom (as stated in 2 Ki 17:3) Shalmaneser came up and Hoshea became his servant. (6) Lastly there is a sixth section, extending from Hos 12:1 to the end, which looks to the future recovery of the people (13:14) and closes with words of gracious promise. This portion also Volck assigns to the reign of Hoshea, just as the ruin of Samaria was impending, and there was no prospect of any earthly hope. In this way Volck thinks that the statement in the superscription of the Book of Hos is confirmed, and that we have before us, in chronological order if not in precisely their original oral form, the utterances of the prophet during his ministry. Ewald also was strongly of opinion that the book (in its second part at least) has come down to us substantially in the form in which the prophet himself left it.

The impression one receives from this whole section is one of sadness, for the prevailing tone is one of denunciation and doom. And yet Hosea is not a prophet of despair; and, in fact, he bursts forth into hope just at the point where, humanly speaking, there is no ground of hope. But this hope is produced, not by what he sees in the condition of the people: it is enkindled and sustained by his confident faith in the unfailing love of Yahweh. And so he ends on theme on which he began, the love of God prevailing over man's sin.

4. Testimony to Earlier History:

The references in Hosea to the earlier period of history are valuable, seeing that we know his date, and that the dates of the books recording that history are so much in dispute. These references are particularly valuable from the way in which they occur; for it is the manner of the prophet to introduce them indirectly, and allusively, without dwelling on particulars. Thus every single reference can be understood only by assuming its implications; and, taken together, they do not merely amount to a number of isolated testimonies to single events, but are rather dissevered links of a continuous chain of history. For they do not occur by way of rhetorical illustration of some theme that may be in hand, they are of the very essence of the prophet's address. The events of the past are, in the prophet's view, so many elements in the arraignment or threatening, or whatever it may be that is the subject of address for the moment: in a word, the whole history is regarded by him, not as a series of episodes, strung together in a collection of popular stories, but a course of Divine discipline with a moral and religious significance, and recorded or referred to for a high purpose. There is this also to be remembered: that, in referring briefly and by way of allusion to past events, the prophet is taking for granted that his hearers understand what he is referring to, and will not call in question the facts to which he alludes. This implies that the mass of the people, even in degenerate Israel, were well acquainted with such incidents or episodes as the prophet introduces into his discourses, as well as the links which were necessary to bind them into a connected whole. It is necessary to bear all this in mind in forming an estimate of the historical value of other books. It seems to be taken by many modern writers as certain that those parts of the Pentateuch (JE) which deal with the earlier history were not written till a comparatively short time before Hosea. It is plain, however, that the accounts must be of much earlier date, before they could have become, in an age when books could not have been numerous, the general possession of the national consciousness. Further, the homiletic manner in which Hosea handles these ancient stories makes one suspicious of the modern theory that a number of popular stories were supplied with didactic "frameworks" by later Deuteronomic or other "redactors," and makes it more probable that these accounts were invested with a moral and religious meaning from the beginning. With these considerations in mind, and particularly in view of the use he makes of his references, it is interesting to note the wide range of the prophet's historical survey. If we read with the Revised Version (British and American) "Adam" for "men" (the King James Version Hos 6:7), we have a clear allusion to the Fall, implying in its connection the view which, as all admit, Hosea held of the religious history of his people as a declension and not an upward evolution. This view is more clearly brought out in the reference to the period of the exodus and the desert life (2:15; 9:10; 11:1). Equally suggestive are the allusions to the patriarchal history, as the references to Admah and' Zeboiim (11:8), and the repeated references to the weak and the strong points in the character of Jacob (12:3,12). Repeatedly he declares that Yahweh is the God of Israel "from the land of Egypt" (12:9; 13:4), alludes to the sin of Achan and the valley of Achor (2:15), asserts that God had in time past "spoken unto the prophets" (12:10), "hewed" His people by prophets (6:5), and by a prophet brought His people out of Egypt (12:13). There are also references to incidents nearer to the prophet's time, some of them not very clear (14; 5:1; 9:5:15; 10:9); and if, as seems probable, "the sin of Israel" (10:8) refers to the schism of the ten tribes, the prominence given to the Davidic kingship, which, along with the references to Judah, some critics reject on merely subjective grounds, is quite intelligible (3:5; 4:15).

5. Testimony to the Law:

We do not expect to find in a prophetic writing the same frequency of reference to the law as to the history; for it is of the essence of prophecy to appeal to history and to interpret it. Of course, the moral and social aspects of the law are as much the province of the prophet as of the priest; but the ceremonial part of the law, which was under the care of the priests, though it was designed to be the expression of the same ideas that lay at the foundation of prophecy, is mainly touched upon by the prophets when, as was too frequently the case, it ceased to express those ideas and became an offense. The words of the prophets on this subject, when fairly interpreted, are not opposed to law in any of its authorized forms, but only to its abuses; and there are expressions and allusions in Hosea, although he spoke to the Northern Kingdom, where from the time of the schism there had been a wide departure from the authorized law, which recognize its ancient existence and its Divine sanction. The much-debated passage in Hos (8:12), "Though I write for him my law in ten thousand precepts" (the Revised Version (British and American) or the Revised Version margin "I wrote for him the ten thousand things of my law"), on any understanding of the words or with any reasonable emendation of the text (for which see the comm.), points to written law, and that of considerable compass, and seems hardly consistent with the supposition that in the prophet's time the whole of the written law was confined to a few chapters in Ex, the so-called Book of the Covenant. And the very next verse (Hos 8:13), "As for the sacrifices of mine offerings, they sacrifice flesh and eat it; but Yahweh accepteth them not," is at once an acknowledgment of the Divine institution of sacrifice, and an illustration of the kind of opposition the prophets entertained to sacrificial service as it was practiced. So when it is said, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feasts, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies" (Hos 2:11; compare 9:5), the reference, as the context shows, is to a deprivation of what were national distinctive privileges; and the allusions to transgressions and trespasses against the law (Hos 8:1; compare Dt 17:2) point in the same direction. We have a plain reference to the Feast of Tabernacles (Hos 12:9): "I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast" (compare Lev 23:39-43); and there are phrases which are either in the express language of the law-books or evident allusions to them, as "Thy people are as they that strive with the priest" (Hos 4:4; compare Dt 17:12); "The princes of Judah are like them that remove the landmark" (Hos 5:10; compare Dt 19:14); "Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners" (Hos 9:4; compare Dt 26:14); "They (the priests) feed on the sin of my people" (Hos 4:8; compare Lev 6:25 f; 10:17). In one verse the prophet combines the fundamental fact in the nation's history and the fundamental principle of the law: "I am Yahweh thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou shalt know no god but me" (Hos 13:4; compare Ex 20:3).

6. Affinity with Deuteronomy:

It is, however, with the Book of Dt more than with any other portion of the Pentateuch that the Book of Hos shows affinity; and the resemblances here are so striking, that the critics who hold to the late date of Dt speak of the author of that book as "the spiritual heir of Hosea" (Driver, Commentary on Deuteronomy, Intro, xxvii), or of Hosea as "the great spiritual predecessor of the Deuteronomist" (Cheyne, Jeremiah, His Life and Times, 66). The resemblance is seen, not only in the homiletical manner in which historical events are treated, but chiefly in the great underlying principles implied or insisted upon in both books. The choice of Israel to be a peculiar people is the fundamental note in both (Dt 4:37; 7:6; 10:15; 14:2; 26:18; Hos 12:9; 13:4). God's tender care and fatherly discipline are central ideas in both (Dt 8:2,3,5,16; Hos 9:15; 11:1-4; 14:4); and, conversely, the supreme duty of love to God, or reproof of the want of it, is everywhere emphasized (Dt 6:5; 10:12; 11:1,13,22; 13:3; 19:9; 30:6,16,20; Hos 4:1; 6:4,6). Now, when points of resemblance are found in two different books, it is not always easy to say on merely literary grounds which has the claim to priority. But it does seem remarkable, on the one hand, that a writer so late as the time of Josiah should take his keynote from one of the very earliest of the writing prophets two centuries before him; and, on the other hand, that these so-called "prophetic ideas," so suitable to the time of `the kindness of youth and love of espousals' (Jer 2:2), should have found no place in the mind of that "prophet" by whom the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt (Hos 12:13). The ministry of Moses was to enforce the duty of whole-hearted allegiance to the God who had made special choice of Israel and claimed them as His own. Nor was Hosea the first, as it is sometimes alleged, to represent the religious history of Israel as a defection. Moses had experience of their apostasy under the very shadow of Sinai, and all his life long had to bear with a stiff-necked and rebellious people. Then, again, if these "Deuteronomic" ideas are found so clearly expressed in Hosea, why should it be necessary to postulate a late Deuteronomist going back upon older books, and editing and supplementing them with Deuteronomic matter? If Moses sustained anything like the function which all tradition assigned to him, and if, as all confess, he was the instrument of molding the tribes into one people, those addresses contained in the Book of Deuteronomy are precisely in the tone which would be adopted by a great leader in taking farewell of the people. And, if he did so, it is quite conceivable that his words would be treasured by the God-fearing men among his followers and successors, in that unbroken line of prophetic men to whose existence both Amos and Hosea appealed, and that they should be found coming to expression at the very dawn of written prophecy. Undoubtedly these two prophets took such a view, and regarded Moses as the first and greatest Deuteronomist.


Harper, "Minor Prophets," in ICC; Keil, "Minor Prophets," in Clark's For. Theol. Library; Huxtable, "Hosea," in Speaker's Comm.; Cheyne, "Hosea," in Cambridge Bible; Pusey, Minor Prophets; Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel; G. A. Smith, "The Book of the Twelve," in Expositor's Bible; Horton, "'Hosea," in Century Bible; Farrar, "Minor Prophets," in Men of the Bible; A. B. Davidson, article "Hosea" in HDB; Cornill, The Prophets of Israel, English translation, Chicago, 1897; Valeton, Amos en Hosea; Nowack, "Die kleinen Propheten," in Hand-Comm. z. Altes Testament; Marti, Dodekapropheton in Kurz. Hand-Comm.

James Robertson


HOSHEA - ho-she'-a (hoshea`, "salvation"; Hosee, 2 Ki 17:1-9):

1. A Satrap of Assyria:

Son of Elah, the 19th and last king of Israel. The time was one of social revolution and dynastic change. Of the last five kings of Israel, four had met their deaths by violence. Hoshea himself was one of these assassins (2 Ki 15:30), and the nominee of Tiglath-pileser III, whose annals read, "Pekah I slew, Hoshea I appointed over them." Though called king, Hoshea was thus really a satrap of Assyria and held his appointment only during good behavior. The realm which he administered was but the shadow of its former self. Tiglath-pileser had already carried into captivity the northern tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali, Asher and Dan; as also the two and a half tribes East of the Jordan (2 Ki 15:29). Apart from those forming the kingdom of Judah, there remained only Ephraim, Issachar, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

2. The Reduced Kingdom of Israel:

Isaiah refers to the fall of Syria in the words, "Damascus is taken away from being a city" (Isa 17:1), and to the foreign occupations of Northern Israel in the words, "He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali .... by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations" (Isa 9:1).

3. Hosea and Ephraim:

But Hosea is the prophet in whose writings we see most clearly the reflection of the politics of the day, and the altered condition of things in Israel. In the 2nd division of his and book, chapters 4 through 14, Hosea deals with a state of things which can only be subsequent to the first great deportation of Israelites, and therefore belongs to the reigns of Pekah and Hoshea. The larger part of the nation being removed, he addresses his utterances no longer to all Israel, but to Ephraim, the chief of the remaining tribes. This name he uses no less than 35 t, though not to the total exclusion of the term "Israel," as in 11:1, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him," the whole nation in such cases being meant. Of the 35 uses of "Ephraim," the first is, "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone" (4:17), and the last, "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?" (14:8), showing that, in the prophet's estimation, the idolatrous worship of Yahweh, as associated with the golden calves of Dan and Bethel, lay at the root of the nation's calamities.

4. Hosea's Dependent Position:

Over this shrunken and weakened kingdom--corresponding generally with the Samaritan district of the New Testament--Hoshea was placed as the viceroy of a foreign power. The first official year of his governorship was 729, though he may have been appointed a few months earlier. Tiglath-pileser III died in 727, so that three years' tribute was probably paid to Nineveh. There was, however, a political party in Samaria, which, ground down by cruel exactions, was for making an alliance with Egypt, hoping that, in the jealousy and antipathies of the two world-powers, it might find some relief or even a measure of independence. Hosea, himself a prophet of the north, allows us to see beneath the surface of court life in Samaria. "They call unto Egypt, they go to Assyria" (Hos 7:11), and again, "They make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt" (Hos 12:1). This political duplicity from which it was the king's prime duty to save his people, probably took its origin about the time of Tiglath-pileser's death in 727.

5. His Treasonable Action:

That event either caused or promoted the treasonable action, and the passage of large quantities of oil on the southward road was an object-lesson to be read of all men. On the accession of Shalmaneser IV--who is the Shalmaneser of the Bible (2 Ki 17:3; 18:9)--Hoshea would seem to have carried, or sent, the annual tribute for 726 to the treasury at Nineveh (2 Ki 17:3). The text is not clear as to who was the bearer of this tribute, but from the statement that Shalmaneser came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant, it may be presumed that the tribute for the first year after Tiglath-pileser's death was at first refused, then, when a military demonstration took place, was paid, and obedience promised. In such a case Hoshea would be required to attend at his suzerain's court and do homage to the sovereign.

6. His Final Arrest:

This is what probably took place, not without inquiry into the past. Grave suspicions were thus aroused as to the loyalty of Hoshea, and on these being confirmed by the confession or discovery that messengers had passed to "So king of Egypt," and the further withholding of the tribute (2 Ki 17:4), Hoshea was arrested and shut up in prison. Here he disappears from history. Such was the ignominious end of a line of kings, not one of whom had, in all the vicissitudes of two and a quarter centuries, been in harmony with theocratic spirit, or realized that the true welfare and dignity of the state lay in the unalloyed worship of Yahweh.

7. Battle of Beth-arbel:

With Hoshea in his hands, Shalmaneser's troops marched, in the spring or summer of 725, to the completion of Assyria's work in Palestine. Isaiah has much to say in his 10th and 11th chapters on the divinely sanctioned mission of "the Assyrian" and of the ultimate fate that should befall him for his pride and cruelty in carrying out his mission. The campaign was not a bloodless one. At Beth-arbel--at present unidentified--the hostile forces met, with the result that might have been expected. "Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle" (Hos 10:14). The defeated army took refuge behind the walls of Samaria, and the siege began. The city was well placed for purposes of defense, being built on the summit of a lonely hill, which was Omri's reason for moving the capital from Tirzah (1 Ki 16:24). It was probably during the continuance of the siege that Isaiah wrote his prophecy, "Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim," etc. (Isa 28), in which the hill of Samaria with its coronet of walls is compared to a diadem of flowers worn in a scene of revelry, which should fade and die. Micah's elegy on the fall of Samaria (chapter 1) has the same topographical note, "I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will uncover the foundations thereof" (1:6).

8. Fall of Samaria in 721:

Shalmaneser's reign was one of exactly five years, December, 727 to December, 722, and the city fell in the 1st month of his successor's reign. The history of its fall is summarized in Sargon's great Khorsabad inscription in these words, "Samaria I besieged, I captured. 27,290 of her inhabitants I carried away. 50 chariots I collected from their midst. The rest of their property I caused to be taken."

9. Hoshea's Character:

Hoshea's character is summed up in the qualified phrase, "He did evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not as the kings of Israel that were before him." The meaning may be that, while not a high-principled man or ofirreproachable life, he did not give to the idolatry of Bethel the official sanction and prominence which each of his 18 predecessors had done. According to Hos 10:6 the golden calf of Samaria was to be taken to Assyria, to the shame of its erstwhile worshippers.

W. Shaw Caldecott


JESHUA - jesh'-u-a, je-shu'-a (yeshua`): A place occupied by the children of Judah after their return from captivity (Neh 11:26), evidently, from the places named with it, in the extreme South of Judah. It may correspond with the Shema of Josh 15:26, and possibly to the Sheba of 19:2. The site may be Khirbet Sa`weh, a ruin upon a prominent hill, Tell es Sa`weh, 12 miles East-Northeast of Beersheba. The hill is surrounded by a wall of large blocks of stone. PEF, III, 409-10, Sh XXV.


JESHUA; JESHUAH - jesh'-u-a, je-shu'-a (yeshua`, "Yahweh is deliverance" or "opulence"; compare JOSHUA):

(1) the King James Version "Jeshuah," head of the 9th course of priests, and possibly of "the house of Jeshua" (1 Ch 24:11; Ezr 2:36; Neh 7:39).

(2) A Levite of Hezekiah's time (2 Ch 31:15).

(3) Son of Jozadak = Joshua the high priest (Ezr 2:2; 3:2,8; 4:3; 5:2; 10:18; Neh 7:7; 12:1,7,10,26); see JOSHUA (4) = "Jesus" (1 Esdras 5:48 and Sirach 49:12).

(4) A man of Pahath-moab, some of whose descendants returned from Babylon to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:6; Neh 7:11) = "Jesus" (1 Esdras 58).

(5) Head of a Levitical house which had oversight of the workmen in the temple (Ezr 2:40; 3:9; Neh 7:43). He is mentioned again in Neh 8:7 as taking part in explaining the Torah to the people, in Neh 9:4 f (compare 12:8) as leading in the worship, and in 10:9 (Hebrew 10) as sealing the covenant; this Jeshua is called son of Azaniah (Neh 10:9). To these references should be added probably Neh 12:24, where commentators read, "Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel" for "Jeshua the son of Kadmiel." Perhaps Jozabad (Ezr 8:33) is a "son" of this same Jeshua; compare Ezr 8:33 = 1 Esdras 8:63, where the King James Version is "Jesu," the Revised Version (British and American) "Jesus." He is the same as Jessue (the King James Version), Jesus (Revised Version) (1 Esdras 5:26).

(6) Father of Ezer, a repairer of the wall (Neh 3:19).

(7) JOSHUA, son of Nun (Neh 8:17) (which see).

David Francis Roberts


JESUS - je'-zus (Iesous, for yehoshua`):

(1) Joshua, son of Nun (the King James Version Acts 7:45; Heb 4:8; compare 1 Macc 2:55; 2 Esdras 7:37).

(2) (3) High priest and Levite.

See JESHUA, 2, 5.

(4) Son of Sirach.


(5) An ancestor of Jesus (Lk 3:29, the King James Version "Jose").

(6) (7) See the next three articles.


JOSHUA (1) - josh'-u-a ((a) yehoshua`, (b) yehoshua`, "Yahweh is deliverance" or "opulence"; compare JESHUA; Iesous):

(1) Joshua the son of Nun; the name has the Hebrew form (a) above in Dt 3:21; Jdg 2:7; elsewhere the form (b), except in Neh 8:17, where it is of the form yeshua` (See JESHUA); compare also Nu 13:8,16; Dt 32:44. See following article.

(2) In 1 Sam 6:14,18 (form (b)), the Bethshemite in whose field stood the kine that brought the ark from the Philistines.

(3) In 2 Ki 23:8 (form (b)), governor of Jerusalem in the time of Josiah.

(4) The high priest at Jerusalem after the return. See separate article.

S. F. Hunter




1. First Appearance

2. The Minister of Moses

3. One of the Spies

4. The Head of the People

(1) His First Act--Sending of the Spies

(2) Crossing of the Jordan

(3) Capture of Jericho

(4) Conquest of Ai and Bethel

(5) Reading of the Law on Mt. Ebal

(6) The Gibeonites

(7) Conquest of the South

(8) Northern Conquests

(9) Allotment of Territory

(10) Cities of Refuge

(11) Final Address and Death



I. Form and Significance of Name.

The name Joshua, a contracted form of Jehoshua (yehoshua`), which also appears in the form Jeshua (yeshua`, Neh 8:17), signifies "Yahweh is deliverance" or "salvation," and is formed on the analogy of many Israelite names, as Jehoiakim (yehoyaqim), "Yahweh exalteth," Jehohanan (yehochanan), "Yahweh is gracious," Elishua or Elisha ('elishua`, elisha`), "God is deliverance," Elizur ('elitsur), "God is a rock," etc. In the narrative of the mission of the spies in Nu 13, the name is given as Hoshea (hoshea`, 13:8,16; compare Dt 32:44), which is changed by Moses to Joshua (Nu 13:16). In the passage in Deuteronomy, however, the earlier form of the name is regarded by Dr. Driver (Commentary in the place cited.) as an erroneous reading.

The Greek form of the name is Jesus (Iesous, Acts 7:45; Heb 4:8, the Revised Version (British and American) "Joshua," but the King James Version "Jesus" in both passages), and this form appears even in the passages cited above from Nehemiah and Deuteronomy. In Nu 13:8,16, however, Septuagint has Hause. The name occurs in later Jewish history, e.g. as that of the owner of the field in which the ark rested after its return from the land of the Philistines (1 Sam 6:14,18), and appears to have become especially frequent after the exile (Ezr 2:40; Zec 3:1ab, etc.). It is also found (Jeshua) with a local signification as the name of one of the "villages" in Southern Judea, where the repatriated Jews dwelt after their return from Babylon (Neh 11:26).

II. History of the Life of Joshua.

The narrative of the life of Joshua, the son of Nun, is naturally divided into two parts, in which he held entirely different positions with regard to the people of Israel, and discharged different duties. In the earlier period he is the servant and minister of Moses, loyal to his leader, and one of his most trusted and valiant captains. After the death of Moses he himself succeeds to the leadership of the Israelite host, and conducts them to a settlement in the Promised Land. The service of the earlier years of his life is a preparation and equipment for the office and responsibility that devolved upon him in the later period.

1. First Appearance:

The first appearance of Joshua in the history is at Rephidim, on the way from the wilderness of Sin to Horeb. Neither the exact site of Rephidim nor the meaning of the name can be determined; the Israelites, however, apparently came to Rephidim before they approached the rich oasis of Feiran, for at the former place "there was no water for the people to drink" (Ex 17:1). The fact that the host encamped there seems to assume the existence of wells; either, therefore, these were found to be dry, or they failed before the wants of the great host were satisfied. The Amalekites, wandering desert tribes, claimed the ownership of the wells, and, resenting the Israelite intrusion, swooped down upon them to drive them away and to enrich themselves with the spoil of their possessions. Under the command of Joshua, the Israelites won a complete victory in a battle that seems to have been prolonged until sunset; the fortunes of the battle varying with the uplifting or falling of Moses' hands, which were accordingly supported by Aaron and Hur throughout the day (Ex 17:11 ff). A curse and sentence of extermination pronounced against Amalek were formally written down and communicated to Joshua, apparently that, as the future leader of Israel, he might have it in charge to provide for their fulfillment.

It is evident also that at this period Joshua was no young and untried warrior. Although no indication of his previous history is given, his name is introduced into the narrative as of a man well known, who is sufficiently in the confidence of Moses to be given the chief command in the first conflict in which the Israelites had been engaged since leaving Egypt. The result justified the choice. And if, during the march, he had held the position of military commander and organizer under Moses, as the narrative seems to imply, to him was due in the first instance the remarkable change, by which within the brief space of a month the undisciplined crowd of serfs who had fled from Egypt became a force sufficiently resolute and compact to repel the onset of the Amalekite hordes.

2. The Minister of Moses:

In all the arrangements for the erection and service of the tabernacle, Joshua the warrior naturally has no place. He is briefly named (Ex 24:13) as the minister of Moses, accompanying him apparently to the foot of the mount of God, but remaining behind with the elders and Aaron and Hur, when Moses commenced the ascent. A similar brief mention is in Ex 32:17, where he has rejoined Moses on the return of the latter from the mount with the two tables of the testimony, and is unaware of the outbreak of the people and their idolatrous worship of the molten calf in the camp; compare 33:11, where again he is found in the closest attendance upon his leader and chief. No further reference is made to Joshua during the stay of the Israelites at Sinai, or their subsequent journeyings, until they found themselves at Kadesh-barnea on the southern border of the Promised Land (Nu 13). His name is once mentioned, however, in an earlier chapter of the same book (Nu 11:28), when the tidings are brought to Moses that two men in the camp of Israel, Eldad and Medad, had been inspired to prophesy. There he is described in harmony with the previous statements of his position, as Moses' minister from his youth. Jealous of his leader's prerogative and honor, he would have the irregular prophesying stopped, but is himself checked by Moses, who rejoices that the, spirit of God should rest thus upon any of the Lord's people.

3. One of the Spies:

Of the 12 men, one from each tribe, sent forward by Moses from Kadesh to ascertain the character of the people and land before him, two only, Hoshea the Ephraimite, whose name is significantly changed to Joshua (Nu 13:8,16), and Caleb the Judahite, bring back a report encouraging the Israelites to proceed. The account of the mission of the spies is repeated substantially in Dt 1:22-46. There, however, the suggestion that spies should be commissioned to examine and report upon the land comes in the first instance from the people themselves. In the record of Numbers they are chosen and sent by Moses under Divine direction (13:1 f). The two representations are not incompatible, still less contradictory. The former describes in an altogether natural manner the human initiative, probable enough in the circumstances in which the Israelites found themselves; the latter is the Divine control and direction, behind and above the affairs of men. The instructions given to the spies (13:17 ff) evidently contemplated a hasty survey of the entire region of the Negeb or southern borderland of Palestine up to and including the hill country of Judea; the time allowed, 40 days (13:25), was too brief to accomplish more, hardly long enough for this purpose alone. They were, moreover, not only to ascertain the character of the towns and their inhabitants, the quality and products of the soil, but to bring back with them specimens of the fruits (13:20). An indication of the season of the year is given in the added clause that "the time was the time of first-ripe grapes." The usual months of the vintage are September and October (compare Lev 23:39); in the warm and sheltered valleys, however, in the neighborhood of Hebron, grapes may sometimes be gathered in August or even as early as July. The valley from which the fruits, grapes, figs and pomegranates were brought was known as the valley of Eshcol, or the "cluster" (Nu 13:23 f; 32:9; Dt 1:24).

No hesitating or doubtful account is given by all the spies of the fertility and attractiveness of the country; but in view of the strength of its cities and inhabitants only Joshua and Caleb are confident of the ability of the Israelites to take possession of it. Their reports and exhortations, however, are overborne by the timidity and dissuasion of the others, who so entirely alarm the people that they refuse to essay the conquest of the land, desiring to return into Egypt (Nu 14:3 f), and attempt to stone Joshua and Caleb (Nu 14:10). These two alone, therefore, were exempted from the sentence of exclusion from the Promised Land (Nu 14:24,30,38; 26:65; 32:12; Dt 1:25 ff). The remainder of the spies perished at once by a special visitation (Nu 14:36); and the people were condemned to a 40-year exile in the wilderness, a year for each day that the spies had been in Palestine, until all the men of that generation "from twenty years old and upward" were dead (Nu 14:29; 26:64 f; 32:11 ff). An abortive attempt was made to invade the land in defiance of the prohibition of Yahweh, and ended in failure and disastrous defeat (Nu 32:40 ff; Dt 1:41 ff; compare 21:1-3).

Upon the events of the next 38 or 40 years in the life of Israel an almost unbroken silence falls. The wanderers in the wilderness have no history. Some few events, however, that are recorded without note of time, the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and the breaking out of the plague because of the people's murmuring, and probably others (Nu 15:32-36; 16 f), appear to belong to this period. In none of them does Joshua take an active part, nor is his name mentioned in connection with the campaigns against Sihon and Og on the East of the Jordan. When the census of the people is taken in the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, Joshua and Caleb with Moses himself are found to be the only survivors of the host that 40 years previously came out of Egypt (Nu 26:63 ff). As the time of the death of the great leader and lawgiver drew near, he was commissioned formally to appoint Joshua as his successor and to hand over to him and to Eleazar the priest the duty of finally apportioning the conquered territory among the several tribes (Nu 27:18 ff; 32:28; 34:17; compare Dt 1:38; 3:28; 31:3,7,23; 34:9). Some of these passages anticipate the direct Divine commission and encouragement recorded in Josh (1:1,5 ff) and given to him after the death of Moses.

4. The Head of the People:

The history of Joshua in his new capacity as supreme head and leader of the people in several instances recapitulates as it were the history of his greater forerunner. It was not Head unnatural that it should be so; and the similarity of recorded events affords no real ground for doubt with regard to the reliability of the tradition concerned. The position in which Israel now found itself on the East of the Jordan was in some respects not unlike that which confronted Moses at Kadesh-barnea or before the crossing of the Red Sea. Joshua, however, was faced with a problem much less difficult, and in the war-tried and disciplined host at his command he possessed an instrument immensely more suitable and powerful for carrying out his purpose.

(1) His First Act--Sending of the Spies.

His first act was to send spies from Shittim to ascertain the character of the country immediately opposite on the West of the Jordan, and especially the position and strength of Jericho, the frontier and fortified city which first stands in the way of an invader from the East who proposes to cross the river by the fords near its mouth (Josh 2:2). In Jericho the spies owed their lives to the quick inventiveness of Rahab (compare Heb 11:31), who concealed them on the roof of her house from the emissaries of the king; and returning to Joshua, they reported the prospects of an easy victory and conquest (Josh 2:23 f).

There were doubtless special reasons which induced Joshua to essay the crossing of the Jordan at the lower fords opposite Jericho. Higher up the river a probably easier crossing-place led directly into Central Palestine, a district in which apparently his advance would not have been obstructed by fortified cities such as confronted him farther south; which therefore would seem to offer the advantages of an open and ready entrance into the heart of the country. His decision was probably influenced by a desire to possess himself of a fortified base at Jericho and in the neighboring cities. The favorable report of the spies also proved that there would be no great difficulty in carrying out this plan.

(2) Crossing of the Jordan.

The actual crossing of the river is narrated in Joshua 3; 4. The city of Jericho was built in a plain from 12 to 14 miles wide formed by the recession of the hills that border the valley of the Jordan from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, and stood at the mouth of the valley of Achor (7:24,26; 15:7). The modern village of Eriha is built at a short distance Southeast of the ancient site, and Gilgal lay half-way to the river. At the latter place the fixed camp was established after the taking of Jericho, and Gilgal formed for some considerable time the base of operations, where the women and children remained in safety while the men were absent on their warlike expeditions. There also the tabernacle was erected, as the symbol and center of national life, and there apparently it remained until the time came for the removal to Shiloh (18:1).

Within the plain the stream has excavated a tortuous bed to a depth of 200 ft. below the surface, varying from an eighth of a mile to a mile in breadth. In ordinary seasons the waters are confined to a small portion of the channel, which is then crossed opposite Jericho by two fords where the depth does not exceed 2 or 3 ft. When the river is low it may be crossed elsewhere. In times of flood, however, the water rises and fills the entire channel from bank to bank, so that the fords become impracticable. It is expressly stated that it was at such a time of flood that the Israelites approached the river, at the "time of harvest," or in the early spring (Josh 3:15). The priests were directed to carry the ark to the brink of the river, the waters of which, as soon as their feet touched them, would be cut off, and a dry passage afforded. The narrative therefore is not to be understood as though it indicated that a wall of water stood on the right and left of the people as they crossed; the entire breadth of the river bed was exposed by the failure of the waters from above.


An interesting parallel to the drying up of the Jordan before Joshua is recorded by an Arabic historian of the Middle Ages, who writes to explain a natural but extraordinary occurrence, without any thought of the miraculous or any apparent knowledge of the passage of the Israelites. During the years 1266-67 AD, a Mohammedan sultan named Beybars was engaged in building a bridge over the Jordan near Damieh, a place which some have identified with the city Adam (Josh 3:16); but the force of the waters repeatedly carried away and destroyed his work. On one night, however, in December of the latter year, the river ceased entirely to flow. The opportunity was seized, and an army of workmen so strengthened the bridge that it resisted the flood which came down upon it the next day, and stood firm. It was found that at some distance up the river, where the valley was narrow, the banks had been undermined by the running water and had fallen in, thus completely damming back the stream. It seems not improbable that it was by agency of this character that a passage was secured for the Israelites; even as 40 years earlier a "strong east wind" had been employed to drive back the waters of the Red Sea before Moses.

At the command of Joshua, under Divine direction, the safe crossing of the Jordan was commemorated by the erection at Gilgal of 12 stones (4:3-9,20 ff), one for each of the tribes of Israel, taken from the bed of the river. In Josh 4:9 it is stated that 12 stones were set up in the midst of the river. The statement is probably a misunderstanding, and a mere confusion of the tradition. It is not likely that there would be a double commemoration, or an erection of stones in a place where they would never be seen. At Gilgal also the supply of manna ceased, when the natural resources of the country became available (5:12). The date of the passage is given as the 10th day of the 1st month (4:19); and on the 14th day the Passover was kept at Gilgal in the plains of Jericho (5:10). For the 2nd time, also, at the crisis of the first entrance into the land, Joshua was encouraged for his work by a vision and Divine promise of assistance and direction (5:13-15).

(3) Capture of Jericho.

The narrative that follows, of the taking of Jericho, illustrates, as would naturally be expected in the case of a city so situated the effeminate and unwarlike character of its inhabitants. There was apparently little or no fighting, while for a whole week Joshua with priests and people paraded before the walls. A brief reference (6:1) seems to indicate that the citizens were quickly driven to take refuge behind their fortifications. Twice seven times the city was compassed, with the ark of the covenant borne in solemn procession, and at the 7th circuit on the 7th day, while the people shouted, the wall of the city fell "in its place" (6:20 margin), and Jericho was taken by assault. Only Rahab and her household were spared. All the treasure was devoted to the service of the Lord, but the city itself was burnt, and a solemn curse pronounced upon the site and upon the man who should venture to rebuild its walls (6:26). The curse was braved, whether deliberately or not, by a citizen of Bethel in the time of King Ahab; and the disasters foretold fell upon him in the loss of his children (1 Ki 16:34). Thenceforward Jericho appears to have been continuously inhabited. There was a settlement of the sons of the prophets there in Elisha's day (2 Ki 2:5,15). The natural fertility of the site won for it the name of the city of palm trees (Dt 34:3; Jdg 1:16; 3:13).

From the plains of Jericho two valleys lead up into the central hill country in directions Northwest and Southwest respectively. These form the two entrances or passes, by which the higher land is approached from the East. Along these lines, therefore, the invasion of the land was planned and carried out. The main advance under Joshua himself took place by the northernmost of the valleys, while the immediate southern invasion was entrusted to Caleb and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the supreme control remaining always in the hands of Joshua (compare Josh 14; 15; Jdg 1). This seems on the whole to be the better way of explaining the narratives in general, which in detail present many difficulties.

(4) Conquest of Ai and Bethel.

At the head of the northern pass stood the city of Luz or Bethel (Gen 28:19; Josh 18:13; Jdg 1:23). Ai lay close at hand, and was encountered by the invaders before reaching Bethel; its exact site, however, is undetermined. The two towns were in close alliance (compare Josh 8:17), and the defeat and destruction of the one was quickly followed by the similar fate that overtook the other. Before Ai, the advance guard of the Israelites, a small party detached on the advice of the spies sent forward by Joshua from Jericho, suffered defeat and were driven back in confusion (7:2 ff). The disaster was due to the failure to obey the command to "devote" the whole spoil of Jericho, and to theft by one of the people of treasure which belonged rightfully to Yahweh (7:11). When the culprit Achan had been discovered and punished, a renewed attempt upon Ai, made with larger forces and more skillful dispositions, was crowned with success. The city was taken by a stratagem and destroyed by fire, its king being hanged outside the city gate (8:28 f). Unlike Jericho, it seems never to have been restored. Bethel also was captured, through the treachery apparently of one of its own citizens, and its inhabitants were put to the sword (Jdg 1:24 f).

(5) Reading of the Law on Mt. Ebal.

Of further campaigns undertaken by Joshua for the subjugation of Central Palestine no account has been preserved. It is possible, therefore, that the conquest of this part of the country was accomplished without further fighting (see JOSHUA, BOOK OF). In the list of the cities (Josh 12:7-24) whose kings were vanquished by Joshua, there are no names of towns that can be certainly identified as situated here; the greater part evidently belong to the north or south. The only record remaining is that of the formal erection of an altar on Mt. Ebal in the presence of all the people and the solemn reading of the law in their hearing (8:30-35). It is expressly noted that all this was done in accordance with the directions of Moses (compare Dt 11:29; 27:2-8,11 ff). It would further appear probable that this ceremony really took place at the close of the conquest, when all the land was subdued, and is narrated here by anticipation.

(6) The Gibeonites.

The immediate effect of the Israelite victories under Joshua was very great. Especially were the Hivite inhabitants of Gibeon struck with fear (9:3 ff) lest the same fate should overtake them that had come upon the peoples of Jericho and Ai. With Gibeon, 3 other cities were confederate, namely, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim, or the "city of groves" (9:17). Gibeon, however, was the chief, and acted in the name of the others. It is usually identified with the modern village or township of el-Jib, 7 or 8 miles North by West of Jerusalem; and all four lay clustered around the head of the pass or valley of Aijalon, which led down from the plateau westward to the foothills of the Shephelah, toward the plain and the sea. Gibeon held therefore a position of natural strength and importance, the key to one of the few practicable routes from the west into the highlands of Judea, equally essential to be occupied as a defensive position against the incursions of the dwellers in the plains, and as affording to an army from the east a safe and protected road down from the mountains.

By a stratagem which threw Joshua and the leaders of Israel off their guard, representing themselves as jaded and wayworn travelers from a distance, the Gibeonites succeeded in making a compact with Israel, which assured their own lives and safety. They affirmed that they had heard of the Israelite victories beyond Jordan, and also of the gift to them by Yahweh of the whole land (Josh 9:9 f,24). Joshua and the princes were deceived and entered too readily into covenant with them, a covenant and promise that was scrupulously observed when on the 3rd day of traveling the Israelites reached their cities and found them to be close at hand (9:16 ff). While, however, their lives were preserved, the men of Gibeon were reduced to the position of menial servants, "hewers of wood and drawers of water"; and the writer adds, it is thus "unto this day" (9:21,27).


The treaty of peace with the Gibeonites and the indignation thereby aroused among the neighboring kings, who naturally regarded the independent action of the men of Gibeon as treachery toward themselves, gave rise to one of the most formidable coalitions and one of the most dramatic incidents of the whole war. The king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek ("the Lord of righteousness" or "the Lord is righteousness," Josh 10:1; compare Melchizedek, "the king of righteousness," Gen 14:18; in Jdg 1:5 ff the name appears as Adoni-bezek, and so Septuagint reads here), with the 4 kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon (Josh 10:3), formed a plan to destroy Gibeon in revenge, and the Gibeonites sent hastily for assistance to Joshua, who had returned with his army to Gilgal. The Israelites made a forced march from Gilgal, came upon the allied kings near Gibeon, and attacked and defeated them with great slaughter. The routed army fled westward "by the way of the ascent to Beth-horon" (Josh 10:10), and in the pass was overtaken by a violent hailstorm, by which more perished than had fallen beneath the swords of the Israelites (Josh 10:11). The 5 kings were shut up in a cave at Makkedah, in which they had taken refuge, whence they were subsequently brought forth and put to death. The actual pursuit, however, was not stayed until the remnant had found temporary security behind the walls of their fortified cities (Josh 10:16 ff). The victory of Israel was commemorated by Joshua in a song of which some words are preserved (Josh 10:12 f).


(7) Conquest of the South.

With almost severe simplicity it is further recorded how the confederate cities in turn were captured by Joshua and utterly destroyed (10:28-39). And the account is closed by a summary statement of the conquest of the entire country from Kadesh-barnea in the extreme south as far as Gibeon, after which the people returned to their camp at Gilgal (10:40-43).

(8) Northern Conquests.

A hostile coalition of northern rulers had finally to be met and defeated before the occupation and pacification of the land could be said to be complete. Jabin, king of Hazor, the "fort," was at the head of an alliance of northern kings who gathered together to oppose Israel in the neighborhood of the waters of Merom (Josh 11:1 ff). Hazor has been doubtfully identified with the modern Jebel Hadireh, some 5 miles West of the lake. No details of the fighting that ensued are given. The victory, however, of the Israelites was decisive, although chariots and horses were employed against them apparently for the first time on Canaanite soil. The pursuit was maintained as far as Sidon, and Misrephoth-maim, perhaps the "boilings" or "tumults of the waters," the later Zarephath on the coast South of the former city (Josh 11:8; compare 13:6); and the valley of Mizpeh must have been one of the many wadies leading down to the Phoenician coast land. The cities were taken, and their inhabitants put to the sword; but Hazor alone appears to have been burnt to the ground (Josh 11:11 ff). That the royal city recovered itself later is clear from the fact that a king of Hazor was among the oppressors of Israel in the days of the Judges (Jdg 4). For the time being, however, the fruit of these victories was a widespread and much-needed peace. "The land had rest from war" (Josh 11:23).

(9) Allotment of Territory.

Thus the work of conquest, as far as it was effected under Joshua's command, was now ended; but much yet remained to be done that was left over for future generations. The ideal limits of Israel's possession, as set forth by Yahweh in promise to Moses, from the Shihor or Brook of Egypt (compare 1 Ch 13:5) to Lebanon and the entering in of Hamath (Nu 34), had not been and indeed never were reached. In view, however, of Joshua's age (Josh 13:1), it was necessary that an allotment of their inheritance West of the Jordan should at once be made to the remaining tribes. Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh had been already provided for by Moses in Eastern Palestine (Josh 13:15-32). Joshua 14 through 21 accordingly contain a detailed account of the arrangements made by the Israelite leader for the settlement of the land and trace the boundaries of the several tribal possessions. The actual division appears to have been made on two separate occasions, and possibly from two distinct centers. Provision was first made for Judah and the children of Joseph; and between the northern border of the former tribe, recorded in detail in 15:5-11, and the inheritance of the sons of Joseph, a tract of land for the present left unassigned was later given to the tribes of Benjamin and Dan. An extra portion also was promised by Joshua to the descendants of Joseph on the ground of their numbers and strength (17:14 ff).

For the 7 tribes that were yet without defined inheritance a rough survey of the land appears to have been made, and the unallotted districts were divided into 7 portions, for which lots were then cast at Shiloh in the presence of the assembled tribes (Joshua 18; 19). The express mention of Shiloh here (Josh 18:1,10) suggests that the previous division was carried out at some other place, and if so, probably at Gilgal, the earlier resting-place of the ark and the tabernacle. No definite statement, however, to that effect is made. Benjamin's portion was assigned between the territories of Judah and the children of Joseph (Josh 18:11). Simeon received his inheritance out of the land given to Judah, a part on the south being taken away on the ground that the whole was too great for a single tribe (Josh 19:1-9). Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali were established in the north (Josh 19:10-39). And Dan was settled on the seacoast by Joppa, with additional territory in the extreme north, of which they apparently took independent and forcible possession, beyond the inheritance of the other tribes (Josh 19:40-48; compare Jdg 18:27-29).

(10) Cities of Refuge.

Finally the 6 cities of refuge were appointed, 3 on each side of the Jordan, and the 48 cities of the Levites taken out of the territories of the several tribes (Joshua 20; 21; compare Nu 35; Dt 4:41-43). The two and a half tribes whose inheritance lay in Eastern Palestine were then dismissed, their promise of assistance to their brethren having been fulfilled (Joshua 22); and an altar was erected by them on the right bank of the Jordan whose purpose is explained to be to serve as a standing witness to the common origin of all the tribes, and to frustrate any future attempt to cut off those on the East from the brotherhood of Israel.

(11) Final Address and Death.

In a closing assembly of the Israelites at Shechem, Joshua delivered to the people his final charge, as Moses had done before his death, reminding them of their own wonderful history, and of the promises and claims of God, and exhorting them to faithful and loyal obedience in His service (23; 24). A stone also was set up under the oak in the sacred precinct of Yahweh, to be a memorial of the renewed covenant between God and His people (24:26 f). Then at the age of 110 the second great leader of Israel died, and was laid to his rest within his own inheritance in Timnath-serah (24:29,30; in Jdg 2:9, Timnath-heres), in the hill country of Ephraim. The site of his grave is unknown. Tradition has placed it at Kefr Haris, 9 miles South of Nablus or Shechem. But the localizing by tradition of the burying-place of hero or saint is often little more than accidental, nor can any reliance be placed upon it in this instance.

III. Sources of History.

That the narratives concerning the life and work of Joshua rest in the main upon basis of tradition can hardly be doubted. How far the details have been modified, or a different coloring imparted in the course of a long transmission, it is impossible to determine. There is a remarkable similarity or parallelism between many of the leading events of Joshua's life as ruler and captain of Israel and the experiences of his predecessor Moses, which, apart from any literary criticism, suggests that the narratives have been drawn from the same general source, and subjected to the same conditions of environment and transmission. Thus both are called to and strengthened for their work by a special Divine revelation, Moses at Horeb in the burning bush, Joshua at Jericho. Both lead the people across the bed of waters miraculously driven back to afford them passage. And both at no long interval after the passage win a notable victory over their adversaries--a victory ascribed in each case to direct Divine intervention on their behalf, although in different ways. At the close of their life-work, moreover, both Moses and Joshua deliver stirring addresses of appeal and warning to the assembled Israelites; and both are laid in nameless graves. These all, however, are occurrences perfectly natural and indeed inevitable in the position in which each found himself. Nor do they afford adequate ground for the supposition that the achievements of the greater leader have been duplicated, or by mistake attributed to the less. To cross the Jordan and to defeat the Canaanite confederacy were as essential to the progress of Israel as the passage of the Red Sea and the breaking up of the gathering of Amalekite clans; and no true or sufficient history could have evaded the narration of these events. The position of Israel also on the East of the Jordan about to undertake the invasion and conquest of the Promised Land as imperatively demanded a specially qualified captain and guide, a mastermind to control the work, as did the oppressed people in Egypt or the wanderers in the desert. That Joshua was not so great a man as his predecessor the entire narrative testifies. Moses, however, must of necessity have had a successor to take up his unfinished work and to carry it to completion.

IV. Character and Work of Joshua.

As to the personal character of Joshua, there is little to be inferred from the narrative of his campaigns. In this respect indeed they are singularly colorless. In early life his loyalty to Moses was conspicuous and unswerving. As his successor, he seems to have faithfully acted upon his principles, and in the direction of the Israelite campaigns to have proved himself a brave and competent general, as wise in counsel as he was strong in fight. The putting to death of captives and the handing over to the sword of the inhabitants of hostile cities, which the historian so often records as the consequence of his victories, must evidently be judged by the customs of the times, and have perhaps lost nothing in the narration. They do not in any case justify the attribution to Joshua of an especially inhumane disposition, or a delight in slaughter for its own sake. After the death of Moses he would appear to have been reluctant to undertake the onerous position and duty assigned to him through mistrust of his own ability and lack of self-confidence, and needed more than once to be encouraged in his work and assured of Divine support. In the language of his closing discourse there is apparent a foresight and appreciation of the character and tendencies of the people who had followed him, which is hardly inferior to that of Moses himself.

In a real sense also his work was left unfinished at his death. The settlement of Canaan by the tribes of Israel within the appointed and promised limits was never more than partial. The new colonists failed to enjoy that absolute and undisturbed possession of the land to which they had looked forward; witness the unrest of the period of the Judges, prolonged and perpetuated through monarchical times. For all this, however, the blame cannot justly be laid to the account of Joshua. Many causes undoubtedly concurred to an issue which was fatal to the future unity and happiness and prosperity of Israel. The chief cause, as Joshua warned them would be the case, was the persistent idolatry of the people themselves, their neglect of duty, and disregard of the commands and claims of their God.

A. S. Geden


JOSHUA (3) - Son of Jehozadak (Hag 1:1,12,14; 2:2,4; Zec 3:1,3,6,8,9; 6:11 form (b)) and high priest in Jerusalem, called "Jeshua" in Ezra-Nehemiah. His father was among the captives at the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and also his grandfather Seraiah, who was put to death at Riblah (2 Ki 25:18 ff; 1 Ch 6:15).

Joshua appears in Ezr 3:2 with Zerubbabel at the head of the returned exiles and as leader in the work of building an altar and reestablishing sacrificial worship (538 or 537 BC). Ezr 3:8 tells of their laying the foundation of the temple, and in 4:1 ff the two heads of the community refuse to allow the Samaritans to cooperate in the building operations, with the result that the would-be helpers became active opponents of the work. Building then ceased until Haggai and Zechariah in 520 (Ezr 5; Hag 1:1-11) exhort the community to restart work, and the two leaders take the lead (Hag 1:12-15). The following are, in chronological order, the prophetic utterances in which Joshua is spoken of: (1) Hag 1:1-11; (2) Hag 2:1-9; (3) Zec 1:1-6; (4) Hag 2:10-19; (5) Hag 2:20-23; (6) the visions of Zec 1:7-6:8 together with (7) the undated utterance of Zec 6:9-15.

1. The Vision of Zechariah 3:1-10:

Two of these call for special attention. First, the vision of a trial in which Joshua is prosecuted before the angel of Yahweh by Satan (ha-saTan, "the adversary"), who is, according to one view, "not the spirit of evil who appears in later Jewish writings; he is only the officer of justice whose business is to see that the case against criminals is properly presented" in the heavenly court of justice (H.P. Smith, Old Testament History, 356); while others regard him as the enemy of God's people (compare Orelli, Minor Prophets, English translation, 327). We are not told what the charge against Joshua is: some hold him to be tried as in some way a representative of the people or the priesthood, and his filthy garments as symbolical of sin; while others explain the garments as put on to excite the court's pity. The adversary is rebuked by "the angel of Yahweh" (read at beginning of Zec 3:2, "and the angel of Yahweh said," etc.), and Joshua is acquitted. He is then ordered to be stripped of his old clothes and to be arrayed in "rich apparel" (Zec 3:4), while a "clean turban" (American Standard Revised Version margin) is to be put on his head. Conditional upon his walking in God's ways, he is promised the government of the temple and "free access" to God, being placed among the servants of the "angel of Yahweh." Joshua and his companions "are men that are a sign" (Zec 3:8), i.e. a guaranty of the coming of the Messiah; there is set before Joshua a stone which is to be inscribed upon, and the iniquity of the land will be removed, an event to be followed by peace and plenty (Zec 3:9 f).

In Zec 3:4 ff Nowack and Wellhausen (with the Septuagint mostly) read, "And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him (i.e. his servants) thus: Take the filthy garments from off him, and clothe him with rich apparel, (5) and set a clean turban upon his head. So they set a clean turban upon his head and clothed him with clean garments. And the angel of Yahweh stood up, (6) and solemnly exhorted Joshua," etc. They also omit the first "for" in Zec 3:8 as a dittography.

Different interpretations are given of the vision: (1) Some claim to see here a contest between the civil and religious powers as represented by Zerubbabel and Joshua respectively (Zec 6:13), and that Zechariah decides for the supremacy of the latter. The Messiah-King is indeed in Jerusalem in the person of Zerubbabel, though as yet uncrowned; but Joshua is to be supreme (see G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 303; H.P. Smith, Old Testament History, 356 f). This explanation is dependent to a large extent upon Zec 6:9-15, and is not supported by 3:8. It is difficult to explain 3:2 on this view, for Zerubbabel could also be described as a "brand plucked out of the fire." What the vision says is that the vindication of Joshua is a sign for the coming of Yahweh's "servant, the Branch," a title that is not given to Joshua (compare Zec 3:7).

(2) Others maintain that the garments are symbolical of the sins of the predecessors of Joshua, who is tried for their offenses and himself regarded as being unworthy of the office because he had been brought up in a foreign and heathen land (so Keil, Orelli).

(3) Hitzig, followed by Nowack (Kleine Propheten, 325), holds that the idea which lies at the basis of the vision is that Satan is responsible for the ills which the community had suffered (compare Job 1; 2). The people had begun to think that their offerings were not acceptable to God and that He would not have pity upon them. There was a feeling among the most pious ones that God's righteousness would not allow of their restoration to their former glory. This conflict between righteousness and mercy is decided by silencing the accuser and vindicating Joshua.

It is difficult to decide which view, if any, is correct. "The brand plucked out of the fire" seems to point to God's recognizing that the community, or perhaps the priestly succession, had almost been exterminated by the exile. It reminds us of the oak of which, after its felling, the stump remaineth (Isa 6:13), and may perhaps point to God's pity being excited for the community. The people, attacked by their enemies and represented by. Joshua, are to be restored to their old glory: that act being symbolized by the clothing of Joshua in clean raiment; and that symbolical act (compare Isa 8:18) is a sign, a guaranty, of the coming of the Messiah-King. The ritualistic tone of Malachi will then follow naturally after the high place given here to the high priest. It is noteworthy that the promise of Zec 3:7 is conditional.

One more point remains, namely, the meaning of the stone in Zec 3:9. It has been differently explained as a jewel in the new king's crown (Nowack); a foundation stone of the temple, which, however, was already laid (Hitzig); the chief stone of 4:7 (Ewald, Steiner); the Messiah Himself (Keil); the stone in the high priest's breastplate (Bredenkamp), and the stone which served as an altar (Orelli). Commentators tend to regard the words "upon one stone are seven eyes" as a parenthetical addition characteristic of the author of Zec 9 ff.

2. Joshua's Crown, Zechariah 6:9-15:

The utterance of Zec 6:9-15 presents to us some more exiles coming from Babylon with silver and gold apparently for the temple. According to the present text, Zechariah is commanded to see that this is used to make a crown for Joshua who is to be a priest-king. This is taken to mean that he is to be given the crown that had been meant for Zerubbabel. But commentators hold that the text has been altered: that the context demands the crowning of Zerubbabel--the Branch of Davidic descent. This view is supported by Zec 6:13, "And the counsel of peace shall be between them both"; and therefore the last clause of 6:11 is omitted. Wellhausen keeps 6:9 and 10, and then reads: "(11) Yea, take of them silver and gold and make a crown, (12) and say to them: Thus saith Yahweh of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch, from whose root there will be a sprout, (13) and he will build the Temple of Yahweh, and he will obtain glory and sit and rule upon his throne. And Joshua will be a priest on his right hand, and there will be friendly peace between them both. (14) The crown shall be," etc.; Zec 6:15 is incomplete.

It will be objected that this does away with the idea of a priest-king, an idea found also in Ps 110. But it seems fairly certain that Ps 110 (see Kirkpatrick, The Book of Psalms) does not refer to Joshua, the point there being that the king referred to was a priest, although not descended from Aaron, being a priest after the order of Melchizedek, while here the point is, if the present text be correct, that a priest is crowned king. What became of Zerubbabel after this is not known. See Ed. Meyer, Der Papyrusfund

von Elephantine2, 70 ff, 86 ff. Joshua is called Jesus in Sirach 49:12.


David Francis Roberts

Also see definition of "Hosea" in Word Study

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