Meredith G. Kline and the Not-Marriage of Hosea 3:1-5

Peter Y. Lee
Professor of Old Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington D.C.

Dr. Meredith G. Kline (1922-2007) was a gifted biblical scholar in numerous areas. Two in particular were outstanding. First, he was a master exegete of the Holy Scriptures in both the Greek of the New Testament and the Hebrew of the Old. In addition to his exegetical abilities, second, he also was able to envision the grand drama of Scripture and the contribution each text makes to that redemptive panorama. His insights into Hosea 3:1–5 is a demonstration of both these skills. Sadly, his thoughts on this passage were only passed on to his students in his course lectures,[1] meaning his comments were never made available in any written or published work. The purpose of this article is to present the exegetical, biblical, and systematic theological thoughts of Dr. Kline on Hosea 3:1–5 to honor his centennial birthday[2] and to make readily available to the academic and ecclesiastical communities his thoughts on this passage of Scripture. We will begin by examining the fundamental task of the prophets, specifically their function as divinely appointed emissaries of the Lord. Second, we will present the literary structure of Hosea 1—3 so that we can observe the literary context of the third chapter. Finally, we will summarize Dr. Kline’s comments on Hosea 3:1–5, which will demonstrate that the remarriage motif found within it does not actually represent what it may initially appear to represent.

The Prophet as Divine-Royal Emissary

Simply stated, the prophets were divinely appointed covenantal representatives who spoke on behalf of the Lord as the great Suzerain to the vassal people of Israel. Dr. Kline called them “plentipotentiary emissaries for the Lord of Hosts” (2 Chr 36:15–16; Deut 18:18–19).[3] As these divinely appointed spokesmen, the prophets had a two-fold mission to Israel: first, they were prosecuting attorneys who brought a lawsuit against Israel for violating the Mosaic Covenant, specifically Deuteronomy; second, they were heralds who proclaimed the kingdom blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Prophetic Lawsuit

Regarding their lawsuit ministry, this was not an uncommon phenomenon in the ancient world outside of Israel. Regularly, a great king (suzerain) enforces a loyal oath (i.e. covenant) upon a conquered vassal king, where the vassal is required to swear his allegiance to the great suzerain. Dr. Kline is well known for his recognition that specific biblical texts conform to this literary genre (e.g. Ex 20,[4] the entire book of Deuteronomy,[5] even the canon of the Old Testament[6]). Within this contractual agreement, communication between the two covenanted parties were frequently needed—often due to the fact that the vassal was discovered violating the agreed upon stipulations. To represent the great suzerain to his vassal, a royal messenger would be sent with the authority to speak on his behalf. Their task was to give correctives to the vassal for covenantal waywardness. This lawsuit did not enforce the curse sanctions of the loyal oath immediately. Rather, the vassal was given a warning and, thus, an opportunity to change their rebellious ways and conform to the stipulations they agreed to follow. If, however, they continued to violate the terms of the loyal oath, the great suzerain would have no other option but to role in his army and decimate the vassal and his city.

This was similar to the unhappy task of the Old Testament prophets. Just as royal messengers of secular kings were sent with delegated authority to speak on behalf of their monarchical overlord, so the Old Testament prophets did the same for the Lord of Israel. This is, in part, one reason why the formation of the prophet required that they receive a divine call, an admission and session in the angelic council, and a Holy Spirit empowerment—so that they can speak the very words of the Lord to His vassal people (Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9).[7]

Just as the secular messengers of the ancient world prosecuted this lawsuit in two stages, so the prophets did the same against both the Northern and Southern kingdoms.[8] Israel and Judah, unfortunately, did not heed the warning, but rather persecuted these prophetic messengers, often to the point of death. Yet, the Lord persisted to send one prophet after another, all of whom were given the same mission—call Israel to repentance for violating the law-code of Deuteronomy. As persistent as the Lord sent such prophetic messengers, so Israel with the same persistence rejected this message and continued to despise this warning and mocked the prophets. This continued “until there was no remedy” (2 Chr 36:15–16). Every covenantal mechanism was utilized and exhausted: the Lord gave them a sacrificial system to atone for their sins, He established a priesthood to administrate ritual practices to show them their need for the grace of God, He provided kings to remind them of their covenantal oath to the Lord, and He sent his prophets as His divinely commissioned emissaries. Despite all this, they persisted in sin. There was nothing left for the Lord but to exercise the curse sanction of the covenant—exile (Lev 26:16–46; Deut 28:15–68; 2 Chr 36:17–21).

All the prophets administered this lawsuit in one of these two stages. This can be mapped out accordingly:[9]

Historical Period Northern Kingdom of Israel Southern Kingdom of Judah
9th c. BC Stage 1 Warning of Exile

Elijah and Elisha

No lawsuit
8th c. BC Stage 2 Judgment of Exile

Hosea, Amos

Stage 1 Warning of Exile

Isaiah, Micah

7th c. BC Exile Stage 2 Judgment of Exile

Jeremiah, Joel, Habakkuk, Zephaniah

6th c. BC Exile

Ezekiel (Daniel)

5th c. BC Post-exile

Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi

New Testament Jesus

John the Baptist

Proclaimers of the Abrahamic Covenant

As they served their role as prosecutors of the Mosaic Covenant, the Old Testament prophets were coterminously fulfilling their second and more pleasant mission as heralds, proclaiming the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, which is a continuation of the covenant of grace. This line of grace progresses throughout the history of redemption from the fall, and it is given a distinctively final realization in the New Covenant in Christ. These Abrahamic promises hold the key to the entirety of the history of salvation. Regarding the Abrahamic/New Covenant, Dr. Kline says:

“Resumed from Genesis 3:15 and 9:25-27 were the essential promise of restoration of covenant with the Lord for a people identified with his name (cf. the seed of the woman corporately and the line of Shem); their warfare against Satan and an accursed people (cf. the seed of the serpent and Canaan); the climactic triumph of the messianic champion (cf. the seed of the woman as individual); and the universal extension of the covenant blessings (cf. the line of Japheth). All these features, it will be found, have their clear continuing counterparts in the promissory blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.”[10]

For Dr. Kline, this covenant differed from the Mosaic Covenant that comes four hundred years afterwards (Gal 3:15). He says the reception of the Mosaic Covenant was a gracious gift from the Lord. Once it was inaugurated and ratified, however, it instituted a principle of works that was in contrast to the principle of grace in the Abrahamic Covenant. During the period of the Israelite theocracy (i.e. from the time of the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai until the coming of Christ), Dr. Kline suggested the Lord administered those two covenants simultaneously (Gal 3:15–18). The law of the Mosaic Covenant was not intended to offer a means of salvation, but to force Israel to look to the grace of the Abrahamic Covenant. For Dr. Kline, therefore, there is a covenantal discontinuity between the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant during the history of Israel (Rom 10:3–7; 2 Cor 3:7–11; Gal 3:15–18; 4:4–7). He coordinated the works-principle of the Mosaic Covenant with national Israel as determining their position in the typological kingdom (i.e. the land of Canaan). This differs, according to Dr. Kline, with the Abrahamic Covenant that offers the promise of the true, consummated Eternal Kingdom to the individual elect by sovereign grace. Therefore, he packaged certain covenantal themes together: regarding the Old Covenant, it is 1) the works-principle with 2) national Israel in relation to 3) the typological kingdom. Regarding the Abrahamic Covenant, it is 1) the grace-principle with 2) individual elect in relation to 3) the consummated Eternal Kingdom.[11]

This distinction between the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenant was the covenantal foundation for the two-fold mission of the prophets (see the chart below).

Three-fold Literary Organization of Hosea 1—3

The description of the mission of the prophets above applies to the prophet Hosea. A summary of his message can be seen in the first three chapters (Hos 1—3), where he conducts the legal lawsuit against the Northern Kingdom of Israel in its final stage of judgment while also proclaiming the fullness of the New Covenant promises in Christ.[12] Although relatively brief, this portion of the prophetical text has drawn much more interest and attention than any other section of the book. Without a doubt, this is due to the description of the tragic familial relations of the prophet, which metaphorically represents Yahweh’s relationship with Israel. In particular, it was Hosea’s marriage that became a living declaration of the prophetic “lawsuit” (Hebrew רִיב b; cf. Hosea 2:2 [MT 4][13]; 4:1) that the prophet was called to prosecute against his fellow Israelites.

Dr. Kline often had the extraordinary ability to observe the literary organization of specific sections of Scripture and how it aids exegetical matters.[14] His analysis on Hosea 1—3 is a prime illustration of this. He observes that each of the first three chapters can be subdivided into three sections which rotates through three themes (see diagram below).[15]

Diagram of the Thematic Rotation in Hosea 1—3

Cycle 1

Hos. 1:2–2:1

[MT 2:3][16]

Cycle 2

Hos. 2:2–23

[MT 2:4–25]

Cycle 4

Hos. 3:1–5


Old Covenant


1:2–3 2:2–5 [MT 4–7] 3:1

Old Covenant

Judgment (Exile)

1:4–6, 8–9 2:6–13 [MT 8–15] 3:2–4

New Covenant Proclamation

1:7, 1:10–2:1

[MT 2:1–3]

2:14–34 [MT 16–25] 3:5

A-Section (Indictment)

The first section (A-section) records the indictment against Israel for covenantal violation, specifically their idolatry and rejection of Yahweh as their true God. In all three chapters, this indictment is expressed figuratively in the historical marriage of Hosea to an adulteress woman (1:2–3; 2:2–5 [MT 4–7]; 3:1–2; see 1:2 where the theological reality of the marital metaphor is explicitly stated as Hosea was told to marry a “wife of whoredom” because Israel “commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD”). Both chapters one and two include the “children of whoredom,” a term that infers some of them were the tragic byproduct of the infidelity of Hosea’ wife. Chapter two is compelling in that Hosea instructs these children to bring a “lawsuit” against their own mother (רִיבוּ in 2:2 [MT 4]). The indictment in chapter two also has a strong warning to Israel to “put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst” (2:2–5 [MT 4–7]). This warning, however, seems more of a formal act since the judgment of exile is inevitable.

B-section (Declaration of Judgment)

The second section in each chapter (B-section) describes the divine judgment of exile that will fall upon Israel—this is the final stage of the covenant lawsuit. The warning was given by previous prophets from a former generation, but the people did not heed it and repent of their iniquities (cf. 2 Chr 36:15–16; Matt 21:33–36). A declaration of coming judgment, therefore, is the only remaining step in the lawsuit. In chapter one, this judgment is seen in the unconventional names of the three children. The first son, Jezreel, is named after the valley in which King Jehu committed mass murder of the household of Ahab, thus ending the wicked line of Omri (2 Kgs 10:11). Because of this, the house of Jehu will be brought to an end. Jeroboam II, who is the only northern Israelite king mentioned in the historical superscript to the book (1:1), was the last king in the line of Jehu and his reign ended during the ministry of Hosea.

The names of the second and third children (Lo-ruhammah “No mercy” and Lo-ammi “Not my people”) begin to reveal the heart of the Lord towards His adulteress bride.[17] The name of the second child shows that God will have “no mercy” upon the people of Israel. The name of the third child in verse 9 is truly striking. He was to be named “Lo-ammi” (“Not my people”) because “you are not my people, and I am not your God.” This is the most common translation found in English Bibles, but it is based on an emendation of the Hebrew text, which actually says “you are not my people and I am not for you.” The proposed emendation is plausible, but it undercuts a devastating reality. The first half of verse 9 lacks a finite verb and the verb “are” is implied in the syntax, “you (are) not my people.”[18] The second half does have what appears to be a finite verb, the first person form of the verb “to be” אֶהְיֶה ʾehyeh, meaning “I am.” This verb, “I am,” is identical to the name of the Lord given to Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 3:14. According to Exodus 6:3, the forefathers of the Exodus generation (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) called God by the title, “El-Shaddai,” but Israel can now call Him by His name, “I Am.” Given that the name “Lo-ammi” occurs in the context of the giving of names, it seems that what the Lord is doing is taking away from His bride the privilege to call Him by His personal and covenanted name. The effect of this exegetical analysis leads to the conclusion that the two clauses in verse 9 be understood as verbless, “you (are) not my people” and “I (am) not ‘I Am’ to you.’” Thus, in summary, the Lord is saying, “Hosea, your son’s name will be ‘Lo-ammi [Not my people]’ because you [O Israel] are [named] ‘Lo-ammi’ [due to your idolatry] and thus I (am) no longer ‘I Am’ to you.”[19] This is a tragic reversal of the well known covenantal axiom, “You will be my people and I will be your God” (Ex 6:6–7).[20]

According to Dr. Kline, the judgment section (B-section) in chapter two covers verses 6–13 [MT 8–15], which is further subdivided into two parts, verses 6–8 [MT 8–10] and verses 9–13 [MT 11–15] respectively. Verses 6–8 [MT 8–10] depicts the ways in which the adulteress wife (Israel/Gomer) will attempt to seek out her illicit lovers but will be unable to find them. She will grow increasingly frustrated since the Lord is constantly preventing her from reaching those who had given her hedonistic pleasures. Where verses 6–8 [MT 8–10] describes the removal of her lovers, so verses 9–13 [MT 11–15] describes the removal of her prosperity. The Lord/Hosea faithfully provided provisions for her (grain, wine, oil in verse 8 [MT 10]). Instead of acknowledging her husband as the provider of her material goods, she crudely credits this to her lovers (Baal?). Therefore, the Lord will remove these provisions and leave her naked and ashamed.

Given this literary cycle in chapters one and two, it follows that chapter three also has a section describing the coming exile (see below).

C-Section (Proclamation of the New Covenant)

The final section (C-section) takes the reader in an entirely new direction. No longer is the prophet subsumed with the message of the lawsuit; now his interest is the blessed hope of the realized promises of God. What we find in each of the third sections (1:10–2:1 [MT 2:1–3]; 2:14–23 [MT 2:16–25]; 3:5) are images of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant in their final stage of fulfillment in the New Covenant. When all the C-sections are combined, Hosea has essentially rehearsed the whole history of Israel—from the exodus, the wilderness experience, the settlement/conquest of the land, the united monarchy, and restoration from exile. The blessings of the New Covenant are described using images from Israel’s past to represent the final, glorified, and consummated “great nation” of Abraham (Genesis 12:2–3). This is what Dr. Kline called prophetic idiom. Surprisingly, marriage images are absent in this final section. They seem to be used by the Lord exclusively to represent the failure and sin of Israel.

The ”Not-Marriage” of Hosea 3

With a literary pattern established from chapters one and two, it follows to expect the same organization in chapter three. This is the observation made by Dr. Kline. It is the most difficult of the three chapters by the fact that the remarriage imagery found here is not representative of the restoration after exile, but rather the exile itself.

A-section: Indictment (3:1)

Dr. Kline begins in verse 1 by identifying the woman whom Hosea is commanded to marry as the same Gomer from chapter one. This parallels the A-section of 3:1 with its counterpart in 1:2–3, both of which is a call to Hosea to marry an “adulteress.” The reason for this unusual marriage is similar in both chapters: this marriage is a metaphor of the Lord’s relationship with Israel, specifically Israel’s unfaithfulness to her divine husband. As we had seen in both chapters one and two, this marital relationship is used to indict Israel for her covenantal unfaithfulness to the Lord. In spite of His divine care and provisions for His bride, Israel repaid this by turning “to other gods” and pursuing after “raisin cakes” (a reference to pagan, cultic practices).

The initial command must have been heartbreaking for Hosea; whatever dreams he may have had about the idyllic traits of his future wife were burnt up in smoke in chapter one. If that was not difficult enough, Hosea is now commanded to pursue after Gomer in her infidelity, even taking upon himself all debt that she incurred (v.2).

Many commentators have suggested this is a different woman from Gomer, but Dr. Kline disagrees. He says that if this is a different woman, then Hosea is commanded to marry the wife of a רֵעַ “another man” (ESV), which is sin. To avoid this enforced indiscretion, Dr. Kline interprets the Hebrew רֵעַ, not as “another man,” but rather as a reference to Hosea himself.[21] The inclusion of the adjective “another” is, therefore, an interpretation by the ESV (NIV also adds “another”). In fact, Hosea is the רֵעַ.

B-Section: Judgment (3:2–4)

The judgment scene in verses 2–4 is the most peculiar of all the B-sections of Hosea 1—3; it is also the most difficult to interpret. Verse 1 (A-section) ends with Hosea remarried to Gomer. The next section (verses 2–4) goes on to describe this renewed marital relationship. Due to the nature of a remarriage, the reader is expected to interpret this as representing the blissful time after exile when God’s people will be restored back to their homeland of Canaan and in a renewed covenantal union with the Lord. This conclusion seems to be affirmed in verse 2 that depicts Hosea, a loving and faithful husband, going to great lengths to restore his marital relationship by taking on the debt owed by his wife Gomer.[22] Verses 3 and 4 continues by describing this remarriage.

Numerous English translations also seem to interpret verses 2–4 as a blessed time of reunion and renewed commitment. After clearing Gomer’s debt (v.2), she will no longer continue in her adulterous ways; nor shall she be physically intimate with another man. Just as she is faithful to Hosea, so Hosea will return the favor by remaining steadfast to her (v.3). Provided below is the ESV translation of verse 3, as representative of this predominant view:

“You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”

The NIV is more explicit in its commitment to the nature of this remarriage:

“You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

The difficulty of this view is found in verse 4, which describes the same historical period as verse 3. Dr. Kline observes this coterminous period by noting the repetition of the phrase “many days” (יָמִים רָבִּים) and the verb “dwell” (ישׁב) in both verses. In other words, the “many days” (יָמִים רָבִּים) in which Gomer will “dwell” (ישׁב) with Hosea in verse 3 is the same “many days” (יָמִים רָבִּים) that describes God’s people “dwelling” (ישׁב) in verse 4. This correspondence between these two verses is further strengthened by the fact that they both begin with the phrase “many years” followed by the verb “dwell.” Verse 4, however, does not depict a happy life of marital bliss. This is a time when the people of God will be “without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods” (v.4). Dr. Kline understands this as the absence of all the outward trappings of life in Canaan—cultic or cultural elements, genuine or false worship, royal or priestly leadership. In a word, this is the exile. If this interpretation is correct, then the remarriage of Hosea/Gomer in verse 3 is not used to describe a covenantal restoration. Instead, it represents the covenant curse of exile. It is a remarriage that is not a genuine remarriage. Marriage equals exile.

In light of this interpretation, Dr. Kline proposed the following adjustment to the translation of verse 3: “For many years, you must dwell as mine. You will not play the whore, but you will not be for (your) husband, nor will I be for you.” He comments as follows for each phrase:

Biblical text Commentary
“You must dwell as mine” This represents the remarriage between Hosea and Gomer. Dr. Kline offers no challenge to the traditional transition or interpretation at this point.
“You will not play the whore” This will be a time when Gomer will not continue in her previous life of promiscuity and adultery. Again, Dr. Kline agrees with the traditional view here.
“But you will not be for (your) husband” This is where Dr. Kline begins to break from traditional interpretation. He rejects the ESV inclusion of “another” (it is absent in the Hebrew text) in “another man,” as if this phrase continues to describe Gomer’s fidelity from the previous clause. In fact, he rejects the translation of the Hebrew אִישׁ as “man,” which he believes still could be taken as an implicit reference to “another man.” Instead, he says the “man” is Hosea himself, where the Hebrew אִישׁ should be translated as “husband.” So, although Gomer will no longer be an adulteress, their remarriage will not be consummated with physical intimacy.
“Nor will I be for you” Dr. Kline also differs here by suggesting the negative לֹא from the previous clause is gapped here, thus the translation “nor.” This final clause is stating that “I [Hosea] will also not be for you,” meaning there will be no physical union in this re-marital relationship.

It should be noted that Dr. Kline does not offer any emendations of the Hebrew text; he simply offers a different (his mind, more consistent) analysis of the Hebrew. According to Dr. Kline, therefore, verses 2–4 gives a very different sense than what is found in traditional treatments. For “many days,” Gomer will “dwell” with Hosea. This will be an official and legal remarriage, within which Gomer will not have the opportunity to act unfaithfully. However, this marriage will not be a normal marriage. It will not be consummated in physical intimacy; Gomer will not be intimate with her “husband,” nor will Hosea be physically intimate with her. Verse 4 goes on to say that this marriage is not a metaphor for restoration. Instead, it ironically represents the coming exile Israel must suffer, a time when Israel will be absent of all the outward manifestations of life in the land of Canaan “for many days.” This will be a marriage that is not really a marriage, a reunion that is not a reunion.[23] It is a “Not-Marriage.”

How can this be so? According to Dr. Kline, the reason for this highly unusual marriage is due to the covenantal foundation of the prophet’s mission. As described earlier, Dr. Kline saw two different covenantal administrations functioning simultaneously. This continued during the time of the exile. One was the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 15:18–21; 17:1–27; cf. Gen 12:1–3). The blessings of this covenant were guaranteed and the Lord took a self-maledictory oath to assure Abraham of this (Gen 15:9–17). In that sense, there was still a marriage between the Lord and Israel—not even the exile can nullify this. However, there was also the Mosaic Covenant, which Israel violated. In that sense, the covenantal union between the Lord and Israel was severed and there was no longer a marriage. Therefore, it seems that Israel as a corporate community was “Lo-ammi” (“Not my people”), but there was a smaller remnant within that community through whom the Lord continued to work out the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.[24] Exile is this mixed situation in which Israel is in a Not-Marriage regarding the Mosaic Covenant, but yet still in a Marriage regarding the Abrahamic Covenant.

C-Section: New Covenant Proclamation (3:5)

Dr. Kline sees verse 5 as a description of the New Covenant realities. This will be a time when Israel will be restored to their true homeland, something greater than the mere earthen land of Canaan. Instead, they will receive the heavenly homeland that their ancient forefather Abraham envisioned—the heavenly Jerusalem whose “designer and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). Israel herself will seek the Lord with all their heart and no longer pursue after false deities. They hearts will be circumcised (Deut 30:6), so that they can now love the Lord, worship Him with a full heart of joy, conform in total obedience to His covenantal stipulations, and fear Him in awe-inspired reverence (cf. Jer 31:31–34; Ezek 36:24–28). This will also be a time when the eschatological Messiah of David will reign and reunify Israel and Judah under His divine and sovereign kingship and usher in the eschatological Kingdom of God. All this will take place in the “last days,” not in the days of the earthly restoration, which was only a shadowy type of the true restoration the eschatological David will bring.


The comments of Dr. Kline concerning Hosea 3:1–5 demonstrate his interpretative insights as a biblical scholar and also as a systematic theologian. It shows his ability to do detailed exegetical analysis into the text of Scripture while also placing that text within its proper place in the overarching drama of redemption. He also discerns the sound systematic theological (i.e. covenantal) foundations to properly understand the mission of Hosea, indeed, the overall prophetic mission as a whole. In that regard, his understanding of both the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenantal background for the prophetic mission provides a solid theological foundation to understanding how the prophets were both proclaiming the Fall of Israel (covenant lawsuit) and the Fullness of Israel (New Covenant). While other commentators have made similar exegetical conclusions as Dr. Kline regarding Hosea 3, they lack the systematic theological grounds to apply those conclusions to the prophetic task as a whole. That is the contribution Dr. Kline provides. Although Old Testament scholarship has been critical of the parameters of systematic theology in exegetical and literary analyses, Dr. Kline shows that theology is not only a benefit but also a necessity.

The hope of this article was to not only to acknowledge the biblical and theological contributions of Meredith Kline, but to also honor the Lord of Scripture that he spent a lifetime teaching and the way He orchestrated the history of redemptive through the administration of His covenants. The words of 1 Peter 2:10 truly encapsulates Dr. Kline’s view of Hosea 3: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” As we remember Dr. Kline and celebrate his centennial birthday, we would do well to know that Dr. Kline now rejoices in a glorified and consummated fellowship with his blessed Creator-Redeemer-King.

[1] His lectures on the book of Hosea were part of class on the Old Testament Prophets during my seminary years at Westminster Seminary in California.

[2] December 15, 2022 would mark the one hundredth birthday for Dr. Kline.

[3] Meredith G. Kline, Images of the Spirit (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1999; originally self-published, 1980), 58.

[4] See his “Intrusion Ethics and the Decalogue,” WTJ 16 (1953/54), 1–22.

[5] See his Treaty of the Great King: The Covenant Structure of Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963).

[6] See his The Structure of Biblical Authority (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972).

[7] Dr. Kline has a thorough and helpful description on this process of the formation of an Old Testament prophet. For details of this, see his Images of the Spirit, 57–64.

[8] For a detailed analysis of the lawsuit genre and the way in which the prophets conducted this lawsuit, see Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority, 58–62.

[9] The prophets Obadiah, Jonah, and Nahum are not included in this list because their prophetic ministry was to various gentile nations. Dr. Kline suggests that they still conducted a lawsuit, however, the covenantal foundations of this was not the Mosaic Covenant, but rather the original covenant of works with the First Adam.

[10] Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006), 328.

[11] For his comments on this, see Kingdom Prologue, 320–323. For further defense of this view, see the essays in The Law is not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant; eds. Bryan D. Estelle, J. V. Fesko, David VanDrunen (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing, 2009). For a response to both Dr. Kline and The Law is not of Faith, see Andrew M. Elam, Robert C. Van Kooten, Randall A. Bergquist, Merit and Moses: A Critique of the Klinean Doctrine of Republication (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014).

[12] Chapters 4—14 is an anthology of prophetic speeches that has the same message as chapters 1—3 without the use of the same marital images.

[13] The versification in certain portions of the Masoretic Text (MT) version of the book of Hosea (e.g. chapters one and two) does not parallel English translations.  The MT verses are provided with the abbreviation “MT.”

[14] As an example of this, it would be impossible to not mention his student paper at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia on the overall chiastic structure of the Book of Revelation. Sadly, it is difficult to get a copy of this. For more accessible examples of Dr. Kline’s utilization of literary structure, see his proposed structure of the Book of Zechariah in his article “The Structure of Zechariah,” JETS 34 (1991), 179–193. His literary analysis of Daniel 9:26–27 is a tour-de-force argument in support of Amillennialism, over against Dispensational Premillennialism; for details of this, see his article “The Covenant of the Seventieth Week” in The Law and the Prophets: Old Testament Studies in Honor of Oswald T. Allis (ed. John Skilton; Nutley, NJ; P&R Publishing, 1974), 452–469.

[15] The parameter for each “chapter” is as follows: chapter one covers Hosea 1:2–2:1 [MT 3], chapter two Hosea 2:2–23 [MT 4–25], and chapter three Hosea 3:1–5.

[16] The versification in the English Bibles differ from the Masoretic Text (MT) in a few areas of Hosea 1—3. The reason for this is unknown.

[17] There is a brief interlude in Hos 1:7, where the prophet affirms the Southern kingdom of Judah as continued recipients of the Lord’s mercy.

[18] This is what Hebraists refer to as a “verbless clause.”

[19] For a similar interpretation, see Duane Stuart, Hosea-Jonah (WBC; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987), 33; J. Andrew Dearman, The Book of Hosea (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 99–100. Cf. Deut. 32:20–21 for the similar names “No-God” and “Not-People.”

[20] In the providence of God, a large cache of ancient marriage contracts has been discovered by archeologists. For an example of such contracts (that includes a divorce clause), see Bruno Meissner, Beiträge zum Altbabylonischen Privatrecht (J. C. Hinrichs, 1893), 71–72, no. 90; Moses Schorr, Urkunden des Altbabylonischen Zivil- und Prozessrechts; Vorderasiatische Bibliothek 5 (J. C. Hinrichs, 1913), 7, no. 2; for further examples and additional details on these contracts, see also Hugenberger, Marriage, 219–222; Dearman, Hosea, 56–58. In these contracts when a man “takes” a woman to be his wife, he is to explicitly state to her “you are my wife,” and the woman is to respond by saying to the man “you are my husband.”  In a divorce, these phrases are negated (“you are not my wife” and “you are not my husband).”  This similarity with Hosea 1—3 demonstrates that the name “Not-my-people” expresses the annulling of the Lord’s relationship with Israel.

[21] Stuart emends the Hebrew רֵעַ to רַע (“evil”) and translates as follows: “Go again and love a woman, a lover of evil.” See his comments in Hosea, 62–63, 65.

[22] The verb כרה, which is traditionally translated as “bought,” actually has the sense of “taking on another’s debt.” Cf. Deut 2:6; Job 6:27.

[23] See Dearman who interprets similarly, Hosea, 136–37.

[24] Both the continuity and discontinuity among the biblical covenants are a reality that must be observed. Dr. Kline believed that Paul often placed more significance to the discontinuity (Gal 3:15–22; Rom 10:3–7) without surrendering the continuity (2 Cor 3:7–18).