[b-hebrew] The meaning of "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4

Gabe Eisenstein gabe at cascadeaccess.com
Tue Aug 5 14:10:50 EDT 2008

I see that discussions of Biblical Hebrew can't avoid making historical 
and textual assumptions. This post concerns the assumptions.

Vadim Cherny pointed out that the apparent contradiction between the 
favorable and unfavorable views of Jehu can be resolved by taking the 
position expressed in 2Kings10:29-31, namely that Jehu was good at first 
then inexplicably went bad. To me this isn't much of an explanation.

This seems like the kind of case where a multiple-source view of the 
text has too much explanatory power to ignore. Look at the case of Ahab, 
who is clearly a villain everywhere but 1Kings20:1-34, a manifestly 
heterogeneous text that seems pro-Ahab. In the case of Jehu, it seems 
logical that we would encounter both favorable and unfavorable texts, 
the former produced under sponsorship of Jehoahaz, Joash and Jeroboam 
II, the latter produced by anti-government (prophetic) sources. It is 
also plausible that sections like 2Kings10:29-31 belong to an editorial 
framework (usually called "Deuteronomist") that attempts to reconcile 

By the way, the thesis that most of the Jehu account was written by 
royal apologists is buttressed by the plausibility of reading most of 
the Elijah-Elisha stories, especially Elijah's massacre of the Baalists, 
as Jehuid propaganda. (If massacring your enemies was good when Elijah 
did it, Jehu's massacre looks better.) From the point of view of the 
social-justice reformers like Hosea, Jehu's dynasty was no different 
from Omri's. Hosea didn't like Jeroboam II, and it is plausible that he 
would take a dim view of Jehu.

Gabe Eisenstein

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