27 June, 2008

Ishi, not Baali

I was at church, and we had a visiting pastor who quoted Hosea 2:16.

He said, "Ishi," as he read it, and I was all over that. I guessed pretty quickly what I thought it meant, and quickly BlackBerry'd myself an email message so I would remember to dictionary it when I got home. Sure enough. About 1 time in 6, the word means, "husband."

This is such an arresting passage I'm going to go ahead and quote the whole thing. I don't have any big conclusions from it, but that one word was so telling to me. God found Himself betrothed to a lover who whispered Ba'al's name in her sleep. She sought Ba'al out with all her free time. She gave him little presents and the flower of her youth.

And He was God.

He made Ba'al, and could "disappear" not just him, but everything over which he was supposed to be "god." YHWH could have manipulated the wife of His youth, or overpowered her. He could rightfully demand that she call Him, "Lord Omnipotentate, YHWH." She has spent so much time adoring Ba'al, an abusive god if ever there was one, that she has taken to reacting to her Lord as if He needed to awe her with His power. She has taken, not only to worshipping Ba'al, but to calling YHWH Baali as an act of tenderness.

He dreams she will call Him, "Ishi."

He rejoices when we name Him rightly, tenderly.

Hsa 2:14-20
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and [with] the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.


Anonymous said...

The link I read says ishi translated more literally to "my husband". Although both are correct, I believe the message is that God, Yaweh, wants to be acknowledged as my husband, your husband and not just a husband.

Interesting that God continually compares his relationship to Israel and the "church" to a married couple or a courting couple. As if we, myself very much included, understand the marriage relationship. Although the comparison is probably dead on for understanding God's love and devotion to us, I fail to comprehend what it means.


Missy said...

I've been thinking about this continuous comparison that Lowcrawl refers to, and wondering about commitment - how it keeps us tied to one another when logic and/or heartbreak says the laces should come undone - how Jesus teaches that one has every right to divorce an adulterous spouse - but that it's not a requirement.

Your info here is very telling to me, too. Thanks, CP.

david santos said...

Thanks for your posting.
Have a nice weekend.