A New Commentary on Hosea

I currently have a standing review order with Eerdmans on any new volumes in NICOT, NICNT, NIGTC, and the Pillar series. This commentary is not published this year, but it is still recent, and very up to date. The hype over the commentary is pretty intense. Longman says, for instance, “Serious engagement with the book of Hosea now starts with Dearman’s commentary.” Does the volume live up to the hype? I would say that by and large, it does. No pastor who ever wants to study the book of Hosea will want to be without this volume, any more than he would want to ignore Jeremiah Burroughs (though plenty unfortunately do). I read every word of this commentary, and found it full of insightful exegesis, and sound conclusions, even if, as with any commentary, I didn’t agree with everything in it. This will probably be the pastor’s first choice on Hosea, though I would still want to consult Burroughs, Anderson/Freedman, Macintosh, and McComskey.

He takes the viewpoint (over against many other commentators like Calvin and Anderson/Freedman) that Gomer was already a prostitute when Hosea married her. I agree with Dearman if for no other reason than this: if God orders Hosea to marry a woman who he knows will eventually become a prostitute, nothing is gained for Hosea’s supposed sanity or godliness. The shock value for Israel is also lessened by the other interpretation.

I do disagree with his interpretation of Hosea 6:7, although he certainly argues it well. He argues that the adverb “sham” indicates a geographical reference for “Adam,” rather than a personal reference to the father of the human race. The difficulty with this, though, is that the preposition “ke” does not mean “at” or “in.” Furthermore, there is no known evidence of a covenant-breaking at Adam (though there is such a place, as Joshua 3:16 makes clear). There are other interpretations for the word “there” that make more sense. Still, Dearman is still helpful in setting out the issues, and argues well for his case. So, you should have this commentary if you are planning on any serious work in the Minor Prophets.



  1. Danny said,

    May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Used this! Found it very helpful.

  2. Phil Taylor said,

    May 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    See also Hosea by John L Mackay – http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1470/-

  3. reiterations said,

    May 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    A partial answer to the question: can anything good come out of Fuller Seminary – even if it’s the Houston campus?

  4. Mark Kim said,

    May 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Considering that Hosea is replete with many textual problems, I give kudos to Dearman for taking on this endeavor.

    I agree with Dearman’s conclusion regarding Gomer’s situation at the time of Hosea marrying her. I also agree with Dearman on Hosea 6:7 (I’m yet to be convinced that the verse is talking about a prelapsarian covenant of works and Calvin agrees!).

    Anyway, thanks again. I should put this on my wish list.

  5. Richard said,

    May 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

    My favourite commentaries on Hosea are James Mays (OTL), Hans Wolff (Hermeneia), and Erhud ben Zvi (FOTL).

  6. Nathanael said,

    May 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

    It is interesting that you should bring up Calvin. The exegesis of Hosea is a little bit of an historical irony in that, during the Reformation, it was generally interpreted literally (Hosea really married a prostitute) while during the Reformation it was generally interpreted allegorically (or in a generally deflationary manner).

  7. hashavyahu said,

    May 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    On Hosea 6:7. I don’t have Dearman at hand, but he need not argue that “ke” means “at” or “in” (locative), but rather that “ke” indicates comparison (“as/like”) and that the locative is unexpressed but contextually necessary. The same thing occurs in Isa 28:21 “as [at] Mt. Perazim,” a reference to 2 Sam 5 marked only with “ke.” Grammatically both examples can and should be analyzed as a preposition attached to an adverbial accusative.

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