Posted by mlajoie2 on 12 April, 2009 at 10:35 am. 12 comments already!


image001sd.jpgA rock dove with a pin through his brain, a ‘pinhead pigeon’

This little essay is about a turn of phrase used by the prophet Hosea in regards to some mistakes being made by the leaders of his day; and it is about the similarity of the mistakes being made by our leadership right now.

In the mid-700’s BC, the chickens – or should I say, the pigeons – were coming home to roost for the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They had been warned about the coming destruction by Amos earlier but they hadn’t changed. Hosea arrived on the scene to plead with even greater urgency, because now the horrible threat of the Assyrian Empire was becoming clear to everyone, not just prophets.

The Assyrians were the first great world empire, centered in Nineveh in Northern Mesopotamia. Their standard modus operandi was the use of intimidation and terror to cow their subjects; they were universally feared and hated and their cruelty was calculated and legendary. [They would eventually get their comeuppance at the hands of the Babylonians.] They were beginning to bully and hector the Kingdom of Israel. What were the leaders of Israel going to do?

Now, the advice of Amos and Hosea was to ‘turn to the Lord’. The cause of the nation’s problems was their lack of identity and social cohesion. Israel’s unity, uniquely, was not purely racial or ethnic; it was centered on a belief in one God and a moral code not mere genetics. In turning to the worship of the fertility gods and goddesses, they were also engaging in the immoral practices associated with them. Since those primitive religions were divorced from moral requirements and did not involve a sense of a personal relationship with their gods (using a magical or instrumental approach) the Israelites began turning away not just from their unifying belief in one God and their common set of moral values, but also from their personal obligations to the needy among them as emphasized so often in the Law of Moses. If what unifies you is weakened, the result is weakness, disunity and chaos.

“Without a vision, the people perish” is what the Book of Proverbs tells us. Even so, without the glue of their common beliefs, the Kingdom of Israel began to come apart at the seams. The Prophets describe a justice system that no longer worked: ever-rising violence, crime and fraud; what justice there was could only be obtained by bribe or government influence. The leaders in the capital Samaria were especially excoriated. They spent a lot of time lining their own pockets and did little to foster a sense of nation. Amos had mocked the character of the rich women there who abused the needy and overindulged their appetites as “cows of Bashan”. Private charity withered on the vine and social solidarity was destroyed as the government in Samaria grew in size and power like in the time of Solomon. Those who had power took advantage of those who could not fight them.

image002sdf.jpgAn icon of the Prophet Hosea

In regard to our present topic, Hosea noted a response of the leadership to the coming crisis and mocked it as well. Israel apparently preferred the prestigious role-playing of high politics. They wanted to become one of the gang of nations, becoming mixed up with them: “Ephraim mingles with the nations”. They apparently tried to ‘negotiate’ with the Assyrians to save themselves. From our perspective, the very thought is utterly ridiculous. The Assyrians had already made it abundantly clear they were the qualm-free terror agents of their day. To ‘sit down’ with them was desperate and futile. Israel, also (like their Southern sister Kingdom Judah later in the face of the Babylonians) tried to rely on alliance-building with the nations around them. They even apparently reached out to the Egyptian Empire for help. It seems they did everything BUT turn to their OWN God.

This is from the book of Hosea, Chapter 7: [By the way ‘Ephraim’ is one the sub-tribes of the tribe of Joseph which is often used to represent all of the Northern tribes.]

  • 8 – Ephraim mingles with the nations, Ephraim is a hearth cake unturned.
  • 9 – Strangers have sapped his strength, but he takes no notice of it; Of gray hairs, too, there is a sprinkling, but he takes no notice of it.
  • 10 – The arrogance of Israel bears witness against him; yet they do not return to the LORD, their God, nor seek him, for all that.
  • 11 – Ephraim is like a dove, silly and senseless; They call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.
  • 12 – Even as they go I will spread my net around them, like birds in the air I will bring them down. In an instant I will send them captive from their land.

Hosea 7:8-12 (NAB)

When you try to mix up an amalgamated ‘nations’ pancake and you forget to turn it over, what happens? It starts to burn and the smoke alarms go off. When you start making deals with all these other nations, and becoming just another one of the gang, you begin to imperceptibly lose your national identity and strength. Like the proverbial boiled frog, you don’t even notice how it’s slipping away.

And then, he calls them “a dove, silly and senseless”. Have you ever watched doves? The mourning dove, or turtle dove, has a tiny little head in proportion to its body, and, hence, a tiny little brain, and they act it. They are not the sharpest tools in the shed. But there’s another dove which might be more applicable: it’s the ‘rock dove’ more popularly known as the pigeon. We all know pigeons. Once again, not a whole lot brain power happening there. Hosea pictures Israel dumbly ambling along – duuhhh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duuuhh – totally clueless and oblivious to the fact that the Assyrian’s net is just about to be plunked down on them to capture them.

In 723 BC, this is what happened and the Israelites were scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire, becoming the famous ‘Lost Tribes of Israel’. {Descendants of all these tribes have been discovered and confirmed through DNA testing in places like East Africa, Cambodia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Many of them have been returning to Israel recently, seemingly as predicted by the Prophets. This has caused some friction with Jews descended from the tribe of Judah, of course, but it sure is an interesting development!}

Now, we have a set of leaders in our country who apparently want to “mingle with the nations” in an unprecedented way, trying to be part of the gang to the point where other nations might be given power to control our economy, for instance. Obama seems to want to lose our uniqueness in the mixture of the cosmopolitan pancake.

Obama and company also want to sit down with people like Iran, N. Korea and the Taliban who make the Assyrians look nice. Future generations will probably look on in as much mystification as we do when we look back at Israel trying to ‘negotiate’ with the Assyrians.

He does NOT rely on our national identity but downplays it, saying we are not a Christian or Jewish nation; we are “citizens” indistinguishable from any other nation. Our national identity is a VERY similar thing to that of the ancient Hebrews. Yet it is this very thing he denigrates. (Tell me, is Turkey not a Muslim nation in its history? Is India not a Hindu nation culturally? Why is it that we only we are not allowed to acknowledge our undeniable Judeo-Christian heritage that makes us what we are?)

Obama is denying us our national vision, the glue that has held us together for all our history, based not on race or happenstance but on values which inform our moral and social conscience. He prefers, like a silly, senseless dove, to seek alliances and cheap approval while our strength and identity imperceptibly seep into the socialist soil. How can the results be any different than what happened before?

It’s time to call it what it is. This is betrayal of our national identity. This is silly. This is senseless. It is a mistake that has already been made that does not need to be made again.

I wonder, if a metal rod were driven through the brain of THIS leadership, would they just keep on going with their foolhardy policies? I suppose it wouldn’t matter – if the policies are brainless springing from dumb instinct or blind ideological fervor and not from reason. Let us pray and raise our consciousness prophetically like Hosea tried to do with the Northern Tribes.

Let’s not let our leaders move on with this course of action unchallenged. I’m going to a Tea Party April 15th, are you?

They don’t think we can see what they’re doing. They don’t think we’re going to do or say anything. We’ll see about that. Silly, senseless doves!!

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