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A Point-by-Point Response to
Leonard Jayawardena's Reply to Till's Rebuttal of His Solution to the Jehu Problem
by
Farrell Till
Part (3)

In this section of his latest attempt to defend his unlikely interpretation of the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 to mean the blood of the children of Israel whom Yahweh caused the Syrians and Assyrians to kill because of the promotion of idolatry by kings in the Jehu dynasty, LJ has constructed some charts that he apparently thinks prove his case. We will see that they prove nothing and that in all of his charting, he presented no examples at all of biblical passages where the word Jezreel was used figuratively in the sense he is claiming for Hosea 1:4. As I have been doing, I will go through LJ's article point by point so that readers with the patience to wade through all of his smoke screening will see that he offered us nothing but arbitrary assertion that Jezreel meant the blood of the children of Israel in the disputed text. I will continue to color code in blue all quotations from his article. In so doing, I will omit nothing. Everything that he wrote will be answered, so I must ask for the patience of our readers, because it takes space to show just how woefully LJ distorts biblical passages to try to find something to shore up his unlikely spin on what he cites or quotes.

The fact that the juxtaposition of the judgment of the royal house and the judgment of the nation for idolatry in Hosea 1:4-5 follows a pattern also found in 1 Kings 14:14-16 and Amos 7:8-11 favors an interpretation that sees idolatry as the reason for both judgments in Hosea 1:4-5 and as well as the particular construction I have placed on the phrase “the blood of Jezreel.” This juxtaposition in the three passages is shown in the table below (RSV used throughout):

 1 Kings 14:14-16Hosea 1:4Amos 7:11
Judgment of the royal house[T]he Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today.I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel…Jeroboam shall die by the sword…
Judgement of the nationAnd henceforth the Lord will smite Israel…. And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and which he made Israel to sin....and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel....and Israel must go into exile away from his land.

I have already acknowledged several times that the men who wrote the Old Testament books superstitiously believed that their god engaged in vicarious punishment, so there is nothing in these examples to prove that the blood of Jezreel meant the blood of the children of Israel in Hosea 1:4. That is LJ's claim, and he has yet to present even a scintilia of biblical evidence to support this claim. I have repeatedly asked him to answer a simple question: If Hosea meant that Yahweh was going to avenge on the house of Jehu the blood of the children of Israel who had been killed by foreign invaders, why didn't he just say that? Why would he have concealed his meaning by using Jezreel in a figurative sense that can be found nowhere else in the Bible. As I have also repeatedly noted, the unlikely spins that inerrantists put onto problem passages in the Bible in order to avoid admitting that it contains discrepancies make their god Yahweh look like a linguistic nincompoop who was unable to inspire his chosen writers to communicate in plain language. Even though LJ claims that he isn't an inerrantist, the unlikely meaning he is trying to put onto the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 puts him into the same boat with the inerrantists.

There is so much wrong with his "juxtaposition" of the three unrelated passages in his chart that I hardly know where to begin dismantling the spin he tried to put onto them. First, I find it rather curious that he would cite as any kind of proof text the passage in 1 Kings 14, which contains an obvious inconsistency concerning a prophetic prediction about when Jeroboam's sick child would die. In this passage, Jeroboam had sent his wife to inquire of the prophet Ahijah about the health of their son, who was seriously ill. The wife tried to disguise herself, but, as this tale was related, Yahweh spoke to Ahijah (as he routinely spoke to prophets and dignitaries in those days) to let him know that Jeroboam's wife was en route to see him. When Jeroboam's wife entered Ahijah's house, he, in typical prophetic fashion, denounced Jeroboam for his idolatrous practices, which, so Ahijah said, had made Jeroboam more evil than "all those who were before [him]" (1 Kings 14:9). This prophetic denunciation gives intelligent readers reason to wonder why the omniscient Yahweh had taken the northern kingdom away from Judah and selected Jeroboam to be its king, as 1 Kings 11:29-39) clearly claims that he did, if Yahweh had known at the time that Jeroboam was going to be worse than all the kings who had reigned before him. Another curious thing about Jeroboam's selection to be the king of Israel is that Yahweh had sent this same prophet Ahijah, as the text just cited will show, to tell Jeroboam that Yahweh had selected him to be king. Now just three chapters later, Ahijah was prophetically denouncing Jeroboam and pronouncing divine doom upon him and his entire family. The god Yahweh does indeed work in mysterious ways.

At any rate, as the story was spun in LJ's "proof text," Ahijah incorrectly predicted to Jeroboam's wife when her son would die.

1 Kings 14:12 Therefore set out, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die.

As the "inspired" writer related the part about the return of Jeroboam's wife to her home in Tirzah, the child did not die when her feet entered the city: "Then Jeroboam's wife got up and went away, and she came to Tirzah. As she came to the threshold of the house, the child died" (1 Kings 14:17). Unless the threshold of Jeroboam's house was set right at the city limits, which would have situated the king's residence in a rather unlikely location, then his son didn't die when his wife's feet reentered the city, as the prophet Ahijah had predicted, because her feet would have necessarily entered the city before she had walked on to the threshold of her house. We have to wonder, then, why LJ expects us to give much credence to anything that this passage said, because if the author couldn't write any more consistently than the discrepancy above indicates, how can we trust anything else he said in spinning this yarn about the prophet Ahijah's judgment on the house of Jeroboam?

Jeroboam had sent his wife to Ahijah because he believed that this prophet, who had accurately predicted that he would become king of Israel, could tell them "what will happen to the child" (1 Kings 14:3), so we also have to wonder if Jeroboam's wife was as superstitious about Ahijah's prophetic talents as her husband was. If so, why would a mother have returned to her home if she had really believed that her son would die when her feet entered the city where her house was located? To keep her son from dying, why wouldn't she have avoided returning to her home. I guess these are just minor details of biblical silliness that LJ never thinks about, but those "intelligent readers" whom he referred to earlier, will certainly view their accuracy with suspicion.

Besides this inconsistency in LJ's "proof text," there are other inaccuracies in it. In the part that LJ didn't quote (where the ellipsis was inserted), the prophet Ahijah said that Jeroboam's sick son would die and become the only one of Jehoboam's family who would be buried.

1 Kings 14:12 Therefore set out, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13 All Israel shall mourn for him and bury him; for he alone of Jeroboam's family shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to Yahweh, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam.

In biblical times, the ultimate disgrace was for a person to be denied burial, so many prophets pronounced this curse on kings who had presumably been disobedient to the will of Yahweh. In the verse just before the ones quoted above, for example, Ahijah pronounced this disgrace onto Jeroboam's family: "Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city, the dogs shall eat; and anyone who dies in the open country, the birds of the air shall eat; for Yahweh has spoken." Jeremiah, for example, prophesied that so many people of Jerusalem would die that no burial space would be left and "the corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air and for the animals of the earth" (Jer. 7:33). He later pronounced a curse on King Jehoiakim, who he said would be buried "(w)ith the burial of a donkey" and "dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (22:19). The problem with Ahijah's prediction that Jeroboam's son would be the only member of his family who would be buried is that the biblical account of Jeroboam's reign says that he reigned for 22 years and then "slept with his fathers" (1 Kings 14:20), which was an expression used to describe the deaths and burials of Israelite kings (1 Kings 15:8; 1 Kings 22:40; 2 Kings 14:29; 2 Kings 15:22). Ahijah's prediction that no one in Jeroboam's family but his son would be buried turned out to be wrong too.

Another point worth noticing here, is that the prophet Ahijah told Jeroboam's wife that all Israel would mourn her son and bury him because "in him there is found something pleasing to Yahweh, the God of Israel." Yahweh had found something pleasing in Jeroboam's son, but he killed him anyway. Never let it be said that Yahweh wasn't a nice guy!

Two inaccuracies in Ahijah's prophecies against Jeroboam give good reason to suspect that the first passage in LJ's juxtaposition doesn't have much value as a "proof text" for his peculiar spin on the expression blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4, but there was even a third discrepancy in the prophecies. Ahijah said that Yahweh would "raise up for himself a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today: but what? even now" (1 Kings 14:14). The words םויה הז, literally "this day," were intensified in the KJV with "even now" to suggest rather clearly that the "cut[ting] off" of the house of Jeroboam would be imminent, and other translations of this text support that interpretation. The ASV also used "even now" to intensify the expression, as did also the NKJV and the Jewish translation JPS, and the NRSV used "even right now." Other translations, like "yes, even now" (NIV) and "at this very moment" (NAB), all indicate that Ahijah was predicting an immediate cutting off of the house of Jeroboam, but, as already noted above, Jeroboam reigned for 22 years, was succeeded by his son Nadab, who reigned for two years before Baasha assassinated him and massacred all members of his family, presumably to destroy--finally--the house of Jeroboam. What can I say except that "even right now" in biblical times apparently didn't mean "even right now"?

An even greater problem for the first "proof text" in LJ's juxtaposition, however, is that the prophet said very clearly why Yahweh was going to "smite Israel" and "give it up." The reason given for the predicted destruction of Israel was "the sins of Jeroboam" (v:16), and I don't think that even LJ would try to spin "the sins of Jeroboam" to mean anything else but Jeroboam's institution of calf worship in Israel, recorded in 1 Kings 12:26-33 and clearly referred to thereafter as "the sins of Jeroboam" or "the way of Jeroboam" (1 Kings 14:16; 15:30; 16:2,19,26; 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29,31; 13:2,6,11; 14:24; 15:9,18,24,28; 17:22; 23:15). In LJ's first "proof text," then, the prophet spoke very directly in stating why Yahweh was going to "smite Israel" and "give it up." That reason was "the sins of Jeroboam," an expression very clearly defined in various Old Testament passages, like those cited above.

If LJ continues to insist that the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 really meant the blood of the children of Israel whom Yahweh had killed through the instrumentality of the Syrians, he must give us some plausible reason why the prophet Hosea could not have been as clear and direct as Ahijah was in the first text in LJ's juxtaposition above. Why did Hosea, who was presumably inspired by the omniscient, omnipotent Yahweh, conceal his meaning in a term that was almost sure to be misunderstood by readers who would associate the blood of Jezreel with the massacre committed by Jehu at the city named Jezreel? LJ has yet to give us anything close to a plausible explanation for such ambiguity in a text that he thinks was divinely inspired. Until LJ can give us a reasonably plausible explanation for this ambiguity that he is alleging, those intelligent readers that he referred to earlier will assume that just as the sins of Jeroboam in LJ's first "proof text" juxtaposed above meant "the sins of Jeroboam" as clearly defined in various Old Testament passages, so the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 meant what a literal reading of the expression conveys.

As for the third text in LJ's juxtaposition, he is simply plowing ground here that has already been covered, as readers can see by clicking the link just given. Rather than replying again to LJ's recycling of an "argument" that I have already rebutted in detail, I will quote here what readers will find if they click the link just given.

LJ didn't explain why Amos's denunciation of "the house of Jeroboam" would be the same as if he had denounced the house of Jehu. He simply asserted it. If he claims that Jeroboam was a descendant of Jehu, and so denunciation of the house of Jeroboam would be the same as denouncing the house of Jehu, then he would have to say that condemnation of kings Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21-24) and Abijam (1 Kings 15:1-3) were condemnations of David, because they were the grandson and great-grandson respectively of David. Likewise, LJ would have to say that the denunciation of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:17-19) and Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:26-27; 2 Chron. 22:7) was a denunciation of David, because they were 6th- and 7th-generation descendants of David. I could cite many other examples, but these are sufficient to show that just because Amos denounced a king reigning in his time doesn't necessarily mean that he denounced also his dynastic ancestor Jehu.

Amos was just another doom-and-gloom prophet who ranted and raved against religious practices that were different from his Yahwistic beliefs. LJ apparently didn't notice that the part of his quotation that predicted Israel's end was not what Amos himself said but what Amaziah in a message to Jeroboam said that Amos had said. As noted in the verses quoted, Amaziah was a priest of Bethel, one of the shrines where the golden calves of the first Jeroboam were worshiped. Was Amaziah's message to the second Jeroboam accurate? If so, then what he said that Amos had said proved to be false prophecy, because in addition to his prediction that Israel would go into exile, Amaziah had said that Amos was saying that Jeroboam would be killed by the sword. This turned out not to be true, because, as indicated in a passage already quoted above, the record of Jeroboam II's reign implied that he had died a natural death after a rather successful reign of 41 years.

2 Kings 14:23 In the fifteenth year of King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah, King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel began to reign in Samaria; he reigned forty-one years. 24 He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. 25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. 26 For Yahweh saw that the distress of Israel was very bitter; there was no one left, bond or free, and no one to help Israel. 27 But Yahweh had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash. 28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he fought, and how he recovered for Israel Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 29 Jeroboam slept with his ancestors, the kings of Israel; his son Zechariah succeeded him.

Except for the reference to Jeroboam's allowing the first Jeroboam's shines to continue, this is a description of a fairly successful reign compared to what the author of 2 Kings said about other kings. Saying in the final verse that Jeroboam "slept with his ancestors [fathers]" was an idiomatic way of saying that he had died a natural death (1 Kings 2:10; 11:21,43; 2 Kings 8:24; 10:35; et al), and when a king was killed in battle or assassinated, the author explicitly stated the manner of his death (1 Kings 16:8-12; 1 Kings 22:29-37; 2 Kings 12:19-21; et al). In the passage that LJ quoted from Amos, then, we have not a direct statement from the prophet himself but only a secondhand account of what a pagan priest had claimed that Amos had said. The report of this priest was that Amos was prophesying that king Jeroboam II would be "killed by the sword," but this never happened unless the writer of 2 Kings incorrectly reported the circumstances of Jeroboam II's death, so LJ is basing part of his interpretation of Hosea 1:4 on what had been claimed by a priest of the very religion that both Hosea and Amos railed against in their prophecies. He may consider that a sound hermeneutic method, but I don't.

This third "proof text" in LJ's juxtaposition, then, doesn't help his case at all, because the prediction of Israel's exile (1) was just secondhand hearsay of something that the prophet Amos had allegedly said and (2) was silent about reasons why Israel would be led into exile. Even when the prophet Amos responded to Amaziah's command for him to flee into the land of Judah and stop prophesying at the king's sanctuary in Bethel, he gave no reason for predicting an exile.

Amos 7:14 Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But Yahweh took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.' 16 Now then, hear the word of Yahweh. You say, "'Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the house of Isaac.' 17 "Therefore this is what Yahweh says: "'Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will certainly go into exile, away from their native land.'"

Exactly where in LJ's third "proof text," then, is there any proof that the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 meant the blood of the children of Israel who had been killed by the Syrians during the idolatrous reigns of the Jehu dynasty? It isn't there. LJ is just grabbing straws to try to find proof for his peculiar spin on this prophetic expression. Biblicists have to do this when they can find no real proof for whatever discrepancies they are trying to explain away.

What appears in Amos 7:11 is Amaziah the priest’s report to king Jeroboam of Amos’s prophecy against the royal house and the nation in 7:8-9, but it is an accurate report

Amaziah's report to Jeroboam was an accurate account of what Amos had prophesied against the "royal house"? Well, let's just see if it is.

Amos 7:7 This is what he [Yahweh] showed me: Yahweh was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 And Yahweh asked me, "What do you see, Amos?" "A plumb line," I replied. Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. 9 "The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam."

Maybe LJ thought that the threat to rise against the house of Jeroboam with Yahweh's sword was a prophecy that Jeroboam would be killed with the sword, but that assumption doesn't necessarily follow from what the Yahwistic "prophecy" actually said. If a rebellion against the house of Jeroboam should result in the deaths of some family members but not Jeroboam himself, it could correctly be said that a "rising with the sword" against the house of Jeroboam had occurred, even though Jeroboam himself had not been killed. Amaziah apparently took this statement to mean that Amos had said that Jeroboam himself would be killed by the sword, but if this was what Yahweh meant, it turned out to be a false prophecy, because, as I noted above, Jeroboam wasn't killed by the sword. He died a natural death and received a royal burial (2 Kings 14:29).

If a failed prophecy like this is LJ's idea of "accuracy," what can I say except that this would be just like him, because he strains to find accuracy where there is obvious discrepancy (as he is doing in his unlikely spin on the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4).

and I have used it above, rather than Amos’s version, to maintain the symmetry of the table.

What good is "symmetry" in a table where the symmetry was derived from obvious misinterpretations of key biblical passages in the table? Also, if Amaziah's take on Yahweh's prophecy against "the house of Jeroboam" was incorrect, as I just showed that it was, what value is the "symmetry" derived from it?

Observe the following:

  1. The fact that idolatry is indisputably the reason for the two judgments in 1 Kings 14:14-16 and Amos 7:11, and the judgment of the nation in Hosea 1:4 gives rise to the strong presumption that the royal house is judged for the same basic reason in Hosea 1:4,

But I have repeatedly shown that judgment on the nation of Israel in Hosea 1:4 was entirely different from the judgment pronounced on the house of Jehu. The latter judgment was pronounced because of "the blood of Jezreel" shed by the eponymous ancestor of the Jehu dynasty, whereas the judgment on the nation of Israel wasn't specifically stated in this verse but was stated in detail throughout the rest of the book of Hosea.

  1. [The fact that idolatry is indisputably the reason for the two judgments in 1 Kings 14:14-16 and Amos 7:11, and the judgment of the nation in Hosea 1:4 gives rise to the strong presumption that the royal house is judged for the same basic reason in Hosea 1:4], in which the judgment of the royal family is coupled with the judgment of the nation as in the other two passages....

The prophet Amos, however, did not "couple" the judgment of the nation with any judgment of the royal family. The pagan Amaziah was the one who did that in his letter to Jeroboam in which he distorted Yahweh's (not Amos's) prophecy that the sword would be raised against the house of Jeroboam to mean that Amos was saying that Jeroboam would be killed by the sword. As I showed above, that is something that Amos didn't say as well as something that never happened. I quoted Yahweh's actual prophecy above, so just a mouse click will show readers that LJ is reading assumptions into his "proof texts" that aren't actually stated or even implied by their contexts.

  1. This presumption is strengthened by the preceding context of Hosea 1:4, which is the idolatry of the nation.

LJ has yet to explain why references to national idolatry in the three verses before Hosea 1:4 would have to mean that when the prophet pronounced judgment on the house of Jehu for "the blood of Jezreel," he meant that the house of Jehu was going to be judged for "the blood of the children of Israel" whom the Syrians had killed as Yahweh's punishment for the nation's idolatry. As I have explained several times, and especially here, prophecies that contained more than one denunciation or condemnation are commonplace in the Bible, so the fact that Hosea pronounced impending doom on the nation of Israel in the same context where he pronounced judgment on the house of Jehu is no reason at all for LJ's "presumption" that the blood of Jezreel in this text also had to refer to "the idolatry of the nation." This text is just another example of a passage in which a ranting prophet predicted gloom and doom on more than one subject of Yahweh's wrath.

At any rate, let's take a look at LJ's "logic." His argument seemed to be that if two biblical passages (in this case 1 Kings 14:14-16 and Amos 7:11) pronounced judgment on both the royal family and the nation for their idolatry, then a third text (Hosea 1:4) must have also meant that idolatry was the reason for judgment on the royal Jehu dynasty even though the third text didn't mention idolatry but said instead that "the blood of Jezreel" was the reason for judgment on the royal house. (If that isn't what he meant, he can clarify his rather vaguely stated paragraph.)

What is wrong with this "argument"? Well, in the first place, as I pointed out above, Amos 7:11 was merely the spin that a pagan priest had given to a Yahwistic prophecy that had been given to the prophet Amos but did not itself contain the distortions that the priest claimed in his message to Jeroboam II. Likewise, Yahweh's prophecy had referred only to "waste and desolation" of the "high places" in Israel but did not make any references to exile into a foreign land. LJ, then, is finding assumptions and symmetry were none exist.

As for LJ's assumption that if two of his "proof texts" pronounced doom on both the royal family and the nation for their idolatry, then the third "proof text" must have also meant the same, even though "the blood of Jezreel" and not idolatry was given as the reason for judgment on the house of Jehu, that is just another indication of LJ's frequent appeals to non sequiturs. LJ's line of argument is somewhat as if one should say that Ezekiel said that a "blessing" would rest on the house of those who gave to the priest the firstfruits of everything they sacrificed (Ezek. 44:29-30), so when Isaiah pronounced a blessing on the people (44:3), without stating the reason for it, he must have meant that this blessing would be poured out to those who gave the firstfruits of their sacrifices to the priests. Upon being informed that the messenger Ahimahaz had been seen running toward Jerusalem, David said, "He is a good man" (2 Sam. 18:27), but gave no reason for so describing him. I suppose, then, that LJ would say that Ahimahaz had completed a last will and testament in which he had bequeathed an inheritance to his grandchildren, because Proverbs 22:13 says that "a good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children." Blessings, curses, and denunciations abound in the Bible, but the reasons why they were pronounced are as varied as the frequency with which they occurred. There is just no logical reason to assume that if texts A and B pronounced doom on both the royal family of Israel for its promotion of idolatry, then a third text pronouncing doom on the royal family for "the blood of Jezreel" would prove that this expression actually meant the blood of the children of Israel who had been killed by the Syrians. As I have repeatedly shown, Hosea 1:4 contains prophetic denunciations of both the royal house and the nation of Israel but clearly stipulates that the reason for the first denunciation was "the blood of Jezreel," while explaining in succeeding passages that the nation was going to be destroyed for its idolatrous practices. This is a far more reasonable interpretation of the text that requires no appeals to verbal legerdemain.

  1. Is idolatry the only connecting thread between the judgment of the royal house and the judgment of the nation in these three passages or is there more to the juxtaposition of these two judgments? Note that in all three passages the eventual end of the northern kingdom is in view. In 1 Kings we are plainly told that Jeroboam I is responsible for Israel’s apostasy and its final consequence: exile, and, presumably, that is the ground for the judgment of the royal house itself.

The fact that "the eventual end of the northern kingdom" was predicted in all three passages doesn't in any way prove that "the blood of Jezreel" in one of the texts was being used in the unusual sense that LJ is trying to spin, because, as I previously showed here and here, it wasn't at all unusual for the Hebrew prophets of doom and gloom to string together in the same contexts various reasons why Yahweh was going to send punishments upon those who were guilty of perceived abominations and sins, so there is no reason to think that Hosea did not in a single verse predict punishments on both the Jehu dynasty and the nation of Israel. Even in the biblical story of Jehu's alleged commission to destroy the house of Ahab, there are examples of multiple reasons given for Yahweh's command "to make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat" (2 Kings 9:9).

  1. Ahab "walked in the sins of Jeroboam" and provoked Yahweh to anger "more than all the kings of Israel who were before him" (1 Kings 16:30-34).

  2. The conspiracy of Ahab's wife Jezebel to murder Naboth in order to take possession of his vineyard provoked Yahweh to send the prophet Elijah to pronounce doom on the house of Ahab (1 Kings 21:17-26).

  3. Because of Ahab's repentance in sackcloth, Yahweh (in typical fashion) postponed the destruction of the house of Ahab until "his son's day" (1 Kings 21:27-29).

  4. Ahab's successor son Jehoram "clung to the sins of Jeroboam" (2 Kings 3:3), so Jehu (the central figure in the issue under consideration) was presumably commissioned to go destroy the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:6-9).

If Ahab had provoked Yahweh to anger "more than all the kings of Israel who were before him," this would mean that Ahab had provoked Yahweh even more than Jeroboam had, yet despite the grief that these two kings had caused the omniscient Yahweh, he took no direct action against them. As already noted, Jeroboam reigned for 22 years and died a natural death (1 Kings 14:20), and Yahweh, as just noted, choosing to delay destruction of the house of Ahab until "his son's day," allowed Ahab to reign for 22 years (1 Kings 16:29). I am pointing out these asininities to keep readers reminded of the superstitious silliness that LJ is trying to defend, for to believe that an ancient tribal god actually intervened to punish kings and nations for worshiping gods other than him is to believe... well, superstitious silliness.

At any rate, Ahab had "walked in the sins of Jeroboam" and had provoked Yahweh to anger "more than all the kings of Israel who were before him," so this was ostensibly the reason why Yahweh had sent a "son of the prophets" to anoint Jehu king over Israel and commission him to go "make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat." However, in delivering the commission to Jehu, the son of the prophet clearly stated that there were other reasons why Yahweh was ordering the destruction of the house of Ahab. Notice the italicized parts of the commission.

2 Kings 9:6 Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu's head and declared, "This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: 'I anoint you king over Yahweh's people Israel. 7 You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all Yahweh's servants shed by Jezebel. 8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel--slave or free. 9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah.

In making the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam, so the prophet said, Jehu would also be avenging the blood of the prophets and servants of Yahweh who had been killed by Ahab and Jezebel. Remarks attributed to Jehu, presumably by the omnisciently inspired author of 2 Kings, claim that the destruction of the house of Ahab was a completion of "the word of Yahweh, which he had spoken to Elijah" (2 Kings 10:17) and also an avenging of "the blood of Naboth and his sons" (9:25-26). In this single passage, then, we have an example of multiple reasons for the administration of punishment. In other words, the author of 2 Kings thought that in the destruction of the house of Ahab, Jehu was rendering punishment not only for Ahab's promotion of idolatry but also for having killed prophets and the family of Naboth, so except for his desire to remove a discrepancy from the Bible, there is no rational reason at all why LJ should think that the prophet Hosea could not have stated in a single verse of prophetic scripture more than one reason for Yahweh's administration of punishment: (1) the house of Jehu would be punished for the massacres committed at Jezreel by its eponymous ancestor and (2) the nation of Israel would be punished for its idolatrous practices. Seeing Hosea 1:4 in this way requires no verbal gymnastics but merely accepts the face-value language of the text.

  1. In Hosea we are told that “the blood of Jezreel” is the ground for the judgment of the royal house.

Yes, and the face-value language of the text requires readers with no axes to grind to understand that Hosea was saying nothing more than that Yahweh was going to punish vicariously the house of Jehu for atrocities committed by its eponymous ancestor. As LJ and I have both previously noted, belief that the gods often punished people for the "sins" of others, especially the sins of kings, was commonplace in biblical literature, so understanding Hosea 1:4 to mean that Yahweh was going to punish the descendants of Jehu for atrocities he had committed at Jezreel is entirely consistent with a widespread belief of the times, and it requires no verbal legerdemain to so interpret it but merely accepts the face-value meaning of the text.

  1. We have seen that “the blood of Jezreel” can certainly be interpreted to mean the “death of Jezreel,” i.e., the destruction of the northern kingdom.

No, we haven't seen that "the blood of Jezreel" can be interpreted to mean "the death of Jezreel." If LJ wants to make the word blood plural, then I will agree with him that the blood of Jezreel in this text meant "the deaths of Jezreel," i. e., the deaths of those whom Jehu massacred at Jezreel. To so understand the expression the blood of Jezreel is to accept the face-value language of the text. As previously noted, a fundamental principle of both hermeneutics and literary interpretation, known as "the literal interpretation principle," says that "when the plain sense of a text makes common sense, seek no other sense." Application of this principle requires readers to interpret the language of a text literally unless there are compelling reasons to assign figurative meanings. The only reason why LJ will not apply this principle to the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 is his desire to make this verse consistent with 2 Kings 10:30, where Yahweh presumably praised Jehu for having done right, according to all that was in Yahweh's heart, in destroying the house of Ahab. If this verse were not in the Bible, LJ would never have thought that the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 meant anything but the blood that Jehu had shed at Jezreel in massacring the royal family of Israel.

  1. Interpreted thus, we have an exact parallel to 1 Kings 14:14-16 in Hosea 1:4, with the latter passage being explicit as to the reason for the judgment of the royal house.

The parallel exists only in LJ's mind, because he is interpreting fuguratively the reason for the judgment of the royal family in Hosea 1:4, whereas he interprets literally the reason given for "judgment" in 1 Kings 14:14-16. My juxtaposition below shows this important difference in the way LJ is interpreting the reasons for the two judgments in what he calls "exact parallel[s]."

The Text The Royal Family The Nation of Israel
1 Kings 14:7-16 The sins of Jeroboam The sins of Jeroboam
Hosea 1:4 The blood of Jezreel Idolatry (stated later)

As noted above, the "sins of Jeroboam" were specifically identified in various biblical passages as the golden calves that Jeroboam put in Dan and Bethel for the Israelites to worship (2 Kings 10:29), so there can be no doubt at all about the meaning of this expression. On the other hand, there are no biblical texts where "the blood of Jezreel" was identified to mean the children of Israel who were killed by the Syrians. Hence, the texts in the juxtaposition above cannot be considered "exact parallels," because the reasons given for punishment of the royal family are entirely different. One reason is clearly defined in the Bible and the other one isn't beyond the commonsense conclusion that the blood of Jezreel means exactly what the literal meanings of the words convey. LJ, then, is asserting that a literal expression (the sins of Jeroboam) and a figurative expression (figurative in the sense that he is claiming) are exact parallels. To have an actual parallel, however, LJ would have to interpret the "sins of Jeroboam" in some figurative sense, because the literal meaning of "the sins of Jeroboam" would not be parallel to LJ's claim that "the blood of Jezreel" (the reason in Hosea 1:4 for the punishment of the royal house of Israel) was used figuratively to mean the children of Israel who were killed in raids by the Syrians.

Furthermore, the text in 1 Kings 14:7-16 specifically stated that both the house of Jeroboam (vs:9-10) and the nation of Israel (vs:15-16) would be punished (destroyed) because of "the sins of Jeroboam." On the other hand, Hosea 1:4 gave a reason only for the punishment of the house of Jehu, but no reason was given (in this verse proper) for ending the nation of Israel. One has to read on into the book of Hosea to see that idolatry was the reason why the prophet thought that Yahweh would bring the northern kingdom to an end, so even if LJ could find some biblical text that would clearly confirm his figurative interpretation of the blood of Jezreel, he still could not claim that Hosea 1:4 is an "exact parallel" to 1 Kings 14:14-16. He is seeing in the former text what he wants to see, and he wants to see figurative meaning in the blood of Jezreel for no other reason but to make Hosea 1:4 consistent with 2 Kings 10:30.

  1. If, as the prophets claimed, they made their prophetic utterances by the power of God, the predictions in these three passsages emanate from the same divine source and so we would expect the juxtaposition of the judgment of the royal house and the nation found in these passages to signal that they are parallels to one another in their basic meaning.

I have already said more than enough to show that the texts in LJ's juxtaposition are not at all parallel, so I don't need to replow ground that I have already covered in detail.

As for FT’s objections against my use of Amos 7:11 in support of my solution in the earlier article, they are so frivolous that they do not deserve comment in this section, and I have relegated my comments to the section headed “Miscellaneous” at the end of this article. Please see under “Frivolous objections.”

I will answer all of LJ's comments on my "frivolous objections" when I come to that section of his article. I think that those "intelligent readers" whom LJ referred to earlier will see that these "objections" were hardly frivolous. Whether they were frivolous or not, my strategy of answering my opponents point by point requires me to comment on everything they say; hence, if LJ thinks that some of what I said was frivolous, the frivolity could well be due to absurdities in his line of argumentation. At any rate, in that section of LJ's articles, readers are going to see absurdity gone to seed in his comments on some of my "frivolous objections."

In FT’s exegesis, “Jezreel” in Hosea 1:4 symbolizes the following two things:

  1. “Yahweh’s command to name Hosea’s son Jezreel was intended as a gesture of recognition that God and not Baal ‘sows’ the seeds of fertility that caused the birth of Hosea’s son” (p. 9, Part 1).

Here is a good example of how biblicists, desperate to explain away discrepancies in the Bible, will flagrantly quote their opponents out of context. Those who click the link above will see that I didn't say that Yahweh's command to name Hosea's son Jezreel was intended as a gesture of recognition that God and not Baal sows the seeds of fertility but that I actually said that this could have been Hosea's intention. Notice how LJ lifted just part of my statement out of its wider context.

Gomer was the woman whom Hosea married when Yahweh told him to "take a wife of whoredom," so, as some scholars think, she was probably a cultic priestess or at least a prostitute. If so, she was likely dedicated to Baal, a Canaanite god associated with, among other things, fertility, because Hosea made two references to the Israelite worship of Baal (2:8; 13:1) and additional references to Baal worship in its plural form (2:13,17). It could be, then, that Yahweh's command to name Hosea's son Jezreel was intended as a gesture of recognition that God and not Baal "sows" the seeds of fertility that caused the birth of Hosea's son. In the first verse cited above, Yahweh had said that he had given the wine, grain, oil, silver, and gold that the symbolic mother of Israel had given to Baal (2:8).

The italicized part clearly shows that I was saying only that this could have been Hosea's intention. LJ deceptively lifted a subordinate clause out of its broader context and made it an independent main clause to leave the impression that I had said that this was Hosea's intention. I was very clear in saying that I was stating a view of "some scholars," and I could quote all day long those who agree with my could-have-been explanation of why Yahweh commanded Hosea to name his son Jezreel.

  1. He further says in Part 2, “I have shown beyond reasonable doubt that the name of Gomer’s first son did not represent ‘the children of Israel’ but rather the source of Gomer’s fertility."

LJ has quoted only the first independent clause in a compound sentence. I went on to say, "(S)o there is no need for me to swat a mosquito with a sledgehammer by rehashing that rebuttal here again." For the sake of brevity, when I said this, I gave no link to my previously stated evidence because I assumed that readers would readily recall at least the essence of the argument that I was referring to. Since years have now gone by since posting the first exchanges between LJ and me, I will quote most of my original argument, after LJ's second truncated quotation below, so that readers can again see how he likes to lift brief comments from my articles out of their broader contexts. By doing this, he leaves the impression of answering his opponent when in reality he is trying to hide his inability to reply to fully developed arguments.

  1. “[T]he name Jezreel, given to Gomer’s son, was clearly intended to recall ‘the blood of Jezreel’ for which Yahweh intended to punish the house of Jehu, because the prophet said that the house of Jehu would be punished for the blood of Jezreel.”

So after first quoting out of context something I had said in Part 1 of my original replies, LJ then leaped forward to Part 2 to truncate another statement I had made. Now in a third truncated quotation, he has jumped back to the same paragraph in Part 1 from which he had lifted the first abbreviated quotation. So that readers can see that I did indeed present my argument in detail, I will quote here the full context of my argument, which LJ truncated immediately above. I made this statement right after referring to the beliefs of some scholars who think that the purpose of Hosea's giving the name Jezreel to his firstborn son was to convey that Yahweh and not Baal was the source of fertility that had made possible the child's birth.

At any rate, the name Jezreel, given to Gomer's son, was clearly intended to recall "the blood of Jezreel" for which Yahweh intended to punish the house of Jehu, because the prophet said that the house of Jehu would be punished for the blood of Jezreel. It would stretch imagination beyond reasonable limits to think that Jehu committed a famous massacre at Jezreel but that Hosea's statement that the "house of Jehu" was going to be punished "for the blood of Jezreel" did not refer to the blood that Jehu had shed at Jezreel but rather to the "children of Israel" who had been killed during the reigns of the Jehu dynasty, as LJ will soon claim below. To see this more clearly, let's imagine that a person named James Smith has been indicted for multiple murders at a town called Clarkville. If LJ should read a newspaper report that said that the trial of Smith had ended with his being condemned to death "for the murders in Clarkville," I doubt that LJ would have any difficulty understanding that "the murders in Clarkville" referred to the murders that Smith had been accused of committing. I seriously doubt that LJ would think it possible that Smith had been condemned to die for bank robbery or jaywalking or any other offense except the one called to mind by the phrase "murders in Clarkville." As I continue through LJ's latest "solution" to the Jehu problem, I intend to show that the word blood was used idiomatically in Hebrew to mean murder or killing, so the name Jezreel in Hosea 1:4, used in reference to the "blood" of Jezreel, was clearly associated with the murders that Jehu had committed in the valley of Jezreel. No other interpretation makes any sense.

The name Jezreel meant "God sows," so the interpretation of the name in my statement that LJ truncated above is entirely plausible. The word Jezreel, however, could also mean "God scatters," so there could have been a double meaning in the naming of Hosea's first son. In addition to its signifying that Yahweh, rather than Baal, was the source of Gomer's fertility, it could also have signified that the people of Israel, as later predicted in the book, would be scattered abroad in a foreign captivity. Either one or both meanings give no plausible cause at all to think that the name Jezreel was used to mean the children of Israel. That is especially true, since LJ has been unable to cite a single biblical example of where the name was ever unequivocally used to signify what he is claiming it meant in Hosea 1:4. As "the murders in Clarkville," in my hypothetical example above, would quite naturally call to mind the murders that Smith had committed in the town named Clarkville, so "the blood of Jezreel" would immediately elicit memories of the massacres that Jehu had committed at Jezreel. Any other interpretation is too unlikely to merit serious consideration.

  1. FT understands “the blood of Jezeel” variously as “the bloodshed at Jezeel” (p. 8, Part 1), “the blood that Jehu shed at Jezreel,” (p. 9, Part 1), “the murders that Jehu committed in the valley of Jezreel” (p. 10, Part 1).

Among the objections that may be urged against FT’s exegesis are the following:

  1. To begin with, quite apart from the question of whether the above interpretations of “the blood of Jezreel” fit the context in which this phrase occurs, there is the more fundamental question of whether these meanings are linguistically possible for this phrase. Specifically, the issue is, Does the usage of the expression “the blood of…” elsewhere in the Bible permit such meanings as “the bloodshed at Jezreel,” “the murders Jehu committed in the valley of Jezreel,” “massacre at Jezreel,” etc. for “the blood of Jezreel”?

That the Hebrew word blood [דּם] was used in biblical literature to convey the same sense as bloodshed or shed blood in English is evident from the many times that דּם was so rendered in English translations. Some versions, such as the NAB, even used the English word bloodshed to translate דּם in Hosea 1:4.

NAB: (F)or in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed at Jezreel.

NKJV: For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu.

NASB: (F)or yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel.

NAB: (F)or in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed at Jezreel.

NEB: (F)or in a little while I am going to punish the dynasty of Jehu for the blood shed in the valley of Jezreel.

HCSB: (F)or in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu.

NET: (I)n a little while I will punish the dynasty of Jehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Jezreel.

NWT: (F)or yet a little while and I must hold an accounting for the acts of bloodshed of Jez´re·el against the house of Je´hu.

JB: (F)or it will not be long before I make the House of Jehu pay for the bloodshed at Jezreel.

Complete Jewish Bible: (I)n only a short time I will punish the house of Yehu for having shed blood at Yizre'el.

The Emphasized Bible: (F)or, yet a little, and I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.

When I say that the Hebrew word blood [דּם] as used in Hosea 1:4 conveyed the idea of bloodshed, I am certainly not alone, because the hundreds of Hebrew scholars involved in the translations quoted above agreed that this was the meaning of the word. In addition to these translations, other versions rendered "the blood of Jezreel" as "the massacre at Jezreel" (NIV & CCB), "murders" (CEV, NCV, GNB, & Fenton's), "bloody deeds" (JPS), or some equivalent. The translations quoted and cited above also agreed that Hosea 1:4 was pronouncing an impending punishment on the house or dynasty of Jehu and that the reason for this punishment would be the bloodshed (massacres, murders, bloody deeds, etc.) committed at Jezreel. It seems, then, that LJ finds himself very much in the minority in his view of what this verse was saying, and we will see him even acknowledging this below.

Before we go on to LJ's recognition that "many... Christian apologists and some Bible translators" think that Hosea 1:4 was referring to the massacre of the royal family of Israel at Jezreel as the reason for an impending punishment of the house of Jehu, I first want to notice a few of many other Old Testament passages where translators recognized that דּם [blood] was used to mean bloodshed.

In the KJV, Leviticus 17:4 stated that if someone killed an animal in the camp or out of the camp but didn't bring it to be sacrificed at the tabernacle altar, "blood shall be imputed unto that man." The RSV, NKJV, NRSV, NIV, NET, NAB, NSB, Christian Community Bible, and others rendered the word דּם [blood] as "bloodshed" or "bloodguilt" or some equivalent. There are various other examples I could cite of passages where דּם [blood] was translated bloodshed. The New American Standard Bible, for example, used bloodshed 27 times to translate דּם [blood]. In Isaiah 4:4, for example, which is one of LJ's primary proof texts in his chart below, this version has the prophet speaking of the time when Yahweh would wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purge "the bloodshed of Jerusalem." My understanding "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 to mean the bloodshed at Jezreel, then, isn't nearly as implausible as LJ apparently thinks it is. I certainly don't want to imply that the number of scholars who take a specific position is sufficient to prove the truth of that position, but the fact that LJ stands entirely alone on this issue should at least give him pause to reexamine it, but so far he has shown no inclination to do so.

  1. Many, including Christian apologists and some Bible translators (judging from the translations cited by FT), take for granted that this phrase can have these meanings, and the time has now come to look at this basic issue.

I would say that not just "many" but most translators and scholars see "the blood of Jezreel" as a reference to Jehu's massacre at Jezreel. In fact, I know of none who think that it wasn't a reference to this massacre. As I just noted above, truth cannot be determined by the number of those who may believe a proposition, but when one stands entirely alone, as LJ does, in opposition to literally thousands of Bible students and scholars who understand that "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 was referring to the atrocities committed at Jezreel, that should at least give him cause to wonder about the soundness of his interpretation. In addition to his different attempts to resolve the Jehu discrepancy, LJ has sent me an article in which he argued that inspiration of the Bible by an omniscient, omnipotent deity would not necessitate inerrancy. The article is tedious to read because of repeated appeals that LJ made to what different writers said about the issue of biblical inspiration.. Overall, some 40 different authors were cited or quoted, whom LJ either agrees or disagrees with. If I can ever find the time, I intend to reply to the parts of this article in which LJ tried to answer my series on the traditional inerrancy doctrine, but I am referring here to this yet unpublished article in order to contrast the strategies he used in it and the article I am now answering. In the former, apparently wanting to appear scholarly, he filled the article with references to what various writers had said on the subject of inspiration, but quotations or citations of writers who agree with him on the meaning of the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 are conspicuously absent in the article I am now replying to. He stands alone in believing that Jezreel was used in this text to symbolize the children of Israel who had been killed by the Syrians. That in no way proves that his position is wrong, but it should certainly make readers wonder why it has taken almost 3,000 years for someone to recognize what Hosea meant in this verse. His isolation on this issue juxtaposed with the fact that his spin on the blood of Jezreel runs contrary to fundamental hermeneutic and literary rules of interpretation results in zero confidence in his unlikely interpretation.

In the phrase “the blood of Jezreel,” “blood” and “Jezreel” are both concrete nouns. The genitive construction “the blood of …” occurs 69 times in the OT, in 63 times out of which the genitive phrase (technically, the absolute in Hebrew, but for convenience I will be using the term genitive throughout as mentioned at the outset of this article) contains a concrete noun or concrete nouns. All the occurrences of the expression “the blood of …” in the OT having a concrete noun/s in the genitive phrase are set out in the table below:

I showed earlier that LJ is far from the Hebrew scholar that he apparently wants readers to think he is. As I explained in the section just linked to, in all of his talk about the "genitive" in Hebrew (which didn't really exist), he confused absolute nouns with the construct form used to convey what was roughly equivalent to the possessive case in English or the genitive in languages like Latin and Greek. At any rate, he seems to like the term genitive, so I will follow where he leads to show that the so-called "genitive" construction in Hebrew, as well as in languages that actually have a genitive case, doesn't always show possession. He has favored us with a chart below that he thinks helps his case. For the sake of continuity, I will quote it in its entirety before replying to any of its parts.

Scripture referencePhrase in YLTScripture referencePhrase in YLT
Gen. 4:11the blood of thy brother 2 Sam. 1:22 the blood of the wounded
Gen. 49:11the blood of the grapes2 Sam. 3:27the blood of Asahel
Ex. 23:18the blood of My sacrifice2 Sam. 3:28 the blood of Abner
Ex. 29:12the blood of the bullock2 Sam. 16:8the blood of the house of Saul
Ex. 30:10the blood of the sin-offering

2 Sam. 23:17

the blood of the men
Ex. 34:25the blood of My sacrifice

1 Kg. 21:19

the blood of Naboth
Lev. 4:5the blood of the bullock1 Kg. 22:35the blood of the wound
Lev. 4:7the blood of the bullock2 Kg. 9:27 the blood of My servants
Lev. 4:16the blood of the bullock2 Kg. 9:27the blood of all the servants of Jehovah
Lev. 4:25the blood of the sin-offering2 Kg. 9:26 the blood of Naboth
Lev. 4:34the blood of the sin-offering 2 Kg. 9:26the blood of his sons
Lev. 5:9the blood of the sin-offering 2 Kg. 16:13the blood of the peace-offerings
Lev. 7:14the blood of the peace-offerings 2 Kg. 16:15 the blood of the burnt-offering
Lev. 7:33the blood of the peace-offerings1 Ch.11:19the blood of these men
Lev. 14:6the blood of the slaughtered bird2 Ch. 24:25the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest
Lev. 14:14the blood of the guilt-offeringPs. 50:13 the blood of he-goats
Lev. 14:17the blood of the guilt-offering Ps. 58:10 the blood of the wicked
Lev. 14:25the blood of the guilt offeringPs. 68:23 the blood of enemies
Lev. 14:28the blood of the guilt-offering Ps. 79:10the blood of Thy servants
Lev. 14:51the blood of the slaughtered birdPs. 106:38the blood of their sons and of their daughters
Lev. 14:52the blood of the birdPr. 28:17the blood of a soul
Lev. 15:14the blood of the bullock Is. 1:11the blood of bullocks
Lev. 16:15the blood of the bullock Is. 4:4 the blood of Jerusalem
Lev. 16:18the blood of the bullock Is. 34:6blood of lambs and he-goats
Lev. 17:14blood of any fleshIs. 66:3 the blood of a sow
Lev. 19:16the blood of thy neighbour Jr. 2:34the blood of innocent needy souls
Num. 23:24blood of pierced ones Lam. 4:13 the blood of the righteous
Num. 35:33the blood of him that sheddeth itEzek. 16:36 the blood of thy sons
Deut. 12:27 the blood of thy sacrifices Ezek. 39:18 blood of princes of the earth
Deut. 32:14the blood of the grapeEzek. 45:19 the blood of the sin offering
Deut. 32:42the blood of the pierced and captiveHos. 1:4the blood of Jezreel
Deut. 32:43the blood of His servants  

LJ claimed that his chart contained all Old Testament occurrences of the expression “the blood of…” but actually it doesn't. Genesis 9:5, for example, spoke of "the blood of your lives," but LJ doesn't have this verse in his chart. Likewise, Leviticus 12:4-5 speaks of "the blood of her cleansing" in reference to a woman's length of impurity following childbirth, but these verses aren't in LJ's chart either. Such oversights as these are not important, because the foundation principle of LJ's chart is seriously flawed in that he thinks that the word(s) in the translated versions that were the object of the preposition of denoted ownership when used with the absolute noun דּם [blood]. In other words the blood in all of these examples, so LJ claims, was owned by or belonged to the object of the preposition of, as the construct form was translated in English, but this position shows an almost incredible linguistic ignorance. This structure that LJ calls the "genitive" does in many cases indicate possession or ownership, but, depending on context, it can also convey various other meanings. This structure is often used to convey contents as in "a bucket of water" or "a sack of flour." In this structure, the bucket doesn't belong to the water, and the sack doesn't belong to the flour; they are simply the containers of the substances in them, i. e., water and flour. The structure can be used to specify or designate measurement as in "a yard of silk" or "a height of 5,000 feet." The yard doesn't belong to the silk and the height doesn't belong to the 5,000 feet; these are simply units that designate measurements of length and height. This structure can also indicate special designation as in "a week of fasting." The week isn't owned by fasting but is simply devoted to or consecrated to fasting. Sometimes this structure is used to denote composition as in "a swarm of locusts." The swarm doesn't belong to the locusts, but rather the swarm consists of locusts.

I could cite several other examples, but these are sufficient to show that LJ doesn't understand the function of a linguistic form that he calls the "genitive." Exodus 13:21, for example, speaks of a "pillar of cloud" that followed the Israelites by day and a "pillar of fire" that followed them by night. Certainly, the writer didn't mean that the pillars belonged to the cloud and the fire but that the substance or composition of the pillars was cloud and fire. In the same way, what LJ calls a "genitive" structure after the word blood didn't necessarily denote ownership or possession. One of the examples that LJ omitted from his chart and listed later as an example of a "genitive" with an abstract object refers to "the blood of her purifying [cleansing]" in reference to a woman's impurity after childbirth.

Leviticus 12:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

The "blood" in this passage didn't belong to the woman's "purifying," but merely indicated a state or condition that she was in according to Hebrew law. If she had borne a male child, she was unclean for seven days after which she had to observe 33 days of purification; if she had borne a female child, her uncleanness and days of purification were twice as long. The "blood of purifying," then, apparently referred to a superstitious belief that bearing a child made the woman's blood impure, which superstitiously necessitated 33 or 66 days to cleanse, depending on the sex of the child. The blood was the woman's blood and certainly not blood that belonged to the days of purification. In other words, it was an idiomatic description somewhat like "a swarm of locusts" or "a house of ill repute." As ownership or possession isn't conveyed in either of these expressions, so "the blood of her purifying" didn't convey ownership of the blood.

There is no need to analyze every example in LJ's chart, because some of his examples, which he refers to as "genitives," do convey possession or ownership, so I will concentrate on showing that the examples in his chart that didn't show ownership cast serious doubt on the spin that he is trying to give to "the blood of Jezreel." First Kings 22:35, for example, in Young's literal Translation referred to the "blood of the wound" in reference to the mortal injury that king Ahab had received in a battle at Ramoth Gilead. To claim that this expression meant that the blood belonged to the wound, as LJ tries to do later, is a ridiculous quibble that he has resorted to in order to defend an untenable position. All that this expression meant was that the blood was coming from the wound that Ahab had received, and that meaning is evident in other translations.

KJV: And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

NKJV: The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot.

RSV: The battle grew hot that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died; and the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot.

NRSV: The battle grew hot that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans, until at evening he died; the blood from the wound had flowed into the bottom of the chariot.

NIV: All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died.

NASB And the battle raged that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot in front of the Arameans, and died at evening, and the blood from the wound ran into the bottom of the chariot.

Even Young's Literal Translation clearly indicated that "the blood of the wound" meant the blood flowing from Ahab's wound: And the blood of the wound runneth out into the midst of the chariot. Obviously, then, the expression "blood of..." in the Old Testament often conveyed meanings different from the "genitive" spin that LJ's chart tried to put onto it. I will reply to other examples in this chart as LJ comments on them below.

(The genitive contains an abstract noun in the following six phrases: “the blood of the covenant” [Exodus 24:8], “the blood of her cleansing” [Leviticus 12:4, 5], “the blood of war” [1 Kings 2:5 bis] and “the blood of thy covenant” [Zechariah 9:11].)

I can't see that these so-called "genitive" nouns are as abstract as LJ seems to think. War denotes armed conflict and is often used concretely. The Crimean War, Franco-Prussian War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the war in Vietnam, etc. would all be examples of where the word war was used concretely. In the example that LJ cited, the blood of war first referred to blood that had been shed in the war between David and forces loyal to Saul's son Ishbosheth during the power struggle following Saul's death. It was during this conflict that Abner had killed Joab's brother Asahel (2 Sam. 2:18-23) for which Joab killed Abner after the war was over (2 Sam. 3:27-30). In the verse that LJ cited above, David referred to this as the blood of war" that Joab has shed in a time of peace, so the reference is to a specific war, which would make the word war concrete in this text. If not, why not? However, whether the word war was abstract or concrete in this verse, I have problems understanding LJ's line of reasoning. Is he arguing that if "blood of..." in Hebrew had a concrete object, the blood belonged to that object but if the object was abstract, it didn't? If so, what is his rationale for that distinction?

I have already commented above on "the blood of her cleansing" in Leviticus 12:4-5, so we have already seen that this example doesn't support LJ's spin on the Hebrew expression "blood of...." Neither does "the blood of war" in 1 Kings 2:5.

2:1 When David's time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: 2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, 3 and keep the charge of Yahweh your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. 4 Then Yahweh will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: 'If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.' 5 "Moreover you know also what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner son of Ner, and Amasa son of Jether, whom he murdered, retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist, and on the sandals on his feet.

The "blood of war" appeared twice in the last verse above, which literally reads, "(Joab)... slayed them (Abner and Amasa) and makes the blood of war in peace and puts the blood of war on his girdle and on the sandals that are on his feet." Joab had killed Abner and Amasa in a time of peace because of their acts committed during a war between two powers contending for the kingship of Iarael, so the word war in this passage, as I noted above, referred to a specific war, but even if the reference were figurative, the usage would not affect LJ's basis premise that the so-called "genitive" object in "the blood of [whatever]" owned or possessed the blood. That, however, was obviously not the meaning of the statement attributed to David in his final charges to Solomon. As the NRSV quoted above indicates, the meaning was more probably that the blood that Joab had shed in killing Abner and Amasa amounted to retaliating in peacetime for blood that Joab's victims had shed in a time of war. Hence, in the second usage of blood in this verse, Joab had figuratively smeared onto his belt or girdle "the blood of war." The "blood" would not have belonged to war but would have simply been blood that came from or resulted from warfare in the same way that the blood of Ahab's wound wasn't blood that "belonged to" the wound but was blood that flowed from or came from the wound.

The phrases in the table above can be analyzed into five categories in terms of meaning as follows (the number of occurrences of phrases of each category indicated in parenthesis with Hosea 1:4 disregarded):

I can certainly understand why LJ would want to "disregard" the phrase as it was used in Hosea 1:4.

  1. Human life: “the blood of thy neighbour" (Lev. 19:16), “the blood of the men” (2 Sam. 23:17) and “the blood of these men” (1 Ch. 11:19). In Genesis 9:4, 5 and Leviticus 17:14, “blood” is identified with the life of a human or an animal.

Basically, blood was identified with life in these examples, but after all his talk about figurative usage of blood, LJ apparently didn't recognize that "the blood of the men" was used figuratively in the examples cited. Literally, the reference was to water in a cup that was given to David after he had expressed a desire to drink from the well of Bethlehem. Upon hearing this, three of his men slipped through Philistine lines and drew water out of the well to take back to David, but knowing that the water had been obtained at great risk to his men, David refused to drink it. "Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?" David asked, and then poured the water out. Hence, the water here was used figuratively to symbolize the lives of the men who had obtained it. The water [blood] didn't belong to the men, and it didn't belong to the cup. It was just water that had been drawn from a well.

The other texts in LJ's examples actually say that eating flesh with the blood in it would constitute eating "life," because the blood is "its life" (Gen. 9:4), and that "the life of all flesh is the blood thereof" (Lev. 17:14), which are both technically incorrect statements. The blood helps to sustain life, but it takes more than just blood to have human life. If blood itself were life, then a dead body could be restored to life by just transfusing blood [life] into it. The biblical writers would have been just as correct had they said that the air that people breath constitutes breathing life because "the air is their life." At any rate, the biblical belief that "the life of all flesh is in the blood" was probably nothing more than a conclusion drawn from observation. Having seen people and animals die from extensive blood loss, people in prescientific times concluded that blood oozing from a wounded person was "life" flowing from their bodies. If LJ sees some significant point in the Bible's incorrect statement that the blood is the life of person, he needs to state it more specifically.

  1. This is clearly the meaning in Leviticus 19:16: “…neither shalt thou stand against the blood [i.e., the life] of thy neighbour….” (3) [sic]

More exactly, the meaning here was that a person should not try to profit from the death of another person: "You shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor" (NRSV). However, I see nothing in the meaning of this verse that would in any way support LJ's claim that the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4 meant the blood of the children of Israel who had been killed by the Syrians. Likewise, the fact that "blood" in the passages that LJ cited above meant human life [blood] would not, in any way that I can see, support the spin that LJ is trying to put onto "the blood of Jezreel." Instead of citing examples where "blood" had reference to human life [blood], LJ's time would be better spent if he would cite even one other biblical passage where Jezreel was unequivocally used to mean the children of Israel. Until he can do that, he will have nothing to support his case but far-fetched conjecture.

  1. The blood of humans shed when killed, usually with murder implied, e.g., “the blood of His servants” (Deut. 32:43), “the blood of Naboth” (1 Kg. 21:19).

The first text cited above refers to "aveng[ing] the blood of [Yahweh's] servants," so obviously blood here meant the killing of humans who had been "servants" of Yahweh. "The blood of Naboth" in the second text referred to Jezebel's murder by proxy of Naboth in order to confiscate his vineyard for her husband Ahab. Now what LJ needs to do is show us how either of these examples prove that "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 actually meant the blood of Israelites who had been killed by the Syrians. Just as "the blood of Naboth" referred to the blood of the man named Naboth and not to a man named Jacob or Josiah or Jeconiah, so we would reasonably expect "the blood of Jezreel" to have reference to blood that had been shed at the place named Jezreel and not to blood that had been shed in other locations. If not, why not?

  1. In “the blood of Asahel" in 2 Sam. 3:27, the meaning is simply “the blood of Asahel shed when he was killed,” as the killing of Asahel by Abner was technically not a murder (see 1 Kg. 2:5).

Abner's killing of Asahel is recorded in 2 Samuel 2:17-24 After a battle between forces led by Abner and forces loyal to David, Ashael pursued Abner, who turned and killed Ashael after Abner had begged him to stop his pursuit. As LJ noted, then, this was technically not a murder, but Joab's killing of Abner to avenge the death of his brother Ashael (2 Samuel 3:27) was another matter entirely, because in giving deathbed instructions to Solomon, David condemned the killing in the passage noted by LJ.

1 Kings 2:5 "Further, you know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of Israel's forces, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether: he killed them shedding blood of war in peacetime, staining the girdle of his loins and the sandals on his feet with blood of war. So act in accordance with your wisdom, and see that his white hair does not go down to Sheol in peace" (JPS).

How exactly did Joab kill Ner? The event was recorded in the text that LJ cited above.

2 Samuel 3:20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, "Let me go and rally all Israel to my lord the king, in order that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires." So David dismissed Abner, and he went away in peace. 22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for David had dismissed him, and he had gone away in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, "Abner son of Ner came to the king, and he has dismissed him, and he has gone away in peace." 24 Then Joab went to the king and said, "What have you done? Abner came to you; why did you dismiss him, so that he got away? 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you, and to learn your comings and goings and to learn all that you are doing." 26 When Joab came out from David's presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway to speak with him privately, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. So he died for shedding the blood of Asahel, Joab's brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, "I and my kingdom are forever guiltless before Yahweh for the blood of Abner son of Ner.

Obviously, David didn't agree with LJ, because his declaration that he was forever guiltless before Yahweh "for the blood of Abner" indicates that he considered Joab's vengeful act of killing Abner something for which Yahweh would hold Joab guilty. Unless David considered this an act of unwarranted bloodshed, why did he tell Solomon not to let Joab's "white hair go down to Sheol in peace," and why did Solomon acting on this advice send Benaiah to kill Joab (1 Kings 2:28-35)?

In giving Benaiah orders to kill Joab, Solomon clearly indicated that Joab's killing of Abner had been an act of unwarranted killing.

1 Kings 2:31 31 The king replied to him [Benaiah], "Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him; and thus take away from me and from my father's house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause. 32 Yahweh will bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33 So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David, and to his descendants, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace from Yaheh forevermore."

If LJ is unable to understand texts as clear in their meanings as those that condemned Joab's killing of Abner, how can we have any confidence at all in the unlikely meaning that he is trying to assign to "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4?

  1. In “the blood of him that sheddeth it” (Num. 35:33), too, there is no murder implied. (24) [sic]

Murder was more than just implied in the broader context of this verse; it was directly stated. The meaning of the verse, which I suspect eluded LJ, is that pollution of the land with blood can only be expiated by executing the person who shed the blood. That meaning is obvious in other translations like the JPS.

You shall not pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and the land can have no expiation for blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.

So if someone shed blood in the land, the only way to expiate the blood was by killing the person who had shed the blood. This is nothing more than a statement of the tit-for-tat law previously given in Genesis 9:6--"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed." It would seem to be, then, that murder was implied in the text that LJ cited, because it gave no provisions for the shedder of blood to flee to the cities of refuge--mentioned earlier in the same chapter--provided for those who accidentally killed others (35:6-15). After establishing the rules for these cities of refuge for the the benefit of those who killed others "unwittingly," this chapter turned to those who killed with malice and intention. They were said to be guilt of "murder" (35:16-21). After distinguishing between accidental killing and murder, the chapter concluded with a summation of the penalties and consequences for murder, which clearly indicated that the verse LJ cited above was about intentional and reckless killing.

29"'These are to be legal requirements for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live. 30 "'Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 31 "'Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must surely be put to death. 32 "'Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow him to go back and live on his own land before the death of the high priest. 33 "'Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, Yahweh, dwell among the Israelites.'"

As clearly as this passage was written, LJ could see no implication of murder in verse 33, so as I asked above, if he cannot understand clearly written biblical texts, how can we have any confidence that the far-fetched meaning he is trying to put onto "the blood of Jezreel" is correct? At any rate, it is time to ask again what these long tedious charts and comments about "blood" in the Old Testament have to do with what "the blood of Jezreel" meant in Hosea 1:4. It is way past time for LJ to give us some real textual evidence to support his case instead of commenting endlessly on irrelevant biblical texts that do nothing to show that "the blood of Jezreel" in the disputed text meant the blood of Israelites who had been killed by the Syrians.

  1. Simple reference to human blood: “the blood of the wound” (1 Kg. 22:35)

I commented on "the blood of the wound" above, so there is no need for me to rehash this here. Those who click this link will be reminded that this example clearly shows that in some expressions beginning with "the blood of..." the blood was not owned or possessed by the object of the preposition. Hence, the blood in this verse didn't "belong" to the wound but simply flowed from it.

  1. and “the blood of Jerusalem” (Is. 4:4). The latter is a reference to the menstrual blood of Jerusalem personified as a woman and is significant for the reason explained below. (2) [sic]

I will reply to LJ's "menstrual blood" comments when I come to them momentarily, but here I will point out that he has changed positions so many times in our Jehu debates that it is sometimes hard for me remember what his latest position is. Trying to reply to this latest article of his has been an exercise in frustration, because he would send me messages from time to time asking me to change this and that in his original copy. After a time, I told him that enough was enough and that I would make no more changes, because doing so almost always required rewriting my replies. Despite that admonition, he sent me a version with an "addendum" at the end in which he made a revision to his comments that were just quoted above. This addendum stated his admission that "the blood of Jerusalem" in Isaiah 4:4 may not have meant the "menstrual blood" of a personified woman.

I have interpreted "the blood of Jerusalem" in Isaiah 4:4 to be the own blood of a woman personifying the city of Jerusalem. Note that the possesive adjective is feminine: "And the blood of Jerusalem [the Lord] purgeth from her midst, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" (YLT). I have understood the blood to be the menstrual blood of Jerusalem. Alternatively, this may be a reference to the blood of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, which have [sic] been shed by Jerusalemites themselves. Note Ezekiel 22:4: "By thy blood that thou hast shed thou hast been guilty, And by thine idols that thou hast made thou hast been defiled..." (YLT). Even so, the genitive is still possesive. The problem with this interpretation of "the blood of Jerusalem" or any other interpretation of that phrase other than the one given in the body of this article is, What then would its parallel "the filth of the daughters of Zion" mean? The expression "the daughters of Zion" occurs in Isaiah in the preceding chapter (Isaiah 3:17) and there it literally refers to the women of Jerusalem (cf. Luke 23:28, where "the daughters of Jerusalem" are again the literal women of Jerusalem). On FT's interpretation for this phrase, "the bloodguilt of Jerusalem," what would "the filth of the daughters of Zion" mean? If it means something like "the wickedness of the women of Jerusalem," why did Isaiah restrict his prophecy only to the women of Jerusalem? Were the women of Jerusalem more guilty of bloodshed and other crimes than the men of Jerusalem (emphasis added)?

If LJ would take the time to read his "proof texts" in their full contexts, he might not misinterpret passages so obviously. In chapter 2, Isaiah began a prophecy about what lay in store for Judah and Jerusalem. He lamented that the land had been filled with foreigners, strange customs, and idols (vs:6-8). Consequently, so the prophet typically claimed, Yahweh would bring punishment upon the land. Going into chapter 3, Isaiah said that Yahweh would strip away bread and water, men of war, prophets, judges, enchanters, etc. and would cause turmoil between neighbors, friends, and family members (vs:1-7). Jerusalem would then be "ruined" and Judah would "fall" because their speech and deeds had been in indefiance to Yahweh (vs:8). They would openly declare their sin "like sodom" and not even try to hide it, and what the guilty had done to others would be done to them (vs:9-10). The people would be misled and oppressed by their rulers (vs:11-12). The women would become flagrant in publicly flaunting their beauty, "walking with outstretched necks and glancing wantonly with their eyes" as their ankles tinkled from trinkets adorning them (vs:16-17). For their lasciousness, Yahweh would punish them, of course, by afflicting "the daughters of Zion" with scabs on their head and bearing their hair.

18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. 24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.

Further punishment would entail killing their men and soldiers in battle until there would be such a scarcity of men that seven women would take hold of one man and beg to be called by his name (4:1). After this, the former glory of the land would be restored and whoever was left in Zion would be called holy "once that Yahweh has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst"(4:2-4).

That LJ thinks that this last verse refers to "menstrual blood" shows an almost incredible inability to interpret language in its broad context. He asked above what "the filth of the daughters of Zion" would be if it wasn't their menstrual blood, so I will be glad to answer that question for him. The passage quoted above from 3:18-24 was clearly describing women who engaged in public immorality by dressing to flaunt their beauty. The "filth of the daughters of Zion" then was their public immorality. Public displays of feminine immorality, however, were not the only "sins" that the prophet Isaiah raved against, so the "blood of Jerusalem" would have been blood that had been shed in the city as a result of acts of violence. Early in his book, Isaiah had warned that when the people of Judah and Jerusalem spread forth their hands to Yahweh, he would hide his face from them and not hear their prayers, because their hands were "full of blood" (1:15). He also deplored the "murderers" that were lodged in Jerusalem (1:21), so just before beginning his prophecy against Judah and Jerusalem, Isaiah had clearly indicated that murder and bloodshed were prominent among the sins of the city. Later, he spoke of "hands defiled with blood" (59:3) and feet that "rush[ed] to shed innocent blood" (59:7). Why, then, can LJ not see that his "proof text" (4:4) more likely meant nothing more than that Yahweh in restoring its former glory to Jerusalem would remove the guilt of all the bloodshed that had happened there?

That Hebrew scholars who worked on various translations of the Old Testament so understood the passage is evident in the following versions.

NASB: 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, 5 then Yahweh will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night.

HCSB: 4 when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodguilt from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning. 5 Then Yahweh will create a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing flame of fire by night over the entire site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies.

NIRV: 4 The Lord will wash away the sin of the women in Zion. He will clean up the blood that was spilled there. He will judge those who spilled that blood. His burning anger will blaze out at them.

NIV: 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.

ESV: 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then Yahweh will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night....

NLV: 4 The Lord will wash away the sin of the daughters of Zion. He will wash away the blood that was shed in Jerusalem, by the spirit of punishment and the spirit of fire.

Amplified: 4 After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting.

LJ has yet to appreciate the primary rule of hermeneutics and literary interpretation that I have previously emphasized: The language of a text is to be interpreted literally unless there are compelling reasons to assign figurative meaning. There is no compelling reason to think that "the blood of Jerusalem" In Isaiah 4:4 figuratively meant menstrual blood except for LJ's desire to find some way to eliminate a discrepancy in Hosea 1:4, but, as I have also emphasized, a desire for textual inerrancy is not a compelling reason to assign figurative meaning where none is contextually implied.

LJ also asked why Isaiah restricted his prophecy only to the women of Jerusalem if the blood in the text did not refer to menstrual blood. He asked if the women of Jerusalem were more guilty of bloodshed and other crimes than the men of Jerusalem, but my analysis above of the broader context of Isaiah 4:4 showed that the prophet had actually railed against a catalog of sins, including soothsaying, adoption of foreign customs, idolatry, corrupt princes, thievry, and bribery, as well as murder, which the people of Judah and Jerusalem had committed. If LJ thinks that all of this ranting against sins and unrighteousness in the full context of Isaiah's prophetic condemnations was addressed only to the women, his interpretative abilities are certainly myopic.

  1. The blood of animals killed, almost always in sacrifice, e.g., “the blood of the bullock” (Lev. 4:5). (31) [sic]

  2. “Blood” used figuratively for grape juice (Gen. 49:11 and Deut. 32:14). (2) [sic]

I don't disagree at all with LJ's understanding of his examples d and e, but I fail to see how expressions like "the blood of the bullock" or "the blood of the grape" as he has correctly interpreted them would in any way prove that "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 meant the blood of Israelites who had been killed by the Syrians. As I have repeatedly asked, if the prophet Hosea meant to say that Yahweh intended to punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Israelites who had been killed by the Syrians, why didn't he just say that? Why hide the meaning behind a name that would immediately evoke memories of massacres that the eponymous ancestor of the house of Jehu had committed at the city of Jezreel?

Observe the following from the above table. Disregarding Hosea 1:4,

Again, I will say that I certainly understand why LJ wants to disregard Hosea 1:4.

  1. When the referent of the genitive is a person, the blood always belongs/belonged to the referent, i.e., the reference is always to the own blood of the referent. (28 times) [sic]

Well, certainly expressions like "the blood of Naboth" or "the blood of Ashael" or "the blood of Abner" would be understood to refer to the blood of the person named as the object of the preposition of, but since there are only four such examples in the Old Testament, that really isn't enough from which to draw any definitive conclusion. Maybe LJ doesn't know what the fallacy of insufficient sampling is. All that aside, I can't see that LJ has any point here that helps his case, because Jezreel was a place and not a person.

  1. When the genitive is a proper noun, like “Jezreel,” the referent is always a person

It is? We just noticed above that there is no reason at all to think that "the blood of Jerusalem" meant the menstrual blood of filthy women in Jerusalem, so here is a case that casts serious doubts on what LJ just said. Even if his premise about "menstrual blood" is correct, this would be an example of where a proper noun used as "the referent" in what LJ calls "the genitive" was not a person, or maybe LJ wants to argue that "menstrual blood" is a person. Since there is only one other example, i. e., the blood of Jezreel in Hosea 1:4, where a "proper noun" was "the referent" in "the genitive," LJ finds himself again drawing a conclusion from a woefully inadequate sampling: Making assumptions about a whole group or range of cases based on a sample that is inadequate (usually because it is atypical or just too small). I recommend that LJ spend a little time reviewing this recognized fallacy, which is a subset of the fallacy of the hasty generalization.

Those who take the time to analyze the examples above in LJ's "blood-of" chart will see that there are only six examples in the entire Old Testament where the "referent" in "the genitive" was a proper noun, and two of these proper nouns were place names, so if there were ever such a thing as a fallacious conclusion drawn from inadequate sampling, we have it in LJ's desperate attempts to make Jerusalem and Jezreel "persons."

  1. When the genitive is a proper noun, like “Jezreel,” the referent is always a person] and the expression always refers to the own blood of the referent of the genitive: “the blood of Asahel” (2 Sam. 3:27), “the blood of Abner” (2 Sam. 3:28), “the blood of Naboth” (1 Kg. 21:19; 2 Kg. 9:26) and “the blood of Jerusalem” (Is. 4:4). These five cases are a subset of (i)above.

The last example here is not at all parallel to the other four, because Ashael, Abner, and Naboth were obviously persons, whereas Jerusalem was the name of a place, a city. Upon seeing expressions like the first four, one naturally assumes that the blood of Ashael, Abner, and Naboth was the blood that came from these persons when they were killed. A city like Jerusalem or Jezreel, on the other hand, is not a person, so it has no blood. The only logical interpretation to make, then, is that expressions like the blood of Jerusalem and the blood of Jezreel referred to the blood of people that was shed in these cities. I will have more to say about this below when LJ twists himself into verbal knots to try to make Jezreel a person and not a place.

Therefore, we would expect, based on (i) and (ii) above, that Jezreel in “the blood of Jezreel” is a person and that the reference is to the own blood of Jezreel.

We just noticed that the "conclusion" that LJ reached in (ii) is incorrect, because when the so-called genitive" is a proper noun, the "referent" is not always a person, because neither Jerusalem nor Jezreel were "persons"; they were place names. Jezreel, then, wouldn't have had its "own blood" as did persons like Ashael, Abner, and Naboth. LJ has arbitrarily assigned figurative meanings to Jerusalem and Jezreel to make them "persons," but my analysis of the context of Isaiah 4:4 above clearly shows that the "blood of Jerusalem" was blood that had been shed by violence in Jerusalem, which had previously been mentioned in the broad context of the verse, and not the "menstrual blood" of women as LJ claims, so his repetition in bold print of his spin on "the blood of Jezreel" doesn't make it a correct interpretation. Try as he may, LJ can't shout his way to victory. Instead of constructing charts containing his unsupported figurative interpretations of probably literal language, he needs to cite an example of where Jezreel was ever unequivocally used to symbolize the children of Israel. That would at least give his interpretation of Hosea 1:4 a semblance of credibility, but without such an example, his only support for it is arbitrary assertion.

What clinches the matter is that in “the blood of Jerusalem” in Isaiah 4:4, which affords an exact parallel phrase to “the blood of Jezreel,” Jerusalem is a woman personifying the city of that name (hence a person) and the blood is the menstrual blood of that woman, as explained below, and so is her own blood.

All I need to do here is link readers again to my analysis of the full context of Isaiah 4:4, which clearly shows that the reference to "the blood of Jerusalem" was made within a lengthy prophetic denunciation of Judah and Jerusalem for various sins like divining and soothsaying, adoption of alien customs, idolatry, political corruption, thievry, and bribery, compared to the sins of Sodom (Is. 3:9), which specifically included mentions of bloodshed (1:15) and murderers (1:21). In trying to make Jerusalem a "personified woman" in this passage, LJ apparently assumed that the entire prophetic denunciation of Jerusalem was restricted to women, but as I showed above, that was not the case. The references to warriors, judges, and prophets (3:2) would not have been denunciations of only women, and the "elders and princes" (3:14) would not have been women. One short passage, also analyzed above, described women who made public displays of immorality, and from this, LJ incorrectly assumed that everything in the full context of the prophecy was restricted to women. Desperation to find biblical texts to shore up an untenable position will drive biblicists to engage in unsound hermeneutics like those we are seeing from LJ.

Thus in the only other instance in the Bible in which the expression “the blood of …” has a place name in the genitive, like “Jezreel,’’ [sic] the referent is a person, and not a geographical location (i.e., the meaning is not “the blood shed at Jerusalem”), which deals a mortal blow to the interpretation of “the blood of Jezreel” as “the blood shed at Jezreel.”

The mortal blow is all in LJ's imagination, because I have explicated the passage in detail to show that the meaning he wants to attach to "the blood of Jezreel" is an arbitrary assignment of figurative meaning without anything in the context of the disputed verse to indicate that the prophet meant for his readers to understand "the blood of Jezreel" to mean anything but the blood shed in Jezreel by the eponymous ancestor of the house of Jehu. For the sake of argument, however, lets just assume that LJ's spin on the "the blood of Jerusalem" is correct and that Isaiah did mean for his readers to understand that Jeruslem in this verse was a personified woman who had defiled the city with her menstrual blood. Even if that were so, how would it prove that Hosea, an entirely different prophet writing at an entirely different time, meant for Jezreel to be understood as a personified person symbolizing the children of Israel killed by Syrians? LJ could profit from taking some basic courses in literary interpretation. If he should complete such a study, maybe he would then understand a very basic principle of literary interpretation: The meanings of words must be determined from the context in which they are used.

When the genitive noun or nouns refer to animals, the reference is again always to the own blood of the animals killed, e.g., “the blood of the bullock” (Exodus 29:12).

Animals like sheep, bullocks, goats, etc. have blood, so we would quite naturally expect references to the blood of specific animals to mean blood that came from those animals. As just noted above, however, cities like Jerusalem and Jezreel are not animals, so they have no blood. Hence, references to the blood of Jerusalem and the blood of Jezreel necessarily had to refer to something else, and I have shown that their most likely meaning is blood that was shed through violence in those places. In all biblical "history," the only violent bloodshed associated with Jezreel was Jehu's massacre of the royal family of Israel. LJ needs to give us some reason based on sound literary principles why we should think that "the blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 had reference to anything but its most likely meaning.

The blood in the “blood of the grapes” (Genesis 49:11) and “the blood of the grape” (Deuteronomy 32:14) figuratively refers [sic] to the juice the grapes contained and is thus its/their own “blood,” i.e., before the juice was extracted from the grapes, the juice was a part of the grapes.

Well, of course, blood was used figuratively in these texts, because grapes are not animals; hence, they have no blood. This fact is a compelling reason why figurative meaning should be applied to blood in these texts. The juice was indeed "a part of the grapes," but the "blood of Jezreel" and "the blood of Jerusalem" were not part of these cities in the same sense that juice is a substance that can be extracted from grapes. We, therefore, have a compelling reason why blood in these references to cities must be understood entirely differently, not as something that can be extracted from the cities by "bleeding" them but rather something that was associated with them. I have shown that references to bloodshedding and murder in Isaiah's text and the biblical account of Jehu's massacres in Jezreel give us compelling reasons to understand that blood in these references referred to blood that had been shed in these cities. No other interpretation can be made without resorting to implausible verbal gymnastics.

This leaves us with only “the blood of the wound” (1 Kings 22:35), which would mean “the blood flowing from the wound.” The genitive in this case could be considered a genitive of source as the wound is the source of the blood.

I analyzed this same verse above, so there is no need to rehash that analysis here. As I showed--and LJ's comments immediately below seem to agree--the blood didn't belong to the wound but rather flowed from or came from the womb. Watch now as LJ tries to minimize the importance of this fly in the ointment of his "genitive" argument.

In this one instance only then, out of the 62 times (disregarding Hosea 1:4) in which blood is in a construct state with a concrete noun/s in the OT, do we see the genitive not being possessive or partitive as the “the blood of the wound” belongs to the wounded person and not to the wound.

As I showed above, "the blood of war" in 1 Kings 2:5 referred to a specific war during David's power struggle to take control of the entire nation of Israel after the death of Saul, so the word war here can be interpreted concretely. The blood referred to, however, didn't belong to the war but was simply blood that had been shed in time of war, and that would make this usage of "blood of..." quite parallel to "the blood of Jezreel," which was blood that didn't come from Jezreel or belong to Jezreel but was simply blood that was associated with Jezreel in that it had been shed there. I also showed above that "the blood of Jerusalem" in Isaiah 4:4 very probably had reference to blood that had been shed in Jerusalem by those whose hands were "full of blood" (Isaiah 1:15), who were later referred to as "murderers" that filled the city (Isaiah 1:21). LJ, then, is seeing what he wants to see in his so-called "genitive" constructs and not what the texts most likely meant.

Still, the relationship between the head noun and the genitive in the expression “the blood of the wound” is close, because a wound would naturally be expected to produce blood.

Yes, it would, and, given the idiomatic usages of blood in the Hebrew language, a massacre in a specific locality like Jezreel would naturally be expected to be referred to as "the blood of Jezreel." If not, why not? Likewise, blood that had been shed in a city like Jerusalem, which was filled with murderers whose hands were full of blood, could naturally be expected to be referred to as "the blood of Jerusalem." If not, why not?

Do we see such a close relationship between the two nouns in the phrase “the blood of Jezreel” if this is interpreted to mean “the blood shed in Jezreel” by Jehu?

My comments immediately above show that such a close relationship between the two nouns in "the blood of Jezreel" should be readily apparent to anyone who isn't on a crusade to try to prove that an obvious biblical discrepancy isn't really a discrepancy.

“The blood shed in Jezreel” carries with it no necessary implication that the blood belongs to or is a part of Jezreel in any sense,

LJ's main problem in all of his talk about "the genitive" is that he apparently doesn't understand the various meanings that this linguistic structure can convey. It can communicate a sense of ownership or possession parallel to the possessive case in English, but as I showed here and here, it can also convey several other meanings, such as descriptions, content, source, location, etc. Certainly, "the blood of Jezreel" carries no implication that the blood belonged to Jezreel, but it does convey a sense of location, i. e., where the blood referred to was located. Even LJ should be able to understand that an expression like "the snows of Kilamanjaro" in the title of Ernest Hemingway's famous short story and articles about global warming doesn't mean that the snows belong to Kilamanjaro but that they are located there. I have repeatedly noted that (1) the Bible records a story of Jehu's seizure of the throne of Israel by massacring the royal family and its associates in a bloody coup d'état at Jezreel and that (2) no other accounts of bloodshed in Jezreel are recorded anywhere else in the Bible, so Hosea's reference to "the blood of Jezreel" in a context that also mentions "the house of Jehu" automatically elicits memories of this event in the history of Israel. To try to make it mean anything but Jehu's massacre of the royal family at Jezreel requires one to stretch imagination like a rubber band, and we have seen LJ doing exactly that.

for if Jehu had massacred some non-Jezreelites who happened to be in Jezreel at the time, that blood could still have been called or included in “the blood shed in Jezreel” by Jehu.

Indeed it could. As a matter of fact, Jehu included Ahaziah 2 Kings 9:27-28), the king of Judah, as well as 42 servants of Ahaziah (2 Kings 10:12-14), in the massacre. These were non-Jezreelites, but they were certainly a part of "the blood of Jezreel," because, as previously noted, this expression, rather than conveying ownership, located the blood. It was blood that had been shed at the placed named Jezreel rather than some other place. That LJ would resort to such a quibble as this shows how desperate he is to defend an untenable position. His quibbling continues immediately below.

If the blood shed in Jezreel by Jehu could be called “the blood of Jezreel,” then, by the same token, the food eaten by Jehu in Jezreel could be called “the food of Jezreel." Similarly, if Jehu defecated in Jezreel after his massacre there, the excrement deposited in Jezreel by Jehu could be called “the shit of Jezreel”! If not, why not?

Well, if Jehu's acts of eating and defecating could for some reason be considered events momentous enough to merit such emphasis, I suppose that one could so refer to them, but LJ is really resorting to a fallacy of false analogy here, because he is trying to compare daily routine events with a consequential one that changed the history of a nation. When an American familiar with Civil War history hears a reference to "the battle of Gettysburg," he immediately associates it with a famous battle at this place that changed the course of American history. Any written or spoken reference to this battle will instantly be associated with the events that happened in the three-day conflict that turned the tide of the war in favor of the North. If a historic battle had been fought at Jezreel that altered the course of Israelite history as did Jehu's massacre of the royal family, would it not be appropriate to call this "the battle of Jezreel"? Why, then, does LJ not think that a simple reference to "the blood of Jezreel" was not a reference to the famous massacre in Jezreel? Well, the answer to that question is rather obvious. He wants to eliminate a discrepancy in the Bible. Were it not for the praise that 2 Kings 10:30 had heaped onto Jehu for his slaughter of the royal family of Israel at Jezreel, LJ wouldn't have given even a moment's consideration to trying to make it mean anything but an obvious reference to Jehu's massacre at Jezreel.

LJ next turned to trying to explain why "the blood of Jezreel" could not mean the massacre at Jezreel or "the bloodshed at Jezreel," more quibbles that I will reply to point by point in part four. Meanwhile, I intend to post the first three parts of my replies to LJ's second attempt at rationalizing away the obvious meaning of "the blood of Jezreel."

Go to Part Four.  



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