The culture of peace is expected to exist in the eschatological time as it is seen in
Hos 2:18-22 and Isa 11:6-9.
As we stated yesterday that humans are the ones who decide whether we want to follow God’s way or our own way. It is up to us. Whatever we decide there is a consequence of it. However the optimistic sense is there for God still has maintained the humans’ status as being created in God’s image. It creates hope which is revealed in the eschatological expectation.
I chose two sets of eschatological texts of the Old Testament are pertinent to this part, these are Hosea 2:18-22 (English Translation) and Isaiah 11:6-9.
(18) On that day, I will make a covenant for them with the animals in the field and with the birds of the heaven and the creeping things of the land; and bow, and swords and warfare I will abolish from the earth, and I shall cause them to lie down securely
(19) I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice and in loving kindness and in compassion
(20) And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you shall know Yahweh
(21) On that day, says YHWH, it shall be, I will answer to the skies, and they will answer the earth
(22) and the earth will answer the grain and the new wine and the fresh oil; and they will answer Jezreel.
Scholars argue about the date of the composition above whether it is from
Hosea [i]or the redactor either during pre-exile[ii] or exile period.[iii]
If we read carefully the book of Hosea from chapter one, it is stated clearly, like what is stated on Genesis 6-9 that Yahweh is not one who destroys (cf. Hos 11:9). Though Yahweh had been angered by Israel’s attitude (see Hos 2:1-8), and announces punishment to the people (Hos 2:9-13), all these plans and feelings are melted by the compassionate love which Yahweh has for Israel (cf. genesis 9: ). Instead of making Israel’s life miserable with punishment, the compassionate Yahweh tries to persuade Israel t remain in their “marriage” relationship (hos 2:14-17). As a result of this expected reconciliation, Yahweh will do two things:
- God will make a covenant for the people with the wild animals and
- The bow, the sword and warfare will be abolished (broken) from the earth.
It means there is no violence anymore between humans and animals and among
It is clear in Hosea 1-2 that the relationship between Yahweh and Israel is in serious trouble. The analogy of marriage points to “a mutual commitment,” they belong to each other. In this case, Israel is the unfaithful partner, Israel does not “know” her husband, Yahweh (Hos 4:1, 6; 5:4; 6:3, 6). Knowing Yahweh here refers to acknowledging the sovereignty of Yahweh who is the almighty and is the source of everything (Hos 2:8).[iv] Yahweh responds to Israel’s betrayal with understanding, compassionate love. Yahweh’s love for Israel will initiate a transformed relationship, in which Israel will “know” Yahweh (Hos 2:19-20). At that time Israel will know Yahweh, and a true relationship between them will come about. Thus, by using the extended terrace pattern,[v] Hosea (or the redactor) proclaims that Yahweh will answer to the heavens, and the heavens will answer the earth, and the earth will answer the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil[vi] and they will answer Jezreel. As a result, there will be enough food for Israel, a gift from Yahweh (cf. Hos 2:8, 9, 12, and 15).[vii]
Hos 2:18-20 indicates, therefore that when Yahweh brings about the transformed relationship between Yahweh and Israel, Israel will not need fear of animals, war and the lack of food. This is a remarkable declaration of the interdependence among all parts of creation which can not be separated from the interrelationship between the creation and the creator (Yahweh-animals- humans in Hos 2:18 and Yahweh-plants –humans in Hos 2:21).
The well being of the interrelationships among creation can not be separated from the well being of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel; these two aspects are interrelated[viii]. These interrelationships also can be seen in Hoisea’s statement of the consequences if Israel does not “know” Yahweh: there will be chaos on earth (Hos 4:3).
(6) The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together,
And a little child shall lead them.
(7) The cow and the bear shall feed together,
Their offspring shall lie down;
And the lion like cattle shall eat straw.
(8) The sucking child shall play over the hole of the cobra;
The weaned child shall put his hands on the den of the adder.
(9) They shall not hurt and destroy in all my holy mountain;
For the earth shall full of the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea.
Though scholars have had differing views about the content of Isa 11:6-9,[ix] but I understand this part in a literal way.
The combination of the preposition “with” in lines one and two with the adverb “together” in line three, emphasizes the idea of togetherness among animals in v. 6. The animals are not only living together, but also their young feed themselves together. The climax of this stanza indicates that a young child shall lead them. The harmonious relationship among the animals expands to humans, since a young child shall shepherd them.
The repetition of the word “lie down” and “together” is found in v.7 indicates the importance of the central idea, that is, the harmonious relationship between the animals such as the cow and the bear, even till to their generations. The vegetarian idea is appears as inclusion in the second stanza. Te first and the third lines contain the same idea: the cattle, the bear and the lion shall eat straw (taban).[x] Therefore there will be no conflict because of one animals preying on another.[xi]
Three different categories of children are mentioned in V. 8. to point out that the enmity which Yahweh Elohim puts between the snake and humans no lonher exits (Cf. Gen 3:14-15).
Therefore Isa 11:6-8 indicates the harmonious relationship among animals and also between animals and humans, even children. This concept is supported and declared in v.9; they shall not hurt or destroy in my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea.
Like Hosea, Isaiah also understands that peace among the living beings (human and animals) can not be separated from the well-being of the relationship between the creation and the creator, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of yew.”
These two eschatological texts indicate that when Israel knows Yew (Hos 2:20, Isa 11:9), there is a peace interrelationship among creatures (animals- humans- plants/food) and between themselves. Thus there is no violence and automatically unjust and oppression are not exist among them and they have enough food for themselves. This situation was found in the creation period as well (Genesis 1:1-2:4a). However when humans follow their own way, this harmony situation is replaced by tension situation. Among humans and between humans and animals, there are tendency to pray one another. And this is violence; the more powerful being abuses their power on the less powerful being. This is unjust and oppression and this is sin, because the less powerful being has no identity anymore. However being created in God’s image is a hopeful sign for the continuation of life on the earth. It means that being created in God’s image enable us to replace the culture of violence that has been around since the post-creation period with the culture of peace. But being created in God’s image has no meaning if we don’t empower it intedtentionally. We, you and I, must empower our own status in order to know and follow God’s way. It means the culture of peace only be able to replace the culture of violence when humans full of the knowledge of God not of themselves, so that they are called the children of God.
[i] See James Luther Mays, Hosea (OTL), 47.
[ii] Hans Walter Wollf, Hosea, 48; Buss, The Prophetic Word of Hosea, 33, 109.
[iii] Gale Yee, Composition and Tradition in the Book of Hosea: A Redactin Critical Investigation, 86,88, 142-43, 316-17.
[iv] “Knowing” is an important aspect n the establishment of the covenant between two parties: see Herbert Huffmon, “The treaty Background of the Hebrew Yada,” BASOR 181, 31-7. See also Mays’ view in which he prefers to see it in theological understanding. To know Yhwh means :the whole response of Israel to the acts and words of Yhwh so that the people is defined in its total life by what Yhwh reveals of himself,” see Mays, Hosea, 52; Douglas Knight, Hosea, 31,60.
[v] See Wilfred G. E Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry, 211-12
[vi] See also Hosea 14:8; Jer 31:12; Amos 9:13-14; 1 Enoch 10:19; 2 Baruch 29:5
[vii] See also Isa 30:2325; Jer 29:17-18; 31:12; 32:24; 38:2; 42:22; 44:12; Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:19, 24, 26.
[viii] Cf. Hans Walter Wolff, Hosea, 69.
[ix] Some scholar say that the change pictured in the passage is only a symbolic one, see: Edward Kissane, The Book of Isaiah, 136;Chistopher Seitz, Isaiah 1-39, 105-7; see Ibn Ezra’s understanding in M. Friedlander, Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah, 60. Some think it can be understood in a literal way and was inserted later in either the exilic or post-exilic time, see: George Buchanan Gray, The Book of Isaiah 1-39, 214; Eissfeldt, The Old Testament, 319. And some others suggest it come from the original prophet and is understood in a lteral way, see:George Adam Smith, The Book o Isaiah 1-31, 136,183, 192; SKINNER, Isaiah 1-39, 104; John Brght, Covenant and Promise, 108; Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12, 462-69.
[x] Taban is food for animals, see Exod 5:7, 10-12, 13, 16, 18; Gen 24:25, 32; Jer 23:28; Job 21:13; 41:19; Judge 19:19; Isa 65:25 and 1 Kgs 5:3.
[xi] Cf. salomon B. Freehof, Book of Isaiah, 77.
Bahan PA UEM General Assembly Yogjakarta