Monday, December 29, 2008

Michael P. V. Barrett, "She became what she thought about."

I'm reading through a book that is an excellent and complementary study to G. K. Beale's We Become What we Worship. This book is Michael P. V. Barrett's Love Divine and Unfailing: The Gospel According to Hosea (P&R, 2008). Let me share with you Barrett's analysis of Gomer, who portrays adulterous/idolatrous Israel. His conclusion mirrors that of Beale's.
In many ways, Gomer was a child of her times. Baal worship had become widespread, along with its sexual promiscuity. Baal was a fertility god: immorality played a prominent part in the cultic rituals. Such immorality, sponsored by the false priests and prophets and practiced in the name of religion, contributed to loose living throughout society. Everywhere Gomer would look there were evidences of sexual license, and tragically, there was something in her that answered to what she saw. She had the world in her heart and ultimately gave way to the propensity to immorality.... She became what she thought about, for thinking always determines behavior. That the word translated "committing adultery" (mena'afeth) in Hosea 3:1 is a Piel participle suggests that she became completely enslaved to the licentious behavior.* (pp. 80-81, emphasis mine)

*Footnote: This notion is suggested by the Hebrew grammar. One of the functions of the Piel is to express iterative or repetitive action, and the active participle often designates habitual action. Thus, I say that she was enslaved in the adulterous behavior. (p. 185)