Was Hosea consciously referring to the Messiah’s flight into Egypt?

Jan 21

I traveled back in time to do an inteview with Hosea the prophet about Hosea 11:1 (quoted in Matthew 2:15).  See below:

Plummer: “Pardon me, Hosea. I am from the distant future, and I’ve come back to chat with you. I was peeking over your shoulder, and I just noticed that you wrote about God calling his Son out of Egypt.   Is that passage about Jesus?”

Hosea: “Who is Jesus?”

Plummer: “Jesus is the coming Messiah who conquers sin and death forever.”

Hosea: “Hallelujah! I did not know his name, but I knew he was coming. But, what do you mean by asking, ‘Is this text about Jesus?’”

Plummer: “Well, in the future, when the Messiah is born, the evil king reigning at that time tries to kill him, so his virgin mother and adoptive father flee with him to Egypt.  When all is safe, they come back to the Promised Land.  Matthew, one of God’s spokesmen in Jesus’ day, says that this text of yours is pointing to this very flight of the Messiah into Egypt.”

Hosea: “Yes, I see. In my text, I explicitly note that in the Jewish nation’s sojourn in Egypt, it looked like God’s promises had failed – that the descendents of Abraham would be enslaved forever outside of the Promised Land – yet, God intervened to deliver them.  His promises did not fail. So, in the final climactic intervention of God – in the sending of his Son – not just the nation – but his true, unique Son – it also appeared that God’s promises were in question.  Indeed, if the Son had to flee from the Promised Land, how would the Messiah rescue the lost sheep of Israel while living as a refugee in Egypt? Yet, just as before, God miraculously intervenes to save and return his chosen one.  And, though the prior son Israel (son with a lower case) failed, this unique Son (Son with an upper case)  – succeeded. Amazing!  The historical parallels show God’s consistent intentions! Of course, not knowing exactly how God would repeat his deliverance, I was not fully conscious of this typological correspondence until you told me. But, I knew later deliverances were coming. I wrote this text, consciously knowing it might be reiterated in a later, parallel, heightened saving event. Yes, yes, of course that is a valid use.  I give implicit permission for the events in my text to be seen as forerunners to future events, just as I myself draw out lines of correspondence to the prior interventions of God.  Certainly, I give future inspired authors permission to employ the very hermeneutic I myself follow.”

Plummer: “Thanks for talking with us, Hosea.”

Hosea: “Shalom.”

*from my 2009 ETS paper

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