Hoshea describes how the nation’s present troubles stem from the manner in which the ruling dynasty of the kingdom of Israel, the house of Yehu, had achieved power. The Yizrael valley runs through the northern hills of Israel, from Megiddo to Beit Shean, and was one of the major highways in antiquity. The ancient city of Yizrael, located on the western edge of the Gilboa mountain range, overlooked the valley and was a very important city for the northern kingdom of Yisrael. It was strategically located, affording great military advantage, and the nearby Yizrael spring provided ample water for the city as well as for travellers. It was there that the coup d’état, in which Yehu overthrew the idolatrous house of Achav, took place. Though originally supported by the prophet Elisha, the takeover became exceedingly violent and bloodthirsty, and Hoshea promises that Yehu will be punished accordingly. Hoshea reminds us that even when beginning with good intentions, power and authority can easily corrupt.
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