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I was watching an old movie on television and I heard a line that I’d missed before. The villain of this comedy was talking on the phone and said something like: "Sure, I know what kind of low-down person would sue his own mother, but we’re not talking about me!" It caught me off-guard and I had quite a laugh. Yes, that villain was the kind of low-life who would sue his own mother.

But the fourth verse of Hosea 2 (in the Hebrew) or second verse in the English catches us off-guard in a different way. The Hebrew verb that is used twice in the command form here means to bring litigation against someone, to take a person to court. So, Hosea is literally commanding someone to take a mother to court. And he isn’t doing it for laughs like the line in the movie. He’s using shock value to show all of Israel how sinful she is and how certain the judgment is.

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