Among many similarities, Hosea and Deuteronomy also share the use of the word מִדְּבָּר (midbār, “wilderness”) in service of a wilderness sojourn theme that emphasizes Yhwh’s gracious actions of provision and protection despite Israel’s rebellion. Although the scholarly consensus asserts that each book draws on a different sojourn tradition, an analysis of their sojourn themes based on their use of מִדְּבָּר reveals similar features: the word מִדְּבָּר is present in positive contexts that emphasize Yhwh’s gracious actions on Israel’s behalf in the wilderness and is absent in negative contexts that recount Israel’s rebellion. These similarities are apparent when compared to the rhetoric of the wilderness in Numbers that displays the opposite pattern. The tendency of Deuteronomy and Hosea to use מִדְּבָּר in contexts of Yhwh’s activity and omit it in contexts of Israel’s rebellion during the sojourn is unique in the OT to such an extent that it is likely that one tradition is borrowing from the other. Further, and contrary to the usual dating of these books, four arguments indicate that Hosea borrows and reappropriates Deuteronomy’s wilderness sojourn theme. Owing to these arguments and the well-integrated nature of the wilderness theme in Deuteronomy, it is argued that Hosea follows after and is dependent on a well-developed Deuteronomic tradition that substantively resembles the canonical book of Deuteronomy. Further, appreciation of the wilderness themes and Hosea’s dependence on the Deuteronomic tradition allow for hermeneutical observations that contribute to the interpretation of both books.

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