This article has a double focus. On the one hand it covers the problems of Hos 3. It shows that Hos 3:3 announces punishment to the inhabitants of the former Northern kingdom and that Hos 3:5 represents a later addition. Hos 3:1-4,5 proves to be a late text. Thus it cannot be used as a biographical source for the 8th-century prophet Hosea. But it gives valuable insight in the theological debates of the late Persian era.
On the other hand this article investigates the origins of ephod and teraphim (Hos 3:4): do the names apply to figurines of gods or even of Yahwe himself? The results point in a different direction. ‘Ephod’ seems to be the name of a priestly garment, and ‘teraphim’ originally designates a group of artefacts used for mantic purposes. Only in late texts do ephod und teraphim denote forbidden images illustrating supposed cultic abuses of ancient times.