Hosea 11:1 and 2 Samuel 7:14, both verses are applied to Jesus by the NT authors themselves

Matthew 2:15 (ESV):

"and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son."

Hebrews 1:5 (ESV):

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say ... “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

Yet in Hosea 11:2 (ESV):

The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.

Obviously Jesus did not move away from God or sacrifice to Baal, so why can Hosea 11:1 be applied to Jesus but not Hosea 11:2?

For the same reason in 2 Samuel 7:14, the full verse says:

I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.

Obviously Jesus did no wrong, so how can part of the verse apply to him and the other part not?

My question is not about the validity of dual fulfillment, I am asking why do we apply some parts of verses as Messianic but not the next verses, or in the case of 2 samuel, the 2nd part of the same verse? Is this done in the OT, or just the NT?

3 Answers 3


We do not and should not do this (apply part of the verse only). Good exegesis should only be done by the authority of the inspired writings of the NT.

Put another way, if the NT did not exist, we would not know to apply these part-verse to Jesus as the inspired prophets said.

Both prophecies quoted by the OP (as acknowledged by the OP) are dual prophecies. Dual prophecies should only be used as such on the basis of the inspired word and nothing else. Otherwise, people would start applying prophecies at random where there is no warrant to do so.

This is a roundabout way of say, the classic aphorism:

Let Scripture interpret Scripture.


Adding to the wise answer given by @Dottard, only the New Testament authors may safely interpret Scripture in this manner, as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. John 14:26, John 16:13-14, 2 Tim 3:16. They may also have heard such interpretations directly from Jesus Himself, perhaps during the forty days following His resurrection. Luke 24:25-27, Luke 24:42, Luke 24:44-45, Acts 1:3. Beyond these, it’s possible that besides appearing to His brothers, individual believers, and 500 at a time, that He also taught them during these occasions.


To take the specific case of "out of Egypt I called my son," some commentators understand both the original (collective) meaning of Hosea 11:2 and the new (singular) meaning of Hebrews 1:5 to be true, but in different senses. A footnote in the NABRE reads:

Israel, God’s son, was called out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus; Jesus, the Son of God, will similarly be called out of that land in a new exodus. The father-son relationship between God and the nation is set in a higher key. Here the son is not a group adopted as “son of God,” but the child who, as conceived by the holy Spirit, stands in unique relation to God.

Ultimately the answer to the OP's question depends on one's understanding of scriptural inspiration. NT writers were inspired to offer OT proof-texts to strengthen the faith of the early church. A critical approach might yield the opinion that these authors were also human beings, and sometimes they read more into the original prophecy than was literally there. Christians take the underlying doctrine as true, even if they admit that the writers' hermeneutics might not pass muster today on BH.se. Thus @Dottard's admission: "We do not and should not do this."

But God's ways are higher than ours, and for many Christians, the interpretations of OT prophecy in the NT were given by God's direct inspiration even if we should not follow their example in doing our own work. Others may have faith in God's inspiration, but remain skeptical that every word of it was directly dictated by the Holy Spirit.

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