Introduction Chapter 1:
The book of Hosea can be broken into two parts Chapters 1 to 3, use the life of Hosea the prophet to illustrate God’s relationship with Israel. In chapters 4 to 14 the message of Hosea’s illustration is expanded, God speaks directly to the nation of Israel, through the words of Hosea. The Lord’s message to Israel is one of judgment and salvation. Israel was to go through judgment and chastisement but Lord would one day restore the nation.
Gomer, Hosea’s wife, represents Israel and like Israel she has engaged in whoredom and harlotry, Hosea is instructed to love and restore his wife in spite of her unfaithfulness. In same way God will restore Israel to the everlasting covenant despite of her sins.
In the “End Times” Israel will be restored and receive the covenant blessing promised in the Millennium. In the Millennium Israel will be the chief nation on the earth, she will reap the benefits of obedience promised in Deuteronomy 28:1-2.
The Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and God will rule the Messianic Kingdom from an obedient nation. Israel will be the restored wife “Gomer” in the Millennial Kingdom.
Hosea’s Time period
1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea 1:1
Word of the Lord: The phrase the “Word of the Lord” tells us the message is directly from Lord through the prophet Hosea. The Words are the Lord’s no Hosea. God’s command adds a dimension by having Hosea’s life illustrate His final message to the standing nation of Israel before He brings judgment in 722 B.C.
Hosea son Beeri: Hosea’s name could also be written as Joshua. His fatherBeeri appears to be Hittite name, so Hosea could have Hittite descent in his blood. We see Esau married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite (Gen. 26;34). We have no other information about Hosea origin other than what is revealed here in the book.
The days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah: Hosea list his time of prophesy to the periods of the both the Kings of Judah and Israel. This method gives us a range of a time to place his ministry, Uzziah (Azariah) can be dated from 789-737 B.C. the Judean King is Hezekiah who begins his reign in 715 B.C. to 686 B.C.
Jeroboam: The only king of Israel listed is Jeroboam II who reigned from 792 to 751 B.C. This places his ministry time at a minimum of 36-years from the last years of Jeroboam II to the start of Hezekiah. His ministry would have followed both Jonah and Amos.
25 He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea,[e] in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher. 2 Kings 14:25
Amos like Hosea spoke against the Kingdom of Israel and warned of judgment his ministry would have preceded Hosea by ten years; many have placed his time period to 762 B.C., two years before the earthquake dated to 760 B.C.
In Jeroboam’s day Israel reached its height of prosperity due to its hostile neighbors suffering from adverse events. Assyria was weakened by attacks from the Kingdom of Urartu and Syria suffered from attacks from Assyria, this allowed Israel and Judah to prosper.
2 When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the Lord.”3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, Hosea 1:2-3a
(2) When the Lord began: Revelation of God’s word came to Hosea when he was mature and ready to marry. Speculations of the circumstances surrounding Hosea life and marriage to Gomer have a spectrum of options. Did Hosea know Gomer? Did he have conversations with her? What was she like, did he know her background, and rejected her at first. It seems the Lord used the circumstances of Hosea life to make his point to Israel.
The Lord said to Hosea: The Lord was going to have Hosea act out His relationship with Israel, through his life and events. Both Ezekiel and Isaiah went through a similar prophetic revelation to Judah. Ezekiel was told to lay on his side for 390 days and eat food cook on human dung to symbolize the siege of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4). Isaiah is told to walk around with shoes of sackcloth for 3-years to symbolize the judgment against Judah by Assyria (Isaiah 20).
Wife of Harlotry: The Lord’s command to Hosea seems like a contradiction to His Law. For this reason there is a tendency by some to find a way to put Gomer in a more favorable light. Gomer marriage is seen as visionary, figurative, symbolic or allegorical but not literal. This however takes away from the meaning of the message, Gomer was representing Israel and Hosea was representing God.
A literal understanding is the most real and true to the original message of Hosea. The word for harlotry comes from the Hebrew root meaning “a marsh place” “a stinking place”. A adulterous wife is pictured this way.
A literal reading also presents some options to the reader.
1. Was Gomer a harlot before Hosea married her?
2. Was Gomer a harlot after Hosea marriage?
Based on the text, one could read it either way, those who wish to place Gomer in a more favorable light opt for option 2, they argue since Gomer represents Israel, Israel was not always apostate but became apostate in the days of Jeroboam I, when he constructed the “Calf Idols” in Samaria and Dan.
The land was wicked and given over to perverseness like the “Canaanites” before Israel entered the land. Gomer was a picture of the land, therefore I tend to see option 1 as the most close to the reading. Hosea needed special permission and command to marry Gomer. Hosea very well could have like her, been attracted to her, but would never think of marrying such a woman. She could have like Hosea, but she was trapped in her life and sin, God using Hosea allowed him and Gomer to be an example to the land of Israel.
Land..great harlotry: The sins of the land have been compounding over the years, from the time of David and Solomon, both Judah and Israel were falling away. Israel was falling away at a faster rate; Judah still had integrity from God’s perspective. Judgment would come later on the southern kingdom. Before Israel (Judah and Israel) entered the land, they were warned the land would vomit them out if they became like the Canaanites.
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death…….v10 “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.11 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. 12 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations….26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Leviticus 20:1-2,10-12,22-24,26
The “Harlotry” of the land was all pervasive; in the land, it infected every aspect of the people. The people of Israel need to be isolated from the land so they could be delivered from the wickedness of the land. The land was filled with idolatry, cults, human sacrifice and sexual sin.
Jeroboam I (931-910 B.C.) introduced the “Calf Idol” into the land. He corrupted the faith of Israel and the Law of Moses. He equated the “Calf” idols with the God of Moses, he made priests of the every class of people who were not of Levi.
Ahab and Jezebel (874-853): Ahab promoted “Baal” worship in the land, Jezebel was a daughter of the Sidonian Phoenician king, Ahab promoted her idols and tried to incorporate them into Israel. These sins would have included the “sacred” prostitution and child sacrifice that went along with this form of Idol worship.
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. I Kings 16:29-32
Idolatry: How much different are the nations today? Idolatry does not have to be limited to a statue, we can worship wealth, success, the stars, beauty, our power and glory and science. All these can be idols too.
Human Sacrifice: Do we really think child sacrifice is much different than abortion? Our nation glorifies abortion; our politicians talk about it as a “Sacred” right. Why do we think we are any better than Israel, who copied the nations?
Sexual Sins: Israel committed every type of sin imaginable, just like the nations before them. Adultery, fornication, incest, etc, these sins were committed in Israel just as they were committed by the nations.
(3a) he went: Hosea knew where Gomer lived, he was given permission by the Lord to marry her.
Gomer the daughter of Diblaim: Gomer was also one of the names of Japeth’s son (Genesis 10:3) this is where the name Germany comes from.
and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 Then the Lord said to him:
“Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 It shall come to pass in that day That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” Hosea 1:3a-5
And she conceived: After Gomer marries Hosea her first child is a boy, he is named after the city of Jezreel where Jehu slaughtered the descendents of Ahab and the descendents of Judah.
Bloodshed of Jezreel: Jehu was known for his vicious attacks against the descendents of Ahab, Jezebel and Baal. These attacks were in accord of God’s judgment. Jehu also attacked the house of David, this was not part of God’s judgment. Even though there was an intermingling of the house of David and the house of Ahab, Jehu attack on Ahaziah King of Judah.( 2 Kings 9:27, 10)
Jezebel’s Violent Death
30 Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. 31 Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?”
32 And he looked up at the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 Then he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot. 34 And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, “Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel;[b] 37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, “Here lies Jezebel.”’” 2 Kings 9: 30-37
Worshipers of Baal Killed
18 Then Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore, call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. Let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu acted deceptively, with the intent of destroying the worshipers of Baal. 20 And Jehu said, “Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 Then Jehu sent throughout all Israel; and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. So they came into the temple[c] of Baal, and the temple of Baal was full from one end to the other. 22 And he said to the one in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out vestments for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab the son of Rechab went into the temple of Baal, and said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search and see that no servants of the Lord are here with you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” 24 So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had appointed for himself eighty men on the outside, and had said, “If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escapes, whoever lets him escape, it shall be his life for the life of the other.”
25 Now it happened, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, “Go in and kill them; let no one come out!” And they killed them with the edge of the sword; then the guards and the officers threw them out, and went into the inner room of the temple of Baal. 26 And they brought the sacred pillars out of the temple of Baal and burned them. 27 Then they broke down the sacred pillar of Baal, and tore down the temple of Baal and made it a refuse dump to this day. 28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal from Israel.
29 However Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin. 2 Kings 10:18-29
House of Jehu: Because Jehu “mostly” obeyed the Lord, he was promised to have four generations of kings. Jeroboam II was the third king, his son Zachariah would be the fourth king, but he would be killed by Shallum one of his commanders. (2 Kings 10:30)
2. Lo-Ruhamah: Not Loved
6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him:
“Call her name Lo-Ruhamah,[a] For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away.[b] 7 Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, Will save them by the Lord their God, And will not save them by bow, Nor by sword or battle, By horses or horsemen.” Hosea 1:6-7
She conceived again: Some have questioned if this was the daughter of Hosea or another man. The daughters name means, not loved.
No longer have mercy: There come a point when the Lord judges, Israel’s time had come. The Lord described Himself as the compassionate God (Exd. 34:6). El Rahum “who I swilling to forgive iniquity”
Yet I will have mercy…on House of Judah: This was fulfilled when the King of Assyria’s army was destroyed as it stood around the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah and Hezekiah trusted the Lord as contrast to the Kings of Israel. (2 Kings 18-19)
Sennacherib’s Threat and Hezekiah’s Prayer
8 Then the Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish. 9 And the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, “Look, he has come out to make war with you.” So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?’”
14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”
The Word of the Lord Concerning Sennacherib
20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.’ 21 This is the word which the Lord has spoken concerning him:
‘The virgin, the daughter of Zion, Has despised you, laughed you to scorn; The daughter of Jerusalem Has shaken her head behind your back!
22 ‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, And lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. 23 By your messengers you have reproached the Lord, And said: “By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, To the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars And its choice cypress trees; I will enter the extremity of its borders, To its fruitful forest. 24 I have dug and drunk strange water, And with the soles of my feet I have dried up All the brooks of defense.”
25 ‘Did you not hear long ago How I made it, From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, That you should be For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins. 26 Therefore their inhabitants had little power; They were dismayed and confounded; They were as the grass of the field And the green herb, As the grass on the housetops And grain blighted before it is grown.
27 ‘But I know your dwelling place, Your going out and your coming in, And your rage against Me. 28 Because your rage against Me and your tumult Have come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back By the way which you came.
29 ‘This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And in the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. 30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts[a] will do this.’
32 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria:
‘He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,’ Says the Lord. 34 ‘For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’” 2 Kings 19:8-33
3. Lo-Ammi: Not My People
8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then God said:“Call his name Lo-Ammi,[c] For you are not My people, And I will not be your God. Hosea 1:8-9
She conceived and bore a son: The question of the child paternity comes in line with the prophecy. God declares Israel is “not my people”. So is the child from Hosea?
Lo-Ammi: The relationship between God has been severed by the actions of the nation.
Not my people: God abandons His nation to judgment.
Not be your God: Because the children of Israel in Hosea day so thoroughly rejected God, God was going to reject them. The people of Israel choose the gods of the nations and the gods of their own creation. They refused to turn back from their idolatry so God was rejecting them. In the future He would accept their descendents as promised in Hosea 1:10 to 2:1.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’[d]
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’
11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!