Introduction to Chapter 2
In Hosea Chapter One, we are introduced to Hosea, his wife Gomer and their three children. This is an actual marriage with offspring; in many ways this is a dysfunctional family. This family represents God relationship with Israel and God’s plan for Israel. Israel like Gomer has a broken relationship with God, her relationship is dysfunctional. Someone might ask why is the nation of “Israel” such an important issue in scripture. The answer is because God has chosen to work his plan of redemption through this nation.
Israel and the Messianic Line
When we go back to the fall of humanity in Genesis chapter 3, we see God put in motion a plan of redemption. He promised through the “seed of the woman” the head of the Serpent (Satan) and his offspring would be crushed, even though the “seed of the woman” would suffer a “bruised” heel.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:…“Because you have done this,….15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
The promise of the coming “seed of the woman” was the Messianic promise; the Messiah would one day restore lost humanity to the Creator. This promise of redemption and the line of the Messiah starts with Adam and Eve and continues through the pages of scripture. The line of redemption continues to the descendents of Seth to Noah. From Noah the promise is carried forward to Abraham
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”……6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness…….7 Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:…..“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— Genesis 15:1,4-7,18
The Messianic promise follows through Abraham’s line, to Isaac and then to his son Jacob, whose name is later changed by God to Israel. Israel becomes the nation through whom the promise of the Messiah would be accomplished. From the nation of Israel, the Lord chooses the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of Judah, the line of David is chosen as the line through which the Messiah would enter the world.
12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.[b] Your throne shall be established forever. 2 Samuel 7:12-13,16
The Messianic promises to the nation of Israel were fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah, who suffered and died according to the prophets of Israel for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53, Psalm 2, and Psalm 22). The nation of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah and as a result, the promises of Israel were given temporarily to the Gentiles until Israel accepts the Messiah they rejected. This is the point Paul makes in Romans 11; Israel condition of “Backsliding” is only temporary. One day Israel will be restored to the Lord, when the nation accepts Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. …….11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!......25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved,[g] as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”[h]
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:1-2a, 11-12,25-32
The “Kingdom of God” promised by the prophets of the Old Testament for the nation of Israel has been put on hold until the nation of Israel comes to know Jesus Christ as Messiah. For now the promises have been given to the Church, until the “fullness of the Gentiles”. When the nation of Israel accepts Jesus Christ as messiah, the Messianic age promised by the prophets, including Hosea will be ushered in. This is an important point to understand, because many people who read scripture, especially the Old Testament fail to understand the distinction between Israel and the Church.
Israel and the Church
In the book of Hosea, we see the promise of restoration to “Israel the harlot” as illustrated by Gomer the wife of Hosea. The promises to Israel are both physical and spiritual. The promises to Israel involve the physical land of Israel, cities and territory of what is currently known as Israel. God was not speaking in metaphor and allegory when He made promises to Abraham in Genesis 15. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s descendent will be restored to the land of ancient Israel and receive the promises of the New Covenant. In fact the promises of the New Covenant were made to the physical descendents of Israel, it’s only when Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah, did the Gentiles receive the “New Covenant”.
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
Notice in verse 31, it says specifically the “House of Israel” and “House of Judah”, the LORD promises to put His law in “their minds” and on “their heart”, and they will be “My people”. He even says I was a “Husband to them”. These are same promises are referring to the same promises made in the book of Hosea chapter 1. Here we see the promise that one day, “It shall come to pass” physical Israel will be called the “sons of the living God”.
10“Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. 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.’Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together Hosea 1:10-11a
The Church along with Israel is the “Bride of Christ”; we are part of the promises made to the nation of Israel, through the prophets. The church is pictured as Christ bride,
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
In Romans, Paul makes the point that we are grafted into the “Covenant” promises of Israel. We are the wild olive tree, grafted into the “cultivated olive tree”.
23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? Romans 11:23-24
The Church along with Israel will be blessed in the coming “Kingdom of God” promised through the prophets.
This kingdom will occupy the physical earth, with both resurrected and non-resurrected residents. The “Saints” like Israel will receive the promise made. The role of the 12 disciples is to “judge” the 12-tribes of Israel in their resurrected bodies in the Messianic age.
28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28
Not only will the 12 disciples rule, but the resurrected saints will also rule and judge the earth after Christ returns to establish the kingdom of God on earth. The parable of the Minas indicates rewards in the “Kingdom of Christ” involve judging and ruling over the cities on the earth.
16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ Luke 19:16-17
Therefore as believer in Christ, and not being part of physical Israel, we can look forward to ruling and with Christ in the age to come, with our resurrected bodies. Understand the distinction between Israel and the church is import to understand the deeper meaning behind the book of Hosea.
Hosea Chapter 2
Hosea chapter 2 graphically illustrates this broken relationship between Israel and the LORD, here God illustrates the method of Israel’s restoration and the extent of her fallen state. Chapter 2, also gives us insight to just how bad Hosea’s relationship is with Gomer illustrating the condition of the nation.
Say …My People: This portion of chapter 2, belongs to the promises of restoration in Chapter 1:10-11, here the LORD promises gather Israel and Judah and to one day call them “sons of the living God”. God takes possession of Israel calling them “My people”. This is in direct contrast of Him calling them you are “not my people” (Hosea 1:9).
Sisters…Mercy: Both men and woman will be restored, through God’s mercy. What we don’t see here in Hosea is the method of the God’s mercy. This method is the Messiah who would die for the sins of Israel and the world. God’s mercy is manifested through the blood of Christ, the Son of God.
God restores Israel through Chastisement (Hosea 2:2-23)
Judgment threatened (Hosea 2:2-4)
2 “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst. 4 “I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. Hosea 2:2-4
(2)Bring charges: On Mt. Sinai God established a “Covenant” with Israel before they entered the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 28-30), conditions of this covenant included blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. When we get married we are entering a covenant relationship, if we violate the covenant through adultery our spouse has options, they divorce or forgive the sin. Hosea like God had a covenant with Gomer like God had a covenant with Israel.
Your mother: The mother being Israel, God is bringing charges against Israel for her adultery.
Not my Wife…her husband: God has the option to divorce Israel, because of Israel’s sins, just like a husband has the right. Hosea had the right to divorce Gomer for her harlotry, but God instructs him (Hosea) to restore her. Israel’s adultery had severed the relationship and bond between God and the nation. Leviticus 20:10, gives the husband the authority to execute his wife for adultery, God, like Hosea, chooses to restore His wife “Israel” because He loves her and has mercy for her.
Harlotries; Israel’s harlotry was the “Calf” God created by Jeroboam I and the Baal worship in the land. Israel was acting the “Harlot”.
(3)Strip her: The LORD makes three threats against Israel; the first was to publically humiliate her before she was executed, by stripping her naked. We see this illustrated in Ezekiel 16:35-43.
Make her like a wilderness: The second punishment against Israel would be to take her from her land of plenty and paradise and torment her by taking her into the wilderness. There Israel would be deprived of all the luxury items given to her from the Lord.
Dry land, thirst: In the wilderness she would die of thirst, she would have the opportunity to sin against the Lord.
(4)Not have mercy...children: Israel’s sins have continued now for a while, from the time of Jeroboam I to Jeroboam II, the calf idols have been part of the land. Baal worship had also returned after Jehu destruction of the temple of Baal along with Jezebel and Ahab’s descendents. The offspring of Israel have been almost completely corrupted by idol worship.
Children of harlotry: Hosea 2nd and 3rd in chapter 1, indicates they could have been from illicit relationships. The offspring of Israel do not know the God of Israel, because they are corrupted by Israel adultery with idols. Israel deserved this type of punishment, but God would show her mercy and restore her.
Punishment Initiated (Hosea 2:5-13)
5 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.’
6 “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths. 7 She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.’ 8 For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold— Which they prepared for Baal. Hosea 2:5-8
(5)Mother played the harlot: Though Israel deserves judgment divorce/execution for her sins or harlotry, God chooses to pursue her. Israel attributed its wealth and prosperity to its idols. The nation was absorbed with its own success; therefore she saw her wealth as gift from Baal.
Go after my lovers: The lovers of Israel were the Baal and other idols of the land. Baal was the Canaanite god who controls the storms bringing water to the land. He was also responsible for human fertility. Israel looked to Baal to supply their needs.
Give me bread …water, wool, linen, oil, drink: Here Baal was given credit for the wealth of nation. Notice all these products are agricultural in nature.
Therefore… In response to Israel pursuit of Baal, God responds by removing the blessings on the land.
(6)I will hedge up…thorns: The Assyrians and Damascus were subdued during the prosperous time of Jeroboam II. God was about to frustrate Israel’s path, He would take away wealth making ability. This is exactly what happened during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser (Pul) III king of Assyria . He revised the military and advanced Assyria against Israel, establishing a great tax on Israel.
17 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi became king over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. 19 Pul[c] king of Assyria came against the land; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his control. 20 And Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from all the very wealthy, from each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land. 2 Kings 15:17-20
(7)Chase..but not overtake: Israel would chase after the wealth she thought she received from Baal, but she will now seeking Baal’s help but she will not prosper. God is going to be an adversary to Israel now.
(8)She did not know: Israel did not know the God of Israel. The nation turned to Idols, false priests and a false religion set up by Jeroboam II. Now God was going to remove the nations properity.
I gave her… The Lord God was the source of the nation’s wealth.
Grain, new wine, oil, silver, gold
Baal: The Israelites would use their gold and silver to construct Idols to Baal. 9 “Therefore I will return and take away My grain in its time And My new wine in its season, And will take back My wool and My linen, Given to cover her nakedness. 10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, And no one shall deliver her from My hand. 11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths— All her appointed feasts.
12 “And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, Of which she has said, ‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’ So I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13 I will punish her For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, And went after her lovers; But Me she forgot,” says the Lord. Hosea 2:9-13
(9)Therefore…Because of Israel’s sin of worshipping and adoring the Baals God would remove the blessings from the nation. They did not give the Lord credit or worship for Israel’s economic prosperity. The prosperity was from the abundant grain harvests. The grain was God’s grain, the Lord says “my grain”. Along with the grain, was the grape or wine harvest, again the Lord calls it “my new wine”. This economic prosperity includes my wool and My linen. Wool is from the sheep and goats and represents another aspect of Israel’s success, linen is clothing from plant based agriculture. All these products were agricultural and would have fallen under the “Baal” worship who would have received the credit for Israel’s economic prosperity.
(10)uncover lewdness: The Lord was about to humiliate Israel publicly. Like Hosea’s wife Gomer, Israel’s would be humiliated, Hosea buys Gomer from the slave market (Hosea 3:1-2). Assyria would come and take away Israel’s prosperity.
Her lovers: Israel’s lovers are the false gods she worships and gives credit too. These gods will not be able to save Israel from His judgment. Assyria would destroy Israel and her population in judgment.
(11)mirth to cease: When Israel separated from Judah, Jeroboam I set up a counterfeit religious system designed to keep Israel from being linked to Judah. This system had its own feast days, New Moons and Sabbaths and harvest, it was built on a lie. God would cause Israel to go through tribulation when the armies of Assyria invade. God would force Israel to confirm to His standards through judgment.
(12)destroy..vines, fig trees: Vine trees, Fig trees were money machines, those who owned them could count the revenue as both, wine, grapes, raisins and fig fruits grew. These products bestowed wealth on their owners, however the owners needed good weather for an abundant harvest. Israel’s had been great harvests, they were also able to keep their harvests because Assyria and Syria were both subdued. So Israel prospered specifically the merchants and land owners.
Wages that my lovers.. The credit for their prosperity was given to “Baal” the lovers of Israel. Israel dedicated temples and shrines to Baal and his consorts. The Lord would turn this prosperous land into forest as the land would be depopulated through judgment. Assyrians would kill and take Israel captive in 722 B.C.
(13) punish her: Israel the people of the Northern Kingdom give the credit for the economic prosperity to Baal.
Burned incense: This was a form of worhip and adoration of the idols Israel established in the land.
Decked herself… The worship was sensuous in nature, the people spent lavishouly on their idol adoration.
Me she forgot.. Israel (she) forgot the Lord, Israel had fallen for the gods of Babylon and Canaan and pursued them, rejecting the God of the Covenant.
God’s Mercy on His People
14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. 15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’[c] And no longer call Me ‘My Master, Hosea 2:14-16
Bring..into the wilderness
Achor..door of hope
(16) In that day
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely.
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord. Hosea 2:17-20
21 “It shall come to pass in that day That I will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel.[e] 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;[f] Then I will say to those who were not My people,[g] ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” Hosea 2:21-23
Baal, god worshiped in many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who apparently considered him a fertility deity and one of the most important gods in the pantheon. As a Semitic common noun baal (Hebrew baʿal) meant “owner” or “lord,” although it could be used more generally; for example, a baal of wings was a winged creature, and, in the plural, baalim of arrows indicated archers. Yet such fluidity in the use of the term baal did not prevent it from being attached to a god of distinct character. As such, Baal designated the universal god of fertility, and in that capacity his title was Prince, Lord of the Earth. He was also called the Lord of Rain and Dew, the two forms of moisture that were indispensable for fertile soil in Canaan. In Ugaritic and Old Testament Hebrew, Baal’s epithet as the storm god was He Who Rides on the Clouds. In Phoenician he was called Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens.
Knowledge of Baal’s personality and functions derives chiefly from a number of tablets uncovered from 1929 onward at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), in northern Syria, and dating to the middle of the 2nd millennium bc. The tablets, although closely attached to the worship of Baal at his local temple, probably represent Canaanite belief generally. Fertility was envisaged in terms of seven-year cycles. In the mythology of Canaan, Baal, the god of life and fertility, locked in mortal combat with Mot, the god of death and sterility. If Baal triumphed, a seven-year cycle of fertility would ensue; but, if he were vanquished by Mot, seven years of drought and famine would ensue.
Ugaritic texts tell of other fertility aspects of Baal, such as his relations with Anath, his consort and sister, and also his siring a divine bull calf from a heifer. All this was part of his fertility role, which, when fulfilled, meant an abundance of crops and fertility for animals and mankind.
But Baal was not exclusively a fertility god. He was also king of the gods, and, to achieve that position, he was portrayed as seizing the divine kingship from Yamm, the sea god.
The myths also tell of Baal’s struggle to obtain a palace comparable in grandeur to those of other gods. Baal persuaded Asherah to intercede with her husband El, the head of the pantheon, to authorize the construction of a palace. The god of arts and crafts, Kothar, then proceeded to build for Baal the most beautiful of palaces which spread over an area of 10,000 acres. The myth may refer in part to the construction of Baal’s own temple in the city of Ugarit. Near Baal’s temple was that of Dagon, given in the tablets as Baal’s father.
The worship of Baal was popular in Egypt from the later New Kingdom in about 1400 bc to its end (1075 bc). Through the influence of the Aramaeans, who borrowed the Babylonian pronunciation Bel, the god ultimately became known as the Greek Belos, identified with Zeus.
Baal was also worshiped by various communities as a local god. The Old Testament speaks frequently of the Baal of a given place or refers to Baalim in the plural, suggesting the evidence of local deities, or “lords,” of various locales. It is not known to what extent the Canaanites considered those various Baalim identical, but the Baal of Ugarit does not seem to have confined his activities to one city, and doubtless other communities agreed in giving him cosmic scope.
In the formative stages of Israel’s history, the presence of Baal names did not necessarily mean apostasy or even syncretism. The judge Gideon was also named Jerubbaal (Judges 6:32), and King Saul had a son named Ishbaal (I Chronicles 8:33). For those early Hebrews, “Baal” designated the Lord of Israel, just as “Baal” farther north designated the Lord of Lebanon or of Ugarit. What made the very name Baal anathema to the Israelites was the program of Jezebel, in the 9th century bc, to introduce into Israel her Phoenician cult of Baal in opposition to the official worship of Yahweh (I Kings 18). By the time of the prophet Hosea (mid-8th century bc) the antagonism to Baalism was so strong that the use of the term Baal was often replaced by the contemptuous boshet (“shame”); in compound proper names, for example, Ishbosheth replaced the earlier Ishbaal.