VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY
By Sharon Cravens
Hosea 1:1 ¶ The word of the LORD that came unto 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.
This book opens by identifying the contents as “the word of the Lord” as revealed to His prophet Hosea, the son of Beeri. The names of the kings during whose reign he prophesied identify him as a contemporary of Isaiah, Micah and Amos.
Hosea’s prophecies are primarily directed to the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His name is basically the same as Joshua and Jesus and means salvation.
Numbers 13:16 “These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.”
The ultimate salvation of Israel is the high note of the mostly sad message the prophet declares.
Hosea 1:2 ¶ The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
The prophet at this point tells the reader that he is about to begin his message. Considering the content of the message, I think the prophet wanted to emphasize that he was being obedient to God by taking a wife who was a known prostitute. Translators differ regarding the status of the children that would make up his family. It would not surprise me to learn that none of these children were fathered by Hosea since the focus of the prophet’s message is on comparing Israel’s actions toward and relationship to God through Gomer’s actions toward and relationship to Hosea.
Hosea 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
Hosea 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Hosea 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
In this section Hosea’s wife is identified as Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. I thought it was interesting to find that Gomer means “to finish or complete.” Gomer’s relationship with Hosea gives a complete picture of Israel’s relationship with God.
Gomer immediately conceived and gave Hosea a son. God instructed Hosea to name him Jezreel. The name of this child was evidently to serve as a prophecy of coming vengeance that God would take against Jehu and against the Northern Kingdom. The wording from the NIV is more easily understood: “Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.”
2Kings 9-10 tells the story of Jehu’s slaughter of King Ahaziah, Jezebel, all of Ahab’s family, and most of King Ahaziah’s family in Jezreel.
Hosea 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
Hosea 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
We are now told that Gomer gave birth to a daughter, and God told Hosea to name her Loruhamah, meaning “not pitied.” She was to picture the truth that Israel would no longer benefit from God’s mercy; she is to be taken captive. Judah, the Southern Kingdom, however, will continue to benefit from God’s mercy and protection. The prophet is clear in declaring that Judah’s salvation will be of “the LORD their God,” not due to the strength and skill of their soldiers, horses or weapons.
This was very vividly fulfilled when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night and sent Sennacharib running.
2 Kings 19:32–36 “Therefore thus saith 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 cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.”
Hosea 1:8 ¶ Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Hosea 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
After weaning Loruhamah, Gomer again conceived and gave birth to another son. God told Hosea to name him Loammi, which means “not my people.” This son pictured the truth that God no longer claimed a relationship with this generation of Israelites. They had broken covenant with God and shown no desire to repent. They were intent on rejecting God and directing their worship toward the false gods that allowed them to follow the desires of their flesh.
Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Hosea 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
As always, the LORD offers a ray of hope for the future along with His message of coming judgment. Israel will yet grow into a great and prosperous nation. Though God has determined that He will no longer invest in His relationship with the people of Israel, the day is coming when He will once again restore them as sons.
I think it is significant that the prophet makes a point of God being a “living God” who can and does provide for His own in contrast to the false gods they have chosen to worship that are impotent on their behalf.
Verse 11 identifies the time of future blessing as one when both Judah and Israel will once again be joined as one and return to the land to serve under one King. Other prophets foretell the same, and I believe this is a reference to the time when Jesus takes the throne as King of kings in Jerusalem. I think the connection to the words of Ezekiel describe it best.
Ezekiel 37:15–17 & 21-23 “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand….And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”