Hosea 2:1 ¶ Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
Hosea 2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Hosea 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
The chapter break is very unfortunate; verse one continues in context with the last part of chapter one regarding Israel’s restoration and reunification. The names used are in direct opposition to the names of Hosea’s children. At that time Israel will once again be pitied by the LORD and will benefit from a relationship of great blessing. At that time God will once again claim Israel as His own.
Beginning with verse two, it would seem that Gomer had pushed Hosea to the limit, and he enlists the help of his children to get her to change her ways. I think it becomes obvious that God is speaking to the people and pleading with them to learn from the object lesson portrayed by Hosea’s family. He is encouraging the people to get rid of all their idolatrous, adulterous activities. If not, He is going to abandon them to suffer the consequences of their sin—just as He did the generation of people that were condemned to wander in the wilderness for forty years and not allowed to enter the Promised Land. They too had clung to their idolatrous ways as exampled by the incident of the golden calf (see Exodus 32) and had refused to submit to His leadership and authority as their God and trust Him to take them into the Promised Land at Kadesh-Barnea (see Numbers 13-14). To be thirsty is to be lacking God’s provision; to die from their thirst was a reference to being taken away as a nation (as eventually happened when conquered by Assyria – 2Kings 17).
Hosea 2:4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
Hosea 2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
Gomer = Israel, the Northern Kingdom
The children = the people of Israel
God declares that the time for mercy has passed, and the people of Israel will suffer as befitting children that have followed in the footsteps of their parents and refused to repent of their rebellion against God. Instead, they had continued in publicly pursuing and worshipping idols and crediting them for providing the blessings that were theirs because of God’s provision.
Hosea 2:6 ¶ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
Hosea 2:7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
I think God is saying that He is going to take action to bring Israel to repentance. Though the action resulted in judgment, it was an act of love intended to restore her to relationship with Him. She was worshipping the gods of the heathen nations and crediting them for her blessings. God, in His wisdom, is going to have her taken captive by the heathen nations and make her acknowledge that her “gods” are not worthy of her faith. She will be made to realize that she was much better off in relationship with her “first husband” (the God of Israel).
Isaiah 54:5 “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
Reminder—This is all being portrayed through the example of Hosea (the first husband) and his family.
The principle exampled here is just as true today. We are so hard-headed and hard-hearted that more often than not, we do not appreciate what we have until we lose it.
Hosea 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
Hosea 2:9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
Hosea 2:10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
Hosea 2:11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
Hosea 2:12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
Hosea 2:13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
In spite of all the miracles and evidences of God’s provision for them throughout their history as a nation, the people of Israel still did not recognize God’s blessings; instead, they credited the false gods. This reminds me of a section in Isaiah who was declaring God’s message to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Isaiah 1:2–4 “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”
God declares that he is going to remove His hand of blessing and leave her without food and without means to make clothes. The heathen will see that God has rejected her and delivered her into their hands. Instead of desirable lover, the nations will see her as the poor adulterous woman that she is. No longer will she be able to celebrate her feast days and holidays. He is going to cause her to suffer the loss of everything that she had credited as hers as a provision of her false gods. He is going to punish her severely for her spiritual adultery.
The sad truth—Israel had forgotten her God, Almighty God, her Creator, provider and protector. I can’t help but be reminded of God’s instruction to Israel in the very beginning. If only they had heeded these instructions.
Deuteronomy 6:5–9 “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
Deuteronomy 8:1–3 “All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons….”
Hosea 2:14 ¶ Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Hosea 2:15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Hosea 2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
Hosea 2:17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
After declaring His judgment against His people, God proceeds to again provide a ray of hope for the future. He will never break His covenant with Abraham. Once again God will woo Israel and restore her as His wife and bless her abundantly.
Achor means troubled. It was in this valley that Israel was judged for the sin of Achan (see Joshua 7).
God declares He is going to change Israel from a land of trouble to a land of great hope and blessing. She will finally realize the blessings and rest that were intended for her in the Promised Land. In that future time of restoration, Israel will be a unified nation that recognizes God as her “Ishi,” her beloved husband and champion instead of master. God looks forward to the day that His people will serve Him in love and not in fear. In that day the people of Israel will no longer be deceived by false gods; in fact, they won’t even acknowledge the existence of those gods.
Hosea 2:18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
Hosea 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
Hosea 2:20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
God goes on to promise that the future day of restoration will include a special covenant with the animals that will cause them to dwell peacefully with man. He also promises to ensure that man will not be allowed to make war with one another. When Israel is once restored to full relationship and fellowship with the LORD, it will be forever. Again, I believe this is a reference to the Messiah’s Kingdom. In His kingdom Israel will experience righteousness, justice, kindness and mercy. Israel will be a faithful wife and experience firsthand the blessings of a cherished wife.
Again I am reminded of the words of Isaiah as he prophesied to Judah.
Isaiah 11:6–9 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
Isaiah 2:2–4 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
I am also reminded of the new covenant that will be in force during this wonderful time of restoration. Ezekiel describes it beautifully.
Ezekiel 11:17–20 “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
Hosea 2:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
Hosea 2:22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
Hosea 2:23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
In Messiah’s Kingdom the climate and the land will respond to their Creator and provide for abundant crops. “Jezreel” means, “God will sow”; and the land will produce in response to God’s provision.
I liked the NLT wording for verse 23: “At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself! I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ Then they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”