1The Word of Jehovah 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.2The beginning of the Word of Jehovah by Hosea. And Jehovah said to Hosea, Go, take to yourself a wife of prostitution, and children of prostitution. For the land has committed adultery against Jehovah with great harlotry.3So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, who conceived and bore him a son.4And Jehovah said to him, Call his name Jezreel, for yet in a little while I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.5And it shall be in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.6And she conceived again and bore a daughter. And He said to him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.7Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah and will save them by Jehovah their God. And I will not save them by bow nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.8And when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son.9Then He said, Call his name Lo-ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God.10Yet the number of the sons 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 to them, You are not My people, it shall be said to them, you are Sons of the Living God.11And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel shall be gathered together, and shall appoint over themselves one head. And they shall go up out of the land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
INSCRIPTION. (Hos 1:1
Spiritual whoredom of Israel set forth by symbolical acts; Gomer taken to wife at God's command: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi, the children. Yet a promise of Judah and Israel's restoration.
The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea--See Introduction.
Jeroboam--the second; who died in the fifteenth year of Uzziah's forty-one years' reign. From his time forth all Israel's kings worshipped false gods: Zachariah (2Kgs 15:9
), Menahem (2Kgs 15:18
), Pekahiah (2Kgs 15:24
), Pekah (2Kgs 15:28
), Hoshea (2Kgs 17:2
). As Israel was most flourishing externally under Jeroboam II, who recovered the possessions seized on by Syria, Hosea's prophecy of its downfall at that time was the more striking as it could not have been foreseen by mere human sagacity. Jonah the prophet had promised success to Jeroboam II from God, not for the king's merit, but from God's mercy to Israel; so the coast of Israel was restored by Jeroboam II from the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain (2Kgs 14:23
beginning--not of the prophet's predictions generally, but of those spoken by Hosea.
take . . . wife of whoredoms--not externally acted, but internally and in vision, as a pictorial illustration of Israel's unfaithfulness [HENGSTENBERG]. Compare Ezek 16:8
, Ezek 16:15
, &c. Besides the loathsomeness of such a marriage, if an external act, it would require years for the birth of three children, which would weaken the symbol (compare Ezek 4:4
). HENDERSON objects that there is no hint of the transaction being fictitious: Gomer fell into lewdness after her union with Hosea, not before; for thus only she was a fit symbol of Israel, who lapsed into spiritual whoredom after the marriage contract with God on Sinai, and made even before at the call of the patriarchs of Israel. Gomer is called "a wife of whoredoms," anticipatively.
children of whoredoms--The kingdom collectively is viewed as a mother; the individual subjects of it are spoken of as her children. "Take" being applied to both implies that they refer to the same thing viewed under different aspects. The "children" were not the prophet's own, but born of adultery, and presented to him as his [KITTO, Biblical Cyclopćdia]. Rather, "children of whoredoms" means that the children, like their mother, fell into spiritual fornication. Compare "bare him a son" (see Hos 2:4
). Being children of a spiritual whore, they naturally fell into her whorish ways. 3
Gomer . . . daughter of Diblaim--symbolical names; literally, "completion, daughter of grape cakes"; the dual expressing the double layers in which these dainties were baked. So, one completely given up to sensuality. MAURER explains "Gomer" as literally, "a burning coal." Compare Pro 6:27
, Pro 6:29
, as to an adulteress; Job 31:9
, Job 31:12
Jezreel--that is, "God will scatter" (compare Zech 10:9
). It was the royal city of Ahab and his successors, in the tribe of Issachar. Here Jehu exercised his greatest cruelties (2Kgs 9:16
, 2Kgs 9:25
, 2Kgs 9:33
; 2Kgs 10:11
, 2Kgs 10:14
, 2Kgs 10:17
). There is in the name an allusion to "Israel" by a play of letters and sounds. 5
bow--the prowess (Jer 49:35
; compare Gen 49:24
valley of Jezreel--afterwards called Esdraelon, extending ten miles in breadth, and in length from Jordan to the Mediterranean near Mount Carmel, the great battlefield of Palestine (Judg 6:33
; 1Sam 29:1
Lo-ruhamah--that is, "not an object of mercy or gracious favor."
take . . . away--Israel, as a kingdom, was never restored from Assyria, as Judah was from Babylon after seventy years. MAURER translates according to the primary meaning, "No more will I have mercy on the house of Israel, so as to pardon them." 7
Judah is only incidentally mentioned to form a contrast to Israel.
by the Lord their God--more emphatic than "by Myself"; by that Jehovah (Me) whom they worship as their God, whereas ye despise Him.
not . . . by bow--on which ye Israelites rely (Hos 1:5
, "the bow of Israel"); Jeroboam II was famous as a warrior (2Kgs 14:25
). Yet it was not by their warlike power Jehovah would save Judah (1Sam 17:47
; Ps 20:7
). The deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib (2Kgs 19:35
), and the restoration from Babylon, are herein predicted. 8
weaned--said to complete the symbolical picture, not having any special signification as to Israel [HENDERSON]. Israel was bereft of all the privileges which were as needful to them as milk is to infants (compare Ps 131:2
; 1Pet 2:2
) [VATABLUS]. Israel was not suddenly, but gradually cast off; God bore with them with long-suffering, until they were incurable [CALVIN]. But as it is not God, but Gomer who weans Lo-ruhamah, the weaning may imply the lust of Gomer, who was hardly weaned when she is again pregnant [MANGER]. 9
Lo-Ammi--once "My people," but henceforth not so (Ezek 16:8
). The intervals between the marriage and the successive births of the three children, imply that three successive generations are intended. Jezreel, the first child, represents the dynasty of Jeroboam I and his successors, ending with Jehu's shedding the blood of Jeroboam's line in Jezreel; it was there that Jezebel was slain, in vengeance for Naboth's blood shed in the same Jezreel (1Kgs 16:1
; 2Kgs 9:21
, 2Kgs 9:30
). The scenes of Jezreel were to be enacted over again on Jehu's degenerate race. At Jezreel Assyria routed Israel [JEROME]. The child's name associates past sins, intermediate punishments, and final overthrow. Lo-ruhamah ("not pitied"), the second child, is a daughter, representing the effeminate period which followed the overthrow of the first dynasty, when Israel was at once abject and impious. Lo-Ammi ("not my people"), the third child, a son, represents the vigorous dynasty (2Kgs 14:25
) of Jeroboam II; but, as prosperity did not bring with it revived piety, they were still not God's people. 10
Literally fulfilled in part at the return from Babylon, in which many Israelites joined with Judah. Spiritually, the believing seed of Jacob or Israel, Gentiles as well as Jews, numerous "as the sand" (Gen 32:12
); the Gentiles, once not God's people, becoming His "sons" (John 1:12
; Rom 9:25
; 1Pet 2:10
; 1John 3:1
). To be fulfilled in its literal fulness hereafter in Israel's restoration (Rom 11:26
the living God--opposed to their dead idols. 11
Judah . . . Israel . . . together-- (Isa 11:12
; Jer 3:18
; Ezek 34:23
; Ezek 37:16
one head--Zerubbabel typically; Christ antitypically, under whom alone Israel and Judah are joined, the "Head" of the Church (Eph 1:22
; Eph 5:23
), and of the hereafter united kingdom of Judah and Israel (Jer 34:5
; Ezek 34:23
). Though "appointed" by the Father (Ps 2:6
), Christ is in another sense "appointed" as their Head by His people, when they accept and embrace Him as such.
out of the land--of the Gentiles among whom they sojourn.
the day of Jezreel--"The day of one" is the time of God's special visitation of him, either in wrath or in mercy. Here "Jezreel" is in a different sense from that in Hos 1:4
, "God will sow," not "God will scatter"; they shall be the seed of God, planted by God again in their own land (Jer 24:6
; Jer 31:28
; Jer 32:41
; Amos 9:15