The Word Made Fresh
1In the days of the Judean Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and the Israelite King Jeroboam son of Joash, the word of the LORD came to Hosea, son of Beeri. 2The LORD said to him, “Marry a prostitute and have children of adultery, because the land is involved in prostitution, for they have forsaken the LORD.” 3So, Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. She conceived, and gave birth to his son.
4The LORD said to him, “Name him Jezreel, for soon I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel and I will do away with the kingdom of Israel, 5and that is the day I will shatter the armies of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”
6Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Name her Lo-Ruhamah (which means not pitied), because I am no longer going to pity the house of Israel or forgive them. 7But I will pity the house of Judah and rescue them. I won’t rescue them by military strength, however – not by sword, war, horses, and horsemen.”
8When Lo-Ruhamah was weaned, Gomer conceived and gave birth to another son. 9The LORD said, “Name him Lo-Ammi (which means not my people), for you are not my people and I am not your God.
10“Still, the people of Israel will be as numerous as the sand of the sea which can’t be numbered or measured. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called, ‘children of the living God.’ 11The people of Judah and Israel will be brought together and one leader will be appointed over them. They will possess the land, and the day of Jezreel will be a great day.”
1: The period in which Hosea prophesied was a particularly disruptive time in Israel’s history. Most scholars date him from 750-724 B.C. It is not obvious from the opening verse, but Hosea lived and prophesied in the northern kingdom, Israel. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were all connected to the southern kingdom, Judah.
2-3: God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute, a surprising beginning to the book and a surprising suggestion from God, but Hosea’s marriage to Gomer is a reflection of God’s “marriage” to Israel.
4-5: Their first son is to be named Jezreel, a valley in Israel about 20 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. That is where Jehu brutally assassinated Joram (2 Kings 9:17-25) and became king of Israel and established his own dynasty. God says the day is coming when Jehu’s line will be terminated and Israel with it.
6-7: A second child, a daughter, is named “Not Pitied,” to symbolize God’s lack of pity for Israel. Judah, however, will be spared (but not for long).
8-9: After a few years another son is born, and God tells Hosea to name him “Not My People,” signifying the complete break between God and Israel.
10-11: Now the prophesy is reversed: the day will come when all will be restored, the two kingdoms reunited under one throne, and God’s people will once again take possession of the land.
We travel back in time now to the days before the people of Israel and Judah were sent into exile. The prophet Hosea saw their calamity approaching, and realized their fate because they had forsaken the worship of God. We are warned over and over that our choice of gods determines our fate.