The Word Made Fresh
1Tell this to your brother Ammi and your sister Ruhamah:
2“Accuse your mother, and plead with her,
for she is not my wife, nor I her husband.
Tell her to stop prostituting herself,
allowing adultery to take place between her breasts,
3or I will strip her naked and expose her like a newborn child.
I will see to it that she is deserted like a desert land,
and make her die of thirst.
4Nor will I have pity upon her children
because they are the children of prostitution.
5Their mother has played the role of a whore and lived in shame.
She said she would continue to entreat her lovers
because they provide her with bread and water,
with wool and flax, and with oil and drink.
6So, I will block her path with briers.
I will build a wall to pin her in
so that she can’t find her path.
7She’ll still chase after her lovers, but she won’t catch them.
She’ll search here and there, but won’t find them.
Then she’ll say that she’ll return to her first husband
because things were better for her then than they are now.
8She didn’t know I was the one who gave her the grain,
the wine and the oil, and also gave her silver
and gold that had been used for Baal.
9So, I’m going to take back my grain when the harvest comes,
and my wine when it is ready, and my wool and my flax
which I gave her to cover her nakedness.
10And then I will expose her shame in full view of her lovers,
and no one will rescue her from me.
11I will bring her celebrations to an end,
and do away with her parties and new moon celebrations
and sabbath observances, and all her regular festivals.
12I will lay her fig trees and vines to waste because she said of them,
“This is the payment my lovers gave me.”
I will send them out to the forest
and the wild animals will devour them.
13And I will punish her for celebrating the feasts of the Baals,
for she had offered incense to them,
and dressed up with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers.
But she forgot me,” says the LORD.
14“So, now I will invite her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15I will give her vineyards and make the valley of Achor a place of hope.
There she will respond as she did when she was young,
when she came out from the land of Egypt.
16“On that day,” says the LORD, “you will call me, ‘My husband,’ and cease calling me, ‘My baal.’ 17I will take all the names of the baals from her mouth, and she will never again mention their names. 18And on that day I will make a pact for you with the wild animals and the birds and the creeping things of the ground. I will do away with the bow and the sword, and banish war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19Then I will take you as my wife forever, in righteousness and justice, and in steadfast love and mercy. 20You will become my faithful wife; and you shall know the LORD.
21“And on that day,” says the LORD, “I will acknowledge the heavens, and they will acknowledge the earth;
22the earth will acknowledge the grain and the wine and the oil,
and they will acknowledge that it all belongs to the LORD.
23Then I will plant her for myself in the land
and I will have pity on the one not pitied.
I will say to those who are not called my people,
‘You are my people,’
and they will say, ‘You are my God.'”
1: Chapter 2 will turn from the marriage of Hosea and Gomer and take up God’s marriage to Israel. To begin with, Israel was “My People” and “Pitied.” But now, as symbolized in the names of Hosea’s children they are “Not My People” and “Not Pitied.”
2-13: Now Israel is the prostitute. Israel has consorted with Baal and other gods and God is going to punish Israel for going after other “lovers.”
14-23: But the day will come when God and Israel will be reconciled to one another, and their relationship will be restored. The play on names is used to illustrate that relationship. Jezreel means “God sows,” and now is mentioned as a promise from God that the land will once more be fruitful. God will once again claim Israel as God’s people, and they will once again claim God as their God.
No matter how far we stray from God, God is always looking for ways to lure us back – through a friend whose faith is strong; through circumstances in life that convince us that we have gone down the wrong road; through failures in our lives that force us to step back and take a closer look at ourselves. We often leave God behind, but thankfully, God doesn’t so easily leave us behind.