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The Book of Hosea
The Marriage Of Hosea And Gomer, The Harlot . . . Hos.1:1-11
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. (KJV)
The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea . . . . Hosea is the same as Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a saviour. Hosea was in some ways a 'type' of Christ the Saviour, and prophesied of Him, and salvation by Him, stating that Jesus was the Instrument and Means of saving mankind, as did all true prophets, and faithful ministers of the Word do. To Hosea, came "the word of the Lord," revealing His mind and His will, and was brought to Hosea by the Spirit of Almighty God. "The Word of the Lord" was committed to Hosea, so that he could deliver it unto others.
The son of Beeri . . . this is added to set him apart from any other of the same name. Possibly his father's name was famous in Israel.
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 . . . it certainly appears that Hosea prophesied over a long period of time.
Hosea's prophecy is mainly against Israel, and began when they were in a flourishing condition. It appears that Isaiah, Amos, and Micah, were contemporary with him (Isa.1:1). Jewish tradition says that Hosea died at Babylon, and that his body, was carried by a camel to Safed in upper Galilee, and was buried there. But, this is historically worthless.
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. (KJV)
The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea . . . "the Word of the Lord" was internally revealed to Hosea by the Holy Spirit, Who first spoke IN Hosea, and then BY Hosea. This prophet was NOT the first of the prophets to whom "the Word of the Lord" came. It "came" to Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Shemaiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others before him. Nor was Hosea the first of the minor prophets to which "the Word of the Lord" came, for Jonah, Joel, Micah, Haggai, Amos and Zechariah are by some thought to be before him. It seems that Hosea was pressed hard for service at first, to prophesy against Israel, an idolatrous and unfaithful people. It surely must have been a disagreeable and disturbing task for the young man.
And the Lord said to Hosea, go, take thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms . . . the Lord directed and commanded him. "Go, take unto thee" . . . some say this was done in vision, and was to be told to the people as other visions were, while others say it was really acted out, and that the prophet really did, as he was commanded, marry one who had been a prostitute (loose woman, whore), or that had become one after she was married. Although this would seem improper to the prophet, God had by His command made this a necessary duty to him. "A wife of whoredoms" . . . is an openly notorious whore . . . "a woman of many whoredoms" was the very symbol of idolatrous Israel. "Children of whoredoms" . . . either was one born of such a mother, or one addicted to lewdness; or he is to receive and maintain the children she had by her adulterers.
God is rich mercy towards the Jews who were idolaters, when they dwelt on the other side the river (Josh.24:2-3), yet God took them, and married them to Himself, revealing wonderful kindness to them. Or this could refer more expressly to what God did for Israel, when He brought them out of Egypt, and made covenant with them in Horeb, which was as a solemn espousing them to God. The Lord found them contaminated with Egyptian idolatries, yet, as the prophet here, married them to Himself, and covenanted with them to be faithful to him, but THEY broke the covenant. "Whoredoms" referred to here not only meant backsliding from Jehovah, by being unfaithful to Him, but also included actual sex orgies and outlandish perversions in connection with idols: (Ex.20:4,7,14; 22:19-20; Lev.18:20-23; 19:29; 20:13; Deut.31:16; Judg.2:17; 2 Ki.9:22).
For the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD . . . meaning the PEOPLE of the land, had a close, personal relationship in the universal spreading of this sin . . . all, or nearly all, were badly infected. "Hath committed great whoredom" . . . playing the harlot speaks of the continuation of this idolatry among them. From way back when their forefathers they had been idolaters; even while God was still giving them His law (from the wedding day to Hosea's time) they committed non-stop spiritual whoredom, and first made, then worshipped the golden calf (Ex.32; Deut.9:16; 1 Ki.12:28-33; 13:1-5,32; 2 Ki.10:29; 23:4,15-20; Neh.9:18; Ps.106:19; Jer.48:13; Hos.2:5; 8:4-6; 10:5-6; Acts 7:41). Departing from the Lord, they left their first Husband, and doted on adulterers!
As you read this, are you judging Israel? DON'T do it! This country of ours is doing the SAME thing! The whole world is, in fact! Only a "few" are stranding strong for Jesus (Mat.7:13-14; Lk.18:8). Please do NOT follow the apostasy crowd!
What the Lord says to the prophet Hosea is rather an odd thing, and many interpreters do NOT take Him this literally. When God told Hosea, "Go," He was not just giving him permission to marry Gomer; it was a COMMAND to do so. You can trifle with God too long. The nation Israel did, and the day finally came when God said, "I will no longer have mercy on you." (Deut.7:2; Isa.47:6).
Hosea 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. (KJV)
So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim . . . Diblaim was the mother of Gomer, who was Hosea's wife. Hosea did as he was commanded, whether you take it as a parable or literally.
Which conceived and bare him a son . . . whose name, and what he was a symbol of, are declared in the following verse. This seems to favor the literal acceptation of all this as actually done, and not only as represented in vision or parable.
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. (KJV)
And the Lord said unto him call his name Jezreel . . . some interpret this as the 'seed of God,' or 'arm of God,' but it rather means "God will sow" or "scatter" meaning either Israel's disagreement among themselves; or their dispersion among the nations, which afterwards did come to pass, thus alluding to the city of Jezreel, where some of the idolatrous kings of Israel lived, and where much blood had been shed (Josh.15:56; 19:18; 1 Sam.25:43; 27:3; 29:1,11; 2 Sam.2:9; 1 Ki.18:45-46; 21:1;, 2 Ki.8:29; 9:15-37; 10:11; Hos.1:4-5,11).
For yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu . . . "the blood of Jezreel" not Jehu's vengeance on Ahab's family, but his acts of cruelty while he resided at Jezreel, a city in the tribe of Issachar (Josh.19:18), where the kings of Israel had a palace (1 Ki.21:1).
And will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel . . . in the family of Jehu; Zachariah the son of the then reigning prince being the last, and his reign only the short reign of six months; unless this refers to the utter cessation of this kingdom as such in the times of Hoshea by Shalmaneser king of Assyria (2 Ki.10:30; 14:23; 15:1,10; 17:6).
"The blood" . . . murders committed are in Scripture expressed in this way. Here, particularly are meant the slaughters made by Jehu's hand or by his order (2 Ki.9:10; 10:1-7), in Jezreel, where he did with a treacherous mind, and aiming at his own greatness, destroy Ahab's house, and slew Ahaziah king of Judah also. "Of Jezreel" . . . the town which Ahab chose above others to dwell in, where the dogs licked up Ahab's blood, when his chariot was washed and cleansed of the blood of that slain king, and where dogs did eat Jezebel, as the prophet threatened (1 Ki.21:23).
"Upon the house of Jehu" . . . which had now possessed the throne (Jehu usurped) through the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoash and Jeroboam. But the usurper and his successors adhered to the idolatry of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, plus adding other sins to it, had now provoked God to declare a sudden extermination of the family, which God will in His just revenge make as like to Jeroboam's family as Ahab's, and they had made themselves like them in sin; all which came to pass when Shallum, conspiring against Zachariah, slew him (2 Ki.15:10).
Call his name Jezreel . . . meaning God will disperse. This seems to intimate that a dispersion or sowing of Israel shall take place; which happened under Shalmaneser, king of Assyria (2 Ki.17:5-6). But the word refers also to the name of a city, where Jehu slew Jezebel and all the children of Ahab (2 Ki.9:10,36; 10:6-11).
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. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass at that day . . . when the Lord shall take vengeance on the family of Jehu, and deprive them of the kingdom of Israel, and shall punish the idolatrous kings that succeed.
That I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel . . . of which valley (Josh.17:16). "The valley of Jezreel" . . . refers to either some signal defeat of the Israelites by the Assyrians, which took place in the valley of Jezreel; or to the death of Zechariah, the fourth lineal descendant of Jehu, which may have happened here (2 Ki.15:10).
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. (KJV)
And she conceived again, and bare a daughter . . . one of the weaker sex; meaning the weaker state of the kingdom of Israel after Jeroboam (2 Ki.15:8).
And God said unto him, call her name Loruhamah . . . which means "she hath not obtained mercy." The name Lo-ruhamah is rendered in Romans "not beloved" (Rom.9:25); and in Peter, "hath not obtained mercy" (1 Pet.2:12). Both love and mercy are contained in the full meaning of the intensive form of the Hebrew word, which expresses the deep tender yearnings of the inmost soul over one loved. Psalms 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (KJV)
For I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel . . . He had spared them time after time, though they continued to sin against Him; but now He would spare them no longer, but deliver them up into the hands of their enemies . . . a part of them, first into the hands of Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and then to Shalmaneser (2 Ki.15:29), but otherwise, in the latter day, mercy will be shown them again, especially spiritually, when they shall be converted, and believe in Christ, and all Israel shall be saved, as well as possess their own land again (Hos.1:10-11).
But I will utterly take them away . . . out of their land, from being a kingdom and nation, which was done by Shalmaneser, another king of Assyria (2 Ki.17:6). "But I will utterly take them away" . . . when God threatens, the sinful or awakened soul sees immediately what it is that brings down the lightning of God's wrath, and where it will fall.
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. (KJV)
But I will have mercy on the house of Judah . . . . He prolonged that kingdom 132 years after Israel ceased to be a kingdom; preserving them from the combined powers of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who joined to destroy them; raising them up to greatness and glory in the reign of Hezekiah, in whose days the house of Judah was saved by a miracle. Judah's captivity was for 70 years, Israel's was for ever. Judah returned to their own land, Israel never did. Judah, including Benjamin, and such of the Levites as adhered to God's law and worship, and as many of the other tribes as renounced the calves, Baal and all idolatrous worship, and worship God alone as He required . . . all these, in this case, are included in Judah, and so we find many such returning with Judah. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which retained the true worship of God among them (Hos.11:12); and though they often sinned against the Lord, He showed them mercy, and spared them much longer than the ten tribes; and though He allowed them to be carried captive into Babylon, He returned them again after 70 years. Judah was spared, when Israel was not. This shows that God will have a people to seek and serve Him, and when He rejects some, He will have a "remnant" in store (Ezra 9:8,15; Neh.1:3; 9:31; Isa.1:9; 4:3; 10:20; 11:11,16; 17:6; 37:4,32; 45:20; 46:3; 65:8; Jer.5:18; 6:9; 23:3; 30:11; 31:7; 40:11; 41:16; 42:2,15,19; 43:5; 44:12,14; 46:28; 50:20; Eze. 6:8; 12:16; 14:22; Joel 2:32; Amos 3:12; 5:3,15; 9:8; Mic. 2:12; 4:7; 5:3,8; 7:18; Zep.2:7,9; 3:13; Zec.8:6; 8:12; 13:8; Rom.9:27,29; 11:5).
And will save them by the Lord their God . . . save them, preserve them, that violence does not swallow them up, nor length of captivity wear them out. And this preserved remnant shall return and be planted in their own land, and there kept in safety. This promise seems to point out an eternal salvation, a far better and more glorious salvation. "By the Lord their God" . . . whom Judah did not, as Israel, forsake utterly. (Isa.37:36; 2 Ki.18:13; 2 Chron.32:1).
And will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen . . . here God removes all force and might, whether their own or their allies', all that might hide the glory of God in this salvation. This was fully performed in Hezekiah's time, when Sennacherib's army was cut off in one night by an angel (Isa.37:35-36), and in Cyrus's time and Darius's the captive Jews saw it was not by power nor by might, but the Lord saved them (Ps.44:5-6; Isa.43:7,15; Zec.4:6).
Israel was prosperous, but Hosea boldly tells them of their sins, and foretells their destruction. Hosea must show Israel their dreadful sin, and show it in truth, to be exceedingly hateful to Almighty God. We too today, should consider his words. Israel's idolatry is the sin they are here charged with. What about this idolatrous world in which we live? People give glory to any creature or thing (money, sex, pleasure, etc.) which is due to God alone. That is an injury and insult to God. It is the same as for a wife to take a stranger into her bed, who is not her husband. It is adultery. With God, forsaking Him, it is 'spiritual' adultery. Spiritual adultery: (Ex.34:15; Lev.17:7; 20:6; Num.14:33; 15:39; Deut.31:16; Judg.2:17; 8:27,33; 1 Chron.5:25; 2 Chron.21:11; Ps.73:27; 106:39; Isa.1:21; 57:8; Jer.2:20,33; 3:1,8,20; 11:15; 13:27; Eze.6:9; 16:15; 16:25; 20:30; 23:3,11,17,30,35; 43:7; Hos.1:2; 2:2;; 3:1; 4:12; 5:4; 6:10; 9:1; Mal.2:11; Mat.12:39; Jam.4:4; Rev.2:22; 14:8; 17:2; 18:3)
Apostasy, in God's eyes, is a great sin. It is abandonment of one's faith in God. Warnings: (Ex.34:15; Lev.17:7; 20:5; Deut.8:19; 31:16,20; Isa.48:8; Jer.2:21; Eze.18:24; Mat.24:10; 26:15; Lk.11:26; 14:30; 2 Thes.2:3; 1 Tim.1:19; 4:1; 5:12; 2 Tim.4:4; Heb.3:12; 10:26; 2 Pet.2:21; 3:17).
The Lord, doubtless, had good reasons for giving such a command to the prophet. It would form a sad, distressing picture of the Lord's unmerited goodness and enduring patience, and of the utter perverseness and ingratitude of Israel. We should be broken and wearied with the vile perverseness all around us, which tries the patience and grieves the Spirit of our God. The prophet must show the ruin of the people, in the names given to his children. He foretells the fall of the royal family in the name of his first child: call his name Jezreel, which signifies dispersion. He foretells God's abandoning the nation in the name of the second child; Lo-ruhamah, not beloved, or not having obtained mercy. God showed great mercy, but Israel greatly abused His grace and mercy. SIN turns away the mercy of God, even from Israel, His own professing people. If God's pardoning mercy is denied and rejected, no other mercy, anywhere can be expected.
Although some, through unbelief, are broken off, God will have a church in this world until the end of time. Our salvation . . . be we Jew or Gentile, is owing only to God's mercy, NOT ever to any merit of our own. Eternal salvation is sure, of which Christ Jesus is the Author and Finisher (Heb.5:9; 12:2). And my friend, IF He will work it in you, NONE anywhere shall hinder Him! Just open your heart's door to Him (Rev.3:20).
Hosea 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. (KJV)
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah . . . women ordinarily did not conceive while nursing a child. When Gomer weaned her daughter, she then conceived the son which is to be a symbol of the final rejection of the ten tribes.
She conceived and bare a son . . . some say that the weaning of Loruhamah points to the times of weakness, from Zachariah the son of Jeroboam to the times of Pekahiah, when the reigns were short and troublesome; so this son conceived and born represents the state of the nation in the times of Pekah; who reigned twenty years, and was too powerful for the kingdom of Judah, killing multitudes of them, and carried others captive, and assisted Rezin king of Syria against Ahaz king of Judah. But others say it seems best to agree with the times of Hoshea king of Israel, who was not as bad as some of his predecessors; was a man of spirit and courage; cast off the Assyrian yoke, and neglected to give presents to the king of Assyria; and Samaria in his time held out a three years' siege against that king (2 Ki.17:1). "Bare a son" . . . to be a third sign to this incorrigible and self-undoing kingdom.
Hosea 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (KJV)
Then said God, call his name Loammi . . . God is speaking to the prophet, as before (Hos.1:4,6). The name of this new-born son, the sign or type of the ten tribes, who had rejected God, and would not be reclaimed. "Lo-ammi" . . . not my people; though once they were a "peculiar people" (Ex.19:5; Deut.14:2; 26:18; Ps.135:4; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.2:9), they were no more, they are cast off as they deserved.
For ye are not my people . . . the whole house of apostate Israel, who first cast off the house of David and God's Temple, and at last rejected God. Although circumcised, they cast off God's covenant. They neither worship God, nor come up to His Temple, nor keep His law. Baal, the golden calves and the idols of their neighbors were their gods. Although God had chosen them to be His people above all people, and had distinguished them from others by many kinds of blessings and privileges; yet they did not behave as such to Him. They did NOT serve, did NOT obey, and did NOT worship Him, but instead worshipped the ridiculous calves at Dan and Bethel. Therefore they did NOT deserve to be called "His people" (Ps.14:7; 29:11; 33:12; 94:14; 100:3; 149:4). "For ye are not my people" . . . because they did NOT confirm the words of God's law, His Word would NOT be their help. It burdens my soul as I write this . . . for Israel and for ALL people who abandon God.
And I will not be your God . . . God would not behave toward them as 'their God.' He would not take them under His care and protection. He would not be their King and defender, but give them up into the hands of their enemies. This could refer to the captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser (2 Ki.17:6-7).
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. (KJV)
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered . . . God would NOT fail in His Word to Abraham (Gen.13:16; 32:12; Isa.48:19; Rom.9:27-28; Heb.11:12), nor would He lose His people. Even though ten tribes be forever captivated, God will have His Israel (Rom.9:25-26). Gentiles will also be a part of God's Israel (Hos.2:23; Isa.43:6-7; 49:17-22; 54:-3; 60:4-22; 66:20; Jn.1:12-13; Rom.8:14-17; 9:26; 2 Cor.6:18; Gal.3:26-29; 4:6-7; 1 Pet.2:9-10; 1 Jn.3:1-2).
"The number of the children of Israel" . . . not Israel after the flesh, not those persons and families that are carried captive, but the Israel of God according to the faith, the spiritual seed of Abraham, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles. "Shall be as the sand of the sea" . . . which cannot be measured or numbered! (Isa.10:22-23; Rom.9:27).
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 . . . 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" (Jn.1:12; Rom. 9:25-26; 1 Pet.2:10; 1 Jn.3:1). To be fulfilled in its literal fullness in Israel's future restoration (Rom.11:26).
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. (KJV)
Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together . . . NOT at the return from the Babylon captivity, even though some of the ten tribes were mixed with the Jews when they went into captivity, and came out with them. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, those were the chief of the children of Israel (Ezra 1:5).
And appoint themselves one head . . . NOT Sennacherib, Hezekiah, nor Josiah, and NOT Elijah the prophet, as some say. But, instead, David their King, the Messiah (Hos.3:5).
And they shall come up out of the land . . . NOT Israel, but out of each of the lands and countries where Israel and Judah have been dispersed, and return to their own land (Jer.3:18). It could also be understood symbolically and spiritually, of their coming up out of their captivity to sin, Satan, the law and the world, as well as out of their present temporal captivity. Out of their graves of sin, forsaking their earthly affections, and becoming spiritually minded; willing to STOP all that is dear unto them and vile to God, and to follow Christ their Head and King!
For great shall be the day of Jezreel . . . for great will be the day of their gathering! ALL these grand things promised by God shall surely be accomplished! This looks forward to the latter day glory, when there shall be the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles (Rom.11:12,25). What a day this shall be: great peace and prosperity; great love and unity; great holiness and purity; great light and knowledge; an extreme enjoyment of God never before known by all people, and of the awesome and intimate Presence of the Redeemer! It cannot get any better than this!
THE CALLING OF THE GENTILES, AND THE UNITING ISRAEL AND JUDAH UNDER THE MESSIAH . . . Hos.1:8-11
The rejection of Israel for a time, is signified by the name of another child, Loammi, "not my people." The Lord disowns all relationship to them. We love God, only because HE first loved us (1 Jn.4:19). IF we refuse to accept Christ, and reject God's one and only Plan of salvation (Jn.3:3-8,15-18,36; 8:24; 14:6; 1 Jn.5:10-12), our being "cast out" is NO one's fault and folly except our own! Very precious Promises are here given concerning the Israel of God, and they may be of use to US now . . . be we Jew or Gentile! To believe in Christ, is to have Him as our Head, and willingly submit ourselves to His guidance and His rule.
Psalms 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (KJV)
Book of Hosea
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