Hosea

Hosea; Hosea 1‑3; Hosea 4-14; 2 Kings 9:30‑37; Romans 9:26; Hosea 2; Joshua 7:26; 1 Peter 2:10; Hosea 3; Hosea 4; Hosea 4:15; Hosea 4:17; Hosea 5; Hosea 6‑7; Hosea 6:7; Romans 5:14; Hosea 8; Hosea 9; Hosea 10; Judges 19:15‑25; Hosea 11; Matthew 2:15; Deuteronomy 29:23; Hosea 12; Hosea 10:9; Hosea 13; Hosea 14  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Nothing is related of the ancestors of the prophet Hosea (whose name is identical with Hoshea) except that he was the son of Beeri. He prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam king of Israel. He is especially occupied with the moral condition of the people, principally of Israel, and the judgments that would follow. Israel is treated as in rebellion from the commencement. The prophecy divides itself thus: Hosea 1-3 gives God’s purposes respecting Israel; and in Hosea 4-14 the people are addressed: there are minor sub-divisions.
Hosea was to act a parable, by taking a “wife of whoredoms,” which may mean that the woman that he was to take would be unfaithful to him; but grace abounds over sin. Hosea’s wife was symbolical of Israel who had been unfaithful to Jehovah. He took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who bore him a son, who, by the Lord’s direction, was called Jezreel (a place that had witnessed the judgments of God. 2 Kings 9:30-3730And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. 31And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? 32And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. 33And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. 34And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter. 35And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. 36Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: 37And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel. (2 Kings 9:30‑37)). The prophet’s wife then bare a daughter, and her name was called Lo-ruhamah, “not having obtained mercy”; no more mercy was to be shown to Israel. Again Gomer bare a son, and called his name Lo-ammi, “not my people.” God would not acknowledge them as His. But a future blessing is at once announced to them, and those who had no claim to be God’s people should be called “sons of the living God.” Paul applies this to the Gentiles in Romans 9:2626And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (Romans 9:26), as he does in verse 25 to the Jews (where Hosea is called OSEE).
Hosea 2. This introduces a remnant, the “brethren” and “sisters” of the prophet, those acted upon by the Spirit, to whom God’s message was Ammi, “my people”; and Ruhamah, “received in mercy.” They will plead with their mother—Israel in the mass—and tell her that she was not the wife of Jehovah. She must be dealt with in judgment, but the valley of Achor (where God’s anger was turned away, Joshua 7:2626And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day. (Joshua 7:26)) should be a door of hope. She will be able to call Jehovah Ishi, “husband,” and not Baali, “master.” Those that had not obtained mercy will obtain mercy; and those that had been declared “not God’s people” would be able to say, “Thou art my God” (Compare 1 Pet. 2:1010Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)).
Hosea 3. This deals with the past, the present, and the future. Other details are given of their unfaithfulness and rejection. They should be many days without a king, or a sacrifice, or even an idol (as is the state of Israel in the present day); but they will afterward return, and seek Jehovah and their king, that is Christ.
Hosea 4. This commences the appeal to their consciences. The sins of the people are pointed out. Their prophets had failed, and the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. The priests also had failed and it became “like people, like priest.” In Hosea 4:1515Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven, nor swear, The Lord liveth. (Hosea 4:15) Judah is warned not to follow the evil example of Israel. In Hosea 4:1717Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. (Hosea 4:17), as elsewhere, Israel is called Ephraim, that being the chief of the ten tribes.
Hosea 5. The priests, the people, and the king are addressed. They had all sinned, and had been rebuked, but had not returned to Jehovah. Ephraim, instead of turning to Jehovah in his sickness, had sought the Assyrian—a king who could not cure them.
Hosea 6-7. The prophet touchingly appeals to the people to return to Jehovah: it must be in reality, and not merely in outward forms. They had, like Adam (Hosea 6:77But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. (Hosea 6:7), instead of “men”), transgressed the covenant (compare Rom. 5:1414Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (Romans 5:14)). The people encouraged the king and princes in their wickedness: their weakness was manifest, for strangers had devoured them. They would not turn to the Most High.
Hosea 8. They are still threatened for their impiety. Israel had “made many altars to sin,” and had leaned upon Assyria, an arm of flesh. Judah had trusted to her fenced cities: judgment should fall upon both.
Hosea 9. This reveals a touching mixture of the prophet’s affection for the people, and the judgments he is compelled to utter against them. Various illustrations are used to enforce his words.
Hosea 10. Israel was an empty vine. They are reproached for their altars and the golden calves: they had sinned from the days of Gibeah (Compare Judg. 19:15-2515And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging. 16And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 18And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Bethlehem-judah, but I am now going to the house of the Lord; and there is no man that receiveth me to house. 19Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing. 20And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. 23And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. 24Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. 25But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. (Judges 19:15‑25)).
Hosea 12. The prophet enters into the detail of God’s moral relationship with Israel, in order that the force of their being rejected by Him may convict them of their sin. They were to study how God had dealt with Jacob. The prophet in this chapter, as also in Hosea 10:99O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. (Hosea 10:9), refers to the beginning of evil in the history of the people. Jacob’s character was reproduced in his descendants.
Hosea 13. Here again is found the conflict between the prophet’s affection for the people, and the punishment God was compelled to inflict. And here again, almost as soon as the punishment is pronounced, God’s thoughts of grace are uttered.
Hosea 14. This speaks of restoration. Iniquity is acknowledged and forgiveness asked. Assyria shall no more be appealed to, nor the work of their hands be called their God. Abundant blessing is then foretold. Ephraim will say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” God’s answer, “I have heard him and observed him.” Again Ephraim says, “I am like a green fir tree”; and the answer is, “From me is thy fruit found.” The prophecy ends with the declaration that the wise and the prudent will grasp the things revealed; “for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
Thus the dealings of God with Israel and Judah are dealt with in Hosea more fully perhaps than in any other of the minor prophets. The learned look upon Hosea as the most difficult of the prophets to translate, its abrupt transitions being numerous and hard to understand, because of its dealing strictly with Jewish circumstances.