Hosea 1


Hosea’s message is directed to the Northern Kingdom which he often refers to as Ephraim because it is one of the largest, most dominant tribes. He also makes a couple of references, in passing, to the Southern Kingdom to warn them that the same thing could happen to them.


The stable reign of Jeroboam II was coming to an end. This would be followed by a period of instability when six kings reigned over the last 25 years. Four were murdered whilst in office, one was taken into captivity and only one died a natural death.

In 735 BC Tiglath-Pileser III invaded the Northern area of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 2 Kings 15:29. This was the beginning of the oppression. Later on, King Hoshea of Israel and King So of Egypt conspired against Assyria.

Hoshea was arrested and imprisoned by Shalmaneser I, 2 Kings 17:1-6. Shalmaneser began a siege which was to last for three years, 724-721 B.C. The siege was completed by Sargon II. The siege ended when the Israelites were carried off and foreigners were brought in to occupy Samaria.

Hosea warns about the people of Israel, that is, the Northern Kingdom, going into captivity.


The names Hosea means ‘God is salvation’ but there are various forms of the same name such as Hoshea, Joshua and Jesus. We know nothing else about the man, other than the fact that he ministered God’s Word to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

He is the son of Beeri, Hosea 1:1 and he had three children who played a vital part in his message to the nation of Israel, Jezreel, Hosea 1:4, Lo-Ruhamah, Hosea 1:6, and Lo-Ammi, Hosea 1:8.


The very first verse of the Book of Hosea tells us that Hosea wrote the book, Hosea 1:1.


The date is indicated to us in Hosea 1:1 ‘The word of the Lord came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Joash king of Israel.’ The probable date is around 750 B.C. although he was working as a prophet from 30 to 60/70 years according to these kingly reigns.

He was working under Assyrian depression at the time of Tiglath-Pileser III. Assyria is named several times in the book, Hosea 7:11 / Hosea 11:5 / Hosea 11:11 / Hosea 12:1 / Hosea 12:3.


The training of the Prophet. Hosea 1-3

Domestic Circumstances. Hosea 1:1-2:1

Gomer’s unfaithfulness. Hosea 2:2-23

Gomer restored. Hosea 3:1-5

The teachings of the Prophet. Hosea 4-14

Pollution and its cause. Hosea 4:1-6:3

Pollution and its punishment. Hosea 6:4-10:15

The love of God. Hosea 11:1-14:9


The basic theme and message of the book are God is a God of love and righteousness.

The Text

‘The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel: When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.’ Hosea 1:1-3

Hosea’s Wife And Children

The book begins by telling us that God spoke through Hosea, as well as through the personal words of God that Hosea recorded by inspiration, Jeremiah 1:2 / Joel 1:1 / Micah 1:1 / Zephaniah 1:1.

It also gives us the details of the date of Hosea’s work as a prophet. He mentions the kings of Judah and Israel. Hosea is writing after the event, not as it is happening.

God commanded him to ‘go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her.’ His domestic life is going to become an object lesson of his message. There are several views on the phrase ‘a promiscuous woman’, some translations use the words, ‘wife of harlotry’.

Some commentators suggest that Gomer was a prostitute when he married her. Others suggest that at the time of her marriage she was a sacred prostitute, that is, she was working in a temple, perhaps to the god, Baal.

Some suggest because she was a woman from an immoral nation, she had been brought up under the influence of idolatry but she wasn’t a harlot or prostitute when she got married. Other commentators suggest that she was a woman with a tendency to harlotry and others suggest that the story is just an allegory.

We are told the reason why he should do this because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery by forsaking the Lord. In obedience to God’s command, Hosea marries Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim and together they have a son.

‘Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” Hosea 1:4-5

Gomer bears three children and although some suggest that she had been unfaithful and that these children were not Hosea’s, we have no reason to believe this.

The first of these three children are named Jezreel, which means ‘God will scatter’ and ‘God will sow’. The name symbolises a threat to the house of Jehu because of the massacre at Jezreel, 2 Kings 9:21-37 / 2 Kings 10:1-8 / 2 Kings 10:11. Jehu was instructed to destroy the house of Ahab, but he went over the top.

The significance of the name, Jezreel is this bloodshed of Jehu and that Israel will scatter. In other words, God will bring an end to the house of Jehu by bringing vengeance upon him and his heritage. God is going to break the power of Israel and they would be taken into captivity.

‘Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the LORD their God, will save them.” Hosea 1:6-7

Gomer now has another child, this time a daughter and she was named, Lo-Ruhamah which means, ‘not loved’ or ‘not pitied’. God will have no more pity upon Israel. The Northern Kingdom was to come to an end because she no longer represented God among the nations.

‘After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’ Hosea 1:8-9

Gomer now has another child, this time a son and he is named, Lo-Ammi, which means ‘not my people’, 1 Peter 2:10 / Romans 4:25-26. The name symbolises God’s rejection of His people. It represents a reversal of the covenant God made with them, Leviticus 26:9 / Leviticus 26:12.

God will no longer protect His people because Israel had violated the conditions of the covenant they made with God, Exodus 19:5 / Psalm 118:6 / Ezekiel 16:8. They became an idolatrous nation, serving other gods.

‘Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.’ Hosea 1:10-11

Although God will eventually send all His people into captivity, there would be a gathering of the two kingdoms, that is Israel and Judah, again into one nation.

God reminds them of His promise to Abraham, that his seed would be as the sand of the sea, Genesis 22:17 / Genesis 32:12 / Revelation 7:9.

The words ‘you who are not my people’ they will be called ‘children of the living God’, Romans 9:25-26, and the words recorded in Hosea 2:1, give hope for restoration in the future.

These words are quoted in the New Testament by Peter and by Paul who use them to show God’s acceptance of the Gentiles, 1 Peter 2:10 / Romans 9:25-26. When Hosea wrote this it was directed at the Jews, Paul applies it to the Gentiles in his letter to the Romans.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The fulfilment of the prophecy that the children of Judah and of Israel should be gathered together was fulfilled on Pentecost, ‘the one head’, being none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gentiles were adopted into the Church, which, at the Day of Pentecost, was formed of Jews and Gentiles become one in Christ.’

God says the time is coming when they will appoint one leader, in other words, they will finally accept God as their King and as time goes by they will eventually accept the Messiah, as their King, Ephesians 1:20-23 / Colossians 1:18.

Please note that these words aren’t the end of chapter 1, the first verse of chapter 2, which actually closes the chapter.

Go To Hosea 2