Hosea 2


‘Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’ Hosea 2:1

This verse is the closes thought from chapter 1. Notice the KJV says this, ‘Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.’

Paul quotes this verse in Romans 9:25-26, where he basically tells us, if God decides to show His grace by extending salvation to the Gentiles, no one has the right to question Him.

In fact, God has done what He said He would do, when through the prophet Hosea, He said, ‘Those who were not my people I will call my people. Hosea 2:23.

This can only mean that there would be a time when Gentiles become the people of God. And, as for Israel, who thinks so highly of herself.

And so, Paul is showing the Jews by their own prophets that the Gentiles would be called the people of God. He quotes Hosea 2:23, though not quite to the letter, a passage relating directly, not to the Gentiles, but to the kingdom of the ten tribes.

However, since they had sunk to the level of the Gentiles, who were ‘not God’s people,’ and in that sense ‘not beloved,’ the apostle legitimately applies it to the Gentiles. His point is that the prophet prophesied that those who were not God’s people would someday be His people.

He quotes Hosea 1:10 which teaches the same as the preceding verse. ‘In the place…There’, Romans 9:26, this expression seems to be designed to give greater emphasis to the gracious change, from divine exclusion to divine admission to the privileges of the people of God. Again, the point is that there would be a place (as well as a time) where those who were not His people would be His people.

In this section, Paul is showing God’s right to choose the believers and to reject fleshly Israel. This is shown by many illustrations: Isaac, Jacob, Pharaoh, the potter, by Hosea the prophet, and by Isaiah the prophet, Isaiah 10:22-23 /Isaiah 28:21-22.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This indicates a reversal of the symbolical names of judgment, as given to Hosea’s children in the times of the new covenant, God’s people will be ‘Pitied’ and ‘My People’. The use of the terms ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in this place also points to the time of the church in the new dispensation.’

Jamieson, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This as a prophecy was to be accomplished in the times foretold in Hosea 1:10-11 when they ‘would call one another as brothers and sisters in the family of God’.’

Israel Punished and Restored

‘Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ Hosea 2:2-5

Hosea’s personal circumstances symbolised Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. God here, is the husband, Israel is the bride, however, the marriage relationship cannot continue whilst the bride is unfaithful, Isaiah 54:5 / Jeremiah 11:10 / Jeremiah 31:32.

It’s an appeal to the adulterous woman to forsake her adultery. Israel was the adulterous woman in her idolatry, Exodus 34:14-15 / Leviticus 17:7 / Leviticus 20:5-6 / Numbers 14:33 / Numbers 15:39 / Deuteronomy 31:16 / Deuteronomy 32:16 / Deuteronomy 32:21.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This horrible worship had been made the official religion of the state of Israel by Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who brought with her from her native Tyre the Sidonian paganism. She encouraged Ahab to build shrines for worship and brought hundreds of the religious priests and prophets to Israel. She persecuted the prophets of God and ordered those slain who spoke against her idolatrous ways, Through her daughter Athaliah, 2 Kings 8:18, who became wife of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, the same paganism also penetrated and later destroyed Judah also.’

Notice that the appeal was to the children, not the wife. This tells us that even though Israel as a nation had gotten into idolatry, not everyone was involved, there were some of Israel who remained faithful.

The day Israel was born was the day God brought them out of Egyptian slavery, she was naked, like a newly born baby, Ezekiel 16:4-14. Because of Israel’s idolatry, God once again is about to strip them naked, He was going to make them like the desert, that is, spiritually destitute.

This was going to happen literally, first for the ten northern tribes when they became slaves of Assyria, and then later, more completely when the two southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, were carried away to Babylon in slavery.

God visits the sins of the parents upon the children until the entailed curse is cut off by repentance. They are all idolaters and have been consecrated to idols, whose marks they bear.

Israel said they would go after their ‘lovers’, Ezekiel 16:34, that is, Baal, or Baalim, which is plural, in whom they put their trust in wealth and prosperity.

They turned to the Baals and relied on them for the basics in life such as food, water, wool, linen, olive oil and drink, instead of turning to God and relying on Him for them, Matthew 6:25-34.

‘Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold—which they used for Baal.’ Hosea 2:6-8

Here we read of the severity of love in an attempt to bring the unfaithful bride back. Stern measures will be necessary to win back the unfaithful people, is the application of the message to the Israelites. God is going to cut off the idolatry from the nation, Genesis 3:17-19.

In an effort to maintain her wealth, Israel would chase after the idolatrous nations, but not catch them, she will look for them but not be successful in finding them. The nations aren’t going to save them from the Assyrian captivity.

She will go back to her husband because she was better off then than she is now. This will happen when they repent. This shows the severity of God’s love for Israel, the punishment is severe and necessary.

Israel didn’t acknowledge that it was actually God who blessed them richly and the very things He blessed them with were used to worship Baal, Romans 1:21 / Hebrews 11:25.

After God blessed Israel, the people attributed their growth to prosperity and security to the Baal gods of the nations around them. Baal was the Phoenician sun-god, answering to the female Astarte, the moon-goddess.

‘Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewellery, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.’ Hosea 2:9-13

In an effort to get Israel to repent, God is going to remove all the things they trusted in. Everything which God had given them to encourage thankfulness to Him, the grain, new wine, wool, lined, vines and fig trees, would be totally removed from them.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The regular sabbaths and annual festivals, such as Tabernacles, Pentecost, and Passover, could not possibly be observed during the period of Israel’s slavery in either Assyria or Babylon, except in some extremely abbreviated token form. Slaves would in no case have been exempted from work on a “sabbath” instituted by the God of the slaves! Thus, the sabbaths, etc., may be supposed to have ceased during the captivity; but there is more than that in this verse. It also has a prophecy of the ultimate removal of the sabbath day altogether, as indicated by the apostle Paul, Colossians 2:15-17, who used some of the exact terminologies of this verse to describe how ‘the sabbath’, etc., had been taken out of the way, Jesus our Lord ‘nailing it to his cross’.’

Despite the truth that the observance of the sabbath and certain solemn assemblies had long been established as legitimate parts of the worship of the true God, Hosea reckons them here as the feast days of Baal, Hosea 2:13.

The possessive ‘her’, repeated after each festival, emphasises that they now belonged, not to Yahweh, but Israel in her own mad pursuit of the gods of fertility.

Israel had adorned herself to attack the attention of the nations around them, Jeremiah 4:30 / Ezekiel 23:40, but they forget about God, Deuteronomy 6:12 / Deuteronomy 8:11 / Hosea 13:6.

‘Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.’ Hosea 2:14-20

These verses speak of the restoration of the unfaithful bride and notice the initiative is taken by God.

It was in the wilderness when Israel came out of Egypt and He led them into the Promised Land, that God had a close relationship with His people and here, He once again promises that if His people repent, He will bring them back to the Promised Land.

They had lost the vineyards which God gave them in the Promised Land when they were taken away into Assyrian captivity, but God promises they will receive them back.

The Valley of Achor was the place where Israel sinned, when they first entered the Promised Land, Joshua 7:20-26 / Isaiah 65:10, was now going to become a place of hope.

He will allure her, she will call me ‘my husband’, this is the condition of Israel’s return.

Keil, in his commentary, says the following, concerning verse 16.

‘The church will then enter once more into the right relation to their God. Apostate Israel had really gone into the ‘Baal’ business. One of the sons of king Saul was named Esh-Baal, 1 Chronicles 9:40, a son of Jonathan was named Meri-Baal, 1 Chronicles 9:40, etc. There were at least ten personal proper names from that period which were made of compounds of the term Baal.’

God says He will make a new covenant, Jeremiah 31:31-35, in other words, there will be a new relationship forever, 2 Corinthians 11:2.

Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A New Covenant would restore the relationship between God and his people, and a spirit of peace would characterize them. In the New Covenant, the animal nature of men would be brought under subjection to the Spirit of God.’

God says He will abolish, the bow, sword and battle in order that peace prevails, Isaiah 2:1-4 / Isaiah 35:9 / Zechariah 9:10 /Leviticus 26:3-8 / Ezekiel 34:25-28.

This new relationship will be one of righteousness, justice, love, mercy, compassion and fellowship and they shall know the Lord, Jeremiah 31:31-35.

‘In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD—“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” Hosea 2:21-23

Here we read of the completion of this restoration. The interpretation of Jezreel here is ‘God will sow’. Before this, it was ‘God will scatter’. This is the lesson of Hosea’s own marriage.

Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There can be no valid question that the above promises have reference to the present dispensation under Christ. They have been fulfilled in Him, and are not deferred to some future dispensation. ‘In that day’ refers to the day of the covenant and betrothal mentioned above.’

God will scatter the old Israel, but he will plant the new Israel all over the world. God will bless them with grain, new wine and oil, Matthew 6:33. The spiritual would be sown in the earth and nourished by the mercy of God.

Notice the play on words here, remember the name of Gomer’s first child is ‘Jezreel’, which means ‘Scattered’, or ‘Sowing’, Hosea 1:4-5, but here, God now says, that name will change, to mark Israel’s restoration, in other words, the scattering is going to be changed into sowing.

Gomer’s second child is named, ‘Lo-Ruhamah’, which means, ‘No Pity’, Hosea 1:6, God here, now says, that name will be changed to mark Israel’s restoration, they will receive pity, they will receive mercy.

Gomer’s third child was named, ‘Lo-Ammi’. which means, ‘Not My People’, Hosea 1:9, God here now says, that name will change, to mark Israel’s restoration, and Israel will be His people.

Those who were formerly disowned by God would once again be His people and they will declare that God is their God.

Go To Hosea 3