Hosea 1:1-9

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The book of Hosea is named after its principal character and author, Hosea, whose name means, the Lord saves.

Hosea’s ministry began during Jeroboam II’s days as king of the Northern Kingdom and continued after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. Since Jeroboam II died around 753 B.C. and since Hezekiah’s reign began in around 715 B.C., Hosea’s ministry covered around 40 years. His prophecies were addressed exclusively to the Northern Kingdom. Hosea prophesied during the period when the Northern Kingdom was oppressed by Assyria. Samaria eventually fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C.

Hosea was a contemporary of Amos in Israel and of Isaiah and Micah in Judah.

The theme of Hosea is the redeeming love of God. The unfaithfulness of Israel toward God is illustrated by the unfaithfulness of Hosea’s wife toward Hosea. The redeeming love of God toward His people is then illustrated by Hosea’s redeeming love for his wife.


    I.     The Training of the Prophet, 1:1 - 3:5


            A.  His home life symbolic for the nation: punishment and restoration, 1:1 - 2:1


Five different judgment-salvation cycles are seen in Hosea. The first one is seen in Hosea 1:2-2:1 . Although judgment on Israel is predicted in 1:2-9, salvation is predicted for Israel in 1:10 - 2:1.


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.


1:1 – (RSB) Hosea. The name means “salvation.” The dates of these kings are as follows: Uzziah (also called Azariah), 790-739 B.C.; Jotham, 750-731; Ahaz, 731-715; Hezekiah, 715-686; Jeroboam II, 794-753.


Inasmuch as Hosea prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II, his ministry had to begin before 753 B.C. when Jeroboam II died; and since his ministry continued into the reign of Hezekiah, it had to continue to at least 715 B.C. when Hezekiah became king of Judah, which was at least seven years after the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians.


                        1.   The marriage with Gomer, a potential adulteress, 1:2


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 [i.e. a wife of harlotry] and children of whoredoms [i.e. children of harlotry]: for the land hath committed great whoredom [i.e. great harlotry], departing from the LORD.


1:2 – (RSB) a wife of whoredoms. If anticipatory, the phrase indicates that Gomer became a harlot after her marriage to Hosea. If not, he married a known prostitute. In either case the marriage was providentially ordained in order to illustrate vividly the infidelity of the people of Israel.


Although I realize that Gomer may have been a prostitute before she and Hosea were married, I prefer to believe that Gomer was not a prostitute until after they were married.


                        2.   The children: Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah; Lo-Ammi, 1:3-9


Hosea 1:3 So he [i.e. Hosea] went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.


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.


1:4 – (RSB) Jezreel means “God sows” and refers to a valley in northern Israel, the scene of Jehu’s ill-advised and wrongly motivated murder of the sons of Ahab in order to seize the throne (II Kings 10:1-11 ).


II Kings 10:1-11 – And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s children, saying, 2 Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master’s sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced [i.e. fortified] city also, and armour [i.e. weapons]; 3 Look even out the best and meetest [i.e. fittest, most worthy, best qualified] of your master’s sons, and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house. 4 But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? 5 And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children [i.e. the guardians (of) the children, those who reared the children], sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us [i.e. say to us, tell us]; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. 6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up. 7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew [i.e. slaughtered] seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. 8 And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps [i.e. in two piles] at the entering in of the gate until the morning. 9 And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master [i.e. against King Joram of Israel], and slew him: but who slew all these? 10 Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah. 11 So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.


Jehu also killed Ahaziah, king of Judah, and 42 of his relatives. This went too far beyond what Jehu was to do to the house of Ahab. This is likely the reason for the Lord’s statement, I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu. Even though these deaths did not occur in Jezreel, they were associated with the wholesale slaughter in Jezreel.


Back to Hosea 1:4

I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. It will be fulfilled by the Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C. It had likewise been prophesied to Jehu (II Kings 10:30 ).


II Kings 10:30 And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.


Jehu was succeeded as king of Israel by his son, Jehoahaz, his grandson, Jehoash (Joash), his great grandson, Jeroboam II, and his great, great grandson, Zechariah.


Back to Hosea 1:5

Hosea 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow [i.e. break the power, break the military might] of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.


The general fulfillment of this prophecy came in 734-722 B.C., when the Assyrians overran Israel and reduced it to a province within their empire (II Kings 15:29 ; 17:3-5). The Jezreel plain in particular was probably conquered in 733 B.C. by Tiglath-Pileser III. This valley, which had been the scene of a great military victory under Gideon (Jud. 6:33; 7), again became a symbol of national disgrace and defeat, as it had been after Saul’s death (I Sam. 29:1, 11; 31) (Bible Knowledge Commentary).


II Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.


II Kings 17:3-53 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. 4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.


Back to Hosea 1:6

Hosea 1:6 And she [i.e. Hosea’s wife] 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.


1:6 – (RSB) Lo-ruhamah means “unpitied.” This child symbolized the plight of Israel.


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.


1:7 – (RSB) Though Israel fell before the Assyrians, God intervened to save Jerusalem when Sennacherib besieged it.


II Kings 19:31-3632 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria [i.e. Sennacherib], He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank [i.e. nor build a siege mound] against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city [i.e. into Jerusalem], saith the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. 35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.


Hosea 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.


Hosea 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.


1:9 – (RSB) Lo-ammi means “not my people.” This child symbolized the rejection of Israel, who, at Sinai, had covenanted to be God’s people (Ex. 19:1-8).


Exodus 19:1-81 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. 3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you [i.e. carried you] on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant [i.e. keep the law], then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.


This sermon is the 1st part of the series, Study of Hosea. Other sermons in this series are: