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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 1

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-11

Now he tells us in the first verse during the time which he did prophesy. So immediately we realize that as he was prophesying, and his prophecy was essentially to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but while he was prophesying to the Northern Kingdom of Israel was the same time that Isaiah was prophesying to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. For he names those same kings that reigned during the time of Isaiah's prophecy. And so Hosea was a contemporary to Isaiah.

For he declares:

The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah ( Hsa Hosea 1:1 ),

You remember Isaiah begins his prophecy, at the beginning of his prophecy, chapter 6, he said, "In the day that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord high and lifted up, sitting on the throne." And then Isaiah does go ahead and has quite a great influence upon Hezekiah.

So during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, who were the kings of Judah; and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, the king of Israel ( Hsa Hosea 1:1 ).

Now, it is interesting that he only names Jeroboam as the king of Israel, but Jeroboam, after his death, there were many other kings of Israel. But Israel, at this point, had slipped into a state of anarchy. Jeroboam was the last king of Israel through which God really spoke or to whom God really spoke. After Jeroboam's assassination there was so much anarchy, intrigue, and one assassination after another, that he does not really acknowledge any of the others as kings in Israel. And yet, his prophecies were mainly directly to Israel.

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 ( Hsa Hosea 1:2 ).

Now further on in Hosea the Lord is speaking how that He has spoken to the people, verse Hosea 1:10 of chapter 12, and have multiplied, spoken to the people by the prophets and had multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. Now a similitude is something that is similar to, by which you then draw a picture, something that you can see and then you draw from that a spiritual analogy. Now this is similar to, and with Hosea God did speak by the similitudes in his own life. In taking a wife, and it does not indicate necessarily that she was a prostitute when he married her and had children, but God is speaking of her knowing her heart and the bent of her nature that she would be unfaithful to him and would leave him and become a prostitute. And thus, God, in speaking of that nature that was there, commanded him to marry her. This character later developed.

Now, there are some who say this is all just an allegory, that he really didn't marry and this is just a whole story. I cannot accept that. I think that it's just that God told him to take this woman that God knew would be unfaithful in order that God might draw the similitude between this unfaithful wife of Hosea and the nation Israel who had been unfaithful unto God. For God had taken the nation Israel as His bride, had blessed her, heaped His love upon her, and yet she turned from God. And thus, the picture is given here.

for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; who conceived, and bare a son. And he called 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. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel ( Hsa Hosea 1:2-5 ).

Now, this is a reference to a historic period when Jehu became the king of Israel. Now the king listed here, Jeroboam was a descendant of Jehu. When Jehu became the king of Israel he took it by force, and there were about seventy sons of this wicked king Ahab. And so Jehu sent a message to the elders of this city and he said, "Pick out one of the sons of Ahab and let him gather together an army and come out and face me." Well, the men of the city said, "That Jehu is tough. There are two kings that weren't able to stand before him. How can we stand before him?" And so they sent a message back to Jehu and they said, "Look, we don't want to fight with you. We're willing to come to terms. What do you want?" And Jehu said, "If you're willing to come to terms, bring me the heads of the seventy sons of Ahab and lay them before me." The bloody slaughter of all of Ahab's sons. And so they brought them and they laid them in the valley of Jezreel. That's why he named his son Jezreel, as a memorial or to remember this atrocious act of Jehu in obliterating all of the descendents of Ahab.

Now, when he did this, the Lord then declared through the prophet that he was going to bring judgment upon Jehu, but he had... because he had been zealous for God, he also took the prophets of Baal and wiped them all out that Ahab had gathered together. He slaughtered all of these prophets. He said, "Let me show you my zeal for the Lord," and he killed all the prophets of Baal and all. And the Lord said, "I will allow him to reign." That is, for four generations. So Jeroboam was the forth generation. Jeroboam, at his death, his son Zachariah became the king of Israel, but he reigned only a very short time before he was assassinated. So, the writing of Hosea is shortly before the death of Jeroboam, the ascension of Zachariah, who was assassinated.

So God is saying, "I'm about ready. Name your son Jezreel. Remind them of that atrocity that was committed in the valley of Jezreel, the heads of these seventy sons of Ahab in a pile there. And now I'm about to avenge this bloody act, so name your son Jezreel." So it called into remembrance that judg ment that God had declared would come upon the house of Jehu in the fourth generation and it was about to transpire. So that is the reason for naming the son Jezreel.

for yet in a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, [that king who had caused them to be put to death] and I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel ( Hsa Hosea 1:4-5 ).

So Israel is about to be judged. The time has come and this avenging of the blood.

Now she conceived again, and she bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah ( Hsa Hosea 1:6 ):

Now Loruhamah means "no mercy" or "no pity."

for the Lord said, I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel ( Hsa Hosea 1:6 );

Now that's a sad and a tragic day when God says, "Hey, I'm not going to have any more mercy upon them." They had existed solely because God's mercy. God had been so merciful to them. When God's mercy is taken away, there's nothing left. And so it was really a very severe judgment.

Call her Loruhamah: for I'm not gonna have any more mercy on the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away ( Hsa Hosea 1:6 ).

And Israel is soon to be destroyed by the Assyrian kings and, of course, the fact that he reigned through the reign, lived through the reign of Hezekiah, he lived through the destruction of the Northern Kingdom.

But [the Lord said] I will have mercy upon the house of Judah [that is the Southern Kingdom], and I will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, or by sword, nor by battle, by horses, or by horsemen ( Hsa Hosea 1:7 ).

Now the Assyrians who destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel came against the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the reign of Hezekiah. And Isaiah came to Hezekiah and said, "Look, you're not going to have to fight in this battle. The battle is the Lord's and the Lord is going to destroy the Assyrians from before you." And the Assyrians had encompassed the city and there was a real shortage of food and a famine. And, of course, this was the typical manner of siege in those days. They would cut off the supplies of the city rather than trying to assault the walls and have the heavy loss of life in trying to batter the walls down. They would just encircle the city and cut off all their supplies and starve them out.

And so they had sent messages to Hezekiah to capitulate and all, and the Lord just told him, "Just stand still. Just, you know, watch My salvation." And one morning when they awakened and looked over the wall, they saw the Assyrian army totally wiped out. An angel of the Lord had passed through the army of the Assyrians that night and had killed 185,000 in one evening. And those that did remain fled back to Assyria. And so, as the Lord here prophesied by Hosea, "Now I won't have any more mercy on Israel, but I will have mercy on Judah. And I'm going to save them," saith the Lord, "but not with a bow, nor by a sword, not in a battle." God saved them by the angel of the Lord passing through the Assyrian army and destroying them. So, not by their fighting, not with bows or within the swords or by battle or horses or horsemen, but by the hand of the Lord Judah was saved because of God's mercy.

Now when his wife had weaned Loruhamah [no more mercy], she conceived again, and she had a son. Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God ( Hsa Hosea 1:8-9 ).

No more mercy. I've had it. I'm through. Call the son Loammi because it's not My people. I'm not gonna be your God.

Now, of course, the indication here is that his wife had already started messing around and Loammi was not his son. And so he's just not my son. But it was also a picture of God saying to Israel, "You're no more My people. I'm through. You're not My people and I will not be your God." That point of severance when God says, "That's it."

Now, here is one of the, you know, the cutoff. That's as far as you can get when God says, "Hey, that's it. You're not My people. I'm not your God. Split. I'm through. Nothing more to do with you." Probably the darkest prophecy against Israel. You can't get any more darker or worse than that when God says, "That's it. You're no more My people. I'm not your God." But in that very same place, we get one of the brightest prophecies of God's future work in Israel.

Yet, though I've cut them off, I have no more mercy, they're no more My people,

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or 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. 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 ( Hsa Hosea 1:10-11 ).

So in this very place, Jezreel, where God says, "That's it, you're no more My people," in that place God is going to say to them, "You are My people and the number of Israel will be as the sand of the sea." This is a prophecy of the glorious restoration of God's grace, God's love and God's work on the nation of Israel.

Now there are many today who in interpreting the Bible, the New Testament, like to exclude the nation Israel from the grace and the mercy of God. And they declare that God is through with the nation of Israel forever and that the church is now Israel. And Paul, in writing to the church, does make reference to the fact that we who were once alienated had been brought nigh and we have been grafted in and partakers of the fatness of the vine and so forth, and he does speak of our being blessed by God, that is, the church. But it is wrong to say that the church is Israel. Paul says, "We are sons of Abraham through faith," but we are not Israel, nor are we the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. And to spiritualize and make the church Israel is manifestly wrong and I will give you one reason and you need no more. There are many, but I'll give you one and you'll need no more.

Here in Hosea, in this similitude of Hosea taking a wife and her leaving him and becoming a prostitute, but then God saying to Hosea, "Go and get her again, purchase her and take her again for your wife," precludes the church spiritually being Israel. For the church is the virgin bride adorned and prepared for her husband Jesus Christ--not a harlot, not bought out of harlotry, not purchased back from adultery, but the virgin bride being prepared for Christ. So don't let these men who profess to be Bible scholars convince you that God is through with the nation of Israel and that there is nothing left for them, they've been cast out and God has placed us in and God is through with them. Not so. God has not finished yet with Israel. Even in the place of the darkest area where God says, "You are not My people, Loammi: not My people," yet in that place God will say, "You are My people." And God is going to restore His work on Israel.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/hosea-1.html. 2014.
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