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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5



A. PRE-EXILE B.C. Contemp. Kings

1) Hosea 785-725 Jeroboam

2) Joel 800 Jehoash

3) Amos 797-787 Jeroboam II

4) Obadiah 887-885

5) Jonah 862 Jotham, Ahaz

6) Micah 750-710 Hezekiah

7) Nahum 713 Manasseh

8) Habbakkuk 626 Jehoiakim

9) Zephaniah 630 Josiah


1) Haggai 520

2) Zechariah 520-487

3) Malachi 394

HOSEA-the BOOK (14 chapters)

(Three logical divisions)

I. His Unfaithful (prodigal wife), ch. 1-3

II. The Unfaithful (prodigal) People (Israel) ch. 4-13

III.. Their Judgment and Future Glory, ch. 13:9-14:9


A. (The 16 writing Prophets)

In addition to the twelve minor prophets there were four major prophets who wrote five books of the Old Testament. However, the terms "major" and "minor" are used as arbitrary and accommodating terms. One is not major over or minor to another in the sense of trustworthiness or position of Divine trust. Each of these prophets spoke as he was "moved by" the Holy Spirit, without error, in speaking or writing his message from God, Psalms 119:160, 2 Peter 1:21. Each of these prophets, and each of their prophetic books, presented Jesus Christ as the coming hope and power of their message, as attested, Acts 10:43, Revelation 19:10, which asserts "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

B. The Divine Covenants and Prophecy

Most Old Testament prophecy revolves around four Covenants which God made with Israel, each of which involved three things:

1) A Land.

2) A Seed.

3) A Blessings.

The four covenants are:

1) The Abrahamic (seed) covenant, Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 22:15-18.

2) The Palestinian (land-grant) covenant, Genesis 13:14-18; Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 30:1-10.

3)The Davidic king covenant, 2 Samuel 7:8-17; Psalms 89:3-4; Luke 1:32-33.

4) The New Covenant, Jeremiah 31:31-34, (Blessing).

God’s promise to Abraham of a "land", a "seed", and a "blessing’ were promised as unconditional gifts, sure and everlasting. Because of Israel’s repeated failures and sins God gave to her the Mosaic Law. It was given to 1) show how bad sin was, before God, and 2) to direct Israel to salvation and holiness in life, and 3) to point to the Redeemer He would one day send to atone for the sins of all who trusted in Him, Acts 10:43; Galatians 3:14; Galatians 3:24.

C. Assured Fulfillment

Israel has not yet come into full possession of the land-grant

God promised her. But trustworthy prophecy still stands, to affirm

that Jesus literally, as the "seed" of Abraham, and of David, will

one day establish an "everlasting kingdom" and an "eternal

throne" for the "eternal king" who will reign over the house of Israel forever. For "the, testimony of Jesus is (exists as) the Spirit of Prophecy "from the beginning" and "can not be broken." Jesus is that "seed" of the woman, "seed" of Abraham, "seed" of David, and the "seed", or only begotten of the Holy Spirit, who shall fulfill the promised blessings of God to Israel in’ Redemption, Restoration, and Reigning one day, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, forever! See Genesis 15:18; Psalms 89:3-4; Luke 1:32-33; Psalms 119:60; John 10:35; Revelation 19:10 b.

To this end, Hosea, and each of the minor prophets, directs his message of sin, judgment, redemption, and restoration blessings to Israel.



Hosea was the writer of this book. His name means "Salvation, Redemption, or Deliverance," even as Joshua’s original name had meant the same, Deuteronomy 32:44. His name is also the same as that of the last king of Israel, 2 Kings 17; 2 Kings 16. Hosea’s father’s name was Beeri, which means "an expositor", Hosea 1:1. Beyond this nothing is known of his parents.

However, a more complete description of his home life is given in chapters 1-3, than that of any other prophet. This record of his prostitute wife and problems with his children is used to reflect the apostate, rebellious, insolent, and adulterous condition of God’s chosen people, Israel, at that time. This record recounts and affirms God’s continuous love for people in spite of their moral, ethical, and spiritual infidelity toward Him.


The weight of Hosea’s message is addressed to Israel, or to the ten northern tribes, then constituting the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The two tribes of Benjamin and Judah were then known as the Southern Kingdom, or the Kingdom of Judah; It adhered to the family of David. "Israel", as used by Hosea, means the ten northern tribes. While "Israel" when referred to by the Lord as "my people" refers to Israel, as a nation, inclusive of the twelve tribes, Genesis 12:2-3; 1 Kings 12:1-21; Romans 11:26.


The message of the prophet Hosea may be summed up in three parts:

1) First, the apostate, adulterous infidelity of His chosen people, Israel as pictured in His call upon Hosea, His prophet, to marry a prostitute wife; Who would bear him rebellious children, to set forth a picture of Israel, God’s wife, in her Spiritual rebellion and covenant-breaking infidelity toward Him, chapters 1-3 and Jeremiah 3:6-14.

2) Second, there is a warning of coming chastisement or judgment from God upon this apostate, adulterous, idolatrous Israel, who is called God’s wife; Such pending judgment is designed to call her back to a state of fidelity, in love toward Him, because He loves her still, Hosea Ch. 4-13:8.

3) Third, the message is one of hope and assurance, that because of God’s covenant of Grace, for Abraham’s sake, Israel will find restoration to God’s favor, and ultimately be a glory to Him, Hosea Ch. 13:9-14:9.

Hosea was the first pre-exile evangelist-prophet of grace to Israel. His three-fold message, as given above, is quoted or alluded to five times in the New Testament; Matthew 2:15; Matthew 9:13; Romans 9:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55; 1 Peter 2:10.


The book was written covering a period of about 60 years, 785 to 725 B.C. by Hosea, during the reign of Jeroboam 11, grandson of Jehu, in Israel. It was also during the times of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah in Judah, Hosea 1:1. This preceded the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel, which occurred during Hezekiah’s reign in Judah, 721 B.C.

Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah of Judah, Isaiah 1:1; Micah 1:1; and Amos in Israel, Amos 1:1.


The occasion of the Book of Hosea was to show the tender heart of a loving Jehovah-God for His chosen wife-nation, and that after she had suffered His chastisement, He purposed to receive her again, in spite of her former infidelity toward Him.


HOSEA ---Part I Chapters 1-3.

This first Division of Hosea considers Israel as a prodigal or prostitute wife who belongs to God, to whom God has sent a message by the mouth and life of Hosea.

Historically, literally, and factually it recounts Hosea’s personal, marital, and family life as God’s prophet. Prophetically, it projects or pictures God’s love for Israel, in spite of her moral, ethical, spiritual, and marital infidelity toward Him. This first division, covering the first three chapters, sets forth the message of the entire book in which the low moral state of Israel is set forth with rebuke and judgment warnings of coming sufferings. It is then followed by calming assurance of future blessings and glory for Israel.

HOSEA ---PART II, Chapter 4-13:8.

This second Division of Hosea describes Israel at length, as God’s prodigal, prostitute, or harlot wife, as also described by Jeremiah 3:6-14. This division of Hosea begins "hear the word of the Lord ye children of Israel," Hosea 4:1. Hosea then cries, the Word of the Lord’s complaint against Israel’s moral corruption, political decay, and spiritual judgment upon Ephraim, (the house of Israel) and upon Judah, yet pointed to a time of their repentance and return to the Lord, Hosea 4:5; Hosea 4:15; Hosea 6:1-3, etc.

HOSEA ---PART III, Chapters 13:9-14:9.

This third Division of Hosea points to further judgment, and a time of restoration through the promised seed, to the promised land, with assurance of promised blessings.


Chapter 1

1) Who Hosea was,v.1

2) Hosea’s marriage and the birth of Jezreel, v. 2-

3) The birth of Lo-ruhamah, v. 6, 7

4) The birth of Lo-ammi, v. 8, 9

5) Future blessings and restoration of Israel, v. 10, 11

Chapter 2

1) Chastisement of adulterous Israel, v. 1-13

2) The adulterous Israel, God’s wife to be restored, v. 14-23

Chapter 3

1) Hosea called to love and marry an adulterous woman,


2) Israel’s kingdom to be put away, later restored, v. 4, 5

Chapter 4

1) The grave charge against Israel, v. 1-5

2) Israel’s willful, obstinate ignorance, v. 6-11

3) Her marriage to idolatry, vs. 12-19

Chapter 5

1) Israel, Ephraim, and Judah to fall because of idolatry, v.1-5

2) Mercy withdrawn and judgment to follow all, v. 6-15

Chapter 6

1) Israel’s decision in the last days, v. 1-3

2) Jehovah’s response to Ephraim, Judah, and Israel’s cry, v.4-11

Chapter 7

1) Jehovah’s continued exposure of their extended whoredom, v.1-7

2) The deceitful, half-hearted cry of Ephraim, v. 8-16

Chapter 8

1) Why judgment lingers, v. 1-6

2) Reaping because of wicked seed-sowing in Israel and Judah,


Chapter 9

1) When pay-day comes in Egypt and Memphis, v. 1-7 2) Why Ephraim, Judah, and Israel were cast from God, v.8-17

Chapter 10

1) What Israel and Ephraim are like in captivity, v. 1-11

2) The call to repentance, v. 12-15

Chapter 11

1) Israel loved in, called from, and led out of Egypt, v. 1-5

2) Delivered to Assyria, not Egypt, v..6-8 3) Survey of pre-captivity conditions in Israel, Ephraim, and Judah, v. 9-12

Chapter l2

1) Ephraim’s vanity, feeding on the east wind, v. 1-8 2) Jehovah provoked to judgment for Ephraim’s willful

contempt toward Him, v. 9-14

Chapter 13

1) Jehovah’s judgment warnings concluded, v. 1-8

2) Hope, help, and restoration found in Jehovah, v. 9-16

Chapter 14

1) Seeking the Lord in earnest penitence, v. 1-6

2) Divine mercy, help, and glory returns to Israel, v. 7-9


Verses 1-5:


V. 1, Hosea claimed direct inspiration in what he received, spoke, and wrote from the Lord during his prophetic ministry, in the days of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah and one king of Israel, Jeroboam, the son of Joash. He was the son of Beeri, a native of Israel, of whom nothing more is known, 2 Peter 1:21; Psalms 119:160. These were dark days of idolatry, political anarchy, threatened judgment, and little success in Israel, Amos 7:10; Amos 7:12.

V. 2 describes the Lord’s call to Hosea to take to himself a wife from among the morally debauched women of Israel’s whoredoms, from among prostitutes, and to bear children through her, because Israel had joined herself to the whoredoms of idolatry and debased His name, His people, and His Laws. This union was to show Israel’s fallen condition.

V. 3 Explains Hosea’s obedience in taking a debased woman, named Gomer (which means "Complete"). She was the daughter of Diblaim, meaning "two cakes". She conceived and bare to Hosea a son named Jezreel, which means "God scatters".

V. 4, 5 Further assert that the Lord would avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, causing the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease in this lineage of Ahab, 2 Kings 10:1-14. This final breaking of the bow was to be and did occur in the valley of Jezreel.

Verses 6-9

Verses 6-9:

V. 6, 7 first describe Gomer’s second conception by Hosea and the birth of a daughter named Lo-ruhamah which means "unpitied". God gave the name for this girl as a token of how He would withdraw His mercy from Israel, His adulterous, repudiated wife, who had been untrue to Him; Though He loved her and took her unto Himself, Jeremiah 3:6-8; Jeremiah 3:20.

Yet in v. 7, God pledges to show mercy and save Judah, through whom more specifically, the Redeemer was to come, Genesis 49:10; 2 Kings 19:30-35. But this preservation was to be by Divine decree and Divine power, not by the physical force or mental ingenuity of men.

Vs. 8, 9 describe the birth of a second son to Hosea and Gomer. God directed them to name him Lo-ammi, which means "not my people". For God determined to abandon Israel into captivity because of their adulterous infidelity toward Him, through their turn to idolatry. This concerned the northern kingdom of Israel specifically, not Israel as a chosen people.

Verses 10-11

Verses 10, 11:

Verse 10 takes up the refrain of future hope and assurance of Israel’s restoration and redemption, as pledged to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 13:14-16; Genesis 26:1-5; Genesis 28:10-15. Though Hosea prophesied to them of their coming abandonment and captivity to Assyria, a place where the Lord would disown them temporarily, as objects of mercy and pity; Yet they are assured of a future day when their lineage shall again be called "sons of the living God", through the restoration of the Davidic family lineage, Luke 1:31-33; Romans 9:25-26; Romans 11:26. The hand that chastens and wounds also heals.

Verse 11 alludes to regathered Judah and the children of Israel and their appointing or selecting one head, ruler, or king. Light springs from darkness and life comes after death, Romans 8:11. In that day Israel and Judah will walk together again, following the Messiah whom their forebears rejected and killed, John 1:11-12; John 11:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; Jeremiah 3:18; Isaiah 11:12-13.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/hosea-1.html. 1985.
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