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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 1

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verse 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.

Hosea 1:1 “The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri,” - Word Study on “Hosea” Strong says the Hebrew name “Hosea” ( הוֹשֵׁעַ ) (H1954) means “deliverer.” Joshua was called by this same Hebrew name before Moses changed his name (Numbers 13:16). The name “Hosea” or “Oshea” is similar to the Hebrew name “Joshua” ( יְהוֹשׁוּעַ ) (H3091), which means, “Jehovah-saved” ( Strong), “ Jehovah is his help,” or “Jehovah the Saviour” ( Easton), or “a savior; a deliverer” ( Hitchcock).

Numbers 13:16, “These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.”

Word Study on “Beeri” Strong says the Hebrew name “Beeri” ( בְּאֵרִי ) (H882) means, “fountained,” and comes from a Hebrew noun ( בְּאֵר ) (H875), which means “a well, or a pit.”

Hosea 1:1 “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” Comments - The opening verse of Hosea tells us that this prophet’s ministry extended through the reign of four kings of Judah, Uzziah to Hezekiah, who reigned from 792 to 686 B.C., and under one king of Israel named Jeroboam II, who ruled from 793 to 753 B.C., about forty years. These four kings of Judah reigned a total period of about 107 years. The estimated dates of the reigns of each of these kings are:

Uzziah 792 to 740 - 52 years

Jotham 747 to 731 - 16 years

Ahaz 731 to 715 - 16 years

Hezekiah 715 to 686 - 29 years

Adam Clarke dates the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah from about 809 B.C. to about 698 B.C. [11]

[11] Adam Clarke, Hosea, in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), notes on Hosea 1:1.

One question raised by the opening verse of the book of Hosea is why are four kings of Judah named and only one king of Israel in dating these prophecies. Hosea’s prophecy even refers to the king of Israel as “our king” (Hosea 7:5). The answer may be found in the possibility that a later Judean scholar, such as Ezra the scribe, made the final compilation and dated these prophecies by the common practice of using the reigns of kings. A Jewish scribe who lived after the fall of the northern kingdom (722 B.C.) would have dated the prophets by the kings of Judah.

Hosea 7:5, “In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.”

Jeroboam II is referred to in the opening verse that lists four Judean kings perhaps because of his major role in restoring a measure of peace and prosperity to the northern kingdom during this period of history (2 Kings 14:23-27).

2 Kings 14:23-27, “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel , which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher. For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash .”

Hosea 1:1 Comments The Manner in which Divine Oracles were Delivered unto the Prophets - God spoke through the Old Testament prophets in various ways, as the author of the epistle of Hebrews says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…” (Hebrews 1:1). The Lord spoke divine oracles ( מַשָּׂא ) through the Old Testament prophets in three general ways, as recorded in the book of Hosea, “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10) ( NKJV) In other words, the prophets spoke to Israel through the words they received, they described divine visions to the people, and they acted out as divine drama an oracle from the Lord.

(1) The Word of the Lord Came to the Prophets - God gave the prophets divine pronouncements to deliver to the people, as with Hosea 1:1. The opening verses of a number of prophetic books say, “the word of the Lord came to the prophet…” Thus, these prophets received a divine utterance from the Lord.

(2) The Prophets Received Divine Visions - God gave the prophets divine visions ( חָזוֹן ), so they prophesied what they saw ( חזה ) (to see). Thus, these two Hebrew words are found in Isaiah 1:1, Obadiah 1:1, Nahum 1:1, and Habakkuk 1:1. Ezekiel saw visions ( מַרְאָה ) of God.

(3) God Told the Prophets to Deliver Visual Aids as Symbols of Divine Oracles - God asked the prophets to demonstrate divine oracles to the people through symbolic language. For example, Isaiah walked naked for three years as a symbol of Assyria’s dominion over Egypt and Ethiopia (Isaiah 20:1-6). Ezekiel demonstrated the siege of Jerusalem using clay tiles (Ezekiel 4:1-3), then he laid on his left side for many days, then on his right side, to demonstrate that God will require Israel to bear its iniquities.

Verses 2-11

Hosea Takes Gomer as His Wife (The Naming of Hosea’s Three Children) We find in Hosea 1:2-11 that God gave Hosea three children by his wife Gomer. With the birth of these children, God told Hosea to name each of them as a testimony of the prophecies that he given to speak unto the children of Israel. We find this also happening in the ministry of Isaiah the prophet, a contemporary of Hosea, where the Lord also told him to give his son a prophetic name in Isaiah 8:3-4.

Isaiah 8:3-4, “And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.”

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 and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

Hosea 1:2 Comments - The Mosaic Law forbade a priest from taking a wife of whoredom (Leviticus 21:7).

Leviticus 21:7, “They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.”

Why did God charge Hosea to take a wife of whoredom; because Israel was in whoredom from God? When the men of Israel saw this prophet with a harlot, they would look in disgust at a man of God for loving such a woman, and thus their conscience would convict them as adulterers in God’s eyes. The names of Hosea’s three children also became a reminder to the Israelites of God’s soon coming judgment.

Gomer would later forsake her husband, and he would purchase her back from bondage. This would serve as a symbol of God’s everlasting love for the children of Israel, as well as a prophetic message that God would one day redeem His people through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

This living drama in the life of Hosea would display for those around him how God is joined faithfully to the nation of Israel in its whoredom.

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

Hosea 1:3 Word Study on “Gomer” Strong says the Hebrew name “Gomer” ( גּׂמֶר ) (H1586) means, “completion,” and comes from the Hebrew verb ( גָּמַר ) (H1584), which means, “to end (in the sense of completion or failure)”, thus, “to cease, to come to an end, to fail to perfect, to perform.”

Gomer was also the name of one of the sons of Japheth in Genesis 10:2-3.

Genesis 10:1-3, “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer , and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer ; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.”

Hosea 1:3 Word Study on “Diblaim” Strong says the Hebrew name “Diblaim” ( דִּבְלַיִם ) (H1691) means, “two cakes,” and is in the dual form and comes from the masculine of ( דְּבֵלָה ) (H1690), which means “a cake of pressed figs,” probably from an unused root verb that means, “to press together.” Isaiah 1:3 gives the only use of this Hebrew word in the Scriptures.

Hosea 1:4-5 Hosea’s First Prophecy of the Judgment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel Hosea directs his prophecy against the dynasty of Jehu, which reigned from 852 to 757 B.C. for five generations. Hosea most likely gave this prophecy shortly before 757 B.C. In this prophecy, God tells the children of Israel that the punishment for the sins of Jehu will be the desolation of the northern kingdom.

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.

Hosea 1:4 “And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel” - Word Study on “Jezreel” Strong says the Hebrew name “Jezreel” ( יִזְרְעֵאל ) (H3157) means, “God will sow,” and it comes from two Hebrew words ( זָרַע ) (H2232), meaning “to sow” and ( אֵל ) (H410), a shortened form for the word “Almighty.”

Comments - Some scholars translate this proper name to mean, “God will scatter,” symbolizing the way that God would bring to an end the northern kingdom. [12] The Assyrians came in 722 B.C. and scattered the Israelites among the heathen nations, while they brought the heathens to live in their land.

[12] John Gill, Hosea, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Hosea 1:4.

Hosea 1:4 “for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu” Comments - The city of Jezreel was located on the border of the territory of Issachar (Joshua 19:17-18).

Joshua 19:17-18, “And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families. And their border was toward Jezreel , and Chesulloth, and Shunem,”

This city did not play an important role in the history of Israel nor the northern kingdom until the days of King Ahab. At that time, the king made it one of his residences by building a royal palace there.

1 Kings 21:1, “And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.”

It was in this city that Jehu killed King Ahab and his wife Jezebel as well as the king of Judah, all of Ahab’s family, the priests of Baal, etc. This was one of most intensive bloodsheds in Bible by a new king on the throne. This act of purging sin was in God’s heart to do. God had promised that a son of Jehu would reign to the fourth generation (note 2 Kings 10:30), and this was about to come to completion. God cut it short because Jehu and his sons continued in the sins of Jeroboam. Therefore, God would judge Jehu for his act of killing Jezebel and Ahab’s family, since it became evident that he did it in greed for power, rather than in a zeal for God. See this story in 2 Kings 9:16 and following:

2 Kings 10:11, “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.”

2 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.”

The dynasty of Jehu lasted about 95 years:

Jehu (852 to 825 B.C.), 10 th king of Israel

Jehoahaz (825 to 813 B.C.), 11 th king of Israel

Jehoash (Joash) (813 to 798 B.C.), 12 th king of Israel

Jeroboam (798 B.C. to 757), 13 th king of Israel

Zechariah (757 B.C.), 14 th king of Israel

God cut off his fifth generation after only 6 months in office, thus fulfilling His promise to Jehu. God soon brought the nation of Assyria to judge the northern kingdom of Israel and they were carried away captive in 722 B.C.

Note how God used the nations of Assyria and Babylon to execute judgment upon the nations of Israel and Judah.

Isaiah 10:5-7, “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.”

Jeremiah 20:4, “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.”

God then punished Assyria and Babylon for the pride and cruelty in which they performed this divine decree.

Jeremiah 50:10-11, “And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD. Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;”

Jeremiah 50:17-18, “Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.”

Hosea 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

Hosea 1:5 “I will break the bow of Israel” Comments - The bow was one of the principle weapons of wars during these days. Thus, the bow is used figuratively here to represent the strength of the northern kingdom. The phrase, “I will break the bow of Israel” means that God take away Israel’s strength as a nation by allowing Assyria to conquer them.

Hosea 1:5 “in the valley of Jezreel” Comments - Hosea tells us that the place where a key battle will be fought which determined the fall of the northern kingdom would be the Valley of Jezreel. Leon Wood tells us that this valley was located north of “the city of Jezreel, between the ridges of Gilboa and Moreh.” Towards the west, this valley merges with the Esdraelon Valley. Both of these locations have been scenes of major battles in ancient times. Wood suggests that the fulfillment of this prophecy in Hosea 1:5 took place during “the campaign of Tiglath-pileser III, who in 733 B.C. seized the area.” [13]

[13] Leon J. Wood, Hosea, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 7, ed. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v. 2.8 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corp., 1989-2001), comments on Ezekiel 1:5.

1 Chronicles 5:25-26, “And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.”

Hosea 1:5 Comments - Was it not in Jezreel that Jehu slew the king of Israel with his own bow? (2 Kings 9:16; 2 Kings 9:24)

2 Kings 9:16, “So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.”

2 Kings 9:24, “And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.”

Hosea 1:6-7 Hosea’s Second Prophecy of the Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel Hosea 1:6-7 gives us the second prophecy of the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Hosea 1:6 And she 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.

Hosea 1:6 Word Study on Loruhamah Scholars generally agree that the Hebrew name “Loruhamah” ( רֻחָמָה לֹא ) (H3819) means, “no mercy,” or “not having obtained mercy.” Strong says this name is a compound of two Hebrew words: ( לֹא ) (H3808), which means, “not,” and ( רָחַם ) (H7355), which means, “to have compassion, mercy, love.” The Enhanced Strong says it is Hebrew verb is used 47 times in the Old Testament being translated in the KJV as “…mercy 32, ...compassion 8, pity 3, love 1, merciful 1, Ruhamah 1, surely 1.” The name “Loruhamah” is only used 2 times in the Old Testament, being found in Hosea 1:6; Hosea 1:8.

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.

Hosea 1:8-11 Hosea’s Third Prophecy of the Restoration of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms Hosea 1:8-11 gives us the third prophecy, this time of the restoration of both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

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.

Hosea 1:9 Word Study on Loammi” Strong says the Hebrew name “Loammi” ( לֹא עַמִּי ) (H3818) means, “not my people,” and comes from the two Hebrew words ( לֹא ) (H3808), which means, “not”, and ( עַם ) (H5971), which means, “tribe, nation, people.”

Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor 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.

Hosea 1:10 “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered” Comments - This phrase is a clear reference to God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17 where God promised that his descendents would be without number. God is saying that although He would forsake them for now, yet He would ultimately fulfill His promises to Abraham.

Genesis 15:5, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”

Genesis 22:17, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;”

Hosea 1:10 “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” - Comments - Hosea 1:10 gives us a clear prophecy of the “time of the Gentiles” when God will usher in His Church and graft the Gentiles nations into the vine of Israel. The Gentiles were originally “not His people,” but they will one day be called “His people.” Hosea will again make this prophecy in Hosea 2:23.

Hosea 2:23, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

We find Paul quoting from Hosea 1:10 in Romans 9:26.

Romans 9:26, “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

Paul quotes from Hosea 2:23 in Romans 9:25. Thus, Paul picks up on these two verses in Hosea as parallel verses.

Romans 9:25, “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”

It is significant to point out that Hosea both prophecies of the end of the northern kingdom as well as the receiving of the Gentiles. Paul will later point out in Romans 9-10 that God did not utter abandon His people Israel, but rather grafted the Gentiles into this vine that He has cared for and nourished since its birth from the loins of Abraham.

Hosea 1:11 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.

Hosea 1:11 “for great shall be the day of Jezreel” Comments - In search for the meaning of the phrase “the day of Jezreel,” we can find several clues that will lead us to believe that this is a reference to Israel’s restoration and glorification during the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth. We know that the children of Israel were gathered together after their 70-year Babylonian Captivity. However, their first return from Captivity was not with the appointment of their own leader, as this verse prophesies. They remained under the dominion of the Gentile nations from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the destruction of Israel in A.D. 70 by the Romans. Many scholars suggest that the phrase “they shall come up out of the land” is a reference to the restoration of the nation of Israel in 1948 as they gathered themselves together from the nations of the earth. The word “land” would then refer to the nations of the earth. Therefore, the most likely fulfillment of this prophecy would be when the time of the Gentiles closes at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period and Christ returns on earth to rule and reign on earth from Jerusalem. Thus, He is the “one head” referred to in this verse.

In the context of God receiving the Gentiles, Hosea says,

Hosea 2:23, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

Regarding God receiving the Gentiles, note the context of Jeremiah 31:27-34:

Jeremiah 31:27, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.”

In this context, it means that “God will multiply men among you”:

Ezekiel 36:9-10, “For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hosea 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/hosea-1.html. 2013.
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