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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 2

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-5

Hos 2:1-5

ISRAEL’S INGRATITUDE—SPIRIT OF HARLOTRY

TEXT: Hosea 2:1-5

Israel’s apostacy is portrayed here under the figure of a wife leaving her husband for paramours. The Prophet pleads with the people to reason with one another and repent of the spirit of religious harlotry (idolatry) in their hearts.

Hosea 2:1 SayH559 ye unto your brethren,H251 Ammi;H5971 and to your sisters,H269 Ruhamah.H7355

Hosea 2:1 SAY . . . UNTO YOUR BRETHREN, AMMI; AND TO YOUR SISTERS, RUHAMAH. The Hebrew text of the O.T. makes Hosea 1:10-11 to become Hosea 2:1-2 and thus as we have it here in the English version would be Hosea 2:3 of the Hebrew text. This preserves the continuity of context and is to be preferred above our present English version. In other words Hosea 2:1 as we have it in the English version, belongs contextually to Hosea 1:10-11. Our present Hosea 2:2 begins another context and so the division in the English version leaves much to be desired. The English version has followed the arrangement of the Septuagint (LXX) and the Latin Vulgate in dividing the context as it has.

Zerr: Hosea 2:1. There were always some individuals in the Jewish nation who were righteous, and they are the ye of this verse. The exhortation means for ye (as Individuals who were the righteous) to speak to their brethren and sisters, which means the nation as a whole and which formed the group spoken of in terms of family relationship.

Ammi, means “My people.” Ruhamah, means “Pited or Beloved.” The victory which is accomplished (Hosea 1:10-11) at the fulfillment of the covenant and when all Israel (spiritual Israel) is gathered together under one head will so change man’s relationship to God and God’s relationship to man that redeemed man would thereafter be called “God’s people,” and God would thereafter “have pity upon them.” So this is the conclusion of that which would be accomplished according to Hosea 1:10-11 and rightfully belongs to that context.

Hosea 2:2 PleadH7378 with your mother,H517 plead:H7378 forH3588 sheH1931 is notH3808 my wife,H802 neitherH3808 am IH595 her husband:H376 let her therefore put awayH5493 her whoredomsH2183 out of her sight,H4480 H6440 and her adulteriesH5005 from betweenH4480 H996 her breasts;H7699

Hosea 2:3 LestH6435 I stripH6584 her naked,H6174 and setH3322 her as in the dayH3117 that she was born,H3205 and makeH7760 her as a wilderness,H4057 and setH7896 her like a dryH6723 land,H776 and slayH4191 her with thirst.H6772

Hosea 2:2-3 CONTEND WITH YOUR MOTHER . . . LET HER PUT AWAY HER WHOREDOMS . . . LEST I STRIP HER NAKED . . . The word contend would be better translated, reason, persuade, plead or beg. The “mother” is Israel the nation. The children are the individual Israelites. This is simply a rhetorical mode of expression. Although the nation, regarded as a whole, had fallen into idolatry, a very few faithful formed a remnant and to these the Prophet pleads. They are the last hope for the nation. They must persuade the nation to “put away its whoredoms.”

Zerr: Hosea 2:2. These righteous individuals were to plead with their mother (the nation as a whole). She is not my wife is a prediction in the form of a warning, referring to the captivity that was to come upon Israel, which would be like a man putting his wife away because of her unfaithfulness. Israel (as a whole) was totally corrupted with idolatry, which is compared to adultery in the Bible. These righteous individuals were to plead with the leaders of the nation, exhorting them to abolish Idolatry. Hosea 2:3. A wronged husband would be disposed to treat an unfaithful wife in the manner described here. Its application refers to the national rejection by the Lord of Israel, and her shameful exposure by the Assyrians.

“Whoredom” here probably refers to the idolatry practiced by the nation. Israel had entered into the covenant with Jehovah its God; Israel had joined itself to God as a woman joins herself to a husband. When it went after other gods its idolatry became a breach of the faithfulness which it owed to its God. Its idolatry was even more deplorable than that of the heathen for the idolatry of Israel constituted rebellion and ingratitude against greater privilege, more blessed circumstances, and greater revelation. Idolatry is referred to as “whoredom” (cf. 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).

Actually, this section (Hosea 2:2-5) would better fit our outline under the title “Israel’s Ingratitude, Love of Sin.” But that would place it out of its textual order and since we wish to deal with the text in the order it is given, the outline must become secondary.

The “face” can mirror or display either modesty or immodesty, shamelessness or shame (cf. Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 8:6; Jeremiah 9:21). It was customary even in that day for the harlot to “paint” her face with cosmetics to attract and allure lovers. Nationally speaking, Israel was in some way displaying outwardly the face of a spiritual harlot. The harlot also adorned and exposed her breasts in order to allure. We have here a synonymous parallelism; an exhortation that Israel should correct the outward display of idolatrous practices for they exhibit the spirit of harlotry and rebellion that is within her national heart.

Israel is warned that if she continues in idolatry, God will “strip her naked . . . like she was the day she was born.” When Israel was “born” as a nation, she came from a disorganized, penniless, mass of slaves then serving the Egyptian pharoah. She had no worldly goods, no worldly position or nationhood and no land she could call her own, (cf. Ezekiel 16). God took her from Egypt, gave her a land, blessed her with material abundance, gave her national prominence and influence. But now that she has been unfaithful, God is going to “disinherit” her and cast her off and take away from her all that He has given. She will once again become the slave of a foreign nation; once again she will be without nationality and without material abundance. Israel as a nation will be like a land that has become arid, desolate, As a nation she will become worthless, cease to produce and die.

Hosea 2:4 And I will notH3808 have mercy uponH7355 her children;H1121 forH3588 theyH1992 be the childrenH1121 of whoredoms.H2183

Hosea 2:5 ForH3588 their motherH517 hath played the harlot:H2181 she that conceivedH2029 them hath done shamefully:H954 forH3588 she said,H559 I will goH1980 afterH310 my lovers,H157 that giveH5414 me my breadH3899 and my water,H4325 my woolH6785 and my flax,H6593 mine oilH8081 and my drink.H8250

Hosea 2:4-5 . . . UPON HER CHILDREN WILL I HAVE NO MERCY . . . THEIR MOTHER HATH PLAYED THE HARLOT . . . SHE SAID, I WILL GO AFTER MY LOVERS, THAT GIVE ME MY BREAD . . . We like the statement of K & D, “The fact that the children are specially mentioned after and along with the mother, when in reality mother and children are one, serves to give greater keenness to the threat, and guards against that carnal security, in which individuals imagine that, inasmuch as they are free from the sin and guilt of the nation as a whole, they will also be exempted from the threatened punishment.” The nation and its leadership (civil and religious) played the harlot by becoming idolaters and they led the people into the same sin. The “children” were not forced into “whoredom.” They “loved to have it so,” and willingly followed the leading of the nation.

Zerr: Hosea 2:4. Her children means the members of the nation. Even the individuals who were righteous had to suffer nationally with the unfaithful ones in that all had to be exiled together. This is the sense in which it is predicted that the Lord would not have mercy upon her children. Hosea 2:5. The complaint the Lord has against his people is because of their unfaithfulness in connection with the false gods. And as the comparison is made with spiritual adultery, the language is in the form of that pertaining to fleshly harlotry. A literal harlot might profess to have turned away from her corrupt associations, and become the companion of a good man. This wife had done that very thing when she became the partner in life with Hosea. If this woman actually returned to her former life of looseness, it would be a specific illustration of what Israel as a nation did. In that case, the treatment of Hosea towards her would be like that of God towards Israel. Or, if she is only supposed t.o do that, it is still intended for the same lesson. I will not attempt to decide which theory is correct (both having been advanced by commentators for either serves the same purpose of portraying the record of Israel’s conduct toward God! And in the following verses and chapters, I shall make my comments on the basis of spiritual adultery, because we know that such was the actual condition of affairs for centuries. However, that will not need to shut out all references to fleshly unfaithfulness when the occasion arises for the purpose of illustration.

The “mother,” however proud and vain she might represent herself, did a shameful thing when she was unfaithful to her God. “I will go after” could be literally translated, “Let me go,” or, “I would go after.” She does not wait to be enticed or allured or seduced. She brazenly goes, uninvited, unsought and contrary to the instinctive feelings of woman, after those who make no overtures to draw her and away from her Husband (God) who has loved her and beckoned her. Enviously she regarded the surrounding nations (Phoenicia, Egypt, Assyria) who did not worship Jehovah, yet possessed far greater political power and prestige, worldwide commerce, huge riches, marvelous luxuries, and far greater freedom from moral restraints than God’s people. The spirit of worldliness made Israel think of her God as a cruel and unloving taskmaster and of His law as an unbearable yoke. She began to worship idols. Then as her prosperity and political prestige grew she rationalized that “her lovers” had supplied all these things she so greedily wanted. In the days of Jeroboam II idolatrous Israel suddenly gained power and riches rivaling those of David and Solomon. It seemed that idolatry paid better wages than service to Jehovah. God had warned them against such pride and ingratitude and idolatry in plain words (Deuteronomy 8:1 ff). It is interesting to note that the people of Judah said the same thing of their idols (Jeremiah 44:15-18); they attributed their prosperity to the heathen gods they worshipped rather than Jehovah. It is frighteningly true that people in so-called “Christian” America (and other “Christianized” nations) have not learned much from Israel and Judah. A great number of people today attribute the material and political affluence and prestige to their idols of science, man, sex or some other philosophy. This is just as brazen and shameful and just as much spiritual whoredom as Baalism was in the days of Hosea. Let us take the exhortation of Hosea to heart and “plead with our mother” that she “put away her whoredom from her face.”

Questions

1. What is the proper division of chapters 1 and 2? Where should Hosea 2:1 go?

2. Who is the “mother” and who are the “children”? What literary form is being used here?

3. What is the “whoredom” of which both “mother” and children are guilty?

4. How will God “strip” Israel naked?

5. What makes Israel’s going after other gods so shameful?

6. Why did Israel think her heathen gods supplied the things she wanted?

7. How do nations act the same way today as Israel acted then?

Verses 6-8

Hos 2:6-8

ISRAEL’S INGRATITUDE—SPURIOUS LOVERS

TEXT: Hosea 2:6-8

God is going to make Israel realize the impotency and spurious nature of its false lovers, their idols.

Hosea 2:6 Therefore,H3651 behold,H2009 I will hedge upH7753 (H853) thy wayH1870 with thorns,H5518 and makeH1443 (H853) a wall,H1447 that she shall notH3808 findH4672 her paths.H5410

Hosea 2:6 . . . I WILL HEDGE UP THY WAYS . . . AND . . . BUILD A WALL AGAINST HER . . . Is the prophet speaking of Gomer or Israel here? We believe the context insists upon Israel being the object of this warning. It is possible that Hosea took a similar action toward Gomer in an attempt to reclaim her before she sold herself completely into slavery (cf. ch. 3). However, the primary object of this prediction is Israel. God is going to place such an insuperable obstacle between Israel and continued idol-worship that she will not be able to find any way to worship idols again. The path leading to idol worship was going to be blocked with a solid wall of resistance. The “hedge of thorns” probably refers to the intense suffering they endured in the captivities. This was a lesson they never forgot. The Jews never again worshipped idols! Over and over again Ezekiel repeats the phrase “Then will you know that I am Jehovah . . .” referring to the lessons they would learn from the sufferings of their captivity.

Hosea 2:7 And she shall follow afterH7291 (H853) her lovers,H157 but she shall notH3808 overtakeH5381 them; and she shall seekH1245 them, but shall notH3808 findH4672 them: then shall she say,H559 I will goH1980 and returnH7725 toH413 my firstH7223 husband;H376 forH3588 thenH227 was it betterH2896 with me than now.H4480 H6258

Hosea 2:7 . . . SHE SHALL FOLLOW AFTER HER LOVERS, BUT SHE SHALL NOT OVERTAKE THEM . . . THEN SHALL SHE SAY, I WILL GO ANE RETURN TO MY FIRST HUSBAND . . . At first, when they are in distress and tribulation at the judgment of God in the siege and captivity they will search with zeal for some comforting oracle or action from their “lovers”—the false gods. But they shall not even find their idols for the king of Assyria will come and take their idols away and then Israel will realize that there is no deliverance or comfort to be found in these false gods. She will wake up to the utter nothingness of idols. Although Israel was taken into the midst of an idolatrous empire (Assyria), and there had even more opportunity to practice idolatry, it learned the worthlessness of all trust in idols quickly and was thus impelled to turn to the Lord God Jehovah, her first Husband, in faith and repentance, seeking His mercy. While in her captivity she came to herself and saw the shame of her former religious promiscuity. She said, like the prodigal in Jesus’ parable, “I will return.” This is the purpose in all of God’s “hedges of thorns” and His “walls”—to bring us to say, “I will return.”

Augustine wrote, “I escaped not Thy scourges, for what mortal can? For Thou wert ever with me, mercifully rigorous, and besprinkling with most bitter alloy all my unlawful pleasures, that I might seek pleasure without alloy. But where to find such, I could not discover, save in Thee, O Lord, Who teachest by sorrow, and woundest us, to heal, and killest us, lest we die from Thee.” This is somewhat the same as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-10 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Hebrews 10:32-39; Hebrews 12:1-11. This was the experience of Job and countless others whom the Lord loved enough to chasten. The Lord loved Israel “with an everlasting love” and so he chastened them. The moment of crisis was when they decided, “I will return.”

Hosea 2:8 For sheH1931 did notH3808 knowH3045 thatH3588 IH595 gaveH5414 her corn,H1715 and wine,H8492 and oil,H3323 and multipliedH7235 her silverH3701 and gold,H2091 which they preparedH6213 for Baal.H1168

Hosea 2:8 . . . SHE DID NOT KNOW THAT I GAVE HER THE GRAIN . . . WHICH THEY USED FOR BAAL. Israel should have known the source of her blessings for the law of Moses in all its institutions of sacrifices and offerings and its precepts was intended to remain them. However, the law, the word of the Lord had been forgotten. Israel’s ignorance was willful and culpable (cf. Amos 7:10-16; Hosea 4:1-6; Hosea 5:4; Micah 2:6-11; Jeremiah 6:10; Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 6:16-19). She deliberately ignored the word of God and used what God provided to worship and perpetuate the religion of Baal. But her captivity restored her to sanity, She was taught again Whom she was dependent upon for life.

Baal worship was brought into Israel by Jezebel, daughter of a king of Sidon. Jehu destroyed it for a time, because its adherents were followers of the house of Ahab. The worship was cruel, like that of Moloch, immoral and abominable. It advocated (at least by Jezebel) the extermination of worship of Jehovah and its most zealous adherents caused many of the prophets of God to be slain. To such an abominable curse the people of Israel attributed the blessings which only Jehovah could give the people.

Zerr: Hosea 2:6-8. An unfaithful wife may use provisions given her by her husband, to contribute to the uses of her Entity paramours (Ezekiel 16:31-34). Thus Israel bestowed her spiritual instructions and provisions upon the heathen around her.

Questions

1. What is probably meant by the “hedge of thorns” and the “wall?”

2. What is meant by “not finding her lovers?”

3. What is the significance of the phrase “I will return?”

4. Why did Paul say he was chastened or afflicted?

5. Why did Israel not know where her material blessings originated?

6. What is Baal worship?

Verses 9-13

Hos 2:9-13

ISRAEL’S INGRATITUDE—SHAME REVEALED

TEXT: Hosea 2:9-13

Because Israel has not regarded the material blessings she received as gifts of Jehovah God, and has not used them for His glory, Jehovah will take them away and her folly in worshipping idols will be exposed; she will be disgraced before her false gods.

Hosea 2:9 ThereforeH3651 will I return,H7725 and take awayH3947 my cornH1715 in the timeH6256 thereof, and my wineH8492 in the seasonH4150 thereof, and will recoverH5337 my woolH6785 and my flaxH6593 given to coverH3680 (H853) her nakedness.H6172

Hosea 2:9 THEREFORE WILL I TAKE BACK MY GRAIN IN THE TIME THEREOF . . . Just at the time when they would expect to normally reap the regular harvest of grain, wool and flex, God would take it away. At this time the absence of the crops would be all the more significant and striking and thus more clearly the work of Jehovah. K & D say, “If God suddenly takes away the gifts then, not only is the loss more painfully felt, but regarded as a punishment far more than when they have been prepared beforehand for a bad harvest by the failure of the crop.” Since they did not acknowledge Him as Giver when He gave these crops, He will manifest Himself more clearly as such in taking them away! Their material prosperity was a thin veneer covering up the shame and disgrace in which the nation was actually engaged at this time. Take away the material prosperity and what is left—nothing but decadence, weakness, folly. There is no moral fibre in the nation; there is no truth or justice. So, when God takes away the outward appearance of well-being which covers her nakedness, her shame will be exposed.

Zerr: Hosea 2:9. But even a lenient and patient husband will finally turn and put his unfaithful wife to shame and take from her the good things he had bestowed upon her. Likewise. God gave his people up to exile and thus deprived them of the good things they enjoyed while in their own land and were a nation under the Lord.

Hosea 2:10 And nowH6258 will I discoverH1540 (H853) her lewdnessH5040 in the sightH5869 of her lovers,H157 and noneH3808 H376 shall deliverH5337 her out of mine hand.H4480 H3027

Hosea 2:10 . . . I WILL UNCOVER HER LEWDNESS IN THE SIGHT OF HER LOVERS . . . The hypocrisy, weakness, decadence will be fully exposed even to her “lovers.” The word translated “lewdness” means literally, wicked folly or sexual depravity. As soon as God strips the veil of prosperity off their sin, and her folly is apparent, even her “lovers” will despise her. Her “lovers” are the heathen gods (idols) she worshipped. We wonder why Hosea personifies an idol as a “lover.” An idol may be loved, but does an idol love? If not, to what purpose is the uncovering of Israel’s lewdness in the sight of her lovers? Could it be that Israel’s folly or lewdness will be exposed to the demon-spirits who are persons associated with idols (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:18-22)? When one worships an idol there is more involved than doing obeisance to a piece of wood or stone! Idol worship (it makes no difference what the idol may be; whether an object or a philosophy), involves worshipping the “god of this world,” Satan and his demonic hosts! Yes, Israel, stripped of her false power and wealth, brought low, will be despised even by the Devil and his demons whom they formerly worshipped and trusted! Some commentators believe her “lovers” to be heathen nations with whom she made alliances (esp. Assyria). .

Zerr: Hosea 2:10. If a woman deserts the men who have been paying her for her gratification of their lust, they may look upon her as a traitor and will have only a feeling of contempt for her. Hence we may understand the thought in this verse of exposing this woman’s impure body to the loathing eyes of her former partners. This figurative prediction was fulfilled when the people of Israel were sent into a heathen land and there compelled to continue in the spiritual adultery.

Hos 2:11 I will also cause allH3605 her mirthH4885 to cease,H7673 her feast days,H2282 her new moons,H2320 and her sabbaths,H7676 and allH3605 her solemn feasts.H4150

Hosea 2:11 I WILL ALSO CAUSE ALL HER MIRTH TO CEASE, HER FEASTS . . . NEW MOONS . . . SABBATHS . . . SOLEMN ASSEMBLIES, It appears that even though Israel worshipped idols she still retained the outward formalities of Jehovistic worship such as feasts, new moons and sabbaths. Even while disobeying God they kept enough of the outward forms to soothe their consciences. Evidently they regarded these days and kept them in a very festive, merry-making, mood. God will cause all this revelry and merry-making to cease. There will be no more such gatherings for sensual indulgence..

Zerr: Hosea 2:11. The mental or emotional feature of this prediction was especially fulfilled upon Judah, as described in Psalms 137. But it was all true of the Jews generally while in the land of their exile. God would not permit them to attempt carrying out His services while there; and He even caused them to continue in their practices of idolatry while in that heathen country (Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 28:36; Deuteronomy 28:64).

Hosea 2:12 And I will destroyH8074 her vinesH1612 and her fig trees,H8384 whereofH834 she hath said,H559 TheseH1992 are my rewardsH866 thatH834 my loversH157 have givenH5414 me: and I will makeH7760 them a forest,H3293 and the beastsH2416 of the fieldH7704 shall eatH398 them.

Hosea 2:12 . . . I WILL LAY WASTE HER VINES AND FIG-TREES . . . AND . . . MAKE THEM A FOREST . . . The vine and the fig-tree are the finest productions of Canaan and afford the choicest delicacies (cf. Joel 1:7-12). Israel’s paths to superficial pleasure must be barricaded; her diversionary interests must be obscured; the objects of her indulgences must be removed. Her own stupidity will mock her in her remorse. That which she said were payments from her idols for the worship and adoration she accorded them, God would make desolate and ruined. Her vineyards and fig-tree orchards would be left unattended after the captivity and become overgrown with brush and weeds like a forest and the beasts of the field would tramp through them grazing..

Zerr: Hosea 2:12. This destruction was to be literal and to be accomplished by the very people with whom Israel had committed spiritual adultery. The land of Palestine was to be left deserted, untilled and unkept, and the beasts were to be allowed to overrun the whole country.

Hosea 2:13 And I will visitH6485 uponH5921 her(H853) the daysH3117 of Baalim,H1168 whereinH834 she burned incenseH6999 to them, and she deckedH5710 herself with her earringsH5141 and her jewels,H2484 and she wentH1980 afterH310 her lovers,H157 and forgatH7911 me, saithH5002 the LORD.H3068

Hosea 2:13 AND I WILL VISIT UPON HER THE DAYS OF THE BAALIM, UNTO WHICH SHE BURNED INCENSE . . . Baalim is the plural of Baal. There were many Baals; Baal-berith, Lord of covenants or oaths; Baal-zebub, Lord of flies; Baal-Peor, Lord of sin. In our Paraphrase we used phrasing from the first chapter of Romans because we feel this is what Hosea means. The Israelites had so joined themselves to these idols, they became like them. Hosea specifically says so in Hosea 9:10, “But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to Baal, and became detestable like the thing they loved.” When man, by the exercise of his own free will, refuses to have God in his knowledge and exchanges the truth of God for a lie and worships the creature rather than the Creator, God can do nothing else but give man up to serve these evil passions and natures. Paul wrote that when men take pleasure in unrighteousness and have no love for the truth, God sends them a strong delusion, that they may believe a lie, if that is what they want (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). The very evil, wickedness, depravity and foolishness which was represented by the Baalim they worshipped would be visited upon them in all its foulness and ugliness and self-destructiveness! Such was the actual case of both Israel (in 721 B.C.) and Judah (in 586 B.C.). Anarchy, treason, murder, theivery, crimes of sexual passion were rampant in the last days of these two nations (and in many nations since). If a nation or a people sows the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind! If a nation plays with fire it will get burned! In Jeremiah’s day society was so corrupt one could not trust his neighbor, his brother, not even those of his own household (cf. Jer. 9:36; Jeremiah 20:10). Let every nation and every individual beware of the vicious circle of ignorance of God which leads to sin and depravity which in turn leads to deeper darkness and ignorance and then to deeper sin! Only if we fellowship (share) with God and the Light which He alone gives may we be freed from falsehood and sin (cf. John 8:12-38; 1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-11)..

Zerr: Hosea 2:13. Baalim is the plural form of Baal, the invisible god of many of the Idolaters in ancient times, and Israel took up with that abominable practice. Visit upon her the days of Baalim means to punish her for the days she spent in serving the idols of Baal. The lovers were the people of the idolatrous nations with whom Israel associated in her false worship.

Questions

1. What bearing would the time of God’s withdrawal of crops have on Israel?

2. Who were the “lovers” of Israel?

3. What connection does Israel’s “mirth” have to her “feasts,” “sabbaths”?

4. How important were vines and fig-trees to Israel?

5. In what way did God visit upon Israel “the days of the Baalim?”

Verses 14-15

Hosea 2:14-15

LOVE RECONCILING—ISRAEL IS LURED

TEXT: Hosea 2:14-15

God will use the judgment which Israel brought upon herself to woo her back to Him. Out of her tribulation will come an open door to hope.

Hosea 2:14 Therefore,H3651 behold,H2009 IH595 will allureH6601 her, and bringH1980 her into the wilderness,H4057 and speakH1696 comfortablyH5921 H3820 unto her.

Hosea 2:15 And I will giveH5414 her(H853) her vineyardsH3754 from thence,H4480 H8033 and the valleyH6010 of AchorH5911 for a doorH6607 of hope:H8615 and she shall singH6030 there,H8033 as in the daysH3117 of her youth,H5271 and as in the dayH3117 when she came upH5927 out of the landH4480 H776 of Egypt.H4714

Hosea 2:14-15 . . . I WILL ALLURE HER . . . GIVE HER . . . VINEYARDS . . . AND THE VALLEY OF ACHOR FOR A DOOR OF HOPE; AND SHE SHALL MAKE ANSWER THERE . . . “Therefore” points back to Hosea 2:13. Not only in spite of, but because Israel forgot God and went “a whoring” after other gods, Jehovah-God initiates action designed to allure or “woo” Israel back to Him. “Love divine, all love excelling . . .” “Oh, what mercy, and what grace!” Israel had played the fool. Headlong she had plunged into idolatry which was the path of self-destruction. Headstrong and stiff-necked she rejected Jehovah and delighted in perverting His Law and blasphemously keeping His feasts and sabbaths. And because of this God loved her! We are reminded of the song:

“The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It goes beyond the highest star,

And reaches to the lowest hell . . .

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made;

Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,

And ev’ry man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.

by F. M. Lehman

It also reminds us of Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven.” This beautiful poem about the ever-seeking love of God is reproduced at the conclusion of this book. Please read it and re-read it until you feel it.

The phrase, “. . . the valley of Achor for a door of hope” is an interesting figure of speech. Two ideas are placed in close connection and declared to be inter-related—Troubling and Hope. God would have Israel understand that her “troubling” in captivity is the reason she may have “hope.” In Joshua 7:26 we find the valley named “Trouble” because of the terrible and swift judgment of God which fell upon Achan, the man who “troubled” Israel because of his secret sin. It was only when Joshua dealt with this trouble that hope and victory returned to Israel.

Many are the New Testament passages which teach us to understand that our “tribulation” gives us reason to “hope.” In Hebrews 10:32-39 we are told that our tribulation builds confidence; we have need of endurance so that we may do the will of God and receive what is promised. In Hebrews 12:3-11 we are told that only through chastening may we have hope that God loves us as sons. If God did not chasten us and trouble us what would happen to us? We would be left to our own self-destruction and most certainly destroy ourselves! Paul relates in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 that he was brought to despair of life itself in tribulation in order that he should be brought to rely not on himself but upon God! Read Paul’s revelation in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 in this connection also.

These two verses use the history of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt to typify God’s future deliveries of His New Covenant people through Christ, the Messiah. Just as the wilderness wanderings of Israel in the days of Moses were days of probation and trial wherein God was training a people by want and privation to the knowledge of its need of Divine help, and on the other hand by miraculous deliverance in the time of need to trust to His omnipotence, so the entire time from the captivities (of both Israel and Judah), through the restoration, culminating in the coming of the Messiah would be a time when God would “allure” a New Israel. God would test and try this New Israel and speak “comfortably” to her through her prophets of the exile; through the post exilic prophets; through His acts of redemption and material blessing and finally through the coming of the Messiah. This would be the “return of her vineyards from thence.”

Zerr: Hosea 2:14. From this verse and through verse 20 is a prophecy (Hosea 2:14-20) of the return from captivity. That great event is compared to a wronged husband receiving bach his wayward wife after he bad abandoned her for a while to the company of her guilty partners in sin. God is more compassionate than an earthly husband and hence predicted that His unfaithful wife would be given a chance to return to Him.

The valley of Achor is a type showing how God restores His favor to His people after the expiation of guilt by the punishment of the transgressor. God will so expiate the sins of man, and cover them with His grace by punishing them in Christ (cf. Isaiah 53), that the covenant of fellowship with Him will no more be broken by transgression—victory for His people will be assured. The New Israel (the church of Christ) will then “answer” the Lord in praise and promise by keeping the new covenant just as Israel did in the days of her youth at Sinai (cf. Exodus 15; Exodus 24).

Zerr: Hosea 2:15. Give her her vineyards. The husband drove his unfaithful wife from the possession that had been given her in the beginning of their marriage, but they were to be kept for her if and when she reformed and showed a desire to come back to her first love. Achor is used figuratively, and the events connected with it are compared with the experiences of Israel in the times being predicted hy Hosea. The. word means "trouble,*’ and it was given to the place and circumstance when Achan sinned at Jericho and brought so much "trouble” upon the congregation. But the next encounter they had with the enemy proved successful. Likewise, Israel in the days predicted by Hosea was destined to get into trouble because of sins. However, the release from captivity was to be as joyful as the exile was troublous. That will be similar to the success at A1 following the trouble about the valley of Achor. Day . . . Egypt is another event used for the same purpose of illustration. Israel had much trouble in that land, but the deliverance from the bondage brought much joy.

Questions

1. What did the bringing of Israel into the wilderness have to do with alluring her back to God?

2. How did God speak “comfortably” to Israel?

3. What does the name “Achor” mean and how could it become a door of hope?

4. In what way did Israel “make answer . . . as in the days of her youth . . .”?

Verses 16-20

Hos 2:16-20

LOVE RECONCILING—ISRAEL IS LOVED

TEXT: Hosea 2:16-20

This is the “shortened perspective” again. From the “allurement” in the former section which refers to the captivity and return, we come in this section to the new relationship established by the Messiah.

Hosea 2:16 And it shall beH1961 at thatH1931 day,H3117 saithH5002 the LORD,H3068 that thou shalt callH7121 me Ishi;H376 and shalt callH7121 me noH3808 moreH5750 Baali.H1180

Hosea 2:17 For I will take awayH5493 (H853) the namesH8034 of BaalimH1168 out of her mouth,H4480 H6310 and they shall noH3808 moreH5750 be rememberedH2142 by their name.H8034

Hosea 2:16-17 . . . THOU SHALT CALL ME ISHI . . . I WILL TAKE AWAY THE NAMES OF THE BAALIM . . . The phrase, “at that day,” refers back to the former section—the “day” when “the valley of Achor would become a door of hope.” When the Suffering Servant of Jehovah came and was punished for our transgressions, His troubling became the door of hope for all mankind; “that day” refers to the coming of the Messiah. At that time the Israel which has been purged of idolatry by its captivities and “allured” through all its testing and blessing (culminating in the One in whom we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places) will turn to Jehovah-God in a new relationship of Husband. The church calls God Husband when she stands in right relation to Him. On the other hand people call God Baal when they place the true God on the level of the Baals and worship other gods along with Jehovah, or obliterate the absolute distinction between Jehovah and the Baals. The new life in righteousness which is to belong to this new Israel (cf. Hosea 2:19-20 and Zechariah 13:2 ff) is depicted as the extermination of idols because idolatry was the principle form in which ungodliness manifested itself in Israel.

Zerr: Hosea 2:16. Strong says that Baali is from BAALIS, an Ammonlle king, and Ishi Is from TTSH, which he defines, “A man as an individual or a male person." Since the whole figurative setup along here la based on the marriage relationship, we can understand why the first of the words is preferable. A wayward wife who is eager for an agreeable home life would prize a man (husband) above all other relationships. Hence the term is used to indicate the joy to be experienced by Israel when she is again taken into the bosom of her loving and faithful Husband. Hosea 2:17. The one great thing to be accomplished by the captivity was the cure of idolatry. This verse predicts that accomplishment, for it does not merely state that Israel wili cease the practice of that abomination, but the very terms of the institution shall no more be remembered by their name. This indicates a complete purge of the whole system. The historical quotation that shows the fulfillment of this prediction may be seen in comments on Isaiah 3:25.

Hosea 2:18 And in thatH1931 dayH3117 will I makeH3772 a covenantH1285 for them withH5973 the beastsH2416 of the field,H7704 and withH5973 the fowlsH5775 of heaven,H8064 and with the creeping thingsH7431 of the ground:H127 and I will breakH7665 the bowH7198 and the swordH2719 and the battleH4421 out ofH4480 the earth,H776 and will make them to lie downH7901 safely.H983

Hosea 2:18 AND IN THAT DAY WILL I MAKE A COVENANT FOR THEM WITH THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD . . . AND WILL MAKE THEM TO LIE DOWN SAFELY. “That day” refers again to the day when God will climax His redemptive labors in Christ—the “day” when He will fulfill the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), swearing, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” That covenant of redemption for fallen man was uttered first in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), just prior to the pronunciation of God’s curse upon man and upon the earth for man’s sake. In his innocence man was given dominion over all the earth and over all the creatures of God’s creation. But that dominion was taken from man when he fell in sin. Jesus removed the curse that was pronounced upon man (Galatians 3:10-14) and has potentially (though not yet in reality) restored man to his God-given dominion (Hebrews 2:5-18). Jesus did this by becoming Man and living a sinless life in the flesh, condemning sin in the flesh, winning for man the victory and dominion man had previously lost by surrendering to sin in the flesh. God, through Christ, made peace between Himself and man. Man is no longer at enmity against God or the law of God if he is in Christ. Man need no longer fear any enemy if he is in Christ. He is more than conqueror through Christ who loved him. Christ has despoiled the principalities and powers triumphing over them. He has delivered man from the bondage of the devil. What glory it will be when it is all consummated in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Zerr: Hosea 2:18. During the absence of the Jews from their country, the beasts were given free range over the land and they ravaged it at will. But after the return to it of its proper inhabitants, God was going to protect the country from such damaging conditions. That is what is meant by a covenant for them, (for Israel) with the beasts of the field. Break the bow and, the sword, means they will not have to go to war in order to reclaim the land after the captivity.

This figure of speech (taming of the wild beasts and causing war to cease) is a favorite way of the prophets in describing the peace, security and harmony of the coming Messianic kingdom (cf. Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 9:1-7; Isaiah 11:1-10; Isaiah 35:8-10; Ezekiel 34:20-31; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 9:9-10). The Christian now enjoys a peace, security and harmony with God and His purposes which is incomprehensible to the sinner (“the peace which passeth understanding”) and will, in the future, realize it in all its realness and eternality.

Hosea 2:19 And I will betrothH781 thee unto me for ever;H5769 yea, I will betrothH781 thee unto me in righteousness,H6664 and in judgment,H4941 and in lovingkindness,H2617 and in mercies.H7356

Hosea 2:20 I will even betrothH781 thee unto me in faithfulness:H530 and thou shalt knowH3045 (H853) the LORD.H3068

Hosea 2:19-20 AND I WILL BETROTH THEE UNTO ME FOR EVER . . . IN RIGHTEOUSNESS . . . IN JUSTICE . . . IN LOVINGKINDNESS . . . IN MERCIES . . . IN FAITHFULNESS . . . AND THOU SHALT KNOW JEHOVAH. This describes the work of God as He redeems His wife (the covenant people) and changes her into a new woman! Indeed, Ezekiel speaks of the fact that the covenant nation will be given a new heart and a new spirit and resurrected, as it were, from the dead, a new people (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 18:31; Ezekiel 36:25-26; Ezekiel 37:1 ff). The new covenant people would be cleansed from all impurity (cf. Zechariah 13:1). The mercy of the Lord will be so all-encompassing it will not only forgive, it will forget (cf. Micah 7:18-20; Isaiah 1:18-20) our transgressions. When God performs this work of regeneration in those who will permit Him to do so, those who are “betrothed” to Him know Him in the fullest sense of the word! Righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and mercy describe the results of God’s transforming work in the new Israel; faithfulness of God is the method of bringing it about. God will demonstrate His faithfulness in sending Christ, the Messiah. He will demonstrate His trustworthiness in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the establishment of the church through sending the Holy Spirit. So, through the preaching of the gospel (the good news) of God’s faithfulness demonstrated in history through Christ, men will be “bethrothed” to God forever. Men will know God and be known of Him. Men will know that God is love; that God is truth; that God is above all and in all. Men will know God as Father and Divine Friend. Read the writings of John, the apostle, for a glorious revelation on the knowledge of God, It is through this renewed knowledge of God that we are able to fellowship (share) in His divine nature (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 John 1:1-4).

Zerr: Hosea 2:19. Betroth thee unto me forever is a phrase that belongs to tbe marriage relation, and that is tbe comparison that has been used all along concerning God and his people. Forever indicates that, the marriage will never be broken again, and that has specific reference to the truth that the Jewish nation was never again to be sent away bodily into exile as it was in this ease. Hosea 2:20. Betroth . . . in faithfulness means that God will always be a constant and faithful husband to His people.

Questions

1. What “day” is Hosea referring to here in this section?

2. How did God “make a covenant with the beasts”? Cite other scriptures.

3. What did God promise to do for His new Israel? How did He do it?

4. To what extent is the knowledge of God promised here?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Hosea 2". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/hosea-2.html.
 
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