Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 1

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


PART I., 1-3.— These chapters form a distinct section consisting of two narrative pieces, mainly in prose ( Hosea 1:2 to Hosea 2:1 and Hosea 3), which narrate the story of the prophet’ s unhappy marriage with Gomer; and a prophetic discourse, in which the lessons to be deduced from his own domestic experience are applied to the nation ( Hosea 2:2-23). 17 is probably an interpolation, while Hosea 1:10-11 is, at least, out of order. Steuernagel suggests that Hosea 1:1-9 and Hosea 3 are really parallel narratives, one, written by the original editor, being in the third person ( Hosea 1:1-9), while the other, written in the first person, is the work of the prophet himself (Hosea 3), each describing the prophet’ s marriage. If Hosea 3 be read immediately after Hosea 1:9 the sections will gain in coherence.

Verse 1

Hosea 1:1 . Title.— The title which was prefixed to the whole Book is due to an editor or editors. The mention of the Jewish kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah— only one of whom, Uzziah, can have been contemporary with Jeroboam II ( c. 782– 743 B.C.)— must be due to a post-exilic editor. An earlier heading can be detected in Hosea 1:2 a.

Verses 2-9

Hosea 1:2-9 . Hosea’ s Marriage: a Parable of Yahweh’ s Relations with Israel.— The prophet receives a Divine command to “ take” ( i.e. marry) “ a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom.” The reason given for this startling procedure is that “ the land” ( i.e. the land of Israel) “ doth commit great whoredom departing from the LORD.” Hosea obeys and takes as his wife Gomer bath Diblaim (? “ daughter of fig-cakes” ), who bears three children to him. These are given symbolical names: the first, a son, is called Jezreel, a prophetic name pointing to the coming of vengeance on the house of Jehu [7] for the massacre at Jezreel of Ahab’ s house ( 2 Kings 10:11); the second a daughter and the third a son, bearing the names Lo-ruhamah (“ uncompassionated” ) and Lo-ammi (“ not my people” ), in token of Yahweh’ s rejection of Ephraim.

[7] Jeroboam II. whose son Zechariah was the last of Jehu’ s kin to reign, must still have been on the throne when Jezreel was born.

Hosea 1:2 a. Render “ the beginning of Yahweh’ s speaking by (or to) Hosea.” The clause is abrupt, and may have stood at the head of the Book before the title in Hosea 1:1 had been added: “ Here beginneth the prophecy of Hosea.”

Hosea 1:4 . Hosea regards the massacre of Ahab’ s family by Jehu unfavourably (contrast 2 Kings 10:30).— Jezreel: see Hosea 2:21 f.*

Hosea 1:7 . Probably a post-exilic interpolation. The exception of Judah from the doom pronounced upon Israel is obviously out of place in a prophecy otherwise dealing with Israel exclusively.

The old interpretation of Hosea 1:2-9, which regarded the prophet’ s marriage as pure allegory, may rightly be dismissed. Gomer is the name of a real person. But can the narrative be accepted literally? By some scholars (Volz, J. M. P. Smith, Toy) the language descriptive of Gomer is taken literally. Hosea, according to this view, was commanded to marry a woman of notoriously profligate life. “ Hosea was not led blind folded by Yahweh into a marriage that was to break his heart and wreck his life. On the contrary, he married a woman of evil reputation with his eyes wide open.” The Divine command had a higher purpose in view— to bring home, by a startling parable in action, the unfaithfulness of Israel to her Divine spouse, Yahweh ( cf. Isaiah 20:2 ff., Ezekiel 22:9 ff.). The parable was intended to reflect the existing situation in Israel, from the Divine standpoint. By most the language is interpreted proleptically. When the prophet married Gomer she was a pure maiden (this symbolises Israel’ s early faithfulness to Yahweh ( cf. Hosea 11:1, Ezekiel 16), but she afterwards became profligate. Brooding over the tragedy of his married home-life and still yearning with love to redeem the fallen Gomer, Hosea is led to see a Divine lesson in it all of Yahweh’ s unconquerable love for faithless Israel

Verses 10-11

Hosea 1:10-11 . Hosea 1:1 (= Hebrews 2:1-3). A Promise of Restoration.— The children of Israel are destined to be increased in numbers indefinitely, and instead of being called ( Hosea 1:10 mg.) “ Ye are not my people” they shall be called “ children of the living God.” Judæ ans and Israelites shall assemble, and under one head go up victoriously “ from the land” (see below), and on the same battlefield (Jezreel), which has witnessed the utter defeat of present-day Israel, shall enjoy a glorious triumph. Then the ominous names, Lo-ammi (“ not my people” ) and Lo-ruhamah (“ uncompassionated” ) shall be reversed.

Hosea 1:10 . Cf. Genesis 22:17, 1 Kings 4:20, Isaiah 48:19.

Hosea 1:11 . What is meant by go up from the land? Either ( a) from the holy land to conquer foreign lands; or ( b) from different parts of the holy land to Jezreel for battle— then the meaning would be “ shall gain the mastery of the land” ( cf. Exodus 1:10); or ( c) from the land of exile to Palestine ( cf. Jeremiah 3:18, Ezekiel 37:21). The “ day of Jezreel,” as the name Jezreel suggests, means the day when Yahweh once more sows His people in their land.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hosea 1". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/hosea-1.html. 1919.
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