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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Hosea 1:7

But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Jesus, the Christ;   Lo-Ruhamah;   Symbols and Similitudes;   Thompson Chain Reference - False;   Security-Insecurity;   Weapons;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ Is God;   Prophets;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gomer;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christians, Names of;   Salvation;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - King;   Prophet;   Ruhamah;   Saviour;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Arms and Armor;   Hosea;   Mercy, Merciful;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hosea;   Hosea, Book of;   Song of Songs;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Salvation Save Saviour;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Army;   Bowman;   Hosea;   Trinity;  
Faith's Checkbook - Devotion for September 4;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Hosea 1:7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah — I will spare them as a kingdom after Israel has been carried away into captivity by the Assyrians.

And will save them by the Lord their God — Remarkably fulfilled in the supernatural defeat of the army of the Assyrians, see 2 Kings 19:35; and so they were saved not by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen. The former expression may mean, not in war by horses, i.e., yoked to war chariots, nor by horsemen-nor by cavalry, however efficient such troops might have then been deemed.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Hosea, Gomer and their children (1:1-2:1)

The prophet begins his book by outlining his experiences with his unfaithful wife, Gomer. Gomer was probably not a prostitute when Hosea was told to marry her. In recording the story, Hosea is looking back over the events that happened, recalling that the woman whom he married and who bore him children became a prostitute. Gomer’s unfaithfulness in leaving him for other men pictured Israel’s unfaithfulness in leaving Yahweh for the gods of neighbouring peoples (1:1-3).

Hosea had three children, all of whom were given names with symbolic meaning. The first foretold judgment on the dynasty of Jehu, to which Jeroboam II belonged. God’s appointment of Jehu as king was for the purpose of destroying the wicked family of Ahab and Jezebel, but Jehu used it as an opportunity to satisfy his ambition for absolute power. He treacherously destroyed all opponents in a series of brutal massacres, but now the dynasty he established will come to an end (4-5; cf. 2 Kings 9:6-10; 2 Kings 10:1-27).

The name of the second child foretold that God will no longer have pity on the northern kingdom, but will allow it to suffer the full penalty of its sins. However, he will not yet withdraw his mercy from Judah, but will protect it by his miraculous power (6-7; cf. 2 Kings 19:21-37). By the time the third child was born, God no longer recognized Israel as his people. The nation (and, later, Judah as well) will be cut off from him and taken into captivity (8-9).

Despite these judgments, God will have pity on Israel and Judah; they will once more become his people. In Jezreel, where God’s judgment fell, they will rejoice again. Israel and Judah will be brought back to their homeland and reunited as one people (10-2:1).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by Jehovah their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by horsemen."

This prophecy of exemption for Judah should be understood as merely a temporary reprieve from the promised destruction of Israel. That reprieve was indeed glorious, and Judah enjoyed prosperity for an extended period after the fall of the northern kingdom; but Judah also, in time, would fall into the same debaucheries and idolatry as that which had overcome Israel; and they also would go into Babylon as captives.

"I will save ... not by bow ... sword ... or horseman ..." This remarkable prophecy was literally fulfilled when the army of Sennacherib came up against Jerusalem and king Hezekiah in the sixth year of that monarch's reign, only to be destroyed in a single night by a miraculous deliverance brought about by the sudden death of 185,000 of Sennacherib's troops, as recounted in 2 Kings 18-19.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I will have mercy on the house of Judah - For to them the promises were made in David, and of them, according to the flesh, Christ was to come. Israel, moreover, as being founded in rebellion and apostasy, had gone on from bad to worse. All their kings clave to the sin of Jeroboam; not one did right in the sight of God; not one repented or hearkened to God. Whereas Judah, having the true Worship of God, and the reading of the law, and the typical sacrifices, through which it looked on to the great Sacrifice for sin, was on the whole, a witness to the truth of God (see the note at Hosea 11:12).

And will save them by the Lord their God, not by bow ... - Shortly after this, God did, in the reign of Hezekiah, save them by Himself from Sennacherib, when the Angel of the Lord smote in one night 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. “Neither in that night, nor when they were freed from the captivity at Babylon, did they bend bow or draw sword against their enemies or their captors. While they slept, the Angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians. At the prayers of David and the prophets and holy men, yea, and of the angels Zechariah 1:12 too, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, to set them free “to go up to Jerusalem, and build the temple of the Lord God of Israel” Ezra 1:3. But much more, this is the special promise of the Gospel, that God would deliver, not outwardly, but inwardly; not by human wars, but in peace; not by man, but by Himself. “By the Lord their God,” by Himself who is speaking, or, The Father by the Son, (in like way as it is said, “The Lord rained upon Sodom fire from the Lord” Genesis 19:24).

They were saved in Christ, the Lord and God of all, not by carnal weapons of warfare, but by the might of Him who saved them, and shook thrones and dominions, and who by His own Cross triumpheth over the hosts of the adversaries, and overthroweth the powers of evil, and giveth to those who love Him, “to tread on serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy.” They were saved, not for any merits of their own, nor for anything in themselves. But when human means, and man’s works, such as he could do of his own free-will, and the power of his understanding, and the natural impulses of his affections, had proved unavailing, then he redeemed them by His Blood, and bestowed on them gifts and graces above nature, and filled them with His Spirit, and gave them “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” But this promise also was, and is, to the true Judah, i. e., to those who, as the name means, “confess and praise” God, and who, receiving Christ, who, as Man, was of the tribe of Judah, became His children, being re-born by His Spirit.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

This verse sufficiently proves what I said yesterday, that the Prophet was specifically appointed to the kingdom of Israel; for he seems here to speak favourably of the Jews, who yet, we know, had been severely and deservedly reproved by their own teachers. For what does Isaiah say, after having spoken of the dreadful corruptions which then prevailed in the kingdom of Israel? ‘Come,’ he says, ‘into the house of Judah, they at least continue as yet pure: there,’ he says, ‘all the tables are full of vomiting; they are drunken; there reigns also the contempt of God and all impiety,’ (Isaiah 28:8.) We see then that the Jews were not a virtuous people, of whom the Prophet has spoken so honourably. For though the exterior worship of God continued at Jerusalem, and the temple, at least under Uzziah and Jotham, was free from every superstition, and also under king Hezekiah; yet the morals of the people, we know, were very corrupt. Avarice, and cruelty, and every kind of fraud, reigned there, and also filthy lusts. The conduct, then, of that people was nothing better than that of the Israelites. Why, then, does the Prophet dignify them with so great an honour as to exempt them from God’s vengeance? Because he had an eye to the people to whom he was appointed a Prophet. He therefore institutes a comparison. He interferes not with the Jews, for he knew that they had faithful pastors who reproved their sins; but he continued among his own hearers. But this comparison served, in an especial manner, to touch the hearts of the people of Israel; for the Prophet, we know, made this reference particularly for this end, to condemn fictitious worship. He now sets the worship at Jerusalem in opposition to all those superstitions which Jeroboam first introduced, which Ahab increased, and all their posterity followed. Hence he says, “I will show favour” to the house of Judah.

That we may better understand the mind of the Prophet, it may be well to repeat what we said yesterday: — The kingdom of Judah was then miserably wasted. The kingdom of Israel had ten tribes, the kingdom of Judah only one and a half, and it was also diminished by many slaughters; yea, the Israelites had spoiled the temple of the Lord, and had taken all the gold and silver they found there. The Jews, then, had been reduced to a very low state, they hardly dared to mutter; but the Israelites, as our Prophet will hereafter tell us, were like beasts well fed. Since, then, they despised the Jews, who seemed despicable in the eyes of the world, the Prophet beats down this vain confidence, and says, With mercy will I follow the house of Judah “The house of Judah seems now to be almost nothing, for they are few in number, nor are they very strong, and wealth abounds not among them as among you; but with them shall dwell my favour, and I will take it away from you.”

It afterwards follows, And I will save them by Jehovah their God. Salvation is here set in opposition to the destruction which the Prophet mentioned in the last verse. But Hosea shows that salvation depends not in the least either on arms or on any of the intervenients (7), as they say, of this world; but has its foundation only on God’s favour. I will save them, he says — why? because my favour will I show them This connection ought to be carefully noticed. Where the Lord’s favour is, there is life. ‘Thou art our God, then we shall never perish,’ as it is written in Habakkuk 1:12 Habakkuk. Hence the Prophet here connects salvation with God’s gratuitous favour; for we cannot continue safe, but as long as God is propitious to us. He has, on the other hand, declared that it would be all over with the Israelites as soon as God would take away from them his favour.

But he says, By Jehovah their God. An antithesis is to be understood here between the false gods and Jehovah, who was the God of the house of Judah. It is the same as though the Prophet said, “Ye indeed profess the name of God, but ye worship the devil and not God: for ye have nothing to do with Jehovah, with the God who is the creator and maker of heaven and earth; for he dwells in his own temple; he pledged his faith to David, when he commanded him to build a temple for him on mount Zion; he dwells there between the cherubim, as the Prophets invariably declare: but the true God is become exiled from you.” We hence see how he condemns here all the worship which the Israelites then so highly valued. Why did he do so? Because it was not acceptable to God.

And this passage deserves to be noticed, for we see how stupid men are in this respect. When once they are persuaded that they worship God, they are seized by some fascination of Satan so as to become delighted with all their own dotages, as we see to be the case at this day with the Papists, who are not only insane, but doubly frantic. If any one reproves them and says, that they worship not the true God, they are instantly on fire — “What! does not God accept our worship?” But the Prophet here shows by one word that Jehovah is not in any place, except where he is rightly worshipped according to the rule of his word. I will save them, he says — How? By Jehovah their God; and God himself speaks: He might have said, “I will save them by myself;” but it was not without reason that he used this circuitous mode of speaking; it was to show the Israelites that they had no reason to think that God would be propitious to them. How so? Because God had chosen an habitation for himself on mount Zion and in Jerusalem. A fuller declaration afterwards follows, I will save them neither by the bow, nor by the sword, nor by war, nor by horses, nor by horsemen But this clause, by God’s favour, I will explain tomorrow.

(7) Mediis-media means. We use medium, but not media; and yet we have no word as a substitute. “ Intervenients,” perhaps, is the most intelligible word to the English reader. — Ed.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

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.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A. Signs of coming judgment 1:2-9

The Lord used Hosea’s family members as signs to communicate His message of coming judgment on Israel.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

In contrast, the Lord would have compassion on the Southern Kingdom of Judah and deliver her from such a fate. He said He would do this by Yahweh their God, perhaps using His own name this way to impress on the Israelites who their true God was. He said He would not do this in battle, however. The Israelites relied on human arms and alliances, but the Judahites trusted in the Lord, generally speaking, so He delivered the Judahites supernaturally. He did it in 701 B.C. by killing 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night while they lay camped around Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:32-36; Isaiah 37). Jerusalem was the only great city that did not fall to the Assyrians during this invasion of Syria-Palestine. Judah’s sins were not as great as Israel’s at this time. Judah enjoyed a succession of four "good" kings (Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham), and Hosea may have received this prophecy when Uzziah or Jotham was reigning.

"The northern kingdom had arrogated the name of Israel to itself. It clung obstinately to the belief that its greater riches, area and strength showed that it was the true representative of God’s people. The mention of Judah underlines the vital truth that the rejection of the North in no way involved God’s complete repudiation of Israel’s sonship." [Note: Ellison, p. 105.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But I will have mercy on the house of Judah,.... The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which retained the true worship of God among them; see Hosea 11:12 and though they often sinned against the Lord, he showed them mercy, and spared them longer than the ten tribes; and though he suffered them to be carried captive into Babylon, he returned them again after seventy years: this is mentioned as an aggravation of the punishment of Israel, that Judah was spared, when they were not; and to show that God will have a people to seek and serve him, and, when he rejects some, he will make a reserve of others:

and will save them by the Lord their God; by his own arm and power, and not theirs, or any creature's; nor by any warlike means or instruments whatever, as follows:

and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen: which may respect either the deliverance of the Jews from the invasion and siege of Sennacherib's army; which was done without shooting an arrow, or drawing the sword, or engaging in a pitched battle, or by a cavalry rushing into his camp, discomfiting his army, and pursuing them; but by an angel sent from heaven, which in one night destroyed a hundred and fourscore and five thousand, 2 Kings 19:35 or else refers to Cyrus being stirred up by the Lord to issue forth a proclamation, giving liberty to the Jewish captives to go free, without price or reward; and so was brought about, not by the might and power of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord; see Ezra 1:1 though a greater salvation is pointed at, or at least shadowed forth, by this, even the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by Christ; which is the fruit of mercy, and not the effect of the merits of men; is obtained not by human power, or by man's righteousness; but by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah our righteousness, the Lord God of his people; who stands in a relation to them prior to his being the Saviour of them; to which work and office he is equal, being the eternal Jehovah, and the true and living God. So the Targum,

"and I will save them by the Word of the Lord their God;''

the eternal Word, that was with God, is God, and became incarnate, God in our nature.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet's Marriage; Threatenings against Israel; Intimation of Mercy to Judah. B. C. 768.

      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.   3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.   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.   5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.   6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.   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.

      These words, The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, may refer either, 1. To that glorious set of prophets which was raised up about this time. About this time there lived and prophesied Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Obadiah, and Isaiah; but Hosea was the first of them that foretold the destruction of Israel; the beginning of this word of the Lord was by him. We read in the history of this Jeroboam here named (2 Kings 14:27) that the Lord had not yet said he would blot out the name of Israel, but soon after he said he would, and Hosea was the man that began to say it, which made it so much the harder task to him, to be the first that should carry an unpleasing message and some time before any were raised up to second him. Or, rather, 2. To Hosea's own prophecies. This was the first message God sent him upon to this people, to tell them that they were an evil and an adulterous generation. He might have desired to be excused from dealing so roughly with them till he had gained authority and reputation, and some interest in their affections. No; he must begin with this, that they might know what to expect from a prophet of the Lord. Nay, he must not only preach this to them, but he must write it, and publish it, and leave it upon record as a witness against them. Now here,

      I. The prophet must, as it were in a looking-glass, show them their sin, and show it to be exceedingly sinful, exceedingly hateful. The prophet is ordered to take unto him a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms,Hosea 1:2; Hosea 1:2. And he did so, Hosea 1:3; Hosea 1:3. He married a woman of ill fame, Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, not one that had been married and had committed adultery, for then she must have been put to death, but one that had lived scandalously in the single state. To marry such a one was not malum in se--evil in itself, but only malum per accidens--incidentally an evil, not prudent, decent, or expedient, and therefore forbidden to the priests, and which, if it were really done, would be an affliction to the prophet (it is threatened as a curse on Amaziah that his wife should be a harlot, Amos 7:17), but not a sin when God commanded it for a holy end; nay, if commanded, it was his duty, and he must trust God with his reputation. But most commentators think that it was done in vision, or that it is no more than a parable; and that was a way of teaching commonly used among the ancients, particularly prophets; what they meant of others they transferred to themselves in a figure, as St. Paul speaks, 1 Corinthians 4:6. He must take a wife of whoredoms, and have such children by her as every one would suspect, though born in wedlock, to be children of whoredoms, begotten in adultery, because it is too common for those who have lived lewdly in the single state to live no better in the married state. "Now" (saith God) "Hosea, this people is to me such a dishonour, and such a grief and vexation, as a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms would be to thee. For the land has committed great whoredoms." In all instances of wickedness they had departed from the Lord; but their idolatry especially is the whoredom they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone is such an injury and affront to God as for a wife to embrace the bosom of a stranger is to her husband. It is especially so in those that have made a profession of religion, and have been taken into covenant with God; it is breaking the marriage-bond; it is a heinous odious sin, and, as much as any thing, besots the mind and takes away the heart. Idolatry is great whoredom, worse than any other; it is departing from the Lord, to whom we lie under greater obligations than any wife does or can do to her husband. The land has committed whoredom; it is not here and there a particular person that is guilty of idolatry, but the whole land is polluted with it; the sin has become national, the disease epidemical. What an odious thing would it be for the prophet, a holy man, to have a whorish wife, and children whorish like her! What an exercise would it be of his patience, and, if she persisted in it, what could be expected but that he should give her a bill of divorce! And is it not then much more offensive to the holy God to have such a people as this to be called by his name and have a place in his house? How great is his patience with them! And how justly may he cast them off! It was as if he should have married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who probably was at that time a noted harlot. The land of Israel was like Gomer the daughter of Diblaim. Gomer signifies corruption; Diblaim signifies two cakes, or lumps of figs; this denotes that Israel was near to ruin, and that their luxury and sensuality were the cause of it. They were as the evil figs that could not be eaten, they were so evil. It intimates sin to be the daughter of plenty and destruction the daughter of the abuse of plenty. Some give this sense of the command here given to the prophet: "Go, take thee a wife of whoredoms, for, if thou shouldst go to seek for an honest modest woman, thou wouldst not find any such, for the whole land, and all the people of it, are given to whoredom, the usual concomitant of idolatry."

      II. The prophet must, as it were through a perspective glass, show them their ruin; and this he does in the names given to the children born of this adulteress; for as lust, when it has conceived, brings forth sin, so sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

      1. He foretels the fall of the royal family in the name he is appointed to give to his first child, which was a son: Call his name Jezreel,Hosea 1:4; Hosea 1:4. We find that the prophet Isaiah gave prophetical names to his children (Isaiah 7:3; Isaiah 8:3), so this prophet here. Jezreel signifies the seed of God (so they should have been); but it signifies also the scattered of God; they shall be as sheep on the mountains that have no shepherds. Call them not Israel, which signifies dominion, they have lost all the honour of that name; but call them Jezreel, which signifies dispersion, for those that have departed from the Lord will wander endlessly. Hitherto they have been scattered as seek; let them now be scattered as chaff. Jezreel was the name of one of the royal seats of the kings of Israel; it was a beautiful city, seated in a pleasant valley, and it is with allusion to that city that this child is called Jezreel, for yet a little while and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, from whom the present king, Jeroboam, was lineally descended. The house of Jehu smarted for the sins of Jehu, for God often lays up men's iniquity for their children and visits it upon them. It is the kingdom of the house of Israel, which may be meant either of the present royal family, that of Jehu, which God did quickly cause to cease (for the son of this Jeroboam, Zechariah, reigned but six months, and he was the last of Jehu's race), or of the whole kingdom in general, which continued corrupt and wicked, and which was made to cease in the reign of Hoshea, about seventy years after; and with God that is but a little while. Note, Note, Neither the pomp of kings nor the power of kingdoms can secure them from God's destroying judgments, if they continue to rebel against him. (2.) What is the ground of this controversy: I will revenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, the blood which Jehu shed at Jezreel, when by commission from God and in obedience to his command, he utterly destroyed the house of Ahab, and all that were in alliance with it, with all the worshippers of Baal. God approved of what he did (2 Kings 10:30): Thou has done well in executing that which is right in my eyes; and yet here God will avenge that blood upon the house of Jehu, when the time has expired during which it was promised that his family should reign, even to the fourth generation. But how comes the same action to be both rewarded and punished? Very justly; the matter of it was good; it was the execution of a righteous sentence passed upon the house of Ahab, and, as such, it was rewarded; but Jehu did it not in a right manner; he aimed at his own advancement, not at the glory of God, and mingled his own resentments with the execution of God's justice. He did it with a malice against the sinners, but not with any antipathy to the sin; for he kept up the worship of the golden calves, and took no heed to walk in the law of God,2 Kings 10:31. And therefore when the measure of the iniquity of his house was full, and God came to reckon with them, the first article in the account is (and, being first, it is put for all the rest) for the blood of the house of Ahab, here called the blood of Jezreel. Thus when the house of Baasha was rooted out it was because he did like the house of Jeroboam, and because he killed him,1 Kings 16:7. Note, Those that are entrusted with the administration of justice are concerned to see to it that they do it from a right principle and with a right intention, and that they do not themselves live in those sins which they punish in others, lest even their just executions should be reckoned for, another day, as little less than murders. (3.) How far the controversy shall proceed; it shall be not a correction, but a destruction. Some make those words, I will visit, or appoint, the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, to signify, not as we read it the revenging of that bloodshed, but the repeating of that bloodshed: "I will punish the house of Jehu, as I punished the house of Ahab, because Jehu did not take warning by the punishment of his predecessors, but trod in the steps of their idolatry. And after the house of Jehu is destroyed I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel; I will begin to bring it down, though now it flourish." After the death of Zechariah, the last of the house of Jehu, the kingdom of the ten tribes went to decay, and dwindled sensibly. And, in order to the ruin of it, it is threatened (Hosea 1:5; Hosea 1:5), I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel; the strength of the warriors of Israel, so the Chaldee. God will disable them either to defend themselves or to resist their enemies. And the bow abiding in strength, and being renewed in the hand, intimates a growing power, so the breaking of the bow intimates a sinking ruined power. The bow shall be broken in the valley of Jezreel, where, probably, the armoury was; or, it may be, in that valley some battle was fought, wherein the kingdom of Israel was very much weakened. Note, There is no fence against God's controversy; when he comes forth against a people their strong bows are soon broken and their strong-holds broken down. In the valley of Jezreel they shed that blood which the righteous God would in that very place avenge upon them; as some notorious malefactors are hanged in chains just where the villainy they suffer for was perpetrated, that the punishment may answer the sin.

      2. He foretels God's abandoning the whole nation in the name he gives to the second child. This was a daughter, as the former was a son, to intimate that both sons and daughters had corrupted their way. Some make to signify that Israel grew effeminate, and was thereby enfeebled and made weak. Call the name of this daughter Lo-ruhamah--not beloved (so it is translated Romans 9:25), or not having obtained mercy, so it is translated 1 Peter 2:10. It comes all to one. This reads the doom of the house of Israel: I will no more have mercy upon them. It intimates that God had shown them great mercy, but they had abused his favours, and forfeited them, and now he would show them favour no more. Note, Those that forsake their own mercies for lying vanities have reason to expect that their own mercies should forsake them, and that they should be left to their lying vanities,Jonah 2:8. Sin turns away the mercy of God even from the house of Israel, his own professing people, whose case is sad indeed when God says that he will no more have mercy upon them. And then it follows, I will utterly take them away, will utterly remove them (so some), will utterly pluck them up, so others. Note, When the streams of mercy are stopped we can expect no other than that the vials of wrath should be opened. Those whom God will no more have mercy upon shall be utterly taken away, as dross and dung. The word for taking away sometimes signifies to forgive sin; and some take it in that sense here: I will no more have mercy upon them, though in pardoning I have pardoned them heretofore. Though God has borne long, he will not bear always, with a people that hate to be reformed. Or, I will no more have mercy upon them, that I should in any wise pardon them, or (as our margin reads it) that I should altogether pardon them. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected, for that opens the door to all the rest. Some make this to speak comfort: I will no more have mercy upon them till in pardoning I shall pardon them, that is, till the Redeemer comes to Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The Chaldee reads it, But, if they repent, in pardoning I will pardon them. Even the greatest sinners, if in time they bethink themselves and return, will find that there is forgiveness with God.

      III. He must show them what mercy God had in store for the house of Judah, at the same time that he was thus contending with the house of Israel (Hosea 1:7; Hosea 1:7): But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah. Note, Though some are justly cast off for their disobedience, yet God will always secure to himself a remnant that shall be the vessels and monuments of mercy. When divine justice is glorified in some, yet there are others in whom free grace is glorified. And, though some through unbelief are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. It aggravates the rejection of Israel that God will have mercy on Judah, and not on them, and magnifies God's mercy to Judah that, though they also have done wickedly, yet God did not reject them, as he rejected Israel: I will have mercy upon them and will save them. Note, Our salvation is owing purely to God's mercy, and not to any merit of our own. Now,

      1. This, without doubt, refers to the temporal salvations which God wrought for Judah in a distinguishing way, the favours shown to them and not to Israel. When the Assyrian armies had destroyed Samaria, and carried the ten tribes away into captivity, they proceeded to besiege Jerusalem; but God had mercy on the house of Judah, and saved them by the vast slaughter which an angel made, in one night, in the camp of the Assyrians; then they were saved by the Lord their God immediately, and not by sword or bow. When the ten tribes were continued in their captivity, and their land was possessed by others, they being utterly taken away, God had mercy on the house of Judah and saved them, and, after seventy years, brought them back, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts,Zechariah 4:6. I will save them by the Lord their God, that is, by myself. God will be exalted in his own strength, will take the work into his own hands. That salvation is sure which he undertakes to be the author of; for, if he will work, none shall hinder. And that salvation is most acceptable which he does by himself. So the Lord alone did lead him. The less there is of man in any salvation, and the more of God, the brighter it shines and the sweeter it tastes. I will save them in the word of the Lord (so the Chaldee), for the sake of Christ, the eternal word, and by his power. I will save them not by bow nor by sword, that is, (1.) They shall be saved when they are reduced to so low an ebb that they have neither bow nor sword to defend themselves with, Judges 5:8; 1 Samuel 13:22. (2.) They shall be saved by the Lord when they are brought off from trusting to their own strength and their weapons of war, Psalms 44:6. (3.) They shall be saved easily, without the trouble of sword and bow, Hosea 1:7; Hosea 1:7. Isaiah 9:5, I will save them by the Lord their God. In the calling him their God, he upbraids the ten tribes who had cast him off from being theirs, for which reason he had cast them off, and intimates what was the true reason why he had mercy, distinguishing mercy, for the house of Judah, and saved them: it was in pursuance of his covenant with them as the Lord their God, and in recompence for their faithful adherence to him and to his word and worship. But,

      2. This may refer also to the salvation of Judah from idolatry, which qualified and prepared them for their other salvations. And this is indeed a salvation by the Lord their God; it is wrought only by the power of his grace, and can never be wrought by sword or bow. Just at the time that the kingdom of Israel was utterly taken away, under Hoshea, the kingdom of Judah was gloriously reformed, under Hezekiah, and was therefore preserved; and in Babylon God saved them from their idolatry first, and then from their captivity.

      3. Some make this promise to look forward to the great salvation which, in the fulness of time, was to be wrought out by the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save his people from their sins.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Hosea 1:7". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.