Hosea gives a prophesy of coming punishment for Israel, but it won’t last forever
Hosea began his career as a prophet of God during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel. Now Jeroboam II was a successful and good king in that the country prospered both politically and economically, but it was a time of significant spiritual and moral decay. (Read II Kings 14: 23-29) Often God uses the prophets, not just to deliver His message, but as living symbols of that message. God did just that with Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and here again with Hosea. In verse 2 of chapter one, God says to Hosea, “…’Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.’” (NOTE: Some Christians cringe at the thought of God telling Hosea to marry a prostitute. Who are we to question the wisdom of God? Having said that, I would also point out that the adultery, as used here, may mean leaving the one true God as it does elsewhere in the Bible (i.e. James 4: 4), and not physical adultery, which will come after the marriage.) Now the name Hosea means ‘deliverance’ or ‘salvation’. Get the picture? Hosea shows great love for his sinful wife.
Likewise, the names of Hosea’s children will be symbolic of God’s prophetic message. God told Hosea to name his first son Jezreel (Jezreel means ‘scatter’). This would be a reminder of the massacre that occurred at Jezreel during the reign of Jehu. “So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and priests, leaving him no survivors.” (II Kings 10: 11) The house of Jehu was about to be scattered. Obviously, this would not be good news for Jeroboam II. He was of the house of Jehu. God’s message goes on to say that not only will the House of Jehu be scattered, but so too will the kingdom of Israel. (Read II Kings 17: 20-23)
We’re taking a bit of a side trip here. There is a remarkable prophesy in Hosea 1: 7. God, through Hosea, said the He would “break Israel’s bow,” (vs. 5), which means Israel will be utterly destroyed militarily. (Which they were.) Then In verse 7 God says, “Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God.” During the reign of Hezekiah, this is exactly what happened. Not only is the event recorded in the Bible (II Kings 19: 35-36), but in Assyrian texts we read that Sennacherib, King of Assyria, surrounded Jerusalem to lay a siege, but eventually withdrew.
Following the birth of Jezreel, Hosea and his wife had a daughter. God told him to name her ‘Lo-Ruhamah. Lo-Ruhama means ‘no mercy’. This will be a reminder of God’s coming judgement against Israel. Finally, a second son would be born and his name was to be Lo-Ammi, which means ‘not My people’. This would be a reminder to the people that they had pushed God away long enough. Can you imagine anything worse than to have God say of us, ‘not My people’. In the New Testament, Peter gives a message to all people who come to the Lord Jesus: “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Peter 2: 9-10)
Hosea gives a prophesy of coming punishment for Israel, but it won’t last forever. In verse 10 of chapter one, we read, “…In the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people’, they will be called the ‘sons of the living God.’” Beyond that, we read, “The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited…” As we continue through the Book of Hosea, God will present His case against Israel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.