Hosea – Article #3 (Chapter 1)
Nothing feels worse than being separated from God. One doesn’t even know it
until s/he returns to Him. Only then does that void become evident.
This is the condition of Northern Kingdom of Israel at the time of Hosea. They have not yet returned as of this writing – 2020. The Southern Kingdom of Judah is not far behind but it is still a descendant of King David who sits on their throne (760-722 B.C.). Hosea tries to get his people in the north to realize their separation; that intimate separation from their God Jehovah. However, Israel (Northern Kingdom) has plenty of religion but little to no commitment to God.
JIV STUDY NOTE: Hosea is identified as one of the twelve Minor Prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are considered the Major Prophets. These are man-assigned identities because the minor prophet books are shorter in length but not lacking content or purpose. We say this so if intellectually challenged by a naysayer who claims that Daniel is a shorter book than is Hosea, they are correct. These are man-assigned identities not supported by scripture.
The Minor Prophets warned against godless alliances (adultery typified) with other nations. These prophets were extremely patriotic and denounced political and moral corruption by intermingling with others outside of Israel. They warned Israel against an isolationism from God and a integration with outsiders. This reminds us of Romans 12:1; be not conformed to this world, BUT be transformed by the renewing of one’s mind and soul. This union of Israel with outsiders gradually led them to conform to other than Godly standards. We do the same thing in our churches when we have come to think that a worship service includes anyone. This, just as Israel, makes us unequally yoked with nonbelievers. We don’t bring them to church to give them a religious experience but that too often is just what they get. We hope that they may find God even when they are not seeking God. They oblige your invite but usually for the religious experience. We as in the Book of Acts should witness to them on the streets, in our homes, in child bible clubs, or evangelistic meetings, lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then bring them into the fold of believers as equally yoked to worship. Need evidence? Study the Book of the original church; i.e. the Book of Acts.
J. Vernon McGee puts it this way…
The accusation is often made that the present–day pulpit is weak and uncertain. Furthermore, it is charged that instead of being a “… voice … in the wilderness …” (John 1:23), the modern pulpit has settled down comfortably to become a sounding board for the whims and wishes of an indifferent people with itching ears (in attempts to fill the pews; i.e. megachurch status. If this charge is true (and in many cases it is), it is because the pulpit is reluctant to grapple with the great issues of life. This hesitancy is born of a desire to escape criticism and a dread of becoming offensive to the finer sensibilities. (Emphasis mine)
Hosea 1:1 identities our book’s content of who, when, and where of this setting. Hosea is commanded to break the Mosaic Law by marrying an adulterous woman. Mosaic Law said to have her stoned. God commanded Hosea to marry her. This in and of itself did not bring cessation of adulterous life. But then, Israel was doing the same thing with her spiritual Husband God.
In v3, we find that she conceived… (KJV) So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. We do not know if her two sons and one daughter were actually offspring of Hosea. What we do know is he named them according to God’s command. Gomer had two sons and one daughter.
- Jezreel: There is so much history connected to this name but we will keep our comments within the name meaning and its context of Hosea. Some translate the name as “God sows.” Others translate it as “May God gives seed.” Yet another translates identifies it as “God scatters.” It all adds up to a seed once together in a seed bin will be scattered and reproduce in a similar manner as we find in the New Testament…Matthew 13:20-22; Mark 4:5 Luke 8:6-23. The same seed scenario Hosea prophesied about the Northern Kingdom. Sadly Hosea lived to see this dispersion or scattering; completed around 721 B.C. The Assyrians finished scattering the ten Northern Tribes throughout the entire known lands, fields and plains of the Earth.
JIV STUDY NOTE: In a previous article I made comment and insight about my banker in my hometown, a full-blooded and native of Hawaii. In our conversations I observed that he struggled pronouncing the letters “sh” when used in a word. What has this to do with the “scattering of the northern Tribes of Israel’ and Hosea 1:4 & 6? Judges 12:5-6 tells us that the Tribe of Ephraim also had this same DNA difficulty. A remnant of Ephraim was scattered as far as the Pacific islands…2700 years after the Assyrian exile of this tribe. Hmmmmmm?
Hosea 1:5 tells us that there is also a Valley of Jezreel “…to break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” Over 32 battles have been fought in this valley. It is also renown for another battle yet to be fought…Armageddon.
Hosea 1:5 indicates that this is where the Northern Kingdom lost its final war with Assyria before the entire kingdom was exiled them.
Hosea 1:6 gives us the birth and name of the second child of Gomer. Hosea was told by God to name her *Lo-ruhama. The name means “NO MERCY.” To better understand this No Mercy we must back up one verse. Hosea 1:4 states that “the blood of Jezreel (valley?) will cause the cessation of the King and kingdom of Jehu.” This means that the Assyrian defeat of King Jehu of Israel will be (was) the beginning of their exile as a kingdom of the same seed. The blood of his kingdom was shed in the Valley of Jezreel.
*Lo in Hebrew means Not or No just as in English to say “a”typical; not typical.
Hosea 1:7 tells us that God Jehovah determined to have mercy on the Israelites of the Southern Kingdom of Judah…for a little while. This verse seems out of context per the rest of this chapter, but the intended message is not. 2 Kings 19:35 tells the what happened. The same Assyrians that destroyed the ten Tribes to the north (Kingdom of the North) also attacked Judah. The Assyrians lost 185,000 troops in one night. The Angel of the Lord did the work. When the Judean Armies woke up one morning to do battle, the encamped Assyrian army was no more. All enemy troops had been destroyed during the night by the angel.
Also a small word is “mercy” in verse 7 needs explanation. Only the guilty can seek mercy. The innocent may be given leniency. This verse in Hosea 1:7 finds the word “MERCY.” This does not mean that the kingdom of Judah is or was somehow innocent. Hosea 1:7 states that God will have MERCY upon Judah. Yes, they too were guilty and will pay a severe price or prison term. Their punishment came about 120 years later when Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar marched on Jerusalem and took it captive. Three different groups of Judeans and those within the kingdom were removed from their Promised Land. We read this in greater detail in our articles on the Book of Daniel.
Verse 8 and 9 in Hosea 1 need to be understood as if one statement. “Now when she (Gomer) had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. And Jehovah said, Call his name Lo-ammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” God does not move (omnipresent) but we as his creation have a free-will. James 4:8 says if we draw close to God, he will draw close to us (paraphrased). The idea in Hosea 1:8 & 9 is that Israelites had fallen so far away from God that HE would no longer be in communication with them; even from a distance. They were no longer his with whom to communicate and bless as his chosen.
This is choice and FREE-WILL in full color. We can opt to walk away from God and not have him as the center of our lives. Judah to the south had a few more Godly kings so they were shown “mercy.” Guilty? YES! Kingdom of Israel had fallen so far back they were no longer God’s people. The word “people” in verse 1:9 is ‛am…collectively meaning a “troop or attendants.” It does not mean they were no longer his chosen. The next verse explains this.
Hosea 1:10-11 pulls these separated kingdoms back together as ONE; an inference to the millennial reign of Christ in Jerusalem when he calls his chosen from the four corners of the Earth. 1:10b states (KJV) “…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.” Where is the statement “in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people” actually mean per geography? This is Megiddo; Armageddon! That is…The Valley of Jezreel; Hosea’s name for his first son. Verse 11 needs no explanation…”Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together.”
There may be a bit of irony is Hosea’s second son’s name; Lo-Ammi. We already explained the name’s meaning…”You are no longer my children and I am not your God.” There is the possibility that even if the first two children born to Gomer and perhaps Hosea, this verse may also have a double implication. You are not my child and I am not your father. This may be a pregnancy born out of Gomer’s continued prostitution or adultery, thus the third child…Lo (not) Ammi (mine).
Here is a JIV summary of the names.
Jezreel: The seed of Israel is sown throughout the earth, but will return to the Valley of Jezreel
Lo-Ruhamah: I will show no mercy. You are guilty as accused
Lo-Ammi: You are not (no longer) my people because you have put a distance between me (God) and you.
New Testament parallel…if one does not feel as close to God or his son Jesus as s/he once did, guess who one moved?