Hosea – Article #6

Chapter 4

No truth, no mercy, no knowledge of God is in the land.”

This is Hosea 4:1b. No truth, no mercy and no knowledge of God in the lands of the ten northern Tribes of Israel. ‘Emeth (truth) in the Hebrew simply means that there is no stability in whatever someone teaches or advocates. This is probably a decent example of a rumor-mill.

truth that changes like the weather

Truth that changes like the Weather.

The so-called truth changes like the weather. It takes time for knowledge to fade from the learned. Hosea 4 states that at this time of Hosea there is NO *KNOWLEDGE. He is talking about possessing knowledge of the God who lead their ancestors out of Egypt some 600 plus years earlier, is no longer wide spread. Other gods (which means priorities) have replaced the One God of Israel.

One might use the Hebrew epignosis or da’ath for translating to the English word knowledge. Both mean can mean recognition of or discernment depending on its intended use or meaning.

There is significance here when one recalls Proverbs 9:10…”Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; knowledge of the Lord God is the beginning of understanding.” Without truth, how can there be knowledge? Without knowledge how can one have a basis of even simple understand? Simple reading of the Word of God does not always equal any depth of knowledge other than the fact that one read His Word. That comes with understanding. The Kingdom of Israel had lost all of this. Now the consequences….The Kingdome of Israel had lost the knowledge of serving God therefore they no longer rose to the level of of any understanding.

Hosea’s chapters 1, 2, & 3 are all about his family situations discussed in articles 1–5 on this website.

His family is a living examination of spiritual conditions within Israel all illustrated through his marriage with Gomer. This includes the specific meaning of the names Hosea gave to his three children born of Gomer. Hosea 4:3 is specific. The lands of the Kingdom of Israel will “languish” [v3, KJV]. This includes all being: the land itself, the beasts of the field and the fish in the waters. It will become barren. History proves this to be true. It happened as prophesied remaining that way for over 2,000 years. What we call Palestine today was a sandy deserted abandoned land before 1947.

Now he (Hosea) shifts to God’s direct issues with Israel. These issues can also be applied to modern times and those who call themselves members of the church; i.e. claiming Christianity; practicing religion. In this situation Hosea was NOT even preaching to the choir. If he was, it would sound like a choir that did not know what song to sing, all sang something in any key s/he wished, in a different timing, and all at the same time with different lyrics. What a concert Hosea must have felt he was attending.

Keep in mind that Gomer represented Israel and her children the civilians of Israel. In Hosea 4:5b it reads…”…and I will destroy your mother,” then in v6 God continues… “…and I will forget your children.”  It all began with Israel losing the knowledge of God as their savior. No knowledge means that there is also no fear of God. An example in 2020 would be similar to someone ignoring or never knowing what it required to avoid the Coronavirus while continuing to walk in the midst of it. There was in Hosea’s time and will be in our modern time a thing called consequences…deadly consequences.

The Hebrew for “forgotten” is shâkêach meaning to put from one’s mind or to have never paid attention or been instructed. Even as in the CoVid 19 pandemic, the solution needed to be shoved down individual throats in the form of a ventilator and even then, over time it still didn’t work.

Verse 7: [ESV] “The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.”   Just as in the 2020 pandemic, the more people increased in their violation of God’s laws, the more to their shame. Almost if not actually becoming social outcasts. The glory of an individual as part of society is replaced with something similar to wearing an old fashion leprosy sign stating…UNCLEAN!

Hosea 4:10-11 “They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.”

JIV NOTE: Up to this point this northern kingdom’s lack of knowledge is akin to simply saying “I have all the knowledge I need.” I know this Bible story and that Bible story, but they are just STORIES! What else is expected? Oh my friends. This is so true today. Even in Bible believing churches many in the flock think church attendance and perhaps a couple of bucks in tithing are GOOD ENOUGH for a Christian life. Evidence? Count those who show up for the regular church service by comparison to those who show up for the mid-week bible study…IF there is even a mid-week prayer or Bible moment.

Always Seek Knowledge

In New Testament time Jesus was constantly challenging the religious traditions, customs, and personal power status of the religious leaders. They had knowledge but did not understand much if any of it. They lived in a status-quo.  Paul was highly educated but did not understand; that is until the Road to Damascus.

“Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priests for Me” [Hosea 4:6] This would be a very scary situation if during the 2020 pandemic hospitals entered each patient on the basis of whether or not a person in need was actually ignorant of the personal threat of Covid 19 or rejected it. What confronts the leadership of the Kingdom of Israel is similar. If the medical society (doctors) rejected the insights of Covid 19 and warned no one, all would be a great risk. This is the situation as stated per rejected knowledge of God’s laws in Israel.

Dr. David Guzik puts it well in comparing the Kingdom of Israel in their “wife” relationship to their “husband” God.

The picture is striking when we consider how Israel wanted to add pagan gods to their worship of the LORD. It isn’t as if Israel officially said, “We want to leave the LORD, and now serve only pagan gods.” Instead, Israel wanted to add the worship of pagan gods to their worship of the LORD. God received this the same way a husband would if his wife said, “I want you to still be my husband, I just want to take on a few more lovers also.”

Gomer did the same thing to Hosea. It didn’t end there as agreed upon between Hosea and Gomer; i.e.  God and Israel, but this is not the end of our Hosea study either.

Up to Hosea 4:14 we continue to read of God’s displeasure with Israel. At verse 15 [ESV] we see a situation and warning of something 120 years in the future of Hosea’s time. Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty.  Jeremiah 3:11writes [NASB] …”And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel (northern Kingdom of Israel) has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.” (Emphasis mine)

Hosea 4:15 to verse 19 (end of chapter) is a basic summary of the first 14 verses in Hosea 4. Let us add this thought then try in one’s own to insert it into what is going on in the Northern Kingdom of Israel long before and up to Hosea’s time.

To know of God is not the same as knowing God.

At times people wonder if there is a better way to help people understand scripture with its implications and applications. This author is one of them. I recall when standing in front of many college classes of mine that calling on another student to explain something using their own words gets the message through better than the way I put it. The attached link is just that. We defer to him to help others better understand what is going on that true believers need to know. If we don’t know or understand the signs of end time per the Bible, how can we recognize them when in front of us?    – Dr. jStark

 

 

Hosea Article #5

Hos 3:1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.

What a volume of content and multiple topics within one simple verse (Hosea 3:1)

“GO AGAIN”: Been there, done it, now do it again! God knows the beginning from the end but he also has given mankind the free will of choices. Hosea had already been instructed to prophecy and cry out against the deliberate sins of the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel. We will address it in greater detail when discussing Hosea 4. Prematurely extrapolating Hosea 4:2 helps explain the WHY Hosea is instructed to AGAIN go to his people and plead.

“There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed” (Hosea 4:2). [In the northern kingdom]

WOW! What accusations Hosea brings against the northern Tribes of Israel. …”they break all bounds,” the King James translation of this verse. The word “all” is not in the original. The YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) states it this way: “Swearing, and lying, and murdering, And stealing, and committing adultery–have increased, And blood against blood hath touched.

SPREADING DEADLY INFECTIOUS DISEASES

This is similar to being treated for a deadly disease but it continues to get worse. The ultimate consequence will be death or a continuing effect of incapacitation.

This is what happened to the Kingdom of the North around 720 B.C. They died as a kingdom. But the rest of verse one actually gives hope.

“…just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel…” God’s love for Israel continued even in their spiritual adultery and worst of times. It is questionable if Hosea ever states that he loves Gomer. It appears more that he loves God enough to take care of her. That might better be defined as taking total responsibility. No one can love as does God. Hosea loved Gomer as commanded. We are even commanded in the New Testament to LOVE our enemies. (Romans 12:14, 17–21)

There are two different meanings for the word “love” as found in the KJV, Hosea 1:1 using the Strong’s Lexicon; word translations; differing applications.

Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, 1love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the 2love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and 3love flagons of wine.

  1. love a woman” ‘âhêb (Strong’s Hebrew). “…to love (in a social or moral sense)”
  2. “love of God” is ‘ahăbâh. The Hebrew means “to hold the love for someone as in a feminine sense… “to have affection for (sexually or otherwise).” This is an intimate love and meaning. It far exceeds a social or moral meaning of love.
  3. love flagons of wine.” This is ‘âhab (Hebrew); beloved like a friend. A preference over other choices. Similar to one who says…I love that music.

JIV NOTE: This is why reading through the Bible may be a good thing but when one comes upon words as we just examined, may read the same in English but have differing meanings. The reader interprets the word as s/he sees it. That mental and personal picture of a given word will sometimes NOT be its real meaning. Serious Bible students should have a lexicon [Strong’s or Thayer’s].

These words of Hosea convey a great lesson to people today. God has given us his words to be our guide in life. The Bible contains divine instructions to help us live a better life and avoid the errors that can bring pain and distress. Wise people will search the Scriptures because in them they will discover what is necessary for moral and spiritual guidance: “All Scriptures are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval” (2 Timothy 3:16).  [Paraphrased]

Bear in mind and heart that Hosea is about Israel. Don’t read “the church” into it. We have our own God given covenants.

Hosea bought then brought her back home for a price. God bought us as, the church, at a price. Not to be trite but that bill is paid in full through Jesus. It is not an automatic  and free pass into heaven but the gift of salvation is free as in the choice to accept it. A free pass without commitment is Satan’s message…fake bible doctrine or standard.

Hosea 3:3&4 explain the conditions of Israel’s redemption.

  1. Though shalt abide for/with me for a time ( a type of seclusion by commitment)
  2. You shall no longer whore yourself to other gods (or priorities)
  3. You will belong to no one else but me…you will call me your God and I will be your God. [Hosea 2:16; Jeremiah 30:22; Exodus 6:7; 2 Corinthians 6:16]
  4. As is true to this very day, verse 4 states that Israelis will be without a king, without their Promised Lands, without sacrifices in the Temple, without a Temple, without ephod of the high priest clothing, without a prince.

This is changing today, even as this article is being researched, studied and written. Israel has some of their Promised Land but it is still nowhere near the PROMISED LAND mass. The lands of the Tribe of Gad, Reuben, and areas of Manasseh today are called Jordan. [Numbers 34; Ezekiel 47] It will include the lands of those who brutalized Israel as a kingdom-nation; Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and parts of the northern Middle East lands once or within the Egyptian Empire.

Hosea 3 is a short chapter with volumes of facts yet to be played out in time; a future that will soon be called history including part of which is already history. We don’t have to agree or express different opinions. God didn’t ask us and HE won’t. It is what it will be as stated in scripture. My or your opinions do not rise to the level of God’s statement of facts that were, are, and soon will be.

 

James W. Stark (Rev., Th.D.)
April 2020

Hosea – Article #3

Hosea – Article #3 (Chapter 1)

NOTHING FEELS WORSE

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.

  1. 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?

view of the Jezreel Valley from mount Precipice.

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.

Have you moved?

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?

Hosea Article #2

We gave a brief introduction to Hosea in article #1. In our research and studies it is startling to find other commentaries of such great length on such a short book in the Old Testament.

Douglas Stuart has a 220 page commentary on Hosea
David A. Hubbard has a 237 page commentary on Hosea
Francis I. Anderson has an unbelievably large commentary of 720 pages

In reading some of these commentaries per our research there are times one forgets it is about the Minor Prophet Hosea. Good writing and very informative none-the-less.

Hosea 1:2 The *beginning of the speaking of Jehovah by Hosea. And Jehovah said to Hosea, Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry, and children of harlotry. For the land has utterly gone lusting away from Jehovah. [LITV]

*Here is one example of the verbiage distinctiveness of Greek and Hebrew. The word beginning in English is not as distinctive as in the Hebrew. In Genesis 1:1the word “beginning” is ray-sheeth’ meaning the origin of time itself [Genesis 1:5]. In Hosea 1:2 the same English word “beginning” is tekh-il-law’ [Hebrew] meaning to commence at a given point within time itself.

Deeper perspective

This website attempts to point out these word differences to give deeper perspective and better understanding. In Hosea the word “beginning” simply means at the point in time Jehovah-God spoke to Hosea.

To “take a wife of harlotry” is often debated; debated to a point of losing the point God is making. It means what it says. She has been unfaithful to a single man or husband. She may have even been a Temple Prostitute or unfaithful to Hosea AFTER they marry. Some theologians want to make this an allegory such as Jesus used parables. No matter, it is an example or living example of how Israel has played the role of a harlot nation. They have sold their allegiance to foreign gods (idols) or put other things in life ahead of or replacing communing with their husband-God.

The same is true of the phrase “children of harlotry.” Some want to make this to mean children begotten through harlotry; not from Hosea himself. Others want to make this to mean offspring of Hosea’s seed through one that has been unfaithful. What matters is the last sentence in this verse… [YLT] “..for utterly go a-whoring doth the land (10 Israeli Tribes of the Northern Kingdom) from after Jehovah.” In New Testament Church terms this would be the same thing as going to church because one seeks out the church or denomination of choice; a false god. Does s/he seek to have fellowship with other believers within a group setting with a focus of worship or political correctness? [Mark 7:13; Matthew 15:3]

If the latter is true, what does it mean to worship God the Father (husband of Israel) in a church setting that welcomes unbelievers and still call it worship? We have already put the church into a Hosea situation. This is called unequally yoked; worshiping with unbelievers or church goers of tradition. No wonder people give testimonies of things that happened years ago instead of yesterday or last week. They can’t because they are mixing and blending in with the world even in a worship service. [See below JIV NOTE]

JIV NOTE: Yes, I will receive flack on this from readers. However, get serious. How does one wear a Chicago Cubs T-shirt versus Cleveland Indians and sit on the side of the Cleveland Indians, cheering for the Cubs at the ball park…unequally yoked. Right? But the same stadium (church?).

Hosea is stating that Israel has sold out and is only pretending to be a fan of the God who brought them out of Egypt after 400 plus years of bondage in Egypt. Today’s church is all about filling the pews with bodies, not believers.

Bodies or Believers

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Hosea – Article #1

Hosea Article #1
An 8th century Minor Prophet

Here are two examples of New Testament scripture and one personal observation. By comparative context New Testament John and Matthew with Old Testament Hosea, we find a basic overview of or insight into the Book of Hosea:

  1. John 15:7 “If you abide in me and my WORDS abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it will be done (or given) unto you.”
  2. Matthew 6:33 “Seek [you] first the kingdom of God AND his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
  3. JIV (Jim’s Introspective View) Anything that is given priority over God in our entirety of life is an idol!

There is much more. This series of Hosea articles with chapter by chapter and comparative context explanations will include historical and future unfulfilled prophecy parallels. When one has a good grasp of John 15:7 and Matthew 6:33, s/he finds a summary of the major focal points of Hosea. We should also recognize and distinguish that Hosea, as do other Old Testament passages, explains that God is the husband of Israel [Jeremiah 31:32]; Jesus is the husband of the New Testament church [Ephesians 5:31-32]. We will have much more on this throughout this Hosea series.

The Orthodox Church of America puts it this way in introducing Hosea:

Almost a thousand years before the coming of the Savior, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet foretold the end of sacrificial offerings and of the priesthood of Aaron (Hos. 3:4-5), and that the knowledge of the True God would spread through all the earth (Hos. 2:20-23). Hosea spoke also about Christ, how He would return from out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1; compare to Mt. 2:15), that He would be resurrected on the third day (Hos. 6 and especially Hos.6:2; compare with 1 Cor.15:4), and that He would conquer death (Hos.13-14. Compare 1 Cor.15:54-55).”

Whatever the case, all 12 Tribes of Israel and Judah had adopted the mindset that if they can’t see it, it must not exist. A golden calf can be observed. The reality of the God of creation is by faith. The same is true today. So-called Christians too often see a denomination or church building as the basis of their being Christian. S/he serves the church functions but confuses their intent with serving God.

Let’s first establish some common sense knowledge and understanding of the ground work for our Hosea studies. In our previous Daniel studies we explained that the first half of the book of Daniel was originally written in the commoner’s language of the time; Aramaic. The latter half of the book was written in Hebrew. The first half of Daniel is targeted to the non-Israelite. The second half was/is intended for the particular audience of the Israelites. Hosea was a prophet-designate or appointed to the 10 Israeli tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His contemporary Amos was who came from the southern Kingdom of Judah; same peoples (Israelites) but two distinctly different prophets. These are two of the twelve Minor Prophets… one to the Northern Kingdom and one to the Southern Kingdom of the former nation of Israel. Both had the same problem. The people to whom they were told to speak and warn had not kept God at the center of their lives and worship. [Go back to the top of this page and reread the passages from James 15 and Matthew 6].

The time: It was just prior to the end of the existence of the Northern Kingdom [760 B.C. to 722 B.C.]. Syria was peeling off one or two tribes of Israel at a time. The Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh were among the first to be exiled by Assyria. Hosea was either from the Tribe of Reuben or Issachar [see Adam Clarkes Commentary]. Bura [Beeri] was his father. We do not know for sure but what we do know is that he was born in the town of Belemoth inside the *territory of Issachar.

*The 2 ½ Tribes of Israel east of the Jordan River had already been exiled by Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. This dispersion caused many to flee their tribal lands. Some went to other territories in Samaria (Northern Kingdom of Israel). Most were dispersed and exiled by the Assyrians into the hinterlands of faraway places; lands that were sparsely populated. Some fled to the lands of the Tribe of Issachar.

PS: Issachar settled Finland and Estonia after years of dispersion and scattered exile from their Promised home lands. How do we know this? During World War II General Mannerheim led the Finnish army in two separate conflicts against the Soviet Union. Astonishingly, he addressed them as ‘Men of Issachar’!

St. Jerome and some others believe Hosea to be the oldest of the Minor Prophets whose writings are in our possession. He was witness to the first captivity of four of the ten norther tribes who were exiled by King Tiglath-pileser (745-727 B.C.), and the eventual extinction of the kingdom of *Samaria by King Shalmaneser V (727-721 B.C.) in 721 B.C. Shalamaneser died before the complete exiling of the Shalamaneser. His successor son is Sargon II.

*This is the Northern Kingdom of Israel…Samaria was their capital.

Now that we know the time period within which Hosea prophesied let’s see who some of his contemporaries were. To begin with Amos plus *Jonah “of the whale” bible historical event were contemporaries of Hosea. Other contemporaries of Hosea include Micah, Isaiah, and possibly Joel (contested), and Obadiah.

*JIV NOTE: We can view the life of Jonah as one of inaction, sea action; knee action; reaction, then action. Due to the Assyrians initially overrunning and exiling the Tribes of the Northern Kingdom in the lifetime of Jonah, Amos, and Hosea, Jonah had no love affair with the people of Nineveh, Assyria. They were hated enemies. No wonder he did not want to go there.

According to 1:1, “The Word of Jehovah that was to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam II, the son of Joash, king of Israel.” [Literal Translation of the Holy Bible]

Hosea is the only prophet who came from the northern kingdom. Recall that he is either from the Tribes of Issachar of Reuben. Both were northern tribes. Other prophets ministered or prophesied to these ten northern Tribes of Israel but did not come from within them. A hundred plus years earlier, Elijah and Elisha witnessed to the northern kingdom but also to little avail.

JIV NOTE: The Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam II was at the zenith or apex of its power and prosperity when Hosea prophesied against it. Might we look at the world today and specifically the USA March 2020? We are/were at the zenith of our power and prosperity when the CoVid 19 coronavirus took us to our knees. Similarities? Time will prove one way or another but the thought that a simple flu bug can do what military powers have never been able to accomplish…total submission to the bug, not a person or political sphere.

In comparison to Hosea, we might also consider that the Americas were established as a place for freedom of worship. We have since prostituted ourselves to other global issues, governments, wars, and much more that redirect our focus from God Bless America to God bless me. Why should he bless us? We have deserted him, not the other way around. We must return to God so that he can return to us with blessings of his choice. [cf. James 4:8]. Religious we certainly are. Drawing closer to God?

DRAW NEAR TO GOD AND HE WILL DRAW NEAR TO YOU.

Hosea is the person GOD specifically instructed to take as a wife, a woman of prostitution. On the surface this sounds like everything we know or have been taught per the New Testament about what is and constitutes adultery. We are told in his book that it is to exemplify or embody the condition of the Kingdom of Israel; i.e. 10 northern Tribes of Israel in their relationship to the God of Israel.

There are four major schools of thought per this relationship of Hosea/Gomer marriage and the marriage relationship of God and Israel.

  1. The entirety of Hosea is just an allegory just as were Jesus’ parables
  2. The wife (Gomer) and life of Hosea took is likened unto Israel and God. She was faithful and obedient but later became a prostitute just as Israel left its first love…God.
  3. Gomer was already a prostitute. Hosea purchased then repurchased her from slavery to be his wife. The three children she had are from Hosea.
  4. Gomer had her three children in her adultery with others. Hosea named them and took them in as his own.

Chapters 1-3 overview:

The character of Gomer: For those who have suggested Hosea bible history to be merely an allegory of the relation between God and Israel. The Hosea writings are realistic and actual recorded history. They MUST be taken literally. Among the latter, some insist that Gomer was faithful at first and later became unfaithful, others that she was unfaithful even before the marriage. This is about 750 to 760 years before the birth of Jesus.

Chapters 1, 2, & 3 are all about Hosea’s family situation, challenges, struggles, and both with his wife and with his people of the Kingdom of Israel. A good note to understand as we close Article #1: God (Hosea), Gomer (Israel as a northern kingdom), Hosea’s (Gomer’s) children represent individuals within the Tribes of the North.

Introduction to Hosea

Hosea

Almost a thousand years before the coming of the Savior, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet foretold the end of sacrificial offerings and of the priesthood of Aaron (Hos. 3:4-5), and that the knowledge of the True God would spread through all the earth (Hos. 2:20-23). Hosea spoke also about Christ, how He would return from out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1; compare Mt. 2:15), that He would be resurrected on the third day (Hos. 6 and especially Hos.6:2; compare with 1 Cor.15:4), and that He would conquer death (Hos.13-14. Compare 1 Cor.15:54-55).

Hosea is the first of the twelve prophets in the Book of the Twelve. The Book of the Twelve Prophets was originally on one parchment roll because of the brevity of the text, and together formed one Book of the 24 Books of Hebrew Scripture. The Book of the Twelve follows the writings of the four Major Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. All together the 16 prophets are called the Latter Prophets, as they began writing after the Division of the United Kingdom of Israel.

Hosea – הוֹשֵׁעַ – parallels his own tragic marriage to his unfaithful wife Gomer (Chapters 1-3) to that of the covenant between God and Israel (Chapters 4-14).

Our commentary this week is taken from the Bible Commentary by Adam Clarke (1762–1832), a British Methodist minister and theologian. It is interesting sometimes to get a historical perspective on some of the more difficult or controversial topics in the Bible, and there are few more “difficult” than Hosea.

The rabbins say that Bura was his father, who is mentioned in the Chronicles, and was prince of the tribe of Reuben at the time when Tiglath-pileser carried some of the tribes of Israel into captivity. But if it be so, Hosea must be said to be of the tribe of Reuben; and a native of Beelmeon, beyond Jordan. This prophet lived in the kingdom of Samaria; and his prophecies for the most part have a view to this state, though there are likewise some particular things which concern the kingdom of Judah.

We read, in the introduction to his prophecy that he prophesied under the kings of Judah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and under Jeroboam II., king of Israel. If he prophesied in the reign of all these princes, he must have lived a very long time; for there are a hundred and twelve years from the beginning of Uzziah‘s reign to the end of Hezekiah‘s reign.

He foretells that the people of Judah should still continue some time in their country after the captivity of the ten tribes; but that after this they themselves should likewise be carried captives beyond the Euphrates.

The children of this faithless woman are children of prostitution, since they imitate the idolatry of their mother. God gives these children the names of Jezreel, God will disperse; Lo-rechamah, or Without mercy; and Lo-ammi, Thou art no longer my people; to show, –

1.That God was going to revenge upon the house of Jehu, king of Israel, the sins which he had committed at Jezreel, when he usurped the kingdom of the ten tribes.

2.That the Lord would treat his idolatrous and sinful people without mercy.

3.That he would reject them, and no more look upon them as his people.

Order and Time in Which the Twelve Minor Prophets Flourished

1. Jonah Prophesied between 823 B.C. and 783 B.C. in the reign of Jeroboam II., king of Israel. See 2 Kings 14:25.

2. Amos prophesied from about 823 B.C. to about 785 B.C. in the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in that of Jeroboam II., king of Israel. See Amos 1:1.

3. Hosea flourished from about 809 B.C. to about 698 B.C., in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in that of Jeroboam II., king of Israel. See Hosea 1:1. [But see the observations above)

4. Micah flourished between 757 B.C. and 698 B.C., in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. See Micah 1:1.

5. Nahum is supposed to have prophesied between 720 B.C. and 698 B.C., in the reign of Hezekiah.

6. Joel is supposed to have prophesied between 697 B.C. and 660 B.C., in the reign of Manasseh.

7. Zephaniah prophesied between 640 B.C. and 609 B.C., in the reign of Josiah. See Zephaniah 1:1.

8. Habakkuk is thought to have prophesied between 606 B.C. and 598 B.C., in the reign of Jehoiakim.

9. Obadiah prophesied soon after 587 B.C., between the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the destruction of the Edomites by the same prince.
10. Haggai prophesied about 520 B.C. after the return from Babylon. See Haggai 1:1.
11. Zechariah prophesied from 520 B.C. to about 518 B.C.; and was contemporary with Haggai. See Zechariah 1:1.

12. Malachi is generally believed to have prophesied about 436 B.C.

The verb to return – שׁוּב or “shuv” is recorded in Hosea 3:5, 6:1, 12:6, 14:1, and 14:2, calling upon Israel to return to the Lord…which makes sense of the scripture “draw close to God THEN he will draw close to us as individuals.” [James 4:8]

The Gospel of Matthew 2:15 refers to Hosea 11:1 in a direct quotation, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” And St. Paul cites Hosea 2:1 and 2:25 (1:10 and 2:23 in this English translation) in Romans 9:25-26 concerning God’s free election, and Hosea 13:14 in First Corinthians 15:54-55 in a different way, that of the ultimate victory of life over death in the resurrection of the body through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.

Jezreel, Hosea’s first born…the Valley of Jezreel is also the same as the Valley of Megiddo; also known as Plain of Esdraelon. As a rule of thumb and logistics, this valley has historically been the pathway of invading armies. This will be true in End Time during the Battle of Armageddon [Revelation 14-16].This is why in End Times, those who align against Jerusalem (50 miles to the south) will assemble in Megiddo. This is also why Daniel’s prophecies of wars between the Kings of the north and the Kings of the south need to pass through Northern Israel; a place where large masses of military forces and equipment could be moved. In reality, this valley is a bridge passage between Europe, Africa, and Asia.

In was on the plains of Jezreel that Jehu’s army defeated the armies of Jezebel (2 Kings 9), beginning a bloodbath in the Northern Kingdom that would have consequences for years (cf. Hos 1:4-5).   And it was at Megiddo that King Josiah was killed in a fateful attempt to block Egyptian armies from using the pass to march north to lend aid to Assyrian armies trapped by the Babylonians (2 Kings 23:29).

NOTE: Within the territory of the tribe of Ephraim, the children of Israel brought the Tabernacle (Josh. 18:1), Making Shiloh a religious center for the Israelites even before Jerusalem

Farmland in the valley of Jezreel.

The path to the mound has a beautiful view of the valley where one of the most colorful stories in the Bible took place – the summer grape-harvest festival when the daughters of Shiloh came out dancing and the men of Benjamin sought brides from among them (Judges 21:15-23).  

But its modern-day beauty hides a bloody and violent history.

Here Jezreel’s rulers killed Ahab’s 70 sons, put their heads in baskets, and brought them to Jehu (2 Kings 10:1–11). Queen Jezebel murdered Naboth in his own vineyard in Jezreel (1 Kings 21:1–23) and later died after being thrown from a palace and devoured by dogs. Pharaoh Neco killed King Josiah in the Jezreel Valley (2 Kings 23:30).

To date and according to history, there have been no less than 34 battles in this valley. Four of these recorded battles were from the Crusades in the 12th century; Napoleon Bonaparte crushed the Ottomans in 1799. One major and remaining world-ending battle remains to be fought in this same Valley; i.e. Armageddon.

The Book of Hosea was a severe warning to the northern kingdom against the growing idolatry being practiced there; the book was a dramatic call to repentance. Christians extend the analogy of Hosea to Christ and the church: Christ the husband, his church the bride. Christians see in this book a comparable call to the church not to forsake the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians also take the buying back of Gomer as the redemptive qualities of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Hosea lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom, during which six kings (following Jeroboam II) reigned within 25 years (2Ki 15:817:6). Four (Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, Pekah) were murdered by their successors while in office, and one (Hoshea) was captured in battle; only one (Menahem) was succeeded on the throne by his son. These kings, given to Israel by God “in anger” and taken away “in wrath” (13:11), floated away “like a twig on the surface of the waters” (10:7). “Bloodshed” followed “bloodshed” (4:2). Assyria was expanding westward, and Menahem accepted that world power as overlord and paid tribute (2Ki 15:19-20). But shortly afterward, in 733 b.c., Israel was dismembered by Assyria because of the intrigue of Pekah (who had gained Israel’s throne by killing Pekahiah, Menahem’s son and successor). Only the territories of Ephraim and western Manasseh were left to the king of Israel. Then, because of the disloyalty of Hoshea (Pekah’s successor), Samaria was captured and its people exiled in 722-721, bringing the northern kingdom to an end.

Theological Theme and Message

The first part of the book (chs. 13) narrates the family life of Hosea as a symbol (similar to the symbolism in the lives of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) to convey the message the prophet had from the Lord for his people. God ordered Hosea to marry an adulterous wife, Gomer, and their three children were each given a symbolic name representing part of the ominous message. Ch. 2 alternates between Hosea’s relation to Gomer and its symbolic representation of God’s relation to Israel. The children are told to drive the unfaithful mother out of the house; but it was her reform, not her riddance, that was sought. The prophet was ordered to continue loving her, and he took her back and kept her in isolation for a while (ch. 3). The affair graphically represents the Lord’s relation to the Israelites (cf. 2:4,9,18), who had been disloyal to him by worshiping Canaanite deities as the source of their abundance. Israel was to go through a period of exile (cf. 7:16; 9:3,6,17; 11:5). But the Lord still loved his covenant people and longed to take them back, just as Hosea took back Gomer. This return is described with imagery recalling the exodus from Egypt and settlement in Canaan (cf. 1:11; 2:14-23; 3:5; 11:10-11; 14:4-7). Hosea saw Israel’s past experiences with the Lord as the fundamental pattern, or type, of God’s future dealings with his people.

The second part of the book (chs. 414) gives the details of Israel’s involvement in Canaanite religion, but a systematic outline of the material is difficult. Like other prophetic books, Hosea issued a call to repentance. Israel’s alternative to destruction was to forsake her idols and return to the Lord (chs. 6; 14). Information gleaned from materials discovered at Ugarit (dating from the 15th century b.c.) enables us to know more clearly the religious practices against which Hosea protested.

Hosea saw the failure to acknowledge God (4:1,6; 8:2-3; 13:4) as Israel’s basic problem. God’s relation to Israel was that of love (2:19; 4:1; 6:6; 10:12; 12:6). The intimacy of the covenant relationship between God and Israel, illustrated in the first part of the book by the husband-wife relationship, is later amplified by the father-child relationship (11:1-4). Disloyalty to God was spiritual adultery (4:13-14; 5:4; 9:1; cf. Jer 3; see note on Ex 34:15). Israel had turned to Baal worship and had sacrificed at the pagan high places, which included associating with the sacred prostitutes at the sanctuaries (4:14) and worshiping the calf images at Samaria (8:5; 10:5-6; 13:2). There was also international intrigue (5:13; 7:8-11) and materialism. Yet despite God’s condemnation and the harshness of language with which the unavoidable judgment was announced, the major purpose of the book is to proclaim God’s compassion and covenant love that cannot — finally — let Israel go

The book of Hosea has at least two perplexing problems. The first concerns the nature of the story told in chs. 13 and the character of Gomer. While some interpreters have thought the story to be merely an allegory of the relation between God and Israel, others claim, more plausibly, that the story is to be taken literally. Among the latter, some insist that Gomer was faithful at first and later became unfaithful, others that she was unfaithful even before the marriage.

The second problem of the book is the relation of ch. 3 to ch. 1. Despite the fact that no children are mentioned in ch. 3, some interpreters claim that the two chapters are different accounts of the same episode. The traditional interpretation, however, is more likely, namely, that ch. 3 is a sequel to ch. 1 — i.e., after Gomer proved unfaithful, Hosea was instructed to take her back.

8. Undying Love— The Story of Hosea and Gomer

The calendar on the wall indicated that it was about 760 years before Jesus was born. Jeroboam II was on the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel, and his military exploits had extended Israel’s borders farther than they had been since the days of Solomon’s glorious kingdom. Tribute money from subject nations was pouring into the treasury at the capital city of Samaria, and the people of Israel were enjoying a period of unprecedented prosperity.

As is often the case, with prosperity came moral and spiritual degeneration. Secularism and materialism captured the hearts of the people and sin ran rampant. The list reads like twentieth-century America: swearing, lying, killing, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, perversion, perjury, deceit, and oppression, to name but a few. But the thing that grieved the heart of God more than anything else was the sin of idolatry (Hos. 4:12, 13; 13:2).

Outline

  • Superscription (1:1)
  • The Unfaithful Wife and the Faithful Husband (1:2;3:5)
  • The Children as Signs (1:2;2:1)
  • The Unfaithful Wife (2:2-23)
    1. The Lord’s judgment of Israel (2:2-13)
    2. The Lord’s restoration of Israel (2:14-23)
  • The Faithful Husband (ch. 3)
  • The Unfaithful Nation and the Faithful God (chs. 414)
  • Israel’s Unfaithfulness (4:1;6:3)
    1. The general charge (4:1-3)
    2. The cause declared and the results described (4:4-19)
    3. A special message to the people and leaders (ch. 5)
    4. The people’s sorrowful plea (6:1-3)
  • Israel’s Punishment (6:4;10:15)
    1. The case stated (6:4;7:16)
    2. The judgment pronounced (chs. 89)
    3. Summary and appeal (ch. 10)
  • The Lord’s Faithful Love (chs. 1114)
    1. The Lord’s fatherly love (11:1-11)
    2. Israel’s punishment for unfaithfulness (11:12;13:16)
    3. Israel’s restoration after repentance (ch. 14