1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days a of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, b kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
The Argument - After the ten tribes had fallen away from God by the wicked and subtle counsel of Jeroboam, the son of Neba, and instead of his true service commanded by his word, worshipped him according to their own imaginings and traditions of men, giving themselves to most vile idolatry and superstition, the Lord from time to time sent them Prophets to call them to repentance. But they grew even worse and worse, and still abused Gods benefits. Therefore now when their prosperity was at the highest under Jeroboam, the son of Joash, God sent Hosea and Amos to the Israelites (as he did at the same time send Isaiah and Micah to those of Judah) to condemn them for their ingratitude. And whereas they thought themselves to be greatly in the favour of God, and to be his people, the Prophet calls them bastards and children born in adultery: and therefore shows them that God would take away their kingdom, and give them to the Assyrians to be led away captives. Thus Hosea faithfully executed his office for the space of seventy years, though they remained still in their vices and wickedness and derided the Prophets, and condemned Gods judgments. And because they would neither be discouraged with threatening only, nor should they flatter themselves by the sweetness of Gods promises, he sets before them the two principal parts of the Law, which are the promise of salvation, and the doctrine of life. For the first part he directs the faithful to the Messiah, by whom alone they would have true deliverance: and for the second, he uses threatenings and menaces to bring them from their wicked manners and vices: and this is the chief scope of all the Prophets, either by Gods promises to allure them to be godly, or else by threatenings of his judgments to scare them from vice. And even though the whole Law contains these two points, yet the Prophets moreover note distinctly both the time of Gods judgments and the manner. 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife c of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, [departing] from the LORD.
(a) Also called Azariah, who being a leper was disposed from his kingdom.
(b) So that it may be gathered by the reign of these four kings that he preached about eighty years.
(c) That is, one that has been a harlot for a long time: not that the Prophet did this thing in effect, but he saw this in a vision, or else was commanded by God to set forth under this parable or figure the idolatry of the Synagogue, and of the people her children. 1:3 So he went and took d Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
(d) Gomer signifies a consumption or corruption, and rotten clusters of figs, declaring that they were all corrupt like rotten figs. 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name e Jezreel; for yet a little [while], and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of f Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
1:5 And it shall come to pass at that g day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
(e) Meaning that they would no longer be called Israelites, which name they boasted because Israel did prevail with God: but that they were as bastards, and therefore should be called Jezreelites, that is, scattered people, alluding to Jezreel, which was the chief city of the ten tribes under Ahab, where Jehu shed so much blood; ( 1 Kings 18:45 ).
(f) I will be avenged upon Jehu for the blood that he shed in Jezreel: for even though God stirred him up to execute his judgments, yet he did them for his own ambition, and not for the glory of God as the intended goal: for he built up that idolatry which he had destroyed.
(g) When the measure of their iniquity is full, and I will take vengeance and destroy all their administration and strength. 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And [God] said unto him, Call her name h Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly i take them away.
(h) That is, not obtaining mercy: by which he signifies that Gods favour had departed from them. 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will k 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.
(i) For the Israelites never returned after they were taken captives by the Assyrians.
1:9 Then said [God], Call his name l Loammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God].
(k) For after their captivity he restored them miraculously by the means of Cyrus; ( Ezra 1:1 ).
(l) That is, not my people. 1:10 Yet the number of the m children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor 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.
1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be n gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great [shall be] the day of Jezreel.
(m) Because they thought that God could not have been true in his promise unless he had preserved them, he declares that though they were destroyed, yet the true Israelites who are the sons of the promise, would be without number, who consist both of the Jews and the Gentiles; ( Romans 9:26 ).
(n) That is, after the captivity of Babylon, when the Jews were restored: but chiefly this refers to the time of Christ, who would be the head both of the Jews and Gentiles.
(o) The calamity and destruction of Israel will be so great, that to restore them will be a miracle.