Hosea 1

Listen to Hosea 1
1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
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[a] 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 Loruhamah:[b] 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.
8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi:[c] for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10 Yet the number of the 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.
11 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.

Hosea 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

Hosea is supposed to have been of the kingdom of Israel. He lived and prophesied during a long period. The scope of his predictions appears to be, to detect, reprove, and convince the Jewish nation in general, and the Israelites in particular, of their many sins, particularly their idolatry: the corrupt state of the kingdom is also noticed. But he invites them to repentance, with promises of mercy, and gospel predictions of the future restoration of the Israelites and of the Jews, and their final conversion to Christianity.

Under a figure, is represented the shameful idolatry of the ten tribes. (1-7) The calling of the Gentiles, and the uniting Israel and Judah under the Messiah. (8-11)

Verses 1-7 Israel was prosperous, yet then Hosea boldly tells them of their sins, and foretells their destruction. Men are not to be flattered in sinful ways because they prosper in the world; nor will it last long if they go on still in their trespasses. The prophet must show Israel their sin; show it to be exceedingly hateful. Their idolatry is the sin they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone, is an injury and affront to God; such as for a wife to take a stranger, is to her husband. The Lord, doubtless, had good reasons for giving such a command to the prophet; it would form an affecting picture of the Lord's unmerited goodness and unwearied patience, and of the perverseness and ingratitude of Israel. We should be broken and wearied with half that perverseness from others, with which we try the patience and grieve the Spirit of our God. Let us also be ready to bear any cross the Lord appoints. The prophet must show the ruin of the people, in the names given to his children. He foretells the fall of the royal family in the name of his first child: call his name Jezreel, which signifies "dispersion." He foretells God's abandoning the nation in the name of the second child; Lo-ruhamah, "not beloved," or "not having obtained mercy." God showed great mercy, but Israel abused his favours. Sin turns away the mercy of God, even from Israel, his own professing people. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected. Though some, through unbelief, are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. Our salvation is owing to God's mercy, not to any merit of our own. That salvation is sure, of which he is the Author; and if he will work, none shall hinder.

Verses 8-11 The rejection of Israel for a time, is signified by the name of another child: call him Lo-ammi, "not my people." The Lord disowns all relation to them. We love him, because he first loved us; but our being cast out of covenant, is owing to ourselves and our folly. Mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath; the rejection, as it shall not be total, so it shall not be final. The same hand that wounded, is stretched forth to heal. Very precious promises are here given concerning the Israel of God, and they may be of use to us now. Some think that these promises will not have accomplishment in full, till the general conversion of the Jews in the latter days. Also this promise is applied to the gospel, and the bringing in both the Jews and Gentiles to it, by St. Paul, ( romans 9:25 romans 9:26 ) , and by St. ( 1 Peter. 2:10 ) Head, and willingly to commit ourselves to his guidance and government. And let us pray for the coming of the glorious day, when there shall be one Lord through all the earth.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. avenge: Heb. visit
  • [b]. Loruhamah: that is, Not having obtained mercy
  • [c]. Loammi: that is, Not my people

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA

This book, in the Hebrew Bibles, at least in some copies, is called "Sopher Hosea", the Book of Hoses; and, in the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, "the Prophecy of Hoses": and, in the Syriac version, "the Prophecy of Hoses the Prophet". It is the first of the twelve lesser prophets, so called, not because they were of less value, credit, and authority, than the other prophets; but because of their smallness in bulk; and which, as Kimchi says, upon the authority of their Rabbins, were put together in one book, that no one of them might be lost, because of their smallness; and Josephus {a} reckons them but as one book; and they are quoted in the New Testament under the name of the Book of the Prophets {b}. This prophet was one of them, and therefore placed here; though, as Kimchi, in his preface to this book, and R. David Ganz {c}, observe, his prophecy was before the prophecy of Isaiah; and yet he was not the first of these minor prophets, as to order of time; not only Jonah, but Joel and Amos, were before him; and so they are placed by some writers; according to Mr. Whiston {d}, he began to prophesy about the year of the world 3196 A.M. and 808 B.C. Mr. Bedford {e} places him in 804 B.C. His name is the same with Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a saviour; and he was not only, as all the true prophets of the Lord and faithful ministers of the word are, the means and instruments in the hand of God of saving people; but he was a type of Christ the Saviour, as well as prophesied concerning him, and salvation by him. Of his parentage, and the time of his prophesying, see Ho 1:1, by which it appears that he lived in several reigns, and to a very great age. He chiefly prophesied against the ten tribes of Israel; reproved them for their sins; exhorted them to repentance; threatened them with destruction in case of impenitence; and comforted the truly godly with the promise of the Messiah, and of the happy state of the church in the latter day. His style, is short and concise; in some places sententious, and without connection, obscure and difficult of interpretation; and in others very pathetic and moving. Of the divine inspiration and authority of this book there is no room to doubt; since passages out of it are quoted and referred to by Christ and his apostles; by Christ himself, \Mt 9:13 12:7 6:6 2:15 11:1 Ro 9:25,26 1:10 2:23 1Co 15:55 13:14\ 1Pe 2:10, 2:23 There are some things said of the descent, death, and burial of this prophet, not to be depended on. Pseudo Epiphanius {f} and Isidorus {g} say he was of the tribe of Issachar, and born in Belomoth or Bethlemoth; and that he died in peace, and was buried in his own country; but, according to a tradition of the Jews {h}, he died in Babylon, and was buried in Tzapheth, a city in upper Galilee; but all this is uncertain, and not very probable, and is of no importance to be known.

{a} Contr. Apion. l. 1. c. 8. {b} Acts vii. 42. {c} Tzemach David, fol. 12. 2. {d} Chronological Tables, cent. 7. {e} Scripture Chronology, B. 6. ch. 2. p. 645. {f} De Prophet. Vit. &c. c. 11. {g} De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c. 41.

\\INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 1\\

After the general inscription of the book, in which the author, penman, and time of this prophecy, are expressed, Ho 1:1, the people of Israel are reproved for their idolatry, under the representation of a harlot the prophet is bid to marry, which he is said to do, Ho 1:2,3, and their ruin and destruction are foretold in the names of the children he had by her, and by what is said on the occasion of the birth of each, Ho 1:4-6,8,9, but mercy and salvation are promised to Judah, Ho 1:7 and the chapter is concluded with a glorious prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews in the latter day; and of the union of Judah and Israel under one Head and Saviour, Christ; and of the greatness and glory of that day, Ho 1:10,11.

the same with Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a saviour; he was in some things a type of Christ the Saviour, and prophesied of him, and salvation by him; and was the instrument and means of saving men, as all true prophets were, and faithful ministers of the word are: to him the word of the Lord, revealing his mind and will, was brought by the Spirit of God, and impressed upon his mind; and it was committed to him to be delivered unto others. This is the general title of the whole book, showing the divine original and authority of it:

\\the son of Beeri\\; which is added to distinguish him from another of the same name; and perhaps his father's name was famous in Israel, and therefore mentioned. The Jews have a rule, that where a prophet's father's name is mentioned, it shows that he was the son of a prophet; but this is not to be depended upon; and some of them say that this is the same with Beerah, a prince of the Reubenites, who was carried captive by Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, 1Ch 5:6, but the name is different; nor does the chronology seem so well to agree with him; and especially he cannot be the father of Hosea, if he was of the tribe of Issachar, as some have affirmed:

\\in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and\\ \\in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel\\; from whence it appears that Hosea prophesied long, and lived to a great age; for from the last year of Jeroboam, which was the fifteenth of Uzziah, to the first of Hezekiah, must be sixty nine years; for Jeroboam reigned forty one years, and in the twenty seventh of his reign began Uzziah or Azariah to reign over Judah, and he reigned fifty two years, 2Ki 14:23 2Ki 15:1,2, so that Uzziah reigned thirty seven years after the death of Jeroboam, through which time Hosea prophesied; Jotham after him reigned sixteen years, and so many reigned Ahaz, 2Ki 15:23, 16:2, so that without reckoning any part, either of Jeroboam's reign, or Hezekiah's, he must prophesy sixty nine years, and, no doubt, did upwards of seventy, very probably eighty, the Jews say ninety; and allowing him to be twenty four or five years of age when he begun to prophesy, or only twenty (for it is certain he was at an age fit to marry, as appears by the prophecy), he: must live to be upwards of a hundred years; and in all probability he lived to see not only part of Israel carried captive by Tiglathpileser, which is certain; but the entire destruction of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, which he prophesied of. Jeroboam king of Israel is mentioned last, though prior to these kings of Judah; because Hosea's prophecy is chiefly against Israel, and began in his reign, when they were in a flourishing condition. It appears from hence that Isaiah, Amos, and Micah, were contemporary with him; see \Isa 1:1 Am 1:1 Mic 1:1\, within this compass of time Hosea prophesied lived Lycurgus the famous lawgiver of the Lacedemonians, and Hesiod the Greek poet; and Rome began to be built.

{h} Shalsheleth Hakabala, fol. 12. 1.

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Hosea 1 Commentaries