Book of Hosea
Introduction to the Book of Hosea
“The Book of Hosea is the first of what are called ‘The Minor Prophets.’ They aren’t called minor because they are less important than the Major Prophets, but because they are generally shorter in length. Hosea prophesied during the eighth century BC, beginning during the reign of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel. His career spanned the reigns of several different kings in the north and south [the northern House of Israel and the southern House of Judah] ending in the reign of Hezekiah. The prophecies of Hosea were directed primarily toward the northern kingdom of Israel. He was a contemporary of Amos, who also prophecied in the northern kingdom, as well as Isaiah and Micah, who prophecied in the southern kingdom of Judah. Hosea lived long enough to see the northern kingdom collapse and fall to the Assyrians. In this respect he had a role and ministry similar to the one Jeremiah would later have in Judah. The name “Hosea” means “Salvation.” The story of Hosea was a tragic personal story. God called him to marry a prostitute named Gomer. After they had several children, she left her family and sold herself into the slavery of prostitution again. God called Hosea to buy her back out of her slavery and to forgive her and love her. This provided the people [of Israel] with a graphic illustration of God’s love for Israel. Israel had fallen deeply into idolatry, which is spiritual adultery. She was worshipping Baal and other abominable gods, despite the faithfulness of God and His love for her. God was still reaching out to Israel through the prophet Hosea and offering restoration, healing, and forgiveness. Hosea could uniquely express the heart of God because he knew exactly how God felt. The hurt, the betrayal, the humiliation, the disappointment, and yet the persistent extension of mercy and grace and forgiveness. The people of Israel rejected the offer of grace and forgiveness, which makes it an even greater tragedy, and yet, as the book ends, we see the promise of yet future restoration, and God will once again bring them back into fellowship with Him. [i.e. God will bring this ten-tribed northern kingdom called the House of Israel back into fellowship with him, regathering and restoring them to the Promised Land in the Middle East.] We see in this story, not just the grace of God toward Israel, but his grace toward each of us. He made us and loved us, even while we rejected Him and were unfaithful to Him. We became slaves of sin. And like Gomer, we were purchased out of our slavery, not because we were worth it, or because we deserved it, but because of the love of our Husband.” [Word For Today NKJV Study Bible, p. 1128] On the next page is an excellent time-chart of the kings and prophets of Israel and Judah, created by the United Church of God. Hope they don’t mind my displaying it here. Full credit goes to them for it.
Hosea 1:1-9, 10-11
‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry’
Verses 1-5, “The word of the LORD that came 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. When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry. For the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD.’ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the LORD said to him: ‘Call his name Jezreel, for in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. It shall come to pass in the day that I will break the bow in Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.’” J. Vernon McGee has this to say about verses 1-5, “The way I understand this verse is that God said to Hosea, “Go.” When my parents said that to me as a boy---“Go to the store,” or “Go to school”---I always interpreted that as a command. When God said to Hosea, “Go,” he was not just granting him permission to marry Gomer; it was a command to do so. Hosea probably was a young man, probably living in the Ephraim country of the northern kingdom. He met this beautiful girl and fell madly in love with her, and then she played the harlot. Naturally he wanted to put her aside. He might have wanted to marry her, but he wouldn’t dare do that in a little town---and the Mosaic Law said to stone her. What is he going to do? God said, ‘Go and marry her.’ God is actually asking him to break the Mosaic Law [which wasn’t exactly being kept in the northern kingdom of Israel right now during his time, as we read in II Kings and II Chronicles]. Someone will say ‘That’s terrible.’ Not when God tells you to do it, my friend. God said to him, ‘Hosea, you were in love with her, and now you want to put her aside. I don’t want you to put her aside; I want you to marry her. She is a wife of harlotry and child of harlotry.’ Apparently there was a record of unfaithfulness in her family. Here at the very beginning, the Lord makes clear to Hosea how he is going to use this experience in the prophet’s life. He said, “For the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.” He is comparing that which is physical harlotry or adultery to that which is spiritual harlotry or adultery. This is applicable to the believer today. You can play fast and loose with God, and you are nothing in the world but a harlot, a spiritual harlot, in his sight. That is exactly the language he uses here, and God uses pretty plain language. I wish the pulpit today were a little stronger than it is. We all are trying to be very nice and, as a result, we sometimes do not speak as strongly as the Word of God does. Not only the marriage but also the children are going to present a real spiritual lesson for the nation of Israel. (Remember that Isaiah’s children also had a spiritual message for the nation.) Jezreel is the name of the son; it means ‘God will scatter.’ Jezreel is the name of a city and also of a famous plain, the plain of Armageddon [Hebrew Har Megiddo], or the Valley of Esdraelon. It has a long and bloody history and will have a similar future as the place where the last war will end. God is saying here that he is going to scatter the northern kingdom. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html to see Israel’s actual history of this event, the fulfillment of this prophecy.]” [J. Vernon McGee, THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 616, col. 1 par. 1-3, col. 2, par. 1]
‘Lo-Ruhamah & Lo-Ammi’
Verses 6-9, “And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him: ‘Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away. yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen.’ Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then God said: ‘Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I will not be your God…” J. Vernon McGee says, “God named her Lo-ruhamah, which means that she ‘never knew a father’s pity.’ As I indicated previously, it was not that she was an orphan, but she did not know who her father was. This reveals the scandal in the home of Hosea! God is saying through this circumstance to the people of the northern kingdom who had gone into idolatry, ‘You will know my pity, for I am not your Father…’ [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 616 col.2, par.3] In verse 7 where God says ‘But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah’, he is not ready to judge the southern House of Judah yet. Historically, Hosea lived through the time when the northern ten tribes of Israel making up the House of Israel were driven out of the Promised Land with a good portion of them being taken into captivity by the Assyrian Empire’s strong armies. J. Vernon McGee says “You can trifle with God too long. The nation of Israel did, and the day came when God said, ‘I will no longer have mercy on you.’” [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html and read from there through the rest of that series on Kings & Chronicles.] He goes on to say “The third child was Lo-ammi, which means “not my people.” If you put this in the singular, it would mean “not my child.” There was a question about the second child; there is no question about this one. And God is saying to the nation of Israel, ‘Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.’ If this were the only verse in the Bible, I would have to agree with the Amillennialists who say that God is through dealing with the nation of Israel. All of us---including many of my Premillennial brethren---need to be very careful not to reach into the Bible and pull out a verse here or there and say that it is being fulfilled. If the entire prophecy of Hosea is read, no one can convincingly argue that God is through with the nation of Israel. The next [set of] verse[s] makes this very clear.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.617, col. 1, par. 8, col. 2, par. 1]
Regathering of the House of Israel and the House of Judah Prophecied
Verses 10-11, “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’ Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel!” Now this prophecy here in verses 10-11 directly cross-references to Ezekiel 36 and Ezekiel 37:15-28. Be sure to log onto that commentary [see http://www.uniytinchrist.com/ezek/Ezekiel%20pt3-2.htm]. King David will be head over the 12 tribes of Israel, and it will become one nation again, and no longer be called the House of Israel and the House of Judah. God is not through with Israel, or else he would be breaking his promise to Abraham in Genesis. Genesis 22:15-18, “And the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son---blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. [that last part has been fulfilled, and is a partial identifier as to whom the 10-tribes of Israel, and particularly the Birthright tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are.] In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” God could not permanently cast away Israel or Judah, and still keep his word to Abraham. And we have seen this theme throughout the Old Testament prophecies, all tying back to this critical set of verses, the foundation of the Abrahamic Covenant.
J.Vernon McGee gets it right here, “This chapter opens with the fifth very remarkable prophecy concerning the nation Israel. In the last two verses of the preceding chapter we saw that (1) Israel will experience a great increase in population; (2) in the nation there will be a great turning to God; (3) the northern and southern kingdoms [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and read through that whole series] will reunite so that the twelve tribes will again form a single nation; (4) they will appoint for themselves one head, who will be the Messiah; and (5)---“Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah” (Hosea 2:1). “Ammi” means “my people” and “Ruhamah” means “pitied.” God is saying to the nation that the day is coming [the Millennial Kingdom of God, at the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ] when he is going to say, ‘You are my people.’ My friend, God is not through with the nation of Israel, as we will see in chapter 3. This is very important to understand. Those who teach God is through with Israel either spiritualize [away] or discount a great deal of the Old Testament. If you can strip the Old Testament of its literal meaning, that gives you liberty to do the same to the New Testament. Do you want to rob the Epistle of Romans and even John 3:16 of their literal meaning? You cannot do that with the New Testament, and I don’t believe you can do it with the Old Testament either.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.618, col. 1, par. 1-2] In verse 2 the word “plead” carries great contention, because Israel like Gomer was unfaithful and went back to practicing prostitution. God is applying Gomer’s sin to the nation. Hosea married a girl who had become a harlot, and, even after they had been married for some time and had three children, she went back to prostitution again. And all the while this man Hosea loved her! The greatest sin in all the world is not murder or theft or lying or possibly, under certain circumstances, adultery. But judging from what Scripture teaches, the worst sin one can commit is to become unfaithful to one who loves you. Applying this to our own lives, what is the greatest sin a Christian can commit? Many people feel it is murder or lying or even coveting, but the greatest sin is unfaithfulness to God who has redeemed you and who loves you. There is no sin greater than that, my friend.” In verses 3-4, the implication is that Hosea wanted God to judge her. Mercy at this point was not part of his emotions toward her. Judgment would have meant stoning back then. He even said that she, verse 5, is doing it for money! Israel’s sin was the same, spiritual adultery. Their offerings of cattle and sheep, of huge monetary value, went to false idols and prophets. And even worse, in Baal worship, their very own children, toddlers and babies, were sacrificed to Baal. This was spiritual adultery of mammoth proportions. This is both historic and prophetic for our peoples today, our so-called Judeo-Christian nations of northwestern Europe, and English-speaking peoples.
Verses 1-5, “Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’ [King James 2:1, “Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.”] For she is not my wife, nor am I her husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked and expose her, as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. I will not have mercy on her children, for they are the children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot;. She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’”
God’s Unfaithful, Ungrateful People
Verses 6-13, “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths. She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them. Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.’ For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold---which they prepared for Baal. Therefore I will return and take away my grain in its time and my new wine in its season, and will take back my wool and my linen, given to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from my hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her New Moons, her Sabbaths---all her appointed feasts. [Comment: These weren’t God’s appointed feasts, New Moons and Sabbaths, as Israel historically at this point in time was heavily into Baal worship, baby-killing. Today our society is heavily into baby-killing again, through abortions, 45 million since the mid 1960s to now. This is both historic, Israel having been conquered and driven out of her land in the 700s BC by the Assyrian Empire, and it’s future, for whomever Israel is today, the ten tribes, the House of Israel, as they have forgotten God and played the harlot spiritually with God All these things are yet to occur to our nations which are Israel as well.] And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, of which she has said, ‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’ So I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. I will punish her for the days of her Baals to which she burned incense [applied then, and applies now]. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers; but me she forgot,’ says the LORD” (verses 12-13). Concerning verses 6-7 J. Vernon McGee says, “Oh, the ingratitude of the human race---and especially professing Christians---for all that God has provided! I hear a great deal of complaining [while he was alive] about the rising prices today. If you are one of those who are complaining, let me ask you something: You had at least one good meal today, didn’t you? You have clothing in your closet, haven’t you? Perhaps you even have some luxuries. Who do you think provided these? “Well,” you may say, “I am an intelligent, hard-working person; I provided them for myself.” I have news for you; God has provided all of those material things for you. He is the one who gave you intelligence. He is the one who gave you a measure of health and strength, and he is the one who provided a job for you. [And once, when my son really needed a good job he asked me to pray that he get one, working where he works now. Literally, that was a God-provided job. I received employment at almost all the jobs I worked at as a direct result of answered prayer.] In fact, he is the one who created this earth with a well-stocked pantry with clean air and clean water and sunshine. And yet you are ungrateful. You can’t sin much worse than that, my friend. It is true we live in a day when terrible crimes are being committed---stealing, lying, murdering---but the worst sins are being committed by the children of God who are ungrateful. I realize this is not a popular thing to say, but here in the Book of Hosea, this is his [God’s] charge against Israel…” Concerning verses 7-13 J. Vernon McGee says, “God says that he will judge Israel [that would include most of our English speaking ‘Christian nations’ as well]. I think we can apply the same thing to our own nation. We entered into difficult times beginning in World War I because we thought we were such a sophisticated nation. [And those difficult times have continued on through World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War 1, 9/11’s War on Terror, which includes our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.] We have become so sophisticated that we think homosexuality should be considered normal in our society. We don’t like to punish murderers anymore; we would rather accept them into our society. God calls murder and homosexuality sin, and he says that, when these things become prevalent in a nation, it is a sign that the nation is going down the tube. We have too many judges who know a great deal about the law but know nothing about how God overrules even the laws of a nation, especially when the laws are wrong and the wrong men sit on the benches of our judicial system.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 619, col. 1, par.1, col. 2, par. 3.] Oh boy, I love J. Vernon McGee, never had the pleasure of actually meeting him, but I love him nevertheless! He doesn’t pull any punches.
Israel in the Millennial Kingdom of God---God makes a covenant with the animals
Verses 14-18, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. ‘And it shall be, in that day,’ says the LORD. ‘that you will call me My husband [Hebrew Ishi], and no longer call me my master [Hebrew Baali],’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, and they shall be remembered no more. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely.” “The valley of Achor literally means “the valley of trouble.” It refers to the incident recorded in Joshua 7…”And the valley of Achor for a door of hope.” In effect, God is saying, “I’ll judge your sin, and after I have judged your sin, there will be a glorious, wonderful hope for you in the future.” “And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” My friend, even today in the land of Israel, you don’t find it quite like this. Although Israel [his reference to “Israel” here being the tribes of Judah, Levi and Benjamin, of the House of Judah, not the missing ten tribes which made up the House of Israel to the north] is back in her land, this particular area is up near Shechem---near the place where Joseph is buried---an area characterized by Arab/Israeli conflict and not by singing. The fulfillment of this promise is still future. The day is going to come when God will bless them there [all 12 tribes]…In verse 16, “Ishi means “my husband,” and Baali is connected with Baal and means “my lord or my master.” You see, the people of Israel were placing the true God on the level of Baal and were trying to worship both. Of course, it is impossible to do that, and God says to them that the day is coming when Israel will call him, “my husband.”…Do you belong to Him, and does He belong to you? If He does, then you have something good going. There is no relationship equal to that. And one day Israel will say to God, “You are my husband.” “And shall call me no more Baali.” As we have seen, Baali is connected with the hideous idol Baal, and means, “my lord”---that’s all it means…Even the name of Baal will be forgotten. They will turn from their idolatry.” Verse 18, “In that land, as in our own land, there is a danger of many species of animals becoming extinct---some already have. God created the animals and placed them here. They have a right to this world, and in that future day He will make a covenant with them. In that day, which we designate as the Millennium, the lion and the lamb will lie down together. In our day when they lie down together, the lamb is always inside the lion, but in the Millennium they will lie down together in peace. As I am writing, there is a new interest in ecology and in the preservation of animal life. Have you ever noticed that all through the Bible God has considered the animals? Also He has considered the land itself and speaks of blessing the land [and the mountains of Israel, cf. Ezekiel 36]. It is man who is the polluter. Man is a sinner on the inside, and he is also a sinner on the outside. He contaminates everything he touches…Well, God says that he is going to take care of this earth. I thank God for that, because I don’t think man will be able to do it.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, pp. 620-621, selected passages] The covenant God is going to make with the animals can be found in Isaiah 11:6-9, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
God’s Betrothal to Israel
Verses 19-23, “‘I will betroth you to me forever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD. It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,’ says the LORD; ‘I will answer [KJV hear] the heavens, and they shall answer [KJV hear] the earth. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel. Then I will sow her for myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” J. Vernon McGee says it so well here, “We are seeing something very wonderful here. The word betrothed means literally to “woo a virgin.”; it means to court a girl. If you are a married man, you can remember when your wife was a girl, and how pretty she was and how you courted her. You said a lot of sweet things then. One evening some time ago my wife and I were sitting out on the patio. I was recuperating from surgery, and we were just talking about the fact that we are getting old. I took a look at her, and I would have to say that she is getting old like I am, but I can remember that girl I first saw down in Texas with her hair as black as a raven’s wing and those flashing brown eyes. She had a sultry look, let me tell you, because her complexion is dark. As we remembered those wonderful days, we got just a little sentimental. We talked about the times when we used to drive up to Fort Worth to eat in a restaurant there. We ordered steaks and do you know what we paid for a steak in that day? It was fifty cents apiece! She was a school teacher, and I was a poor preacher; so I made her pay for her own---even at fifty cents! I’ve tried to make up for that through the years since then, I can assure you. To woo a virgin is a wonderful experience. That is what God said He would do to Israel. What a beautiful, lovely picture this is. God says, “I intend to win you for Myself.” How is God going to do this? He says, “I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.” You see, there was mercy under the Mosaic system, too. You will find that there was love in law just as there is law in love. You cannot completely segregate one from the other. This is another reason why I do not think the present return of Israel [the Jews] to their land is a fulfillment of prophecy. It certainly does not fulfill this one. God says that when He woos Israel and brings her back into the land it will be in righteousness and in justice and in lovingkindness and in mercies. Today Israel is just like any other nation. Some think they are unnecessarily brutal, but they are on the defensive and their survival depends on a strong defense. They are not back in the land of Israel in fulfillment of prophecy. [Comment: Yes they are, but not in fulfillment of the Major 2nd Coming Prophecies. The Jews have returned to Palestine in fulfillment of a minor preliminary prophecy found in Zephaniah 2:7, “And the coast [of Palestine, this whole chapter is about Palestine in the end times] shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.” This captivity spoken of would be that of the Germans during World War II, just before the Jews ‘returned to the coast of Palestine.’ The Jews have every right to be where they are, because God, Yahweh placed them there, and before his 2nd Coming to rescue them for good. This prophecy says as much.] Although they have returned to the land, they have not returned to the LORD. When they do return to the LORD, there will be blessing. “I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” They never were faithful in the past. In fact, they are very much like the apostate church in our day. “And thou shalt know the LORD.” They certainly do know Him today. “In that day” is a technical expression which refers to the last days as they pertain to the nation of Israel, the Great Tribulation Period, and the coming of Christ to set up His kingdom on earth. [verses 21]…These final two verses [verses 22-23] are a play upon the names of Gomer’s children. Not only will God regather them, but they will no longer be Lo-ruhamah, like the unpitied daughter of harlotry. God will have mercy upon them. In our day Israel is Lo-ammi---“not my people,” but in that future day God will say, “You are My people,” and they will say, “You are my God.” My friend, they are not saying that today; they are not returning to God. This is a prophecy for the Millennium.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, pp. 621-622]
‘Take Her Back’
In verse 1 J. Vernon McGee explains “Go ye, love a woman”---that is, love your wife; she is your woman. “Beloved of her friend”---Hosea love her although she had been unfaithful. “Yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.” “Flagons of wine” [in the King James Version] should be translated as “cakes of raisins.” This is a reference to the cakes of raisins which were used in the sacrificial feasts of the Canaanites. They were a part of the heathen worship of idols, which the children of Israel adopted. He says to Hosea, ‘Now you know how I feel, I want you to go and take Gomer again. She’s been unfaithful to you, but you are to love her and take her back. That is what I am going to do with My people. Israel has been unfaithful to Me, and I am going to punish her, but some day I will bring her back to Myself.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 622]
Verse 1-2, “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.’ So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.” “Perhaps Gomer sold herself to some group of racketeers who were running brothels in that land. Hosea had to go buy her back…Gomer wasn’t worth it, and we are not worth the redemption price which was paid for us. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ…” (I Pet. 1:18-19). He had to shed His blood; He had to suffer and die that you and I might be redeemed. Why? Because we were lost sinners, sold under sin…And until we come to God for salvation, you and I are dead in trespasses and sins. We have no life to commit to Him. Until the sin issue is settled---until we are born again and have received a new nature---we can do nothing that is pleasing to God.” [Ibed. pp. 622-623]
“The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king”
Verses 3-4, “And I said to her, ‘You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man---so too, will I be toward you.’ For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.” J. Vernon McGee brings out some good points for verse 4, “‘For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king.’ You will notice that He does not give a specific number of days. This is unusual because the children of Israel were told three times that they were to be put out of their land and would returned three times. Each time God put them out of that land, He told them how long they would be out---except for the last time. The first time, God told Abraham, ‘I am gong to give you this land---it’s yours, but I am going to put your children out of this land for 430 years. They will be down in the land of Egypt, and after 430 years, I will bring them back.’ They did come back---that prophecy was literally fulfilled. A second time, God said through Jeremiah [and this prophecy was aimed at the House of Judah, not the ten northern tribes making up the House of Israel], ‘Because of your sins, you are going to be sent into captivity in Babylon. You are gong to be down there for seventy years.’ Again, that was fulfilled literally [see my commentary on Ezra, Esther & Leonidas in the Old Testament History section]. Now, here Hosea is speaking to the northern kingdom (which never actually returned to the land [Oh, they did, during the reign of Josiah, but they didn’t desire to stay, and after 28 years, just before Josiah’s death, they moved back north into the Russian Steppes north of Asia Minor. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html ; http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/4.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/5.html for the entire history of how this happened. Just about 70 years after their captivity in 721 BC they were back in their lands of Samaria for a brief span of time lasting about 28 years. But as J. Vernon McGee accurately brings out, this short one-verse prophecy applies to those ten northern tribes.] and he says, ‘Israel shall abide many days without a king.’…Why did the Lord say “many days” and not give us the specific number? It is because in the interval between the time Israel [both the House of Israel and the House of Judah] left the land in [721BC and] AD 70 and the time at which they will return, He has been calling out a people to His name from among the Gentiles and has been building His church.” [Ibed. selected sentences from pp. 623-624]
When will all of Israel return?
Verse 5, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” We have already seen in Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37:15-28 when all of Israel, all 12 tribes are regathered back into Israel, and the two houses, the House of Judah and the House of Israel are re-united back into one nation. And that time is right after the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ. We saw in Ezekiel 37:15-28 that the resurrected, immortal King David is then placed to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel as king, and Jesus Christ (cf. Zechariah 14:9) becomes King of kings and Lord of lords, King of the whole earth. Refer to the commentary on Ezekiel, chapters 36 and 37 for a complete coverage of this event.