Hosea Chapter 2: Israel’s Unfaithfulness to GodMar 4th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Hosea, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Hosea Chapter 2: Israel’s Unfaithfulness to God
Hosea 2:1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
In chapter 1, Hosea was told to seek a woman to be his wife. God foreknew that Hosea’s wife would turn out to be a harlot in later life. The Lord intended to use her life and the lives of her three children as object lessons with regard to His dealing with the nation of Israel both in the past and in the future. Gomer was the wife. The first child was Jezreel, a legitimate son. Next came Lo-ruhamah, a daughter, and Lo-ammi, a son, both of whom were illegitimate.
“Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.” Notice that the negative “Lo” was dropped here. This omission suggests a favorable message, one of encouragement. Hosea told Jezreel to speak to his “brother” and his “sister” singular (see the Revised Standard Version).
Ammi represented the two tribes (Judah); Ruhamah represented the ten tribes (Israel). Gomer, the mother, represented the land of Israel, in which resided these two factions. Originally, the nation was one, as pictured by Jezreel, but in the days after Solomon, the nation was divided. Instead of the 12 tribes continuing as one unified whole, the division was into ten tribes, which retained the name Israel, and the two tribes, called Judah. The two illegitimate children pictured this particular period, which was not as legitimate a condition as that pictured by the first child and true son of Hosea, Jezreel. Jezreel represented the days of God’s original espousal of His people at Sinai.
The first three chapters of the Book of Hosea are introductory or preparatory, showing that an experience had to be created in the prophet’s life so that when he subsequently published his message to the nation, he could do it with feeling. How would this happen? When Hosea would see the Lord’s mercy on behalf of Israel and also have in his own life a personalized experience along these lines, he could speak with great fervor, realizing the tenderness of God in dealing with His people. Hosea’s message would thus have more power and effect. Therefore, it is not until chapter 4 that Hosea began his public message and ministry to the nation: “Hear [hearken to] the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel.” In the first three chapters, Hosea was merely being instructed. In other words, some years had to pass before Hosea could begin his public ministry; all three children had to be born first.
Hosea 2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Hosea told the two illegitimate children to plead with their mother. Since the two children represented the two divisions of the nation of Israel, “pleading” with their mother signified telling the nation to repent and reform. If the people of Israel got the feeling that they were derelict in their relationship with God, they would be partly on the road to recovery. But the nation at this time did not appreciate Hosea’s message, for they were prospering and thought they were in God’s favor. Later on, Hosea’s message was felt.
It helps to put ourselves in Hosea’s place. His wife was unfaithful, and two children in his household were not his. Consequently, the two children were more or less unwanted, and every time the prophet looked at them, they were an unpleasant reminder of Gomer’s unfaithfulness. Even the names—Lo-ruhamah (“the unpitied one”) and Lo-ammi (“not my people/kinsmen”)—showed that in a sense they were disowned, despite the fact that Hosea tried to be a good father to them. Nevertheless, he was finding it difficult to exercise mercy on his wife and her two children. Later God did more for Israel than a man would do for his family under such circumstances. Hosea’s personal experience was preparing him to give his message to Israel with feeling. Without first having this experience in his own life, he would have had trouble delivering the message. However, if Hosea found that he loved his wife in spite of her waywardness, as the account seems to suggest later on, then he could understand the approachableness of God with regard to mercy.
“Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight.” The Revised Standard reads, “Plead with your mother … that she put away her harlotry from her face.” A harlot is prone to be hardened and bold in public; she is not ashamed.
“She is not my wife” indicates that God was married to Israel at one time—or to Jerusalem as a figurehead. (A city can be emblematic of the whole. For example, Washington, DC, represents the United States, and London represents England.) God’s relationship to Israel was different from the relationship of Jesus to the Church, for each member of the Bride class has a personal relationship with Jesus. Each of the 144,000 will be given a name known only to Jesus and that individual (Rev. 2:17). God put aside Israel because of unfaithfulness.
Hosea 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
“Lest I strip her naked.” The land was left desolate in 606 BC. (The ten tribes were taken out of the land earlier, and the two tribes were removed in 606 BC.) Jerusalem was stripped “naked” in that the city and the Temple were destroyed.
“And set her as in the day that she was born.” The nation of Israel was “born” when the Passover feature of the Law was given in Egypt prior to the Exodus. (The Law of Moses was not formalized until Mount Sinai.) The Israelites were taken out of Egypt into the Wilderness of Sinai as wandering people. They lived as bedouins, having no Temple or established government.
Hosea was inferentially referring to God’s tender care of Israel in the beginning, as described in Ezekiel 16:3-14. When the Israelites were called out of Egypt, they were “naked.” The swaddling clothes and ornamentation began at Mount Sinai when God entered the Law Covenant with them. Their feet were shod with badgers’ skin during the 40 years in the wilderness. Later the Israelites had kings—Saul, David, and Solomon—and fame at the zenith of their glory. The sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel pictures Israel’s history from the time of infancy up to Solomon, and then from Solomon to 606 BC.
Hosea 2:4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
Verse 4 tells that for a while, the two illegitimate children were unwanted by Hosea. Similarly, the nation of Israel was temporarily disowned by the Lord.
Hosea 2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
Who were Israel’s “lovers”? Israel consorted with the surrounding nations and their idolatrous religions of Baal, Dagon, the queen of heaven, Molech, etc. The more prominent nations that Israel played up to were Egypt and Assyria. At different times, she allied herself with one or the other. These two nations fought frequently, and Israel was a buffer state between them. Israel entered into military and economic alliances, but the fraternization went even further, for there were intermarriages and then the introduction of heathen religious practices.
How ironic! Israel went after lovers whom she thought gave her milk, oil, wool, and so forth. Instead of attributing the blessings to God, to His munificence, the Israelites thought other gods, nations (Egypt and Assyria), and sources were the benefactors.
Hosea 2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
God would give Israel her lovers and disperse the ten tribes throughout other nations. The result was that Israel could not find the “paths” back to God, for barriers prevented her return.
Association with other nations alienated her from her former ways, so that she was like a lost sheep. But, nevertheless, Israel would eventually get back to God.
Hosea 2:7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
In what way would Israel follow after her lovers but not overtake them, and seek her lovers but not find them? Egypt and Assyria could not provide security for Israel. For example, when King Nebuchadnezzar came down against Egypt, he defeated the nation twice—both of Pharaoh’s “arms” were broken. Egypt was humiliated in battle. From another standpoint, when Israel was dispersed into other nations, the people did not really assimilate.
“Then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.” Israel’s “first husband” was Jehovah. When Israel expresses these sentiments in the future, she will be entreating God for deliverance out of the extremities of Jacob’s Trouble.Jesus took phrases from the Book of Hosea and built parables upon them. Israel’s sentiments here sound like the Parable of the Prodigal Son. After squandering all of his inheritance, the prodigal son had to feed on husks of corn. Subsequently he said in effect, “I will return to the Lord.” Incidentally, the Apostle Paul frequently borrowed from Isaiah and the minor prophets and then enlarged upon the principles.
God made the Law Covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai and there became “husband” to the nation. That contract will be renewed under the terms of the New (Law) Covenant.
Hosea 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
Israel was given various luxuries by her lovers; that is, she had a trade relationship with them and got enamored with the different wares and items, such as the horses of Egypt. However, these luxuries were to be stripped from her (verse 9).
Israel did not realize that God gave her the grain, wine, etc., but attributed her prosperity to others. Israel falsely interpreted providence, and we can make that same mistake. Since the Adversary also arranges “providence,” we must analyze the circumstances in order to see who is the source—and pray with regard to crucial aspects of life.
“I [God]” is the emphasis of verse 8. Israel had relations with Baal, a foreign god and religion. God spoke strongly in criticizing Israel.
Hosea 2:9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
In Leviticus 26, Moses said that disobedience would be punished seven times because previous captivities did not produce true repentance. If obedient, Israel would prosper in military endeavors, childbirth, crops, health, long life, etc.
God said He would return and take back the grain, wine, wool, and other goods; that is, Israel experienced crop failures. In addition, the Temple was destroyed, and the nation was defeated in battle. God was saying, “You attributed all your success to others, whereas I gave it to you. Therefore, I will take back what I gave you.” From a spiritual standpoint, Israel’s communion with God would not be as close.
Hosea 2:10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
Hosea 2:11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
Hosea 2:12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
God caused Israel’s “mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts” in 606 BC, when King Zedekiah was dethroned. At the same time, God also destroyed “her vines and her fig trees” that her lovers had given her. The land was forced to lie desolate for 70 years. During that time, beasts of the field ran roughshod over the groves and ate the fruit that grew of itself. After a while, because the vines were not pruned and trimmed properly, they were overrun with brambles and thorns. The once well-cultivated fields became desolate. In short, all that Israel had would be removed from her. The people would be uprooted and taken captive into foreign lands.
Note: Hosea came on the scene before the ten tribes were taken captive. He prophesied of their captivity, and his life ended about the time of that fulfillment. The prophets Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah came on the scene after that.
Hosea 2:13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
Just as God judged natural Israel, stripping her of her unfaithful activities, so there is a spiritual parallel for verse 13. Catholicism purports to be the religion of Christ, the true Church, but the system followed after other lovers, burned incense, worshipped the queen of heaven, and bedecked its popes with jewels. Ornamentation includes medals and fancy robes and garments. Papacy will be stripped of its trappings.
Hosea 2:14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Notice the paragraph mark at verse 14. Verses 14-23 are a message of reconciliation to Israel.
Although there was a partial fulfillment in the past, the primary fulfillment is in our day. God said, “I will allure her [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” The allurement, a process, would happen before God’s full reconciliation and deliverance of Israel. In the “wilderness” condition, Israel will be receptive to the Lord’s influence, and God will show His mercy.
When favor began to return to Israel in 1878, the land was a wilderness—and it still is, and will be until the Kingdom is established. In Ezekiel 20:35, God said, “I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face [in Jacob’s Trouble].” Following the “door of hope” (verse 15) in 1878, there has been a process of bringing Israel into the wilderness condition. In this process, certain things still have to happen, as will be seen in subsequent verses.
Hosea 2:15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: 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.
“I will give her … the valley of Achor for a door of hope.” In 1878, the first modern Jewish settlement in Palestine was established; it was called Petatikva, or “Door of Hope.” The Pastor had predicted that this date would be significant for Israel—that there would be some remarkable sign of the Lord’s favor beginning to return to Israel. Disraeli, the first and only Jewish prime minister of England, was raised up at just the right time. As a result, the Jews were permitted to purchase real estate in Israel after a period of disfavor lasting 1,845 years.
This important step paved the way for their eventual return. God promised to give Israel vineyards, and Israel would “sing there, as in the days of her youth” when she left Egypt. Israel has gotten vineyards. After Jews returned to Israel, God spoke comfortably to them in the sense mentioned here.
The “wilderness” condition of verse 14 does not refer to the Diaspora. Rather, the wilderness is the unfinished land of Israel. The Lord is in the process of bringing the Jews back to the unfinished land, and there He slowly entreats them. This gradual preparatory work is going on now. However, Israel still has to learn some hard lessons. Following these lessons, the Jews will realize why they have been regathered; namely, the Kingdom is to be established in Israel, and Messiah will exercise control from Jerusalem, the future throne of the Lord God.
God was saying that in spite of Israel’s waywardness, there would come a day when she would be reconciled to Him, and the Valley of Achor would be a door of hope. The early colonists regarded Petatikva as a foothold in the land. There were all kinds of depressing difficulties (for example, malarial swamps), but this foothold was encouraging to the Jews, who were struggling along.
Still more comfort will be given to the regathered Jews in the future, leading up to the full establishment of the Kingdom. In these last days, Israel will get more enlightenment and react favorably. Pastor Russell really had the keys of hope for the Jews, but they did not fully grasp the fact at that time. As time goes on in these last days, the Holy Remnant will respond favorably and appreciate the increasing enlightenment that the Lord provides. However, the majority of Jews will continue on obliviously right into Jacob’s Trouble.
Hosea 2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
In that day (yet future), Israel will call God Ishi (“my Husband”) and no longer Baali (“my Master”). They are not yet a devout people worshipping Jehovah. There is much secularism, factionalism, agnosticism, etc. Pastor Russell’s ministry was favorable to Israel—even prior to 1878, he prophesied of Israel’s regathering. This helped open the door of hope, but still there is not the return to God. Returning to the land of Israel is one thing; returning to God is another.
The relationship that once existed between God and Israel will be restored.
Hosea 2:17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
Today we do not see other religions in Israel. Although Israel is different from Gentile nations, where many religions have inroads, the people are mostly agnostic, atheistic, money-minded, or something else. Other forms of “worship” in Israel are husband or wife, music, property, money, politics—anything but God. These are all forms of idolatry. As a whole, Israel today is turned off with regard to Christianity and Asian religions.
Comment: Israel is about 97 percent secular, nonreligious. The Orthodox are only 3 percent of the people, but they have much political sway.
Hosea 2:18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
The “covenant” is the future New Covenant. Ezekiel 34:25 reads, “And I will make with them a [new] covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” Isaiah 11:6-9 states, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’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.”
Verse 18 reminds us of Adam, who was created lord of the earth. Crops prospered under him and animals obeyed. Adam was a king. And so, not only will Israel be restored, but each individual will have his own little domain.
God “will break the bow and the sword and the battle [weapons] out of the earth” when He delivers the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble. Booty and munitions will be converted into agricultural implements.
Israel has been brought back to the land. The next step is for the people to be brought to God.
They are still wandering in their wilderness condition in the land. The Holy Remnant will go through a process. Though those of this class exist today, they are not visible. They are groping for God. When God purges Israel, the Holy Remnant will suddenly be exposed.
When Jesus’ blood is paid over to Justice after the Church is complete, the Ancient Worthies will be resurrected. This satisfaction of Justice is an important feature of the times (plural) of restitution. (Other features we see now are laborsaving devices, multiple Bible translations in the languages of earth, etc., but when Justice is satisfied, then dramatic events will follow.)
Jesus’ blood is called the “blood of sprinkling” (Heb. 12:24). Incidentally, the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant are two separate avenues of blessing.
Hosea 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
Hosea 2:20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
God will betroth Israel unto Him forever. Not only will the New Covenant be established, but it will remain in effect. When will the New Covenant go into operation—at the beginning of the Kingdom when it is inaugurated or at the end of the Kingdom? The answer is both, for the New Covenant will be a process. At the end of the Kingdom when all of the incorrigible have been destroyed, the New Covenant will remain—but with no need for instruction, correction, punishment, or a Mediator. God was referring to the start of the New Covenant when He said of Israel, “I will change their hearts from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh [that is, make them humble and teachable] and [then] write the Law in their hearts and minds” (Ezek. 11:19 paraphrase). Those who receive the New Covenant deeply will get life.
Hosea 2:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
Hosea 2:22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
“In that day,” that is, in the Kingdom, even nature will be harmonious in productivity. The Lord will speak to the heavens, and they will distill dew or rain upon the earth. The sun will warm, soften, and prepare the earth to receive the seed that man will sow. Instead of only asmall percentage of seed germinating and taking root, the seed will prosper and result in prolific harvests.
As a punishment, the earth has been hard, but the soil will be softened in the Kingdom.
Because of Israel’s disobedience, God said, “I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Lev. 26:19). Thus it has been a struggle to produce crops. Conditions will be different in the Kingdom. All nature will cooperate so that the earth will yield its increase (Ezek. 34:27). The heavens will provide the right balance of rain and sunshine, and the earth will respond by producing seed abundantly. Mankind will be greatly blessed accordingly.
Verses 21 and 22 are a beautiful way of showing the reversal of one of the “seven times” of punishment: “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power” (Lev. 26:18,19). In verse 21, Hosea showed that the harmonious relationship will be restored. The harsh climatic conditions will be changed, although summer and winter will not cease (Gen. 8:22).
When everyone is healthy, snow will be enjoyable. The variety and change of seasons are good. Each season has its own beauty, but the seasons will be gentle. All will be in harmony: mankind, atmosphere, vegetation, climate, etc. Mankind will have to work in the Kingdom (probably two to three days a week) but not with the sweat of his brow. The earth will be softer.
“They shall hear Jezreel [Israel].” The united nation of Israel will prosper from the blessings of nature. First, Israel was Jezreel (one nation), and then came the two illegitimate children (the division of Israel into ten and two tribes). Now, in this Kingdom setting, Israel is back to the Jezreel condition. Just as Ezekiel said, the two sticks will become one staff (Ezek. 37:15-17).
“Jezreel” shows a completely reunited people, the complete return of favor to Israel as one nation united.
The heavens will hear the earth; the earth will hear the corn, the wine, and the oil; and the crops will hear Jezreel. Favor will come down from above. Spiritually, the blessing comes from The Christ down to the Ancient Worthies, to the nation of Israel, and then to the people.
Materially, the people will be blessed by the lifting of the curse. Thus there is a twofold application, although the natural picture is the stronger one. Later on, some of Hosea’s words will apply to the Church, but not yet because neither the true nor the false Church could be said to have been unfaithful and then restored. The analogy here is approximately 98 percent Israel, the natural picture.
Hosea 2:23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Verse 23 is a play on words. The pronoun “her” refers to Israel. The names of Hosea’s children can be substituted as follows. Jezreel means “God sows,” and verse 23 says, “I will sow her.”
The one who had not obtained mercy (Lo-ruhamah) will obtain mercy (Ruhamah). And to those who were not God’s people (Lo-ammi), God will say, “Thou art my people” (Ammi).
God will reconcile Israel in spite of the past history—not because the people are more righteous than those of other nations but for the fathers’ sake and for His own name’s sake.
Jezreel was unfavorable earlier (Hos. 1:4,5); now the name was favorable. God sowed, or distributed, Israel outside the land by dispersing the people, but they will be sown in their land.
(1969 and 1993 Studies)