Hosea 2 - Outline of Hosea (Book Notes menu page)
1. Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
Say {HB='amar, speak, declare, call}... Ammi {'my people'}... Ruhamah {'pitied'}-
The message anticipates the reversal of the nation's condition (Hos 1:6,8,9).
This verse may be viewed in two ways:
  1. as a summary of the promise of restoration, which closed the previous chapter (Hos 1:10,11).
  2. as an appeal to the believing remnant to plead the LORD's case before the nation.
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;
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.
4 And I will not have mercy upon her children;
for they [be] the children of whoredoms.
plead...- ie., 'contend,' 'present a legal case.'
The same word (but in noun form) is translated 'controversy' in Hos 4:1.
plead for she is... neither am I...- The LORD's case against Israel is presented
as a formal statement of divorce, clearly delineating the causes and consequences of the matter.
lest I...- The LORD's desire was for reconciliation, not for retribution.
Yet, both Hosea and the LORD were within their rights to put away the unfaithful spouse, or even to have her life extinguished. The OT Law prescribed death by stoning, for both spiritual and physical adultery (eg., Lev 20:2,27; Deu 22:22-24; also Mat 1:18,19).
Three consequences, to the unrepentant wife (Israel), are listed here:
  1. v.3a - Her shame would be exposed (see v.10; Eze 16:35-43).
  2. v.3b - Her person would be wasted and forsaken.
  3. v.4 - Her children would be rejected (ie., disowned, orphaned). The LORD would not show compassion toward them, since they were not His children (Hos 1:6-9).
These three elements would mark the complete termination of the marriage. The relationship had already been trashed by the unfaithful spouse. But the LORD desired neither divorce nor the destruction of His spouse. His purpose was for her restoration. But how would He accomplish that restoration?
The LORD presents His two part plan...
  1. He would exercise "tough love" to bring her to the end of herself.
    1. Israel would be deprived of the benefits of her illicit lovers (v.5-7).
    2. Israel would be deprived of the blessings of the LORD (v.8-13).
  2. He would show tender love to win her forever to Himself.
    1. Renewed love will be kindled within her (v.14,15).
    2. Renewed marriage will be contracted for her (v.16-20).
    3. Renewed relationship will be answered in her restoration (v.21-23).
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.
6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall,
(cp. Lam 3:7,9)
that she shall not find her paths.
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.
for their mother hath played the harlot...-
Like Gomer (Hosea's unfaithful wife), Israel had corrupted herself in turning from the LORD, to serve false gods. In later chapters, Hosea will uncover their spiritual adultery in great detail, and in concert with Isaiah, Jeremiah and other prophets (eg., Isa 1:21; 50:1).
I will go after my lovers that give... my bread... my water... my wool... (etc.)-
Israel was infatuated with the surrounding nations and their false gods, and looked to them as the source of provision (food), protection (clothing), and pleasure (luxury), while ignoring the LORD, who is the true source of life and blessing. (See Eze 23:5-18-f. In the context of Ezekiel 23, "Aholah" refers to Israel, the northern kingdom, and "Aholibah" refers to Judah, the southern kingdom, which was following her sister's destructive path.)
therefore, will I hedge her about with thorns... that she shall not find her paths.-
The LORD was about to deprive her of her supposed sources of prosperity, to the end that the nation would come to understand that their lovers could (or would) no longer help them, and consequently, in their desperation, Israel would turn again to Him.
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.
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.
Therefore will I return, and take away my corn... my wine... my wool... my flax...-
Furthermore, the LORD would deprive them of His blessings, until Israel understood that He had been supplying her need, even while the nation was putting their confidence in false lovers.
For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine... (etc.)
She should have known, for His Word was clear concerning the source of blessing (Deu 7:12,13; 11:13-17), and also concerning the consequences of turning away from that source (eg., Lev 26:14-39; Deu 28:15-68).
     While Israel had regarded Him as impotent, and inactive, He would demonstrate that they were in error concerning Him. Notice how frequently, in this chapter, the LORD declares the action He will take, with the words "I will..." (in almost every verse, begining at v.6). Most of these occurrences are vividly self-explanatory.
10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers,
and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease,
her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
and now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers...
The word "lewdness" refers to open scandal. In Joshua 7:15, it is translated "wrought folly."
     Israel's shame, in turning from the LORD, was not a private matter. It would be put on display as a lesson for the nations. They would shun her. But eventually, through observing the LORD's dealings with Israel, they too, will understand that He alone is God (Isa 43:10-13).
I will cause... to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.-
These religious events and ceremonies, which had been established to teach the people about the LORD, had become corrupted. The LORD would bring them to an end (Isa 1:10-15).
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.
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.
I will... make her vines and fig trees... a forest {ie., a jungle, a thicket}...-
The land would be overgrown due to neglect, following the deportation of the nation. Psa 80:12; Isa 5:5,6
I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein... she forgat me...-
The "days of Baalim" refer to the extended period of years, during which Israel gave themselves to follow the false gods of the heathen nations. Baal, the chief god of the Canaanites, was worshipped in many variations and in company with a pantheon of other idols. During this period, Israel forgot the true and living God (Deu 4:23-28). But the LORD had not forgotten them. Being fully aware of their unfaithfulness, He had long withheld judgment, mercifully giving them opportunity to repent. But now, He would "visit" their iniquity, calling them to account and exercising the judgment they deserved. Yet, He remained able and willing to restore them, when they would turn again to Him, in the latter days (Deu 4:29-31).
14. Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
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.
Therefore, behold...-
Even as the LORD exercised tough love toward His wayward spouse, He was preparing to woo her back to Himself.
...I will allure her...- The word 'allure' is translated elsewhere as 'entice' (eg., Ex 22:16; Judg 14:15).
He would seek to persuade and move the nation, in their time of weakness.
...and bring {ie., lead} her into the wilderness...-
In v.3, the word "wilderness" spoke of punishment and abandonment. She would be laid waste.
But here, the wilderness is...
  1. a place of isolation, where she is cut off from her lovers and their supposed benefits,
  2. a place apart and alone, where the LORD could impress upon her His love for her.
...and speak comfortably {ie., tenderly} unto her...-
as a man speaks to a woman whom he desires to be his bride (cp. Gen 34:3).
...I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope.-
The name "Achor" means "trouble." The valley of Achor is first mentioned, as the place where the sin of Achan was put away (Joshua 7:24-26).
      During the time of Jacob's Trouble (the Great Tribulation period), Israel's heart will be turned to the LORD (Jer 30:7). Because their time of great trouble will cause them to return to Him, the valley of "Achor" will become "a door of hope" for the people and nation. Their turning is previewed (in Hosea ch. 4-14) in an intense conversation, which will take place in that future day, between the believing Jewish Remnant and the LORD. When they confess their sin as the source of their troubles, and recognize and turn to the Redeemer, then, He will open a way of salvation and restoration. When their sin is put away, the valley of Achor will become a place of blessing. (See Isa 65:10, which is also in the context of another preview of the Remnant's future conversation with the LORD, ie., from Isa 63:1- to the end of Isaiah.)
      As a result of their wilderness encounter with the LORD (v.14), Israel will be restored to her vineyards which had been laid waste in judgment (v.12).
and she shall sing there... as when she came up out of the land of Egypt (eg., Ex 15:1-21)...
Here is the joy of renewed love (Jer 2:2,3), and of great deliverance.
16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD,
[that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth,
and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
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.
...thou shalt call me Ishi {ie., my husband, my man}, and shalt call me no more Baali {ie., my lord, my master}...-
In the OT, the words Ish and Baal are sometimes used synonymously, to refer to a husband [eg., Deu 24:1-4, where "ish" is rendered as 'man' (in v.1) and 'husband (twice in v.3), and "baal" as 'husband' (in v.4); or 2Sam 11:26, where 'husband' occurs twice (first "ish", then "baal")]. "Baal" is a title derived from a Hebrew word meaning 'to marry, or to rule over.' The problem was not with the word itself, but rather with its use as a name for false gods.
for I will take the names of Baalim {ie., the Baals} out of her mouth...-
Israel had been commanded never to take up their names, in the first place (Ex 23:13). They had disobeyed, in vain pursuit of false gods and empty promises (eg., v.5). When they see their error and turn again to the LORD, He will heal them of their troubles.
In that day I will make a covenant for them... and will make them lie down safely...-
The LORD will arrange for Israel to dwell safely, free from the fear of wild animals (Isa 11:6-9).
     During the Tribulation, Israel will be persecuted by the Antichrist and his false prophet, who are referred to as 'beasts' (eg., Rev 13:1,11). These enemies will be removed, in accord with the LORD's promise to Israel (Eze 34:25).
     Israel will be at peace, under His care (Mic 4:3,4; Zech 3:10).
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.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness:
and thou shalt know the LORD.
I will betroth thee unto me...- The phrase occurs three times in these two verses.
The word "betroth" applies to the engagement period of marriage. This is not merely the mending of a broken and defiled marriage. Rather, it is a new beginning of a new relationship which rests on a better foundation.
I will betroth thee unto me...- It rests entirely upon Him.
     (Contrast the Law which the people could not keep. Ex 19:5-8; Jer 31:31,32)
He outlines His covenant of betrothal (v.19,20):
  1. Its Duration: "I will... forever." - Only the ever-living One can make such a covenant.
  2. Its Essential Elements: "I will... in righteousness... in judgment... in loving kindness... in mercies."-
    All are supplied by Him, for she is bankrupt, derelict, and undeserving of His favor.
  3. Its Guarantor: "I will... in faithfulness." -
    There is only One who is unfailingly faithful and true.
    But He will give her a new heart, so that she will remain forever faithful to Him. Jer 31:33,34
and thou shalt know the LORD.- Her heart will be entirely His. Isa 54:4-8
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;
22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil;
and they shall hear Jezreel.
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.
and it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear...
The word "hear" {HB='anah, to answer, to respond} occurs five times in v.21,22. The sense is that, when Israel turns again to love and serve the LORD with all their heart, He will respond with overflowing blessings, for there will no longer be cause to withhold His blessings (v.8,9). The whole creation will respond, to the Creator's joy, with bountiful provision for His people.
...the heavens... the earth... the corn... the wine... the oil... - See Psalm 72:16; Zech 8:11,12
...they shall hear {ie., answer, respond to} Jezreel.
This statement is in tremendous contrast to the way "Jezreel" was used, at the beginning of Hosea's prophecy (Hos 1:4,5). There, it was a call for judgment, beginning with an historic sin, but looking beyond that, to identify the future place of judgment (the valley of Jezreel) in the time of Jacob's Trouble, through which the remnant will finally submit to their Redeemer (1:11).
     Here, "Jezreel" is applied as a name for Israel. The name means "the scattered of Jehovah" or "the LORD will sow (scatter seed)," as described in v.23.
I will sow her... into the earth {HB= 'erets, the land, ie., into the land of Israel}...-
The LORD will respond, not only with plentiful harvests from seed sown in the field, but also with the abundant growth of the nation of Israel (Jer 31:27,28). But this is not the self-serving type of prosperity which some nations enjoy, today.
I will sow her unto me...-
God has a purpose for His people: that they should know and serve Him. Jer 9:23,24
I will have mercy upon her which had not obtained mercy... (Hos 1:6)
I will say to them, which were not my people (1:9), Thou art my people...-
This verse is quoted, in Romans 9:25,26, where the context shows that the people of God are those who have found a righteousness which is obtained by faith in the Redeemer sent from God (eg., Rom 9:31-33).
...they shall say, Thou art my God.-
In that day, Israel will recognize the ever-living God, who became a man to redeem His people from their sins. (Micah 5:2; Zech 2:10,11)

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