HOSEA CHAPTER 1.
The Spiritual Whoredom, of Israel.
ISRAEL TO BE REJECTED ON ACCOUNT OF ITS IDOLATRY. — V. 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, who are probably mentioned in the sequence of their reign on account of the stability of their rule, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel, this statement being added to bring out the fact of Hosea's having prophesied in the earlier part of the century, before there was any indication of decay in Israel from which one might reasonably have deduced the probability of the nation's downfall, a fact which would have weakened the idea of a prophecy. V. 2. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, literally, "In the beginning when Jehovah spoke with Hosea," and the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms, most commentators believing this to have been done internally and in a vision, since the force of the symbolical act would otherwise be lost, and children of whoredoms. The figure represents the northern kingdom in its relation to Jehovah at the time of the prophet, when the nation as such had become unfaithful and in its individual members could well be compared to children of adultery, as the prophet says; for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from. the Lord, its idolatry was of a kind to call forth the righteous anger of the Lord. V. 3. So he, the prophet, went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, whose very name was descriptive of the life in which she delighted; which conceived and bare him a son. V. 4. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel, the name of a very fruitful valley in the northern part of the land; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel, namely, the blood that had been spilled by Ahab and other wicked kings in this garden spot, upon the house of Jehu, who had loaded blood-guiltiness upon himself by acts of murder for which he had no command of God, cp. 2 Kings 9 and 10, and will cause to cease the kingdom. of the house of Israel, the end of the kingdom thus being predicted while it still seemed to be at the height of its power. V. 5. And it shall come to pass at that day that I will break the bow of Israel, the military force on which the strength of the kingdom rested, on which its existence depended, in the Valley of Jezreel, for the Assyrians, within four decades, overthrew the power of Israel completely. V. 6. And she conceived again and bare a daughter, a female child being named in order to represent the entire nation, both men and women, in the sons and daughters of the people. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah ("not having obtained mercy") ; for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away, literally, "for not will I add any more to have compassion on the house of Israel that I should keep on forgiving them," that is, His patience was now exhausted, and His judgment upon them would soon be carried out. V. 7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, the southern kingdom, in which His worship was still being observed by the few who represented His kingdom on earth, and will save them by the Lord, their God, by an almighty deliverance, and will not save them by bow nor by sword nor by battle, by horses nor by horsemen, the heaping of the synonyms showing the futility of all human power over against the Lord's decrees. V 8. Now, when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bare a son, there being no interruption in the announcement of evil. V. 9. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi ("not My people") ; for ye are not My people, namely, on account of their rejection of Him, and I will not be your God, they could not claim Him as their highest good, they could not call upon Him as their Helper. When people deliberately reject the true God, they cut themselves off from all the manifestations of His grace and mercy; they bring misfortune upon themselves and can blame no one but themselves for their unhappy state.
THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE TRUE ISRAEL. — V. 10. Yet the number of the children of Israel, the spiritual Israel in Messianic times, shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered, cp. Gen. 22, 17; 32, 13; and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, namely, in the center of the Lord's worship in the midst of His visible Church, wherever He would establish His congregations in the Messianic era, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God, this being the message which is proclaimed wherever the Gospel is preached. V. 11. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel, all the true members of the Church of the Lord, all those who have acknowledged Him in faith as their Father, be gathered together, in the communion of saints, and appoint themselves one Head, accepting the Messiah as the one Master in the Church, and they shall come up out of the land, being removed from the unbelievers in whose midst they live; for great shall be the day of Jezreel, the day of Israel's overthrow being at the same time the day of its deliverance; for only such as are conquered by the forces of the Messiah may become partakers of His grace and mercy. Cp. Luke 2, 34. Chap. 2, 1. Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi ("My people"); and to your sisters, Ruhamah ("having obtained mercy"). The original names of the children were thus changed to indicate their changed relationship toward God and their Savior. No matter how far a person has fallen away from the truth of God's Word, there is always mercy for Him through the redemption of Christ, if he but returns in true sorrow over his sins and accepts the offered deliverance.