The Prophetic Wisdom Of Hosea


Earlier Family Experiences: Hosea 1:1-11

The book of Hosea begins with a personal account of his earlier family experiences in chapter 1:2-2:1. This section starts with a family narrative in chapter 1:2- 9. In verses 2-3, God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, “a wife” — or woman — “of whoredom.” This description indicates that Gomer was one of the many prostitutes who served in Israel’s fertility worship centers. Her way of life cast a dark shadow over Hosea’s marriage. But more than this, their marriage symbolized that God had joined himself, through covenant, with an unfaithful people — the people of Israel.

Then, in verses 4-9, God commanded Hosea to give his children specific names that revealed Israel’s condition before God. Hosea’s first son was named Jezreel. 2 Kings 10 explains that Jeroboam II’s ancestor, King Jehu, had established his dynasty with horrific violence at Jezreel. Naming Hosea’s first son Jezreel revealed that violent judgment was soon to come to Israel. Hosea’s second child, a daughter, was named Lo-Ruhamah, which may be translated “not loved,” or “no mercy.” This name indicated that God was going to stop showing love and mercy to the kingdom of Israel. Finally, God commanded Hosea to name his third child Lo-Ammi, which means “not my people.” This son’s name revealed that, for a period of time, God would treat Israel as if it were a Gentile nation under his wrath.

Hosea’s earlier family experiences revealed the terrible judgment that was coming to Israel. But, Hosea immediately balanced these words of judgment with some divinely-inspired hopeful prophetic reflections in chapter 1:10 through chapter 2:1. Here, he declared that, despite the devastation that was coming against Israel, God would still fulfill the promises he’d made to Abraham in Genesis chapters 13 and 22. 

Hosea 1:10 where Hosea announced:

The children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 

[We] find in the prophetic books that sometimes the Lord — in order to emphasize his determination to fulfill his promises — used symbols. He made use of symbolic actions. So, when he asked Hosea to marry a prostitute, what God wanted was to illustrate vividly the infidelity of his people, how his people had acted like an adulterous woman — even more, like a prostitute — going after other gods, the gods of other nations. But, by means of the prophet Hosea, he showed that, in spite of the prostitutions of his people, the infidelity of his people, he remained faithful to his covenant. know him, he knows them. We don’t know him personally, but they have a very close relationship. – Dr. David Correa

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