Study Notes

Hosea 1:1-3:5

1:1 Hosea

The Scriptures do not tell us much about the origins or location of Hosea the prophet. All we really know is that he was the son of Be-ay-REE. His tribe is a mystery, his lineage unknown.

But we do know when he prophesied. Since we have just finished up our study in the books of First and Second Kings, we have fresh in our minds the reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel. When Uzziah, Yo-THAWM, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Jeroboam II sat on the thrones, Hosea was prophesying. And what he has to say is straight from the heart of God.

1:2 The Lord Spoke

When the Lord first spoke THROUGH Hosea, He said something TO Hosea. This is the way it should be: that God would speak to someone before speaking through someone.

You recall that God spoke to Samuel before He spoke through him. When Samuel was just a boy living in the temple...

1Sam. 3:1-4 ...And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim {and} he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God {was,} that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, "Here I am."

You can trace this through the prophets and the mighty messengers of God. God wants to speak to you before He speaks through you.

However, what God may desire to say to you is not necessarily what you may be expecting or wanting to hear. Certainly, what God had to say to Hosea was not an easy thing to hear.

A Wife Of Harlotry

Hosea was commanded by the Lord to marry a harlot, a woman who was a prostitute, renting out her body and sexual services to men for money. What a nightmarish request to be placed on any man, especially a man of God like Hosea! But there is a standard in the kingdom of God for those who would minister in His name. Their lives will serve to be illustrations. Their sufferings will become their sermons. Their terrible times will validate their teachings.

Ezekiel was made to lie on his side 390 days and to eat bread cooked over cow's dung.

Moses was made to live in the wilderness for 40 years. The Lord said of Paul,

Acts 9:15-16 "...he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

It is the difficulties of this life that make a dynamic preacher. It is those who have been to the seminary of hard knocks that earn the right to be heard.

Hosea no doubt suffered much in this marriage he was called to. But the Lord wanted Hosea to be a living example, a visible portrait. He was to be a picture of a righteous man wedded to a harlot, just as God Himself was wedded to unfaithful Jews. By this holy man being wed to a woman with no commitment to morality and purity, God was showing them how their idolatry and rebellion truly looked. They were just like a wife with no commitment to her husband, going after every other man in town.

1:3-9 Jezreel

Hosea chose a woman named Gomer (the daughter of Dib-LAH-yim) to be his wife. She bore three children: a son, and daughter, and then another son. The Lord instructed Hosea what to name them, and told him why.

The first son was named Jezreel. Jezreel was the name of the district where Samaria was in the nation of Israel. Jezreel was the place where King Ahab had stolen Naw-BOTH's vineyard to make a vegetable garden. Jezreel was the area where Elijah the prophet proclaimed,

1Kgs. 21:23 "And of Jezebel also has the LORD spoken, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.'

You may recall from 2Kings 9 that Jehu was the man whom Elisha anointed as the next king of Israel. Jehu then rode furiously to Samaria in Jezreel and killed both the injured King Yo-RAWM of Israel and his visiting friend King Akh-az-YAW of Judah. He then came to the palace of Jezebel and commanded that she be thrown down by her officials.

2Kgs. 9:33 ...So they threw her down, and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her under foot.

The wild dogs of the city got to her body before the funeral home could.

2Kgs. 9:35 And they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

Jehu, like every other king of Israel, proved himself to be a wicked man with no heart for God. Although he killed the priests and worshippers of BAH-al, he continued in his own idolatry.

2Kgs. 10:31-32 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin. In those days the LORD began to cut off {portions} from Israel; and Khaz-aw-ALE defeated them throughout the territory of Israel

Jehu was also infamous as a man of bloodshed, killing bunches of relatives of the former kings of Israel and Judah.

God instructed Hosea to name this boy - born by a harlot - Jezreel to remind His people of these crimes and sins which had never been repented of.


Gomer's next child was a daughter. The very sad thing is that we do not know if she was Hosea's or not. We do know that Gomer continued in her practice of prostitution even after she was married - this is made very clear in the three chapters we are covering tonight. While verse three tells us that she "bore HIM a son," the same is not said regarding the other children.

Hosea was instructed to name her Lo Roo-khaw-MAW, a name which means "no mercy." The reason for this was obvious: God would soon show no mercy to this rebellious nation of Israel.

However, the southern kingdom of Judah had not yet exhausted God's supply of mercy. They were preserved longer than Israel, because their wickedness had not stooped to the low levels of their neighbors to the north.


Finally, the third child was born, and was named Lo Am-MEE, meaning "not My people." For generations, the people of Israel had forsaken the Lord as God, and He was now returning their actions: they would no longer be His people.

1:10-2:1 Great Will Be The Day

Although God was going to judge the northern kingdom of Israel, he was not forsaking the sons of Israel completely. Here He promises that one day, they would be restored, multiplied, and blessed. And in that future, the nations of Judah and Israel (which in Hosea's day were split apart by civil war) would someday be reunited.

Now, the Scriptures were not originally written with chapter and verse divisions. These did not come until many years later. Cardinal Hugo did the chapter divisions in 1250, and the verse numbers were not added until printers did so in the 1500's. This has been great for having addresses to give our memory verses, and finding our place in the Scriptures quickly. But sometimes they just missed the point entirely. This is one of those examples. The first verse of chapter two really belongs at the end of chapter one.

The Lord says to encourage one another with His faithfulness. By removing the prefix "Lo" from the children's names, Lo Am-MEE ("not My people") becomes Am-MEE ("My people") and Lo Roo-khaw-MAW ("no mercy") becomes Roo-khaw-MAW ("mercy").

2:2-13 Your Mother The Adulterer

The Lord speaks to Hosea, telling him that his mother - the nation of Israel - is just like his wife. She is an adulterer against her husband. Her children are children of prostitution. Hosea's wife Gomer had not been content at home. She missed the pleasure of many men's company. She missed the gifts and the attention. She missed the benefits of her promiscuity. Thus, she had gone out after these things, leaving her husband at home in his extreme sorrow.

This is how God feels when His people leave Him in search of pleasure, of riches, of satisfaction in other places.

But this is also how God deals with it: He makes sure that the pleasure is temporary, the riches slip through your fingers, and the fulfillment you try to find is unsatisfying. It is like the story of the prodigal son, which Jesus told in Luke 15.

A man had a son that demanded his inheritance and left home. He wasted it on loose living, losing everything.

Luke 15:14-18 "Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need. And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving {anything} to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;

God would not allow the prodigal son's life to go well. His investments flopped, the economy took a dive. Employment was nearly impossible to find. It was then that the son decided to turn back to his father. The same is true for us. When we venture out in a direction away from God, the prosperity will be elusive. God is calling us back to Him.

With the adulterous nation of Israel, he blocked her way. She could not find satisfaction with the idolatry and immorality - it only brought problems and judgment. God knew that Israel would eventually turn back to Him, when they realized that every good thing they'd had was from the Lord.

2:14-17 Turning In The Tribulation

Israel, the wife of Yahweh, was committing adultery. She had no desire for her true Husband. The Lord knew that difficulty would bring her back.

Have you ever seen one of the many movies that has been made in which two people who don't like each other, are a divorced couple, or have a troubled marriage, are put into difficult circumstances? They're kidnapped and have to escape, they're stranded on an island and have to survive, or endure some other hardship together. At the end of the movie, the relationship is wonderful. This is not far from the truth. God will do the same with Israel to get them to turn back to Him in love.

How will He do this? The Jews by and large today are humanists and atheists. They have no love for God, no heart for the Lord. He will bring about distress, a time of trouble, a season in the wilderness.

In the Great Tribulation, the antichrist will defile the temple by standing in it and claiming to be God. On that day, a persecution will break out against the Jews. Jesus said that those who are Judea will flee to the mountains (Matt. 24). It will be the time of Jacob's distress (Jer 30:7).

Mark 13:19 "For those days will be a {time of} tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never shall.

The antichrist will send his army after the Jews as they flee into the wilderness. But God will miraculously deliver them, bringing them safely to a place prepared for them (possibly to the city of Petra), where they will spend the next 3 1/2 years. Revelation tells us,

Rev. 12:13-16 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male {child.} And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.

The Lord will deliver His people and care for them. They will endure this time in the wilderness together, and the Jews' heart for the Lord will return in love. They will no longer call Him "Bah-al-EE," which means "master," but they will call Him "Ee-SHEE," which is "husband."

2:18-23 Blessing In The Millennium

When that time in the wilderness is over, and the Lord returns to establish His thousand-year reign on earth, things will be markedly different.

The animals will no longer be under the curse. Isaiah tells us,

Isa. 11:6-9 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

Israel will be the faithful wife of Yahweh, and the earth will bear incredible fruit, as it did during the days of Adam and Eve. This is why that period is called the "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21).

3:1-5 Love Of The Redeemer

In the present time, Hosea's wife Gomer had once again left and committed adultery, engaging in prostitution. The Lord sent him to bring her back.

Hosea actually had to buy her time, just as her customers did, purchasing her out of that situation with a costly price. Anything to bring her home.

God has done the same, purchasing both Israel and us with a costly price.

Rom. 5:8 ...God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Because of the future hope that God has to receive love from His creation, He has dealt with our spiritual adultery. He has allowed His heart to be broken again and again, purchasing us, both Jews and Gentiles, with His own blood. Paul quotes Hosea in the book of Romans, saying

Rom. 9:23-26 And {He did so} in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, {even} us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,' AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.'" "AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,' THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD."

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