Spiritual whoredom of Israel set forth by symbolical
acts; Gomer taken to wife at God's command: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah, and
Lo-Ammi, the children. Yet a promise of Judah and Israel's
1. The word of the Lord that came unto
Jeroboam—the second; who died in the
fifteenth year of Uzziah's forty-one years' reign. From his time forth
all Israel's kings worshipped false gods: Zachariah (2Ki 15:9), Menahem (2Ki 15:18), Pekahiah (2Ki 15:24), Pekah (2Ki 15:28), Hoshea (2Ki 17:2). As Israel was most flourishing
externally under Jeroboam II, who recovered the possessions seized on
by Syria, Hosea's prophecy of its downfall at that time was the more
striking as it could not have been foreseen by mere human sagacity.
Jonah the prophet had promised success to Jeroboam II from God, not for
the king's merit, but from God's mercy to Israel; so the coast of
Israel was restored by Jeroboam II from the entering of Hamath to the
sea of the plain (2Ki 14:23-27).
2. beginning—not of the prophet's
predictions generally, but of those spoken by Hosea.
take … wife of whoredoms—not
externally acted, but internally and in vision, as a pictorial
illustration of Israel's unfaithfulness [Hengstenberg]. Compare Eze 16:8, 15, &c. Besides the loathsomeness
of such a marriage, if an external act, it would require years for the
birth of three children, which would weaken the symbol (compare Eze 4:4). Henderson objects that there is no hint of the
transaction being fictitious: Gomer fell into lewdness after her
union with Hosea, not before; for thus only she was a fit symbol of
Israel, who lapsed into spiritual whoredom after the marriage
contract with God on Sinai, and made even before at the call of the
patriarchs of Israel. Gomer is called "a wife of whoredoms,"
children of whoredoms—The kingdom
collectively is viewed as a mother; the individual subjects of
it are spoken of as her children. "Take" being applied to both
implies that they refer to the same thing viewed under different
aspects. The "children" were not the prophet's own, but born of
adultery, and presented to him as his [Kitto, Biblical Cyclopædia]. Rather,
"children of whoredoms" means that the children, like their mother,
fell into spiritual fornication. Compare "bare him a son" (see
5). Being children of a
spiritual whore, they naturally fell into her whorish ways.
3. Gomer … daughter of
Diblaim—symbolical names; literally, "completion, daughter of
grape cakes"; the dual expressing the double layers in which these
dainties were baked. So, one completely given up to sensuality.
Maurer explains "Gomer" as literally, "a
burning coal." Compare Pr 6:27, 29, as to an adulteress; Job 31:9, 12.
4. Jezreel—that is, "God will scatter"
(compare Zec 10:9). It
was the royal city of Ahab and his successors, in the tribe of
Issachar. Here Jehu exercised his greatest cruelties (2Ki
9:16, 25, 33; 10:11, 14, 17).
There is in the name an allusion to "Israel" by a play of letters and
5. bow—the prowess (Jer 49:35; compare Ge 49:24).
valley of Jezreel—afterwards called
Esdraelon, extending ten miles in breadth, and in length from Jordan to
the Mediterranean near Mount Carmel, the great battlefield of Palestine
(Jud 6:33; 1Sa 29:1).
6. Lo-ruhamah—that is, "not an object of
mercy or gracious favor."
take … away—Israel, as a
kingdom, was never restored from Assyria, as Judah was from Babylon
after seventy years. Maurer translates
according to the primary meaning, "No more will I have mercy on the
house of Israel, so as to pardon them."
7. Judah is only incidentally mentioned
to form a contrast to Israel.
by the Lord their God—more emphatic
than "by Myself"; by that Jehovah (Me) whom they worship as their
God, whereas ye despise Him.
not … by bow—on which ye
Israelites rely (Ho 1:5, "the
bow of Israel"); Jeroboam II was famous as a warrior (2Ki 14:25). Yet it was not by their warlike power
Jehovah would save Judah (1Sa 17:47; Ps 20:7). The deliverance of Jerusalem from
Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35),
and the restoration from Babylon, are herein predicted.
8. weaned—said to complete the
symbolical picture, not having any special signification as to Israel
[Henderson]. Israel was bereft of all
the privileges which were as needful to them as milk is to infants
(compare Ps 131:2; 1Pe 2:2) [Vatablus]. Israel was not suddenly, but
gradually cast off; God bore with them with long-suffering,
until they were incurable [Calvin]. But
as it is not God, but Gomer who weans Lo-ruhamah, the weaning
may imply the lust of Gomer, who was hardly weaned when she is again
9. Lo-Ammi—once "My people," but
henceforth not so (Eze 16:8).
The intervals between the marriage and the successive births of the
three children, imply that three successive generations are intended.
Jezreel, the first child, represents the dynasty of Jeroboam I and his
successors, ending with Jehu's shedding the blood of Jeroboam's line in
Jezreel; it was there that Jezebel was slain, in vengeance for Naboth's
blood shed in the same Jezreel (1Ki 16:1; 2Ki 9:21, 30). The scenes of Jezreel were to be
enacted over again on Jehu's degenerate race. At Jezreel Assyria routed
Israel [Jerome]. The child's name
associates past sins, intermediate punishments, and final overthrow.
Lo-ruhamah ("not pitied"), the second child, is a daughter,
representing the effeminate period which followed the overthrow of the
first dynasty, when Israel was at once abject and impious. Lo-Ammi
("not my people"), the third child, a son, represents the
vigorous dynasty (2Ki 14:25)
of Jeroboam II; but, as prosperity did not bring with it revived piety,
they were still not God's people.
10. Literally fulfilled in part at the
return from Babylon, in which many Israelites joined with Judah.
Spiritually, the believing seed of Jacob or Israel, Gentiles as well as
Jews, numerous "as the sand" (Ge 32:12); the Gentiles, once not God's people,
becoming His "sons" (Joh 1:12; Ro 9:25, 26; 1Pe
2:10; 1Jo 3:1). To be
fulfilled in its literal fulness hereafter in Israel's
restoration (Ro 11:26).
the living God—opposed to their
11. Judah … Israel …
together—(Isa 11:12, 13; Jer
3:18; Eze 34:23; 37:16-24).
one head—Zerubbabel typically; Christ
antitypically, under whom alone Israel and Judah are joined, the "Head"
of the Church (Eph 1:22; 5:23), and of the hereafter united kingdom of
Judah and Israel (Jer 34:5, 6; Eze 34:23). Though "appointed" by the Father
(Ps 2:6), Christ is in another sense
"appointed" as their Head by His people, when they accept and embrace
Him as such.
out of the land—of the Gentiles among
whom they sojourn.
the day of Jezreel—"The day of one" is
the time of God's special visitation of him, either in wrath or in
mercy. Here "Jezreel" is in a different sense from that in Ho 1:4, "God will sow," not "God will scatter";
they shall be the seed of God, planted by God again in their own
land (Jer 24:6; 31:28; 32:41; Am 9:15).