The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Hosea 2

Hos 2:1

Hos 2: "Having commenced his prophecy in the days of Jeroboam when Israel was at the peak of its power, Hosea lived to see its rapid decline. After seeing briefly the glorious future for Jezreel we are now brought up very smartly to the problems and sins, of Israel in Hosea's day. Hos 1 showed clearly that they were not now the people of Yahweh (Hos 1:9) The prophet is instructed to show that a marriage such as this would not be valid between Yahweh and Israel (v 2). As ever, Yahweh -- being merciful -- was prepared should the Israel-Wife repent of her adultery. So the continuing adultery of the unfaithful wife is reported in vv 1-13 -- the urgency of this matter is clearly seen in v 2 where the word 'plead' is used twice (the idea behind the word is 'to grapple with'). In vv 14-23 there is reference to the second Exodus, as again the merciful hand of Yahweh is extended to the people of Israel. If they accept this hand then the way is opened that His covenant with the fathers of old could be fulfilled. The prophecy as recorded by Hosea would now be patterned after the happenings of the first Exodus under the hand of Moses. The obvious difference is that it is the whole of the power of the Gentiles which in this prophecy replaces the Egypt of old" (Graham Harding).

Hos 2:2

"Hos 2 repeats the same theme, with different figures and details, ending with the same assurance and promise. While Hos 1 was based mainly on Hosea's children and their names, Hos 2, under the allegory of his unfaithful wife, is a representation of God's infinite patience and love and kindness toward Israel, and their repeated unfaithfulness and corruption. The lesson is for us, for we continually fail and are so often unfaithful to the beautiful character of godliness" (GVG).

"The first three chapters of this prophecy are in the nature of a prologue in which Hosea's personal experiences in his domestic relations provide, as a dramatic symbolism, the outline of his message. They record the story of Hosea's unfaithful wife and her three children: typical of the ecclesia in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash. Gomer's perfidy went beyond adultery, which can be illicit love that is motivated by a genuine affection for the object of it, such as in the case of David and Bathsheba. But harlotry is the setting of oneself for material gain, and Gomer (as representing Israel) was guilty of that. So also is the symbolic Jezebel found in the midst of the first century ecclesia (Rev 2:20). A person who neglects the Truth for material gain is guilty of harlotry and not merely adultery (friendship with the world). Hos 2 [beginning with v 2] outlines the estrangement. It records: (1) Pleading with Gomer: vv 2-5. (2) Discipline forces Gomer to repent: vv 6-13. (3) Application of the circumstances: Yahweh's tenderness for Israel: vv 14-22. Thus Hosea represented the Spirit of Yahweh, whose national wife was so unfaithful in her refusal to uphold His righteousness and purity. Hosea was required of Yahweh to fulfil this parable in life, to demonstrate to the nation their true status in the divine sight" (GEM).

Hos 2:3

I WILL STRIP HER NAKED: The punishment of an adulterer: to be stripped naked, and stoned (Eze 16:37-40).

DESERT... PARCHED LAND: The curses of Lev 26; Deu 28.

Hos 2:5

MY LOVERS, WHO GIVE ME MY FOOD AND MY WATER...: She attributes her prosperity to her own efforts, and to her lovers among the aliens (cp Jer 44:17,18).

Hos 2:6

I WILL BLOCK HER PATH WITH THORNBUSHES: Israel became blocked, or hedged in, by the products of her own sins. Seeing and experiencing the results of our sins should cause us to turn back to God, and this was the result God hoped to achieve with Israel. Cp the thorn in the flesh: 2Co 12:7.

Hos 2:7

I WILL GO BACK... FOR THAN I WAS BETTER OFF THAN NOW: This was the attitude of the prodigal son: Luk 15:17,18.

Hos 2:8

SHE HAS NOT ACKNOWLEDGED THAT I WAS THE ONE WHO GAVE HER THE GRAIN, THE NEW WINE AND OIL...: "She attributed her prosperity to her own efforts, and her intimacies with foreigners. All that she had, all that she could ever have, even her life itself, and her every breath, was of the love and mercy of God -- but she did not know" (GVG).

THE SILVER AND GOLD: Which were used to overlay her idols and images: Jer 10:4; Isa 40:19.

Hos 2:11

I WILL STOP ALL HER CELEBRATIONS: Isa 1:13; Jer 7:34; 16:9; Eze 26:13.

Hos 2:13

BUT ME SHE FORGOT: "Have you ever had a day or a week slip by when life's pressures and pleasures seem to fill the whole of your life from morning till night, only to discover -- when you take stock of your day -- that you had not read your Bible, prayed or walked with God at all? It may be that we have 'idols' that take our time -- things that are more important than God. It may be that nothing is more important but everything is more urgent. With God there are no deadlines, yet every day we face deadlines in our busy schedules -- deadlines that must be met. But sometimes these deadlines squeeze God out of the picture and He is forgotten.

"Even though God must be the most important thing in our lives, He is often the easiest to forget because He has given us the responsibility of ordering our lives, instead of ordering them for us.

"So let us resolve no longer to be like Israel who forgot God, but instead let us set times, priorities and deadlines that will help us to remember our God, to love Him and to live for Him" (RP).

Hos 2:14

I WILL LEAD HER INTO THE DESERT AND SPEAK TENDERLY TO HER: Through the wilderness and into the promised land: a second "exodus"!

AND SPEAK TENDERLY TO HER: God speaks to each of us, individually and often in solitude, as in the closet of prayer (Mat 6:6). Cp Moses, Elijah, and John the Baptist.

Hos 2:15

VALLEY OF ACHOR: The valley of Achor was the place where Achan was buried after being stoned for his sin (Josh 7:24,25). Hosea prophesies that, instead of being a place of shame, this valley would become a place of "hope" -- leading, perhaps, to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Cp idea: "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

THERE SHE WILL SING: Moses' song of victory (Exo 15; Rev 15:3).

Hos 2:16

MY HUSBAND... MY MASTER: The significance of this is lost unless we look at the root meanings of the words. Whilst 'Baali' is Master, 'Ishi' is husband -- thus signifying that the covenant that was to be established would be based on a very different relationship -- that of love, as in the marriage covenant. As well as this, of course, Baali was the word they applied to their idols, from whom they could never expect an 'Ishi' relationship. "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

Hos 2:18

THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD: In the Kingdom, tamed (Isa 11:6-9). The Son of man will be given dominion over all creation (Gen 1:28; Psa 8).

Hos 2:21

Vv 21,22: A promise of renewed fertility for the Land. The full cycle of agriculture is given in reverse: the grain calls to the earth, and the earth calls to the skies, and the skies call to God. And He hears. God answers, and then -- in reverse -- the heavens, then the earth, and then the seed all listen to "Jezreel". "God made it grow" (1Co 3:6,8).

Hos 2:22

JEZREEL: Sig "the seed of God" -- with ref to Christ, the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). Jesus, also the sower of the word (Mat 13:18; Mar 4:14).

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