1-9: Hosea’s name means salvation (From the Hebrew verb ישע (yasha'), to save). God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer and start a family. Hosea’s relationship with his wife and children was an object lesson for Israel to understand God’s relationship with them (Hosea 3:1). Just as Hosea married an unfaithful wife (Gomer), God entered into covenant with an unfaithful nation (Israel), who broke the covenant by worshipping other gods. Hosea gracefully pursued his wife and bought her back despite her constant infidelity. It’s a picture of how God pursued Israel. God’s temporary rejection and judgement of Israel was illustrated through the names of Hosea’s children. The first child was Jezreel, which means "God will scatter", and is a reference to how nations like Babylon would conquer and scatter Israel. The second child was "No Mercy” because God would temporarily have no mercy on Israel. The third child was called "Not My People" because they broke covenant with God.
10-11: God temporarily rejected his people, but there was still hope because they served a God of grace. Israel would multiply greatly despite being scattered, fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant. Romans 9:26 referenced verse 10, showing Jesus’ grace in adopting rebellious, rejected people and making them children of the living God.
1-13: This passage seems to be based on Gomer’s infidelities in marriage, which aligned with Israel’s infidelities against God. The "wife" represents national Israel while the children in verses 1-2 represent individual Israelites. Israel served other gods and credited them for the prosperity God gave them. God would punish Israel with a “divorce” and take away her economic prosperity for worshipping Baal.
14-23: At the end of the age, when Christ sets up His kingdom and brings a remnant of Israel back to Himself. There will be peace, prosperity, and restoration between God and His people.
1-3: Gomer returned to her previous lovers and lived a life of prostitution and infidelity. God commanded Hosea to graciously buy her back from the prostitution market and accept her as his wife again.
4-5: This is a prophecy of how Israel would go for a long period without a king, sacrificial system, or household idols. It’s the current state of Israel; they’re no longer a theocracy, they don’t have a temple, and Judaism is a monotheistic religion that rejects household gods. In the last days, a large remnant of Jews will return to God by receiving Christ as their savior.
1-19: God described the sins of Israel that lead to His rejection of them: lying, murder, adultery, violence, idolatry. He called out the priests for leading the people astray by sacrificing to idols and engaging in cult prostitution, which brought them shame and punishment from God.
1-15: God warned Israel of the judgment to come, specifically calling out the tribes of Ephraim and Judah. During their judgement, Ephraim would go to the king of Assyria for help, but no one would be able to help them. God would distance himself from Israel until they sought Him again at the end of the age.
1-5: Israel’s repentance in verses 1-3 is a temporary, shallow reaction to God’s judgments. God refers to their love as a morning cloud and dew on the ground that quickly fades away.
6-11: Israel was unrepentant as they went through the motions of offering sacrifices to God. However, God wanted their obedience and sacrifices to come from steadfast love rather than empty religious practices.
1-16: God continued to convict Israel for their violence, hatred, pride, greed, and mixing with pagan nations to worship false gods. He poetically compared their sin to a smoldering oven being stoked. God would eventually discipline and punish them. He used the imagery of a net bringing down birds in the sky to illustrate that they can’t escape his discipline.
1-14: This chapter focuses on how Israel became a useless vessel in evangelism because they adopted the customs and made allies with pagan nations. God made Israel distinct from the nations through purity laws to make it clear they worshipped a different God. The purpose was to protect them from false religions and use Israel as a light of salvation to a lost world. However, Israel embraced paganism and it watered down their influence.
1-17: Because of Israel’s idolatry and temple prostitution, they would "return to Egypt". This is a figurative way of saying they would be enslaved to another nation the way they were in Egypt; this time under the Assyrians. The figurative use of Egypt is similar to the way Sodom is figuratively used in the Bible (Revelation 11:8). God would also punish Israel through infertility, poverty, and even the death of their children. The children weren’t being punished for the sins of their parents, but died as a consequence of their parents sin, the same way a child might die in a car accident because of a drunk driver’s bad decisions. In both cases, God has the right and prerogative to take human life—even the lives of children (Romans 9;16-23).
1-15: Israel was economically prosperous as indicated by the luxurious wine. Yet the more they prospered ("increased fruit"), the more they built temples to false gods. God warned that He was going to judge them for their idolatry through military defeat and called for repentance in verse 12. Verse 13 points out that they would face injustice as a consequence of their sin. God was just in allowing the unjust battles of evil nations as a just punishment against Israel, giving us a glimpse into why God allows some injustices to happen. From a human standpoint, Assyria was unjust in conquering Israel, but God was just in allowing it because Israel was guilty of God’s laws and deserved punishment. He sovereignty orchestrates events and human actions to accomplish his purposes.
1-7: God’s relationship with Israel is pictured as a parent caring for a small child. Despite God’s love for them, they continued to sacrifice idols.
8-12: Admah and Zeboiim were the surrounding cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that were destroyed for their sexual sins (Deuteronomy 29:23, Jude 1:7). Though Israel would be judged, God’s compassion wouldn’t lead to their complete destruction. God promised He would eventually restore Israel and never let them be destroyed again after they faced judgment and dispersion.
1-14: Ephraim’s empty pursuits (feeding on and pursuing the wind) were to seek fulfillment in false gods and material wealth. They made covenants with the very enemy nations that enslaved them. God also indicted Judah and called for their repentance.
1-2: Ephraim became idolators who skillfully crafted metal idols of Baal and offered human sacrifices. They showed their devotion to Baal (depicted as a bull) by kissing the idol (1 Kings 19:18).
3: As part of Israel’s judgement they would fade away like mist.
4-11: God is the only savior. He pointed out how He saved Israel from Egypt, yet they still forgot him and served false gods. Because of this, God would destroy them. No king could protect them from God”s wrath.
12:Their deeds are all remembered by God.
13: Ephraim was like a baby who refused to be delivered.
14: Though God would destroy and punish Israel, there would be survivors and he would save future generations during the Assyrian captivity. Their ultimate salvation will come when Jesus returns again to establish his kingdom.
15: God’s judgement would come during their prosperity and take it away.
16: Samaria would face severe, violent judgement from an enemy nation.
1-3: God called Israel to repentance through Hosea. He gave them a model of what true repentance would look like. First, they were to ask for purification of their sins, backing up their words with action (sacrifices). Although the blood of bulls and goats can’t purify anyone of sin, it was a symbolic act that would be fulfilled in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 10:4, 9:15). They were saved on "credit" as they put their faith in God’s ability to purify them. Secondly, they had to repent of their trust in Assyria to save them and the idolatry of trusting in the work of their own hands rather than God.
4-9: Just as Hosea bought his wife Gomer back from prostitution market and called her to repentance, God did the same for Israel (Hosea 3:1-3).