1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel:
1:2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea [name means “salvation” or “deliverance” and is from the same root as the names Joshua and Jesus], the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife [perhaps a temple prostitute at a Baal temple who had forsaken her sinful career to marry Hosea; perhaps a woman actively involved in prostitution; perhaps a woman who was not a prostitute when Hosea married her but would later become one] and children of unfaithfulness [perhaps suggests that the children would have the faithless tendencies of their mother], because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”
1:3 So he married Gomer [this marriage would serve as a living object lesson to the people of Israel of their unfaithfulness to God] daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him [Hosea] a son.
Practical Consideration: Our home life is important.
Hosea must have experienced great personal grief and humiliation as a result of Gomer’s immoral behavior. However, God was able to use the events of Hosea’s life to teach him and the nation about the redemptive nature of His love.
1:4 Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel [name means “God scatters” or “God sows”], because I will soon [indicated that judgment for sin was imminent] punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel [2 Kings 9:1-10:31], and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.
1:5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow [Israel’s army] in the Valley of Jezreel [Israel’s military strength would be broken here].”
Note: “In that day” Hosea’s prophecy was fulfilled in 734 BC when the Assyrian monarch named Tiglath-pileser III was victorious against Israel and turned her into a vassal state. Tiglath-pileser III was succeeded by Shalmaneser V (726-722) who besieged the city of Samaria for three years before it fell in 722 BC marking the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
1:6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah [name means “not loved” or “no mercy” or “unpitied” or “she has not obtained compassion” and indicated a further deterioration in the Northern Kingdom’s relationship with God], for I will no longer show love [Israel would no longer experience the loving compassion of God] to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them.
Note: Some suggest that Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi were not Hosea’s children but children born out of Gomer’s adulterous activities. The reason for this is seen in the language of verses 3, 6, and 8. Notice: “and she conceived and bore him a son” (v. 3). Notice the absence of the pronoun “him” in verse 6: “Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter,” and again in verse 8: “Gomer had another son.”
1:7 Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them-not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the LORD their God [Assyria not allowed to destroy Judah; cf. 2 Kings 19:14-36].”
1:8 After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son.
1:9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi [means “not my people” and indicated further deterioration in Israel’s relationship with God; name suggested God no longer claimed the sinful people of Israel and that God finally rejected those who rejected Him], for you are not my people, and I am not your God [“You are not My people and I am not your I AM”].
1:10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore [cf. Gen. 22:17; 32:12], which cannot be measured or counted [cf. promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3)]. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God [cf. Rom. 9:25-26].’
1:11 The people of Judah [the Southern Kingdom] and the people of Israel [the Northern Kingdom] will be reunited [partially (because they could not choose their own head of government) realized when the people returned from Babylonian exile; in May 1948 Israel became an autonomous, undivided nation], and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel [literally, “God sows”; cf. Hos. 1:4-5].