|@October 24, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Israel’s Unfaithfulness Punished
- The Lord’s Mercy on Israel
The chapter opens with Hosea being told to address to the faithful remnant of Israel. These brethren are spoken of as Ammi (My people) and Ruhamah (she who has obtained mercy).
In Hos. 2:2-5, Israel is portrayed as a wife and the remnant was to plead with the mass of the nation to put away her idolatry or God will strip her naked and bring drought upon her. God would also show no mercy to Israel’s next generation, the “children of whoredom” (Hos. 2:4). The adulterous wife had gone after idols that she thought would meet her needs (Hos. 2:5).
In Hos. 2:6-13, God details the consequences of His wife’s unfaithfulness. He will put all kinds of roadblocks and obstructions in her way, and cut her off from her idols until she decides to return to Him (her first husband) (Hos. 2:7). The wife will come to see the worthlessness of idols, leading to see how much better it was with the Lord. She had failed to see how it was God who had “lavished on her silver and gold” which she turned and “used for Baal” (Hos. 2:8). God would then take back these things, removing the agricultural blessings and stripping Israel naked, illustrating the removal of the Husband’s provision for His wife.
In Hos. 2:14-15, God shows His heart of compassion on His wife, that He will “allure her, and bring her back into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Her being brought to the wilderness alludes to Israel’s wilderness wanderings in which she was entirely dependent on God before being settled in the land of Canaan. She will then come to answer as in the days of her youth when she “came out of the land of Egypt”. (Hos. 2:15).
The remaining section, (Hos. 2:16-23) is of God’s restoration of Israel. She will come to call the Lord “My Husband” and no longer “My Baal” (Hos. 2:16). God would “betroth” Israel to Himself forever “in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy” (Hos. 2:19). Betrothal in this meant that the woman was regarded as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed (Deut. 28:30; Judges 14:2, 8; Matt. 1:18–21). The term is figuratively employed here of the spiritual connection between God and his people. The result is that they would know Him as LORD (Hos. 2:20). God would sow Himself in the land and have mercy on No Mercy and say to Not My People, “You are my people” and in response they shall say, “You are my God”. (Hos. 2:23)
Hosea was to plead for Israel (portrayed as God’s wife) to put away her whoring and idolatry. If she continued, God would meet her rebellion with stripping her bare of previously bestowed blessings. God knew that she would pursue her lovers, her idols, but also knew that she would find them worthless. In her chasing created things, she would ultimately see how much better it was with her “first husband”, God.
In much the same way, God lets us experience discontentment through job loss, financial instability, relational strife, and declining health in order that our eyes would be drawn to Him as our steadfast and never-ending treasure. As an expression of His grace, God uses hardship to foster a deep dissatisfaction of the things in this world and a longing for Himself. It is because God is perfect love that He prohibits conflating the blessings of creation with our blessed union with our Creator.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)