Hosea 1:2-4

Hosea 1:2

I Translation.

In the beginning Yahweh prophesied by Hosea. And then Yahweh said to Hosea, "Go, take in marriage for yourself an adulterous woman, and children of adultery, for the land has been habitually committing adultery after following Yahweh.


II The Meaning of the Verse and Hebrew Notes

A. The verse begins with the noun TEH.ILLATH. This defines the time at which the action of the verb occurs. This time is identified as the beginning of Hosea's ministry, probably around 770, B.C.

B. The subject of the sentence is the proper noun Yahweh. God is the one who produces the action of the verb.

C. The verb DIBER is a piel perfect. Piel means that the action is intensified. We often do the same thing in the English by adding the adverb really to a verb. "He was really trying hard." The perfect means that the action is seen as completed, and thus in the past. The verb is translated, "spoke", or perhaps "prophesied".

D. The word BEHOSHE`A connotes that Hosea was the agent, or intermediate mouthpiece of the prophecy of Yahweh. It is translated, "by Hosea".

E. This is the end of the first sentence, and it briefly describes the early portion of Hosea's ministry. It is just plain old run of the mill prophecy. Nothing special.

  1. This phase of Hosea's ministry remains chronologically undefined, but see the notes on verse three, below.
  2. There is nothing mentioned about this early phase in the rest of the book.

The prophecies recorded in the book are all from Phase II.

F. The second phase of Hosea's ministry begins with the waw consecutive, which is attached to the verb WAYO'MER. The subject of the verb is again Yahweh, or God the Father. The waw consecutive denotes a chronological passage of time, from Phase I to Phase II of Hosea's ministry.

It is translated, "And then". The simple active verb (wAyO'mer) describes the voice of God as it communicates to Hosea. This is translated, "Yahweh said." Note the difference between this and the previous verb. This is not intensive, and it is not prophecy. This is communication from Yahweh to Hosea that is not intended for the ears of the rest of the world.

G. The preposition EL tells us that the target of Yahweh's communication is to follow. (HOSHE`A defines that direct object as Hosea. This is translated, "to Hosea."

H. The imperative verb LEKH identifies the content of Yahweh's message. This is a command, and it is translated, "Go."

I. The next verb is also in the imperative, and the command is to take in marriage. The verb is LEKHA, and it is translated, "take in marriage."

J. Added to this is the preposition and pronoun QAH., which is translated, "for yourself".

K. The construct noun E'SHETH defines the one to be taken in marriage. It is translated, "a woman of" That final preposition is the translation of the construct state, which essentially says that there is more to come, and that what comes next belongs in some way to this word.

L. ZENUIM denotes the kind of woman involved here. The word means fornication, or adultery. In the older translations the very descriptive if slightly inaccurate word 'whoredom' is used. It would normally be translated "adultery", but it is better to add the two previous words together, and translate them, "adulterous woman".

M. Added to this command is the preposition WAW and noun construct noun combination WEYALDHEY THISNEH. This is translated, "children of adultery".

N. The conjunction BIY indicates the explanation for God's mysterious command. It is translated, "for".

O. The subject of the explanation is the definite article and noun HA'ARES. It is translated, "the land", and it includes the entire nation of Israel.

P. ZANOH THIZNEH is in the infinitive absolute, and it shows the action of the verb as occurring over a duration of time. It is translated, "habitually committing adultery."

Q. ME'AH. AREY YAHWEH connotes the former relationship that Israel had with yahweh. It shows a former state of being, which has now been severed. It is translated, "after following Yahweh".

III The Impact of the Verse

A. The timing of the verse.

  1. This verse indicates that there was two phases to Hosea's ministry.
    1. Phase I was defined by normal prophecy.
    2. Phase II was defined by something which I will call family experience power prophecy.
  2. The two phases are portrayed as exclusive from one another, so that the end of phase I marked the beginning of phase II. There is no overlap.
  3. It is difficult to fix the exact date of the changeover from phase I to phase II, but there are some clues.
    1. Phase II was a radical measure, designed to increase the power of Hosea's prophecy.
    2. This increase could only be due to an increase in corporate cosmic involvement in the nation of Israel.
    3. We know that this increase became dramatically apparent with the accession of Zechariah to the throne. Chaos would follow.
    4. Furthermore, verse 1 omits all kings of Israel from Zechariah and forward to the destruction of the nation.
    5. This omission occurred because of Hosea's attitude towards those kings. He did not consider them legitimate.
    6. Therefore, let us place a tentative date for the end of phase I and the beginning of phase II at 753 B.C., the date when Zechariah took the throne.

B. The nature of family experience power prophecy.

  1. God commanded Hosea to marry an adulterous woman and to have children of adultery.
  2. The experience of marrying an adulterous woman would give Hosea insight into the experience of God with Israel, and as a result it would empower his prophetic teachings.
  3. The family of Hosea was designed to be the moral equivalent of Israel.
  4. This insight would enable Hosea to preach more effectively to a nation that was spiritually bankrupt and adulterous in their relationship with God.
  5. Because Israel was spiritually bankrupt it would take a special kind of prophecy in order to communicate effectively to them.
    1. Hosea became a sort of mediator between God and Israel. He experienced the experience of God, and thus became a more effective communicator.
    2. God always strives to communicate effectively to man. The very nature of verbal plenary inspiration indicates this.
    3. In verbal plenary inspiration, God allows man to put His word into their words, through their personality and feelings and language.
    4. Thus, verbal plenary inspiration is a very effective mode of communication from God to man.
      • Hosea understood the thoughts and feelings of God quite intimately because of the failings of his own wife and children.
      • So when he observed the failings of Israel, he had great insight on what to say, and how to say it. This gave greater power to the words of his prophecies; greater power by far!
      • Our lives and ministries may also be empowered by our experiences, insofar as our experiences have been governed by the word of God.
      • When using experience to empower our ministries, great care must be taken to follow this principle: Scripture governs experience, but experience does not govern Scripture.
    5. Effective communication would not equal conversion in the case of Israel; they would reject the grace offer of God and be destroyed.
    6. Although this command appears to violate the integrity of God, let us examine the situation more closely.
      1. The command says what it says. It is clear from the language that Gomer is an adulteress at the time of the marriage.
      2. Even if she was not an adulteress at the time of the marriage, she would become one, and God foreknew that, so with foreknowledge it is effectively the same thing.
      3. God's direct will is involved here. He commands Hosea to marry an adulterous woman.
      4. By the law, adultery is sexual relations with someone other than the one to which you are married.
      5. God did not command Hosea to commit adultery himself. When Hosea had sexual relations with his wife, it was legitimate sex.
      6. Marriage to an adulterer does not make you an adulterer.
      7. Hosea's marriage is to imitate the relationship of Israel with God. Israel was adulterous almost from the beginning of her relationship with God. No sooner than the nation had crossed the Red Sea with Moses, than they became a whining and complaining and fearful mob.
      8. Hosea's wife Gomer was also adulterous from the beginning of that marriage.
        • From the text it sounds like Gomer became pregnant right away.
        • This pregnancy came from an adulterous relationship.
        • The situation in Israel is called to mind, Hosea 4:13, They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
      9. So, Hosea is commanded to marry an adulteress. Even if Gomer was not an adulteress previous to her marriage to Hosea, in fact, even if she was a virgin, Hosea knew what she would do, and this is not, I repeat, not a violation of the integrity of God.
      10. Marriage to an adulterer is not recommended - do not try this at home.

      Hosea 1:3

      I Translation.

      "And so he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim and then she conceived and bore him a son."


      II The Impact of the Verse

      A. This verse records the birth of the first of Gomer's children.

      B. Although this verse says that Gomer bore Hosea a son, the child was conceived in an adulterous relationship, Hosea 2:4, "I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery."

      C. Although Hosea is not the child's biological father, he would apparently raise him.

      D. Remember, Hosea's family experience is designed to empower his prophecy by giving him empathy with God.

      E. Hosea's family is designed to imitate Israel in their adultery against God.

      F. The emotional trauma of having an adulterous wife adds extra power to Hosea's prophetic teachings - it makes him much more effective.

      G. This radical measure was necessary for radical times. Israel was in a state of apostasy, and headed for the fifth cycle of discipline in a hurry.

      H. During the time of Hosea's family ministry, Israel was in a state of civil war. Political assassinations were common. Turmoil was great. The people were degenerate.

      I. So, Hosea was to experience what God had experienced. This would make him a great prophet, and a great prophet was sorely needed in Israel.

      Hosea 1:4

      I Translation.

      "Then Yahweh said to him, 'Call his name Jezreel, for yet a little while and I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu and I will destroy the dominion of the house of Israel.'"


      II The Impact of the Verse.

      A. This verse is fairly straightforward in its translation.

      B. The verse begins the case of God against Israel through the family experience power prophecy of Hosea.

      1. Hosea had experienced the birth of his first son, Jezreel.
      2. Gomer became pregnant from an adulterous tryst with another man.
      3. From the moment of conception that birth became inevitable. The seed of another man was sown inside of Hosea's wife, and there was nothing to be done.
      4. The pregnancy of Gomer and birth of Jezreel became a great double entendre intended for the nation of Israel.

      C. The seed sown into Gomer is analogous to the adultery of Israel against God. The act would have its consequences.

      1. This adultery is identified fully in the second half of the verse.
      2. It is the acts of Jehu which bring these things upon them. Jehu was the king of Israel from 841 to 814 B.C., a full generation before Hosea's time.
        2 Ki 10:25-31, As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: "Go in and kill them; let no one escape." So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal.
        {26} They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it.
        {27} They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.
        {28} So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.
        {29} However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit--the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
        {30} The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."
        {31} Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit."
        1. Jehu is probably the greatest hypocrite in the history of Israel.
          • God ordered him to slaughter all those who are engaged in idol worship.
          • He is doing the same thing at the same time - he too is an idol worshipper.
          • He carries out the order of God, but he refuses to repent of his own sin. He should have had himself killed along with the others!
          • However, his motive is revenge for the death of his 70 sons, who were killed by this same people. He did not care about command of God. He used the command to exact revenge.
          Jehu did not get away with anything here. In fact, he planted the seed for the 5th cycle of discipline, which would come to fruit in 722 B.C.
        2. Jehu had continued the sins of Jeroboam I, the first king of the Northern kingdom, who had begun the idol worship at Bethel and Dan so that his subjects would not have to go up to Jerusalem to worship. Not only were these different places for worship, but they worshipped different Gods there. One can hardly construe the worship of a golden calf as worship of Yahweh, when such activity so blatantly violates the commandments of God!
        3. Jehu would say, "I carried out the command of God and destroyed the Baal worshippers and the house of Ahab."
        4. We can imagine God's response as something like this: "You only carried out my command because it was a convenient way to exact revenge, and not because you thought that what they did was wrong. You yourself do these very same things".
        5. Again, the seed was planted under Jehu, and it would come to fruit as every pregnancy will.

      C. Hosea's first son Jezreel represents the certainty of the Divine judgement to come against Israel.

      1. Jezreel in the Hebrew literally means, "God sows", and in his name is the warning to the nation of Israel.
      2. The seed of the Divine discipline of Israel is already sown, and it will only be a little while until it comes to fruit.
      3. At the time of this prophecy, the nation of Assyria was making rumbles to the north, and in just 20 years or so it would come to lay waste to the Northern Kingdom.
      4. The discipline could be avoided through repentance. God could stop what He had already sown, if He so desired.
      5. Jezreel is also the name of the place where the 70 sons of Jehu were killed - that is the second half of the double entendre.
      6. Notice that there was plenty of time for Israel to repent. Before it was all over, there would be more than a hundred years of opportunity for repentance.
      7. Notice also that Jehu, an evil man, came to throne at the demand of the people of Israel, but did not tell them why he was anointed king,
        2 Ki 9:11-13, When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, "Is everything all right? Why did this madman come to you?" "You know the man and the sort of things he says," Jehu replied.
        {12} "That's not true!" they said. "Tell us." Jehu said, "Here is what he told me: 'This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.'"
        {13} They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps.

        Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, "Jehu is king!"

      D. So, Hosea got to see first hand what it was like to be on the wrong end of an adulterous marriage, and to experience the anticipation of the coming birth.

      This first hand experience gave extra power and insight to his prophecy of the coming discipline of Israel.

      Hosea preached and preached, and yet Israel would not repent.


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