Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Spiritual whoredom of Israel set forth by symbolical acts; Gomer taken
to wife at God's command: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi, the
children. Yet a promise of Judah and Israel's restoration.
1. The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea--See
Jeroboam--the second; who died in the fifteenth year of Uzziah's
forty-one years' reign. From his time forth all Israel's kings
worshipped false gods: Zachariah
As Israel was most flourishing externally under Jeroboam II, who
recovered the possessions seized on by Syria, Hosea's prophecy of its
downfall at that time was the more striking as it could not have been
foreseen by mere human sagacity. Jonah the prophet had promised success
to Jeroboam II from God, not for the king's merit, but from God's mercy
to Israel; so the coast of Israel was restored by Jeroboam II from the
entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain
2. beginning--not of the prophet's predictions generally, but of those
spoken by Hosea.
take . . . wife of whoredoms--not externally acted,
but internally and in vision, as a pictorial illustration of Israel's
unfaithfulness [HENGSTENBERG]. Compare
Eze 16:8, 15,
&c. Besides the loathsomeness of such a marriage, if an external act,
it would require years for the birth of three children, which would
weaken the symbol (compare
HENDERSON objects that there is no hint of the
transaction being fictitious: Gomer fell into lewdness after her
union with Hosea, not before; for thus only she was a fit symbol of
Israel, who lapsed into spiritual whoredom after the marriage
contract with God on Sinai, and made even before at the call of the
patriarchs of Israel. Gomer is called "a wife of whoredoms,"
children of whoredoms--The kingdom collectively is viewed as a
mother; the individual subjects of it are spoken of as her
children. "Take" being applied to both implies that they refer
to the same thing viewed under different aspects. The "children" were
not the prophet's own, but born of adultery, and presented to him as
his [KITTO, Biblical Cyclopædia].
Rather, "children of whoredoms" means that the children, like their
mother, fell into spiritual fornication. Compare "bare him a
Ho 2:4, 5).
Being children of a spiritual whore, they naturally fell into her
3. Gomer . . . daughter of Diblaim--symbolical names; literally,
"completion, daughter of grape cakes"; the dual expressing the double
layers in which these dainties were baked. So,
one completely given up to sensuality. MAURER
explains "Gomer" as
literally, "a burning coal." Compare
Pr 6:27, 29,
as to an adulteress;
Job 31:9, 12.
4. Jezreel--that is, "God will scatter" (compare
It was the royal city of Ahab and his successors, in the tribe of
Issachar. Here Jehu exercised his greatest cruelties
(2Ki 9:16, 25, 33; 10:11, 14, 17).
There is in the name an allusion to "Israel" by a play of letters and
5. bow--the prowess
valley of Jezreel--afterwards called Esdraelon, extending ten miles
in breadth, and in length from Jordan to the Mediterranean near Mount
Carmel, the great battlefield of Palestine
6. Lo-ruhamah--that is, "not an object of mercy or gracious favor."
take . . . away--Israel, as a kingdom, was never restored from Assyria,
as Judah was from Babylon after seventy years.
according to the primary meaning, "No more will I have mercy on the
house of Israel, so as to pardon them."
7. Judah is only incidentally mentioned to form a contrast to
by the Lord their God--more emphatic than "by Myself"; by that Jehovah
(Me) whom they worship as their God, whereas ye despise Him.
not . . . by bow--on which ye Israelites rely
"the bow of Israel"); Jeroboam II was famous as a warrior
Yet it was not by their warlike power Jehovah would save Judah
The deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib
and the restoration from Babylon, are herein predicted.
8. weaned--said to complete the symbolical picture, not having any
special signification as to Israel
[HENDERSON]. Israel was bereft of
all the privileges which were as needful to them as milk is to infants
[VATABLUS]. Israel was not suddenly, but
gradually cast off; God bore with them with long-suffering,
until they were incurable [CALVIN]. But as it is
not God, but Gomer who weans Lo-ruhamah, the weaning may imply
the lust of Gomer, who was hardly weaned when she is again pregnant
9. Lo-Ammi--once "My people," but henceforth not so
The intervals between the marriage and the successive births of the
three children, imply that three successive generations are intended.
Jezreel, the first child, represents the dynasty of Jeroboam I and his
successors, ending with Jehu's shedding the blood of Jeroboam's line in
Jezreel; it was there that Jezebel was slain, in vengeance for Naboth's
blood shed in the same Jezreel
2Ki 9:21, 30).
The scenes of Jezreel were to be enacted over again on Jehu's
degenerate race. At Jezreel Assyria routed Israel [JEROME]. The child's name associates past sins,
intermediate punishments, and final overthrow. Lo-ruhamah ("not
pitied"), the second child, is a daughter, representing the
effeminate period which followed the overthrow of the first dynasty,
when Israel was at once abject and impious. Lo-Ammi ("not my people"),
the third child, a son, represents the vigorous dynasty
of Jeroboam II; but, as prosperity did not bring with it revived piety,
they were still not God's people.
10. Literally fulfilled in part at the return from Babylon, in
which many Israelites joined with Judah. Spiritually, the believing seed
of Jacob or Israel, Gentiles as well as Jews, numerous "as the sand"
the Gentiles, once not God's people, becoming His "sons"
Ro 9:25, 26;
To be fulfilled in its literal fulness hereafter in Israel's
the living God--opposed to their dead idols.
11. Judah . . . Israel . . . together--
(Isa 11:12, 13;
Eze 34:23; 37:16-24).
one head--Zerubbabel typically; Christ antitypically, under whom alone
Israel and Judah are joined, the "Head" of the Church
(Eph 1:22; 5:23),
and of the hereafter united kingdom of Judah and Israel
(Jer 34:5, 6;
Though "appointed" by the Father
Christ is in another sense "appointed" as their Head by His people,
when they accept and embrace Him as such.
out of the land--of the Gentiles among whom they sojourn.
the day of Jezreel--"The day of one" is the time of God's special
visitation of him, either in wrath or in mercy. Here "Jezreel" is in a
different sense from that in
"God will sow," not "God will scatter"; they shall be the seed of
God, planted by God again in their own land
(Jer 24:6; 31:28; 32:41;