Ministry of the Word
  Dossier on Hosea
On the
Book of
Anthony (Tony) DIAS.
St Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI.
MUMBAI 400-079
I.           Structure & position of Hosea the Prophet.--- Pg. 1-6.
II.        Introduction Under Various Heads.
a.   Authorship ------------------------------------------------------Pg. 6.
b.   The Call of Hosea. ---------------------------------------------Pg. 6.
c.   Title & Writer.-------------------------------------------------- Pg. 7.
d.   Date. -------------------------------------------------------------Pg. 7.
e.   Place of Composition.----------------------------------------- Pg. 7.
f.    The Ministry of Hosea. -----------------------------------------Pg. 8.
g.   Themes & Truths.---------------------------------------------- Pg. 8.
h.   Historical Context.---------------------------------------------- Pg. 9.
i.     Theological Significance of Marriage Dynamics. -----------Pg. 9.
j.     Theology. -------------------------------------------------------Pg. 10.
k.   Genre & Literary Form. ---------------------------------------Pg. 11.
l.     Problems of Redaction. ---------------------------------------Pg. 12.
III   Themes.
a. Violence. ---------------------------------------------------------Pg. 12.
b. Breach in political treaties. ------------------------------------Pg. 12.     
c. Breakdown in Law & Order. -----------------------------------Pg. 13.
d. Baal Worship. ----------------------------------------------------Pg. 13.
e. Covenant -------------------------------------------- ------------Pg. 13.
f. Gods Passionate Love for Israel. ------------------------------Pg. 14.
g. Knowledge of God. ----------------------------------------------Pg. 14.
h. Conclusion.
IV. Exegesis:
Introduction. ---------------------------------------------------------Pg. 15.
Ch. I. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Pg. 16.
Ch. II.   -------------------------------------------------------------- Pg. 19.
Ch. III. ------------------------------------------------------------- Pg. 24.
Ch. IV.     -------------------------------------------------------------Pg. 26.
Ch. V.    ------------------------------------------------------------   Pg. 31.
Ch. VI.    -----------------------------------------------------------   Pg. 33.
Ch. VII.   -----------------------------------------------------------   Pg.  
Main Theme of Hosea:Hosea is a call to seek God. Many Christians seek wealth, health, and prosperity. Yet, this is the very thing that makes us content with ourselves. It is easy to forget God when it appears we are doing well without Him.
God wants us to seek Him and not our possessions.
46      Old Testament Books
39                 Old testament Books
27     New Testament Books
27               New testament Books
They omit (7 books) Tobit, Judith,Wisdom,
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Ist. & IInd. Maccabees
Baruch, & parts of Daniel & Esther.
79                   Books in total
66                            Books in total
è Catholics call these 7 books Deuterocanonical works, 
è Protestants call them the Apocrypha.
It is worth stating that both Catholics and Protestants accept the same 27 books of the New Testament. So, except for the seven Deuterocanonical books, Catholic and Protestant Bibles are basically the same.
What’s so special about the Deuterocanonical books?
Deuterocanonical', which means 'secondary canon.'
(literally "canonized secondly" meaning canonized later).
The deuterocanonical books are special since they include discussions of important segments of Jewish history.
To understand the word Deutero Canonical we have to first understand the Word CANON: The word Canon means Rule. In Greek it is called KANON
(in Hindi it is Kanoon)
A Canonical book is one which the Church acknowledges as:
- Belonging to its list of Sacred Books
- As Inspired by God and
- As having a Regulating Value for Faith and Morals.
The Palestinian Jews recognized only those 39 books which were preserved in Hebrew or Aramaic, whereas the Jewish Diaspora who had their main centre in Alexandria and who did not know Hebrew, for them the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek in the 3rd Century BC by 70 Jewish Scholars living in Alexandria called the Septuagint (LXX). They included an additional 7 books which were written only in Greek or preserved in Greek and not in Hebrew i.e. TOBIT, JUDITH, 1-2 MACCABEES, WISDOM, SIRACH, BARUCH.
The Catholics call the 1st list consisting of 39 books as PROTO CANONICAL whereas the 2nd list consisting of the 7 books as DEUTEROCANONICAL
“Why are these writings omitted from Protestant Old Testament?”
To understand why Protestants omit these Deutro Canonical books, we must consider how the Jewish Scriptures were used in the early Church. Around the first century A.D., there were two Jewish Bibles in widespread use. One was called the Hebrew Bible. The other was called the Septuagint Bible; it was a Greek translation of the Jewish Scripture and it included these Deutro Canonical books. Both the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint Bible were used by the early Christians
Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures was created at least 2 centuries before Christ. The Jewish leadership at the time recognized a need to provide a Greek translation for the Jews. (Jews in the Diaspora). They commissioned 70 Jewish scripture scholars who gathered in Alexandria, Egypt and spent 70 months on the task. The resulting translation was named the Septuagint (70 x 70) and contained the 7 additional books that had come to be accepted by the Jewish community as divinely inspired sacred works LXX
In the 300’s, after Christianity became legal, St. Jerome was commissioned to translate the Bible into the common language of the people - Latin. He moved to the Holy Land and spent the rest of his life working on the project which became known as the Vulgate or “common language” Bible. For his translation, he chose to use the longer Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Martin Luther and other scholars began a new translation of the Bible and they decided to use the shorter Hebrew Bible as the basis for their Old Testament in the Protestant version of the OT, in German.
Luther proposed that a new German translation be created that omitted the 7 additional books. This decision became the foundation for all future
Protestant translations of the Bible.

The Christian Old Testament Scripture is divided into 4 Sections namely;
 The PENTATEUCH (consisting of 5 books) 
          Pentateuch is a Greek word and it means “five scrolls”. 
                    Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
The HISTORICAL Books (consisting of 16 books)
          I         Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings
                    (Deuteronomistic History)
          ii)      1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah (Chroniclers History)
                   Chronicles means “things left our” (from the parallel books                  
                     Samuel and Kings)
          iii)     Tobit, Judith, Esther.
          iv)     1 & 2 Maccabees (Maccabean History)
The WISDOM Books (consisting 7 books)
                   Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, Sirach.
The PROPHETS (consisting of 18 books)
MAJOR     (6)   -----   Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel
MAJOR    (12) ----   Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,    
                                   Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Minor Prophets:
Beginning with Hosea and concluding with Malachi, there are twelve short prophecies called the Minor Prophets. They are so called because of the size of the books and not because of their content. The Minor Prophets all deal with the same major issues of the Major Prophets. They are actually quoted by the Major Prophets.. There were to be no godless alliances with other nations, but they were warned of an isolationism from God. They were extremely patriotic and denounced political and moral corruption. This has given rise to the modern emphasis on the social message of the prophets.
The Hebrew Scripture consists of 39 books
The three major sections i.e Torah + Nebiim + Ketubim in Hebrew is known as TaNaK (Hebrew), or Tanakh, is an acronym for the Hebrew Bible consisting of the initial Hebrew letters (T + N + K) of each of the text's three major parts. Since the ancient Hebrew language had no clear vowels, subsequent vowel sounds were added to the consonants resulting in the word TaNaK. The major portions of the Hebrew Bible represented by these three letters are:
The TORAH: The Law (law of Moses) (consisting of 5 books) Also called the "Pentateuch." The Torah is often referred to as the law of the Jewish people.
                     Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
The NEBIIM: The Prophets – (‘Nabi’ in Hindi) (consisting of 21 books)
"Prophets” = which means ‘to call’ , ‘to proclaim’
The Former Prophets    (6)         Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings
The Latter Prophets  (3 + 12)    (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)
                                          (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,       
                                          Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)
The KETUBIM: The Writings (‘Kitab’ – book in Hindi) (consisting of 13 books)   
                Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes), 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra,
                Nehemiah, Lamentations, Esther, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Daniel.
The Tanakh is further separated into different sections including a group of history books, wisdom books, poetry books and psalms.
Here we will deal with the books of ‘Neviim’ = prophets.
Meaning of the word ‘Prophet’
We understand the word prophet as a messenger or a fortune teller.
But according to the Biblical understanding he is more merely a messenger.
Biblical scholars have pointed differences between these two:
                MESSENGER                                   PROPHET
èHe is a representative of a king, He is the representative of the divine 
èCarries information                  Prophet delivers legal verdict & divine word.
èHe is not actively involved in     but the prophet follows up his message.
carrying out the messages
                                                -A prophet has received a an irresistible
                                                 divine call, & was chosen as Gods envoy.
-The divine message comes to them in various ways, by visions, by hearing, but most often by internal inspiration.
èHe is only a mouth piece, no more, his words though his own are, are not his own.
èThe prophet rarely addresses his message to a single person, his message is for the whole nation, accept when he is addressing a king, because the king is responsible for the whole nation.
èThe prophets message relates to both present & future. His mission is to the men of his time, to them he communicates the will of God. But in so far he declares the mind of God he stands beyond time. At times he predicts some events of the future, punishment to come, the prosperity in rewards for repentance for which he pleads.
His message may remain veiled in mystery until the future explains its significance by fulfilling it.
There are 2 aspects to the message. In Gods dealing with people, pardon & punishment is complimentary.
è They spoke on monotheism, the existence of one unique God. Describing YHWH as God.
Therefore the definition of a prophet would be: A prophet is the channel through which divine messages reach the ordinary words & through which human beings can get direct access to the divine.
The Bible uses 5 words to explain the prophet:
Nabi; The most used word, meaning a called one, God’s spokes person or One who speaks for God.
Roch: means seer.       ---------------     Hozer: means seer
Koshem: means fortune teller.-----------Ish-Elohim: Means man of God
                                                        eg. Moses, Elijah, Samuel.
From the above, we see that the book of Hosea belongs to the Old Testament and it is placed in the Prophecy Section in the Old Testament
è The writings are called the major & minor prophets. The term major & minor have to do with the size of the book not the message of the book. They are also called the earlier & the later prophets.
BCE (Before our Common Era; AD Anno Domini = Yr of the Lord
Hosea was active preached from about 745 – 722 BC.
Authorship : Who was Hosea: & Date
The undisputed author of this book is the prophet Hosea. He lived and prophesied during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel while four successive kings—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah—were ruling in Judah. This means his prophetic ministry covered a period of about 40 years, from about 755 B.C. to about 715 B.C. He had a good knowledge of history & political affairs.  The opening words of Hosea’s prophecy place his ministry in the context of the 8th. century. Hosea was a native of the northern kingdom. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and Amos
The author identifies himself as “Hosea, son of Beeri” (1:1).
Biblical scholars suggest that he must have been a small farmer & a young preacher in the northern kingdom in Israel
Hosea was the first of the "minor" prophets. The word Hosea comes from the word ‘Hoshea’ This prophet's name would be "Joseph" / Ossie in English. From the Hebrew root comes the name of Jeheshua,Joshua, Yeshua or Jesus which means ‘YHWH saves’ OR "saviour, salvation.
Hosea prophesied just before the destruction of Israel in 722 BC. Throughout the book you will see that he refers to Israel and Ephraim. Ephraim was the largest tribe in Israel and sometimes the whole nation was referred to as Ephraim
The call of Hosea:
Hosea’s personal life was a tragedy. He was asked by YHWH to marry a prostitute called Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. He loved her tenderly hoping that she would change her life style after the marriage, but she was unfaithful to the marriage vows & kept on running away from him. He wanted to divorce her but the Lord told to go & bring her back ( or redeem i.e. buy back).
Because of the references to the marriage of prophet Hosea biblical scholars wonder whether his marriage was real or was it symbolic.
Did the prophet marry Gomer once or twice. Did he marry the same prostitute or another. After much discussion today the scholars believe that the prophets marriage was real, & he married Gomer only once.
It reflects the relation between the people of Israel & YHWH.
The prophet's name is the title of the book.
The book claims is the word of the Lord that Hosea received (1:1).
DATE: ( 760-715 B.C.).
Hosea's ministry spanned the reigns of four Judean kings (Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and
Hezekiah; cf. Isa. 1:1) and one Israelite king (Jeroboam II; 1:1)
This would mean that the prophet's ministry lasted perhaps 45 years
Hosea did not date any of his prophecies.
There were six other kings of Israel who followed Jeroboam II that Hosea did not mention in 1:1. Hosea evidently prophesied during the reigns of more kings of Israel and Judah than any other prophet, probably eleven.
It seems unusual that Hosea would mention four Judean kings and only one Israelite king, especially since he ministered primarily to the Northern Kingdom. He may have done this because the six Israelite kings were less significant in Israel's history than the other kings Hosea did mention. Another possibility is that Hosea did this because he regarded the Judean kings as Israel's legitimate kings in contrast to those of the North
Hosea ministered to the Northern Kingdom, his reference to the king of Samaria as "our king" (7:5) seems to make his residence in Israel certain.
Audience And Purpose Of Writing:
Hosea addressed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His purpose was to announce that because the nation had broken Yahweh's covenant, judgment was coming. His purpose was to announced the downfall of his nations. Hosea wrote this book to remind the Israelites that ours is a loving God whose loyalty to his covenant people is unwavering. In spite of Israel’s continual turning away to false Gods, God’s steadfast love is portrayed in the long suffering husband of the unfaithful wife. Hosea’s message is also one of warning to those who would turn their backs to God’s love. Through the symbolic presentation of the marriage of Hosea & Gomer, The book contains a series of blessings and curses announced for Israel by God through Hosea. Each blessing or curse is based upon a corresponding type in the Mosaic law.
Deuteronomic equation (obey & prosper / disobey & perish)
God’s love for the idolatrous nation of Israel is displayed in a rich metaphor in the theme of sin, judgment, & forgiving love.
The Ministry of Hosea:
Hosea is the only prophet from the Northern Kingdom of Israel who preached in his hometown He exercised his prophetic ministry from 746-725 BCE. These were the last years of the kingdom of Israel whose capital Samaria that was besieged by the Assyria
Hosea attack two institutes in Israel: Monarchy and Religion. The kings had brought the nation to the brink of the ruin & the priest had misled the people to Baalism. Therefore there was a breach in the covenant relationship between the people of Israel & YHWH.
Themes & Truths
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for he who hastorn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he willbind us up. (Hosea 6:1)
The primary theme of the Book of Hosea is that God loves Israel, just as a man loves his wife. = God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him; In conjunction with that theme are the twin themes of Israel's sin and the coming retribution. = God cannot condone sin. Although God loves Israel, Israel has not returned His love. This has been shown by the continued idolatry and acts of violence, oppression, and sexual sin among the people. Because Israel has not returned God's love, He will put them away from Him, just as Hosea did his wife, and send them into exile.
This introduces the fourth theme, which is the restoration of Israel from exile = God will never cease to love His own. The country will be conquered; the people will be sent into exile; but some (remnants) will return and build the land up once more. God will embrace them as His people, and they will be loyal to Him as their God.
“Return” occurs fifteen times.
“Ephraim” occurs thirty-six times.
“Backsliding” occurs three times.
Historical Context
Hosea lived during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (kings of Judah, in the Southern Kingdom), and during the reign of Jeroboam II in the Northern Kingdom . Worship of false gods was mixed with worship of the one true God. Ritualism rather than righteousness was the order of the day as even the priests lost sight of the real meaning of worship. Although King Jeroboam II was the instigator of many of these policies, his 40-year reign brought a measure of political stability to the nation. In rapid succession, six different kings ruled Israel during the next 25 years; four were eliminated by assassination. Weakened by internal strife, Israel collapsed in 722 B.C. When Assyria destroyed Samaria, Israel's capital city. Hosea began ministering near the end of an era of great material prosperity and military success for both Israel and Judah. In the first half of the eighth-century B.C. Hosea prophesized in the Northern Kingdom then in The Southern Kingdom The Northern Kingdom became a puppet nation within the Assyrian Empire, and deported the people of Israel into captivity. Judah also became a vassal state in the Assyrian Empire during Hosea's ministry . Hosea's prophecy reflects conditions of economic prosperity, religious formalism and apostasy. Hosea was probably an eyewitness to many of these events as his prophecy about God's judgment on Israel was fulfilled. Jeroboam was one of the wicked kings of Israel and the nation was going through a difficult time when Hosea was preaching. People didn't have much time for God, people didn't pay much attention to Hosea. Hosea spoke of judgment and of chastisement. He said that God was going to raise up the Assyrian nation to punish this people and that fierce and ruthless army would sweep across the land like a scourge. But the people paid little attention to him, and they said that Hosea's God must be a pretty vengeful sort to talk like that. Hosea said that God was a God of love and that his doing this was the very activity of love; that God wanted them to see what they were doing to themselves and that the only way he could get them to listen was to make things rough for them. But they didn't pay any more attention than people do today about things like that. Instead, they blamed God and said, "If God is really a God of love, then why does he let things get in such a mess? How could a God of love ever send a ruthless people like the Assyrians down upon our land? "And so young Hosea found that his audience was diminishing. People were polite to his face, they sneered behind his back.
Here we see a theological significance of the marriage dynamics. 
The wife = represents the “leadership, institutions, and culture” of Israel, while the children = are the individual men and women of that culture.  The naming of the children of Hosea is clearly negative; and both names indicate judgment.  The meaning of the name of the first child “Jezreel” = ‘may God sow’. the past sins of the nation and her leaders assured that God would sow judgment. However, in the future, as a result of redeeming love, God will sow blessings. The daughter that was born was to be named “Lo-Ruhamah” and the literal meaning of the word is “unloved.”   The naming of the third child Not My People (Hebrew "Lo­ammin) certainly suggests the broken covenant relationship and may also indicate that Hosea did not consider himself to be the child's father. Gomer's Unfaithfulness. -­ Gomer is a symbol of Israel who will suffer shame. Hosea's Faithfulness (3:1­5) -­ The price of Gomer's redemption was very costly. Hosea's sacrifice is indicated by his willingness to pay with silver and grain. He searched until he found her at the slave market. Then he bought her back and restored her as his wife. This tender picture showed clearly that God had not given up on Israel, although the people had “played the harlot” many times by returning to their old life of pagan worship and enslavement to sin.
The major biblical doctrines that Hosea stressed were sin, judgment, salvation, and the loyal love (hesed) of God. Regarding sin, the prophet stressed the idolatry of the Israelites, which he compared to spiritual adultery. Israel had turned from Yahweh to worship Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility. The Lord told Hosea to marry a woman who would prove to be unfaithful to him so he could appreciate and communicate how the Lord felt about His wife's (Israel's) unfaithfulness to Him. Hosea also pointed out other sins that the Israelites needed to forsake: violent crimes (4:2; 6:9; 12:1), political revolt (7:3-7), foreign alliances (7:11; 8:9), spiritual ingratitude (7:15), social injustice (12:7), and selfish arrogance (13:6).
Hosea called for repentance, but he was not hopeful of a positive response because most of the people did not want to change. God's judgment would, therefore, descend in the form of infertility, military invasion, and exile. Hosea stressed the fact that God was just in sending judgment on the Israelites. He would do it by making their punishments match their crimes. The prophet assured the Israelites that God would not abandon them completely. After judgment would come salvation. Eventually the people would return to Yahweh, as Hosea's wayward wife returned to him. In Hosea, passages on salvation follow sections announcing judgment, though there are more predictions of punishment than promises of deliverance.
Judgment                      Restoration
     1:2-9        -----           1:10—2:1
     2:2-13        -----         2:14—3:5
     4:1—5:14   -----        5:15—6:3
     6:4—11:7    -----     11:8-11
 11:12—13:16 -- Ch. 14
The great illustration of how committed God is to His people is how He instructed Hosea to relate to his unfaithful wife. He will be patient with them and will eventually save them. "The Lord's covenantal relationship with His people Israel is central to the messages of Hosea, he accused God's people of violating the obligations of the Mosaic Covenant and warned that judgment was impending. He anticipated a time when the Lord, on the basis of His eternal covenantal promises to Abraham and David, would restore Israel to a position of favor and blessing. In fact, the coming judgment would purify God's people and thus prepare the way for a glorious new era in Israel's history
But because of His undying love for them, His mercy and loving kindness will prevail. God's love makes demands, but it is also willing to forgive.
The love of God disciplines his people to draw them into its fullness. The motif in chapter 6, “He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us, He has injured us, but he will bind up our wounds” demonstrates the disciplining character of God towards His people. The covenant does not mean that God owes his love to Israel. God’s love in seen not so much in emotional terms but in covenantal terms. There is nothing in the Israelites that can stand as a merit or a worth to receive God’s love, rather it is a love that flows from God’s free pleasure to honor his broken covenant.(election)
Hosea is essentially a covenant enforcement document. The following are subgenres questions, a penitential song, a divine lament, an admonition to repent, and a love song.or literary forms in Hosea: the prophetic judgment speech, the covenant lawsuit speech (or rib oracle), the oracle of salvation, the prophetic call or commission, the symbolic action, proverbs and wisdom sayings, calls to alarm or battle warnings, the woe oracle, rhetorical
Problems of Redaction:
The book of Hesea is placed at the head of the 12 Prophets books, probably because with its 14 chapters it is the longest of them. The language of the book seems to reflect the northern Isralite dialect of Hebrew.
In the first part of the book we noticethat the chapter 1 is biographical, that is, Hosea is refered to as the 3rd person Hos 1:2. In the 3rd chapter we realise that it is autobiographical, Here Hosea speaks in the 1st person.
The final theme draws on disobedience and warning / hope.  Hosea distinguishes that true obedience to the covenant involves a true knowledge of God.
The book of Hosea is divided into two clear sections;
the first section is a biographical account of the events in the life of Hosea, second section contains the words and messages of the prophet himself.
èThe marriage of Hosea to Gomer is a loaded theological metaphor. In commanding Hosea to marry a harlot, God is using the prophet’s life so that we can focus on His covenant that has been dishonored. This illustration of the adulterous wife is a “wake-up” call to the people of the northern kingdom that are soon to be judged. 
Hosea’s marriage points back to the Mosaic covenant God made at Sinai. Which echo’s the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 31:16
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold… this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.”  In the discourse that follows His words, God foretells of the judgments that he will send down upon His people. 
The command of God to take a wife of harlotry is a powerful and direct reference to the words of God at the closing of the Deuteronomic covenant
The opening chapters strongly indicate that the book of Hosea needs too be framed within the context of the Deuteronomic covenant. Hosea is rather looking back at the Torah and calling the people back to its standard
It is as if Hosea is a preacher that holding the scroll up and pointing his finger to the passages that are being widely ignored throughout Israel.
Concerning the marriage itself, God did command Hosea to marry an immoral woman. The woman bore Hosea three children. She abandons Hosea and falls into poverty and disgrace until Hosea buys her back and restores her to himself. 
The prophets painful experience becomes a symbol of YHWH’s dealing with his people.
Ch 2 Israel, the bride of God, has become a faithless harlot, has aroused the anger & jealousy of her divine husband God’s love remains; he will punish her, but only to bring her back & restore her to the joys of their first love.
For the first time, God’s relationship with Israel is described in terms of marriage. The underlying theme of all his preaching is divine love.
The kings chosen in defiance to God’s will, have toyed with human policies, degrading God’s chosen people to the level of other nations. The priest ignorant & avaricious, are leading the people to their ruins. Hosea attacks injustice & violence, but he is more insistence on the evils of apostasy. The worship of YHWH at Bethel is idolatrous worship; YHWH is coupled with Baal (fertility God of Ancient Near East)& Astarte in the licentious rites of the high places. Now YHWH is a jealous God, demanding an undivided heart.
6:6 What I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God not burnt offerings. Punishment is therefore sure to come, yet God punishes only to save. Israel stripped & shamed will come to remember the days of her faithfulness. YHWH will welcome his repentant people back; happiness & peace will return.
è Let us understand these two aspects of Hosea’s ministry under seven headings:
Between 746-721 BCE, i.e. in the period of 25 yrs, six kings succeeded one another, four of which were assassinated, 3 reigned for very short period of time ( 1m, 6m, 2yrs). These details tell us that the political situation was unstable during the period. Violence had reached its peak. King Jehu killed Jehoram, the king of Israel, the son of Ahab & Jezabel. He was instrumental in killing Queen Jezabel & 70 male descendents of Ahab. Finally, he gathered all the devotes of Baal in the temple & got them mercilessly butchered. In his opinion he did this to protect the good name of YHWH.
But Hosea suggests that YHWH does not approve such violence.
Among the 6 kings, the last was king Hosher Ben Elah. He rebelled against Assyria who had made a treaty with Israel & tried to get the assistance of Egypt. As a result of this breach of treaty, The Assyrian emperor Shalmanesser V came, deposed the king & took him to exile. It is against that background that Hosea says, what can a king do ? He can neither save Israel nor himself. He is powerless.
There was a complete breakdown of the law & order . The kings were not only unfaithful to God & his plan but thy were also negligent about the situation. They took no action to condemn the false behavior of the merchants & traders.
Israel was originally the land of Canaanites. These Canaanites were farmers. They had to depend on nature for their occupation. They believed that it was Baal who sent rains to the earth. Monsoon for them was a physical union of God Baal & Goddess Asherah. This belief reflected the fertility cult. Furthermore there were temples prostitutes (both male & female) & union with them was considered as union with god.
When the Isralites captured canaan they started practicing this cult & broke the Ist, 2nd, 6th. & 9th. commandments of God. Actually, when the alters at Shechem, Shiloh, Dan & Bathel were established, images of calves & bulls were also established as vehicles of YHWH. But people forgot their true God & started worshipping the bull that was representing Baal.
Prophet Hosea corrects this notion of God. It is not Baal but YHWH that sends rain. It is not through prostitution that the devotee of YHWH is united with God but through prayers. In this way the worship of YHWH protects the dignity of human person.
Hosea has shown the relation between YHWH & the Israelites most boldly as the relationship between husband & wife. In Hos 2:19-20. the lord says 3 times that he will take Israel as his wife. This covenant relationship is expressed through 3 elements: Those who attack the crops won’t damage it,
there will be no more war, & Israel will relax in safety & prosperity.
Hos 2:18 God’s love is steadfast but the peoples love is fleeting & flickering.
Hos 6:4 Expresses the pain of God’s wounded heart because the beloved has not responded to his love.
Hosea expresses God’s love for his people in 2 ways; The first one is husband & wife relationship & the second one is the relationship between parent & child. In Hos 11:1-4 there are 6 terms used for YHWH’s love for his people.
He freed them from Egypt Taught them to walk Took them in his arms
Held them close to his cheek Fed them. This is not the affectionate love of a father for his child but a demanding love & therefore YHWH will punish Israel. She will go in exile & finally return.
YHWH’s hand hurts but it also heals. Hos 6:1-2
According to Hosea the people of Israel are not faithful to the covenant because they have no knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is not merely theoretical or academic knowledge but it has 5 aspects:
Experience of God -4:1
Transformation of ones life – 4:1
Steadfast love – 6:6
Observance of the law – 4:6
To make a new start – 10:12 = Jer 4:3.
There are at least three central themes in developing a theology of HoseaFirst, is that covenantal disobedience of the people, in which Hosea looks back and rebukes the people in light of the Deuteronomic covenant.  Secondly, Hosea urges that to return to the covenant is not enough; rather one must do that with the goal of returning to the purpose of the covenant, which was to elicit a true knowledge of God.  
Finally, Hosea’s theology explains the dimensions of the love of God in the face of disobedience.  The love of God does not pacify all his judgments, but it does supersede them and will remain faithful to his covenantal promises despite the rampant waywardness. 
Hosea prophesied during a dark and melancholy era of Israel's history, the period of the Northern Kingdom's decline and fall in the 8th century BC. The apostasy of the people was rampant, having turned away from God in order to serve the calves of Jeroboam and Baal, a Canaanite god of fertility.
The figures of marriage and adultery are common in the Hebrew Bible as representations of the relationship between God and the people of Israel. Here we see the apostasy of Israel and its punishment, with its future repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
First, Hosea was directed by God to marry a harlot, and he did so. Marriage here is symbolic of the covenantal relationship between God and Israel. However, Israel has been unfaithful to God by following other gods and breaking the commandments which are the terms of the covenant, hence Israel is symbolized by a harlot who violates the obligations of marriage to her husband.
Second, Hosea and his wife, Gomer, have a son. God commands that the son be named Jezreel. This name refers to a valley in which much blood had been shed in Israel's history, especially by the kings of the Northern Kingdom. The naming of this son was to stand as a prophecy against the reigning house of the Northern Kingdom, that they would pay for that bloodshed. Jezreel's name means God Sows.
Third, the couple have a daughter. God commands that she be named Lo-ruhamah; Unloved, or, Pity or Pitied On to show Israel that, although God will still have pity on the Southern Kingdom, God will no longer have pity on the Northern Kingdom; its destruction is imminent.
Fourth, a son is born to Gomer. It is questionable whether this child was Hosea's, for God commands that his name be Lo-ammi; Not My People, or more simply, Not Mine. The child bore this name of shame to show that the Northern Kingdom would also be shamed, for its people would no longer be known as God's People. Also God says that "I am not your I am"; in other words, God changes His own name in connection with his current relationship with Israel.
Following this, the prophecy is made that someday this will all be changed, that God will indeed have pity on Israel.
"Understanding the message of the book of Hosea depends upon understanding the Sinai covenant.
“Ex·e·ge·sis” Critical explanation or analysis,
especially of a text.
Introduction :
Hosea uses his own marital experience as a symbolic representation of God & Israel. God as the husband & Israel as the wife. His wife left him to go with other men; Israel left the Lord to go to other gods. Hosea searched for his wife, found her & brought her back; God would not abandon Israel, he would bring them back even though they forsake him. The book of Hosea was a severe warning to the northern kingdom against the growing idolatry being practiced there; The book was a call to repentance.
Beside the voice of doom for the people of Israel, we hear the voice of forgiving love, a voice of a broken & bleeding heart of God.
Hosea preaches about god’s love.
His social themes were danger of injustice at home & reliance on military alliance abroad. He talked about the compassion of God, & Gods tender longing for God’s people.
The Book of Hosea contains two major divisions -- chapters 1­-3 present Hosea's relationship with Gomer while
Chapters 4-14 apply the message of redeeming love to the relationship between God and Israel.
It is hard to outline the prophetic books because the prophets alternate between listing sins, predicting judgment and then promising restoration
Chapter 1 : Marriage of Hosea and Gomer, the harlot.
1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, son of Beeri, in the days a of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of the king Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
This verse introduces the whole book. Hosea's ministry probably extended from about 760-715 B.C. We know nothing else about Beeri ("my wellspring").
Though we know nothing of Hosea's personal life before he began prophesying, we do know about a crisis that arose in his family while he ministered. This personal tragedy and its happy ending proved to be a lesson to the people of Israel.
The major themes : Israel's unfaithfulness to Yahweh, His judgment of her, and His later restoration of her.
The Lord used Hosea's family as signs to communicate His message of coming judgment on Israel.
vv. 2, 3 He will know how God feels when the nation plays the harlot by departing from the Lord.
1:2 When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, The Lord said to Hosea, Go take for your self a of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom, by forsaking the Lord.
The reason the Lord gave for this unusual command was that the land of Israel, the people of the Northern Kingdom, were committing harlotry in the sense that they had departed from the Lord. The Lord used personification to picture the land as a woman acting as a prostitute.
First, some believe the text means that God told Hosea an allegory in which his wife was or would become a harlot. Hosea recorded the name of his wife (Gomer) and her father's name (Diblaim) (1:3). He also named the exact amount that he paid for her (3:2).
Second, Or Hosea's wife became because she was a worshipper of a false god; her harlotry was spiritual rather than physical. Since she was unfaithful to Yahweh.
Third, it is possible that Hosea's wife was sexually unfaithful before he married her.
Fourth, Or Hosea's wife became unfaithful to him after they got married, and that Yahweh told him that she would do this before they got married. This view was similar to the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, with Hosea's marital relations. Israel became unfaithful to Yahweh after previous faithfulness; Israel was not unfaithful when Yahweh married her (at Sinai). She was a brand new bride freshly redeemed out of Egyptian slavery.
Another difficulty is the meaning of "children of harlotry."
They were born to Hosea and Gomer after she became unfaithful? Probably the phrase means "children of a wife who is marked by harlotry, and they became known as children of harlotry when their mother became a harlot.
1:3 So he went and took d Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; & she conceived, and bore him a son.
Gomer = consumption or corruption, and Diblaim = rotten clusters of figs, declaring that they were all corrupt like rotten figs.
She bore Hosea a son whom the Lord told the prophet to name "Jezreel." The name "Jezreel" means "God sows" OR ‘scatters’
vv. 4, 5 — Jezreel is the name of a city and also of a famous plain, the plain of Armageddon where the last war will end. It has an infamous history. Read 2 Kings 10 for the historical background.
1:4 And the LORD said to him, Name him Jezreel, for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel & I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel
Meaning that they would no longer be called Israelites, which name they boasted because Israel did prevail with God: but that they were as bastards, and therefore should be called Jezreelites, that is, scattered people,
1:5 On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
When the measure of their iniquity is full, and I will take vengeance and destroy all their administration and strength. ‘Bow = strength’.
vv. 6-9 — Three children are born to Hosea and Gomer:
(1) Jezreel (a son), meaning God will scatter his people
      — God will avenge the blood of Jezreel.
(2) Lo-ruhamah (a daughter), meaning unpitied ; no compassion— God will no longer   
     show mercy upon the house of Israel.
(3) Lo-ammi (a son), meaning not my people — Israel was called “my people.” At this time God had repudiated the northern kingdom but not the southern kingdom.
1:6 She conceived again, and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, name her Loruhamah: for I will no more have pity/mercy on the house of Israel; or forgive them.
"Lo-ruhamah," meaning, "She is not loved," because He would not have compassion on Israel to forgive her for her sins. This was an outrageous name for a daughter. Yahweh had been very compassionate toward Israel in the past, but her persistent unfaithfulness to Him and His covenant with her made continuing compassion impossible.
1:7 But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
In contrast, the Lord would have compassion on the Southern Kingdom of Judah and deliver her from such a fate. He said He would do this by Yahweh their God, perhaps using His own name this way to impress on the Israelites who their true God was. He said He would not do this in battle, however. The Israelites relied on human arms and alliances, but the Judahites trusted in the Lord, so He delivered the Judahites supernaturally.
1:8 When she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived & bore a son.
1:9 Then the Lord said, Name him Loammi: for you are not my people, and I am not be your God.
The Lord no longer regarded the kingdom of Israel as His people or Himself as their God. He did not mean, of course, that He would break His unconditional promises to His people, but that the relationship that they had enjoyed so far would come to an end. The last phrase "I [am] not I AM to you". He would withdraw the covenant / protection.
This passage contains four symbolic names: the names of Hosea's three children and Yahweh's new name, "not your I AM," indicating His rejection of Israel. The collective impact of these four names is the message of this periscope (section / part of the book): Israel's unfaithfulness had become so obnoxious to Yahweh that He would not tolerate her any longer.
1:10 Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, it shall be said to them, Children of the living God.
This is a promise of restoration.--- Despite the judgment promised, Yahweh revealed that the number of the Israelites would be as the sand of the sea. He also said that in the same place where they heard His word of rejection (v. 9) they would hear His word of acceptance. "Hosea's words here are crucial to an understanding of his theology of hope. The nation's unfaithfulness to God and their trust in Assyria would be their downfall, but God would preserve a people, and out of them would spring an innumerable multitude."
1:11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head, and they shall take possessions of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
The Northern and Southern Kingdoms would reunite, and they would have only one king. They would also grow strong in the land, as a plant.
That is, after the captivity of Babylon, when the Jews were restored: but chiefly this refers to the time of Christ, who would be the head both of the Jews and Gentiles.
Ch 2: Gomer proves faithless; Israel proves faithless; God proves faithful.
The theme of restoration after this judgment then follows immediately in 2:1-3
Describes a divorce. This divorce seems to be the end of the covenant between God and the Northern Kingdom. However, it is probable that this was again a symbolic act, in which Hosea divorced Gomer for infidelity, and used the occasion to preach the message of God's rejection of the Northern Kingdom. He ends this prophecy with the declaration that God will one day renew the covenant, and will take Israel back in love.
vv. 1-3 — Hosea loves Gomer, and when she plays the harlot again, he sends their son and daughter to plead with her to return.
2:1 Say to your brothers, Ammi, & to your sister, Ruhamah.
The Lord instructed representatives of the restored nation to announce to their fellow Israelites then that they were again "my [God's] people" and that they were again Yahweh's "loved one". The fulfillment of this prophecy has not come yet, so we look forward to the regathering of Israel
Two judgment oracles follow. In the first one, Hosea and Gomer's relationship is primarily in view, but the parallels with Yahweh and Israel's relationship are obvious. In the second one, it is almost entirely Yahweh and Israel's relationship that is in view. In both parts the general form of the messages is that of the lawsuit or legal accusation (Heb. rib) based on (Mosaic) covenant violation. In both relationships, restoration follows judgment.
In this message, the Lord described Israel's unfaithfulness to Him in terms similar to those that a husband would use to describe his wife's unfaithfulness to him. The whole message appears to be one that Hosea delivered to his children, but it really describes Israel as the unfaithful "wife" of Yahweh.

2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, & I am not her husband: that she puts away her whoring from her face, & her adultery from between her breasts. 
Hosea called on his children to act as witnesses against the conduct of their mother. She was not acting like a true wife. She needed to stop practicing harlotry and adultery. In the figure Yahweh used, He called on the Israelites to contend with their mother, a figure for the nation as a whole. "Israel's one hope is that her own sons (Israelites) should stand up in accusation against her, Yahweh was bringing legal charges against Israel that could stand up in court. The legal charge was not a formal declaration of divorce, however, because He wanted to heal the relationship, not terminate it. The relationship between Yahweh and Israel was not what it should have been. She had stopped worshipping and serving Yahweh exclusively and had worshipped and served other gods. This was spiritual adultery. Under the Mosaic Law, a husband could have his wife stoned for being unfaithful, but this was not God's intention for Israel. "Marriage is one of many figures used in Scripture to emphasize the relationship of God to men, Israel is described as the wife of the LORD, though now disowned because of disobedience. Nevertheless eventually, upon repentance, Israel will be restored. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of the LORD;
2:3 Or I will strip her naked, and expose her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and turn her into a parched land, and kill her with thirst.
If she did not respond, Hosea threatened to strip her as naked as when she was born, to expose her to shame and helplessness. Stripping naked like a prostitute was a metaphor used to describe the punishment due a covenant breaker He would also make her like a desert wilderness in that she would become sterile and incapable of bearing other children. Even though she thirsted for children.
The threat to Israel involved, first, making the nation an object of shame and ridicule in the world. Second, Yahweh would remove all her powers of fertility. Her flocks and herds would not flourish, her fields would become unproductive, and her women would be unfruitful.
2:4 Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of whoredom
Furthermore Hosea threatened to have no compassion on the children that Gomer had given birth to in her harlotry, children of other fathers. These appear to be children in addition to the three named earlier. For Israel this signified that Yahweh would not recognize as His own and love as His own the descendants that the Israelites bore. He would regard them as the products of others, not Himself
2:5 For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully, For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers; they give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
The reason for Hosea's lack of compassion for these children was that Gomer had shamelessly played the harlot and had conceived them in adultery. She had brazenly sought out lovers who promised to provide money adequate to take care of her needs and wants. Israel pursued other gods (Baals) because she believed they could take care of her better than Yahweh.
2:6 Therefore I will hedge her way with thorns; and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths
Hosea said he would oppose Gomer as though he put a hedge of thorns so she would turn aside from her ways.
Yahweh would make it perilously difficult for Israel to pursue idols.
2:7 She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now.’ 
Consequently, Gomer would pursue her lovers but not be able to catch up with them. She would seek them but not find them. Out of frustration she would give up pursuing them and return to her husband. She would conclude that she was better off with him than with them.
Out of frustration Israel would turn back to Yahweh.
Judgment on Israel 2:8-13
Here we see the relationship between Israel and Yahweh becomes even clearer. The mention of Baals and Israel's feasts makes this obvious.
Hosea's relationship with Gomer recedes into the background. We see more of God’s love for the nation Israel. God will judge Israel, but ultimately He will restore her, and she will give up the worship of Baal. Hosea understands the attitude and action of God because of his own love for Gomer.
2:8 She did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for Baal. 
Israel failed to acknowledge that it was Yahweh who had provided for her and had given her all she needed when she was pursuing pagan gods. The Israelites used the silver and gold that the Lord had bestowed on them to make idols of Baal, which they credited with their agricultural blessings. The prophet bemoaned the lack of knowledge of God that presently existed in the land. The Israelites' destruction was due to this lack of knowledge. The fact that they had not known the Lord stood in the way of their return to Him. But when repentance came, they would know and follow on to know the Lord. They would learn that knowledge of the Lord is more important to Him than burnt offerings.
2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season; and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. 
Therefore the Lord would withdraw the blessings of fertility that he had formerly provided for Israel. Signifying that God will take away his benefits, when man by his ingratitude abuses them.
2:10 Now I will uncover her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
He would also expose Israel to shame in the sight of those with whom she had committed adultery. No one would be able or willing to save her from this punishment.
2:11 I will put an end to all her mirth, her festivals, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed festivals.
Yahweh would put an end to all Israel's happy yearly, monthly, and weekly celebrations. The Sabbath was apparently a feast day. Idolatry had so corrupted Israel's sacred feasts that Yahweh no longer wanted His people to observe them.
2:12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, ‘These are my pay, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make them a forest, and the wild animals shall devour them.
The Lord would also destroy the vines and fig trees, Israel's finest crops.
Israel regarded them as pay from her lovers, but Yahweh would turn these
groves of fruit trees into wild forests, and wild beasts would destroy the
trees and their fruit. This suggests that there would no longer be Israelites
in the land to care for these crops.
2:13 I will punish her for the festival days of the Baals, when she offered incense to the and decked herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers, and forgot me, says the Lord.
I will punish her for her idolatry & observing sacred days in honor of the
Baals. He shows how superstitious idolaters set a great part of their religion in adorning themselves on their holy days.
But she had forgotten Yahweh, & had refused to acknowledge Him
Renewed love and Restoration marriage 2:14-20
The emphasis in this message is on the fact that God would renew His love for Israel and would restore their "marriage" relationship. "Baal" means "lord." The Canaanites considered that there were many local representations (Baals) of the one deity (Baal). The Israelites had worshipped at many different shrines to Baal—they had pursued the Baals—as a harlot pursues many lovers.
2:14 Therefore, I will now persuade her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
By offering her grace and mercy, even in that place where she will think herself as a destitute.
This verse presents the Lord as romancing Israel back to Himself
2:15 From there I will give her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
The Lord promised that He would restore the blessings of vineyards to the Israelites. He would turn the valley of Achor This memorial site would no longer remind the Israelites of past sins but would appear to them as the gateway to a new and better future in the land. She would sing again, as the Israelites did when they had crossed the Red Sea. Israel would start over as a nation, as she did when she came out of Egypt and the wilderness into the Promised Land.
2:16 On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband’, and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal’.
That is, my husband, knowing that I am united to you by a covenant which could not be violated. She will recognize me & no longer call me Baal.
2:17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more.
In that coming day of restoration the Israelites would call Yahweh Ishi, "my husband," and would refer to Him as Baali, "my lord," no longer. "Baali" would recall the Baals of Israel's past, which the Lord would remove from her heart and mouth. They would not even mention the name of Baal by referring to Yahweh as their Baali.
2:18 I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.
God makes a covenant: that he will so bless them, that all creatures will favour them.
God’s love is steadfast but the peoples love is fleeting & flickering.
In Hos 2:19-20. the lord says 3 times that he will take Israel as his wife. Covenant relationship of God with his people.
2:19 And I will take you for my wife for ever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.
2:20 I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.
It would be as though Yahweh and Israel began life anew as husband and wife. In the ancient Near East a man paid a price to seal the agreement when he became engaged, and people regarded the couple as good as married in the eyes of the law. What the Lord vowed to give Israel to seal this nuptial agreement was righteousness. (what was right), justice (fair treatment), loyal love (unswerving commitment), compassion (tender affection), and faithfulness (dependability). This was God's marriage vow for Israel. In response, Israel would recognize her special relationship to Him and show this by faithfully obeying Him.
Renewed fertility and restored favor 2:21-23
This message stresses the renewed fertility and restored favor that Israel could anticipate because Yahweh would reach out and save her in the future.
2:21 On that day I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth;
Then will the heaven desire rain for the earth, which will bring forth things for the use of man.
2:22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel;
And the earth shall answer the grain, the wine & the oil, & they shall answer Jazreel. In that coming day of blessing the Lord would restore agricultural
productivity to the land. He would respond to the heavens, personified as
crying to Him to send rain. The cry of the heavens would be in response to
an appeal that the earth made to it to send rain. The earth would ask for
rain because the grain, new wine, and oil had told the earth they needed
rain. These crops would appeal to the earth because Jezreel had appealed
to it. Jezreel ("God sows or plants") here personifies the nation of Israel as a whole, Israel in the past had cried to Baal, the Canaanite god of rain
and fertility, but he had not helped. Having returned to the Lord, the
Israelites would now appeal to Him as the true God of fertility, and He
would respond by sending rain.
2:23  and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’
The Lord would also plant Israel in the Promised Land; He would plant her there securely where she would grow under His care and blessing. He would show compassion to the people whom He formerly said were "not loved," and He would reclaim as His own the people whom He formerly called "not my people". They would then acknowledge Yahweh as their God, not Baal.
Note that the names of all three of Hosea's children come together again in verses 22-23.
Ch 3.
At God's command, Hosea seeks out Gomer once more. Either she has sold herself into slavery for debt, or she is with a lover who demands money in order to give her up, because Hosea has to buy her back. He takes her home, but refrains from sexual intimacy with her for many days, to symbolize the fact that Israel will be without a king for many years, but that God will take Israel back, even at a cost to Himself.
God commands Hosea to break the Mosaic Law: (Leviticus 20:10) If a man commits adultery with the wife of the neighbor, both the adulterer & the adulteress shall be put to death -- Gomer should be stoned, not restored. Hosea loves her and hesitates to go that far. Note what the New Testament says:(1 Corinthians 6:16) Do you not know that who ever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her ? For it is said, “the two shall be one flesh,”
3:1 The Lord said to me again, ‘Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’
Yahweh told Hosea to seek out in love the woman whom he formerly loved, Gomer, even though she was an adulteress. His action would be similar to that of the Lord Himself who loved the Israelites even though they had become spiritually unfaithful to Him. They had turned from following Him to worship other gods, and they loved the raisin cakes that were evidently part of their worship.
3:2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine.
Fifteen shekels of silver was half the price of a dead slave, and barley was cattle food. A homer and a half cost about 15 shekels of silver. So Hosea evidently paid the price of a dead slave for his wife.
At Bethlehem God entered the slave market where the whole human race was putting itself up for auction, prostituting itself and its humanity to a cheapened life. But on the cross the Lord Jesus paid the price, the full price for our freedom, and bought us back. This is the story of God's love and God's heart.
3:3 And I said to her, ‘You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.’
She was his by right of marriage and by right of purchase. She was not to play the harlot or to have a lover any longer.
The restoration of Yahweh's wife 3:4-5
Israel is to be restored, though she is no better than a harlot. This (v. 4) is one prophecy that has had continual fulfillment for over 1900 years: “Without a king” since the Davidic line ended with Zedekiah. They rejected Jesus as king. “Without a prince”— they have no one to succeed to the throne. If the Lord Jesus Christ is not their Messiah, they have none and have no prospect for one. “Without a sacrifice” — the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and there has been no sacrifice since then. “Without an image” means “without pillars.” “Without an ephod” — the ephod was the sacred garment worn by the high priest. “Without teraphim” — teraphim were small images or good luck charms. The people of Israel will not only return to the land, but they will seek the Lord their God (v. 5). This they have not yet done. “Latter days” refer to the latter days of Israel, after the church has been removed by the Rapture.
3:4 4For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
The Lord explained that the Israelites would remain for a long time separated from their idolatrous practices. During this time they would not have a king or leader, sacrifices or sacred pillar, ephod or household idols They would have none of the things that marked them as God's people or that they had used to worship idols
3:5  Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
After this period of cleansing, the Israelites would return to the Lord. They would seek Him as their God and a Davidic king as their ruler. They would approach the Lord with a healthy sense of fear because of His rich blessings. The prophets view the ideal Davidic ruler. This appears to be another messianic prophecy. This is meant of Christ’s kingdom, which was promised to David to be eternal.
"Chapter 3 is one of the classic O.T. passages describing Israel's past, present, and future. Her idolatrous past is illustrated by Gomer's unfaithfulness to Hosea, despite which Hosea is commanded to love her and buy her back 'according to the love of the LORD toward . . . Israel,' a love which led Him to pay the purchase price of the blood of the cross to redeem Israel, the basis of her restoration. "God is gracious, and no matter what 'name' our birth has given to us, He can change it and give us a new beginning. Even the 'valley of trouble' can become a 'door of hope. To live for the world is to break God's heart and commit 'spiritual adultery.' "God is love and promises to forgive and restore all who repent and return to Him. He promises to bless all who trust him."
Chapter 4 Focuses on the sins of the Northern Kingdom.
Now the private life of Hosea fades into the background, and the emphasis is upon the Lord and Israel.
The remaining messages that Hosea recorded in this book continue to expound the themes introduced in the first two series (chs. 1—3). All five series of messages major on Israel's guilt and coming judgment, but all conclude on a positive note promising restoration in the future. Here we begin a new section, which extends to the end of the book and contains oracles of doom and hope. Even in this section, however, we are never far from Hosea's marriage, for it is always in the background and is the catalyst for his message to his people. We see it in the references to the nation as mother and children, as well as in the numerous pointers to spiritual harlotry and adultery."
Israel's Unfaithfulness and Resulting Judgment (4-13)
The prophet used the legal trial or lawsuit method to proclaim his message. He begins by saying, “Listen up Israel!” “God has a 'court case' against you.” He emphasis on the lack of three things because he repeats the “There is no...” There is no faithfulness -- There is no loyalty-love
There is no knowledge --or-- Acknowledgement of God in the land.
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Lack of what knowledge? Look at the context - 4:1 says “there is no knowledge of God in the land.” Knowledge of God is the context. The word also means to acknowledge. I think both definitions are appropriate:
Because of their idolatry, they had failed to learn about God, and as a result they did not know God. They did not have a relationship with Him. They did not acknowledge God. They did not acknowledge that it was God who was responsible for their prosperity and it was God to whom they were responsible. The word “know” was “used in Ancient Near Eastern treaties of an inferior party’s attitude toward his superior.” He was to recognize the superior’s authority over him and do his will.
Your relationship with people shows your relationship with God. It shows whether or not you know God. To know your name was to own you know all about you.
No faithfulness (trustworthiness) 4:1 11:12—13:16 No love (kindness) 4:1 6:1—11:11
No acknowledgment of God 4:1 4:4—5:15
4:1 Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel;  for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty,  and no knowledge of Godin the land.
Hosea called on the Israelites to listen to a word from Yahweh because He was charging them with serious crimes. Yahweh was taking the Israelites to court. The basic accusation is that there was no faithfulness (truth, trustworthiness), kindness (loyalty, Heb. hesed), or (evidence of) knowledge of God in the land. The Israelites failed to acknowledge Yahweh as their God. These were all things that God had ordered His people to pursue when He covenanted with them at Sinai. 
Experience of God is = Transformation of ones life
4:2 Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Hosea observed swearing (cursing others by misusingoaths and imprecations), deception, murder, stealing, adultery, violence,and continual bloodshed. These were things He had forbidden in Hiscovenant. He identified violations of at least five of the Ten Commandment. Violent crimes were so common that they seemed to follow one another without interruption.
4:3 Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing.
Therefore God was not blessing Israel but was bringing curses on the land so every part of the Northern Kingdom suffered, every living thing.
Drought seems to be the particular form of chastisement in view.
è In this pericope (An extract or selection from a book) God addressed the Israelites as a whole but identified sins of their priests in particular.
4:4  Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.
Israel's guilt was so clear that the Lord forbade the people from denying
His charge against them. As judge, He silenced them in His court. In
defying Him they were like witnesses who brazenly defied their authority
on earth, the priest.
4:5   You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night, and I will destroy your mother.
Because of this rebellion the people would have great difficulty and would stumble as they walked through life. Their false prophets would also err. Both types of spiritual leaders, priests and (false) prophets, were guilty before God. The Lord also promised to destroy the mother of the Israelites, probably another reference to the nation as a whole.
Israel’s ignorance of the Word of God leads to their destruction. They turn from God to sin, which He must judge. “Either the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”
4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
That is, the priests will be cast off, because for lack of knowledge they are not able to execute their charge, and instruct others; Meaning the whole body of the people, who were weary with hearing the word of God.
4:7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; they changed their glory into shame.  
God had blessed the Israelites by increasing their numbers, but their
response to this blessing had been to increase their sinning against Him.
Consequently He would change their glory, a large population, into shame;
He would reduce their numbers.
4:8 They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity.
Israel's priests were feeding on the sin offerings that the people brought to their pagan shrines. Yet since these offerings were to idols it was as though the priests really fed on the people's sins. The priests desired these offerings, which meant they wanted the people to practice idolatry so they would bring more sacrifices. King Jeroboam I had appointed as priests people from any tribe and all walks of life in Israel.
4:9 And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds.  
God would, therefore, punish the unfaithful priests of Israel as He would
punish the unfaithful people of Israel.
Both groups were sinning with their idolatrous works.
4:10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the Lord
to devote themselves to whoredom.
They would eat but not have enough because the Lord would send drought and scarcity of food as punishment. They would act like harlots by committing fornication with pagan temple prostitutes, but their numbers would not increase because Yahweh would reduce their fertility. He would do this because they had stopped listening to and obeying Him by observing His law.
4:11 Wine and new wine take away the understanding.
In giving themselves to pleasures, they become like brute beasts. with its emphasis on drinkingwine, had turned the heart of the Israelites from Yahweh.
4:12 My people consult a piece of wood and their divining-rod gives them oracles. and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.
God's people consulted wooden idols and sought revelations using a
diviner's rod. Their spirit of harlotry led them astray from the true God and
His Word. They behaved like harlots departing from the authority of their
true husband, Yahweh.
4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
They worshipped their idols on the tops of hills and under trees because they enjoyed worshipping at their convenience. This was as bad as the daughters of the Israelites practicing harlotry and adultery with male cult prostitutes.
4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with whores, and sacrifice with temple prostitutes; thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.
However, Yahweh would not punish only the females in Israel, because
the males were just as guilty. The females were unfaithful to their husbands, but their husbands were also engaging in immoral acts with pagan temple prostitutes. For homosexuals, homosexual prostitutes were provided, Thus this people marked by lack of understanding would come to ruin when God humbled them with punishment.
4:15 Though you play the whore, O Israel, do not let Judah become guilty. Do not enter into Gilgal, or go up to Beth-aven,  and do not swear, ‘As the Lord lives.’
The Lord warned the Israelites not to pollute their brethren in the Southern Kingdom with their unfaithfulness. He also warned them not to go to the pagan shrines and take an oath in His name since they did not really worship Him. This was pure hypocrisy. Gilgal and Beth-aven were representative pagan cultic sites. The prophet had come to refer to Bethel (house of God) by the name Beth-aven (house of wickedness) because it had become one of the main centers of idolatry.
The Idolatry of Israel
4:16 Like a stubborn heifer (young calf), Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture? (backsliding 1)
The Lord asked rhetorically (language used effectively) if He could continue to guide Israel as its Shepherd since it was not behaving like a compliant heifer or lamb but had become stubborn and obstinate. No, He could not. Israel is guilty of backsliding. It is mentioned three times in the remainder of the book.
4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols let him alone.
Since Ephraim (lit. fruitful), the largest tribe in the Northern Kingdom that
stood for the whole nation, had abandoned her Shepherd for idols, He
called others to leave her alone also. He would abandon her to the
judgment that would come inevitably from pursuing sin .
Ephraim” occurs thirty-six times and refers to the northern kingdom of Israel.
4:18   When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies; they love lewdness (obscene manner) more than their glory.
Even when the Israelites were not under the influence of liquor, they still played the harlot continually. The rulers of the people, who were to be as shields protecting the general populace, also loved the sins that brought shame on the nation.
4:19 A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.
God would blow Israel away in judgment as though the wind wrapped the nation in its wings. When judgment came, the Israelites would finally feel
shame for sacrificing to idols.. The sins of omission and commission.        ( wrong doing ie willed; wrong doing ie a result of failing in ones duty)
Ch. 5 describes the guilt of all the Israelites in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and announces judgment on both groups.
Israel turns from God; God turns from Israel; deterioration within follows,
A warning to the priests, people, and royal family of Israel
The target audience of this warning passage was originally the leaders as well as the ordinary citizens of Israel.
5:1 Hear this, O priests; give heed, O house of Israel; listen O house of the king; for the judgment pertains to you, for you have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
Hosea called on the Israelite priests, the whole population of Israel, and the royal household to hear this message from Yahweh. The following word of judgment applied to all of them. Their policies and practices had trapped many people in idolatry and its consequent bondage and destruction. The priests and princes caught the poor people in their snares, as the fowlers did the birds, in these two high mountains.
5:2 And a pit dug deep in Shtitum, but I will punish all of them
Those who had revolted against Yahweh's covenant had gone deep into depravity, as though they waded through much carnage, to continue the hunting imagery.
5:3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me: for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled.
Yahweh knew Israel well; He had not been deceived and fallen into a trap, as the Israelites had. Ephraim had played the harlot against her husband, the Lord, and had defiled herself by doing so. Ephraim was the largest tribe in Israel and so, frequently, was a synonym for the Northern Kingdom
5:4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, & they do not know their Lord.
The cultic practices of the Israelite idolaters had ensnared them so they could not return to their real God. The spirit of a harlot had taken them over; they had become sin addicts. Consequently they did not acknowledge (know) Yahweh.
5:5 Israel’s pride of testifies against him; Ephraim stumbles in his guilt; Judah also stumbles with them.
The self-exalting arrogance of the Israelites gave evidence of their guilt and caused them to stumble as they pursued iniquity. With their proud noses high in the air, they frequently stumbled as they walked. Judah had also stumbled in some of the same sins.
5:6 With their flocks & herds they shall go to seek the Lord. But they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.
The guilty might seek the Lord, bringing their animal sacrifices to Him, but they would not find Him because He had withdrawn from them. Whereas holiness makes fellowship with God possible, sin and hypocrisy rule it out.
vv. 7-15 — Israel turns in desperation to her enemies for help, but there is no help. Judah is in the same plight. Assyria could not and would not assist.
5:7 They have dealt faithlessly with their LORD: for they have born illegitimate children: now the new moon shall devour them along with their fields.
They had dealt treacherously against the Lord by being unfaithful to their natural and covenant responsibilities to Him. In this they were like an unfaithful wife who had given birth to illegitimate children, the natural result of unfaithfulness.. Participation in apostate religious festivals would only hasten their destruction. Perhaps sexually transmitted diseases were taking their toll on the Israelites. Their lands would also experience destruction when enemy invaders overran Israel.
This warning confronted the tribe of Ephraim, or perhaps all Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
5:8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah: sound the alarm at Bethaven, and look behind you Benjamin.
Blowing trumpets in cities announced the coming of an invader. Throughout Israel's towns the sentries would blow alarms: in Gibeah and Ramah in northern Judah and in Beth-aven (Bethel) in southern Israel. Throughout the territory of Benjamin, which was home to all these towns at one time or another, news of war would come. Rather than leading Ephraim into battle, as the tribe of Benjamin did in Deborah's day, the invader would pursue Benjamin as it did Ephraim. "This verse describes an invasion of the territory of Benjamin from the south, from Judah. That is, all of Israel that was included under this tribe, signifying that the Lord’s plagues would pursue them from place to place until they were destroyed.
5:9 Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment: among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure.
When the Lord rebuked Ephraim for her sins, she would become desolate throughout her tribal territories. The Lord promised that this would surely happen.
5:10 The princes of Judah have become like those who remove their landmark: [therefore] on them I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
The leaders of Judah had also broken covenant with the Lord, as those who move boundary markers. Consequently God's wrath would rain down on them. The boundaries that the leaders of Judah had moved were not just physical but also spiritual. They had moved the boundaries between right and wrong, true and false religion, and the true God and idols.
5:11 Ephraim [is] oppressed [and] crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after vanity.
Ephraim would experience crushing judgment by an enemy invader
because he determined to follow false gods rather than divine commands
5:12 Therefore I am like maggots to Ephraim and like rottenness to the house of Judah.
Yahweh would consume the Northern Kingdom as a moth eats cloth or as
rot causes bones to decay.
5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah [saw] his wound, then Ephraim went to the Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your
Both Israel and Judah appealed to the king of Assyria for help, but he was
unable to save them. Rather than assisting, the Assyrians attacked both nations.
5:14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, & like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear & go away; I will carry off, & no one shall rescue.
As a lion He would tear them to pieces and carry them away in judgment, and there would be no one who could deliver them.
5:15 I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt & seek my face, In their distress they will beg my favor.
As a lion returning to its lair, Yahweh would go away and leave His people until they bore their punishment and sought His forgiveness. When they felt their affliction they would seek Him earnestly
Ch 6: Israel (Ephraim) will return in the last days; presently to be judged for current sins, Chapter 6
Hosea looks to the last days when Israel will return to the Lord. The Lord has judged; He will save them (v. 1). “In the third day he will raise us up” (v. 2) is interesting in light of the resurrection of Christ on the third day. He “was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25) will be applicable to the nation Israel in the last days. “Rain” (v. 3) could be literal rain, or it could be figurative (see Hosea 10:12;). Knowledge leads to spiritual growth.
YHWH’s hand hurts but it also heals. Hos 6:1-2
6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
The repentant Israelites would encourage each other to return to Yahweh because they believed He would heal them as a shepherd, even though He had torn and wounded them as a lion. They would recognize that their punishment had come from Him, not just from a foreign enemy.
6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we will live before him.
He would revive them after a relatively brief period of judgment and restore
them to life and usefulness. He would do this so they might enjoy His fellowship and serve Him.
The fact that Jesus Christ was in the tomb two days and rose on the third day is only a coincidental parallel. It is, however, one of many similarities between Christ and Israel.
6:3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the springs rain that waters the earth.
Such a hope would motivate this revived generation of Israelites to encourage themselves to pursue intensely knowing (acknowledging) Yahweh as the true God and as their God. They would be confident of His restoration because of His character, His faithfulness to His promises, and His power. His return to bless them would be as certain and as life-giving as the sunrise. He would bring refreshment and fertility back to the nation.
No more would they look to Baal for these blessings.
Lack of loyalty 6:4-11
This section stresses Israel's covenant disloyalty to Yahweh.
6:4 What shall I do with you O Ephraim? what shall I do with you O Judah? your love is like a morning cloud, like the early dew it goes away.
The Lord twice asked what He would do with Ephraim and Judah. The questions express frustration, helplessness, and despair more than inquiry. The loyal love (Hesed) of these elect nations, expressed in their obedience to Yahweh's covenant, was as short livedas the morning fog or as dew. Both disappear quickly, especially in the hot Palestinian sun.
Hosea Expresses the pain of God’s wounded heart because the beloved has not responded to his love
6:5 Therefore have I have hewed [them] by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and my judgments [are as] the light [that] goes forth.
Therefore the Lord had sent messages of condemnation through His prophets that had the effect of mowing His people down. These messages had been as destructive as lightning bolts. God uses strong language in warning them.
6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God than burnt offerings.
God's preference is that His people love Him faithfully more than that they offer Him sacrifices. He wanted the Israelites to acknowledge (know) Him rather than bringing burnt offerings to their altars. Sacrifices were meaningless, even offensive, unless offered out of a heart of love that demonstrated obedience to God's Word  
6:7 But at Adam they transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt faithlessly with me.
From the time of Adam, the Israelites had violated God's loving directions even though His blessings had been abundant. The covenant that Adam transgressed was not the Mosaic Covenant, which the Israelites and Judahites had violated. It was the arrangement with Adam that God had specified for life within the Garden of Eden, the Adamic Covenant. Ever since Adam, all people, including God's people, dealt treacherously with Him by trying to seize the sovereignty from God because they doubted His love for them.
6:8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, and is polluted with blood.
The Lord viewed Gilead, the region of Israel east of the Jordan River, as a city. Perhaps He meant that the whole area was similar to a city in which violence and murder were so widespread that one could see bloody footprints in the streets. Evidence of gross violence against one's neighbors demonstrated lack of love for Yahweh and lack of respect for His
6:9 As robbers lie in wait for some one, so the priests are banded together, they murder on the road to Shechem, they commit a monstrous crime.
Whether priests were really murdering travelers as they approached the
Israelite town of Shechem (translated crime) is uncertain. Perhaps they were. Shechem was a major religious and political center in Israel. On the other hand, this may simply be another way of describing the perverse behavior of even those who should have been closest to God.
6:10 In the house of Israel I have seen an horrible thing; Ephariam’s whoredome is there, Israel is defiled.
The Israelites as a whole had practiced harlotry by going after pagan gods and had thus made themselves unclean. Religious apostasy involved sexual immorality, so both forms of harlotry are doubtless in view.
6:11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.
Judah also had sinned horribly and could anticipate a harvest of judgment, a harvest marked by blessing and restoration.
Ch 7: Internal corruption.
7:1 When I would restore the fortunes of these people, when I would heal Israel, the corruption of Ephraim is revealed, & the wicked deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely, the thief breaks in,
& the bandits raid outside.
The Lord longed to heal Israel, but when He thought about doing so new evidences of her sins presented themselves. The prophets He sent to them were mainly ineffective in stemming the tide of rebellion. Most people's reaction to their messages was rejection and further heart hardening. The people lied to one another and stole from each other .  
vv. 2-7 — Their gross immorality is approved by the king.
7:2 But they do not consider, that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround them, they are before my face.
The Israelites apparently hoped that the Lord would not hold some of their sins against them, but He remembered all their wickedness. Their evil deeds surrounded them like a wall, so they were constantly before His eyes. They reminded Him of their sins whenever He looked in their direction.
7:3 By their wickedness they make the king glad, and their officials by their treachery.
Their political leaders rejoiced in the wickedness of the people because that made it easier for them to get away with sinning. These leaders, of course, should have opposed all forms of ungodliness since they were Yahweh's representatives on earth.
7:4 They are all adulterers, they are like a heated oven, whose baker does not need to stir the fire, from the kneaded of the dough, until it be leavened.
The Israelites as a whole were all adulterers, both physically and spiritually. Their passion for wickedness was like the fire in a baker's oven: very hot and constantly burning."The oven was so hot that a baker could cease tending the fire during an entire night—while the dough he had mixed was rising—and then, with a fresh tending of the fire in themorning, have sufficient heat for baking at that time."
7:5 On the day of our king the officials became sick with the heat of the wine; he stretched out his hand with the mockers.
Verses 5-7 describe the assassination of one or more of Israel's kings, an example of the passion for wickedness just illustrated. The political leaders became drunk on a particular festive occasion that honored the king. The king himself joined in scoffing at what was holy.
7:6 For they are kindled like an oven, their hearts burn within them; all night their anger smolders; In the morning it blazes like a flaming tree.
The princes eagerly plotted to overthrow the king. Their anger with him
smoldered for a long time and was not obvious to him, like a fire hidden in
an oven (v. 4), but at the proper time it flared up and consumed him and
his supporters.
7:7 All of them are all hot as an oven, and they devoured their rulers; all their kings have fallen: [there is] none among them calls upon me.
Shows us that they did not call on God. They depended on foreign alliances (their own resources = their kings had been of their own making ) rather than God.
This pericope ( An extract or selection from a book), condemns Israel's foreign policy.
7:8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Ephraim had mixed itself with the pagan nations like unleavened dough mixed with leaven. She had done this by making alliances with neighbor nations as well as by importing heathen customs and pagan gods into Israel. Ephraim had become like all the other nations rather than distinctive, as Yahweh intended, Ephraim was similar to a pancake that the cook had not turned over, all burnt and black on one side and soggy and runny on the other, She was only half-baked, worthless. She was crusty toward Yahweh but soft toward other nations.
7:9 Foreigners devoured his strength, but he does not know it,: gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, but he does not know it.
Foreign alliances had sapped Ephraim's strength rather than adding to it, but the Israelites were ignorant of this. They thought they were as strong as ever. Tribute payments to allies constantly drained the nation's wealth and weakened its economy. Israel was unaware of its real condition, as when a person's hair becomes gray but he does not notice it. Others can sense the approach of death, but he does not. Israel was dying in the late 730s and early 720s, but its own people did not know it.
7:10 Israel pride testifies against him; yet they do not return to their Lord their God, or seek him for all this.
Despite Israel's weakness, the nation was too proud to return to Yahweh
and seek His help. Israel seems to have been living in the past glory days
rather than in the present.
7:11 Ephraim has become like a dove, silly & without sense; they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.
Ephraim was behaving like a dove, a bird known for its silliness and naiveté. This was "bird-brained" diplomacy destroyed the Northern Kingdom. That is, without all judgment, as those that cannot tell if it is better to cleave only to God, or to seek the help of man.  Ephraim is like a silly dove that endangers its own life by pretending to be wounded in order to draw an intruder from its nest. Also, it walks into a trap. Ephraim turns to Egypt and Assyria for help — these destroyers of their nation.
7:12 As they go, I will cast my net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the air; I will discipline them according to the report made to their assembly.
Yahweh promised to bring Israel under His control and to subdue it, as
when a hunter throws a net over birds. He would chasten His people in
harmony with what He had earlier proclaimed to them when He gave them
the Mosaic Covenant.
7:13 Woe to them! for they have strayed from me: destruction to them! because they have rebelled against me: I will redeemed them, but they speak lies against me.
The Lord pronounced doom on the Israelites because He would judge them for straying from Him like sheep from their Shepherd. Destruction would be their punishment because they rebelled against Him. His desire was to redeem them from destruction, but they only spoke lies about His desire and ability to redeem them. That is why they made foreign treaties: to defend themselves since they thought Yahweh would or could not.
7:14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; they gash themselves for grain and wine; they rebel against me.
When the people cried out, it was not in prayer to God but out of self-pity over their miserable condition. These tears did not impress Him. They assembled or gashed themselves, to obtain food and drink from their idols. Crying out, wailing, and slashing oneself were all aspects of the self-destructive. They turned away from Yahweh, the only one who could provide their needs, like stubborn children.
7:15 It was I who trained & strengthened their arms.
It was Yahweh who had taught His people how to be strong. He had also
made them strong militarily
7:16 They turn to that which does not profit; they become like a defective bow, their officials shall fall by the sword, because of the rage of their tongue, So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt.
They had looked around to other nations for help, but they had not turned
their hearts and eyes to heaven to seek the Lord's help. Because they boast of their own strength, and do not care what they speak against me and my servants.
Ch. 8 Accusations involving rebellion Israel turns to golden calves and altars of sin, Judgment would also come on Israel because God's people had rebelled against Yahweh.Having turned from God, they look to their king and their wealth to deliver them.
8:1 Set the trumpet to your mouth. One like a vulture is over the house of the LORD, because they have broken my covenant, and trespassed my law.
The Lord commanded Hosea to announce coming judgment by telling him to put a trumpet to his lips. The blowing announced that an invader was coming. Israel's enemy would swoop down on the nation as an eagle attacking its prey. The "house of the LORD" refers to the people of Israel, His household. The reason for this judgment was Israel's transgression (overstepping) of Yahweh's covenant and the nation's rebellion against His Law.
8:2 Israel cries to me, My God, we Israel know thee.
The Israelites claimed that they acknowledged (knew) the authority of their God, but their transgressions and rebellion proved that they did not.
Their knowledge of Him was only historical and traditional. ( How is ours)
8:3 Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him.
Because Israel had rejected the good (i.e., the Lord's moral and ethical
requirements), an enemy would pursue him.
8:4 They have made kings, but not through me: they have made princes, without out my knowledge. With their silver and their gold have they made idols, for their own destruction.
One example of Israel's rebellion was the setting up of kings and other leaders without consulting Yahweh. (Do we consult YHWH) "Yahweh alone determines who can be king either by, charismatic gifts or by direct revelation through a prophet. He gives kings to the nations. They do not decide who their kings will be. . . . The king was Yahweh's representative or agent, not the people's choice." The making of idols was another example of rebellion. The result of this rebellion was that God would cut Israel off (separate Israel from its land and people).
8:5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria. My anger burns against them, how long will they become incapable of innocence.
The Lord rejected the calf idol that had come to mark Israelite worship since Jeroboam I, first set up images of calves at Dan and Bethel. He also said His anger burned against the Israelites because of this idolatry. He despaired that they persisted in uncleanness by asking rhetorically how long they would be incapable of innocence (purity). 
8:6 For it is from Israel: an artisan made it. It is not God, the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces
From Israel, of all people, had come the pagan idol. A human craftsman had fashioned it, so the idol was not the true God. When Jeroboam I originally presented these idols to the people of Israel, he said, "Behold your gods, O Israel". These idols, represented here as the calf of Samaria, would be broken to pieces, demonstrating the impotence of the gods.
8:7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: the standing grains have no heads: the bud shall yield no meal: if it were to yield, foreigners shall devour it.
Normally farmers sowed seed and reaped grain, but Israel had sowed the
wind, something foolish and worthless, namely, idolatry. Consequently instead of reaping something beneficial and nourishing he would reap a whirlwind, something equally vain but also destructive. Sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind may have been a proverb in Israel. The literal seed the Israelites sowed would grow up but not produce any grain, only bare stalks without heads. If the land did yield some grain, strangers would confiscate it and the Israelites would not benefit from it.
8:8 Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the nations as a useless vessel.
The prophet looked ahead to the time of Israel's judgment. The nation would be swallowed up, as when someone eats grain. Israel would become a part of the nations having gone into captivity and lost its own sovereignty and even its identity. It would be like an earthen pot that no one wanted because it was broken.
8:9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone by himself: Ephraim has bargained for lovers.
Ephraim (Israel) had made treaties with Assyria to help protect her from her enemies, but the Assyrians would turn and devour Israel. Wild donkeys were notorious for their willfulness and being difficult to control, and so was Israel. Ephraim was also like a harlot but even worse in that she paid others to love her rather than receiving pay from them. Yahweh had promised to care for the nation because He loved her.— Assyria will finally take them into captivity,
8:10 Though they bargain with the nations, I will now gather them up, and they shall writhe (sorrow a little) under the burden of the king of princes.
Hiring allies among the pagan nations by making treaties with them would not work. Yahweh Himself would gather them up to judge them. He would use as His instrument of judgment "the king of princes," namely, the king of the Assyrian Empire, the very king to whom the Israelites appealed for protection. The result would be the diminution of the nation of Israel. "He" refers to Yahweh, and "Samaria" again represents the whole Northern Kingdom.
8:11 When Ephraim multiplied alter to expiate sin, they became to him alters for sinning.
Israelites had also built many altars. They built them to offer many sin offerings, but since God had not authorized these altars they became places for sinning rather than places for worshipping. More altars simply meant more sinning.
8:12 Though I write to him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing.
Yahweh had been very specific about His demands in the Mosaic Covenant, but the Israelites treated them as something foreign to their lives. Ironically they had treated God's laws as foreign, but they had imported foreign idols and practices and followed them. "Ten thousand precepts" looks at the abundant detail that God had provided His people so they would know just what to do, not at the literal number of His commands.
8:13 Though they offer choice sacrifices, though they eat flesh, the Lord does not accept them, now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt
They offered the sacrifices prescribed in the Law, but the Lord looked at them only as meat; they had no sacrificial value to Him. He took no delight in them because the people mixed their sacrifices with rebellion. Consequently He would call them into judgment for their sins and punish them. He would send them back to Egypt where they used to live as slaves before He redeemed them in the Exodus . The Lord meant that He would send them to an Egypt-like place, which Assyria proved to be.
8:14 Israel has forgotten his maker, & built palaces; & Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, & it will devour his stronghold.
Both Israel and Judah had forgotten that Yahweh had made her what she had become. Instead of continuing to trust and obey Him, the people had put their confidence in their own ability to provide for themselves. This attitude of self-reliance manifested itself in building palaces and fortified cites as places of prominence and protection. Palaces and fortified cites are not wrong in themselves, but in this context, set against remembering Yahweh, they were expressions of self-trust. As judgment the Lord would burn down their palaces and fortified cities. He would remove the objects of their confidence and teach the people their personal inadequacy.
To summarize, five types of sin stand out in this section as reasons for Israel's
punishment. Israel had usurped Yahweh's sovereign authority to lead the nation and had worshipped idols. Israel depended on foreign treaties rather than God and had adopted and perpetuated a corrupt cult. And Israel arrogantly disregarded Yahweh's Law
Ch 9: Israel's sorrow. Israel would sorrow greatly because of her sins. Description of her sorrow precedes the explanation for it.
The result: termination of festivals. Prosperity had blinded them.
9:1 Do not rejoice O Israel! Do not exault as other nations do; for you have played the whore; departing from your God. You have loved a prostitutes pay on the threshing floor.
9:2 Threshing floor & wine vat shall not feed them, & the new wine shall fail them
The Lord told Israel not to rejoice like other nations at the prospect of an
abundant harvest. He promised to remove her grain and wine. Her unfaithfulness to Him had precluded further blessing. She had credited Baal with providing the blessings that she enjoyed rather than Yahweh. Threshing floors and wine presses were common places where ritual prostitution took place. It was through these rites that the worshippers sought to stimulate the gods to engage in sex and so bestow fruitfulness on them and their land.
9:3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt. And in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.
Israel would not remain in the Promised Land but would go into captivity. Assyria, here the Israelites would eat unclean. She would eat defiled food in a defiled land because she had defiled herself with sin. "The place of their captivity was first called 'Egypt' in order to show its general character; then Assyria was named as the actual place the people would be taken to
9:4 They shall not offer drink offering of wine to the LORD, neither shall their sacrifice will be pleasing to him: such sacrifices shall be like mourners bread; all that they eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread shall be for their hunger only. It shall not come into the house of the LORD.
Drink offerings of wine, which accompanied certain sacrifices, would cease, and sacrifices offered there would be unacceptable to Yahweh. They would be similar to the bread that mourners ate, namely, ceremonially unclean because of contact with dead bodies. Such bread might be suitable for human consumption, but it was unacceptable as an offering to God. Cultic celebration would give way to disease and death.
9:5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the festival of the LORD?
Consequently the Israelites would have nothing to offer the Lord when
their annual feasts rolled around. These feasts centered on offerings to the
Lord, but those offerings would be unacceptable in exile.
9:6 For, even if they escape destruction: Egypt shall gather them, Memphis shall bury them: Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents..
The Israelites would leave their land because of the destruction Yahweh would send. Egypt and Memphis, as two undertakers, would bury the exiles. Memphis (near modern Cairo) was an Egyptian city famous as a burial site because of the pyramid tombs there. Back in the land weeds would overgrow the Israelites' abandoned treasures, and thorns would take over their houses.
9:7 The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense are come; Israel cries: the prophet [is] a fool, the man of the spirit [is] mad, Because of your great iniquity, and your hostility is great.
Israel was to know that the days of her punishment and retribution were imminent because the nation's iniquity was fat and its hostility to the Lord was great. Another reason for her judgment was that the Israelites had regarded the prophets whom the Lord had sent to them as demented fools.
9:8 The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim. Yet a fowler snare is on all his ways, [and] hostility in the house of his God.
The Prophet’s duty is to bring men to God, and not to be a snare to pull them from God. Ephraim tried to function as a prophet of God warning others of approaching danger. But Ephraim had tried to snare the prophets God had sent the people like a hunter catches birds in a net. Thus there was nothing but hostility in the land of Israel between the Ephraimites and the true prophets of Yahweh.
9:9 They have deeply corrupted [themselves], as in the days of Gibeah: [therefore] he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
This people is so rooted in their wickedness, that Gibeah, which was similar to Sodom, was never more corrupt;
9:10-14 "The atmosphere of verses 1-9 changes now to one of pathos
(A feelings of pity).The words here are at once tender and loving."
9:10 Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel; like the first fruits on the fig tree, in the first season, I saw your ancestors, [but] they came to Baalpeor, and consecrated themselves to things of shame; and become detestable like the things they loved.
In the early days of Israel's history in the wilderness, the Lord took great delight in His people, as one rejoices to find grapes in a desert or the first figs of the season. However, when they came to Baal-Peor, where they worshipped Baal and committed ritual sex with the Moabite and Midianite women, they became as detestable to Yahweh as the idols they loved.
9:11 [As for] Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, no birth no pregnancy no conception.
The glory of the Ephraimites, their numerous children, would fly away like a bird. There would be few births, or even pregnancies, or even conceptions. There is a play on the name "Ephraim" here, which sounds somewhat like the Hebrew word meaning "twice fruitful." The Ephraimites had looked to Baal for the blessing of human fertility, but Yahweh would withhold it in judgment. Ephraim, the doubly fruitful, would become Ephraim, the completely fruitless.
9:12 Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them until no one is left, woe to them instead, when I depart from them.
Most of the children born would die prematurely, and few of them would remain. When Yahweh withdrew His protection from His people their doom would be great. He would no longer multiply the nation.
9:13 Once I saw Ephraim, as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow: but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.
As they kept tender plants in their houses to preserve them from the cold air, so was Ephraim at first to me: but now I will give him to the slaughter.
9:14 Give them, O LORD: what will thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
The Prophet seeing the great plagues of God toward Ephraim, prays to God to make them barren, rather than that this great slaughter should come upon their children. The combination of "womb" and "breasts" is a pairing that describes human fruitfulness.
The previous section began with a tender expression of Yahweh's love. This section (vv. 15-17) begins with an affirmation of his hatred. The previous section looked back to the wilderness; this section looks back to Gilgal. Hosea views God as acting in history.
9:15 Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal: they came to hate them: because of their wickedness of their deeds, I will drive them out of my house, I will love them no more: all their officials [are] rebels.
At Gilgal the Israelites practiced the pagan fertility cult. Yahweh would drive His people out of the land, as He had expelled Adam and Eve, because they had adopted the ways of sinners. He would love them no more, as, because all their leaders rebelled against Him. Even though God loves (chooses) all the elect, The Israelites had stopped being compliant and had been rebellious.
9:16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit, Even though they give birth, I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb
The Lord had stricken the very roots of the nation so it would dry up and bear no fruit. This probably refers to human barrenness, agricultural unfruitfulness, and animal infertility. Even though the people bore children that were precious to them, the Lord would slay them.
9:17 Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them; they shall become wanderers among the nations.
Hosea's God would cast the Ephraimites out of the land because they proved unresponsive to Him. They would end up wandering among the other nations of the world. Because they had wandered from the Lord.
In this one announcement of the fate of the nation's cultic symbols (altars, idols, sacred standing stones, and high places) gives way to announcement of judgment on Israel's political symbol (the king).
10:1 Israel [is] an a luxuriant vine that yields its fruits. The more his fruits increased, the more alters he built; as his country improved his pillars.
Hosea compared Israel to a luxuriant (Characterized by profuse growth ) vine; the people enjoyed great economic prosperity. The grapevine was a common figure for Israel. Yahweh had planted Israel in Canaan as a vine and had blessed it with fruitful prosperity. Yet the more the Lord blessed Israel the more the Israelites multiplied altars and sacred pillars to honor idols. They worshipped pagan gods in response to Yahweh's blessing.
10:2 Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their alters, & destroy their pillars.
Such behavior indicated an unfaithful (Heb. halaq, flattering, hypocritical, literallyà slippery) heart that made the Israelites guilty before God.
He would do away with the altars and pillars that they had erected.
10:3 For now they shall say, We have no king, because we do not fear the LORD; & a king what could he do for us.
When the Lord brought destruction, the people would realize that their self-appointed king had failed them and that they did not respect the Lord. They would acknowledge that no human king could help them.
10:4 They utter more words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so litigation springs up like poisonous weed in the furrows of the field.
The people had not been true to their word. They had broken covenants they made with one another. Consequently God's judgment was as inevitable as weeds growing in the furrows of their fields. His judgment would slay them just as poisonous weeds kill people who eat them.
10:5 The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf of Bethaven: Its people shall mourn for it, and idolatrous priests shall wail over it
When God destroyed Israel's altars, specifically the golden calf at Beth-aven , the Israelites who lived in Samaria, Israel's capital, would fear They would mourn, and the idolatrous priests who served there would bewail the demise of this altar, since its glory had departed from the land.
10:6 The thing it self will be carried to Assyria as tribute the great king. Epharaim shall be put to shame & Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
The Assyrians would carry the golden calf to their land in honor of their king. Israel would then feel great shame because the Israelites had decided to trust in a foreign alliance with the Assyrians for their security. The reason was quite simply that in those days the secular state did not exist, and so in practice it was impossible to distinguish between a state and its gods. To turn to Assyria or Egypt for help implied of necessity that their gods were more effective than the God of Israel." Assyrian captivity is announced.
10:7 Samaria’s king shall perish, like a chip on the face of the waters.
The Assyrians would also remove the Israelites (Samaria) along with their king. They would be swept away like a twig floating on the surface of a fast-moving stream. They would be helpless, totally at the mercy of the Assyrians.
10:8 The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: Thorn and the thistle shall be destroyed; they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
The Assyrians would also destroy the sites of the idolatrous shrines at Aven (wickedness, i.e., Bethel), where the Israelites had sinned. Ironically, when the Israelites had entered the Promised Land, the Lord had commanded them to destroy such places. Since they had not obeyed, the Lord would use the Assyrians to fulfill His command. The pagan altars there would become overgrown with wild thorns and thistles. The Israelites would then express their terror over this judgment by calling on the mountains and hills to cover them. They would prefer death to life.
10:9 Since the days of Gibeah: you have sinned, O Israel. there they have continued : shall not war overtake them in Gibeah.
The Israelites had sinned consistently since the days at Gibeah. He asked if the Lord's battle against them would not be victorious at this site of their sinning.
10:10 I will come against the wayward people to punish them; & nation shall be gathered against them, when they are punished for their double iniquity.
At the Lord's chosen time He would punish, discipline His people by binding them as prisoners, harnessing them to their sins. Other peoples would oppose them in battle when the Lord had bound them up for being twice guilty. It refers to the sin of forsaking God and the sin of forsaking His appointed Davidic kings.
10:11 Ephraim was a trained heifer (a young calf) that loved to thresh, & I spared her fair neck, but I will make Ephraim break the ground; Jacob must harrow for himself.
Hosea compared Ephraim to a heifer that enjoyed threshing. "Threshing was a comparatively light task, made pleasant by the fact that the creature was unmuzzled and free to eat . . . as it pulled the threshing sledge over the gathered corn." Ephraim had abandoned this comparatively light service in preference for becoming yoked to sin (v. 10). As punishment Yahweh would yoke the people of both Northern and Southern Kingdoms to an enemy who would greatly restrict their movements and force them to do hard work. "Judah" refers to the Southern Kingdom and "Jacob" to the Northern Kingdom. A heifer stiffens her front feet and refuses to budge. Then she begins to slip backward. God will judge the nation.
10:12 Sow for yourselves in righteousness, reap steadfast love, break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he comes and rains righteousness upon you.
The prophet appealed to the Israelites to repent. They should cultivate righteousness with a view to reaping the Lord's kindness (Heb. hesed). Breaking up fallow ground is what a farmer does when he plows land that has remained untouched for a long time, even forever. This is a figure for confessing sins and exposing them to God when they have remained unconfessed under the surface of life for a long time. It was time for the people to seek Yahweh, whom they had failed to seek in repentance for so long. They should confess and repent until the Lord sent the blessings of righteousness on them like rain.
10:13 You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruits of lies, Because you have trusted in your power, & in the multitude of you warriors.
Instead of plowing righteousness and reaping loyal love (v. 12), the Israelites had plowed wickedness and reaped injustice. Instead of eating the fruit of righteousness, they had eaten the fruit of lies. They had done this because they trusted in themselves and in their own military might.
10:14 Therefore the tumult of war shall raise against your people & all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel on the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces with [her] children.
Because the Israelites trusted in their own army, turmoil rather than tranquility would mark their life. Their fortresses would suffer destruction rather than protecting the Israelites from destruction. Hosea compared this future loss to one in Israel's past, but what past event is uncertain. "Shalman" may refer to King Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian who conducted campaigns in the West in the ninth century B.C. "Beth-arbel" could refer to the town of Arbela about 18 miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee or to Mt. Arbel two miles west of that sea. In any case, the battle had been a bloody one that the Israelites of Hosea's day remembered vividly. The enemy had slaughtered mothers and their children without mercy.
10:15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness, At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
The Israelites would suffer a similar slaughter at Bethel because of their great wickedness. "Bethel" here may refer to the town or to the whole nation of Israel. "Since her destruction would occur 'when that day dawns' (meaning the very beginning of the day of battle), it is noteworthy that Israel's final king, Hoshea, was taken captive by the Assyrian conqueror Shalmaneser V before the actual siege of Samaria began.
Ch 11: Again this section, which is all divine speech, begins with a reference to something in Israel's history to contrast the past with the present (cf. 9:10; 10:1, 9). "The passage at its outset has similarities to the form of the legal complaint made by parents against a rebellious child, where hope is held out that the child [Israel] may yet repent and receive compassion rather than death. ---- Is God's lament over the necessity of giving up the Northern Kingdom, which is a large part of the people of Israel, whom God loves. God promises not to give them up entirely.
In Hos 11:1-4 there are 6 terms used for YHWH’s love for his people.
This is not the affectionate love of a father for his child but a demanding love & therefore YHWH will punish Israel. She will go in exile & finally return.
11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt
I called my son.
The Lord reminded His people that when Israel was in its early days as a
nation, He loved the nation .As often, loving refers to choosing / electing. God chose Israel for special blessing among the world's nations and in this sense loved him. He called and led His "son" Israel out of bondage in Egypt  God loves Israel (see v. . vv 1 is quoted in connection with the birth of Christ (Mt. 2:15).
11:2 The more I called them, the more they went away from me, & kept sacrificing to the Baals. & offering incense to idols.
God continued to call the Israelites after they left Egypt. He did so through His prophets. But the more the prophets appealed to the people to follow the Lord, the more the people turned aside from following Him.They kept sacrificing to Baal and kept burning incense to idols.
11:3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them ---è (claim these)
Israel demonstrated this ungrateful apostasy even though it was Yahweh who taught His son Israel to walk, provided tender loving care, and healed him when he needed restoration.
11:4 I led them with a chord of human kindness, with bands of love, I was like those who lifts infants to their cheeks, I bent down to them & fed them.
The restraints that the Lord had placed on Israel in its youth were cords of love designed to protect and preserve the people rather than robbing them of freedom. The Lord freed them from oppressive bondage and made special provision to feed them. The image of a loving herdsman taking care of his animal is in view here. Often a cattleman would lift the yolk from an ox's shoulders so when it bent over to eat it would not slide down over its face and impede its feeding.
11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me.
Israel refused to return to Yahweh after so many appeals by His prophets , He would return the nation to captivity. Yet the place of exile would not be Egypt but Assyria. Assyria would be the geographical location of Israel's exile.
11:6 The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, & devours because of their schemes.
Enemy soldiers would swarm around Israel's cities and break down the gate bars that secured them against foreign attack.They would consume the Israelites because of the decisions the Israelites had made to depart from the Lord. These were the result, in part, of false prophets' advice. Yahweh had fed His people, but now the sword would feed on them.
11:7 My people are bent in turning away from me: To the most high they call, but he does not raise them up at all. (backsliding 2)
The Israelites' resolve to abandon Yahweh was firm. In spite of the prophets' appeals to return to Him, none of them exalted the Lord by doing so. 
This is the second occurrence of “backsliding” (see Hosea 4:16).
"These verses are like a window into the heart of God. They show that his love for his people is a love that will never let them go."
11:8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? how can I hand you over, O Israel? how scan I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboim? mine heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm & tender.
The Lord asked four rhetorical questions (questions with obvious answer) that reveal how hard it was for Him to turn Israel over to an enemy for punishment. They are strong expressions of divine emotion, specifically, love for His chosen people. Admah and Zeboiim were cities that God annihilated along with Sodom and Gomorra. God could not bring Himself to deal with the cities of Israel as He had with those towns. He would not totally destroy them. His heart of judgment was turned upside down into a heart of compassion.
11:9 I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not a mortal; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not come in wrath.
God did not change His mind about bringing judgment on Israel, but He promised not to apply the full measure of His wrath or to destroy Ephraim again in the future. He would show restraint because He is God, not a man who forgets His promises, who might be vindictive in His anger. He was the Holy One in the midst of the Israelites, so He would be completely fair with His people. He would not descend on them with unbridled wrath.
11:10 They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion, when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west.
Israelites would follow the Lord. He would again announce His intentions like a roaring lion. However this time it would not be as a lion about to devour its prey but as a lion leading its cubs to safety. The Israelites would follow Him trembling from the west. Since Assyria lay to Israel's east,
11:11 They shall tremble like birds out of Egypt, and like doves out of the land of Assyria: and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.
The idea of a universal return finds support in the references here to return from both Egypt (the symbolic place of exile) and Assyria. Yahweh promised to settle the Israelites in their houses, namely, in the places that they formerly left, in the land of Israel. The Israelites had been as silly as pigeons seeking foreign alliances,
but now they would return as vulnerable and as swift as doves to the land
Hosea again established Israel's guilt and predicted her punishment.
Israel's unfaithfulness to God receives special emphasis.
Several comparisons of Israel and the patriarch Jacob point out the deceitfulness of the Northern Kingdom in this apparent mosaic of messages. Israel had cheated on its covenant with Yahweh. The form of the passage is again that of a lawsuit in which the Lord brought charges against Israel (the rib oracle) and concluded by announcing its doom.
11:12   Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, & the house of Israel with deceit but Judah still walks with God, & is faithful to the holy one.
The Lord complained that Ephraim (Israel) had consistently lied and tried to deceive Him. He described Himself as surrounded and under attack by His own people. Wherever He looked all He saw was cheaters. Deception (unfaithfulness) had also marked Israel's ancestor, Jacob. But the kingdom of Judah had also been unruly (wayward) in its relationship with the Holy One who is faithful. Yahweh was always faithful to His covenant promises even though these groups of His people had wandered from Him and sought out Baals and foreign allies. Both kingdoms had been unfaithful to the covenant the Lord had made with them.
Ch 12: The prophet pleads for Israel's repentance.
12:1 Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood & violence; they make a treaty with Assyria & oil is carried to Egypt.
Describing Ephraim feeding on wind pictures the nation pursuing vain efforts that do not satisfy. Reference to the east wind suggests the hot desert wind that no one in his right mind would pursue. Ephraim also multiplied lies and violence, evidences of internal social injustice. She made covenants (treaties) with Assyria and Egypt rather than trusting in God. Carrying oil to Egypt probably pictures Ephraim fulfilling a covenant obligation to her treaty partner.
12:2 The LORD has an indictment against Judah, & will punish Jacob according to his ways, & repay him according to his deeds
The Lord also had a charge to bring against Judah and promised to punish Jacob in harmony with his sins. "Jacob" may represent the Northern Kingdom here in contrast to Judah, the Southern Kingdom.
A lesson from Jacob's life 12:3-6. The Lord proceeded to teach His people the need to repent by reminding them of the experience of their forefather Jacob.
12:3 In the womb he tried to supplant (To displace and substitute for (another): his brother, & in his manhood he strove with God.
The Lord described the ancestor of these kingdoms further. Jacob grasped his brother's heel while he was still in the womb of his mother Rebekah This was a preview of the grasping character that marked him all his life. In later life he also continued to contend with God. These references to the early and later life of Jacob picture him as being a contentious person all his life.
12:4 He strove with the angel & prevailed, he wept & sought his favour, he met him at Bethel.
One important instance of Jacob contending with God was when he wrestled with the angel at Peniel and prevailed over him by weeping and pleading with him to bless him. This event was a turning point in Jacob's life because he finally realized that he could not succeed simply by manipulation and trickery.
He recognized His need for God's help and turned to Him in desperation
12:5 The Lord , the God of Hosts, The Lord is his name.
Yahweh, the almighty God of armies, even Yahweh, spoke to all the Israelites when He spoke to Jacob at Bethel. He did this so that the Israelites learn from the experience of the patriarch.
12:6 But as for you return to your God, hold fast to love & justice, & wait continually for your God.
The lesson was that, like Jacob, the Israelites should return to their covenant God. They should practice loyal love and justice in their dealings with one another rather than being like the old Jacob. And they should commit to waiting in faith for God to act for them rather than seizing control of the situation, as Jacob so often had done. --- (can we too do the same )
The pride of Israel that needed humbling 12:7-11
12:7 A trader in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress.
A merchant who used dishonest scales loved to oppress his customers
12:8 Ephraim has said, Ah I am become rich, I have gained wealth for myself , in all my gains, no offense has been found in me that would be sin.
Similarly Israel's oppression of others was traceable to pride in her riches. Much of Israel's dealings with the nations involved trading that deceit had contaminated. The Israelites considered their wealth a blessing from God that they interpreted as due to their cleverness and His approval of their lifestyle. Really it was due to His grace ( Election ) in spite of their sins.
12:9 I am the lord thy God from the land of Egypt; I make you live in tents again, as in the days of the appointed festival.
Yahweh reminded His people that He had been their God since before the Exodus. He was able to make them revert to a humble wilderness lifestyle again, which their yearly feast of Booths (Tabernacles) reminded them about. This is clearly an allusion to the coming captivity of Israel.
12:10 I spoke to the prophet; it was I who multiplied vision, & through the prophets I will bring destruction.
The Lord also reminded them that He had spoken to them through prophets many times. He had given the prophets visions, and they had taught their lessons to the Israelites. Nevertheless in spite of so many exhortations to return to the Lord the people had not responded.
12:11 In Gilead there is iniquity, they shall surely come to nothing. In Gilead they sacrifice bulls, so that their alters become like stone heaps, on the furrow of the field.
What was going on in Gilead was an example of Israel's depravity. In Gilgal, too, worthless Israelites were sacrificing bulls, expensive offerings, on numerous altars that they had built there. The number of the pagan altars at Gilgal was as great as the piles of stones that the farmers gathered beside their furrows. These altars would become simply piles of stones.
Another lesson from Israel's history 12:12-14
12:12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram there Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he guarded sheep.
The Lord reminded the Israelites again of their humble origins. Jacob was a refugee who migrated to the land of Aram. There he had to work to pay for a wife, and he did so by tending sheep, a very humble occupation.
12:13 And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet he was gaurded.
Later the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt and kept them alive during their wilderness wanderings by using a prophet, Moses. The Israelites, as well as Jacob, had experienced hardship while in a foreign land. By implication they should not, therefore, have despised the prophets that Yahweh had sent them since Moses.
12:14 Ephraim has given bitter offense, so his Lord will bring his crimes down to him & pay him back for his insults.
In spite of these mercies the Israelites had provoked the Lord to bitter anger with their idolatry. Consequently He would not remove the guilt of their sins by forgiving them but would pay them back with punishment and shame.
Ch 13: Israel's impending doom. Again Hosea charged Israel with covenant unfaithfulness that called for destruction. Foretells the destruction of the kingdom at the hands of Assyria, because there has been no repentance.
13:1 When Ephraim spoke there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel; But when he offended Baal he incurred guilt through Baal & died.
When members of the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the other Israelites trembled
because they looked to Ephraim for leadership. They were also the leaders in Baal worship. Therefore they were as good as dead since God would judge idolaters.
13:2 And now they keep on sinning & make a cast image for themselves, idols of silver made according to their understanding, all of them the work of artisans, sacrifice to these, they say, people are kissing calves.
The Ephraimites, and the other Israelites, had continued to sin more and more by making molten images and carved idols of silver. They took great pains to make beautiful idols by employing skilled craftsmen for their construction. They also required that those who made sacrifices to them profess their devotion and homage by kissing the images.
13:3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist, or like the dew that goes away early, like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor, or like smoke from the window.
Because they did this the Ephraimites would soon vanish from their land. They would disappear like fog or dew in the morning and like chaff from a threshing floor and smoke from a chimney that the wind blew away.
13:4 Yet I have been the LORD thy God ever since the land of Egypt, you know no God but me, & beside me there is no saviour.
Yahweh had been Israel's God since the Israelites had lived in Egypt. He had commanded the Israelites not to acknowledge any gods beside Himself because He was the only God who could save them. To abandon the only savior is to doom oneself to no salvation.
13:5 It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.
The Lord also was the one who cared for the Israelites in the wilderness
and who kept them alive in that barren wasteland. His provisions of manna
and water are only two examples.
13:6 When I fed them they were satisfied & their hearts were proud, therefore they forgot me.
When they entered the Promised Land and began to enjoy rich pastures, they soon became self-satisfied, proud, and forgot their God
vv. 7, 8 — Judgment is inevitable. God will come upon them like a lion, leopard, and bear.
13:7 So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
In view of Israel's behavior, the Lord promised to become as an enemy of His people, like a lion or leopard that laid in wait to attack a sheep grazing.
13:8 I will fall on them like a bear robbed of her cubs & will tear open the covering of their hearts, their I will devour them like a lion, as a wild animal would mangle them.
He would confront them as a mother bear crazed by the loss of her cubs. He would tear them open like a bear and consume them like a lioness. The lion, leopard, and bear were all wild animals native to Canaan that were notorious for their relentless manner of killing prey.
13:9 I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you ?
By turning against the Lord who only desired to help them, the Israelites had done something that would result in their own destruction.
How ironic it was that Israel's helper would become her destroyer!
13:10 Where now is your king that he may save you, Where in all you cities are all your rulers, of whom you said, ‘give me a king & ruler’
The people had formerly asked their leaders to give them a king like all the other nations. They hoped that their king and his princes would provide deliverance for them. God had given them kings, first Saul and more recently the kings of Israel that were not of David's line but were kings of the people's own choosing.These kings had proved ineffective in saving the Israelites. Only Yahweh was their savior.
13:11 I give you a king in my anger, & took him away in my wrath.
God conceded to His people's request for a king (Saul and or Jeroboam I), but it made Him angry because it expressed their reluctance to trust and obey Him. When these kings proved ineffective, since they did not trust in Yahweh, the Lord removed them, which also made Him angry.
13:12 Ephraim iniquity ( sins / wicked act ) is bound up, his sin is kept in store.
God would not forget Israel's sins. Its iniquities were rolled up in a bundle like a scroll and stored up like a treasure. They stood as hard evidence that condemned the nation.
13:13 The pangs of child birth come from him, but he is an unwise son; for at the proper time he does not present himself at the mouth of the womb
Israel was like a baby that refused to come out of its mother's womb in the sense that it refused to leave its comfortable sin. Despite the mother's (God's) strenuous efforts to bring the child into freedom, Israel refused to repent. This was evidence that Israel was a foolish child. She would die rather than leave her sins, apparently feeling that the proper time for repenting was not yet. Judgment is coming.
13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol (grave); Shall I redeem them from death: O death, where are your plagues; O Sheol where is your destruction: Compassion is hidden from mine eyes.
The Lord asked rhetorically if He would buy the Israelites back out of death's hand. Would He pay a price for their redemption? No, compassion would be hidden from His sight; He would have no pity on them. He appealed for death (like a thorn bush) to torment the Israelites, as though thorns tore their flesh.
He called on the grave (as a hornet) to sting them fatally.
Later in history God did provide a ransom for His people from the power of the grave, and He redeemed them from death. He did this when Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again.
13:15 Although he may flourish among rushes, the east wind
shall come, a blast from the Lord, rising from the wilderness; & his fountain shall dry up, his spring will be parched, It shall strip his treasury of every precious thing.
With the removal of God's compassion, Israel's prosperity would end. Hosea described that change as a hot eastern desert wind sweeping over Israel and drying up all its water sources. Israel had flourished among its neighbors, as a plant does when it grows in shallow water among reeds. Like a sirocco (A hot or warm southerly wind) Assyria would sweep over Israel from the east and cause the nation of Israel to wither. The Assyrians would plunder everything valuable in the land.
13:16 Samaria shall bear the guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, & their pregnant women ripped open.
Yahweh would hold Samaria, guilty for rebelling against Him, her covenant lord and God. Israel's soldiers would die in battle, her children would suffer unmerciful executions, and the Assyrians would even cut open her pregnant women with their swords. These were curses that the Lord warned would follow rebellion against the terms of His covenant . This gruesome form of execution killed both the mother and the unborn child making it impossible for the coming generation eventually to rise up and rebel against the conqueror
Ch 14: As usual in the major sections of Hosea, promises of restoration follow announcements of judgment. The prophet urges Israel to seek forgiveness, and promises its restoration, while urging the utmost fidelity to God.
Like the rainbow after a storm, they promise Israel's final restoration. Here is the full flowering of God's unfailing love for his faithless people, the triumph of his grace, the assurance of his healing—all described in imagery that reveals the loving heart of God." --- Now the thundering voice of the prophet becomes a tender whisper as he pleads lovingly with Israel."
14:1 Return O Israel, to the LORD your God; for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Hosea appealed to Israel to return to Yahweh her God because her iniquities had caused her to stumble as a nation. Hosea's generation of Israelites did not repent, but still God's invitation was open and genuine.
14:2 Take word with you & return to the LORD: say to him, Take away all guilt; accept that which is good & we will offer the fruits of our lips.
The prophet counseled the people to return to the Lord with words (not animal sacrifices) that expressed their repentance. They should acknowledge their sins and request His removal of their iniquity. They should also ask Him to receive them graciously with a view to their praising Him with their lips (not offerings).
14:3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon our horses: neither will we say ‘Our God’, to the works of our hands
In you the orphan finds mercy.
They should renounce confidence in Assyria for ‘political alliances’ and war horses (military might) for their security and victory. They should also promise not to call their hand-made idols their gods. And they should acknowledge that only from Him could vulnerable, dependent orphans such as themselves find mercy.
14:4 I will heal the disloyalty; -------------------(backsliding 3)
I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.
When Israel repented, the Lord promised to heal the apostasy of the Israelites. He also promised to bestow His love on them generously because then He would no longer be angry with them. God’s love for them cannot be changed. He will heal their backsliding. This is the third mention of backsliding (see Hosea 4:16 and 11:7).
14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel, he shall blossom like a lily, he shall strike root like the forest of Lebanon.
The Lord would descend on Israel with blessing like the dew. Instead of being dry and withered Israel would blossom like the spring lily. The Israelites would become as beautiful as an olive tree that is not only attractive but the source of beneficial products.
Israel would take root and grow strong, like a cedar of Lebanon.
14:6 His shoots shall spread out: his beauty shall be like the olive tree, & his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
Israel would become productive and attractive to the eye and nose, namely, totally appealing. Shoots imply stability, beauty suggests visibility, and fragrance connotes desirability.
14:7 They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like a wine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Other nations would also flourish as they benefited from Israel's good influence. The Israelites would again grow grain, a mark of covenant blessing. The nation would be like a fruitful vine that produced the best wine.
14:8 O Ephraim [shall say], What have I to do with idols? It is I who answers & looks after you, I am like a evergreen Cypress, your faithfulness comes from me.
Ephraim would disown her dealings with idols, and the Lord would respond with a commitment to care for her. Formerly He lay in wait for Israel like a leopard ready to pounce on her in judgment, but now He would care for her. He would be the source of her fruit, like a cypress or pine tree that bears cones. When Israel responds to the LORD's loving plea to return to Him, then will follow the gracious healing of their backsliding, the free bestowal of His love, the turning away of His anger, the future blessing of their restoration, and their final disowning of idolatry. 
14:9 Those who are wise shall understand these things; Those who are discerning know them; for the ways of the LORD & the upright walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.
Hosea added a conclusion to his prophecies that is a word of wisdom for the discerning reader. One should learn three things from this book.
First, the Lord's ways (covenant / commands) are the right (correct and, therefore, best) ways.
Second, righteous people will choose to walk in the Lord's ways and to keep His covenant commands because that results in blessing.
Third, transgressors (rebels) will stumble over His ways and bring destruction on themselves for their disobedience. Their downfall results from their failure to obey His commands, to walk in His ways
This is an unusual closing verse in a Bible book in that it applies the teaching of the whole Book of Hosea to the reader.
Why is the prophet linked so much with divine love.
Which aspect of divine love does he reflect
Is Hosea still relevant today’s world.
Hosea’s point of view on Christ teachings on marriage as a covenant.
God appealed to His wayward people through a succession of prophets. Among these was Hosea, who was told by God to marry a prostitute, Gomer, and raise a family by her. Through this experience, Hosea was to act out God’s unrelenting covenant of love to His people. When Gomer went after her lovers, Hosea was sent to take her back and love her again.
Through Hosea’s marital experiences, God revealed Himself to Israel as a compassionate, forgiving husband: "In that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘my husband,’ . . . And I will betroth you to come to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord" (Hos 2:16, 19-20). By revealing Himself as a faithful, compassionate and unrelenting husband, God sets a pattern for the husband/wife relationship. What God does on a larger scale as Israel’s husband, a human husband is called to do on a smaller scale in his relationship with his wife.
Jesus’ quote is from the prophet Hosea. Hosea’s word for mercy is hesed, the word for faithful love. Without faithful love for God and man, the Lord will reject their rituals of worship. Look up Hosea 6:6 and write the whole verse here.
The Lord used the life of the prophet Hosea to symbolically teach a powerful lesson. Hosea 1–3 contains a story whose meaning you will better understand if you remember that the Lord compared His covenant relationship with Israel to a marriage relationship. The comparison made in the book of Hosea is especially appropriate because the idolatry the Israelites practiced also involved committing immoral acts with harlots. Looking in the footnotes for the meanings of some of the names and other words and phrases in this story will also help you understand the Lord’s message through Hosea. Hosea represents the Lord and Gomer represents Israel. The covenant between God & Israel. Hosea views Israel as the "chosen ones" of God; God had entered into a union with them. The intimacy of this relationship is described under two figures --- a marriage relationship, and a father/son relationship. Hosea emphasizes that a covenant always involves mutual obligations. Doom of the nation is inevitable. Because of the faithlessness of the nation, Hosea prepares the people for impending punishment. The Righteous Husband demands that the unfaithful wife be put away from Him, but the Loving Husband looks hopefully to a time of restored relationship!
 I. PERSONAL— The prophet and his faithless wife, Gomer, ---Chapters 1 — 3
    A. Marriage of Hosea and Gomer, the harlot, Chapter 1
    B. Gomer proves faithless; Israel proves faithless;
         God proves faithful, Chapter 2
    C. Hosea commanded to take Gomer again, Chapter 3
II. PROPHETIC — The Lord and the faithless nation Israel --- Chapters 4 — 14
   A. Israel plays the harlot, Chapters 4, 5
       1. Israel guilty of lawlessness, immorality, ignorance of God’s Word, and
              idolatry, Chapter 4
       2. Israel turns from God; God turns from Israel;
             deterioration within follows, Chapter 5
   B. Israel (Ephraim) will return in the last days; presently to be judged for  
           current sins, Chapter 6
   C. Israel (Ephraim) could escape judgment by turning to God who loves   
           her (key, 11:8), ----------------------------------------------------- Chapters 7 — 12
       1. Israel (silly dove) turns to Egypt and Assyria, Chapter 7
       2. Israel turns to golden calves and altars of sin, Chapter 8
       3. Israel (backsliding heifer) turns to land productivity; will be driven from
            the land, Chapters 9, 10
       4. Israel turns from God — must be judged; God will not give her up,   
           Chapters 11, 12
 D. Israel (Ephraim) will turn from idols to God in the last days, -- Chapters 13, 14
       1. Israel will be judged in the present, Chapter 13
       2. Israel will be saved in the future, Chapter 14
Exegesis taken from:
New Jerome Biblical Commentary.
International Biblical Commentary.
Internet Sources.
Fr. K. T. Emmanuel Notes from the MOW.
Harpers Biblical Dictionary.
Thank the professors of the Ministry of the Word.
  • Religious --- Hosea summed up the religious activities of Israel in one word: Whoredom. As a harlot, she had prostituted herself before the false gods. The people lacked knowledge (Hosea 4:6; 5:4), and were ignorant of God's Law (Hosea 8:12). Idols had been set up and women were serving in the temples as cult prostitutes.
  • Moral --- "Their conduct was the very opposite to that which God desired and demanded. The people were guilty of swearing, breaking faith, murder, stealing, committing adultery, deceit, lying, drunkenness, dishonesty in business, and other crimes equally abominable before Jehovah. The picture painted in the Book of Hosea is truly that of a nation in decay" (Homer Hailey).
  • Political --- It was a period of political upheaval in Israel. Upon the death of Jereboam, several kings came to the throne but were quickly assassinated; some reigning only a few weeks. Tiglath-pileser (king of Assyria) came against Israel and exacted heavy tribute from them. Finally, in 722 BC, the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians, with many of the people being carried off into captivity. "These were trying years of political conniving and intrigue, of anarchy and rebellion, of treachery and murder. God was completely left out of the picture and out of the people's thinking. The prophet's task was to turn the thinking of the people back to God, but they were too deeply steeped in their idolatry to heed his warning. They had passed the point of no return; they refused to hear" (Homer Hailey).
Their faithlessness was manifested in two major ways:
    1. Rebellion against all constituted authority.
    2. Dependence upon human defenses and foreign alliances, rather than upon the power of Jehovah.
The cause for this widespread immorality and faithlessness toward God was two-fold:
    1. Corruption of the priests, with whom the false prophets were in league.
    2. Corruption of worship.
  • God, His nature and character. There is but ONE God! He is omnipotent ..... He is righteous ..... He is love! He is pictured as both a loving husband, and a loving father. One of the favorite expressions of this prophet is: Lovingkindness.
  • The covenant between God & Israel. Hosea views Israel as the "chosen ones" of God; God had entered into a union with them. The intimacy of this relationship is described under two figures --- a marriage relationship, and a father/son relationship. Hosea emphasizes that a covenant always involves mutual obligations.
  • Doom of the nation is inevitable. Because of the faithlessness of the nation, Hosea prepares the people for impending punishment. The Righteous Husband demands that the unfaithful wife be put away from Him, but the Loving Husband looks hopefully to a time of restored relationship!
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