Verse 1 – Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’
Verse 2 – “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges, for she is not My wife, nor am I her husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, and her adulteries between her breasts;
Israel, as Hosea’s wife, has lost her privilege of being a wife by physical adultery and Israel spiritual adultery.
Verse 3 – Lest I strip her naked and expose her, as in the day she was born, and make her like wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
The day of Israel’s birth was when God delivered her from bondage of Egypt. Then Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years. God said they will become captive again if they don’t repent.
Verse 4 – “I will not have mercy on her children, for they are the children of harlotry.
Verse 5 – For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them has done shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.
“I will go after my lovers” – Israel gave credit to other idols, gods, as the ones who were giving them their goods, needs, instead of depending on God. Any time someone places their trust in something more than God Himself, for the things they need or their success, that is exchanging the true God for an idol.
Verse 6 – “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths.
Verse 7 – She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.’
The Israelites were thanking, worshiping, false gods, especially Baal, whom they thought controlled the weather, their farming, food, and shelter, instead of their true God which was the One that gave those blessings. Therefore, God would make their path so disappointing that they would return to Him. When people get desperate enough for a better way, then they will seek the One who controls it all.
Verse 8 – For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold – which they prepared for Baal.
Israel was a prosperous nation at this time, but had been led by their leaders to believe it all came from Baal. Both Gomer and Israel had run after other lovers for gain of material success.
verse 9 – “Therefore I will return and take away My grain in its time and My new wine in its season, and will take back My wool and My linen, given to cover her nakedness.
Verse 10 – Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from My hand.
Israel’s punishment would include the disgrace of having her sins exposed for everyone to see.
Verse 11 – I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her New Moons, her Sabbaths – all her anointed feasts.
Israel was about to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians, and when that happened they would not be allowed to hold any feasts or worship their God on any day.
Verse 12 – “And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, of which she has said, ‘These are my rewards that my lovers have given me.’ So I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
Israel had also forgotten who gave them that land in the first place and made it to prosper. If it was taken away, then they might remember that their God was the giver of all blessings.
Verse 13 – I will punish her for the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers. Then she forgot Me,” says the Lord.
Baal was the most important of the Canaanite gods and the children of Israel had been commanded to destroy all the idols when they had first entered the Promise Land, but they didn’t . Before long, they were worshiping these false idols. What you tolerate will more likely conform you.
Verse 14 – “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will being her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.
Verse 15 – I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
As one generation to another, from the time of Joshua, Israel grew further and further from the ways of God, they became more corrupt. We see the same in our society today: As more and more children are brought up in households with no thought or care for God’s principles, each generation becomes more selfish, self-centered, and ignore right or wrong.
Verse 16 – “And it shall be in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call ‘Me Master,’
Verse 17 – for I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, and they shall be remembered by their name no more.
Not until Israel was sitting in captivity and Judah taken by the Babylonians, would the entire nation wake-up! And, not until we come into a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, can we know Him as Husband, Father, lover of our souls, and Savior.
Verse 18 – In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safety.
A covenant between beasts and birds refers to peace with man and God. This will be fulfilled during the millennial time (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Verse 19 – “I will betroth you to Me forever, yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy;
Verse 20 – I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
Just as God was willing to give Israel His loving grace, He does so to us through His beloved Son, Jesus. We are undeserving and so was Israel, but because of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness He does it in spite of ourselves.
Verse 21 – “It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth.
Verse 22 – The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel.
Verse 23 – Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people (Gentiles), ‘You are My people!’ and they shall say, ‘You are My God!’ ”
I’m still amazed every time I read God’s word and see that He forgives and shows mercy to those, including me, who don’t deserve anything from Him. No one can forgive and show mercy like Him. Generation after generation strays from God, but because He is a merciful God, He gives hope and shows kindness right in the middle of punishment or discipline.