1 I am Hosea son of Beeri. When Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah, and when Jeroboam son of Jehoash[a] was king of Israel,[b] the Lord spoke this message to me.
2 The Lord said, “Hosea, Israel has betrayed me like an unfaithful wife.[c] Marry such a woman and have children by her.” 3 So I married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and we had a son.
4 Then the Lord said, “Hosea, name your son Jezreel,[d] because I will soon punish the descendants of King Jehu of Israel for the murders he committed in Jezreel Valley.[e] I will destroy his kingdom, 5 and in Jezreel Valley I will break the power of Israel.”
6 Later, Gomer had a daughter, and the Lord said, “Name her Lo-Ruhamah,[f] because I will no longer have mercy and forgive Israel. 7 But I am the Lord God of Judah, and I will have mercy and save Judah by my own power—not by wars and arrows or swords and cavalry.”
8 After Gomer had stopped nursing Lo-Ruhamah, she had another son. 9 Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-Ammi,[g] because these people are not mine, and I am not their God.”
Hope for Israel
10 Someday it will be impossible to count the people of Israel, because there will be as many of them as there are grains of sand along the seashore. They are now called “Not My People,” but in the future they will be called “Children of the Living God.” 11 Israel and Judah will unite and choose one leader. Then they will take back their land, and this will be a great day for Jezreel.[h]
1.1Jehoash: The Hebrew text has “Joash,” another spelling of the name.
1.1kings of Judah. . . king of Israel: Uzziah (781-740 B.C.), Jotham (740-736), Ahaz (736-716), Hezekiah (716-687), and Jeroboam II (783-743).
1.2unfaithful wife: In some Canaanite religions of Old Testament times, young women were expected to have sex with the worshipers of their god before marriage. Such women were called “temple prostitutes.” Many of the Israelite women did this same thing, and Hosea is told to marry one of them to show that the nation has turned from the Lord to worship idols.
1.4Jezreel: In Hebrew “Jezreel” means “God scatters (seed).” Here the name is used as a threat (meaning the Lord will punish Israel by scattering its people), while in verse 11 it is used as a promise (meaning the Lord will bless Israel by giving their nation many people, just as a big harvest comes when many seeds are scattered in a field).
1.4murders. . . Valley: Jehu murdered the wife and relatives of King Ahab (see 2 Kings 9.15—10.14).
1.6Lo-Ruhamah: In Hebrew “Lo-Ruhamah” means “No Mercy.”
1.9Lo-Ammi: In Hebrew “Lo-Ammi” means “Not My People.”
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