1 These are the messages from the Lord to Hosea, son of Beeri, during the reigns of these four kings of Judah:
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; and one of the kings of Israel, Jeroboam, son of Joash.
2 Here is the first message:
The Lord said to Hosea, “Go and marry a girl who is a prostitute, so that some of her children will be born to you from other men. This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, committing open adultery against me by worshiping other gods.”
3 So Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
4-5 And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for in the valley of Jezreel I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed;[a] in fact, I will put an end to Israel as an independent kingdom, breaking the power of the nation in the valley of Jezreel.”*
6 Soon Gomer had another child—this one a daughter. And God said to Hosea, “Name her Lo-ruhamah (meaning ‘No more mercy’) for I will have no more mercy upon Israel, to forgive her again. 7 But I will have mercy on the tribe of Judah. I will personally free her from her enemies without any help from her armies or her weapons.”[b]
8 After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again conceived and this time gave birth to a son. 9 And God said, “Call him Lo-ammi (meaning ‘Not mine’), for Israel is not mine and I am not her God.
10 “Yet the time will come when Israel shall prosper and become a great nation; in that day her people will be too numerous to count—like sand along a seashore! Then, instead of saying to them, ‘You are not my people,’ I will tell them, ‘You are my sons, children of the Living God.’ 11 Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite and have one leader; they will return from exile together; what a day that will be—the day when God will sow his people in the fertile soil of their own land again.[c]
- Hosea 1:4 avenge the murders he committed. He went far beyond God’s command to execute the family of Ahab. See 1 Kings 21:21 and 2 Kings 10:11. breaking the power of the nation in the valley of Jezreel, a prediction of the Assyrian conquest of Israel twenty-five years later.
- Hosea 1:7 I will personally free her from her enemies without any help from her armies or her weapons. Shortly after defeating Israel, the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem. He was driven off by special intervention of God’s angel (Isaiah 36–37).
- Hosea 1:11 the day when God will sow his people in the fertile soil of their own land again, literally, “the day of Jezreel (‘God sows’)”; see 2:23.