The Book of Hosea: Chapter 2 (2)

We now enter a transition in the second half of the chapter from a description of the justice and shame for their sins to a glorious restoration and conversion of the nation; A similar pattern from the previous chapter. Yahweh moves to describe a great reversal from His judgment upon the nation, to a restoration of the glory days of old and a transformation from being Lo-Ruhamah & Lo-Ammi to a people who receive mercy and become the people of God. It is God who will conquer these things and seek her out through his mercy and grace. He will go into further detail in this segment to describe the great restoration. This won’t be simply a reversal to take them back to pre-Jeroboam, but it will be as the days of her redemption from Egypt.

This section begins with what God will do to Israel in purity in contrast to what Gomer did to her lover in sin. God will allure her and speak to her from the heart[2]. Whereas a judgment is proclaimed in the form of the nation becoming like a desert wilderness, He will bring the nation into the wilderness, like the old days of Sinai, and covenant with her. We shouldn’t think of this in terms of Yahweh allowing the nation to get away with its debaucheries. If this was the case, there would be little substance in their repentance. Being taken in the wilderness and speaking from the heart are in relation to judgment and reinstitution. The wilderness is where Israel became a nation (Exodus 20) and where she will experience a new birth. This will be the result of the exile (Ezekiel 20:33-38) and a re-establishment of Covenant grounds (Nehemiah 8:1-12). Speaking to the heart could be an allusion to the New Covenant promise (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12).

V.15 grants us a glimpse of what that covenant renewal will look like post-exile. They will be given a vineyard where they will once again produce the new wine. This is, once again, referring to their return from the exile where they will build houses and plant vineyards (Ezekiel 28:25-26). The Valley of Achor was the place where Joshua had stoned Achan and purged the sinner and his sins from their midst (Joshua 7:19-26). The sins of Israel would be expelled and in return a door of hope would be offered to them, a path of blessing! The response of the nation in these days of renewal will be to sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.  The gladness of their redemption would once again lead to their praising their God, like in the days when they come out of Egypt and sang the song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18).

The Day of the Removal of Idolatry

This is the first of three “days” references that will introduce various descriptions of the day of their renewal (Vs. 16, 18 & 21). The first day of rebirth will see Israel expressing devotion by referring to Yahweh as husband and acting as a faithful wife whose affections are not divided but totally to One. A fascinating statement is that day will also bring a change in their current demeanour when they will no longer call Him “Baali” or Master. They will no longer mingle the Baal worship with the adoration of Yahweh. The reason for the cessation of the intermingling of Yahweh’s name with that of Baal is that in the day that Yahweh restores them, He will remove the names of the Baals from their mouth (v.17). The plural form of Baal is probably to extend the deletion of the names beyond just one Canaanite god to include all of them. The people of God would return to a proper obedience of the first commandment (Exodus 20:7). They will be so extinguished from Israel’s religious life that the names of these other gods will no longer even be mentioned. Instead, they will exclusively call upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26; Psalm 116:4; 118:5) but especially in the New Testament era will this become a reality (Romans 10:13), a day to fulfill the restoration of Israel (Joel 2:32).

The Day of the Covenant

V.18 now focuses upon a covenant to be made by Yahweh on behalf of Israel. The language of covenant with the idea of wilderness and coming out of Egypt at least alludes to a rebirth or new beginning of the nation. This is where and how they first became a nation. The breaking of the covenant of law had as a penalty the wild animals to destroy the land (Leviticus 22:26). Ezekiel describes this covenant as a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods (Ezekiel 34:25). This covenant is looking unto an everlasting divine oath of prosperity and peace where their curse for breaking the covenant would be relinquished (Ezekiel 37:26). It will be a time when the lovingkindness of Yahweh will no longer be removed (Isaiah 54:11). This is certainly similar language of that blessed time when the righteous branch of David will reign:

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
7 Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

This covenant of peace will bring about the experience of reconciliation, a time without judgment or conflict. The bow, sword and war will be absent from the land and this covenant of peace will make them lie down in safety and calm.

The Great Betrothal

In vs 19-20, the shift now is upon the unity that the covenant will bring. Hosea utilizes the language of the wedding engagement to demonstrate the faithfulness that would come from this union. The land will no longer be called desolate or forsaken but my delight is in her and your land married (Isaiah 62:4-5). Their relationship would now be based upon the betrothal gift that Yahweh would give mainly covenantal righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and compassion. This betrothal would also be given God’s faithfulness. This last point is separated from the rest of the gifts perhaps to accentuate its importance. All of these would be given to the bride to maintain the covenant relationship. These are New Covenant gifts which result in the great bride to “know the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:34). The entering into their hearts and minds of the law will produce a people who practice covenant righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, compassion and especially faithfulness. A people who the writer of Hebrews describes as having Yahweh as their God and this new covenant community declared as His people (Hebrews 8:8-12).

The Day of Yahweh’s Response

The new betrothal of the bride to her Husband will bring about a response in Yahweh. God will answer to this new covenant with blessings upon her. He will respond with a future blessing that would bring agricultural prosperity to the land, a reverse from the judgment declared in 2:9,12. Zechariah sees a day when a remnant will enjoy the peace of the produce of the land and the dew of heaven (Zechariah 8:12). As Jeremiah proclaims in the New Covenant chapter:

“They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord—
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again. (Jeremiah 31:12)

The earth will respond to the command of the Lord to provide them with all the blessings of the bride of Yahweh. Truly there will be a return to the land flowing of milk and honey! This time she will recognize (knowing the Lord) that it her husband that provided these blessings, not her lover (2:5,8). The response from the bride will be to answer to Jezreel. We must remember that the reversal of the judgment is in mind in the latter part of the chapter. They will receive compassion (v.23), answer Jezreel (v.22) and be called God’s people (v.23), all relating to Gomer’s children. But here Jezreel could be simply referring to the meaning of the name, mainly God’s sowing. The pronoun “they” is probably referring to the earth and the heavens to produce God’s sowing the blessings to the land.

God’s People Will Receive Compassion

We have a similar overview of the coming transformation of the bride that we reviewed in 1:10-11. As we previously saw, Paul quotes this passage extensively in his letter to the Romans (Romans 9:23-26) where he argues that those who are the vessels of mercy (v.23) to whom God makes His riches known, are called. This spiritual drawing is meant to include not only Paul’s countrymen, the Jews (remnant) but also the Gentiles. Paul cites the prophet Hosea (Hosea 2:23 and 1:10). The force of the argument in v.24 (from whom he called, not from among the Jews only, but also from among the Gentiles) is focused upon the Gentiles being called along with the Jews. The reality is that the apostle quotes the OT prophet of a restored Israel to demonstrate the intention of God to fulfill these promises in the church, both Jews and Gentile believers in the Messiah under the New Covenant blessings. As we mentioned, the calling of a people to be His people and to receive mercy (Lo-Rahumah & Lo-Ammi) went outside the borders of Israel (1 Peter 2:9-10).


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