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Hosea 2

1 [Heb. 2:3] Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

       These words will be spoken by the returnees and those regathered after exile.

2 [Heb. 2:4] Contend with your mother, contend; for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; and let her put away her whoredoms from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts;

       The language here is quite specific; it is the official language of divorce -- in fact, the very phrase “she is not my wife and I am not her husband” is the formula of divorce -- it is the Hebrew equivalent of the divorce decree. So, Yahweh sues for divorce and the charge or grounds for divorce is adultery.

3 [Heb 2:5] lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

       Here Yahweh delivers a legal ultimatum. It was the husband’s legal responsibility to provide food, clothing, shelter, and marital rights to the wife. Now all is taken away.
       The metaphor of stripping naked was an act performed when a treaty was broken; i.e., whoever broke the agreement was stripped in the presence of the assembled elders and thereby shamed and humiliated. The normal punishment for adultery in ancient Israel was burning or stoning.

4 {Heb 2:6] Yea, upon her children will I have no mercy; for they are children of whoredom;

       The children (the Israelite people) are as promiscuous as the nation as a whole. In other words individual guilt is as great as collective guilt!

5 [Heb 2:7] for their mother hath played the harlot; she that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.

       Israel is here described in truly horrid terms. Whereas most prostitutes wait for customers to come to them, Israel chased her customers. The picture painted here is one of total degradation and spiritual adultery carried out by the people of Israel. Instead of relying on God, the people had chased the Baals in an effort to guarantee life’s necessities and life’s luxuries.

6 [Heb. 2:8] Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she shall not find her paths.

       “Therefore” introduces a judgment oracle. The sentence on the adulterous wife is about to be passed. Like some wild animal Israel must be restrained and imprisoned. The confinement described is what will take place in exile and captivity.

7 [Heb. 2:9] And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.

       Israel will at some point realize that what she had was worth keeping. She must repent. What is curious here is that according to Deut. 24:1-3 remarriage to the first husband is illegal.

8 [Heb. 2:10] For she did not know that I gave her the grain, and the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied unto her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.

       Here more evidence against the unfaithful wife is presented. She is indicted because she credits Baal with the gifts which Yahweh has given.

9 [Heb. 2:11] Therefore will I take back my grain in the time thereof, and my new wine in the season thereof, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.

       The first person verbs will, for the next several verses, indicate the decision which the judge has reached. Even though Yahweh has blessed them, they do not appreciate him and continue to praise Baal. They piled sin on top of sin- so Yahweh will withdraw all his blessings from them.

10 [Heb. 2:12] And now will I uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of my hand.

       Israel will be openly shamed and disgraced.

11 [Heb 2:13] I will als, her feasts, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies.

       The feasts took place three times a year and required all the Israelites to visit the Sanctuary for worship. The new moon was a monthly celebration of Baal worship. And the Sabbath was the weekly celebration of God’s creative acts. The Israelites had dedicated all of these events to Baal. So God will bring them to an end as well.

12 [Heb. 2:14] And I will lay waste her vines and her fig-trees, whereof she hath said, These are my hire that my lovers have given me; and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.

       What Israel thought were the gifts of Baal will now be turned into nothingness.

13 [Heb. 2:15] And I will visit upon her the days of the Baalim, unto which she burned incense, when she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith Jehovah.

       Such horrid unfaithfulness requires severe punishment. Thus, Yahweh will abandon to their fate those who have abandoned him. The primary charge against the unfaithful people is that they have “forgotten” Yahweh. By forgetting Him they have abandoned his worship and his statutes.

14 [Heb. 2:16] Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

       How will Yahweh respond to this unfaithfulness? He will once more remove them from the land and take them into the wilderness of exile. There the people will re-learn who God is and what he has done for them. In brief, this means that the entrance and conquest of the land under Joshua is to be reversed! They will lose the land- but in so doing they will recover their true faith. And once they have learned the lesson that they have forgotten, they will be restored to what they have lost. Unfaithful ness requires punishmeis actually a work of God’s grace- for in the punishment is the path by which the people can return to God.

15 [Heb. 2:17] And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall make answer there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

       Instead of waiting for Israel to respond- Yahweh himself gives her answer. Interestingly, the Valley of Achor was the place where Aachen’s disobedience was punished. Now, the very place of judgment becomes a place of hope.

16 [Heb. 2:18] And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali.

       The phrase “in that day” = “in the future”. In that day, Israel will not even remember the wretched Baalim any longer. No longer will the Israelites attribute the goodness of God to Baal.

17 [Heb. 2:19] For I will take away the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned by their name.

       In that day, uncompromising worship of Yahweh will be the only worship known to Israel.

18 [Heb. 2:20] And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely.

       God even here goes so far as to revoke the enmity that was invoked by the curse wrought by Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Peace will reign not only among people- but among people and nature itself.

19 [Heb. 2:21] And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 [Heb. 2:22] I will even betroth thd thou shalt know Jehovah.

       These two verses belong together. The emphasis here is on the restoration brought about by Israel’s repentance. Note that the names given the children of Hosea are here “undone” or “reversed”! Judgment is sure to come- but once judgment has worked repentance, restoration takes place.

21 [Heb. 2:23] And it shall come to pass in that day, I will answer, saith Jehovah, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth; 22 [Heb. 2:24] and the earth shall answer the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they shall answer Jezreel.

       These two verses likewise belong together. What the people once attributed to Baal is now clearly understood to be the arena of Yahweh’s power alone. God gives the rain, not Baal. God gives the harvest, not Baal. The Baal myth is overthrown and the truth of Yahweh’s provision is made clear.

23 [Heb 2:25] And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them that were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

       What has been withdrawn so that judgment could occur is now returned to the people of Israel.