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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Portraits of Christ

Don Smith :: Hsa-Mal; The Minor Prophets

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The Minor Prophets - Hosea to Malachi

The materials in this section have been collected not only to show the golden thread of the Promise Doctrine throughout the Minor Prophets, but also hopefully to provide helpful commentary on key passages of the Bible, as well as to encourage pastors to preach Christ to their people.

Portraits of Christ
“Betrothed to a Harlot – Hosea”

“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving-kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:19-20)

The Prophet of Grace (BC 760-686)

  1. Hosea’s name means “salvation” or “deliverer.”
    • It is the equivalent to “Joshua” (successor to Moses); “Hoshea” (last king of Israel) and “Jesus” (Greek form).
    • He was born in Israel (North Kingdom) as the “son of Beeri” (my well-spring).
    • Hosea was prophetic picture of Jesus, “the salvation that comes from the well-spring.” (Isaiah 12:3)
    • He was a contemporary of Amos, Isaiah and Micah.
    • Not only did he warn Israel of imminent judgment and exile, but he also witnessed the fulfillment of this prophecy in his lifetime.
  2. Hosea is the first book of the Minor Prophets (Not minor in significance, but in length compared to the Major Prophets)
  3. His prophecy has five cycles of sin-judgment and salvation:
  4. Israel’s sins were considered spiritual harlotry:
  5. Interpretations of Hosea’s prophecy:
    • Some say it is only a vision or dream making his marriage simply imagery.
    • Others say it is only a parable or allegory given by God.
    • Most hold Hosea’s prophecy to be a literal prophetic allegory.
    • More than three of his prophesies were literally fulfilled and recorded in other historical chronicles.
  6. Hosea’s marriage and family are real but serve as living examples of God’s covenantal faithfulness, even though Israel was unfaithful.

Hosea’s marriage is a picture of Israel’s marital unfaithfulness to Israel
Hosea Chapter One

  1. The Word of the Lord came to Hosea in the days of prosperity to adversity.
    • The first three kings listed are Judean kings to show God’s faithfulness to the legitimate promise of the coming King.
    • Jeroboam was the king of Israel. (2 Chronicles 26-32).
  2. The Lord first spoke to Hosea before he spoke to Israel. (Hosea 1:1)
    • He was to “go take to yourself a wife of whoredom.”
    • There is legitimate difference of opinion whether God asked Hosea to marry an adulterous wife who would later become unfaithful or to marry a woman known to be a whore.
    • Some suggest marrying a known prostitute best fits the typology of God taking Israel to be His bride out of a past of sin and idolatry. (Joshua 24:14)
    • Others say it is anticipatory of Israel’s sin foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy.
  3. The Lord also called Hosea to have children of whoredom. (Hosea 1:2)
    • His family is to be an example of Israel’s great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.
  4. Hosea took “Gomer” the “daughter of Diblaim” (grape-cakes) or the daughter of complete sensuality. (Hosea 1:3)
  5. Gomer conceived and bore him a son named “Jezreel.” (Hosea 1:3-5)
    • His name meant “God will scatter,” a prophetic warning of judgment that was coming upon the house of Jehu for the blood his house shed at Jezreel.
    • This was literally fulfilled in 2 Kings 15:8-12.
  6. Gomer again bore him a daughter named “Lo-ruhamah” or “No Mercy.” (Hosea 1:6-8)
    • In righteous judgment, God would have no mercy on Israel for her harlotry until her chastisement had accomplished it’s intended purposes.
    • However, God promised to have mercy on Judah and save the seed without the use of the sword of man. (1 Samuel 17:47)
  7. Gomer again bore him another son named “Loammi” or “not my people.” (Hosea 1:9-11)
    • He was called “not my people” as a reminder by God that the people are not His because they did not consider Him to be their God. Not all in Israel were the real Israel.
    • However, God promised to be faithful to His promises to their fathers to bless the seed of Abraham, in a place where people were not God’s people.
    • We see the Lord’s eye on Gentiles, the Church who would become His people. (Galatians 3:26; Romans 9:25-26; 1 Peter 2:10)

Hosea’s message was a message of Law (Judgment) and Gospel (Hope) – Hosea Chapter Two

  1. The Lord commanded Hosea to proclaim a message of punishment. (Hosea 2:2-4)
    • Say to your brothers, “you are my people” (Ammi) and to your sisters (ruhamah) or “mercy.”
    • They are to plead with Israel (Gomer) in a declaration of divorce that she is not God’s wife and He is not her husband because she has forsaken him in her adultery.
    • It is a warning to strip her and make her like she was found (Ezekiel 16) and the land shall be the living proof of God’s judgment on Israel.
    • God would have no mercy on the children because they too are children of harlotry.
  2. The Lord would bring judgment upon Israel. (Hosea 2:5-13)
    • The Lord promised to build a hedge around Israel to keep her lovers away.
    • Israel pursued these foreigners and their gods claiming they are the ones who brought them prosperity.
    • But when she comes to the end of her horded resources, she will attempt to come back to her first husband (the Lord) because things were much better before with Him than what they were going through at that time.
    • Foolish Israel had forgotten that it was the Lord who had given her every physical and spiritual blessing, not the other lovers.
    • Therefore, the Lord said He would take back “my grain, wine, oil, silver and gold”—which his adulterous wife spent on serving Baal.
    • The Lord also promised to uncover Israel’s “lewdness” in the sight of her lovers, so that even they would no longer desire her.
    • He would put an end to her meaningless feasts and festivals and take away the vines she claimed she received as payment as a prostitute from her lovers.
    • The Lord was coming to punish Israel for her harlotry because she forgot the Lord.
  3. The Lord also promised mercy on Israel. (Hosea 2:14-23)
    • Like a husband wanting his bride back, the Lord promised to “allure her” and “speak tenderly to her.”
    • He would make the Valley of Achor (once the door of Joshua’s entrance into Judah which closed by the sin of Achan) to become a door of hope.
    • He would give her back vineyards and answer the Lord like she did as a young bride coming out of Egypt.
    • The Lord foresaw the day they would call the Lord “My Husband” and no longer “Baal” because He would destroy any record of Baal’s name from the land.
    • The Lord promised to “betroth her forever” to Himself in “righteousness” and in “justice” in “steadfast love” and in “mercy.”
    • He would betroth her to Himself out of faithfulness so she would know He was the Lord.
    • Israel would no longer be “scattered” but “sown” by the Lord in the land.
    • He would have “Mercy” on “No Mercy” and say to “Not My People,”—“You are My People.” And Gomer’s son would respond, “You are my God.”
    • Restoration would come to Israel by the grace and mercy of God.

Hosea’s purchase of his adulteress wife is a picture of God’s love and grace – Hosea Chapter Three

  1. The Lord asked the prophet to go again and love the woman who betrayed him as a picture of God’s love for the children of Israel. (Hosea 3:1)
    • The phrase “loved by another” used to describe Gomer however this may mean she is the one loved by “her friend,” her former husband, Hosea.
    • Even though Israel had turned to other gods and loved cakes of raisins (feasts to the gods), God was pursuing her.
  2. Hosea found his adulterous wife at the open slave market and purchased her back for the price of a slave. (Hosea 3:2)
    • How pitiful to see her bartered for and bought by her loyal and loving husband.
    • This is the picture of God the Father, Who sent forth His Son Jesus (salvation, the well-spring of God’s love), when He became a servant, even death on a cross, to buy back the bride who had become a servant to sin and degradation.
  3. Hosea informed his wife her days of infidelity would no longer be tolerated. (Hosea 3:3)
    • She had to dwell with him in exile as his wife for many days.
    • She could no longer play the harlot with other men.
  4. The Lord made the analogy between Hosea and his wife to that of God and Israel. (Hosea 3:4)
    • For many days Israel would live without a king, without sacrifice or pillar, without a ephod or household of gods.
    • The seclusion God would bring meant exile from all Israel used to treasure.
    • She would lose national sovereignty; lose religious freedom at the Temple; lose the sacrifices because they had come to be mere formality to her; and lose the instruments of worship she depended upon (stones, cultic objects and idols).
  5. Afterwards the Lord would return her to the land and to Himself. (Hosea 3:5)
    • After the Babylonian exile Israel would seek the Lord their God.
    • She would look for “David their king.” (messiah)
    • They shall come in fear to the Lord and to His goodness in the latter days.

Hosea’s message was to remind Israel of God’s extravagant love. (Hosea 14)

  1. He reminded them of His love for Israel even as a child. (Hosea 11:1-4)
    • “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son [Christ]. As they called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images. I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.”
  2. He reminded them God was their only Redeemer. (Hosea 13:4, 14)
    • “Yet I am the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no savior besides Me.”
    • “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.”
  3. He promised to heal Israel. (Hosea 14:1-7)
    • “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
    • The Lord promised, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He [Christ] shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon”.

    For the ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.

  4. Hosea calls for his readers to consider the mercies of God. (Hosea 14:9)
    • “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them.”

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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