THIS IS A prophecy about God’s love for His people Israel. Through the sad story of his own miserable marriage, Hosea shows his people how they have been like an unfaithful wife in their dealings with God.
Hosea had to warn Israel, especially the Northern Kingdom termed ‘Ephraim’, that God would punish her because of her disobedience.
In this book, several symbols describe Israel’s failure as God’s ‘wife’:
• Her goodness had disappeared—like a ‘morning cloud’ (6:4);
• Like a ‘silly dove’, she had turned first to Assyria, then to Egypt, for help—instead of to God (7:11);
• She had once been like ‘grapes in the wilderness’, when God first took her (9:10); now she had become like a barren fig tree (9:16) (compare Mark 11:13 and Luke 21:29-31);
• She would now have to plough a lone furrow, without God (10:11).
Israel, instead of trusting in God, had tried to depend on alliances with other nations: “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples… aliens have devoured his strength… they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria… they did not cry out to Me with their heart” (7:8–14).
Hosea was eventually reconciled with his wife, and this is presented as a picture of God’s future reconciliation with His people:
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days (3:4–5).
By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’
Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible
Hosea 1:11—see Ezekiel 34:23, 24.
Hosea 11:1—see Matthew 2:15.
1 Corinthians 15:54, 55.