Title. The reigns of these Judean kings span almost a hundred years (783–687 BCE), while the reign of the single Israelite king mentioned, Jeroboam, lasts for only 41 of these years (786–746). Since Hosea's
speeches are directed to Israel in particular and reflect events leading up to its fall to Assyria in 721 BCE, it is peculiar that the six kings who followed Jeroboam to the throne of Israel during this time are not mentioned here.
Hosea marries the prostitute Gomer. In chs. 1 and 3
Hosea acts out the message he wishes to convey to Israel: Just as the wife he marries has been promiscuous, seeking out other
lovers, so Israel has been unfaithful to its LORD, seeking out other gods to worship.
Whoredom translates the common Hebrew term for prostitution.
Hosea's first son Jezreel is named after the broad valley in northern Israel where Jehu led a bloody coup (2 Kings 9.14–10.11
), establishing a dynasty
in which Jeroboam, Hosea's contemporary, was the fourth king. The name symbolizes the imminent end of that dynasty, which
occurred during Hosea's career when Jeroboam's son Zechariah was assassinated in 745 BCE.
The names of Hosea's daughter, Lo-ruhamah (“Not pitied”), and second son, Lo-ammi (“Not my people”), symbolize God's rejection of Israel for its faithlessness.
Scholars disagree whether references to the southern kingdom of Judah here and elsewhere in Hosea are from Hosea himself or from later Judean editors who wished to relate Hosea's message to their
own time and place.
The marked shift to future salvation here, in which the meanings of Hosea's children's names are reversed to their positive
counterparts, may either reflect the tension between despair and hope in Hosea's own thought, or represent a later editor's
positive resolution to Hosea's words of judgment.
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