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The Lord God’s Message Through Hosea

1 This is the Lord’s message that came to Hosea son of Beeri. This message came during the time that Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. This was during the time of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel. 2This was the Lord’s first message to Hosea. The Lord said, “Go, marry a prostitute* that has had children as a result of her prostitution. Why? Because the people in this country have acted like prostitutes—they have been unfaithful to the Lord.”

The Birth of Jezreel

3So Hosea married Gomer daughter of Diblaim. Gomer became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Hosea. 4The Lord said to Hosea, “Name him Jezreel.* Why? Because in a little while I will punish the family of Jehu for the blood {he spilled} at Jezreel Valley.* Then I will put an end to the kingdom of the nation* of Israel. 5And at that time, I will break Israel’s bow at Jezreel Valley.”

The Birth of Lo-Ruhamah

6Then Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. {The Lord} said to Hosea, “Name her Lo-Ruhamah.* Why? Because I will not show mercy to the nation* of Israel any more. I will not forgive them. 7But I will show mercy to the nation of Judah. {I will save the nation of Judah.} I will not use the bow or the sword to save them. I will not use war horses and soldiers to save them. I will save them by my own power.”*

The Birth of Lo-Ammi

8After Gomer had finished nursing Lo-Ruhamah, she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a son. 9Then {the Lord} said, “Name him Lo-Ammi.* Why? Because you are not my people. I am not your God.”

The Lord God Promises There Will Be Many Israelites

10“{In the future,} the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea. You can’t measure the sand or count it. Then it will happen that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the children of the living God.’ 11“Then the people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together. They will choose one ruler for themselves. And their nation will be too large for the land!* Jezreel’s day will be truly great.”

prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him. Jezreel This name in Hebrew means “God will plant seeds.”  blood … at Jezreel Valley See 2 Kings 9–10 for the story of Jehu’s revolt at Jezreel Valley. nation Literally, “house.” This might mean the royal family of that country.  Lo-Ruhamah This name in Hebrew means “She receives no mercy.” by my own power Literally, “by the Lord their God.”  Lo-Ammi This name in Hebrew means “not my people.” their nation … land Literally, “they will go up from the land.”

2 “Then you will tell your brothers, ‘You are my people.’ And you will tell your sisters, ‘He has shown mercy to you.’”*

The Lord Speaks to the Nation of Israel

2“Argue with your mother.* Argue! Because she is not my wife! I am not her husband! Tell her to stop being like a prostitute.* Tell her to take away her lovers* from between her breasts. 3{If she refuses to stop her adultery,} I will strip her naked. I will leave her like the day she was born. {I will take away her people} and she will be like an empty, dry desert. I will kill her with thirst. 4I will have no pity on her children because they are the children of prostitution. 5Their mother has acted like a prostitute. Their mother should be ashamed of the things she did. She said, ‘I will go to my lovers.* My lovers give me food and water. They give me wool and linen. They give me wine and olive oil.’ 6“So, I (the Lord) will block your (Israel’s) road with thorns. I will build a wall. Then she will not be able to find her paths. 7She will run after her lovers, but she will not be able to catch up with them. She will look for her lovers, but she will not be able to find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband (God). Life was better for me when I was with him. Life was better then than it is now.’ 8“She (Israel) didn’t know that I (the Lord) was the One who gave her grain, wine, and oil. I kept giving her more and more silver and gold. But the Israelites used this silver and gold to make statues of Baal.* 9So I will come back. I will take back my grain at the time it is ready to be harvested. I will take back my wine at the time the grapes are ready. I will take back my wool and linen. I gave those things to her so she could cover her naked body. 10Now I will strip her. She will be naked, so all her lovers can see her. No person will be able to save her from my power.* 11I (God) will take away all her fun. I will stop her holidays, her new moon feasts, her days of rest. I will stop all of her special feasts. 12I will destroy her vines and fig trees. She said, ‘My lovers gave these things to me.’ But I will change her gardens—they will become like a wild forest. Wild animals will come and eat from those plants. 13“She served the Baals.* So I will punish her. She burned incense* to the Baals. She dressed up—she put on her jewelry and nose ring. Then she went to her lovers and forgot me.” The Lord has said this. 14“So, I (the Lord) will say romantic words to her. I will lead her into the desert and speak tender words. 15There I will give her fields of grapes. I will give her Achor Valley as a doorway of hope. Then she will answer like the time she came out of the land of Egypt.” 16The Lord says this. “At that time you will call me ‘My husband.’ You will not call me ‘My Baal.’* 17I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth. Then people will not use the Baals’ names again. 18“At that time, I will make an agreement for the Israelites with the animals of the field, with the birds of the sky, and with the crawling things on the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and weapons of war. {No weapons will be left} in that land. I will make the land safe, so the people of Israel can lie down in peace. 19And I (the Lord) will make you my bride* forever. I will make you my bride with goodness and fairness and with love and mercy. 20I will make you my faithful bride. Then you will truly know the Lord. 21And at that time, I will respond.” The Lord says this. “I will speak to the skies, and they will give rain to the earth. 22The earth will produce grain, wine, and oil. And they will meet Jezreel’s needs. 23I will sow her many seeds* on her land. To Lo-Ruhamah,* I will show mercy. To Lo-Ammi,* I will say, ‘You are my people.’ And they will say to me, ‘You are my God.’”

you will tell your brothers … mercy to you Or, “Say to your brothers, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘You have been shown mercy.’” mother This means the nation of Israel.  prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him. her lovers Or “adulteries.” Adultery means not being faithful in marriage. God was like a husband to Israel. But Israel was worshiping false gods—this was like a spiritual adultery against God.  lovers This means Israel’s false gods. Baal The Canaanite people believed that this false god brought the rain and storms. They also thought that he made the land produce good crops.  power Literally, “hand.” Baals False gods worshiped by the Canaanites in the land where the Israelites lived. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. My Baal This is a word play. The name Baal also means, “lord, or husband.”  make you my bride Literally, “I will betroth you to me.” I will sow her many seeds Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi are Hosea’s children. But the names also have special meanings. The name Jezreel means, “God will plant seeds.”  But Jezreel is also the name of a large valley in Israel. This probably shows that God will bring his people back to Israel. Lo-Ruhamah means “She was not shown mercy,” and Lo-Ammi means “Not my people.” Lo-Ruhamah This name in Hebrew means “She receives no mercy.”  Lo-Ammi This name in Hebrew means “not my people.”

Hosea Buys Gomer Back from Slavery

3 Then the Lord said to me again, “Gomer* has many lovers. But you must continue loving her. Why? Because that is like the Lord. The Lord continues loving the people of Israel. But they continue to worship other gods. And they love to eat raisin cakes.”* 2So I bought Gomer 6 ounces* of silver and 9 bushels* of barley. 3Then I told her, “You must stay at home with me for many days. You must not be like a prostitute.* You will not be with another man. And I will be your husband.” 4In the same way, the people of Israel will continue many days without a king or a leader. They will be without a sacrifice or a memorial stone.* They will be without an ephod* or a household god. 5After this the people of Israel will come back. Then they will look for the Lord their God, and for David their king. In the last days, they will come to honor the Lord and his goodness.

Gomer Literally, “a woman.” raisin cakes This kind of food was apparently used in the feasts that honored false gods.  6 ounces Literally, “15 {pieces}.” 9 bushels Literally, “1 homer and 1 letek.” prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him. memorial stone(s) Stones that were set up to help people remember something special. In ancient Israel, people often set up stones as special places to worship false gods. ephod A special coat worn by the priests.

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