Hosea is a book of love
in the Old Testament, and it is a beautiful
illustration of grace. When we draw near to Hosea,
we come very near to Christ.
He is the prophet of a
broken heart who learned how Yahweh suffers over the
sins of His people. The dominant theme of the book
is God's love. The shattered romance of his own life
led him to see a divine romance. Because of the
tragedy in his own personal life Hosea was able to
see God's infinite love as no other prophet had
understood and experienced it. Hosea is the champion
lover of the Hebrew Scriptures. He takes his place
among the greatest lovers of all time. He also
learned God's sorrow out of his own sorrow. With
each pang of suffering Hosea came to know the
infinite heart of a holy God more clearly.
Yahweh had married Israel
in His covenant of grace. However, Israel was like
an unfaithful wife who had broken her covenant with
God. She chose to go after idols of the neighboring
nations like an adulterous wife. Yahweh, because He
is holy and righteous, must punish her
The time covered by the
prophecy of Hosea is undoubtedly the darkest in the
history of the kingdom of Israel. It was a period of
military dictatorships, despotism, murder, political
intrigue, anarchy, bloodshed, misrule, mass
confusion and idolatry. It was a day full of broken
Against this backdrop,
writes the Hebrew scholar Keil; "This love bursts
out in the flame of holy wrath . . . . A gentle
sound of divine grace and mercy is ever heard in the
midst of the flame, so that the wrath gives
expression to the deepest anguish at the perversity
of the nation . . . " Her salvation rests on Yahweh
alone and His deliverer. Their deliverance will be a
divine deliverance (1:7).
The kingdom of Israel had
fallen away from Yahweh and had sunken into
idolatry. She had become an adulterous nation. Hosea
paints a vivid picture of the ugliness of sin. His
language is graphic because Israel had thoroughly
perfected her adultery. "The land commits flagrant
harlotry, forsaking Yahweh" (v. 2).
Because of her deliberate
disobedience the LORD said, " . . . I will punish
the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and
I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of
Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel
in the valley of Jezreel" (vv. 4-5).
Judgment will fall upon
the nation. "For great will be the day of Jezreel"
(v. 11). The name Jezreel means "judgment," or the
"threatened judgment." The first son of Hosea was
named Jezreel after the fruitful plain of Jezreel.
There king Ahab had murdered Naboth and stole his
vineyard. The result was the extermination of his
dynasty. It was there that many acts of
unrighteousness had been committed and Hosea says
judgment will fall on Israel at Jezreel. "The day of
Jezreel" would be the day the nation was broken in
the valley (v. 4). It will have great consequences
on the nation.
But it also becomes a
reminder of God's salvation (vv. 10-11). There they
will be weaned off their idols and trust in "the
living God" as their only hope as in opposition to
dead, lifeless, brainless idols.
One Leader will Unite
E. W. Hengstenberg says,
"The peculiarity of the Messianic prophecies of
Hosea, as compared with those of the time of David
and Solomon, consists in the connection of the
promise with the threatening of judgments, and in
the Messiah's appearing as the light of those who
walk in the deepest darkness of the divine
judgments." He adds, "In Hosea the Messianic
announcement meets us in its most developed form."
The messianic predictions
uttered by the Hebrew prophets are closely connected
with the messages of coming judgment. It is the LORD
God in opposition to the heathen gods that is boldly
proclaimed. The all–powerful Messiah is seen as the
invincible conqueror of the heathen world. He will
subject the whole earth to the kingdom of God as we
see in Daniel. He will be the "one leader" who will
unite His people under the LORD God.
Something wonderful is
gong to happen where "You are not My people," it
will be said to them "you are the sons of the living
God" (v. 10). The children of Israel and Judah will
be reunited together under "one leader" (v. 11). It
will be one single head, or one prince king who will
bring the people together. The bringing together of
the people will be under Yahweh and David their
king. It will take place under messianic times. Only
a small number have come to Him which "furnish a
pledge of their complete fulfillment in the last
times, when the hardening of Israel will cease and
all Israel be converted to Christ (Romans 11:25-26"
(Keil and Delitzsch).
It is obvious this is the
correct application when we turn to 1 Peter 2:10 and
Romans 9:24-26. Both Peter and Paul quote the
passage as proof of the calling of Gentiles to be
the children of God in Christ. Israel had become
like non-Jews and had fallen from the covenant of
Yahweh. The apostles affirm that God had adopted the
Gentiles as His children. This promise to Hosea is
that after the Gentiles have been saved a large
number of Jews will respond to God's saving grace in
the Messiah. However, Israel's heart is still
The Hebrew scholars Keil
and Delitzsch came to this conclusion:
"The fulfillment of the
promise must also include the incorporation of
believing Gentiles into the congregation of the Lord
(Isaiah 44:5). This incorporation commenced with the
preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles by the
apostles; it has continued through all the centuries
in which the church has been spreading in the world;
and it will receive its final accomplishment when
the fullness of the Gentiles shall enter into the
kingdom of God. As the number of the children of
Israel is thus continually increased, this
multiplication will complete when the descendants of
the children of Israel, who are still hardened in
their hearts, shall turn to Jesus Christ as their
Messiah and Redeemer (Romans 11:25-26)."
Hosea 1:10 is quoted by
the apostle Paul in Romans 9:26. Paul gives us
further light on the meaning of this verse. The
sovereignty of God is the theme in Romans nine. God
in His sovereign grace has included the Gentiles.
And He did so to make
known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy,
which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us,
whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but
also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
"I will call those who
were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not
beloved, ‘beloved.’ "
"And it shall be that in
the place where it was said to them,
‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be
called sons of the living God."
Israel will be
reinstalled, but in the meantime Gentiles will
believe and become "the sons of the living God."
Blessings will come to the non-Jewish people.
The apostle Paul did not
want believers in the church at Rome to be ignorant
of what God was doing with His people. He wrote,
"For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed
of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own
estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to
Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come
in; and thus all Israel will be saved . . . "
(Romans 11:25-26a). Then he goes on to quote Isaiah
59:20, 21 to remind us that it will be "the
Deliverer," the Messiah who will accomplish this
great event. There is no ground for spiritualizing
the reference to the Jewish people, "Israel," in
verse twenty-six. A. T. Robertson and Charles Hodge
insist that Paul is referring to the whole nation.
Keep in mind the rejection of Israel is not
The "partial hardening"
need not mean "every Jew without a single
exception," but Israel as a whole, the nation, the
eternal objects of God's electing love. The emphasis
in on God's sovereign saving grace. These Jewish
people will be saved by grace alone through faith
alone in Christ alone. It will no longer be just a
small remnant who will be saved but many will be
saved as a result of the hardening being terminated.
The "hardening" is the
"covering with a callus" (Thayer). It is "mental
dullness, dulled spiritual perception." But remember
it will be a "partial hardening." A day will come in
God's perfect timing when they will respond and be
saved by His grace. That will take place Paul says
when "the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."
When the church is completed and every Gentile has
entered into the kingdom and the total number of the
elect are saved God will once again turn to the
Jewish people and their hearts will respond to His
wooing love and they will believe on Him and be
saved. "How unsearchable are His judgments and
unfathomable His ways! (v. 33).
This will not be a
political movement, but the sovereign hand of Yahweh
and His anointed One.
Who is "David their
Some expositors think
Hosea 3:5 was fulfilled in the return of the remnant
to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel. However, the great
day of Jezreel has not yet come. That will occur
when the Messiah, Jesus Christ returns and Judah and
Israel will be gathered together under "one leader."
By far the greater number of interpreters understand
Him to be the Messiah, therefore, verse eleven still
The "one leader" is a
ruler who would be able to bring about a change in
the attitude of the people of Israel toward both the
northern and southern tribes. This "new head" would
be the unifying force that could lead the nation to
reestablish itself as in the days of ancient David.
They would return from exile, repossess the land and
become a great nation as when David was their great
David had long been dead
and buried in Jerusalem; but Hosea represents this
person in his everlasting dominion, which the Jews
knew would "last as long as the sun and moon."
There is nothing against
these events being realized in the messianic age.
Hosea may have equated all of these accomplishments
with the messianic age and the reign of the second
David when the great day of Jezreel would be
accomplished. It would be a day of victory for
Yahweh. The Messiah would accomplish his work in the
messianic age. In Christ we see most fully
concentrated the mercy of God. In His appearance and
everlasting dominion the promises given to David
were first to be fully realized.
This same refrain is
picked up again in Hosea 3:4-5. "For the sons of
Israel will remain for many days without king or
prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and
without ephod or household idols" (v. 4).
Verse four finds
fulfillment in the Assyrian exile in 722 B.C. and
the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. The city of
Jerusalem and the Temple were completely destroyed
in A.D. 70.
"Afterward the sons of
Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and
David their king; and they will come trembling to
the Lord and to His goodness in the last days" (v.
5). This verse reminds us of 1:11. Keil writes, "The
true return to the Lord cannot take place without a
return to David their king, since God has promised
the kingdom to David and his seed forever (2 Samuel
7:13, 16), and therefore David is the only king of
Israel (their king). This King David, however, is no
other than the Messiah."
These events will not
take place until "in the last days." This expression
is not a reference to a future time generally, but
"always the closing future of the kingdom of God,
commencing with the coming Messiah (Genesis 49:1;
Isaiah 2:2)." These days are always associated with
the messianic age. It never occurs in any other
sense than the messianic times. This is a theme
stressed throughout the prophetic books in the Old
Testament. These days anticipated the suffering,
punishment and the return of the golden age of
David. The prophets used the expression "the latter
days" to refer to the messianic age when the throne
of David would be reoccupied by one of his
The future of Israel is a
returning and seeking the LORD their God and David
their King who is Christ. This is the way the
ancient Jewish writers understood Hosea 3:5. It
cannot be referring to King David who died and was
buried in Jerusalem. It is David's greater Son and
David's Lord, Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 37:23, 24). When
Christ returns many in Israel will be converted to
Christ. They will respond to His saving grace and
put their faith in Him for salvation.
The greatest authorities
among the Jewish religious leaders declared, "The
last days means the days of the Messiah." The
ancient Jewish Targum of Jonathan says, "This is the
King Messiah; which he be from among the living or
from the dead. His name is Messiah."
God is so deeply in love
with His people that He will not be turned aside in
His search for His people. His love will not fail.
We can leave the logistics of the future up to Him.
Hosea sees a vision of
God patiently waiting, longing, pursuing, wooing,
appealing, redeeming and restoring His wandering
God in His redeeming
grace has made a way for wandering depraved sinful
men and women. He is pleading, yearning, pursuing
and reaching down to everyone who will confess their
need to Him and believe on Jesus the messiah as
their only Lord and Savior. “Whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Indeed, He has in the
all-sufficient work Jesus Christ accomplished on our
behalf. Have you received His free gift of eternal
life by grace through faith in Christ alone?
Title: Hosea 1-3
One Leader Who is David their King
Christ in the Old Testament