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Verses 2-23

Unfaithful Israel (2:2-23)

In Chapter 2 Hosea’s sons are apparently now grown up and Hosea asks them to plead with their mother to return to him. In the same way the minority of faithful believers in Israel plead with the faithless nation to return to God (2).Israel’s adultery was to follow Baal instead of Yahweh. The people believed that Baal was the god of nature and he would give them happiness. Just as a husband could strip his unfaithful wife and send her away naked, so God will, by drought and conquest, strip Israel’s land, leaving it bare and fruitless (3-5).God creates other hindrances designed to stop Israel from going after Baal and to help her return to him, but she persists in pursuing Baal. Only when she cannot get what she wants from Baal does she selfishly turn back to Yahweh, hoping he can do better for her (6-7).In his grace God receives unfaithful Israel back, but by ruining the productivity of the land he will show her that he, not Baal, is the controller of nature (8-9). As an adulterous wife is shamed by being stripped naked, so the nation that is committing spiritual adultery with Baal will be shamed as her land is stripped bare (10-13).

After she acknowledges her wrong, God will win Israel back to himself. When Israel first entered her land, the Valley of Achor (GNB: Trouble Valley) brought warnings of judgment (see Joshua 7:22-26), but when she returns it will bring hope (14-15). No longer will she try to follow both Yahweh and Baal. Yahweh will be her only husband. In fact, she will be so determined to avoid any identification of Yahweh with Baal, that she will refuse to use the word baal when speaking of Yahweh as her husband or master. She will use the alternative word ish (16-17). Yahweh will protect her from all dangers, whether from the world of nature or from the world of people. He is God of nature and God of history (18).

The ‘re-marriage’ will be based on God’s standards and maintained by his loving faithfulness to the marriage covenant. Israel will know Yahweh and be inseparably united with him (19-20). He, the only God of nature, will then give to Israel the blessings of nature that she desired. The curses signified by the names of Hosea’s three children will then be turned into blessings (21-23).

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