Hosea 2:1 is a continuation from the 1:10 mentioning the blessing by God and the prosperity of Israel. The prophet Hosea might say to any male Israelite, “My brother,” and to any female Israelite, “My sister.” This promised blessing was conditional, but at this point their spiritual condition was low and they still were unfaithful to God.
Hosea 2:2-13 describes their shameful behavior (2:5, 10) and their ignorance about their God (2:8). Their motherland Israel did not trust in their husbandly God, and decided to depend on stronger nations (Jeremiah 2:25). God’s ways of bringing Israel back to Himself was to first stop her from seeking relationships with other nations (2:6-7), and have her say, “I will return to my first Husband, for then it was better with me than now” (2:7). Secondly, God would deprive them of their enjoyments, so that they might remember that the true Giver is their God, not her lovers. If they did not return to God, they would loose their bread, water, wool, linen, beverages (2:5), grains, wine, oil, silver, gold (2:8), grapes and figs (2:12). They would not be able to have their celebrations and feasts (2:11, 13).
Hosea 2:14-23 depicts God’s way of leading Israel to repentance and into a hopeful condition. At first God would lead Israel into a needy and troublesome condition, so that Israel would listen to God. An attitude of listening to God is “a door of hope” (2:15). God’s strong desire to restore a good spiritual condition and relationship with Him is shown by the use of such words as, “bring,” and “lure” which also means “entice, seduce” (2:14). God wanted to bring Israel back into the same condition and frame of mind they had when they came out of Egypt singing for joy (2:15).
Until the time of Hosea God allowed Israel to call Him by the general word Baal which means “Master.” However, God wanted Israel to understand their relation with Him as “Husband-wife” rather than a “Master-servant” relationship (2:16-17). God wanted to make a matrimonial eternal covenant with His people, one based on faithfulness, righteousness, justness, mercy, and compassion (2:19, 20).
If Israel would keep a right relationship with God, the heavens and the earth would respond and the earth would provide food for them (2:22). If Israel could only maintain this kind of relationship with God. What a merciful God we have!
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D.