1 "Say to your brothers, 'Ammi,' and to your sisters, 'Ruhamah.'
2 Plead with your mother. Plead, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband. Let her therefore put away her prostitutions out of her sight and her adulteries from between her breasts,
3 Lest I strip her naked, set her as in the day that she was born, make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land and kill her with thirst.
4 And I will not have mercy upon her children, for they are the children of lewdness.
5 For their mother has played the harlot. She who conceived them has done shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns and make a wall, so that she shall not find her paths.
7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now.'
8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, wine, and oil and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
9 Therefore, I will return and take away my corn in its time and my wine in its season, and I will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
10 And now I will disclose her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her out of my hand.
11 I will also cause to cease all her mirth, her feast days, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig-trees, of which she has said, 'These are my rewards that my lovers have given me.' And I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, in which she burned incense to them and decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers and forgot me," says the LORD.
14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.
15 And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth and as in the day when she came from the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be at that day," says the LORD, "that you shall call me Ishi, and shall no longer call me Baali.
17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no longer be remembered by their name.
18 And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of heaven, and with the creeping animals of the ground. And I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down in safety.
19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will even betroth you to me in righteousness, in judgment, in loving-kindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear," says the LORD, "I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth,
22 And the earth shall hear the corn, the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.
23 And I will sow her for myself in the earth. And I will have mercy upon her who had not obtained mercy, and I will say to those who were not my people, 'You are my people.' And they shall say, 'You are my God.'"
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter is an explanation of the former, proceeding upon the same argument in more express words. The godly Israelites are here called upon to lay before the body of the people their idolatry, ingratitude, obstinacy, and ignorance of the God of their mercies; and to exhort them to repentance, lest they should be stripped of all their good things, and be brought into great distress and difficulties; all their joy and comfort cease, and be exposed to shame and contempt (Hosea 2:1-13), yet, notwithstanding, many gracious promises are made to them, of their having the alluring and comfortable word of the Gospel; of a door of hope; of salvation being opened to them; of faith in the Lord, and affection to him as their husband; of the removal of all idolatry from them; of safety from all enemies; of their open espousal to Christ; of his hearing of their prayers, and giving them plenty of all good things; and of their multiplication, conversion, and covenant relation to God (Hosea 2:14-23).
[v.1a] - Ammi: My people. Ruhamah: Beloved.
[v.1b] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet having spoken of the people's restoration, and promised that God would some time receive into favor those whom he had before rejected, now exhorts the faithful mutually to stir up one another to receive this favor. He had previously mentioned a public proclamation; for it is not in the power of men to make themselves the children of God, but God himself freely adopts them. But now the mutual exhortation of which the Prophet speaks follows the proclamation; for God at the same time invites us to himself. After we are taught in common, it remains then that each one should extend his hand to his brothers, that we may thus with one consent be brought together to the Lord."
[v.2] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet seems in this verse to contradict himself; for he promised reconciliation, and now he speaks of a new repudiation. These things do not seem to agree well together that God should embrace, or be willing to embrace, again in his love those whom he had before rejected, and that he should at the same time send a bill of divorce, and renounce the bond of marriage. But if we weigh the design of the Prophet, we shall see that the passage is very consistent, and that there is in the words no contrariety. He has indeed promised that at a future time God would be propitious to the Israelites: but as they had not yet repented, it was needful to deal again more severely with them, that they might return to their God really and thoroughly subdued."
[v.4-5] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Lord now comes close to each individual, after having spoken in general of the whole people: and thus we see that to be true... that it was far from the mind of the Prophet to suppose, that God here teaches the faithful who had already repented, that they ought to condemn their own mother. The Prophet meant nothing of the sort; but, on the contrary, he wished to check the waywardness of the people, who ceased not to contend with God, as though he had been more severe than just towards their race... We must remember that this sentence specifically belonged to the reprobate, who boasted of being the children of Abraham, while they were profane and unholy, while they impiously perverted the whole worship of God, while they were wholly ungovernable. Then the Prophet justly pronounces such a severe judgement on obstinate men, who could be reformed by no admonitions."
[v.5] - "For she said" - This may also be read as, "For she purposed," or, "For she resolved within herself." The idea is that the going after of her lovers was premeditated.
[v.6] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Well then, the Lord (we are told here) will make a hedge of thorns, to stop the sinner's way; and if this will not keep him back, he will make a wall also. For when the Lord is working by the sovereignty of his grace, to deter the soul he is bringing to himself, if one process will not accomplish the purpose, another shall. Reader! pause, and inquire what you know in your own heart of these things. Depend upon it, that it is by these things you live, and in this is the life of the soul."
[v.7a] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Jesus was, and is, and ever will be, the first, and constant, and last, and only husband of his Church. For whatever idols our poor souls, in the fallen state of an unregenerated, unrenewed nature, through the temptation of hell, may go after, still the Lord Jesus loses not his right in us, neither we our interest in him."
[v.7b] - "I will go and return to my first husband" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "But we must observe, that when men really repent, they do so through the special influence of the Spirit; for they would otherwise perpetually remain in that perverseness of which we have spoken. Were God for a hundred years continually to chastise perverse men, they would not yet change their disposition; and true is that common saying, 'The wicked are sooner broken than reformed.' But when men, after many admonitions, begin to be wise, this change comes through the Spirit of God. We may also learn from this passage what true repentance is; that is, when he who has sinned not only confesses himself to be guilty, and owns himself worthy of punishment, but is also displeased with himself, and then with sincere desire turns to God. Many, we see, are ready enough, and disposed, to confess their sins, and yet go on in the same course. But the Prophet shows here that true repentance is something very different, 'I will go and return,' he says. Repentance then consists (as they say) in the act itself; that is, repentance produces a reforming change in man, so that he reconciles himself to God, whom he had forsaken."
[v.8-13] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "These are so many blessed expressions, to show how graciously the Lord is dealing with his people, in the bounties both of providence and grace; while our proud, unhumbled nature, overlooking the Lord's free gifts, is always apt to ascribe every blessing to our own attainment. Moses admonished Israel to be aware of this, and learn to give God the sole glory. Deuteronomy 8:10."
[v.9] - "recover" - This can also be read as, "take away by force," as in, "I will take away by force my wool and my flax, etc."
[v.16a] - Ishi: My husband. Baali: My lord, or, my Baal.
[v.16b] - "Ishi" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Or, 'my husband'; returning to Christ their first husband, and being received by him, shall have faith and interest in him, and full assurance of it; and shall not only be allowed to call him their husband, but in the strength of faith, and with great freedom of soul, shall call him so, and say as the church did, 'my beloved is mine, and I am his' (Song of Solomon 2:16): or, 'my man'; the man the Lord, the man Yahweh's fellow, Immanuel God with us, God in human nature; and so more manifestly points at Christ, who, most properly speaking, stands in the relation of a husband to his people: or, 'my strength', as some interpret it; the husband being the strength, protection, and defense of the wife, the weaker vessel; so Christ is the strength of his saints, in whom they have righteousness and strength, and through whose strength they can do all things."
[v.16c] - "Baali" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Which signifies my husband too, and is used of God and Christ... but it signifies a lordly and imperious husband; and the other word, 'Ishi', a loving one: so Jarchi observes that the sense is, that they should serve the Lord from love, and not fear; 'Ishi' being a word expressive of marriage and love, and 'Baali' of lordship and fear."
[v.18] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "When the Lord is at peace with a redeemed soul in Christ; he makes the whole creation to be at peace with him: that is, the Lord allows nothing to hurt him. Exercised and tried God's people may be; but hurt they shall not be."
[v.21-22] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "When the dry and famished souls of poor sinners are savingly brought acquainted with God's rich mercy in Christ, their heaven is no longer to them iron, and the earth brass, but, the Lord hears and answers the intercession of his dear Son; and while prayers are going up, blessings are coming down; and the Lord becomes gracious to his people. Such, and so great, is the wonderful change brought by sovereign, free, and unmerited grace!"
[v.23a] - "The beginning of all good is from God, when he makes of strangers friends, and adopts as sons those who were before his enemies." —John Calvin
[v.23b] - Quoted in Romans 9:25; 1st Peter 2:10.