OT Encounters: Hosea 2:14-20 – God’s Bride

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, May 27, 2018, is from the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, specifically Hosea 2:14-20. The context is very important because these verses are right in the middle of Hosea’s prophetic object lesson ordained by God. As you may recall, Hosea was told by God to marry a woman of whoredom and have children. This he did. Her name was Gomer, and they had three children—“not my people,” “not loved,” and “Jezreel.” At this point, Gomer left her husband and began to play the harlot with other men. It is finally at this point that the LORD Gods provides Hosea, Israel, and us with a glimmer of what is going on—what’s the point? The LORD tells Hosea that Gomer is Israel! The LORD married her, but she is an unfaithful bride who has played the harlot with other gods and other nations. Therefore, she is not His people; she is not loved! These are harsh words of condemnation, but our text lays out how the LORD will restore the relationship. Following our text, Hosea is instructed to buy back Gomer so that she will be his bride once again. And so has the LORD purchased His bride—not with gold or silver, but with the holy, precious blood of Jesus.

The LORD in Hosea, like Jeremiah, uses the language of “husband” when He describes His  bride. Because of this relationship, all idolatry is viewed as adultery in the eyes of God, and so the divine object lesson in which Hosea plays a part is quite telling.

Another interesting note is the use of creation language in verse 18. In addition to reminding us of Genesis 1 and 2, this language also points us to the time when the New Eden will be established in the courts of heaven at the last day. In these verses we see the promise of restoration in the coming of Christ AND the restoration when Christ returns to bring us to everlasting life.

2:14 (Hebrew 2:16) mephateha—root: patah piel “to persuade; allure”

 weholaktiyha—root: halak “to bring out; to go”

2:15 (Hebrew 2:17) wenathatiy lah eth-kerameyha “I will give to her her vineyards”

eemeq “valley; lowland”

tiqwah “hope”

neureyha “her youth” The idea is that this would be a time before she was married/betrothed.

2:16 (Hebrew 2:18) ishi “my man/my husband” baeli “my Baal/my lord/my husband” These words could be translated identically. However, the LORD is using them to show a difference. My Baal obviously connects to the false gods around the people and My Husband references the LORD, Himself.

2:17 (Hebrew 2:19) welo-yizaru od bishmam “will not be remembered by name any longer”

2:18 (Hebrew 2:20) chayath “animals; beasts”

ooph “birds; flying things” weremes “creeping things”

eshbor “to break”

wehishkavtiym—root: shabat hishtaphel “to lie down; rest” “I will cause you/make you lie down”

2:19 (Hebrew 2:21) weerastiyk—root: aras piel “to betroth”

Wuvchesed wuvrachamiym “and in steadfast love and mercy”

2:20 (Hebrew 2:22) beemunah “trustworthiness; faithfulness”

Weyadaat eth-yahweh “you shall/will know the LORD” The language is covenantal and relational and fits the context of Hosea and the object lesson perfectly.