Study of Hosea - Chapter 2

We pick back up in the Book of Hosea in Chapter 2. The Lord is giving His message to the prophet Hosea to speak to the people of Israel concerning their spiritual adultery and prostitution against the Lord. He rebukes them, calls them to repent, outlines their punishment upon refusal, identifies the path of reconciliation, and then promises restoration.

Chapter 2


1 “Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’ “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold which they used for Baal. “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body. 10 So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. 11 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals. 12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. 13 I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the Lord.

14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (“Trouble”) a door of hope. There she will respond[c] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in[e] righteousness and justice, in[f] love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in[g] faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel (“God Plants”)23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not Loved (“Lo-Ruhamah”) I will say to those called ‘Not my people’ (“Lo-Ammi”) ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”



Hosea is instructed to give the message from the Lord to the people of Israel.

Verse 2: Israel must stop its prostitution of worshiping other gods and seeking provision from false gods and foreign nations (“lovers”) that are not the Lord. At this time, the Lord is refusing to recognize Israel as his wife/nation due to their sins against Him.

Verse 3-4: If the people do not heed this call to return to the Lord then they will be stripped of everything they have and they will be barren in the land that was initially promised to them. The children (younger generations) will also not be spared judgement because they were raised under Israel’s rebellion against the Lord -> They were raised to worship Baal and false gods, rejection of the Lord and His ways, and taught that this behavior was acceptable.

Verse 5-8: Israel continued to prostitute themselves against the Lord. They falsely believed their provision and blessings came from other nations and gods. They worshiped false gods and pursued “lovers” (foreign nations and allies). As a result, the Lord blocked Israel’s path so that they would have no choice but to return to Him. They did not realize that it was the Lord who was providing for them and blessing them the whole time so they gave away these blessings as sacrifices and worship to Baal and other false gods.

Verse 9-13: The Lord declares He will take back everything that He gave them. He would expose the shame of Israel so that no one will want to help them. Their rejoicing will end and the nation will be laid bare. The nation will be punished for their sins of not recognizing the Lord, worshiping false gods, spiritual prostitution, and forsaking the Lord.

Verse 14-23: After Israel’s punishment (initial destruction), God would lead them to the wilderness to reconcile them to Him in order to re-establish the marriage covenant with them. He will deal with the nation tenderly and provide for them. The people will commit to the Lord and no longer worship false gods. Then the Lord will bless their lands with peace, safety, righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness. The nation shall know the Lord – meaning intimate relationship with Him. When this happens, the Lord will pour out blessings on His people and firmly plant them in the land. He will then recognize them as His people, profess His love for them, and they will be restored.


Contextual Background 

The Lord is addressing the nation of Israel for their sins under King Ahab and the other evil kings of that era. It was during this time that the people rejected the Lord and His ways. They committed many sins including worshiping Baal and false gods as well as sacrificing to them. When their perceived “luck and fortune” started to wane, the people sought assistance from foreign nations instead of returning to God. Therefore, since they did not stay committed to the Lord, He took away everything that Israel thought they had obtained on their own. This occurred in the 8th century BC. Israel had allied with the Arameans (modern-day Syria) to fight against Assyria (modern-day Iraq, Turkey, and Iran). Israel also threatened their brothers of Judah if they did not join the fight. In response, Judah went to the King of Assyria and paid him tribute with gold and treasures from the Lord’s temple in exchange for help against Israel and their coalition (2 Kings 16). The prophet Isaiah counseled King Ahaz of Judah and told him to trust in the Lord instead of foreign allies but he refused. The King of Assyria then conquered the nation of Israel and their coalition and then proceeded to subjugate Judah – though not as harshly. Although Judah remained independent, it was forced to pay tribute to the king of Assyria and to support his army. The prophet Isaiah again counseled King Ahaz of Judah to trust in the Lord and not on foreign aid but again he refused (Isaiah 7-9, 2 Chronicles 28). As a result, Judah would also be destroyed in the 6th century BC after being conquered by Babylon.


Interpretation and Explanation

God equates the relationship He has with His people as a marriage and covenant. Therefore, when His people chase after idols and false gods, He equates this to adultery and being unfaithful to Him. Just as an adulterer forsakes their spouse and gives their love to another person, we commit spiritual adultery when we forsake God and put anything or anyone before Him. When His people choose to rely on themselves, people, or things other than God, He equates this to spiritual prostitution. Just as a prostitute relies on the selling of herself and the resources from her suitors/patrons, we too commit spiritual prostitution when we reject the ways of the Lord, rely on ourselves and stand in our own pride, and give ourselves, time, and energy to those who seek only to gain at our detriment. However, we can preserve ourselves from physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional harm if we would only commit to the Lord and remain faithful to him.

Israel’s downfall started first with the sins of their kings but was sealed with the sins of the people, their refusal to repent, and their lack of regard for the Lord. In addition to their spiritual adultery, Israel sacrificed to their lovers (false gods and foreign nations) by giving to them the blessings the Lord had given to His people.  Imagine that you’re married and you gift your spouse a nice home, a car, some personalized jewelry, and you shower them with love, for example. Then one day you are out and notice someone wearing the jewelry you gave your spouse. Then you see they are driving your spouse’s car and pull up to your house and your spouse welcomes them with open arms and a plate of food. How do you feel when you see this? Not only is your spouse committing adultery but they are also abusing your love. How would you fill if your spouse or significant other did this to you – especially if you had also rescued them from a life of poverty and abuse? Although this visualization may seem extreme, this is essentially what Israel was doing in their spiritual adultery, sacrifices to Baal, and tribute to foreign kings. This is also what we do when we forsake God and replace Him with idols and false gods in our lives. When we fail to recognize and appreciate the Lord for who He is and all He has done for us we commit spiritual adultery. Anything we place before the Lord can be idols and false gods – whether it is our jobs, our spouse or significant other, money, children, drugs and alcohol, hobbies – anything that draws our attention away from God and removes Him from the number one spot in our lives. We all are guilty of this at times but the Lord is patient with us and gives us opportunities to turn away from it and return to him. What idols have you set up in your life that need to be removed? 

Along with spiritual adultery, Israel committed spiritual prostitution by falsely believing that everything they had they obtained, their provision, and resources came from their own efforts and bonds with foreign allies instead of the Lord. They placed their trust in themselves and other people and actively sought foreign provision instead of the Lord. They disobeyed His commands, rejected Him and His love, and ignored His pleads for their return and commitment to Him and His love. How often do we say we are “self-made” or “I did this myself” and not recognize the Lord?

We say our bodies are our own so we can do what we please with them, but it is God who formed us in the womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 - "I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."

We say our lives are our own, but it is the Lord’s breath in our lungs.

Genesis 2:7 - "Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." 

Acts 17:25 - "Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything."

We say we will go our own way, but it’s the Lord who orders our steps

Proverbs 16:9 - "A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps"

We say all that we have obtained is from our own efforts, but it’s the Lord that gives us provision and everything we are and have comes from Him.

Romans 11:36 - "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen."

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 - "Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

John 1:3 - "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."

1 Chronicles 29:16 - "O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own."

Job 41:11 - "Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine."

Let’s not commit the sin of spiritual prostitution. Let’s not delude ourselves in our pride and self-reliance to falsely believe that it is not God’s hand on our lives but our own efforts that lead us to what we have. Let’s not lean on our own understanding nor seek provision from any place but the true source – The Lord. Instead, let us swallow our pride, humble ourselves, and submit to the Lord in all that we do. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

1 Peter 5:6 - "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you"


Key Points and Application

  • God expects loyalty and faithfulness from His people – the same as a marriage. (Deuteronomy 7:9-14, Leviticus 26). He is patient and loving and gives us opportunities to return to Him when we fall. He even sends people in or lives to help get us back on track. However, if we refuse to heed his message and continue to reject Him then He removes His hand from us and takes away all that He gave us. This is for correction and not condemnation. His desire is for a true relationship and for us to recognize Him and appreciate Him for who He is – God, who he is/has been to us – Father and loving spouse, and for what He has done in our lives. When he takes things away and leads us into a season of wilderness it is to draw us closer to Him and to reset our focus back on him, free from distractions. It is also to cause us to realize that all we are and all that we have comes from Him.

Hosea 2:14 (AMP) – “Therefore, I will allure Israel and bring her to the wilderness and I will speak tenderly to her [to reconcile her to me]”.

    • We must first recognize, appreciate, and cherish the Lord – i.e., truly LOVE the Lord. Then we must trust Him for our provision and not place our trust and hopes in idols, false gods, or other people. If Israel had recognized the Lord was their true source instead of seeking support from foreign nations who led them into worship of false gods, then the Lord’s hand would’ve stayed on them. As was later the case with Judah, we lose every time we put our trust in anyone other than God.
    • Although we may experience seasons of loss, wilderness, or God’s punishment/correction, we can take heart in knowing that it is to refine us and our character. It is also to establish and/or strengthen our relationship with Him if we submit to Him, trust the process, and accept it instead of trying to fight against it.

    1 Peter 1:6-7 - "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

    Romans 5:3-5 – “We rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

    In every instance when the Lord proclaims correction/ judgement, or punishment on His people, He always outlines a path for reconciliation and promises restoration after the season of refinement – if the people yield to it. This is the meaning of Psalm 30:5, “For His anger is but a moment and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last a night but joy comes in the morning”.