1 This is the message that the Lord gave to Hosea, the son of Beeri. He gave this message during the time that Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. It was during the time when Joash's son Jeroboam was the king of Israel.
1:1When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.
2 The Lord began to speak to Hosea with a message for his people. The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go and marry a prostitute. She will give birth to children for you, as a prostitute. That will show how my people have not been faithful to me. They have turned away from me, the Lord, and they have served other gods.’
Hosea's wife and their children
3 So Hosea married a woman called Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then Gomer became pregnant. She gave birth to a son for Hosea. 4 The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call him Jezreel. This is because I will soon punish the family of Jehu. I will punish them because Jehu murdered people at Jezreel. I will cause the kingdom of Israel to come to an end. 5 At that time, I will completely destroy the power of Israel's army in Jezreel valley.’
1:3Gomer was a prostitute. Israel is like a prostitute, because the people worship many false gods. They do not stay with the true God, as a woman should stay with her husband.
1:4The name Jezreel means ‘God plants’.
6 Gomer became pregnant again. She gave birth to a daughter. The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call her Lo-Ruhamah. This is because I will not continue to show love to Israel's people. I will not forgive their sins any more. 7 But I will continue to love the people of Judah. I will save them from the power of their enemies. I will not use weapons to do this in a battle. I will not use an army, or horses, or chariots. Instead, it will be the power of the Lord their God that saves them.’
1:6The name Lo-Ruhamah means ‘No love’.
8 After Lo-Ruhamah stopped drinking Gomer's milk, Gomer became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. 9 Then the Lord said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi. This is because you Israelites are not my people. I am not your God.’
1:9The name Lo-Ammi means ‘Not my people’.
A promise about Israel's future
10 In the future, nobody will be able to count the number of Israel's people. They will be as much as the sand on the shore of the sea. God has said to them, ‘You are not my people.’ But at that time, he will say to them, ‘You are children of the God who lives!’ 11 Then the people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together again. They will choose a single leader to rule them. They will return to live in their own land. They will know that the day of Jezreel is a great day.