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. This was during the time when Jeroboam, son of Joash, 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 Israel's people by Hosea. The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, and marry a prostitute. I want you to have children with her. The children will be like her. In the same way, my people have left me and they have loved other gods.’ 3 So Hosea married a woman called Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. After this, Gomer became pregnant. She gave birth to their first child, a son. 4 The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call him Jezreel. This is because I will soon punish the family of Jehu. I will hurt them because of the murders by Jehu at Jezreel. Then I will cause the end of the country called Israel. 5 And, in the Valley of Jezreel, I will at that time completely destroy the armies of Israel.’
1:3Gomer was a prostitute. She had sex with many men. In Hosea 4:12; 5:4, Hosea uses the word prostitute in another way. Israel is like a prostitute, because the people worship many false gods. They do not stay with the true God, like a woman should stay with her husband.