Study Questions: Revelation Through Heartache (Hosea 1:1 – 2:13)

This week’s questions:

According to Hosea, God will punish the Israelites for what King Jehu did at Jezreel (1: 4).  For a historical context, read 2 Kings 9 and 10 to see what happened there. 

Note: Some scholars wonder why a punishment is warranted because the bloodshed at Jezreel was apparently sanctioned by God (see 9: 6-10 & 10: 30).  However, many presume that the punishment is a consequence of Jehu’s killing of Ahaziah, king of Judah.  He fled from Jehu in Jezreel but was wounded and died in nearby Megiddo (see 9: 27).  Also, see 2 Kings 10:31.

1. The ancient Israelites often gave their children names that were indicative of personal or social circumstances.  In this sense, their names can be understood as ‘the sign of the times’ so to speak.  For some examples of this see Gen 25: 24-6 (Jacob and Esau), Gen 29: 31 – 30: 24 (Jacob’s children) and 1 Sam 1: 20 (Samuel).  God gives Hosea specific instructions on what to name all three of the children born to Gomer: Jezreel (God plants), Lo-Ruhamah (not loved) and Lo-Ammi (not my people).  What is the significance of these three children’s names?  What do they mean for the Israelites?  Hosea’s name means ‘salvation.’  What, if anything, could that mean for them as well?

2. What images of God and Israel are evoked by using the marriage analogy?  Hypothetically speaking, what happens upon the discovery of marital infidelity?  What may be some of the human responses?  According to the Scriptures, how will God respond to His people?

3.  In 2: 1-13 we have a case of displaced loyalty and discipline.  The Israelites neglected to give God the honor and glory He deserved and attributed their good fortune to Baal (v. 8).  For this they will be punished.  In what ways are we personally and communally disloyal to God?  What are the false gods or ‘Baals’ in our lives?

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