An Exegetical Commentary on Hosea Chapter 2


The book of Hosea provides a profound theological commentary on the covenant relationship between God and Israel. As one of the Minor Prophets, Hosea prophesied during a spiritually dark time in Israel’s history. The people had turned away from God and were worshipping false idols. Hosea uses the metaphor of an unfaithful spouse to depict Israel’s unfaithfulness towards God.

Hosea Chapter 2 contains some of the most vivid and emotive language describing God’s intense anger and disappointment with Israel’s disobedience. Yet this indignation is mingled with tender reminders of God’s lovingkindness and desire for restoration. This commentary will provide an exegetical analysis of Hosea Chapter 2, unpacking its meaning for a modern Evangelical and Charismatic Christian audience.

Key Takeaways

Viral Believer is reader-supported. We may earn a small fee from products we recommend at no charge to you. Read Our Affiliate Disclosuree

  • God expresses fierce anger at Israel’s sin but profoundly desires their repentance and restoration
  • Israel is portrayed as an unfaithful spouse who has prostituted herself with false gods and idols
  • God will discipline Israel by withdrawing his blessings so they understand their dependence on him
  • A future day of restoration is promised where Israel will be betrothed to God forever
  • God will make a new covenant with Israel, redeeming them with righteousness, justice, love and compassion
  • Hosea Chapter 2 provides a template for understanding God’s anger at sin balanced with his merciful heart for restoration
An Exegetical Commentary on Hosea Chapter 2

God’s Frustration with Israel’s Sin (v1-13)

The opening verses depict God’s intense displeasure and frustration with Israel’s sinful ways. The language used is legal terminology, with God presenting a “case” against Israel, saying “Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.” (v2)

This sets up the marriage metaphor that will continue throughout the chapter. Israel is depicted as the unfaithful spouse who has prostituted herself with false lovers. The mention of “children” and “mother” refers to the inhabitants of Israel and Judah who have adopted idolatrous practices.

God outlines the reasons for his indictment, stating that Israel must, “Put away her whorings from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts.” (v2). This graphic language emphasizes the brazen, shameless way that Israel has abandoned God and run after pagan gods and idols.

To punish Israel’s sin, God declares he will “strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born” (v3). This signifies God withdrawing the blessings, prosperity and protection Israel enjoyed. The chapter lists the various material blessings God will remove, including food, wool, linen, feasts, vines and fig trees.

This punishment is intended to discipline Israel in two ways. Firstly, by experiencing lack, Israel would realize it was God who provided for them. Secondly, the loss of blessings would remove the resources used in pagan worship. For example, the “feast days, the New Moons, the Sabbaths–all her appointed feasts.” (v11) were corrupted into idol worship.

Under the covenant stipulations outlined in Deuteronomy 28, obedience brought blessings while disobedience incurred curses. Hosea Chapter 2 presents God enacting the covenant curses as discipline to bring Israel to repentance. As verse 7 states, “She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them.” Israel will discover the futility and emptiness of idol worship only after feeling the lack of God’s blessings.

Promise of Future Restoration (v14-23)

After declaring punishment on Israel, the tone of Chapter 2 softens as God reveals his ultimate desire is not to condemn, but to restore. Verse 14 begins with the compassionate words “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her”.

Some scholars believe this “wilderness” refers literally to the wilderness wanderings after escaping Egypt. Just as God tenderly cared for Israel in the desert, so too would he allure them back from idolatry. Others suggest the wilderness metaphorically represents a place of purification where Israel recommits themselves to the marriage covenant.

Verses 15-17 describes the promised day of restoration using marital language:

“And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.” (v15-17)

In renewing their covenant with God, Israel will no longer associate God with the false Canaanite god Baal. God promises to completely obliterate idol worship from the land.

Verse 18 begins with another tender promise, “And I will make for them a covenant on that day”. This references the future New Covenant that God will establish with Israel. It will be characterized by righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy and faithfulness. The remainder of the chapter elaborates beautiful images of abundance, care and intimacy that will define this renewed relationship:

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” (v19-20)

“And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” (v23)

These verses contain hope-filled language rescinding the names Lo-ruhamah (“No Mercy”) and Lo-ammi (“Not my People”) given earlier in Hosea 1:9. God promises a complete reversal of Israel’s alienation through his mercy and grace.

Theological Applications for Today

Hosea Chapter 2 holds many poignant theological truths applicable for modern readers:

God’s righteous anger at sin: We see God’s white-hot fury and broken heart over Israel’s spiritual adultery. God rightly expresses fierce anger at sin and covenant unfaithfulness. His hatred of sin reflects his perfect moral character.

Discipline as an act of love: God’s withdrawing of blessings was purposeful discipline to bring Israel to repentance. God patiently works to correct and restore his people, even when it’s painful.

Call to examine heart idols: Israel was tempted by the sensual idol worship of their day. We too must inspect our hearts and repent of modern “idols” that have our allegiance.

Marriage metaphor: Hosea’s marriage metaphor reminds us that God desires an intimate, exclusive relationship with his people. We must forsake spiritual adultery.

God’s merciful heart: Despite Israel’s sin, God graciously draws them back and makes a new covenant. His anger is mingled with tender love and a desire for restoration.

Foreshadows the Gospel: Hosea offers a template for the Gospel where God’s righteous judgment for sin is satisfied through Christ, allowing mercy and redemption.


Hosea Chapter 2 presents an emotional lament from God over Israel’s sin, yet profoundly expresses God’s lovingkindness and redemptive powers. For the Evangelical and Charismatic Christian, we can apply this passage to examine our own hearts for idolatry and repent of anything separating us from intimate fellowship with Christ. While sin angers God, he gently calls us back as his beloved bride, extending mercy through the blood of Jesus. Hosea reminds us that no matter how far we stray, God’s love pursues our hearts to restore us into right relationship with him again.

About The Author

Scroll to Top