Captivity: “The End of Israel and Mercy to Judah” Part 1

Thoughts From Hosea Part 2

Taken from Solomon’s Porch Sunday Evening Sermon Series

Repetition is a method that is often used to emphasize a point.  It is the method God will use in Hosea 1:2-11 to break the news to Israel that He is planning to bring the Northern Kingdom to an end.  God, using Hosea’s marriage arrangement and the names of his children, is communicating the reason, as well as the judgment that is soon to come upon them.

The reason God was bringing judgment upon the Northern Kingdom was idolatry, which He compares to prostitution.

Hosea 1:2  

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”

 

From the day the Northern Kingdom was torn away from David’s house by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, til the final days of Hoshea’s reign, there never ruled upon the throne of Israel a righteous king in the eyes of the Lord.  The Northern Kingdom was a seedbed of idolatry, with the people worshiping a pantheon of gods created by the minds and hands of not just Jeroboam, but the Canaanite people God had warned them not to follow after in the Law.  Prophet after prophet was sent by the Lord to plead with them to remember the covenant that had been made with their fathers along with the commands given therein,

2 Kings 17:14-17

But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them. And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.

And so here in Hosea 1:2-9 God demonstrates, in the names of Hosea’s three children, the future of the nation of Israel.  Let’s take a look at what He says.

Hosea 1:3-9

So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.  And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

           

She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

           

When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

In summary God says, “I’m going to end the legitimate dynasty of Jehu and leave nothing in it’s place.  I’m going to bring a complete end to the Kingdom of Israel.  I am going to show no mercy to Israel, as a nation, I am not going to forbear and look past their sins any more.  From here on out, they are not my people.”  Now, there are two events that are historically right around the corner, within 40 years of Hosea recording these statements, that occur which should be interpreted as fulfilling these words of judgment.

First, Jeroboam II, the only king of Israel listed in Hosea 1:1, his son will be assassinated after a short reign of only 6 months.  Zechariah’s death will put and end to the house of Jehu. From then on, Israel will be ruled by un-anointed petty warlords, that just happen to be strong enough militarily speaking, to hold their interior enemies in check.  Most of the final 6 kings rule for short periods and are assassinated.  For more info about these kings, as well as Jehu and the blood of Jezreel, see my articles, “Solving the Mystery of the Missing Kings” and “Jehu, Jezreel, and Judgment”.

Second, and the more important of the two events, is the Northern Kingdom’s approaching captivity at the hands of the Assyrians.  Essentially all three of the prophecies surrounding Hosea’s children are associated with the coming destruction that will be brought on by the Assyrian kingdom.  To read the Bibles account of Israel’s destruction and captivity CLICK HERE.

But there is one small addition at the birth of the second child Lo-Ruhama or “No Mercy”, that I think is worth pointing out, and that’s this business about God having “mercy on the house of Judah”.  Why is this interesting?  Well, because Judah will go into captivity as well at the hands of the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 130 years after Israel falls to the Assyrians.  Now my challenge to you, O’ reader, is to read the account of the Babylonian captivity and try to see mercy in it.  While the Assyrian Captivity of Israel was terrible, the Babylonians were trying to ethnically, politically, and ecclesiastically wipe the kingdom of Judah from the face of the earth.  They killed king Zedekiah’s sons and then put his eyes out.  The last thing he saw was the royal line being extinguished.  They killed the high priest, the second priest, the commander of the army, anyone that was left in Jerusalem that could still fight, and most if not all of the kings counselors.  They destroyed the temple, killed the doorkeepers, which is significant because they were the men that kept up with the tribal genealogies.  No family records would be disastrous for a nation whose citizenship and worship practices were strictly based on who your father is and what tribe he belonged to.  They burned every great house, and tore down the wall surrounding the city, etc etc.  It is hard, when reading about Judah’s destruction in 2 Kings 24,25, to see mercy in it at all from a human perspective.  The good thing for you and I is, like Paul Harvey, we have “the rest of the story”.  What happened to both nations after their captivity is what enables us to translate God’s actions towards them to either be removal from the vine verses pruning to bear fruit, if I may use Jesus’ words from John 15. These two actions can feel the same, the same tool can even be used, but the purpose and end is very different indeed. In our next article, Part 2 of Captivity: “The End of Israel and Mercy to Judah”, we’ll examine what happens after their captivities that translate into a judgment that ends Israel, but a judgment that brings mercy and restoration to Judah.

Soli Deo Gloria


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