Hosea 1:6-7 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hosea 1:6
  • Hosea 1:7

Hosea’s wife gives birth to a daughter, and the LORD commands Hosea to name her “Lo-ruhamah” meaning “No Mercy” because He will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel.

Sometime after Hosea’s wife had her first son Jezreel (v. 4), she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. The LORD instructed Hosea to name her Lo-ruhamah. This word is made up of two Hebrew words. The first one is the negative particle Lo, meaning “no” or “not,” while the second word ruhamah means “mercy,” “compassion,” or “pity.” Together, the name of the child means “No Compassion” or “No Mercy.”

The child was real and Lo-ruhamah was her real name, but her name was also symbolic because it foreshadowed Yahweh’s looming discipline of His covenant people, Israel. God made it clear when He stated, For I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. Thus, the birth of Lo-ruhamah was an announcement of the demise of Israel. Some thirty years after giving this prophecy to Hosea, God withdrew His mercy and His protective hand from Israel, and the nation fell to the Assyrian empire in 722 BC. God means what He says. The phrase that I would ever forgive them can also be rendered “but I would utterly take them away.” He would no longer forgive the iniquity of the northern kingdom of Israel and pass over its iniquities, but would deport them from the land as a consequence for their breaking of their covenant with Him. God will restore them later, but there will be no forgiveness during this age of kings; it will end.

Although the Suzerain or Ruler God would no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, He would continue to show His favor to Judah. He began the statement on Judah with the conjunction “but” to show the contrast between what He had just said about Israel and what He was about to say concerning Judah: But I will have compassion on the house of Judah.

The Suzerain God would continue to extend His favor to Judah. He would continue to guide, protect, and preserve them. He stated that He would deliver them by the LORD their God, not by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen. The bow was a weapon used in war and in hunting (Genesis 27:3; Joshua 24:12). It was often used in long range attacks. Like the bow, the sword along with horses and horsemen were heavily used in warfare. Here God declared that Judah would not have to rely on superiority of weapons or needing their own strength to be superior. As their Suzerain, the LORD would personally intervene for Judah in supernatural ways to give them victory over their enemies.

This prophecy anticipated Jerusalem’s deliverance from Sennacherib of Assyria in 701 BC. According to the book of Kings, when Sennacherib of Assyria attacked the people of Judah, “the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh” (2 Kings 19:35-36).

Biblical Text

Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them.But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.”

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