*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Hosea 1:8-9 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hosea 1:8
  • Hosea 1:9

Hosea’s wife gives birth to a third child, and the LORD commands Hosea to name him Lo-ammi, meaning that the Israelites are not God’s people.

After Gomer had weaned her second child Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. The verb “to wean” means to stop nursing a child after a period of time. In ancient Israel the weaning process was usually completed with a great celebration (Genesis 21:8). Gomer weaned Lo-ruhamah before giving birth to her third child.

Once the third child was born, the LORD commanded Hosea, as He did for the previous two children. He asked Hosea to name the child Lo-ammi. The word Lo is the negative particle meaning “no” or “not,” and the word ammi means “my people.” When read together, the child’s name means “Not My People.” Like the previous two names, this name too was symbolic. Its meaning is seen in the next statement where the LORD said, for you are not My people and I am not your God. Thus, Lo-ruhamah signified that the LORD no longer considered the nation Israel to be His people. They had broken the covenant with Him, and were no longer under His care. As we will see, that does not mean that God had forsaken them. It does mean they were no longer under his rule, and therefore under His care. He was removing His protection as their Suzerain ruler, as was agreed to in their covenant with the LORD.

While the Abrahamic covenant was unconditional and would never be broken, Israel’s blessings were conditional. The blessings were dependent upon obedience to God’s covenantal precepts. As the Suzerain (or Ruler), the LORD commanded the Israelites to live in obedience to His stipulations in order to live long in the land He promised to them, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 26:9). But the Israelites refused to listen to God’s instructions, despite all the warnings of the prophets.

Therefore, in the book of Hosea the LORD declared that Israel’s sins and iniquities have nullified the blessings they could have enjoyed from their Suzerain God, Yahweh. Nevertheless, because of His covenant faithfulness, the LORD would not abandon His people forever. One day He will restore Israel and her fortunes, and will take her back to Himself, as the next section makes clear (vv. 10-11).

Biblical Text

When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”

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