Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Israel. He reigned forty-one years, till the year of the world 3220. (Usher) — The prophets usually give the date, that the prediction may be verified. Some Latin manuscripts intimate, that “the Jews attribute these titles to Esdras, (who is Malachias) or to the respective prophets, which is more probable.” (St. Jerome, t. i.) — Jeroboam II died twenty-six years before Ozias, towards the end of whose reign Isaias commenced; so that Osee was more ancient. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Fornications. That is, a wife that hath been given to fornication. This was to represent the Lord’s proceedings with his people Israel, who, by spiritual fornication, were continually offending him. (Challoner) — The prophet reclaimed her. (St. Jerome) — She denoted Samaria, abandoned to idolatry, Ezechiel xvi. 15. Several such actions were prophetical. Many have supposed that this was only a parable; but the sequel proves the contrary. (Calmet) — Of fornications. So called from the character of their mother, if not also from their own wicked dispositions. (Challoner) — He is ordered to marry a woman who had been of a loose character, and to have children who would resemble her; (Worthington) or he takes her children to his house; (Grotius) unless the children of the prophet were so styled because the mother had been given to fornication. So the rod of Aaron retains its name when it was become a serpent, Exodus vii. 12. — Shall, or rather, “has departed;” and therefore he denounces future chastisements.
Ver. 4. Jezrahel. Jehu slew Joram in this place. He was the instrument of God’s justice, yet acted himself through malice and ambition, and was therefore deservedly punished. Zacharias, the fourth of his family, lost the crown, and was slain by Sellum, at Jezrahel, 4 Kings ix., &c. (Calmet) — The offspring of Jehu, now on the throne, solicited Jezrahel or the ten tribes to idolatry, which God will revenge. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Without mercy. Lo Ruchamah. (Challoner) — Some copies of Septuagint and St. Paul read, “not beloved,” Romans ix. 25. Samaria shall surely perish. After the death of Jeroboam II, the kingdom was all in confusion, and in sixty-two years time became extinct. It was afterwards blended with Juda.
Ver. 7. Horsemen. Sennacherib was miraculously disconcerted. Juda returned from captivity and became more flourishing, giving birth to the Messias. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Not my people. Lohammi. (Challoner) — The kingdom of Israel seemed to be quite cast off; and in captivity it was hardly distinguished from other nations. Juda was preserved longer, and at all times was under the divine protection. Ezechiel, Daniel, &c., comforted the people in the worst of their afflictions. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. The number, &c., viz., of the true Israelites, the children of the Church of Christ. (Challoner) — This is the primary sense, Romans ix. 25. Yet the Israelites are here also assured of their return from captivity. (Calmet) — God. Among many sinners, some are chosen. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Head; Christ, (Challoner) the head of all the faithful, (Worthington) consisting both of Jews and Gentiles. Israel and Juda returned under Zorobabel, &c. (Calmet) — The prophets blend present and future transactions together. (St. Jerome in chap. iii.) — Jezrahel. That is, of the seed of God; for Jezrahel signifies the seed of God. (Challoner) — For may also be rendered, “when or though.” The seed of Jehu shall be exterminated. The kingdom, signified by Jezrahel, a great city, shall fall. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
By marrying a harlot, and by the names of his children, the prophet sets forth the crimes of Israel, and their punishment. He foretells their redemption by Christ.
1 The *word of the Lord, that came to Osee, the son of Beeri, in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joas, king of Israel.
2 The beginning of the Lord’s speaking by Osee: and the Lord said to Osee: Go, take thee a wife of fornications, and have of her children of fornications: for the land by fornication shall depart from the Lord.
3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Debelaim: and she conceived, and bore him a son.
4 And the Lord said to him: Call his name Jezrahel: for yet a little while, and I will visit the blood of Jezrahel upon the house of Jehu, and I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5 And in that day I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezrahel.
6 And she conceived again, and bore a daughter, and he said to him: Call her name, Without mercy: for I will not add any more to have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly forget them.
7 And I will have mercy on the house of Juda, and I will save them by the Lord, their God: and I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen.
8 And she weaned her that was called Without mercy. And she conceived, and bore a son.
9 And he said: Call his name, Not my people: for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.
10 And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, that is without measure, and shall not be numbered. *And it shall be in the place where it shall be said to them: You are not my people: it shall be said to them: Ye are the sons of the living God.
11 And the children of Juda, and the children of Israel, shall be gathered together: and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall come up out of the land: for great is the day of Jezrahel.
1: Year of the World 3179, Year before Christ 825.
10: Romans ix. 26.