Hosea 2 describes not only how Yahweh is forced to divorce his bride Israel, and not only how he vows to win her back to himself, but, in the final section of the chapter, even how Yahweh will move heaven and earth for the sake of his renewed bride.
First, Yahweh vows that, this time around, he himself will preserve the purity of his bride: “‘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'” (Hos. 2:16-17). This time, Yahweh will not only give his people his law through Moses, but will add the grace and truth that can come only through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This time, Yahweh vows “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 Yahweh” (Hos. 2:19-20).
John Calvin writes:
There is here an implied contrast between the marriage of which the Prophet had hitherto spoken, and this which God now contracts. For God, having redeemed the people, had before entered, as we have said, into marriage with them: but the people had departed from their vow; hence followed alienation and divorce. That marriage was then not only temporary, but also weak and soon broken; for the people did not continue long in obedience: but of this new marriage the Prophet declares, that it will continue fast and for ever; and thus he sets its durable state in contrast with the falling away which had soon alienated the people from God.
This time, Yahweh will pour all the resources of his own righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness so that his bride might know Yahweh, and Yahweh alone–the Baals will be no more, and only Yahweh will remain.
Second, Yahweh vows to establish peace for his people by extending the newness of this covenant with his people to heal the brokenness of all creation. Yahweh will cut a new covenant with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground (Hos. 2:18). These creatures are straight out of Genesis 1-2: this is new creation language, a the-lion-will-lie-down-with-the-lamb kind of thing.
Not only will the animal kingdom respond to a new covenant of peace toward Yahweh’s bride, but also the nations of the earth. Yahweh will abolish the bow, the sword, and even all war from the land (Hos. 2:18). Why? So that Yahweh’s bride may lie down in safety.
But even more than the animal world and the warring nations will be rendered peaceful: Yahweh promises personally to answer the heavens, which shall in turn answer the earth, which shall in turn answer the grain, the wine, and the oil (Hos. 2:21). What does “answer” mean in this context? It means that Yahweh will open the heavens so that they rain, and the earth will respond to the rain with growth, and the growth shall become the grain, the wine, and the oil that Yahweh had taken from Israel in 2:9-12. All this will be restored in the day that Yahweh’s relationship with his bride is restored.
Third, Yahweh will establish the prosperity of his people, by planting them in their land. Yahweh calls Israel (yisra’el) by the name “Jezreel” (yizr’e’el). In Hos. 1:5 and 1:11, Jezreel had referred ominously to the blood debt owed because of the violence of the house of Jehu. Now, however, Jezreel refers to the meaning of the word: “God will sow.”
The image of God sowing his people in their land is one that suggests establishment, security, and (most of all) fruitfulness in the land. No longer will Israel waste their lives on their worship on false gods. No longer will their efforts fail to come to fruition. No longer will the people face the wrath of their Jealous Husband.
All things are new. The Bridegroom will take his bride, having mercy on–and even claiming as his own–her children.
When Yahweh takes his bride, he moves heaven and earth to defend, protect, and preserve her.
Post Series on Hosea 2:2-23:
- When Yahweh Serves Divorce Papers (Hosea 2:2-13)
- When Yahweh’s Troubling Becomes a Door of Hope (Hosea 2:14-15)
- When Yahweh Takes His Bride (Hosea 2:16-23)