What is the context of Hosea 1:9?
“And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”” (Hosea 1:9, ESV)
Hosea’s book begins by laying out the background for his ministry. He takes a prostitute for a wife, named Gomer (Hosea 1:1-3). He married her to show that God was married to Israel, a prostitute for the idols around her. Hosea is full of imagery.
Gomer had three children with Hosea. Her first child was a son that God told Hosea to name him Jezreel. Anyone who heard this name in the royal courts would know that God was speaking judgment upon the house of Jehu for what he did to Jezreel.
The second child was a daughter that the Lord told Hosea to name, “No Mercy.” The Lord no longer would save Israel because of their wickedness. But he did promise to save Judah, at least for a time.
He wouldn’t do it through all the human means that we use to protect ourselves like swords or war or horses (Hosea 1:7). His judgment came to Israel but Judah was safe for a time. Then she had another son and God told Hosea to name him, “Not My People.”
God was showing Israel, the northern kingdom, that he had rejected them as his people because of their idolatry and sin. But Hosea the prophet shows God’s grace even in his judgment. The people called, “Not My People” will be God’s people in the same place where his judgment rained down on them.
Even with the other two names, Israel will once again no God and worship him. They will be restored when they turn away from idols and return to the land of Israel.