Yesterday, we began a series in the Old Testament book of Hosea. You’ll need to read yesterday’s post for this one to make sense.
Quick recap of the story so far: in the 8th century BC, Israel (that is, the northern kingdom) has been persistently unfaithful to God, worshipping fertility gods/goddesses and making alliances with foreign nations, rather than trusting in God for their security. God has had enough. So he gets Hosea to act out a real-life object lesson. He tells him:
Find a promiscuous woman and marry her. Call the first kid “Jezreel” (referring to the place of slaughter where the previous ruling dynasty came to an end, and also meaning “scattered”) as a sign the kingdom of Israel is coming to an end, and about to be slaughtered and scattered. Call the second one “Lo-Ruhamah” (meaning not loved, or not shown mercy) as a sign I’m not going to be merciful to Israel any longer. And call the third one “Lo-Ammi” (meaning not my people), since I’m reversing the covenant I made back when I brought Israel out of Egypt – I’m not going to be their God any longer, and they won’t be my people.