The statement with which this prophecy opens, "When the Lord spake at the first," is a declaration by Hosea long after the events. Looking back, he understood that the impulse which resulted in the heart agony was also part of the divine method of teaching him. There is no reason to believe that Gomer was outwardly impure in the days when Hosea married her. If impurity were in her heart, Hosea did not how it, and it was not apparent during the early days of their married life.
In the picture of their domestic life the important matter is its revelation of Hosea's national consciousness. Three children were born to him, and there is still no reason to believe that during this period Gomer was unfaithful In naming the children he revealed his conviction concerning the condition of his nation. Living in close fellowship with God, he saw his people in the light of the divine purpose, and as the children were born, named them in such a way as to indicate his profound convictions. Jezreel means the threatened judgment; Lo- ruhamah means mercy not obtained; Lo-ammi means cast out, not my people. While the outlook was dark, the section ends with words which show that, in spite of all contradictory appearances, the prophet's faith in the final fulfilment of the first divine purposes was unshaken.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25