Hosea, 1Kings 21, and the meaning of "Jezreel"

In the fairly short book of Hosea we have no shortage of symbolic names. In Chapter one Hosea, in accord with God's instruction, marries Gomer and has children who he names Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah, and Lo-ammi.

Lo-ruhamah means "no compassion", Lo-ammi means "not my people". These names are all about God's judgment and the name Jezreel not only speaks of judgment but also opens a window into God's reason for judgment. Jezreel is the place of injustice upon God's prophets and upon Naboth the innocent vineyard owner (read 1Kings passage below). An especially heinous injustice meted out by those in authority who were supposed to be God's representative light to the Gentiles. Interestingly the crime against Naboth foreshadows the Crime against Jesus the Messiah in that those who were supposed to lead Israel falsely charge the legitimate vineyard owner with cursing both God and the King.

Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if you like, I will give you the price of it in money." But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers." So Ahab came into his house sullen and vexed because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, "How is it that your spirit is so sullen that you are not eating food?" So he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you a vineyard in its place.' But he said, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. Now she wrote in the letters, saying, "Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people; and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, 'You cursed God and the king.' Then take him out and stone him to death." So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, "Naboth cursed God and the king." So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent word to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned and is dead." When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead." When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
(1Ki 21:1-16)

Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, "This man stated, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.'" The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;
(Mat 26:59-65)

As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar." Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" So they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate *said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
(Joh 19:12-15)

That the injustice of Jezreel must be overturned is further signified in 2Kings 9:7.
"You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel."

Under each statement of judgment in chapter 1 there is also a remnant of hope.
Those who had stewardship over the shadowy power in the earth abused the legitimate so God overthrows the power and those with its stewardship without help from the shadows.

"But I will have compassion on the house of Judah [a remnant of Israel] and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen."
(Hos 1:7)

This passage has as its ultimate referent that compassion which comes through the Lion of the tribe of Judah -Jesus.


R U reading Hosea also?

Notice the difference between the mindset that complains about "the problem" of suffering over against the mindset demonstrated in the prophetic scriptures. the truth of who god is, and who we are, will never come into proper focus as long men so shallowly concieve of fidelity or faith to God as that which may need to be jettisoned when faced with real adversity. On the other hand the reader of the prophets must regularly hear the mind of a people, and of persons, who gladly acknowledge that even though God is in charge when big suffering comes their way, they again gladly profess the goodness of God and that God remains the worthy object of all their loyalty.