Hosea 11:1 – A Messianic Prophecy
Hosea 11:1 states, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” In the following verses (2-4), the prophet tells of the blessings that Israel had received from the Lord from the time of the Exodus, and of Israel’s following un-appreciativeness of these blessings. God’s love for His people was indeed that of a father toward his son, a love that no other nation shared to the same extent (Deuteronomy 7:6–8). Hosea refers to this relationship, beginning at the time Moses gave the Lord’s message to Pharaoh to let His people go (Exodus 4:22, 23).
In their original setting in Hosea, the words of this prophecy refer to the deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt. When calling upon Pharaoh to release them, Moses said, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Exodus 4:22). The experience of Israel’s liberation from Egypt was also announced by the Gospel writer Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to be a prophecy of the experience of the child Jesus in Egypt and His return to Palestine. He wrote:
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Matthew 2:14,15). Referring to the deliverance of Israel from bondage, Hosea spoke of God calling His “son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1).
Although Matthew’s reference may not be considered as a verbatim quotation of either the Hebrew or the LXX of Hosea 11:1, there is no doubt that the gospel writer had this comparison of experiences in mind. Matthew sees in the words of Hosea a pictorial prophecy of Christ. He provides a connection between Jesus the Messiah who fulfills the prophets (Matthew 5:17) and God’s people. Thus, the Hosea 11:1 quotation by Matthew is not an example of random explanation by the author. He simply drew analogies between the events of the nation’s history and the historical incidents in the life of Jesus.
In His service,