25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
Verses 25 to 29 further the support that Romans nine is about a theodicy of Israel. These verses back the thesis of verse 24 (God’s call to salvation is just) by a series of Old Testament Quotes:
Hosea 2:23, v. 25 (an allusion rather than a quote)
Hosea 1:10b, v. 26
Isaiah 10:22 and Hosea 1:10a, v. 27
Isaiah 10:23, v. 28
Isaiah 1:9, v. 29
25 As He says also in Hosea:
This is a free reference to Hosea 2:23 and not a quote per se. Hosea was a prophet to Israel the northern kingdom, the 10 tribes. Israel was in a state of spiritual decline and apostasy. Because of this failure God sent Assyria to intimidate Israel as a nation.
Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was not true to him sexually (Hos 2:4). She had children from whoredom called Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi. Instead of divorcing Gomer, he bought her back from slavery and restored her to a place of honor by grace on his part. Gomer by analogy was Israel who needed grace from God. Just as Hosea reached out to Gomer in grace, God will reach out to Israel and one day redeem her.
God charged Hosea to give Gomer’s children symbolic names to show that both Jews and Gentiles are in God’s plan of salvation. These names represent different perspectives by God on Israel: “Lo-Ammi” (not My people) and “Lo-Ruhamah” (not loved). Lo-Ammi represented God’s abandonment of the northern kingdom of Israel to Assyrian captivity and exile (Hos 1:2-3). Lo-Ruhamah showed that God will restore the 10 tribes or future Israel to Himself.
“I will call [give a title] them My people,
My people” were unquestionably the Jews, but God stripped them of that title when they went into apostasy.
The “call” here is not the call to salvation but to a new title for Gentiles. God said in effect, “I will give the title ‘My people’ to illegitimate Gentiles (Gomer’s children) during the economy of Israel.” To legitimate Israel He said, “Gentiles will be included in My people.” The idea is that Gentiles will be included among true believers, just like true believers in Israel.
who were not My people,
Those who were not God’s people were symbolically the Gentiles (Lo-Ammi). Those “not My people” are now part of the family of God.
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
“Her beloved” was Israel (Lo-Ruhamah). “Not beloved” was Hosea’s wife, Gomer. This refers to natural Israel during “the times of the Gentiles”—which is taking place now, in our day. God was saying that throughout this time He would set aside the nation Israel as “beloved” by God because of her apostasy.
However, God will not permanently cast away the nation Israel entirely—those “not beloved.” There will be a time when God will restore Israel.
There is no contradiction between the Hosea and Roman passages.
The idea of the Hosea passages (1:10; 2:23) is that the prophet predicts both the rejection and the eventual restoration of Israel (10 northern tribes). The thesis of Romans 9:25-26 is that God will include Gentiles in His plan as well as Jews (v. 24). We can resolve this difference of meaning by noting that the Hosea passages are not a direct quote but an allusion to Hosea. Paul simply illustrated, by symbolism through the names of the two children of Gomer, that God will reject the physical nation of Israel and accept only true believers among both the Jews and Gentiles.