The Hope of the Valley of Achor

Bible Book: Hosea  2 : 15
Subject: Hope
Series: The Valley of Achor

Two weeks ago, we began looking at a geographical reference that is mentioned briefly in Hosea 2, and verse 15. It is a little known place in the Bible called “The Valley of Achor.”

In Hosea 2, after highlighting a message of judgment for wayward Israel, Almighty God gave this prophet a message of hope. And God’s message through Hosea included these words…

(Hosea 2:15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

In his book entitled “Hosea: Prophet of Reconciliation,” author Fred M. Wood wrote…

The Valley of Achor is on the northern boundary of Judah. It runs from ancient Jericho into the hills and forms a passage from the Jordan valley to the upper region. This valley is the normal entrance into Canaan.

We began this series by looking at the History of this Valley from Joshua chapter 7. We saw that this valley was named for Achan of the tribe of Judah who took of the spoils of Jericho when God had forbidden it. His crime was ultimately discovered …

(Joshua 7:25-26) And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. {26} And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

G. Campbell Morgan said…

Observe the relationship between the words Achan and Achor. That relationship is not a mere coincidence. Achan means trouble, and Achor means troubling. It was so that the valley gained its name (Joshua 7:26). It was there that judgment swift and terrible fell upon a man who had troubled the whole nation by compromising with evil things, and disobeying God. … The troubling that comes in the wake of sin is the result of the Divine government, and the Divine law. … (But) The troubling opens the door of hope. … Desolation is the opportunity of remembering, and so the very disciplines of God create for man the door of hope. “The Valley of Achor (becomes) a door of hope.”

Willis Judson Beecher said that “Achor” means…

“Trouble,” the idea of the word being that of trouble which is serious and extreme.

(From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Last week, we looked at the Heart of this Valley as it is seen in Hosea chapter 1 and 2. And we talked about…

I. The Problems In The Marriage in Hosea 1

II. The Punishment In The Message in Hosea 2:1-13

III. The Promise Of Mercy in Hosea 2:14

God used Hosea’s unusual marriage and family as a living example of God’s own relationship with wayward Israel. And the nation would be taken into captivity as a result of the spiritual adultery that became rampant. But God promised that there would come a time when God would bring Israel back to the place she belonged.

The complete fulfillment of the prophesied restoration mentioned in the remaining verses of Hosea 2 would seem to coincide with the Millennial Kingdom age. But as Fred Wood said, “It is not required that we make all these passages refer to a golden age after our Lord’s second coming.”

As The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says…

In partial fulfillment, there was praise when Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity.

And The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

When Israel enters the land she will again pass through the Valley of Achor (lit., “Valley of trouble”), the site of Achan’s heinous sin which jeopardized the success of the Conquest (Joshua 7). However, this time the valley will be a symbol of better things to come, a door of hope leading to repossession of the Promised Land.

But aside from the historical and prophetical applications of these words for Israel and the personal and marital applications of these words for Hosea, I believe that there are some definite spiritual applications in these verses for the people of God today.

Warren Wiersbe said…

This is an Old Testament version of Romans 8:28, for only the Lord can take defeat and shame and turn it into victory and glory.

Another writer said…

The valley of Achor runs through the life of the world. Trouble is not young. The story of the earth is full of tragedy. Sin and penalty crowd into the experience of man. God leads us into struggle and difficulty. … Hosea does not try to hide from us that the valley of Achor is a valley of trouble by calling it by some other name. … No! Trouble is a reality in life. … (And) If our hope is to grow out of our sorrow, it must be because our sorrow drives us to God. It is only when we by faith stand in His grace, and live in the conscious fellowship of peace with Him, that we rejoice in hope. If we would see Hope drawing near to us, we must fix our eyes not on Jericho that lies behind among its palm trees, though it has memories of conquests, and attractions of fertility and repose, nor on the corpse that lies below that pile of stones. … Hope is but the brightness that goes before God’s face, and if we would see it we must look at Him.

(From “The Great Texts of the Bible – Volume 7” edited by James Hastings)

In the text, there are several factors associated with this hope.

I. This Hope Involves The Supply Of The Vineyards

(Hosea 2:15)

(Hosea 2:15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

See verses 8, 9, and 12 where God indicated that the wine and the fruit of the vines had come from Him, and He was going to take it away. But now, He promises to restore it.

Charles Simeon said…

Vineyards were a very important part of the produce of the land of Canaan; insomuch, that when the spies went to search out the land, they brought back a cluster of grapes upon the shoulders of two men, as the best proof of the fertility of the soil. When the Lord therefore promises to give his people “vineyards from thence,” he means by it a supply of every temporal blessing, which he will bestow upon them from the very instant that they thus return unto him. If therefore we apply this spiritually, we may understand by it a supply of all spiritual blessings, which God will vouchsafe to his people from the time that they come to him with real penitence and contrition.

A. Let’s Think About The Typology That Is Wrapped Up In The Grapes

Jonathan Edwards said…

He promises to give her vineyards which being spiritually interpreted as most of the prophecies of gospel times are to be interpreted, signifies spiritual comforts. Vineyards afford wine, which is comfort to those who are of heavy hearts. Proverbs 31:6, “Give wine to those that are of heavy hearts.” Wine is to make glad the heart of man, Psalm 104:15. Gospel rest and peace are sometimes prophesied of, under the metaphor of every man’s sitting under his vine and under his own fig tree. God promises to give her hope, to open a door of hope for her, and to give her songs; that is, to give her spiritual joy, and both cause and disposition joyfully to sing praises to God.

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says…

Wine is figurative of the blood of Christ (Matthew 26:27-29); of the blessings of the gospel (Proverbs 9:2,5; Isaiah 25:6; 55:1); of the exhilarating effect of the Holy Spirit's fullness (Ephesians 5:18).

There had been a removal of wine and vineyards and joy, but God promised to restore all of this once the time of judgment has ended.

Cf. (Ecclesiastes 9:7) Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

(Isaiah 24:11) There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.

B. Let’s Think About The Timing That Is Wrapped Up In This Gift

(Hosea 2:15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Matthew Poole wrote…

From thence; either from the place of their exile and sufferings, or from the time of their hearkening to the Lord speaking to them in their distresses and sorrow; or if it refer to verse 12, it is a promise to comfort them under that threat which swept away the blessings of vines and fig trees in their own land, and here is a promise of vineyards to them from the time of their repentance, and from the place where they are captives.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament says…

By mishaam…naatatiy, “I give from thence,” i.e., from the desert onwards, the thought is expressed, that on entering the Promised Land Israel would be put into immediate possession and enjoyment of its rich blessings. Manger has correctly explained mishaam (from thence) as meaning “as soon as it shall have left this desert,” or better still, “as soon as it shall have reached the border.”

Albert Barnes said…

He not only speaks to her heart, but he restores to her what He had taken from her. He promises not only to reverse His sentence, but that He would make the sorrow itself the source of the joy. He says, I will give her back her vineyards “thence,” i.e., from the wilderness itself; as elsewhere, He says, “The wilderness shall be a fruitful field” (Isaiah 32:15).

There is also a connection to the statement in the preceding verse where God said that He would “speak comfortably unto her” (Hosea 2:14). Once the word of God has been uttered and received by the wayward one, joy is restored!

II. This Hope Involves The Song Of Victory

(Hosea 2:15)

(Hosea 2:15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Barnes said…

The song is a responsive song, choir answering choir, each stirring up the other to praise, and praise echoing praise.

Fred Wood indicated that the phrase rendered “shall sing” is translated “she shall make answer” in other versions. He said…

The picture is that of people singing back and forth to each other. The new exodus will be a joyful affair. God’s erring people will be happy. The anguish of exile will be turned by God into the joy of forgiveness.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says of the word “there” in “she shall sing there” means…

There – in “the wilderness,” and “in the valley of trouble” (Achor), where God “spake comfortably” to her.

A. This Is The Song Of The Former, “By-Gone” Days

(Hosea 2:15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says…

Israel’s future response in song-filled thanksgiving will be as when she entered Canaan the first time.

Matthew Henry wrote of this idea of a renewing that…

This is expressed here with an allusion to God’s dealings with that people when he brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness to Canaan, as their forlorn and deplorable condition in their captivity was compared to their state in Egypt in the day that they were born, v. 3. They shall be new-formed by such miracles of love and mercy as they were first-formed by, and such a transport of joy shall they be in as they were in then. It is hard to say when this had its accomplishment in the kingdom of the ten tribes; but it principally aims, no doubt, at the bringing in both of Jews and Gentiles into the church by the gospel of Christ; and it is applicable, nay, we have reason to think it was designed that it should be applied, to the conversion of particular souls to God.

What was their response and the song that they sang when they “came up out of the land of Egypt”?

(Exodus 15:1-3) Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. {2} The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. {3} The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

(Exodus 15:13) Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

(Exodus 15:17-18) Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. {18} The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

(Exodus 15:20-21) And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. {21} And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

B. This Is The Song Of The Future, “By-And-By” Days

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says…

She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of … Egypt – it shall be a second exodus song, such as Israel sung after the deliverance at the Red Sea (Exodus 15: cf. Isaiah 11:15-16); and “the song of Moses” (Revelation 15:2-3), about to be sung by those who through the Lamb overcome the beast, and so stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire, emblems of fiery trial, such as that of Israel at the Red Sea.

One of these days, there will be an encore performance of Moses’ song…

(Revelation 15:2-4) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. {3} And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. {4} Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

This is not just a song of the Hebrews. And it is not just a song of happiness. It is a song of Heaven.

III. This Hope Involves The Shifting Of A Viewpoint

(Hosea 2:16–17)

(Hosea 2:16-17) And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. {17} For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

Matthew Henry said…

Though they had been much addicted to the worship of Baal, they should now be perfectly weaned from it, should relinquish and abandon all appearances of idolatry and approaches towards it, and cleave to God only, and worship him as he appoints,

George Matheson was a preacher in Scotland in the late 1800’s. There is a story of how in his early life, he had been engaged until his fiancé learned that he was going blind, and there was nothing the doctors could do, and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He never married, and was aided by a devoted sister throughout his ministry. She learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew in order to aid him in his studies. But when he was 40 years old, on the night of his sister’s marriage, Matheson said, “Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering.” Perhaps it was sadness over his sister’s marriage and the fact that she would not be there to help him as much. Perhaps her marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak, over his fiancé’s refusal to “go through life with a blind man.” Whatever the case, it was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave him the words to a great song – written he says in 5 minutes, “like a dayspring from on high”! The first line of Matheson’s great song is, “O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee.”

This is the heartbeat of God! He has a love that will not let us go. Even though Israel was wayward, God would bring her back. And we see in verses 16 and 17 that…

A. The Proper Relationship Is Restored

(Hosea 2:16) And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says that the word “Ishi” (OT:376) means “man; husband; mate.”

Baali – Hebrew 1180. Ba'aliy, bah-al-ee'; from H1167 with-pron. suff.; my master; Baali, a symbolical name for Jehovah:--Baali.

Fred Wood wrote…

After Israel was restored, Hosea promised she would no longer be confused concerning the name or nature of her God. Hosea understood man must relate to God in love. … Closely tied as it was to Canaanite worship, the word “Baal” came to convey unwholesome religion. The phrase “at that day” (vs. 16) was used often by the prophets, and stood for the time when God would act decisively. It would be action either to judge or to save. Hosea saw that in the future God would remove the love of idols from Israel’s heart. She would no longer call Baal her husband (Ishi).

Barnes said…

[And it shall be … thou shall call Me Ishi (my Husband) and shalt call Me no more Baali (my Baal, Lord)]. “Baal,” originally Lord, was a title sometimes given to the husband. “The lord of the woman,” “her lord,” … (it suggests) “the husband.” … God says, “so wholly do I hate the name of idols, that on account of the likeness of the word Baal, “my Lord,” I will not be so called even in a right meaning, lest, while she utter the one, she should think on the other, and calling Me her Husband, think on the idol.” Yet, withal, God says that He will put into her mouth the tenderer name of love, Ishi‎, literally, “my man.” In Christ, the returning soul, which would give herself wholly to God, however far she had wandered, should not call God so much her Lord, as her Husband.

Warren Wiersbe said…

God declares an end to idolatry among His people. They would have a new vocabulary and the “Baals” would never be named again. “Ishi” means “my husband” in Hebrew and “Baali” means “my master.” Both terms were used by Jewish wives when addressing their husbands, but in the future kingdom, every Jew will call God “my Husband,” for the divine marriage relationship will be restored. Israel will no longer prostitute herself before idols, but will love and serve the true living God.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary says…

The church will then enter once more into the right relation to its God. … The church calls God her husband, when she stands in the right relation to Him; when she acknowledges, reveres, and loves Him, as He has revealed Himself.

B. The Problem Of Rebellion Is Removed

(Hosea 2:17) For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

Baalim – Hebrew 1168. Ba'al, bah'-al; the same as H1167; Baal (master), a Phoenician deity:--Baal, [plural] Baalim.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says…

“Baalim,” plural, expressing the various images of Baal.

Matthew Poole wrote…

At that day; when through deep distresses I have prepared her to return, and she who was an adulteress repents, and renews her covenant of love and obedience, and in the day of my blessings on her. Saith the Lord: this confirmeth and insureth the thing. Thou, my repenting Israel, shalt call me Ishi; both by words, affections, and obedience shall own me as thy loving, tender Husband, and delight to call me so. And shalt call me no more Baali; though the word hath no ill in itself, yet it is so near to the name of the abominable idols, that I will no more be called Baali. … (God says) it is my purpose to abolish the memory of Baalim. This great idol for all others; God will cut off all the remains of idolatry from His church.

Conclusion: God can turn things around! As I have been studying the Valley of Achor, I’ve had a song on my mind. It’s a song that was recorded by The McKameys several years ago. The song says…

Verse 1: I’ve just come into a valley one like I’ve never been before

I keep searching for a way out seems like padlocks are on the doors

Oh there must be another sunrise another sunset that I’ll see

God will make this trial a blessing that’s the love He has for me

Verse 3: Now I’m standing on the mountain looking back and I can see

When I was in that lowest valley His strong hand was leading me

Oh it’s good to see the sunshine and to taste sweet victory

God has made this trial a blessing oh the grace He gives to me

Chorus: God will make this trial a blessing though it sends me to my knees

Though my tears flow like a river yet in Him there’s sweet relief

There’s no need to get discouraged there’s no need to talk defeat

God will make this trial a blessing and the whole wide world will see

This is the hope of the Valley of Achor, that God will turn a trial into a blessing!