Hos 1:4-5 And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
The name Jezreel means “God sows.” It is the name of a valley between Galilee and Samaria and the name of a small town at the southern end of that valley near Samaria. The Hebrew term translated “to sow” literally means “to scatter seeds.” This literary device is a play on words or perhaps a holy pun prophetically referring to the exile and dispersion of Israel. Jeroboam, the only king of Israel mentioned in 1:1, was the last stable kingship in the line of the house of Jehu. Jeroboam’s son, Zechariah, was murdered (ca 747 BC) after ruling only six months. This violent coup was followed by several more like it until finally the kingdom collapsed under the Assyrian siege of 722 BC. The reference to the “blood of Jezreel” goes back to 2 Ki 9:14-37 where Jehu slew King Joram of Israel and his mother, Jezebel, along with King Ahaziah of Judah (ca 842 BC). These events were prophesied by Elijah because Ahab and Jezebel arranged the murder of vineyard owner named Naboth (1 Ki 21) roughly a decade earlier. The full importance of Jezreel’s name, his relationship to the unfaithful mother, and God sowing will become clearer as we see it all in context. As for this specific prophecy, Israel’s military suffered a major defeat in Jezreel prior to the fall of Samaria.