These farmers have hit bad times. The fig trees were not blossoming, while there were no fruits of grapes on the vines in the vineyard. The fields were not yielding any kind of food. The flocks were running aimlessly, while the herd was not in its stalls. Things were in bad shape.
Joel noted that the attack of the locust grasshoppers was very severe, like the invasion of another country. He wanted the drunkards to wake up and weep. All those wine-drinkers should wail. They were going to have their sweet wine cut off from them. The powerful, innumerable invasion of the grasshoppers in his land was like the fangs of a lion’s teeth. This attack had laid waste the vines and the fig trees. This plague of locusts had splintered and stripped off the bark of the trees. They had thrown the trees to the ground, as the branches of the trees turned white.
Hosea was going to shame Gomer. He was going to uncover her nakedness in the sight of her lovers. Nudity was considered shameful, not glorified. No one would be able to save her from his hands. He was going to put an end to all her merry ways. Strangely enough, this included the various Israelite religious holidays, such as the festivals, the new moon observance, the Sabbath observance, as well as the other religious appointed festival days. Hosea was also going to destroy the vines and the trees that her lovers had given her as payment for her various sexual activities. Hosea was going to make them like a overgrown forest, so that the wild animals would devour and destroy them. Gomer was then a symbol of what was going to happen to Israel.
This song is clearly directed at the people of Jerusalem and Judah, not the northern tribes of Israel with its capital in Samaria. The vineyard is no longer that of a beloved friend. It is now the vineyard of Isaiah himself, who wanted them to judge between him and his vineyard. Who was at fault? Was it him the gardener or the vines themselves? Could he have done more? While he expected good grapes, he only got wild grapes. Why did this happen?