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Hosea

Author: Hosea
Date: 8th century BC

Contents

The prophet Hosea has been a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel for 50 years. He begins his preaching under King Jeroboam II and is a contemporary of Amos who also preaches in the northern kingdom of Israel. Also from Isaiah and Micah who preach in the southern kingdom of Judah. He sees the fall of his country, which fell against the Assyrians in the year 722 BC. The personal accident in his marriage becomes a tragic image for his message. With an ideal marriage in mind, he marries the woman Gomer. She is a lewd woman (1:2), but that is in retrospect considering how she has changed since the day of marriage. Israel too is pure and becomes adulterous, just like Gomer. The son of Hoshea is called Jezreel and it refers to the coming judgment of God. The other children of Gomar are Lo-Ruhamah (She who knows not the love of the father) and Lo-Ammi (not my people) were not Hosea. The pain Hosea experiences and ponders in his married life reminds him of the suffering his unfaithful people have done to God. And as Hosea still loves Gomar despite her infidelity, so God loves Israel. After 6 years, Gomer leaves Hosea to become a prostitute. But Hosea doesn't stop caring for her. When the time comes that Gomar will be sold as a slave, Hosea intervenes by buying her and bringing her home. This book consists of two unequal parts.

1. Chapters 1 to 3 mainly describe the events of Hosea's eventful life. The line is hard to follow because it is mixed with words:

  • From Hosea to Gomer,

  • From God against His people,

  • Combination of both.

2. Chapters 4 to 14 consist of speeches, meditation, prophecies, notes, comments, and announcements of doom. Since these are undated, it is not possible whether they were made before or after the fall of Samaria (722 BC).

Theological Themes

The first theme is: The message of Hosea is the steadfast love of GOD, who continues to care about His people. An illustration of His love can be found in 11:1-4

The second theme is: GOD takes the lead in His dealings with people. Mercy is pity for those who do not deserve it. Gomer and Israel may care about that characterization. Hosea places heavy emphasis on the actuality and extent of Israel's sin. He is not blind to the fact that what Gomer and Israel are doing is wrong. He cannot ignore the fact because of his love for them. True love sees what is going on and calls things by their name. Israel's core problem is that it has rejected knowledge (4:6). This knowledge here means understanding and not factual knowledge. Israel does not understand God any more than Gomer does not understand Hosea.

The third theme is: That repentance precedes restoration. GOD asks Israel to acknowledge their sins and return to Him.

Main features

1. The Life of Hosea as Prophecy (1:1-3:5),
2. Hosea's Message of Judgment on Israel (4:1-13:16),
3. Promise of blessing if Israel repents (14:1-9).