Hosea

Author: Hosea.  It is not known with 100% certainty that he actually penned the book but the prophecies of the book are his.  Not much is known about Hosea aside from the fact that he is the only one of the minor prophets to actually be from the northern kingdom of Israel.  Amos and Micah prophesied to the northern kingdom but weren’t from it.  And even though Hosea is from the northern kingdom and prophesies to it, the book probably isn’t recorded in the northern kingdom but the southern kingdom based on the dating by the kings of Judah.

Date: Hosea begins prophesying around 750 BC and on through the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC.  Based on the kings listed in Hosea 1:1, his ministry expanded at least 38 years total.  The actual writing of the book likely took place after the fall of the northern kingdom and was recorded while Hosea was in the southern kingdom.

 Recipients: The recipients of Hosea is a matter of perspective.  When Hosea prophesied, he would have spoken to the northern kingdom of Israel as a warning of the catastrophe that was coming.  However, by the time the prophecies of Hosea are recorded (or at least completed), the northern kingdom has been wiped out.  This would make the recipients of the written word of Hosea the southern kingdom of Judah.  As such, it serves as a warning and reminder that God had punished Israel and could punish Judah just as easily.

Theme of Hosea: It wasn’t unusual for God to ask His prophets to do odd things but the task that Hosea is given is perhaps the most difficult.  He is called to marry a prostitute and to remain faithful to her despite repeated infidelity.  Hosea’s life and love for an unfaithful wife is a mirror of God’s love for unfaithful Israel.

Some see Hosea’s life as simply an allegory that didn’t actually happen but the story is best understood as literal but also symbolic.  Hosea 1-3 detail his family life and his love as a faithful husband.  Hosea 4-14 discuss Israel’s unfaithfulness, its punishment, and God’s faithful love.

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