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Introduction to Hosea (Israel)

The chronological reading order from the Blue Letter Bible interrupts Isaiah and even breaks up the reign of Hezekiah, sending us to the full book of Hosea.


Ryrie Study Bible

  • The author is Hosea
  • The date is ~710 B.C.
  • He was a prophet over a 50 year period.
  • All we known of the prophet Hosea we learn form the autobiographical info he tells us in his book.
  • He prophesied in the northern kingdom (aka, Ephraim)
  • The prophet Amos was his contemporary, also prophesying in the northern kingdom, Israel.
  • Meanwhile, Isaiah and Micah prophesied in the southern kingdom, Judah.
  • Jeroboam II was the ruler (~782-753 B.C) Prosperity mixed with spiritual bankruptcy.
  • See II Kings 14:23-17:41 for the start of Hosea's ministry.
  • Despite the seeming comfort prosperity when Hosea started, by 732 Damascus fell and by 722 Samaria fell and the people were deported.
  • Hosea's Marriage
    • God has a steadfast love for Israel, despite its unfaithfulness.
    • Hosea's marriage depicts this. Hosea married Gomer and she was unfaithful; they separated, but were reunited.
    • Some view this as just an allegory. Some say Hosea married a harlot (maybe a temple prostitute), some say she became unfaithful after marriage

MacArthur Bible Commentary

  • Because of the length of his ministry, the Judah kings include Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah; and the Israel king was Jeroboam II. Also the last 6 kings of Israel: Zechariah to Hoshea.
  • Hosea aligns biblically with II Kings 14-20 and II Chronicles 26-32
  • Since Hosea started near the end of Jeroboam II's reign, there was prosperity, but moral bankruptcy. So when he passed, anarchy prevailed. Israel declined rapidly. With only 30 years remaining, Israel had 6 kings and 4 of them were assassinated by their successors.
  • Hosea focused on her moral failings before the Lord and the coming judgment.
  • The theme of the book is God's unfailing love, so He will tolerate no rivals.
  • The traumatic marriage of Hosea and Gomer was prescribed by the Lord and shows such a human metaphor to what God was trying to communicate.
  • MacArthur makes a case for Gomer being chaste when they met and becoming a harlot later.

Warren Wiersbe Minor Prophets Commentary, Be Amazed

  • Devotion to the Lord is like faithfulness in marriage.
  • Idolatry is like adultery.

NIV Chronological Bible

  • Hosea is the only native northern Israelite prophet. (MacArthur adds Jonah)
  • Amos focuses on the oppression, poverty, and injustice; while Hosea focuses on the unfaithful idol worship of baal and asherah- which focus on fertility led to prostitution in the temples.
  • Hosea means "salvation", same as Joshua and Jesus.

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