Survey of Hosea

Book Type: The first book of the Minor Prophets; the twenty-eighth book of the Old Testament; the twenty-eighth book of the Bible.

Author: Hosea, specifically noted in Hosea 1:1.

Audience: Hosea wrote to Jewish people in the northern kingdom of Israel. These people generally lived in rebellion to God's ways and were known for idol worship and ungodly living. Hosea's example and ministry focused on showing his hearers and readers God's unconditional love for them despite their sin. They were called to repent and return to the Lord in response, showing faithfulness to their God.

Date: Hosea ministered during the reigns of six kings of Israel, starting in 755 BC. His book was likely completed near the end of this time period, no later than 710 BC.

Overview: Hosea includes 14 chapters, focusing on two general themes. Chapters 1—3 emphasize the adulterous relationship that occurred between Hosea and his wife, Gomer. She was faithless to him, yet God called him to redeem her and restore his relationship with her. The Lord then used this as an example of his relationship with His people. Though they had abandoned Him, He remained faithful to redeem them and restore their relationship.

The second section covers the remaining chapters (Hosea 4—14), speaking of adulterous Israel and God's faithfulness. Hosea 4:1—6:3 emphasizes Israel's guilt, and chronicles their many evil ways. In Hosea 6:4—10:15, the Lord speaks through Hosea to call His people to turn from their evil ways and return to Him.

Chapters 11—14 transition to themes of the future. God predicts Israel will be restored to the Lord. The Lord would continue His love (Hosea 11), though He had much against the behaviors of His people (Hosea 12). Judgment would take place (Hosea 13), yet they could still return to the Lord (Hosea 14). The book ends with a warning: "Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them" (Hosea 14:9).

Key Verses (ESV):

Hosea 1:2: "When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.'"

Hosea 2:23: "and I will sow her for myself in the land. \ And I will have mercy on No Mercy, \ and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; \ and he shall say, 'You are my God.'"

Hosea 6:6: "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, \ the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."

Hosea 14:2–4: "Take with you words \ and return to the Lord; \ say to him, \ 'Take away all iniquity; \ accept what is good, \ and we will pay with bulls \ the vows of our lips. \ Assyria shall not save us; \ we will not ride on horses; \ and we will say no more, "Our God," \ to the work of our hands. \ In you the orphan finds mercy.' \ I will heal their apostasy; \ I will love them freely, \ for my anger has turned from them."