Hosea

by David Gibb
Overview

The opening verse of the book tells us that Hosea ministered “during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel”. This is from around 760 to 715 BC. Israel had been torn into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel (whom Hosea chiefly spoke to) is at peace and is prosperous, but the mighty Assyria in the east is a potential threat. As we read further, we discover that all is not right. The people have forgotten God and turned to Baal, a local fertility god who promised bumper harvests. God has sent Hosea to warn His people and to woo them back to Him.

More prominently than any other book in the Old Testament, Hosea shows us that God loves His people as passionately and as jealously as a devoted husband loves his wife. The prophet not only says this, but also lives it; he learns how God feels towards His unfaithful people through the tragedy of his own struggling marriage.

In the structure of this book, we can see parallels between Hosea’s marriage to Gomer and God’s marriage to His people.

The Structure of Hosea

1:1–3:5
Faithful husband, unfaithful wife

4:1–11:11
Faithful God, unfaithful people

11:12–14:9
Repentance and restoration

Key Verse
The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” —Hosea 3:1

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