The prophet Hosea preached in the northern kingdom of Israel, after the prophet Amos, during the troubled times before the fall of Samaria in 721 b.c. He was especially concerned about the idolatry of the people and their faithlessness toward God. Hosea boldly pictured this faithlessness in terms of his own disastrous marriage to an unfaithful woman. Just as his wife Gomer turned out to be unfaithful to him, so God's people had deserted the Lord. For this, judgment would fall on Israel. Yet in the end God's constant love for his people would prevail, and he would win the nation back to himself and restore the relationship. This love is expressed in the moving words: “How can I give you up, Israel? How can I abandon you? … My heart will not let me do it! My love for you is too strong” (11.8).
Outline of Contents
Hosea's marriage and family (1.1—3.5)
Messages against Israel (4.1—13.16)
A message of repentance and promise (14.1-9)
The prophet Hosea lived in the northern kingdom of Israel just before it fell to the Assyrians in 722 b.c. He accuses both the people of Israel and Judah of acting toward the Lord the way an unfaithful wife acts toward her husband. Yet he also assures them that the Lord loves them and is ready to forgive them.