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Hosea Overview

Hosea is the 28th book of the Old Testament and Bible.

Hosea begins the portion of the scriptures we call the Minor Prophets, so named because they are relatively short compared to the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel). For instance…

There were 66 chapters in Isaiah. Combined, there are only 67 chapters in the 12 Minor Prophet books.

The Minor Prophets are the last books of the English Old Testament.

The 12 minor prophets ministered during the last 350 years of Old Testament History.

We can divide them into three groups based on when they ministered and their audience:

To Israel:               Jonah, Amos, Hosea

To Judah:               Obadiah, Joel, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah

After the exile:       Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The living message of the book of Hosea is a hard one:

God has Hosea marry a prostitute and be faithful to her no matter what to describe the way God’s relationship with Israel has been.

What an assignment for poor old Hosea!

His marriage was his message! That is true for us today as well, although hopefully a two-sided testimony!

Hosea’s grief over his unfaithful wife gave him a unique insight into God’s grief over unfaithful Israel.

The Lord works in mysterious ways!

The book is a testimony to God’s hesed, His faithful love!

Hosea’s name means “salvation.”

It is the same name as Israel’ last king, Hoshea; even though the English spells them differently. It is pretty close to Joshua and Yeshua as well!

God is faithful, even when His people are not. He is ready to forgive and restore the repentant.

Hosea calls a backslidden people to return to their God to avert the impending invasion of Assyria. God promises judgment for their infidelity if they don’t repent. They don’t.

At that time Israel was outwardly experiencing a time of prosperity and growth. Inwardly, idolatry abounded.

Things changed fast for Israel after Tiglath-Pileser II (745 – 727 B.C.) strengthened Assyria.

Hosea’s ministry was mostly from about 750 B.C. to 722 B.C; the book was probably written around 725 B.C., before the Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C.

When Hosea began his ministry, Jeroboam II (782-753 B.C.) was still reigning in Israel. Hosea’s ministry spans the last six kings of Israel from Zechariah (753 – 752 B.C.) to Hoshea (732-722 B.C.)

Of those, 4 were murdered and the last taken captive to Assyria; so confusion and decline characterized the last years of the northern kingdom.

Hosea shows the final decay of Israel just prior to her destruction and captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.

Hosea was the last writing prophet to minister to the North before the fall to Assyria.

He has been called the “prophet of the broken heart” because of his tenderness.

Like Daniel, there is text in both the first person and the third person.

Hosea has 3 themes:

Sins of Israel and Judah

Punishment from God because of those sins

Their ultimate spiritual and political restoration

Hosea presents 5 cycles of sin, judgment, and restoration:

1:2-2:1         2:2-3:5         4:1-6:3         6:4-11:1       11:12-14:9

Outline        Irving Jensen

God’s love for a backslidden nation

The adulterous wife of a faithful husband Chapters 1-3

Hosea has a wife named Gomer: Shazam! What a name!

Gomer has three children, who may or may not be Hosea’s!

The adulterous nation of a faithful God     Chapters 4-14

A Closer look at the book of Hosea:

1:1     Hosea received the Word of the Lord during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah of Judah

This means he was a contemporary of Isaiah.

But his ministry was more in the North, starting with Jeroboam II and going through the end of the northern kings.

1:2     Go and marry a promiscuous wife?     Gomer, not Gomer Pyle!

1:4     Son named Jezreel (God scatters)

Massacre of Jezreel was when the descendants of Ahab and Jezebel were slaughtered by Jehu.

Jehu had gone beyond the Lord’s instructions and killed Joram, Ahaziah of Judah and many of Ahaziah’s relatives.

1:6     Daughter named No Compassion

1:8     Son named Not My People

1:10   But the promise?!

1:11   The day of Jezreel will be great!

Key prophecy of Judah and Israel being reunited; Will be fulfilled when Christ returns to occupy the throne of David.

2 Sam. 7:11-16; Isa. 3:5; 9:6-7; Amos 9:11; Micah 5:2

2:1     Change the kids names!

          My People and Compassion

2:2     Rebuke for adultery

2:11   I will put away all of her feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths –with all her festivals

2:14   Forgiveness for adultery

Valley of Achor turned into a Valley of hope

Achor means “trouble.”

The Valley is where Achan and his family were judged back in Joshua 7:24.

2:16   You’ll call Me your husband, instead of “My Baal”

2:18   On that day I will make a covenant FOR them

A millennial scene?

2:19   I will take you to be My wife forever

2:23   I will have compassion on No Compassion

          I will say to Not My People, My People

3:1     Hosea, go love the adulteress

3:2     So I bought her for 15 shekels of silver and 1 ½ homers of barley

Together it would have equaled the price of a common slave (30 pieces – Ex. 21:32). Barley was the offering of one accused of adultery (Num. 5:15)

Key Prophecy:

3:4-5 Restoration of Israel after many years without king, sacrifice

David their king; last days

Will be fulfilled at Christ’s second coming!

Ezekiel 40-48; Zech. 12-14

4:1     The case against Israel: No truth, No faithful love in the land

4:3     The land mourns

4:4     My case is against you priests

4:6     My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

4:11   Promiscuity and wine take away one’s understanding!

4:12   A spirit of promiscuity leads them astray

4:14   People without discernment are doomed

4:15   Israel, don’t corrupt Judah!

5:4     Their actions do not allow them to return to their God, for a spirit of promiscuity is among them

5:5     Israel’s arrogance testifies against them

6:1     Come, let us return to the Lord…

          For He has torn us, and He will heal us!

Will be fulfilled at Christ’s Second coming!

6:6     I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings

7:1     When I heal Israel I will expose the sins of Ephraim and Samaria

7:2     They never consider that I remember all their evil…

7:11   Ephraim has become like a silly, senseless dove, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria

7:12   I will spread My net over them

7:13   Woe to them, for they fled from Me…though I want to redeem them, they speak lies against Me.

7:16   They turn, but not to what is above…

8:1     One like an eagle comes against the house of the Lord, because they transgress My covenant and rebel against My law

This refers to the coming captivity to Assyria!

8:4     They have installed kings, but not through Me. They have appointed leaders, but without My approval.

8:7     They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

9:7     The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come.

9:8     Ephraim’s watchman is with my God (Had they killed him?)

9:9     as in the days of Gibeah

Gibeah was where the awful rape of a concubine happened in Judges 19

9:10   Baal Peor is where Israel worshipped Baal prior to entering the P.L. (Numbers 25:3-18)

9:17   My God will reject them because they have not listened to Him; they will become wanderers among the nations

10:9   Israel, you have sinned since the days of Gibeah…

10:12 Sow righteousness for yourself and reap faithful love; break up your fallowed ground. It’s time to seek the Lord!

11:1   …Out of Egypt I called My Son

Later used of Christ going from Egypt to Nazareth to live

11:8   How can I give you up, Ephraim…

          I have had a change of heart, My compassion is stirred!

Key Verse:


I will not vent the full fury of My anger; I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man, the Holy One among you; I will not come in rage.

11:10 They will follow the Lord; He will roar like a lion!

Will be fulfilled at second coming

11:12 Interesting verse

Ephraim surrounds me with lies, the house of Israel with deceit.

BUT Judah still walks with God, even with the Holy One who is faithful.

12:1   Ephraim chases the wind

12:2   The Lord also has a dispute with Judah

He is about to punish Jacob according to his ways…

12:3-6          If Jacob wrestles with God again and does right…

12:8   Ephraim says I have become rich

12:9   Get ready to live in tents again

12:11 Since Gilead is full of evil, they will certainly come to nothing.

13:1   Ephraim incurred guilt through Baal and died

13:2   Now they continue to sin…and make idols

13:4   I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, and no Savior exists besides Me

13:10 Where now is your king?

13:12 Ephraim’s sin is “stored up.”

13:14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting?

I Corinthians 15:55-56

13:16 Samaria will bear her guilt

14:1   Return to the Lord

14:2   Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord!

14:4   I will heal their apostasy! I will freely love them!

14:5   Israel…will blossom like the lilly!

14:9   Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

While some of this has been partially accomplished when they came back from the Babylonian captivity, the ultimate fulfillment will be when the Lord returns and David is resurrected and Israel will be regathered to her own land permanently.