A Brief Introduction to Hosea

Hosea began his prophetic ministry to the Northern Kingdom, Israel, in the final phase of Amos’ ministry, somewhere around 790 BC. It was a time of great material prosperity in the land, but socially and morally, it was a disaster; the Kingdom was coming apart. There was a series of assassinations, with several kings being murdered after only a short time in power, replaced by their killers, who in turn faced the same fate themselves: chaos and violence were afoot in the land.

As was the case with the Old Testament prophets in general, and like Amos before him, Hosea was sent to bring a message from God, a denunciation of the wickedness that was all the rage, and a warning that God would not stand idly by and watch it indefinitely.

Unlike Amos, who came from the Southern Kingdom, it would appear that Hosea was himself a Northerner who was intimately familiar with the situation there, yet this did nothing to cause the people to receive his message with any enthusiasm; in fact, they were in no mood to hear any sort of indictment from God, His messenger or from anyone else− they were in full self-destruct mode.

At about the same time that Hosea was ministering in the North, Isaiah was hard at work in the South with a similar message of the need to repent; his message wasn’t all that well received either as it happened, yet the two prophets themselves seemed to have reacted to all of this quite differently. While Isaiah remained strong and defiant, Hosea was more like Jeremiah in temperament, being quite grieved by the situation. One might even say that with his emphasis of love, he was of a frame of mind much like that of the Apostle John.

Israel’s day of reckoning came when Hosea was a very old man, in 722 BC when the Kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians and utterly destroyed. I think it’s safe to say that most people prefer to be right when they deliver a message or a warning, as Hosea had for so long. Yet his warnings had been rejected by the people, and now all was lost as a result. I rather doubt that Hosea was happy about having been right, rather I would imagine that having been ignored was probably much worse for him to bear than the disaster itself; he died shortly thereafter.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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