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An Introduction to the Book of Hosea

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I. AUTHOR: Hosea

A. His name, u^v@oh, means “salvation” and should be spelled “Hoshea” but has come down in English as Hosea. This does distinguish him from the last king of Israel (Hoshea c. 732-722)

B. He is the son of Beeri

C. Unlike Amos, Hosea preached to his own people in Israel

D. He may have been among the priests in his station in view of his knowledge concerning religious affairs, but this is not certain

E. He had three children who played a vital part in his message to the nation of Israel :

1. Jezreel ( laurzy ) “God sows” (1:4)

2. Lo-ruhamah ( hmjr al ) “No compassion” (1:6f)

3. Lo-ammi ( ymu al ) “Not my people” (1:8ff)
[In 2:4 there is the suggestion that the second and third child may not have been Hosea’s, but from an adulterous relationship]

F. Chapters one and three provide little biographical information since they primarily teach about Israel

II. DATE :790-686 B.C.

A. The first verse of chapter one provides a historical setting:

1. During the following kings of Judah:

a. Uzziah 790-739

b. Jotham 750-731

c. Ahaz 735-715

d. Hezekiah 729-686

2. During the reign of Jeroboam II the son of Joash (793-753) in Israel

3. It seems that Hosea lived beyond the captivity of Israel in 722 since Hezekiah’s reign is mentioned

B. The Kings of Assyria which span this time are:

1. Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727)

2. Shalmaneser V (727-722)

3. Sargon II (722-705)

4. Sennacherib (705-681)

III. HISTORICAL SETTING:

A. Even though the latter part of Jeroboam’s reign brought about prosperity (see discussion in Amos outline) it ended with chaos as four kings reigned in one year (753 B.C.: Jeroboam, Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem)

B. Tiglath-Pileser forced Menahem into submission

C. Tiglath-Pileser defeated Pekah and placed Hoshea on the throne

D. Hoshea rebelled and was defeated by Shalmaneser V in his taking of Samaria and the deportation of the people in 722 B.C.

E. Hosea may have begun his ministry during the end of Jeroboam II’s reign and on through that of Zechariah, Shallum, Menanhem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea:

1. In 1:4 the assumption is that Hosea began his ministry while Jeroboam was alive (cf. 1:1 with 1:4)

2. The list of the kings of Judah implies that his ministry continued through (past) the times of the kings of Israel (1:1)

3. If the time of Amos was one of inner crumbling for Israel, the time of Hosea was characterized by a steady decline as the stability of the kingly line fell and Assyria increased her grip and ultimate defeat of the nation

IV. AUDIENCE: Primarily to the people of the northern kingdom, Israel, but also to the southern kingdom of Judah (southern Kings in 1:1)

V. PURPOSES FOR THE BOOK:

A. To call Israel and Judah to repentance in Yahweh, the God of loyal love

B. To reveal the faithlessness of the nation toward their covenant with Yahweh

C. To indict the nation of its lack of knowledge, loyal love, and faithfulness

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines