Hosea The Prophet

A biography of the Old Testament Hosea, the prophet who lived during the reign of Jeroboam and ministered in Israel

Hosea, which means Salvation, is the name of a notable 8th century B.C. prophet. Hosea lived during a time when Jeroboam II reigned. It was a time of anxiety and fear amongst the nations, yet, a time of great material prosperity. Hosea was a prophet in the land of Israel.

Beeri was the father of Hosea and no other knowledge of Hosea's parents is known. It would seem that Beeri was of middle class stature perhaps a merchant for Hosea was an educated person and most likely came from the town of Ephraim or Manasseh.

Hosea was a man with philosophical spiritual revelation, gifted with intellectual characteristics, which enabled him to understand the importance of gloomy trials marking his familial existence. He was able to give interpretation to these events as a reminder of the Divine love God had towards the sinful nation Israel.

Hosea saw that the type of worship prevalent in the nation was just the opposite from what God wanted from HIS people. The worship that God desired was exclusive to Him. The people of Israel though had fell to worshipping the brazen wicked pagan deities of the Canaanites. Rampant within the Canaanite worship was unrestrained sexual goings-on; great extravagance of alcohol all placed upon a backdrop of mythology and magic which drained the vivacity of the nation of Israel. All of these things were against the Sinai covenant of worship of which Hosea informed the people.

The most important task of Hosea was to bring to mind to the rebellious Israel its obligations under the covenant made at Sinai. Hosea reminded Israel that they had made an agreement with God for loyalty to Him, to surrender to Him and to obey His commands. God told Israel that by doing this they would become HIS son by divine adoption and grace. God gave this freely to Israel but Israel forgot the covenant and Hosea saw the importance of bringing to remembrance to the Nation their pact with God. Israel had a free relationship with God requiring simply their acceptance and co-operation to God. Hosea went before the people and stressed to them that they were actually the bride of God, using the metaphor of marriage to show the relationship God desired with the Israelites.

Hosea's own personal life and marriage became a parable for all people to witness. Hosea was given the commandment to marry a woman that would eventually turn unfaithful to him. She would be a prostitute and some wonder if Hosea knew Gomer was a prostitute before the marriage and it was God's way for Hosea to show how God would manifest patience and love. Others feel she became a unfaithful later on, because it is difficult to think that God would command some one to step into wrong doing. According to Deuteronomy 22:20 we see that this woman was known as someone to be stoned?

"20 But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, 21 then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel, by playing the harlot in her father's house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you."

So did Hosea just go out and choose a wife that he knew would be unfaithful or did God actually command him to do so knowing he could parallel it to Israel's condition. Most likely Gomer was a prostitute when Hosea married her for these reasons: God often asked prophets to do things that were difficult to do to prove a point. Isaiah was asked to run around naked for a period of time. So, it would not be out of the norm for God to ask Hosea to marry a prostitute to prove a point. We also can look at Hosea's marriage to Gomer as a depiction of Israel and her relationship with God. In Hosea choosing a prostitute for marriage can be compared to God's choosing of Abraham, a sinner not deserving to be chosen, yet chosen so God could show the people something. And so, Hosea's choice of Gomer, a prostitute helps to show the relationship of God and Israel.

Hosea would also have children by Gomer and give them names that held symbolic references to the unhappiness God had with Israel.

Jezreel: meaning God soweth

Loruhamah: meaning not pitied

Loammi: meaning not my people

After Gomer, Hosea's wife ended her adulterous ways she was brought back into the house of Hosea and eventually restored to full favor with Hosea. This acceptance and forgiveness of Gomer by Hosea showed the representation of disobedient Israel and its relationship with God. It showed that God's love and forgiveness was forever and always.

Hosea's life can be outlined as such:

· His unhappy marriage and what came from it

· The immoral conduct condoned by the priests

· The sin of Israel will be punished unless Israel repents

· Israel continues to sin and only halfheartedly repents

· Judgment is near to Israel for its sinful ways

· The punishment of Israel for its guilty ways

· The pursuing of Israel through Gods love

· The exhortation from Hosea to the people for repentance and restoration if they repent

Hosea was called the first of the Minor Prophets and showed a great depth of tenderness and compassion towards the nation of Israel as he described to them the love and forgiveness of God and reminded to them their pact they made with God.

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