Introducing: Hosea

Hosea is a tough book and in many ways a shocking book, it’s grimy, grubby, and hard to understand. Longman & Dillard say,

Chapters 4-14 are among the most difficult in the entire Bible. Andersen & Freedman’s comment that Hosea ‘competes with Job for the distinction of containing more unintelligible passages than any other book of the Hebrew Bible’ certainly rings true for this section of the book.

An Introduction to the Old Testament by Longman & Dillard p397

Hosea has also been accused of being ‘irredeemably misogynist’ and yet, and yet persevere and you see that

God does not forget Israel even in their self-destruction, and He teaches us that love is the strongest force of all, even over sin.

Author and Date

Hosea prophesied during the latter half of the eighth century B.C. (c. 753–722 B.C.). This period was an extremely difficult time in Israel’s history, just before the northern kingdom went into exile.


Chapters 1–3 use Hosea’s own marriage as a parable for the relationship between God and Israel. The dominant image is of Israel as an unfaithful wife. Chapters 4–14 detail the comparison, with its series of accusations, warnings, appeals, and motivations for God’s people to return.

  1. Biographical: Hosea’s Family (1:1–3:5)
  2. Accusations, Warnings, and Promises for Israel (4:1–14:9)

Key verses

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’

Hosea 2:23

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Hosea 6:6

So you by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.

Hosea 12:6


  1. Author, date & outline from: Gospel Transformation Bible (ESV)
  2. An Introduction to the Old Testament by Longman & Dillard
  3. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Daniel- Malachi) by Longman & Garland

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