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The Old Testament | The Books of the Minor Prophets


Things to know

Where does the book begin?

The book begins just before Assyria took the northern kingdom*.

Places to go

We learn about Hosea and his family
Hosea 1:2-11

Hosea brought his wife home
Hosea 3

God would punish Israel*
Hosea 9

God loved Israel*
Hosea 11

Hosea called Israel* to repent*
Hosea 14

Where does the book end?

The book ends many years later. The book ends just before Assyria took away the tribes in the north.

People to know


The Story of Hosea

Hosea was a prophet* who spoke for God to Israel. He wrote this book to tell the people how much God loved them. But he wrote the book in an unusual way. He told a story about his own life. Then he showed people how his story is like another story. That story is about God and his people.

The story Hosea tells is about his own life and his own marriage. Hosea found a wife. He was loyal to his wife, but she was not loyal to him. Other men gave her money, so she would give her body to them. Hosea told Israel* that they were like his wife. God was like him. Israel* had not been true to her promise to God. But God had been loyal in His love for them.

Hosea wanted Israel* to know this message. God kept his promises. God would keep his promise to them, even if they broke their promises to him. God would be loyal to the covenant*. He showed this loyal love to thousands who obeyed and loved him. In spite of all that happened to Israel*, God would not stop loving them.

But Israel* had not obeyed God.

‘When Israel was a young nation, I loved them.
   I chose to bring my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called out to Israel,
   the more they went away from me.’

So Hosea said that God would remove them from their land. This would happen because they did not obey the laws God gave to them from Moses. The Lord* was a jealous God and Israel* was to have no other gods before him. But Israel* had been looking to other nations for help rather that to the Lord*. Because they did this, God would send them away to Assyria. They would be kept there for many years. To help them understand, Hosea compared this to the time they were slaves in Egypt.

But God would not make Israel* stay in Assyria. In the future, he would bring them out of Assyria like he brought them out of Egypt. God would punish Israel. But God would not refuse them for ever. He would bring them back to the land he promised them. He would take care of them again.

Hosea’s wife ran away from Hosea. But Hosea decided to go and find her. When he found her, she was a slave. So Hosea bought her from the people who owned her. He brought her back to his home. He hoped that this would stop her from selling her body to men for sex. He hoped that the pain she suffered had changed her.

In part of Hosea’s story, he talked about David. He reminded the people about God’s promise to David. [2] God promised that, in the future, a Messiah* would come. He would be the king from the house of David. And, when he came, he would rule like David. Hosea lived long after the time of David. But Hosea could still look forward to a time when Israel* ‘will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king.’ [3]

The story that Hosea told is a real story. Hosea did these things. These things happened to Hosea. But the story is also a story that teaches a lesson. The lesson is about how much God loved his people. His people did not obey him. Then God kept his promise to punish them for those sins*. But God’s love for them did not go away. He was patient. He may send them away. But he would not forget them or leave them for ever.

One day, Israel* would return to God. They would confess* their evil* works. They would love God again. And God would forgive* them.


[1] Hosea 11:1-2

[2] 2 Samuel 7:16

[3] Hosea 3:5

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