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Hosea

Hosea

Hosea (active 750-722 B.C.) was a prophet of the kingdom of Israel. He called on Israel to repent its sins of apostasy and warned of the judgment to come from God. His writings form the first of the Old Testament books of the Minor Prophets.

Hosea was the son of Beeri and apparently belonged to the upper classes. Judging from his elegant style, he was highly cultured. Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, who bore him two sons, the older of whom he called Yezreel, meaning "God sows." This name may have been intended to signify the replanting of Israel back on its own soil after it had been dispersed in exile. The second son was called Lo Ami, meaning "not my people, " to indicate God's rejection of Israel as His people because of its faithlessness. Hosea's daughter by Gomer was metaphorically named Lo-ruhamah, meaning "the unpitied one." Since Gomer after her marriage became an unfaithful "wife of harlotry, " it is possible that Lo-ruhamah and perhaps her brothers were illegitimate children. Scholars have speculated whether the prophet's tragic marital experience was real or merely an allegory to stress the infidelity of Israel.

The prophet recalled God's affection for Israel, from the days of its infancy, when He taught it how to walk and led it through the perils of the desert to the Promised Land. But Israel's goodness is as evanescent "as a morning cloud and the dew that early passeth away"; it must therefore suffer dire punishment and divine wrath. Because it "sows the wind, it shall reap the whirlwind." Hosea, however, does not leave his people without hope; he conceives the God of Israel in the loftiest terms as a God of Love. Israel will yet repent and return to its God.

Hosea's times were confused. Economically a great change had taken place in the reign of Jeroboam II (785-745 B.C.). The cities had grown in wealth and fostered a small class of rich landowners, merchants, and creditors. However, the vast majority of the urban population was made up of poor artisans, craftsmen, and laborers who were frequently exploited or even enslaved by the rich. In the country indigent farmers were often compelled to sell their holdings to the rich and migrate to the cities. The upper classes were favored by the rulers and judges; they readily adopted the ways of their neighbors and worshiped their heathen gods in place of the God of Israel, who "demanded mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." For this reason Hosea denounced idolatry as the "spirit of harlotry, " which leads to moral degeneration, sin, and corruption.

Politically, too, the times were turbulent. Tiglathpileser III threatened the Northern kingdom as well as other nations. Internally, vast dynastic changes were taking place, despite the external danger. In 2 decades, six kings—four of them regicides—ascended the throne of Israel. In this state of political chaos the rulers of Israel and Judea made alliances, at times with Assyria and at other times with its powerful rival, Egypt. Hosea ridicules the diplomacy of princes who do not know which way to turn and describes Ephraim "as a silly dove, without understanding." He saw the alliances as useless, for Ephraim must be punished for his vices and moral degeneracy; his sins shall be purged in exile. In 722 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel came to an end and passed out of history.

The Book of Hosea consists of two sections. The first 3 chapters may be autobiographical. The subsequent 11 chapters deal with the religious and social collapse that called for God's punishment of His people. The book concludes with a plea to the people to return to God, who in His abiding love will be reconciled with them. The people that were "not loved" (Lo-ruhamah) would be loved once again, and "not my people" (Lo-ami) would be reunited with their God again, in a new spiritual betrothal.

Further Reading

The Book of Hosea has been annotated and commented upon in such works as Abraham Cohen, ed., The Twelve Prophets: Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary (1948), and George A. Buttrick, ed., The Interpreter's Bible (12 vols., 1951-1957). The chapter on Hosea in Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets (1962), provides an understanding of the prophet and his times. □

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Hosea

Hosea (hōzē´ə, –zā´ə), prophetic book of the Bible. It relates something of the career of the prophet Hosea who preached against the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel in the third quarter of the 8th cent. BC The collection opens with an account of Hosea's marriage to the prostitute Gomer and his apparent remarriage to her after she has deserted him, to show God's love for Israel, a wayward and adulterous nation. Then come oracles against the apostasy and moral decadence of the people. These are followed by oracles of judgment tempered with the promise of restoration. Though the nation has proven itself ungrateful and undeserving, God will not let his people go. However, the new beginning foreseen by the prophet presupposes a return to the desert.

See D. Stuart, Hosea–Jonah (1987); J. Limburg, Hosea–Micah (1988).

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"Hosea." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Hosea." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hosea

Hosea

Hosea. First of the twelve books known as the minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. Hosea was almost certainly produced in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and, after the destruction of Israel in 721, subject to redaction in Judah.

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"Hosea." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Hosea." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved September 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hosea

Hosea

Hosea (Osee) (8th century bc) Old Testament prophet. The Book of Hosea uses the adultery of his wife as an allegory of the unfaithfulness of Israel to God.

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Hosea

Hosea a Hebrew minor prophet of the 8th century bc; a book of the Bible containing his prophecies.

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"Hosea." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Hosea

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