Bible Dictionary

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Hosea, or Hoshea

Son of Beeri, and the only prophet of the northern kingdom who has left written prophecies. He began to prophesy during the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam Ⅱ. He probably died before the accession of Pekah, 736 B.C., for he makes no allusion to the Syro-Ephraimitic war nor to the deportation of the northern tribes by Tiglath-pileser two years later. He lived during a time of national decline and ruin, the result of the sin of Israel. Hosea’s fundamental idea is the love of God for His people. In love God redeemed them from Egypt (Hosea 11:1); their history has been but an illustration of His love (11–13); all His chastisements are inflicted in love (2:14; 3); and their restoration shall be due to His love (2:19; 14:4). In contrast with this moral Being, who is Love, Hosea sets Israel, characterized always by want of affection, by treachery and infidelity. Yet he is able to look forward to a final redemption (2:19; 11:12–14:9). The profound thought and pathos of this prophet of the north deeply influenced succeeding writers (see Isa. 40–66; Jer. 2–3; Ezek. 16; 33).