As a native of the Northern Kingdom, Hosea has his nation’s welfare in view throughout his prophecies. Ministering in the dark era just prior to the fall of Israel to Assyria, his central concern is Israel’s broken covenant relationship with Jehovah. In her final years the nation was defiled by idolatry, immorality, theft, murder, pride, and deception. God’s last warnings to Israel before her destruction were the prophecies of Hosea. His ministry continued into the troubled times following the exile.
Heartbroken for his nation, the prophet exhibits deep insight into the social, spiritual, and political conditions of his day. Hosea’s sensitive yet passionate tone is alive with sharp, abrupt statements which abound in metaphors and symbolism. The prophet stresses God’s righteousness, His love, and His omnipotence.
The key to the book is to understand how Hosea’s personal marital tragedy illustrates the national tragedy. The adulterous wife and her faithful husband symbolize the adulterous nation and her faithful Lord. The book is a testimony to God’s consistent love for His covenant people despite their consistent rebellion. The love of God persists, and Hosea’s redemption of his wife pictures the future restoration of Israel. His prophetic vision looks past the exile to a time when a chastened and submissive people renew their covenant with Jehovah.
1. Discuss the reasons why Hosea was commanded to marry an immoral woman (Ch. 1-3). What lessons can be learned from their unusual marital relationship and his wife’s restoration to him?
2. Define the concept of spiritual harlotry and infidelity as used in 2:2-5; 3:3; 4:10-19; 5:3-4; 6:10 and 9:1.
3. What factors can “adulterate” a Believer’s intimate relationship with Jesus?
4. Hosea gave names to each of his three children which were symbolic of the prophetic destiny of Israel. Give the interpretation of each of these names and explain their prophetical significance (Ch. 1).
5. Summarize Jehovah’s plan for the restoration of Israel (Ch. 11-14).
How is each of the following passages in Hosea applied in the New Testament?
6. Contrast 1:9-10 and 2:23 with Romans 9:25 and I Peter 2:10.
7. Contrast 6:6 with Matthew 9:13 and 12:7.
8. Contrast 13:14 with First Corinthians 15:55.