Understanding The Bible
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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETIC BOOKS
HOSEA: Introduction and Simple Outline
NAME: Hosea means "to save."
DATE: Hosea prophesied in the end of
the reign of Jeroboam II (king of Israel) and his
successors, and the latter end of Uzziah's reign (king of Judah) and his successors, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. (See 2 Kings 15-20; 2 Chronicles 26-32.) His prophecy extends almost but not quite to the captivity of the Northern (10-tribe) Kingdom, 755-715 BC (Whitcomb).
CONTEMPORARIES: In the early part of his ministry Hosea evidently overlapped Amos, but more extendedly paralleled Isaiah and Micah.
PROPHESIED TO: Both kingdoms (but mainly ISRAEL).
OCCASION: God commands Hosea to marry a wife from the Northern Kingdom, which is viewed as having been contaminated (made ceremonially unclean) by idolatry (1:2-3). Idolatry in the Old Testament is pictured as adultery since Israel is likened to the wife of Jehovah who deserts Him and gives her love to false gods. The passage does not say that Gomer was unclean or immoral herself when Hosea married her. "The land" had "committed whoredom" in "departing from the LORD," i.e., in going after false gods (1:2). After Comer's marriage to Hosea, she did become unfaithful to him (3:1-2) and he had to buy her buck at God's command. All this was a tremendous illustration of the undying love of Jehovah ("according to the love of the Lord to the children of Israel, " 3:1).
THE SYMBOLIC NAMES OF THE CHILDREN:
Jezreel = "scattered"
Lo-ruhamah = "unpitied" or "not having obtained mercy"
Lo-ammi = "not my people"
These names show the necessary judgment of
God upon the Northern Kingdom because of its awful apostasy in turning from Him
to idols. However, the undying love of the Lord is demonstrated in the. prophecy
by the forgiveness and restoration which will take place in a day yet future to
our day (1:10-2:1;
2:14-23; 3:5). The names of the children arc changed by Jehovah in the text to signify Israel's ultimate restoration in the mercy of God.
Jezreel = "sown" in the land (cp. Amos 9:15)
Ruhamah = "pitied" or "having obtained mercy"
Ammi = "my people"
The prodigal wife 1-3
The prodigal people 4-14
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