Book summary

Hosea was one of two Old Testament prophets from the northern Kingdom of Israel (the other being Jonah). Just as Jeremiah did for the Kingdom of Judah, Hosea brings warnings of coming judgment to a nation in steep spiritual decline. God tells Hosea to marry an adulterous wife, reflecting Israel’s spiritual adultery towards God.

Chapters 1-3 — Hosea’s marriage to Gomer

Ch 1 — Hosea’s wife and children

v2-3 — God tells Hosea to marry an adulterous wife
  • … the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. (Hos. 1:2-3)

v4-8 — God names their sons
  • “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel…” (Hos. 1:4)

  • “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. (Hos. 1:6)

  • “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God. (Hos. 1:8)

Ch 2 — Israel punished and restored

I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals (Hos 2:13)
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hos. 2:17-20)

Ch 3 — Reconciliation with his wife

  • The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hos. 3:1)

Chapters 4-14 — Hosea’s prophecies

Ch 4 — The charge against Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” (Hos. 4:1-2)
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.” (Hos. 4:6)

Ch 5 — Judgment against Israel

“Ephraim will be laid waste
on the day of reckoning.
Among the tribes of Israel
I proclaim what is certain.” (Hos. 5:9)

Ch 6-7 — Israel unrepentant

Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him. (Hos. 7:10)

Ch 8-10 — Punishment for Israel

Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of purity?
They are from Israel!
This calf — a metalworker has made it;
it is not God.
It will be broken in pieces,
that calf of Samaria.
“They sow the wind
and reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:5-7)

Ch 11 — God’s love for Israel

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.” (Hos. 11:1-2)
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.” (Hos. 11:8-9)

Ch 12-13 — Israel’s sin and God’s anger

“You are destroyed, Israel,
because you are against me,
against your helper.” (Hos. 13:9)

Ch 14 — Repentance to bring blessing

v1-3 — Hosea calls Israel to repent
Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall! (Hos. 14:1)
v4-9 — The promise of God’s blessing if they repent
“I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
his young shoots will grow.” (Hos. 14:4-6)