Hosea Bible Study Lessons
The prophet Hosea ministered to the northern kingdom of Israel before its destruction and deportation by the vicious Assyrians. During his time, the nation appeared to enjoy a season of prosperity and growth; but inwardly, moral corruption and spiritual adultery had thoroughly infected the people.
When God instructed Hosea to marry a promiscuous woman named Gomer, the prophet found his domestic life to be an accurate and tragic dramatization of the unfaithfulness of God’s people. The Lord even had the prophet name two of his children Lo-Ruhamah (“no mercy”) and Lo-Ammi (“not My people”), to try to shock the people of Israel into realizing how far they had fallen away from their God.
During his half century of prophetic ministry, Hosea repeatedly echoed a threefold message: God abhors the sins of His people; judgment is certain; but God’s loyal love stands firm. Hosea insisted that while God would certainly punish His people for their persistent and blatant sins—prophecies which God fulfilled to the letter during the Assyrian invasion of 722 B.C.—yet He would never completely reject His people. A time would come when He would just as certainly draw them back to their land and give them a heart to obey Him joyfully, so He could bless them abundantly.
The names Hosea, Joshua, and Jesus all come from the same Hebrew root word. While the word hoshea means “salvation,” the names of Joshua and Jesus include an additional idea: “Yahweh is Salvation.” As God’s messenger, Hosea offered salvation to the straying people if they would turn from idolatry back to God.
The Book of Hosea presents a compelling love story of God’s unfailing, steadfast care for His people despite their unfaithfulness, ingratitude, and repeated rebellion. While God’s people abandoned Him for pagan idols, His love would forever remain in place as He calls His people back to Himself.
Themes: Spiritual adultery will always bring God’s judgment, but God will never abandon His steadfast love for His covenant people.
Time: During the latter years of the northern kingdom of Israel and beyond, around 755–715 B.C.
Structure: The first section of Hosea (1–3) records the apostasy of the northern kingdom of Israel, symbolized in the prophet’s marriage to the prostitute Gomer. The second section (4–13) chronicles Israel’s sins and the prophetic consequences of those sins. The briefest section (14) outlines God’s promised blessings for repentance.
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), Ho.