About the Book of Hosea
Hosea wrote his book in the middle of the 8th century BC. He usually gave his messages to Israel's people. Israel was the name of the country in the north. But some messages were for Judah's people, the country in the south. The book has many good things and many bad things to say to the people in Israel. If we want to understand this book, we need to understand the covenant at Sinai. Sinai was the place where God gave his rules to Moses. The good things and bad things in Hosea are part of this covenant. Hosea's job was to tell his people that there was danger. God would make sure that people in Israel obeyed the covenant. Israel's people will have to live in the right way. It is the same message that many of the prophets gave before the exile. Hosea says that there will be death and illness in Israel. He also says that soldiers from another country will destroy their country. They will take the people in Israel away. These things will have to happen. After that, God will be able to do good things for Israel again. We must understand what these promises mean. There is no hope that God will not be angry. Israel's people have not obeyed the covenant and so bad things will happen soon.
There were only a few people in Israel who worshipped God in the right way at this time. There were more people in Judah who obeyed God's rules. Israel was a strong and rich country and they could often beat other countries in war. Because of this, people from Israel met people from other countries. So they knew about other people's gods. People forgot the rules that God gave to them at Sinai. It was a time when things were not easy in Israel. Very bad leaders killed their kings. Also, Assyria and Israel were fighting each other in 734 BC. After that, Israel became a much smaller country. This was the beginning of the end for Israel. Then, in 722 BC, Assyria destroyed Israel.
None of Hosea's messages have dates. We know that Hosea wrote his messages. We do not know if Hosea also spoke his messages. Hosea 5:1 may mean that he did.
We know very little about Hosea and his family. Hosea told us only a few things about himself. We do not know for sure if Gomer really was a prostitute. There are other difficult questions with these chapters.
To know God as a person was important to Hosea. He wanted the people's sacrifices to really mean something to God. He wanted people to obey God. If they did that, they could know God in a true way.