About this book
Hosea wrote his book in the middle of the 8th century B.C. (Before Christ). 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
There were only a few people in Israel who
None of Hosea’s messages have dates. We know that Hosea wrote his messages. We do not know if Hosea spoke his messages also. Hosea 5:1 may mean that he did.
We know very little about Hosea and his family. Hosea tells us only a few things about himself. We do not know for sure if Gomer really was a
To know God as a person is important to Hosea. He wanted the people’s
Hosea’s wife and their children
Verses 2-5 God does not ask Hosea to marry a
Lord speaks to the people in Israel
Verse 2 In this chapter, Hosea is saying things in a special way. He is saying, ‘God is like a
Verses 3-5 Israel is like a girl. When this girl was born, she needed God. But when she grew up, she went to other men for help. The men that she loved were the Baals (
Verse 11 Israel had
Lord’s love for his people
I will be good and fair. I will always love you and I will always show
I will make you mine for always.
Then you will know the
I will speak to the sky and then rain will fall on the earth.
They will have an answer for Jezreel.
To Lo-Ruhamah, I will show great love.
To Lo-Ammi, I will say, ‘You are my people.’
And they will say to me,
‘You are my God.’
Verse 14 The
Verse 15 Trouble Valley (the Valley of Achor) was a place where a man from Israel did not obey God (Joshua 7:24).
Verse 19 Again, Hosea says what the
Verse 23 The names Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi mean No Great Love and Not My People. See 1:6-9.
Hosea returns to his wife
Verse 1 The word ‘love’ can mean different things in the
Verse 4 Hosea starts to speak to Israel’s people. Israel will have no king. Another country will rule Israel. This other country will be Assyria (Hosea 11:5). The ‘stones’ were places where Israel’s people gave
Lord is angry with the people in Israel
Verse 1 God is taking his people to a kind of
Verse 4 God does not have one
Verse 7 The
Verse 12 The ‘wood’ might mean an
sins that will cause God to punish the people in Israel
Verse 15 Hosea’s message is sometimes the same as Amos’s message (Amos 5:5). Neither of them want Israel’s people to
Verse 19 God does not want to wait. It is time for God to
Verse 1 There were two places called Mizpah in Israel. One place was in Gilead, east of the river Jordan. The other place was Mizpah in Benjamin’s country. The word ‘catch’ means that the leaders tried to take people away from God. Tabor is a mountain. Perhaps bad things happened there.
Verse 6 Israel’s people thought that many
Judah and Israel will fight each other in a war
Make a noise with the
Shout about war at Beth Aven!
Go into war, men in Benjamin’s
People in Israel, you can be sure that this will happen.
as an insect destroys a piece of cloth.
I will destroy Judah,
as water destroys a piece of wood.
Judah’s people saw that they were like a man with
So they went to Assyria for help.
They told their problems to King Jareb,
but that king cannot bring you health.
He cannot stop you hurting.
I will attack Judah’s people like a young
I will carry them away.
And no person will be able to save them.
I will return to my place until then.
Then they will come to look for me.
They will try to find me when their troubles are very bad.’
Verse 8 A new part of Hosea’s book begins here. Very many of these verses are about war. Hosea tells Israel’s people that they should prepare for war.
Gibeah, Ramah and Beth Aven were all near Jerusalem. The war will come from the south of Israel. The people from Benjamin’s
Verse 10 Hosea has bad things to say about Judah’s leaders. He says that they have moved special things. These things showed people where one person’s land and another person’s land met. To move those things was against God’s rules (Deuteronomy 19:14).
Verse 13 Perhaps King Jareb was Tiglath-pileser 3rd. We cannot be sure. Judah’s people asked Assyria for help after Syria and Israel attacked them in 734
The people do not obey God
He attacked us, but he will bring us health.
He has caused us pain.
But he will help us.
People cover, with pieces of cloth, the parts that hurt other people.
And he will be like someone who does that for us.
He will raise us up on the third day.
Then we can live near him.
It will be like the sun when it rises at the beginning of the day.
He will come to us like the rain.
It will be like spring rain. It will bring water to the ground.’
Judah’s people, I do not know what I should do with you.
You soon stop loving me. You are like the morning cloud.
Your love is like the low cloud that goes away early in the morning.
I wanted to cut you in pieces.
I wanted to kill you with words.
I do not want your
I want my people to know me.
I do not want them to bring
They did not do in their country what they had promised to me.
People have killed each other.
In the same way,
They attack people who pass by.
They have done very bad things.
I will bring in the
But I wanted very much to cause the good times again for my people!’ God says.
Verse 1 Israel’s people can hope in God. He will not forget them. God had to tell Israel’s people that they were wrong. But he now chooses to say different words.
Verse 2 The two or three days mean a time that God has decided about. He has chosen a time. It will be like a dead person who lives again.
Verse 5 The ‘words’ are the
Verse 7 We do not know for sure what the name ‘Adam’ means. It might mean a city. It might mean that Israel’s people have thought about the
Verse 9 Shechem was an important city. We do not know the event that Hosea was thinking about.
Samaria is full of people who do not say true things.
It is full of people who rob from houses.
They also rob people in the streets.
I can see these
The very bad things that they do make their leaders happy too.
A baker takes flour to make bread.
He starts to cook the bread.
The bread rises. But the baker does not make the fire hotter.
Israel’s people are like a baker who is always making his fire hotter.
The king has become a friend of bad people. Those people think that good things are silly.
They are very angry. So they feel that their hearts are like an
It is like the time when they were cooking bread.
During the night, they became angrier.
And in the morning, there was a fire.
They killed their kings.
All of their kings fell.
Nobody prays to me for help.’
Verse 2 God sees everything. He remembers things for thousands of years (Psalm 105:8). When he looks at Israel’s people, he sees their
Verse 4 Hosea uses an example of a baker to say several things. Bakers were men who made bread in large ovens (places that people cook food in). The ovens were round. They had a large door on the top of them. The baker made a fire inside it. Then he shut the door. The bread then cooked for a long time. The leaders in Israel were like this bread. They became leaders because they were so angry.
Verse 6 The leaders never stop thinking about very bad things. In the night, the
Israel’s people do not know that other people will kill them
Israel is like a cake that someone did not cook on both sides.
Israel’s people do not know that this makes my people weaker.
Israel is like an old man with grey hair.
He does not know how old and weak he is now.
This is something that makes me angry with them.
The people had many troubles.
But even then they did not return to the
The people did not look to him for help.
a dove that does not understand anything.
The people looked to Egypt for help.
The people went to Assyria for help.
I will catch them like birds as they go by.
I will tell them about the bad things that they have done.
And I will
They have left me. They refused to obey me.
So they will die.
I wanted to
But they do not say true things about me.
But they cry on their beds.
When they pray for
They have left me.
But they have decided to do very bad things against me.
They are like a
Their leaders think that they are very important.
They will die quickly.
Then the people in Egypt will think that they are silly.’
Verse 8 Hosea continues to use the example of an
Verse 11 God says that Israel’s people are like doves. Doves are silly birds. It was easy for other countries to fight against Israel.
Verse 14 Perhaps the ‘beds’ were part of a meal. The meal was part of a
God does not like Israel’s people because they pray to
The enemy will come down like an
They will come on to the
They have not obeyed the things that I taught them.
So the enemy will run after them.
My people chose leaders. But they did not choose men that I knew.
The people used their
I will cause their enemies to kill them because of this.
I am very angry with the people in Israel.
It will be a long time before they are without
It is not God.
I will break Samaria’s
It was like a man who is trying to plant the wind.
But they will only get troubles.
They will get back something that is like a very strong wind.
The plants in the field will grow, but they will not give any food.
If the plants did grow, then foreign people would eat them.
It is like a pot that someone has broken.
Nobody can use it.
They are like a wild animal that walks without any direction.
The people in
They wanted to love those countries.
They will feel some pain.
This pain will come from a foreign king.
They built them so that God would not see their
But they have used those places to
But they look at those rules as if they were strange.
They offer meat in those
He remembers their
And he will
They will have to return to Egypt.
But I made Israel and they forgot me!
Judah’s people have made their towns strong.
But I will send fire on the cities in Judah.
And the fire will destroy those strong towns!’
Verse 1 An eagle is a big, dangerous bird.
Verse 11 God did not like the
Verses 12, 13 ‘I gave all my rules to Israel’s people.’ ‘He remembers their
God will tell the people in Israel what they must do
You were like a
You are like a
She loves the money that they give to her.
And you loved all the
So you have
There will be no more
You will have to return to Egypt.
In Assyria, you will have to eat food that you should not eat.
People eat special bread when other people die. Their
Whoever eats that bread will not be
This food will be only for themselves.
It will not come into the
Those are the special days when people remember God.
But Egypt will take the people in war.
People in Memphis will bury them. Weeds will grow over their
Weeds will grow over the places where they live.
Now is the time when I will have to hurt you.
I will have to hurt you because of what you have done.
And Israel’s people will know it!
You do very many
So you think that I am a silly person.
You think that I have God’s Spirit. But I am crazy, you think.
But people try to say bad things about me in the places where I go.
And people do not like a
They were like the
Verse 1 Israel’s people were happy at these special times. But they were happy for the wrong reasons. They thought that God was the god, Baal. They thought that God should
Verse 5 Maybe the ‘special days’ were in the autumn. This was when people brought in the plants from the fields.
Verse 9 Gibeah is where very bad things happened. See Judges chapters 19 and 20.
The people in Israel will cause God to
punish them by their worship of idols
It was like when someone finds
I saw your
It was like when someone finds fruit on a
But then they came to the god, Baal-Peor.
They began to
They became like the
It will be like a bird.
There will be no more times when babies grow inside women.
There will be no more times when women give birth to babies.
There will be no more children.
the children will die.
I will cause that to happen.
There will be none still alive.
I will leave them. They will have nothing but trouble.
They are going to someone who will kill them.
Make it impossible for their women to have babies!
Make it impossible for their breasts to give milk to their babies!
It was there that I began not to like them in any way.
I will tell them that they must leave my country.
I will not love them any longer.
Their leaders have not obeyed me.
They are like a plant that has no water.
This plant will have no fruit.
They will have no children.
Even if they have children, I (God) will kill the children.
They think that these children are very important.
That is because they have not obeyed him.
They will have to travel from place to place in different countries.’
Verse 10 Israel’s people came to Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-5). Bad things happened there. Men from Israel had sex with women from Moab and Midian. A fig is a kind of fruit.
Verse 15 Gilgal was across the Jordan River from the god, Baal-Peor. It was an important place where people
Because the people were rich, that caused them to
But Israel became more and more rich,
and so the people built more
Their land became better and better.
So they could build special stones that they could
But now they must understand that they have done wrong things.
He will destroy their special stones.
We do not
But if we had a king, he could not do anything for us.”
They agree about things with other countries.
People do not agree with each other in
These things are like weeds that have poison.
Weeds that are growing in a field will soon grow into plants.
They will cry because their
Their very bad
They were very happy with their beautiful
But now someone will carry the
It will be a gift for the king of Assyria.
They will be very sorry that they
He (the king) will be like a piece of wood that water carries away.
These are places where Israel’s people have
Weeds will grow on their
Then the people will say to the mountains, “Hide us!”
They will say to the hills, “Fall on us!” ’, God says.
Verse 1 A
Verse 5 People
Verse 6 Assyria will take the
Verse 7 King Hoshea was put in a prison in 723
Assyria destroyed Samaria in 722
punish the people in Israel because of their sin
You have continued to
But those very bad people at Gibeah had a war.
Countries will join together to attack them.
They will put the people from Israel in prisons because of their very bad
They are like a cow that loves to walk on
But I decided to be like someone who puts a
I wanted to show
so they could work hard.
I wanted Judah’s people to be like a farmer who breaks up the ground.
A farmer may have some ground that he has not used for more than a year.
He should dig that ground to make it not so hard.
You should be like that farmer.
You should start to do the right things and the good things.
Do these things because it is time for you to look for the
When he comes, he will cause good to things come down on you like rain!
Bad plants grow.
And you are in trouble.
You have said things that are not true. So you have had the results of this.
But you believed that you could help yourselves.
And you believed that your soldiers would help you.
That is why bad things have happened to you.
Your enemies will destroy your strong places.
It will be like the time that King Shalman destroyed Betharbel city in war.
At that time, people killed mothers with their children.
That is because you did so many very bad things.
When that day begins, the king of Israel will die.’
Verse 9 Hosea writes again about what he said in 9:9. Israel’s people
Verse 11 God wanted people to know him in the best way, like Jacob.
Verse 12 The
Verse 14 We do not know about the events at Betharbel. We also do not know about Shalman. But very bad things happened in war then.
The people in Israel have forgotten the
I brought him out of Egypt as my son.
the more he turned away from me.
My people gave
I took my people up in my arms!
I gave them health.
But they did not know this.
I was like a person who let them be free.
I bent down to feed them.
So they must return to Egypt.
Assyria will rule over them.
People will break down the city gates.
Their strong places will not help them.
They will shout to God above.
But I will not listen to them.’
Verse 5 The word ‘Egypt’ means the enemy.
Lord does not want to destroy Israel
I do not want to give you to someone else.
I do not want to make you like Admah.
I do not want to make you like Zeboiim.
My love for you will not let me do it!
My love for you is too strong.
This is even when I am angry.
I will not destroy Israel again.
This is because I am God and not a man.
I am the
I will not show you that I am angry.
I will make a loud sound and my children will come.
They will follow me.
My children will come from the west.
They will be afraid when they come.
They will be like birds from Assyria.
They will be afraid.
I will bring them back to their homes again.
Verse 8 Admah and Zeboiim were cities that were near Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 10:19). God destroyed Admah and Zeboiim when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25). That was when he was very angry.
Lord is against the people in Israel
Those things are all round me.
Israel’s people have not told me true things.
But Judah’s people have not obeyed God.
But Judah’s people do not obey me.
But it has no value and it destroys things.
The people also do not say true things.
Israel’s rulers and Assyria’s rulers come together to agree about things.
They carry their
‘I want to take Judah’s people to a
He did that when they were both inside their mother’s body.
When Jacob was a man, he fought with God.
He cried and he asked for
He met God at Bethel. God spoke with him there.
You must love each other. You must be fair in your rules.
You must be patient. And you must wait for your God to do what he wants.
They are not fair when they measure food and other things.
Because we are rich, people will not find any
I brought you out of Egypt.
I will make sure that you live in
It will be like the time when you had
They are not worth anything.
There are many very bad
They gave animals as
He worked there so that he could get a wife.
He kept sheep safe so that he could pay for her.
He used a
They have killed many people.
So I will
This is because of the wrong things that they have done.
They will know that the
Verse 1 God promised to keep Israel safe. But Israel’s people looked to other countries so that they could be safe. The
Verse 3 This is a true story about Jacob’s name. We can read it in Genesis 25:21-26.
Verse 10 A vision is something like a dream but you might not be asleep. A parable is a kind of story that means something.
Verse 11 Hosea is perhaps thinking about a murder in Gilead (see 6:8). Gilead was a city where many bad things happened. It is possible that Assyria had destroyed Gilead at this time. That is why the city would not be worth anything.
Lord is angry with the people in Israel
People thought that Israel was important.
But the people
And because of that, they died.
They are clever in the way that they make these
And then they say, ‘Offer
It is silly to kiss
They will be like the cloud in the morning.
They will be like the low cloud that goes away early in the morning.
Israel’s people will be like seed that a wind blows from the floor.
They will be like smoke that goes out of a window.
‘I am the
You do not know any other God except me.
I only am the person who can
That was when you were in a hot dry country.
They ate that food. They became full and they really liked the food.
They began to think that they were important.
And they forgot me.
I will be like a
I will break Israel’s people into pieces.
I will eat them like an animal.
I will break them in pieces like an animal.
There will be nobody to help you.
Nobody can find your leaders.
In past times, you asked for a king and leaders.
And when I became very angry, I took him away.
I will keep the words that I wrote in a safe place.
They are very silly!
They are like a child inside a woman.
It is time for the child to come out.
But the child does not come out at the right time.
Death, your illnesses have gone.
Death, you cannot kill any longer.
I will not be sorry for this people any longer.
But a strong east wind will come.
It will blow in from the
Then Israel’s wells will become dry.
The water that comes from the ground will stop.
The wind will take everything away that has value.
Their people will die in war.
Their enemies will throw Samaria’s children to the ground.
Their enemies will break women into pieces.
These are women who have babies inside them.’
Verse 4 God gave Israel’s people what they needed (Exodus chapter 16). It was God who fed them. Israel’s people were like a child. The child needed a father to keep it alive. God gave them everything that they needed in the
Verse 14 Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:55, uses part of this verse. He uses it to write about
New life for Israel’s people
And return to the
Say to him, ‘
Accept the good things that we are doing.
Our war horses cannot keep us away from trouble.
We will never again say to
Our hands had made those
But you are someone who shows great love.
You show great love to children who have no parents.’
I will love them very much.
I am not angry with them now.
They will become like flowers.
They will be like the tall trees in Lebanon.
These trees will be very strong in the ground.
They will be beautiful like
They will have a smell like the tall trees in Lebanon.
They will grow well like
They will grow well like a
They will be famous like the
I will answer the people’s
I (God) am like a tree that is always green.
Your fruit comes from me.’
The things that the
Good people will live because of these things.
Verse 4 God promises things to Israel’s people. They will not have to be afraid of God. He will stop being angry. Isaiah 54:6-8 gives us another idea that is like this. Israel is like a wife who is returning to her husband. Israel’s people cannot buy God’s love. God can be angry, but instead he will bring Israel’s people many more
Verses 6-7 The
Verse 9 The way that God does things is right. A silly person would not listen. There will be trouble for people who do not obey. But a
- when someone has sex with a person who is not their husband or wife.
- able to beat all his enemies; stronger than everyone else; the
Lordof everything; all-powerful.
- special table for people to burn animals or other gifts which they offer to their god.
- ancestors are people years ago that your parents were born to.
- an angel is a very good person from God’s home; angels bring messages from God. Many Bible students say, ‘Sometimes people saw Christ on earth before he came to Bethlehem as a baby. That is what happened to Jacob.’
- 600 B.C. means ‘the year that was 600 years before Jesus came to earth’, and so on.
- to say or to do good things for a person.
- a good thing that God does for us.
- male cow.
- place where a
judgeworks. He says who is right or wrong.
- when people agree something together; when God and a person or people agree to a special thing.
- plants that a farmer plants for food.
- a wild place where no people live, because it is very dry.
- a big, dangerous bird.
- ephods were special clothes that the leader of the
- the grandson of Jacob. Then it became a name for the country in the north of Israel.
- the time when the
Jewswere away from their own country.
- family here includes anyone who was born from his sons.
- a kind of fruit.
- to stop being angry with another person who has done bad things.
- a hard seed that you can eat; or you can make it into bread.
- a kind of fruit that people use to make
- when someone has done wrong things.
- a guilty person has done wrong things.
- the language that the
Jewsspoke and wrote.
- what God is like; different and better than all other things; all good with nothing bad in it; a thing that God has; separate from
- you use your mouth to make loud music with a horn.
- a thing that people make out of wood, stone or metal. It is like a man or a god. People
worshipit and they pray to it. But nobody should do this.
- something that gives a nice smell when it burns; the
Jewsused it to show love to God in the templein Jerusalem. But some people used it to show love to other gods.
- people who live in Israel,
- another name for Israel, the people or the country. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson.)
- a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
- to say about other people whether they are good or not; to say what is fair; or to
punish; or a person who does that.
- a big, wild animal (like a cat) that can kill a man; a big wild cat that kills other animals and eats them.
- the special name that God gave for himself to the
Jewsin the Old Testament.
- to be kind when you do not have to be kind.
- something that is like a big bag with small holes in it; people use it to catch fish or birds.
- Old Testament
- the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
- a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people used to make oil. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
- a thing with a door that people cook food in.
- a kind of story that means something.
- to say how good a person is; to tell God how great he is.
- the words that people say when they talk to God.
- a man that God chose to do a special work for him. The priests worked in the
temple. But there were priests for other gods too.
- a person who hears God’s words, and tells them to other people; a person who spoke God’s words. Some prophets wrote books in the Bible.
- a woman who sells her body to men for sex.
- to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done. For example, a person who has robbed another person must go to a prison.
- when someone pays the price to let a person in the prison go free; to get back by money; to get back or to bring back from a dangerous place.
- religious holiday
- a special holiday when people
- to become alive again.
- when you put an animal on the
altarto offer it to God or to a false god.
- a white metal that shines and is very valuable.
- when a person does bad things against God or against other people.
- a person who does bad things against God or against other people.
- a building where people
- a home or a building that people have made from animal skins; a place to live in that people have made out of cloth. You can move a tent-house to different places.
- you use your mouth to make loud music with a trumpet.
- a plant that
- something like a dream but you might not be asleep.
- things that people use to help them to fight other people.
- a drink that has alcohol in it; people make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes. You can use it as medicine.
- when we understand God’s word; wise people know what to do; they know what is good and right; and they do it.
- to give thanks to God; to tell God that he is very great; to show God that we love him very much; to tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.
- a place in someone’s body where someone or something has hurt them.
- a piece of wood that you put over the neck of animals. Then they can pull things along.
Douglas Stuart ~ Hosea – Jonah ~ Word Biblical Commentary
William Barclay ~ Twelve Prophets Vol. 1 ~ Daily Study Bible
Elizabeth Achtemeier ~ Minor Prophets 1 ~ New International Biblical Commentary
Hosea ~ D. A. Hubbard ~ Tyndale Commentary
New Bible Commentary Revised ~ D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman
© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2009
This version published December 2009
The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.