Hosea

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Hosea (Hebrew: הוֹשֵׁעַ, Modern Hoshea Tiberian Hôšēăʻ ; "Salvation of/is the Lord", Greek Ὠσηέ = Ōsēe) was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BC. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise of restoration. The Talmud (Pesachim 87a) claims that he was the greatest prophet of his generation, which included the more famous Isaiah.

Contents

Family

Little is known about the life or social status of Hosea. According to the Book of Hosea, he married the prostitute Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, at God's command.[1] He lived in the Northern Kingdom in the period 780–725 BC. In Hosea 5:8 ff., there is a reference to the wars which led to the capture of the kingdom by the Assyrians (ca. 734–732 BC). It is not certain if he has also experienced the destruction of Samaria, which is foreseen in Hosea 14:1.

Hosea's family life reflected the "adulterous" relationship which Israel had built with polytheistic gods. The relationship between Hosea and Gomer parallels the relationship between God and Israel. Even though Gomer runs away from Hosea and sleeps with another man, he loves her anyway and forgives her. Likewise, even though the people of Israel worshipped other gods, God continued to love them and did not abandon his covenant with them.

Similarly, his children's names made them like walking prophecies of the fall of the ruling dynasty and the severed covenant with God – much like the prophet Isaiah a generation later. The name of Hosea's daughter, Lo-ruhamah, which translates as "not pitied," is chosen by God as a sign of displeasure with the people of Israel for following other gods. (In Hosea 2:23 she is redeemed, shown mercy with the term Ruhamah.) The name of Hosea's son, Lo-ammi, which translates as "not my people," is chosen by the Lord as a sign of the Lord's displeasure with the people of Israel for following other gods (see Hosea 1:8-9).

Christian thought

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