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Hosea study guide

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Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read:
Hosea 1: Hosea's marriage to, and children with Gomer
Hosea 2: Israel's unfaithfulness expressed as a woman's
Hosea 3: Hosea buys his wife back from her master
Hosea 4: Prophecy: Israel as a prostitute
Orientation Hosea is book #28 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the first book of the Minor Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.

Synopsis Hosea is told by God to marry the prostitute Gomer (1:2) . She bears three children - God directs them to be named Jezreel ("God scatters") (1:4), Lo-Ruhamah ("Not Pitied") (1:6), and Lo-Ammi ("Not My People") (1:9). These are signs that God will scatter and disown his people Israel. Gomer is unfaithful. She seeks other lovers, and deserts Hosea (implied in 2:13). Hosea finds her and buys her back from her master (3:2).

Hosea's marriage serves as a real-life example to his people in this way:

  • Hosea = God
  • Gomer = the people of Israel
  • Their marriage covenant = covenant between God and Israel, which she chooses to break.

The rest of the book is Hosea's prophecies - warnings that if Israel continues on her current course, God will allow Assyria to destroy the nation and make the people captives. However, if they give up their false idols, God is willing to forgive and restore them to be His people.

Major characters Hosea - the prophet
Gomer - a prostitute, Hosea's wife, and a symbol of Israel
Jezreel - their first son (meaning "God scatters")
Lo-Ruhamah - their daughter (meaning "Not Pitied")
Lo-Ammi - their second son (meaning "Not My People")
Discussion points Hosea buys Gomer back to himself (3:2). How does God "buy" us back to himself? What is the price and how is it paid?

The theme of Hosea 8 is those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind (8:7). What does this mean? How can this sowing/reaping still occur today?

Israel made a show of worshipping God while observing pagan fertility cults and prostitutes (ch. 9) to ensure a good harvest. Do we make a show of worship, yet also observe pagan practices to ensure success - in business, finances, school, relationships?

Connections The pain of childbirth (13:13) was itself a prophecy from Genesis 3:16.

Compare 13:14 (about the victory of death) with 1 Corinthians 15:55.

Hosea lived at the same time and in the same regions as prophets Micah, Isaiah, Jonah, and Amos - it is possible they knew each other.

For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014

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