Bible Study: Hosea


His name means salvation. Hosea prophesied to the Northern Kingdom during the last 30 years of its existence; he was viewed as mad by the people (9:7). He was a contemporary of Amos but prophesied perhaps after Amos as well. Hosea addressed the spiritual infidelity of the nation; Amos dealt with injustice and the social ills.

Hosea is the first of the 12 Minor Prophets. The 12 are not “minor” in the sense of their importance or message. They were so named because these 12 books were originally copied on one scroll. In contrast, the Major Prophets required a whole scroll for each book.

The order in which the Minor Prophets appear, in the English Bible, is basically chronological: the prophets of the Assyrian period (Hosea through Nahum), those of the Babylonian period (Habakkuk and Zephaniah), and those of the Persian period (Haggai through Malachi). They can also be divided by 9th century BC prophets (Obadiah and Joel), 8th century prophets (Jonah, Hosea, Amos and Micah) and 7th century prophets (Nahum and Habakkuk). Haggai and Zechariah both ministered in the 6th century BC, and Malachi prophesied in the 5th.

An additional way to divide them is by the people each prophet addresses:

  • Hosea and Amos written to Israel
  • Joel, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Micah written to Judah
  • Jonah and Nahum written to Nineveh
  • Obadiah written to Edom
  • Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi written to the returned remnant


If he began toward the end of Jeroboam’s reign and continued through to the beginning of Hezekiah’s, he may have prophesied for 70-80 years. The waning of Assyrian power enabled both Uzziah and Jeroboam II to prosper financially. In 734 BC the northern kingdom became a puppet to Assyria, however. An attempted revolt was put down with the destruction of Samaria in 722 BC and they were carried away captive (2Ki 17:1-6; 18:10-12). Judah suffered a similar subjugation to Assyria during Hosea’s ministry (2Ki 16:5-10).

Theme – Israel’s Spiritual Adultery

  • Nowhere in the whole range of God’s revelation do we find more beautiful words of love than in Hosea 2:14-16; 6:1-4; 11:1-4,8,9; 14:4-8.
  • Sin is seen at its worst and love at its best.
  • Hosea, through the tragedy in his own marital life, will know something of the “fellowship of His sufferings.”


Hosea will not only prophesy to the nation but through his own experience will understand something of the heart of God toward His people. God wanted His servant to not only speak but to do so with something of the heart of God in his own heart. Hosea’s personal tragedy and sorrow were to equip him to serve God more faithfully and fervently.


  1. Fellowship in God’s Suffering (ch.1)
  2. Faithlessness of the Nation (chs.2-3)
  3. Failure of the Nation Detailed (4:1-6:3)
  4. Future Judgment and Restoration (6:4-11:12)
  5. False Ways and the Appeal of Love (12:1-14:8)
  6. Final Lesson and Triumph of Love (14:9)

Topics for Study

“Did not know”

  • Did not know that I gave her corn, wine, oil, etc. (2:8)
  • They have not known the Lord (5:4)
  • Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not (7:9)
  • Grey hairs are upon him, yet he knoweth not (7:9)
  • They knew not that I healed them (11:3)

Knowledge – moral cognition (Gen 2:9,17; Pro 2:5; Jer 22:15-16)

  • There is no truth nor mercy nor knowledge of God in the land (4:1)
  • My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee (4:6)
  • I desired mercy and not sacrifice; the knowledge of God… (6:6)


  • I will betroth thee unto Me … and thou shalt know the Lord (2:20)
  • Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord (6:3)
  • Israel shall cry, “My God, we know thee” (8:2)
  • Thou shalt know no God but Me (13:4)
  • I knew thee in the wilderness (13:5)

Sowing and Reaping

  • 1:4
  • 2:23
  • 8:7
  • 10:12-13


  • Wrong source; inability of Assyria to heal (5:13)
  • God hath torn and He will heal (6:1)
  • When I would have healed, then the iniquity of … (7:1)
  • They knew not that I healed them (11:3)
  • I will heal their backsliding (14:4)


  • Tragedy of Unrequited Love (ch.3)
  • Tenderness of Unconditional Love (11:1-3)
  • Trial of Unquenchable Love – Love’s Agony (11:8)
  • Triumph of Unnatural Love (ch.14)