Hosea Essay

This essay has a total of 1995 words and 8 pages.


Hosea





Hosea (c.784 - c.725 BC)
After the death of King Solomon, the united tribes of Israel split into 2 kingdoms - the
southern kingdom of "Judah," with the capital remaining at Jerusalem, and the northern
kingdom of "Israel," with the capital at Samaria. The northern kingdom lasted just over
200 years before they were conquered and taken away into exile by the Assyrians. They
never returned, and have become known to history as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel."

The southern kingdom lasted slightly over 300 years before they were conquered and taken
into exile by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. Unlike the northern kingdom
however, a remnant of the southern kingdom was allowed to return and resettle Jerusalem in
the time of Ezra and Nehemiah after the Babylonians were themselves conquered by the
Persians under Cyrus the Great. Their descendants are known as the Jews of today.

During the course of Jewish history, four prophets prophesied at approximately that time.
They were Hosea, Isaiah, Amos, and Micah. Hosea was a prophet in the northern kingdom of
Israel, at a time when many people worshiped pagan gods. A time just before the fall of
the northern kingdom. Hosea regarded such worship as unfaithfulnes to God. He called on
Israel to repent its sins of apostasy and warned of the judgement to come from God. His
prophecy is remarkable for its descriptions of God as a loving father.

Hosea was the first of the "minor" prophets. Often, we do not recognize the derivation of
these Bible names, but this prophet's name would be "Joseph" in English, and is related to
the name Joshua, which means "salvation."

The sroty of Hosea goes thus. God told Hosea to marry and that she would be a harlot, a
common street prostitute. Also, they would have three children, two boys and a girl which
God would name himself. Now undoubtedly Hosea was very puzzled by God's strange command
just as Abraham was puzzled by God's command that he take his son out and put him to death
(Gen 28:1-18). God does strange things at times, things we don't always understand, things
we can't categorize, things that don't fit into what we think we know of him. And this is
one of those strange things. Perhaps Hosea then began to understand a little bit of what
God was doing. He knew it was customary in Israel to teach by symbols -- God often used
this method of instructing his people -- and that names were very important. God often
used the meanings of names to teach Israel certain truths just as we shall see in the case
of Isaiah later on. Now God was planning to use this prophet and his family as an example
for his people.

Hosea obeyed the will of God, went to court Gomer, and they were married. At first it was
heaven on earth. Hosea loved this girl. You can't read this prophecy without seeing that.
They must have been wonderfully happy together, and then they had their first child. It
was a boy, as God had said. Bear in mind that it was the result of adultery on
Gomer’s part. Hosea's heart was filled to bursting, and he went to God for the name
of this boy. "What should we name the boy?" To his surprise, God picked the name Jezreel.
Now Jezreel means "cast-away" and was a name of shame in Israel. He represented the
hypocrisy and adultery of Israel, and he was a foreshadowing of what was to come in divine
discipline as in the rule of Jehu, a king who was idolatrous and unfaithful in his
relationship with God. Also significant of the name Jezreel was the fact that it was both
located in the north of the northern kingcomd, and that it was also the natural route for
the Assyrian army to invade Israel. (see 2 King 15:29)

Remembering the bloody story of Ahab who cheated his neighbor out of his property and
stole his neighbor's vineyard, with the encouragement of his Queen Jezebel. At last God's
judgment fell upon her. She was looking out her upper story window one day when a general,
Jehu was down in the courtyard, and he ordered the servants to throw Jezebel out the
window. They threw her out and she fell on the pavement and was killed, and the dogs ate
her up, and the courtyard has been called Jezreel ever since. (2 Kings 9:30-37)

Nevertheless, that was the name that God picked for Hosea's oldest boy, his first son. And
that was the name Hosea gave to his baby, for he understood that God was thus warning his
people: they too would be cast away if they didn't recognize the folly of their actions,
if they didn't turn from going after idols and giving way to abominable practices and
trying to be like everybody else around them. God was warning them with this baby's name.

At the same time, Isaiah was experiencing something similar down in the Southern Kingdom.
Isaiah, also, had two boys. The younger boy's name was Shearjashub, which means "a remnant
shall return." That was God's promise to Israel that even though they were taken into
captivity, a remnant would come back. The older boy's name was Mahershalalhashbaz.
Mahershalalhashbaz means "haste to the prey" or "haste to the spoil," and it was God's
prophetic way of telling the nation that they were in deep trouble. But he also comforted
them with the words "a remnant shall return."

In the course of time, another child, a daughter, was born to Hosea, again born of
adultery.. This one was named Loruhamah, which means "not pitied." The female child
represents the effeminate nature of the people of Israel. The men were effeminate because
of their immorality - their immoral activities had sapped their strength as men. They were
no longer virile nor masculine. Israel had lost her capacity for compassion, and therefore
no compassion would be shown to her. The women no longer had the quality of femininity and
feminine compassion and the men no longer had the quality of masculinity and masculine
compassion. Therefore, God would cut off His Godly compassion towards them. "But the LORD
was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his
covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them
or banish them from his presence." 2 King 13:23)
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