The prophet Hosea lived during the reign of King Jeroboam II over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was also a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah.

God instructed Hosea to marry the harlot Gomer. Together they had three children, whom God instructed Hosea to name Jezreel (meaning “God sows,” indicating that God will soon punish the house of Jehu, Jeroboam II’s father, for bloody deeds at the Jezreel Valley.), Lo-Ruhama, (meaning “the unpitied one,” indicating that God will have no pity on the Northern Kingdom) and Lo-Ammi (meaning “Not My People,” again indicating God’s rejection of the Northern Kingdom of Israel).

Despite fulfilling the foreboding instructions of God, Hosea announced that God would ultimately renew the covenant in the future, at which time, Lo-Ruhama and Lo-Ammi will be called Ruhama (I will have pity) and Ammi (My People), respectively.

After the telling of the tale of Hosea and Gomer, the prophet laments the iniquitous behavior of the Northern Kingdom, the idolatry and injustice that were to be the cause of Israel’s suffering, as well as God’s great despair at having to punish them. The Book of Hosea concludes with words of encouragement that the Children of Israel should seek forgiveness and remain faithful to God.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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