The prophet Hosea lived through the tumultuous final decades of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The assassinations and usurpations within Israel and the instability from the re-invigorated Assyrians culminated eventually in the destruction of Samaria, the ending of the Northern Kingdom, and the exile of many of its people. Hosea’s prophetic work took place in the midst of those years, calling the people to faith in God through warnings of judgment and promises of hope. He exposed the infidelity of the people as they turned to other nations, to their own counsels, or to other gods for their life and prosperity. Such turning towards others for what God alone could give them was, in Hosea’s most famous metaphor, ‘whoring.’ As God’s people they needed to reckon with ‘their’ God, who had through long years showered them with care and grace. For Hosea it was their refusal to ‘return’ to their Lord that resulted in his bringing judgment upon them in the form of the Assyrian invasion.
Joshua Moon sets the prophecies of Hosea in their 8th century BC context. The burden of his commentary is the importance of reading Hosea as Christian Scripture, in which we are meant to hear God’s own voice as he calls his people to himself. Moon demonstrates the ongoing importance of hearing God’s words through Hosea, situating the reading of each section within larger biblical and theological concerns.
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