Apart from what is written in his book, little is known about Hosea. We know that He was the son of a man named Beeri and apparently belonged to the upper classes. Judging from his elegant style, he was highly cultured. The Talmud claims that he was the greatest prophet of his generation, a generation which included the more famous Isaiah. Hosea’s active ministry likely occurred between 750 and 722 BC and his entire life was probably spent in Israel near the Valley of Jezreel.
Compared with other prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Hosea did not suffer physically to our knowledge. Rather, Hosea seems to suffer deeply on an emotional level.
As we will read, Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, who bore him two sons, the older of whom he called Yezreel, meaning “God sows.” The second son was called Lo Ami, meaning “not my people”. Hosea’s daughter by Gomer was named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “the unpitied one.” Since Gomer after her marriage became an unfaithful “wife of harlotry,” it is possible that Lo-ruhamah and perhaps her brothers were illegitimate children. Scholars have speculated whether the prophet’s marital experience was real or merely an allegory to stress the infidelity of Israel.
It is interesting to note that Hosea’s father, Beeri is considered a prophet in Judaism. Jewish tradition says that he only uttered a few words of prophecy, and as they were insufficient to be embodied in a book by themselves they were incorporated within the book of Isaiah, specifically verses 19 and 20 of the 8th chapter. Here is what he says:
“And should men say to you, ‘Consult ghosts and wizards that whisper and mutter’ – by all means a people must consult its gods and, on behalf of the living, consult the dead. To obtain a revelation and a testimony, without doubt, this is how they will talk, since there is no dawn for them.”
So as you can see, between Isaiah and Hosea’s Father Beeri, there seems to be an abundance of prophecy in Israel and Judah during these times.
What does it mean? Does God stir up prophets to warn? If not, why does He stir them up?
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that we understand when prophecy comes to warn, it comes when times are good and destruction appears far off. When destruction is upon someone, they do not need prophecy, they need compassion/understanding. Why prophecy destruction over someone who has been destroyed? So prophecy has this Contrarian element.