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Relationship to Old Testament. Hosea is one of the "Minor Prophets" of the Old Testament. The relationship of Hosea to the Old Testament as a whole, and to the other minor prophets in particular, is discussed at Old Testament: Organization.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Hosea include:
This heading should be brief and explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
A broader treatment of the history of ancient Israel, including Hosea, is found at Old Testament: Historical Overview.
This heading is for more detailed discussions of all or part of a passage. Discussion may include the meaning of a particular word, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout the passage, insights to be developed in the future, and other items. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- Hosea 2:5: Israel has played the harlot. Regarding the contrast between a harlot and a bride, see the discussion of the bride and bridegroom and the marriage supper of the Lamb in connection with Matt 25:1-13 (Parable of the Ten Virgins).
- Hosea 3:2-3. Hosea purchases his wife, Gomer, for an amount equivalent to what a slave would sell for. See Ex 21:32. This is a metaphor for Israel who the Lord was seeking to purchase out of the slavery of idolatry.
- Hosea 6:6: For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice. Notice this verse is quoted in Matt 9:13 and Matt 12:7. See similar teachings in Amos 5:21-24; Isa 1:12-17; Micah 6:6-8; Ps 51:161-7; Hosea 4:8, 13; Hosea 8:13.
- Hosea 6:7: But they like men. There is wide disagreement about how this phrase is translated. See the NET translation notes here. In the Word Biblical Commentary volume for this book, Douglas Stuart translates the first part of this verse as, "But look--they have walked on my covenant like it was dirt" (the NET note mentions a similar idea in the possible rendering "Behold").
- Hosea 9:8: Interpretation as question. The Word Biblical Commentary takes this passage as a question: "Is Ephraim a watchman? Is God's people a prophet? A fowler's snare is on all of his paths, hostility in the house of his God." The point, on this view, is that Israel is not a prophet. Hosea is effectively mocking those who have mocked him, and if Israel were a prophet, they would be able to see the snares and hostility that they are surrounded by.
- Hosea 9:8: Snare. The word snare here is used in parallel with hatred (also translated "hostility"). This snares and hatred are likely referring to the problems Israel will encounter as a result of the hatred other people feel toward Israel, though it could also refer to hatred that Israel feels toward its God (as the KJV rendering suggests).
Complete outline and page map
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Points to ponder
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I have a question
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This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
- NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
- NIV • New International Version
- RSV • Revised Standard Version
Joseph Smith Translation
The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to only two verses in Hosea:
- Hos 11:8-9
- Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. 214. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2009. (ISBN 1606411314) BX8630.A2 2009
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Hosea: A Call to Faithfulness." In Old Testament: First Kings to Malachi (Institute Manual), vol. 2, third ed. (PDF version), ch. 10, p. 103-10. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003.
- Hosea 2:3: Strip her naked. See this comment which highlights the possible significance of clothing and water representing things which the bridegroom has graciously provided the mother-harlot heretofore.
- Hosea 2:5: Prostituting oneself before God. See this post by BrianJ for thoughts about the problems of worship with a quid pro quo attitude, and how God is primarily interested in our drawing closer to him through sacrifices, not in the sacrifices themselves.
- Hosea 2:8: Corn, wine and oil. See this comment regarding the possible significance of corn/grain/bread, wine, and oil.
- Hosea 2:23: Sowing, justice, and mercy. See comments 4 and 5 here for a reading of sow here related to the justice and mercy themes shown particularly in verses 6-7.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. 214.
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