Hosea in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE I. The Prophet. 1. Name: The name (hoshea Septuagint Osee-; for other forms see note in DB), probably meaning "help," seems to have been not uncommon, being derived from the auspicious verb from which we have the frequently recurring word "salvation." It may be a contraction of a larger form of which the Divine name or its abbreviation formed a part, so as to signify "God is help," or "Help, God." according to Nu 13:8,16 that was the original name of Joshua son of Nun, till Moses gave him the longer name (compounded with the name of Yahweh) which he continued to bear (yehoshua`), "Yahweh is salvation." The last king of the Northern Kingdom was also named Hosea (2 Ki 15:30), and we find the same name borne by a chief of the tribe of Ephraim under David (1 Ch 27:20) and by a chief under Nehemiah (Neh 10:23). 2. Native Place: Although it is not directly stated in the book, there can be little doubt that he exercised his ministry in the kingdom of the Ten Tribes. Whereas his references to Judah are of a general kind, Ephraim or Samaria being sometimes mentioned in the same connection or more frequently alone, the situation implied throughout and the whole tone of the addresses agree with what we know of the Northern Kingdom at the time, and his references to places and events in that kingdom are so numerous and minute as to lead to the conclusion that he not only prophesied there, but that he was a native of that part of the country. Gilead, e.g. a district little named in the prophets, is twice mentioned in Hos (6:8; 12:11) and in such a manner as to suggest that he knew it by personal observation; and Mizpah (mentioned in 5:1) is no doubt the Mizpah in Gilead (Jdg 10:17). Then we find Tabor (Hos 5:1), Shechem (Hos 6:9 the Revised Version (British and American)), Gilgal and Bethel (Hos 4:15; 9:15; 10:5,8,15; 12:11). Even Lebanon in the distant North is spoken of with a minuteness of detail which could be expected only from one very familiar with Northern Israel (Hos 14:5-8). In a stricter sense, therefore, than amos who, though a native of Tekoah, had a prophetic mission to the North, Hosea may be called the prophet of Northern Israel, and his book, as Ewald has said, is the prophetic voice wrung from the bosom of the kingdom itself...

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