Hosea has come down through history as the prophet deceived by his wife whom he never stopped loving, in spite of her infidelities. God, who called him to speak on his behalf to an idolatrous and materialistic people, wanted his prophet to experience the grief and the shame of a betrayed husband. The prophets reveal a God who feels a love so real and so personal for us that it can be expressed in human words. Hosea was about to carry the same cross as God’s: constantly loving and forgiving a fickle and unfaithful wife. Hosea will also shout God’s indignation at Israel because of their sins.
Hosea began to preach around the year 746, that is to say, at the end of the prosperous reign of Jeroboam II, in the northern kingdom of Israel. Right after that would begin the twenty years of decadence which would conclude with the capture of Samaria and the deportation of its inhabitants (721).
Hosea rises to accuse and threaten the people who are unconcerned. He continues to preach while the kingdom is collapsing and predicts the punishment of the people who are irresponsible and unfaithful to the covenant with their God. He understands that God is an educator and does not allow the misfortunes and even the destruction of the nation without his reasons. Through such means, Israel will again become what they once were when the Lord took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt: they will become a poor and humble people, able to follow their God with faith and love.
The book of Hosea begins with the story of the failure of his married life. From that he draws a lesson for Israel, unfaithful to the Lord (chapters 1-3).
Then in chapters 4–13 we have a mixture of reproaches, threats, invitations to conversion and predictions of the exile. The final passage 14:2-10 offers hope for the future, when the Lord will have taken away all the riches in which Israel had trusted.