[hoh-zee-uh, -zey-uh]
Hosea, prophetic book of the Bible. It relates something of the career of the prophet Hosea who preached against the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel in the third quarter of the 8th cent. B.C. The collection opens with an account of Hosea's marriage to the prostitute Gomer and his apparent remarriage to her after she has deserted him, to show God's love for Israel, a wayward and adulterous nation. Then come oracles against the apostasy and moral decadence of the people. These are followed by oracles of judgment tempered with the promise of restoration. Though the nation has proven itself ungrateful and undeserving, God will not let his people go. However, the new beginning foreseen by the prophet presupposes a return to the desert.

See D. Stuart, Hosea-Jonah (1987); J. Limburg, Hosea-Micah (1988).

Ballou, Hosea, 1771-1852, American clergyman, foremost among expositors of Universalism in the United States, b. Cheshire co., N.H. From 1818 until his death he was pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Boston. One of the founders (1819) of the Universalist Magazine, he was its editor until 1828; from 1830 he edited the Universalist Expositor. His works include Notes on the Parables (1804), A Treatise on the Atonement (1805), and a number of hymns.
Ballou, Hosea, 2d, 1796-1861, American Universalist clergyman, b. Guilford, Vt.; grandnephew of Hosea Ballou (1771-1852). He was one of the founders and the first president (1853-61) of Tufts College. His Ancient History of Universalism (1829) is the earliest American monograph dealing with the history of the doctrine.

Hosea (Greek Ὠσηέ = Ōsēe) was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BCE. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament.

We know practically nothing about the life or social status of Hosea. According to the Book of Hosea, he married the prostitute Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, at God's command. He lived in the Northern Kingdom in the period 740–725 BCE. In ff., there is a reference to the wars which led to the capture of the kingdom by the Assyrians (ca. 734–732 BCE). It is not certain if he has also experienced the destruction of Samaria, which is foreseen in .

Hosea's family life reflected the "adulterous" relationship which Israel had built with polytheistic gods. His children's names made them like walking prophecies of the fall of the ruling dynasty and the severed covenant with God — much like the prophet Isaiah a generation later. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise of restoration. The Talmud (Pesachim 87a) claims that he was the greatest prophet of his generation, which included the more famous Isaiah.

Liturgical commemoration

He is commemorated with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31. He is commemorated on the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, with a feast day on October 17 (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, October 17 currently falls on October 30 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (the Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord).

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