(Ho·seʹa) [shortened form of Hoshaiah].
Hebrew prophet and writer of the Bible book of Hosea; identified merely as the son of Beeri. Hosea served as Jehovah’s prophet during the reigns of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah as well as Jeroboam II (son of Joash) of Israel, in the late ninth century and well into the eighth century B.C.E. (Ho 1:1) Prophets of the same general period included Amos, Isaiah, and Micah.—Am 1:1; Isa 1:1; Mic 1:1.
Hosea may be identified as a prophet (and probably a subject) of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. That kingdom was the principal object of the declarations in the book of Hosea. Whereas Judah was named therein only 15 times, and its capital city, Jerusalem, not even once, the book contains 44 references to Israel, 37 to Ephraim (Israel’s dominant tribe), and 6 to Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom. Most of the other locations mentioned in the book either were a part of the northern kingdom or were on its borders.—Ho 1:4, 5; 5:1, 8; 6:8, 9; 10:5, 8, 15; 12:11; 14:6, 7.
Hosea, nevertheless, apparently attached primary importance to the kings of Judah, mentioning all four who reigned there during his ministry, while listing only the one ruling in Israel when he began his work. (Ho 1:1) But, instead of indicating that the prophet came from, or was born in, Judah, this factor may show that Hosea, like other prophets of God, regarded only the Judean kings of David’s family as rightful rulers over God’s people, viewing the northern kingdom of Israel as a general religious and civil apostasy from Jehovah. Of course, this listing of rulers in both kingdoms facilitates more accurate dating of Hosea’s prophetic activity.