Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA\\

This book, in the Hebrew Bibles, at least in some copies, is called
"Sopher Hosea", the Book of Hoses; and, in the Vulgate Latin and Arabic
versions, "the Prophecy of Hoses": and, in the Syriac version, "the
Prophecy of Hoses the Prophet". It is the first of the twelve lesser
prophets, so called, not because they were of less value, credit, and
authority, than the other prophets; but because of their smallness in
bulk; and which, as Kimchi says, upon the authority of their Rabbins,
were put together in one book, that no one of them might be lost,
because of their smallness; and Josephus {a} reckons them but as one
book; and they are quoted in the New Testament under the name of the
Book of the Prophets {b}. This prophet was one of them, and therefore
placed here; though, as Kimchi, in his preface to this book, and R.
David Ganz {c}, observe, his prophecy was before the prophecy of Isaiah;
and yet he was not the first of these minor prophets, as to order of
time; not only Jonah, but Joel and Amos, were before him; and so they
are placed by some writers; according to Mr. Whiston {d}, he began to
prophesy about the year of the world 3196 A.M. and 808 B.C. Mr. Bedford
{e} places him in 804 B.C. His name is the same with Joshua and Jesus,
and signifies a saviour; and he was not only, as all the true prophets
of the Lord and faithful ministers of the word are, the means and
instruments in the hand of God of saving people; but he was a type of
Christ the Saviour, as well as prophesied concerning him, and salvation
by him. Of his parentage, and the time of his prophesying, see \\#Ho 1:1\\,
by which it appears that he lived in several reigns, and to a very great
age. He chiefly prophesied against the ten tribes of Israel; reproved
them for their sins; exhorted them to repentance; threatened them with
destruction in case of impenitence; and comforted the truly godly with
the promise of the Messiah, and of the happy state of the church in the
latter day. His style, is short and concise; in some places sententious,
and without connection, obscure and difficult of interpretation; and in
others very pathetic and moving. Of the divine inspiration and authority
of this book there is no room to doubt; since passages out of it are
quoted and referred to by Christ and his apostles; by Christ himself,
\\#Mt 9:13 12:7 6:6 2:15 11:1 Ro 9:25,26 1:10 2:23 1Co 15:55 13:14\\
\\#1Pe 2:10 2:23\\ There are some things said of the descent, death, and
burial of this prophet, not to be depended on. Pseudo Epiphanius {f} and
Isidorus {g} say he was of the tribe of Issachar, and born in Belomoth
or Bethlemoth; and that he died in peace, and was buried in his own
country; but, according to a tradition of the Jews {h}, he died in
Babylon, and was buried in Tzapheth, a city in upper Galilee; but all
this is uncertain, and not very probable, and is of no importance to be
known.

{a} Contr. Apion. l. 1. c. 8.
{b} Acts vii. 42.
{c} Tzemach David, fol. 12. 2.
{d} Chronological Tables, cent. 7.
{e} Scripture Chronology, B. 6. ch. 2. p. 645.
{f} De Prophet. Vit. &c. c. 11.
{g} De Vita & Mort. Sanct. c. 41.

\\INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 1\\

After the general inscription of the book, in which the author, penman,
and time of this prophecy, are expressed, \\#Ho 1:1\\, the people of Israel
are reproved for their idolatry, under the representation of a harlot
the prophet is bid to marry, which he is said to do, \\#Ho 1:2,3\\, and
their ruin and destruction are foretold in the names of the children he
had by her, and by what is said on the occasion of the birth of each,
\\#Ho 1:4-6,8,9\\, but mercy and salvation are promised to Judah,
\\#Ho 1:7\\ and the chapter is concluded with a glorious prophecy of the
conversion of the Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews in the latter
day; and of the union of Judah and Israel under one Head and Saviour,
Christ; and of the greatness and glory of that day, \\#Ho 1:10,11\\.

the same with Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a saviour; he was in some
things a type of Christ the Saviour, and prophesied of him, and
salvation by him; and was the instrument and means of saving men, as all
true prophets were, and faithful ministers of the word are: to him the
word of the Lord, revealing his mind and will, was brought by the Spirit
of God, and impressed upon his mind; and it was committed to him to be
delivered unto others. This is the general title of the whole book,
showing the divine original and authority of it:

\\the son of Beeri\\; which is added to distinguish him from another of the
same name; and perhaps his father's name was famous in Israel, and
therefore mentioned. The Jews have a rule, that where a prophet's
father's name is mentioned, it shows that he was the son of a prophet;
but this is not to be depended upon; and some of them say that this is
the same with Beerah, a prince of the Reubenites, who was carried
captive by Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, \\#1Ch 5:6\\, but the name is
different; nor does the chronology seem so well to agree with him; and
especially he cannot be the father of Hosea, if he was of the tribe of
Issachar, as some have affirmed:

\\in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and\\
\\in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel\\; from whence it
appears that Hosea prophesied long, and lived to a great age; for from
the last year of Jeroboam, which was the fifteenth of Uzziah, to the
first of Hezekiah, must be sixty nine years; for Jeroboam reigned forty
one years, and in the twenty seventh of his reign began Uzziah or
Azariah to reign over Judah, and he reigned fifty two years, \\#2Ki 14:23\\
\\#2Ki 15:1,2\\, so that Uzziah reigned thirty seven years after the death
of Jeroboam, through which time Hosea prophesied; Jotham after him
reigned sixteen years, and so many reigned Ahaz, \\#2Ki 15:23 16:2\\, so
that without reckoning any part, either of Jeroboam's reign, or
Hezekiah's, he must prophesy sixty nine years, and, no doubt, did
upwards of seventy, very probably eighty, the Jews say ninety; and
allowing him to be twenty four or five years of age when he begun to
prophesy, or only twenty (for it is certain he was at an age fit to
marry, as appears by the prophecy), he: must live to be upwards of a
hundred years; and in all probability he lived to see not only part of
Israel carried captive by Tiglathpileser, which is certain; but the
entire destruction of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, which he prophesied
of. Jeroboam king of Israel is mentioned last, though prior to these
kings of Judah; because Hosea's prophecy is chiefly against Israel, and
began in his reign, when they were in a flourishing condition. It
appears from hence that Isaiah, Amos, and Micah, were contemporary with
him; see \\#Isa 1:1 Am 1:1 Mic 1:1\\, within this compass of time Hosea
prophesied lived Lycurgus the famous lawgiver of the Lacedemonians, and
Hesiod the Greek poet; and Rome began to be built.

{h} Shalsheleth Hakabala, fol. 12. 1.

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