Hosea (hōzēˈə, –zāˈə) [key], 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).