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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

Book of Hosea

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(Hebrew: deliverance)

One of the minor prophets whose career is known only by his prophecy. The introductory verses record that he carried on his ministry during the reigns of the Judean kings Ozias, Joathan, Achaz and Ezechias; and in the days of Jeroboam II the son of Joas, king of Israel. Assuming that Jeroboam commenced his reign in 783 B.C., and that Ezechias ascended the throne in 721, we must conclude that Osee brought God's message to "the people for a period of 60 years. The field of his activity lay in the kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of the 10 tribes that seceded from the house of Juda after the death of Solomon. The book is the first of the so-called Minor Prophets. It consists of 14 chapters, and presents only a brief summary of the message conveyed during a long career. It is difficult to arrive at any definite scheme of division which will satisfy all readers. Brevity commends the tri-partite sketch. The first part runs through three chapters, which assuredly form a connected whole. In a vivid and graphic discourse he portrays Israel as the faithless Bride. Despite her infidelities her Divine Lover remains true to her, induces her to repent and return to her First Love. The second part covers chapters 4 to 9:9. Here God reproaches Israel with her manifold sins, which culminated in a violation of her Covenant with God, and cry out for vengeance. The third part comprises chapters 9:10 to 14:10. God contrasts His blessings with their ungrateful crimes, intimates the doom of puniahment, but concludes with an exhortation to repentance and the vista of dawning salvation. He is the prophet of God's incredible fidelity in His love for wayward men. The prophet is overpowered with emotion so that his sentences spurt forth abruptly and disconnectedly; they are strung together, not by logic but by powerful sentiment. His imagery is rich and varied. His rhetoric is colorful and dramatic. The canonicity of this book was never seriously questioned; this may be due to the frequency and fundamental bearing of the citations made in the New Testament. Twice does Our Lord repeat the familiar saying: "I will have mercy and not sacrifice." (Matthew 9,12; Osee 6), and in the Gospel of Saint Luke He repeats: "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills: 'Cover us!'" (Luke 23; Osee 10; Apocalypse 6). The remaining citations are: Osee, 10:1, in Romans 9:26; Osee 2:24, in Romans 9:25, and 1 Peter 2:16; Osee 6:3 in 1 Corinthians 15:4; Osee 11:1 in Matthew 2:15; Osee 12:14 in 1 Corinthians 15:54 and Hebrews 2:14. Used in the Breviary on the fourth Sunday of November and the following day. Used in the Missal on Good Friday; the lesson is taken from Osee 6:1-6; on the Friday of the Ember week in September the Epistle is taken from Osee 14:2-10. The half-verse, "Israel shall spring as the lily" (Osee 14:6), occurs as a versicle on the feast of Saint Joseph, and on the feast of Saint John before the Latin Gate; also in commemorations of doctors, confessors not bishops, and abbots.

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Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Book of Hosea'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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