The Holy Prophet Hosea the first of the minor prophets, belonged to the tribe of Issachar. He lived during the ninth Century before Christ, in the kingdom of Israel. He was a contemporary of the holy Prophets Isaiah, Micah and Amos. During this time, many of his fellow Israelites had forgotten the true God, and worshipped idols. The holy Prophet Hosea attempted to turn them again to the faith of their Fathers by his wise counsels. Denouncing the iniquities of the people of Israel (i.e. the northern kingdom Israel), the prophet proclaimed to them great misfortunes from a foreign people and their removal into captivity by Assyria.
Almost a thousand years before the coming of the Savior, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet foretold the end of sacrificial offerings and of the priesthood of Aaron (Hos. 3:4-5), and that the knowledge of the True God would spread through all the earth (Hos. 2:20-23). Hosea spoke also about Christ, how He would return from out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1; compare Mt. 2:15), that He would be resurrected on the third day (Hos. 6 and especially Hos.6:2; compare with 1 Cor.15:4), and that He would conquer death (Hos.13-14. Compare 1 Cor.15:54-55).
The prophesies of Saint Hosea are included in the book that bears his name. The prophetic service of Saint Hosea continued for more than sixty years. The God-inspired prophet died in deep old age, having devoted all his life to fulfilling the Will of God.
According to some, Hosea, whose name means “God is help,” was from the tribe of Issachar, or more likely, from that of Reuben; he was the son of Beeri. He is the first in order of the twelve minor Prophets and the most ancient of all. He prophesied in the days of the divided Kingdom; the Lord told him to take a harlot to wife (Hosea 1:2), and then an adulteress (ibid., 3:1). The harlot, a known sinner, was a figure of the Kingdom of Israel in Samaria, which openly worshipped idols; the adulteress, lawfully married yet sinning secretly with her lovers, was a figure of the Kingdom of Judah in Jerusalem, which, while having the Temple, and the priesthood, and the divine worship according to the Law, stealthily served the idols also. The Prophet Hosea prophesied for sixty years, and lived for some ninety years, from 810 to 720 B.C. His book is divided into fourteen chapters.
Hosea was the son of Beeri of the tribe of Issachar. Hosea lived and prophesied more than eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. His divinely inspired words are found in his book, which contains fourteen chapters. He strongly rebuked Israel and Judah for their idolatry and also foretold God’s punishment for their sins, the destruction of Samaria and Israel for their apostasy, and God’s mercy on the tribe of Judah. He foretold the abolition and the end of the sacrifices of the Old Testament. He foretold the coming of the Lord, and the richness of gifts that He would bring with Him to earth. He lived to a very old age and entered peacefully into rest.
Apolytikion of Prophet Hosea
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Hosea, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion of Prophet Hosea
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Initiated by divine illumination, thou wast deemed worthy of the lofty gift of prophecy and foretoldest of the promise of grace, O Prophet. O Hosea, since thou dwellest in God’s glory now, do thou rescue from all manner of adversity us who cry to thee: Rejoice, thou vessel of grace divine.
Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org