During the time of Hosea and other prophets who were his contemporaries, the Israelites were influenced by the worship and ways of the Canaanites.
The Church Educational System's Old Testament Student Manual states: "The sophistication of the city-based Canaanite farmers who surrounded them [the Israelites], the fertility of their flocks and fields (apparently elicited from the gods and goddesses of fertility) attracted the Israelite farmers."The rites by which the people supplicated the gods of fertility were lewd, licentious and immoral. Even though Israel had covenanted at Sinai to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation unto God, by the time of Hosea, God's people had become deeply involved in the practices of their neighbors, whose way of life should have repelled them.
"Using the imagery of a marriage, the Lord, through Hosea, taught His people that though they had been unfaithful to Him, yet He would still not divorce them (cast them off) if they would but turn back to Him.
"Though Hosea speaks of a nation, the same principle holds true for individuals. Even those who have been grossly unfaithful to God can re-establish their relationship with Him if they will but turn back to Him with full purpose of heart."
Prophets' ministries weren't minor
- In the Old Testament are records of 12 religious leaders often referred to as "minor prophets." The designation of these prophets as "minor" does not mean they were less important than other prophets. The warnings issued by them bore as much as weight as any uttered by other prophets.
The term "minor" has to do with the length of their writings or accounts of their ministrations as recorded in the current Old Testament record.
The minor prophets of the Old Testament were Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
In the English translation of the Bible, the books named after these prophets are the last 12 books of the Old Testament.