The book of Hosea was written between 753-722 BC. This last year, 722, was the year of the exile of the northern 10 tribes of Israel by the kings of Assyria. The conquest of Israel actually took nearly 20 years, as the first captives were deported around 740 BC. Even in those dates, we see the tremendous mercy of God to an undeserving people, a major theme of the book. Hosea is the first of the twelve minor prophets. They’re called minor not because of their lesser importance but merely because of their shorter length. That’s an important point to make, as the minor prophets contain great wealth for Christians. The minor prophets are extensively quoted in the New Testament, and after Zechariah, Hosea is the most frequently quoted minor prophet by the apostles. Some of the most memorable sayings from God through the prophet include “I will have mercy rather than sacrifice” (6:7), “I will say to them who were not my people, You are my people, and they shall say, You are the LORD my God” (2:23), “O death, where is your victory? O grave, where is your sting?” (13:14), and “Out of Egypt, I called my son” (11:1). So this should be somewhat familiar to us already.