Hosea’s Message to the Southern Kingdom of Judah

What evidence do we have that Hosea intended his book to be read in the southern kingdom of Judah?

Answer:

Although Hosea’s message was primarily and largely directed to the northern kingdom of Israel, we see many times in the book that the prophet talks about Judah and refers to the people of the southern kingdom. For example, in 2:1, Hosea says that Israel and Judah are brothers. In 1:11, he talks about unity and the gathering of Israel and Judah under one royal head. In 4:15, the prophet says that though Israel played the whore by worshiping other gods, yet Judah should not commit sins like those of Israel.

It’s clear that Judah didn’t listen. We see in chapter 5 that Judah didn’t learn from the warnings that Hosea gave to Israel. The conflict between the Lord and Judah reaches its peak in chapter 6 where there’s a direct confrontation between the Lord and the people of Judah. In 11:12, he says,

And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One (Hosea 11:12, NIV).

And in 12:2,

The Lord has an indictment against Judah and will punish Jacob according to his ways; he will repay him according to his deeds (Hosea 12:2).

We see a progression in the way God addresses Judah. He first starts with warning them not to follow the sins of Israel. When Judah does not obey, the Lord confronts them and affirms that Judah’s sin has become very grievous and that the Lord has an indictment against Judah, as we can see in chapter 12. All of these references indicate that the message of the book was directed to the people of Judah, just as it was directed to the people of Israel. Judah should have listened to the warnings the prophet Hosea directed to Israel and his warning of the coming exile. They should have learned the lesson and returned to the Lord and repented. But clearly, Judah did not listen and persisted in their sin, and the Babylonian exile of Judah was the consequence of that.

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