Hosea was a prophet in Israel during the reign of the second Jeroboam. Hosea was an unusual prophet. He spoke the words God gave him, but that was just the start. His life, particularly his marriage, became a model and symbol of the relationship between God and Israel at the time.
Hosea married a woman named Gomer. She committed adultery. The prophet was heartbroken. I’m convinced that Hosea genuinely and deeply loved Gomer, and that her unfaithfulness hurt him badly.
This is the poignancy of the book. We can see how Hosea loves his wife, even when she is cheating on him. This is compared with God and the people of Israel. They worshipped idols and made alliances with foreign nations. They engaged in all manner of immoral behavior. Even the priests who were called to live set apart and serve God and the people committed all the same immoral acts as the rest of the populace.
Hosea had children with Gomer. He gave them names forecasting God’s judgment on the nation. Jezreel was named for a battlefield, and his name indicated God’s impending retribution. Lo-ruhamah means “no mercy” and Lo-ammi means “no longer my people.” Israel experienced the fulfillment of this judgement when it fell to the Babylonian empire.
After a time, Hosea reconciled Gomer to himself. This foreshadowed the time when God would restore Israel. The Babylonian occupation would create an Israelite diaspora that would last 70 years, after which the people were permitted to return to their homeland.