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Hoshea Of Israel

The Hebrew name pronounced ho-shaw-awh, meaning deliverer, is found a few times in Bible History and Prophecy.

Joshua, the righteous and always faithful to the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') military commander who succeeded Moses as the leader of the Israelites ("31:23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee" Deuteronomy 31:23 KJV) was originally named Hoshea. Joshua was the son of Nun, of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim (see Joshua's Timnath; also The Israelite Patriarchs - Ephraim; also Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?).

"32:44 And Moses [see The Prophets: Moses] came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun." (Deuteronomy 32:44 KJV)

Later, in the time of King David (see The United Kingdom), another man named Hoshea, who was also an Ephraimite, was a tribal leader of Ephraim.


"27:16 Furthermore over the tribes of Israel ... 27:20 Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah..." (1 Chronicles 27:16,20 KJV)

Still later, the prophet Hosea (which, although rendered as "Hosea" rather than "Hoshea" in most translations, was nevertheless the same name in the actual Hebrew as the others) was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. The Scriptures do not specifically say that Hosea was an Ephramite, however he was a citizen of the northern kingdom (i.e. he calls the king of the northern kingdom "our king" in Hosea 7:5 KJV), in which the territory of Ephraim was centrally located.

"1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea [see The Prophets: Hosea]. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD." (Hosea 1:2 KJV)

As stated in the verse quote above, Israel had become totally corrupt, refusing to heed the warnings of the LORD, by means of the prophets that He sent to them (see The Prophets: North and South). Finally (just as He would do to The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" about 135 years later, in 586 BC, by the Babylonians; see Ancient Empires - Babylon), the LORD had The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" defeated and taken into exile by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria). That was completed in 721 BC during the reign of the northern kingdom's last king, a man also with the name of Hoshea.

"As a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone"

Hoshea became king by assassination, just as the assassinated king himself, Pekah (see Pekah Of Israel), had seized the throne from Pekahiah (see Pekahiah Of Israel) by assassination. Hoshea was the 19th and last king of the northern kingdom (see Kings of Israel and Judah) and the beginning, and the end, of his own dynasty (see Israelite Dynasties). Israel was, by then, already being chipped away by the Assyrians (see The Galilee Captivity).

"15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.

15:30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah." (2 Kings 15:29-30 KJV)

It's important to keep in mind that when Israel fell in 721 BC, Judah continued on for another 135 years. Hoshea was the last king of Israel, but there would yet be eight more kings of Judah (again, see Kings of Israel and Judah). In the ninth year of Hoshea's unrepentant, evil reign, Israel was conquered and taken away, thereby becoming the "lost ten tribes of Israel." Hoshea's fate? "The king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison."

Assyrian Empire

"17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria [see Baal's Samaria] over Israel nine years. 17:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. 17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes." (2 Kings 17:1-6 KJV)

The primary reason that Israel fell is because, as a nation, they refused to repent of the evil that the LORD made them aware of by means of His prophets ("Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes"). Their land was filled with idolatrous monuments to themselves ("they built them high places in all their cities"). They became so bloated in their arrogance and self-righteousness ("they followed vanity, and became vain") that the only remedy was to not stop the self-destruction that they were inflicting upon their own nation. The LORD permitted them to flush themselves because of what they had made themselves into in His sight - a dung heap ("as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone" 1 Kings 14:10 KJV).

"17:7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God ["and that Rock was Christ"; see 'The God Of The Old Testament'], which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 17:8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 17:9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. 17:10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: 17:11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: 17:12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. 17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.

17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. 17:15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.

17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger." (2 Kings 17:7-17 KJV)

In their place, the Assyrians populated the northern land of Israel with foreign people, who later became known as the "Samaritans." The Assyrians sent one corrupt priest of Israel (who was either a corrupt Levite, or not even a Levite at all - see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?) back to "teach them the Law of the LORD." The predictable result was that the new people became as corrupt as the Israelites who had been thrown out; they knew of the LORD, but "served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence."

"17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. 17:25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. 17:26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.

17:27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 17:28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

17:29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. 17:30 And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, 17:31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 17:32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence." (2 Kings 17:24-33 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did the Israelites come to know that the way to "the promised land" was a "two way street"?
See The Two-Way Promise Of The Promised Land and Milk and Honey

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