his own bitter marital experiences, becomes more clear to Hosea, he records it from the perspective of his later years. Understanding that his own relationship to Gomer parallels the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, he realizes that Yahweh used this lesson to communicate his will and purpose to those who claim to be his people. From this point of view, we can understand Hosea’s statement that Yahweh instructed him to marry an adulterous woman and later directed him to make provisions for her moral restoration.
The common title for these twelve books of the English Bible is “minor prophets.” Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. This title originated in Augustine’s time (late fourth century A.D.), but they are minor only in that they are each much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (called “major prophets”). In Old and New Testament times, the Old Testament was called “The Law and the Prophets.” This title looked at the Old Testament from the standpoint of its divisions, but it also included the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, which constituted a 24-book division.
In the Hebrew canon the Prophets are divided into the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,) and the Twelve, or Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).
We will be talking about the six books called the former prophets in this lesson.