A prophet in the northern kingdom (Israel) from about 745 BCE who was active for about twenty years; he is the only native of the north among the pre-exilic prophets. His messages and judgement upon Israel were built round the sign-names given to his children (Hos. 1: 4, 6, 8), and Hosea's marriage (ch. 1), separations (ch. 2), and reconciliation (ch. 3) to Gomer, who was a harlot, are used to parallel the relationships of God and the nation. The ominous names of the three children are typical prophetic signs to corroborate his verbal message. The message is, however, also illustrated by the vicissitudes of his marriage: judgement is not the last word. As the prophet continued to love Gomer, in spite of infidelities, so God never ceases to love Israel. (Unfortunately we do not have Gomer's version of the relationship!)