Hosea was sent with a message of God’s undying love for his people, as well as a declaration of his unwavering standards. He portrays Israel as an unfaithful wife, as a harlot. They were covenant breakers, and their only hope lay in God’s redeeming love. Patterson also uses the introduction to explain some of the textual difficulties with the book of Hosea – there are many places where the correct translation is uncertain.
For an overview of the format of this series, see my review of the volume on Malachi. I’ll just pick out a few points of interest. Patterson favours the view that Hosea married a woman with promiscuous tendencies – i.e. her adultery came later. Many of Patterson’s commentary sections are very New Testament focused – he is keen to show connections to the gospel and the Christian life.
Patterson shows how Israel’s infectious flirtation with Baal had spread everywhere, and though he must judge their waywardness, his love never fails. In one interesting hint about his end times theology, Patterson interprets the nation of Israel as still living in the “many days” of Hos 3:3-5 – they are back in their land, but without king, temple or sacrificial system. However, he is also quick to mention that the New Testament identifies Jesus as the promised heir to the throne.
His comments on Hos 6:1-3 are helpful in explaining the biblical significance of the “third day”. The subject of the end times again comes up in Hos 10:8, where Patterson ties it in with the teaching of Revelation on an end times tribulation.
Overall, this is another good introductory level commentary. It strikes a nice balance between illuminating the meaning of the text, and suggesting theological and practical applications.