The Twelve Minor Prophets - Lesson 2
Chris Knepp

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Hosea

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Micah

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Hosea

Hosea: God’s Faithfulness to His Unfaithful People

Historical Context

Opening verse - ”The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel.”

Jeroboam of Israel’s last year was 753 B.C.; Hezekiah of Judah’s last year was 687 B.C. Hosea’s ministry probably not all 66 years; 35 years more likely (latter half of 8th century). No mention of fall of Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C.

“When Hosea began his ministry, Israel was enjoying a temporary period of political and economic prosperity under Jeroboam II. However, the nation began to crumble after Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.) strengthened Assyria…. Four [of Israel’s last six kings] were murdered and a fifth was carried captive to Assyria. Confusion and decline characterized the last years of the northern kingdom, and her people refused to heed Hosea’s warning of imminent judgment.” Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Old Testament


Chapters 1-3: Hosea’s marriage, Israel’s unfaithfulness

Chapters 4-7: Sins of the people, priests and leaders

Chapters 8-11: Apostate worship

Chapters 12-14: Past failure, future repentance and restoration

Message: “Hosea presents two profound and enduring pictures of God’s love for sinners. One is the deserted husband who continues to love his wife and pays the financial and emotional cost of redeeming her and restoring the relationship (Hos. 1-3). The other is the parent who loves and refuses to give up on a delinquent child (Hos. 11:1-11).” Ernest Lucas, “Prophets,” IVP Introduction to the Bible

Hosea 1-3 (Hosea’s Marriage)

2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and have children of prostitution, for the land commits great prostitution by forsaking the Lord.” 3 So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4 And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel, for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

8 When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Hosea 1-3 (Israel’s Unfaithfulness)

2 ]“Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
    for she is not my wife,
    and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
    and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
3 Otherwise I will strip her naked
    and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
    turn her into a parched land,
    and slay her with thirst.

4 I will not show my love to her children,
    because they are the children of adultery.
5 Their mother has been unfaithful
    and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
    who give me my food and my water,
    my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
    I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
    she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
    ‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
    for then I was better off than now.’
8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one
    who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
    which they used for Baal.

9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
    and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
    intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
    before the eyes of her lovers;
    no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
    her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
    her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
    which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
    and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
    she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.

Hosea 4-7 (Sins of the People, Priests and Leaders)

4 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
    because the Lord has a charge to bring
    against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
    no acknowledgment of God in the land.
2 There is only cursing, lying and murder,
    stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Because of this the land dries up,
    and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea are swept away.

4 “But let no one bring a charge,
    let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
    who bring charges against a priest.
5 You stumble day and night,
    and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
6     my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

“Because you have rejected knowledge,
    I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
    I also will ignore your children.

7 The more priests there were,
    the more they sinned against me;
    they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful.
8 They feed on the sins of my people
    and relish their wickedness.
9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
    I will punish both of them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.

Hosea 8-11 (Apostate Worship)

8 “Put the trumpet to your lips!
    An eagle is over the house of the Lord
because the people have broken my covenant
    and rebelled against my law.
2 Israel cries out to me,
    ‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’
3 But Israel has rejected what is good;
    an enemy will pursue him.
4 They set up kings without my consent;
    they choose princes without my approval.
With their silver and gold
    they make idols for themselves
    to their own destruction.
5 Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
    My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of purity?
6     They are from Israel!
This calf—a metalworker has made it;
    it is not God.
It will be broken in pieces,
    that calf of Samaria.

Hosea 12-14 (Past Failure, Future Repentance and Restoration)

14 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
    “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
    that we may offer the fruit of our lips.[g]
3 Assyria cannot save us;
    we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
    to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

4 “I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.

Christ in Hosea

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.

Matthew 2:13-15, The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Christ and Hosea

4 “What can I do with you, Ephraim?
    What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
    like the early dew that disappears.
5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
    I killed you with the words of my mouth—
    then my judgments go forth like the sun.
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Matthew 9:10-13

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Micah

Micah: God’s “Lawsuit” Against His People

Historical Context

Opening verse – “The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

Micah came from Moresheth, a town about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

The reigns of the Judean kings during which he prophesied spanned from 750 B.C. to 687 B.C.

“It is difficult to assess the length of Micah’s public activity with any precision. At a minimum, the 16-year reign of Ahaz … in combination with the presumed transitions at the end of the reign of Jotham and the start of the reign of Hezekiah, provides a ministry length of 20 to 25 years.” ESV Study Bible.

A century later, Micah’s preaching was remembered as a cause of Hezekiah’s reform (Jeremiah 26:18-19)

18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“‘Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’

19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”


Chapters 1-2: Samaria and Jerusalem judged – but deliverance promised

Chapters 3-5: Jerusalem condemned – but redeemed

Chapters 6-7: Israel proven guilty – but pardoned

Message: “Micah’s message is essentially about ‘kingdom-of-God-living.’ Both Israel and Judah are condemned for violating the covenant standards of God’s kingdom – for showing how God’s people should not live. They were supposed to be a holy nation, a light to the Gentiles; instead, they chose to blend in with the surrounding darkness. Micah contrasts this upside-down picture with the right-side-up portrait of God’s true kingdom, the ultimate Messianic kingdom, from which justice, truth, peace, safety, dignity, and mercy inherently flow.” Charles Swindoll, God’s Masterwork: A Concerto in Sixty-Six Movements, Vol. 3.

Micah 1-2 (Samaria and Jerusalem Judged – But Deliverance Promised)

2 Hear, you peoples, all of you,
    listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.

3 Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place;
    he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
4 The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.
5 All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
    because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
    Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
    Is it not Jerusalem?

6 “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
    a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
    and lay bare her foundations.
7 All her idols will be broken to pieces;
    all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
    I will destroy all her images.
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
    as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”

8 Because of this I will weep and wail;
    I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal
    and moan like an owl.
9 For Samaria’s plague is incurable;
    it has spread to Judah.
It has reached the very gate of my people,
    even to Jerusalem itself.

Micah 3-5 (Jerusalem Condemned – But Redeemed)

3:9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
    you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice
    and distort all that is right;
10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
    and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
    her priests teach for a price,
    and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
    “Is not the Lord among us?
    No disaster will come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you,
    Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
    the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

4:1 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.

5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,  in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

Micah 6-7 (Israel Proven Guilty – But Pardoned)

6:1 Listen to what the Lord says:

“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
    let the hills hear what you have to say.

2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
    listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
    he is lodging a charge against Israel.

3 “My people, what have I done to you?
    How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
    also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember
    what Balak king of Moab plotted
    and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

6 With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

7:18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago.

Christ in Micah: The Shepherd-King

2:12 “I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
    I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
    like a flock in its pasture;
    the place will throng with people.
13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
    they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
    the Lord at their head.”

Christ in Micah: The Messiah’s Birthplace

5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

Christ in Micah: The Messiah’s Rule

5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

5 And he will be our peace
    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Zephaniah

Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord

Historical Context

Zephania=Yahweh has hidden/protected

•Opening verse - ”The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:”

Genealogy in 1:1 may indicate that Zephaniah was a descendant of Hezekiah, pious ruler of Judah before two wicked kings followed him (Manasseh and his son Amon).

Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah from 640-609 B.C. Josiah was a reforming king who sought to reestablish acceptable worship practices that had fallen out of use since the time of his great-grandfather Hezekiah. Zephaniah’s prophecy may precede Josiah’s reforms (621 B.C., when Hilkiah the high priest “found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord,” 2 Kings 22:8), as it condemns practices that were common before it.


Chapter 1:1-6: Warning of judgment

Chapters 1:7-3:8: The Day of the Lord - judgment

Chapters 1:7-2:3: A day of wrath

Chapter 2:4-15: Oracles against the nations

Chapter 3:1-8: Condemnation of Jerusalem

Chapter 3:9-20: The Day of the Lord - salvation

Message: The two-sidedness of the Day of the Lord, as both judgment and salvation for “the remnant.”

Zephaniah 1:1-6 (Warning of Judgment)

2 “I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord.
3 “I will sweep away both man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea—
    and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”

“When I destroy all mankind
    on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,
4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
    the very names of the idolatrous priests—
5 those who bow down on the roofs
    to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
    and who also swear by Molek,
6 those who turn back from following the Lord
    and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

Zephaniah 1:7-2:3 (A Day of Wrath)

14 The great day of the Lord is near—
    near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 That day will be a day of wrath—
    a day of distress and anguish,
        a day of trouble and ruin,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
        a day of clouds and blackness—
16     a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the corner towers.

17 “I will bring such distress on all people
    that they will grope about like those who are blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
    and their entrails like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”

In the fire of his jealousy
    the whole earth will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
    of all who live on the earth.

Zephaniah 2:4-15 (Oracles Against the Nations)

“Like the four points on a compass, Zephaniah’s prophecies extend from Judah in four directions: Philistia to the west …, Moab and Ammon to the east …, Ethiopia [Cush] to the south …., and mighty Assyria to the north…. For their arrogance, idolatry, and hostility toward His people, God would rain down on them desolation and destruction.” Charles Swindoll, God’s Masterwork: A Concerto in Sixty-Six Movements, Vol. 3.

Zephaniah 3:1-8 (Condemnation of Jerusalem)

3 Woe to the city of oppressors,
    rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one,
    she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
    she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
    who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.
5 The Lord within her is righteous;
    he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
    and every new day he does not fail,
    yet the unrighteous know no shame.

The Twelve Minor Prophets - Lesson 2

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