Hosea, the son of Beeri - See the preceding account of this prophet.
In the days of Uzziah, etc. - If we suppose, says Bp. Newcome, that Hosea prophesied during the course of sixty-six years, and place him from the year 790 before Christ to the year 724, he will have exercised his office eight years in the reign of Jeroboam the second, thirty-three years in the reign of Uzziah, the whole reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, and three years in the reign of Hezekiah; but will not have survived the taking of Samaria. But see the preceding account of this prophet.
I think the first verse to be a title to this book added by the compiler of his prophecies, and that it relates more to facts which took place in those reigns, and had been predicted by Hosea, who would only be said to have prophesied under an those kings. by his predictions, which were consecutively fulfilled under them. By those, though dead, he continued to speak. The prophet's work properly begins at Hosea 1:2; hence called, "The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea."
The word of the Lord, that came unto Hosea - Hosea, at the very beginning of his prophecy, declares that all this, which he delivered, came, not from his own mind but from God. As Paul says, “Paul an Apostle, not of men neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father.” He refers all to God, and claims all obedience to Him. That word came to him; it existed then before, in the mind of God. It was first God‘s, then it became the prophet‘s, receiving it from God. So it is said, “the word of God came to John” Luke 3:2.
Hosea - i. e., “Salvation, or, the Lord saveth.” The prophet bare the name of our Lord Jesus, whom he foretold and of whom he was a type. “Son of Beeri, i. e., my well or welling-forth.” God ordained that the name of his father too should signify truth. From God, as from the fountain of life, Hosea drew the living waters, which he poured out to the people. “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” Isaiah 12:3.
In the days of Uzziah - Hosea, although a prophet of Israel, marks his prophecy by the names of the kings of Judah, because the kingdom of Judah was the kingdom of the theocracy, the line of David to which the promises of God were made. As Elisha, to whose office he succeeded, turned away from Jehoram 2 Kings 3:13-14, saying, “get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother,” and owned Jehoshaphat king of Judah only, so, in the title of his prophecy, Hosea at once expresses that the kingdom of Judah alone was legitimate. He adds the name of Jeroboam, partly as the last king of Israel whom, by virtue of His promise to Jehu, God helped; partly to show that God never left Israel unwarned. Jeroboam I was warned first by the prophet 2 Kings 13:14.
So, in the days of Jeroboam II, God raised up Hosea, Amos and Jonah. “The kings and people of Israel then were without excuse, since God never ceased to send His prophets among them; in no reign did the voice of the prophets fail, warning of the coming wrath of God, until it came.” While Jeroboam was recovering to Israel a larger rule than it had ever had since it separated from Judah, annexing to it Damascus 2 Kings 14:28 which had been lost to Judah even in the days of Solomon, and from which Israel had of late so greatly suffered, Hosea was sent to forewarn it of its destruction. God alone could utter “such a voice of thunder out of the midst of such a cloudless sky.” Jeroboam doubtless thought that his house would, through its own strength, survive the period which God had pledged to it. “But temporal prosperity is no proof either of stability or of the favor of God. Where the law of God is observed, there, even amid the pressure of outward calamity, is the assurance of ultimate prosperity. Where God is disobeyed, there is the pledge of coming destruction. The seasons when men feel most secure against future chastisement, are often the preludes of the most signal revolutions.”