Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) The original name of the son of Nun, afterwards called Joshua ( Numbers 13:8
, 13:16 ; Deuteronomy 32:44 ).
(2) 1 Chronicles 27:20 . The ruler of Ephraim in David's time.
(3) The last king of Israel. He conspired against and slew his predecessor, Pekah
( Isaiah 7:16 ), but did not ascend the throne till after an interregnum of warfare
of eight years ( 2 Kings 17:1 , 17:2 ). Soon after this he submitted to Shalmaneser,
the Assyrian king, who a second time invaded the land to punish Hoshea, because
of his withholding tribute which he had promised to pay. A second revolt brought
back the Assyrian king Sargon, who besieged Samaria, and carried the ten tribes
away beyond the Euphrates, B.C. 720 ( 2 Kings 17:5 , 17:6 ; 18:9 - 12 ). No more
is heard of Hoshea. He disappeared like "foam upon the water" ( Hosea 10:7 ; 13:11
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The nineteenth, last and best king of Israel. He succeeded Pekah, whom he
slew in a successful conspiracy, thereby fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah. ( Isaiah
7:16 ) In the third year of his reign (B.C. 726) Shalmaneser cruelly stormed the
strong caves of Beth-arbel, ( Hosea 8:14 ) and made cruel tributary, ( 2 Kings
17:3 ) for three years. At the end of this period Hoshea entered into a secret
alliance with So, king, of Egypt, to throw off the Assyrian yoke. The alliance
did him no good; it was revealed, to the court of Nineveh by the Assyrian party
in Ephraim, and Hoshea was immediately seized as a rebellious vasal, shut up in
prison, and apparently treated with the utmost indignity. ( Micah 5:1 ) Of the
subsequent fortunes of Hoshea nothing is known.
(2) The son of Nun, i.e. Joshua, ( Deuteronomy 32:44 ) and also in Numbers 13:8
though to there the Authorized Version has OSHEA.
(3) Shon of Azaziah, ( 1 Chronicles 27:20 ) like his great namesake, a man of
Ephraim, ruler of his tribe in the time of King David. (B.C. 1019.)
(4) One of the heads of the people who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah. ( Nehemiah
10:23 ) (B.C. 410.)
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ho-she'-a (hoshea', "salvation"; Hosee, 2 Kings 17:1 - 9):
1. A Satrap of Assyria:
Son of Elah, the 19th and last king of Israel. The time was one of social revolution
and dynastic change. Of the last five kings of Israel, four had met their deaths
by violence. Hoshea himself was one of these assassins (2 Kings 15:30), and the
nominee of Tiglath-pileser III, whose annals read, "Pekah I slew, Hoshea I appointed
over them." Though called king, Hoshea was thus really a satrap of Assyria and
held his appointment only during good behavior. The realm which he administered
was but the shadow of its former self. Tiglath-pileser had already carried into
captivity the northern tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali, Asher and Dan; as also the
two and a half tribes East of the Jordan (2 Kings 15:29). Apart from those forming
the kingdom of Judah, there remained only Ephraim, Issachar, and the half-tribe
2. The Reduced Kingdom of Israel:
Isaiah refers to the fall of Syria in the words, "Damascus is taken away from
being a city" (Isaiah 17:1), and to the foreign occupations of Northern Israel
in the words, "He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali
.... by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations" (Isaiah
3. Hosea and Ephraim:
But Hosea is the prophet in whose writings we see most clearly the reflection
of the politics of the day, and the altered condition of things in Israel. In
the 2nd division of his and book, chapters 4 - 14, Hosea deals with a state of
things which can only be subsequent to the first great deportation of Israelites,
and therefore belongs to the reigns of Pekah and Hoshea. The larger part of the
nation being removed, he addresses his utterances no longer to all Israel, but
to Ephraim, the chief of the remaining tribes. This name he uses no less than
35 t, though not to the total exclusion of the term "Israel," as in 11:1, "When
Israel was a child, then I loved him," the whole nation in such cases being meant.
Of the 35 uses of "Ephraim," the first is, "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him
alone" (Hosea 4:17), and the last, "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more
with idols?" (Hosea 14:8), showing that, in the prophet's estimation, the idolatrous
worship of Yahweh, as associated with the golden calves of Dan and Bethel, lay
at the root of the nation's calamities.
4. Hosea's Dependent Position:
Over this shrunken and weakened kingdom--corresponding generally with the Samaritan
district of the New Testament--Hoshea was placed as the viceroy of a foreign power.
The first official year of his governorship was 729, though he may have been appointed
a few months earlier. Tiglath-pileser III died in 727, so that three years' tribute
was probably paid to Nineveh. There was, however, a political party in Samaria,
which, ground down by cruel exactions, was for making an alliance with Egypt,
hoping that, in the jealousy and antipathies of the two world-powers, it might
find some relief or even a measure of independence. Hosea, himself a prophet of
the north, allows us to see beneath the surface of court life in Samaria. "They
call unto Egypt, they go to Assyria" (Hosea 7:11), and again, "They make a covenant
with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt" (Hosea 12:1). This political duplicity
from which it was the king's prime duty to save his people, probably took its
origin about the time of Tiglath-pileser's death in 727.
5. His Treasonable Action:
That event either caused or promoted the treasonable action, and the passage of
large quantities of oil on the southward road was an object-lesson to be read
of all men. On the accession of Shalmaneser IV--who is the Shalmaneser of the
Bible (2 Kings 17:3; 18:9)--Hoshea would seem to have carried, or sent, the annual
tribute for 726 to the treasury at Nineveh (2 Kings 17:3). The text is not clear
as to who was the bearer of this tribute, but from the statement that Shalmaneser
came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant, it may be presumed that the
tribute for the first year after Tiglath-pileser's death was at first refused,
then, when a military demonstration took place, was paid, and obedience promised.
In such a case Hoshea would be required to attend at his suzerain's court and
do homage to the sovereign.
6. His Final Arrest:
This is what probably took place, not without inquiry into the past. Grave suspicions
were thus aroused as to the loyalty of Hoshea, and on these being confirmed by
the confession or discovery that messengers had passed to "So king of Egypt,"
and the further withholding of the tribute (2 Kings 17:4), Hoshea was arrested
and shut up in prison. Here he disappears from history. Such was the ignominious
end of a line of kings, not one of whom had, in all the vicissitudes of two and
a quarter centuries, been in harmony with theocratic spirit, or realized that
the true welfare and dignity of the state lay in the unalloyed worship of Yahweh.
7. Battle of Beth-arbel:
With Hoshea in his hands, Shalmaneser's troops marched, in the spring or summer
of 725, to the completion of Assyria's work in Palestine. Isaiah has much to say
in his 10th and 11th chapters on the divinely sanctioned mission of "the Assyrian"
and of the ultimate fate that should befall him for his pride and cruelty in carrying
out his mission. The campaign was not a bloodless one. At Beth-arbel--at present
unidentified--the hostile forces met, with the result that might have been expected.
"Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle" (Hosea 10:14). The defeated
army took refuge behind the walls of Samaria, and the siege began. The city was
well placed for purposes of defense, being built on the summit of a lonely hill,
which was Omri's reason for moving the capital from Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). It
was probably during the continuance of the siege that Isaiah wrote his prophecy,
"Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim," etc. (Isaiah 28), in
which the hill of Samaria with its coronet of walls is compared to a diadem of
flowers worn in a scene of revelry, which should fade and die. Micah's elegy on
the fall of Samaria (chapter 1) has the same topographical note, "I will pour
down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will uncover the foundations thereof"
8. Fall of Samaria in 721:
Shalmaneser's reign was one of exactly five years, December, 727 to December,
722, and the city fell in the 1st month of his successor's reign. The history
of its fall is summarized in Sargon's great Khorsabad inscription in these words,
"Samaria I besieged, I captured. 27,290 of her inhabitants I carried away. 50
chariots I collected from their midst. The rest of their property I caused to
9. Hoshea's Character:
Hoshea's character is summed up in the qualified phrase, "He did evil in the sight
of the Lord, yet not as the kings of Israel that were before him." The meaning
may be that, while not a high-principled man or of irreproachable life, he did
not give to the idolatry of Bethel the official sanction and prominence which
each of his 18 predecessors had done. According to Hosea 10:6 the golden calf
of Samaria was to be taken to Assyria, to the shame of its erstwhile worshippers.
W. Shaw Caldecott
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