Hosea, son of Beeri, was born in Israel, the northern kingdom, in the eighth century BC.
Coinciding somewhat with the ministry of the prophet Amos (who came up from Judah), Hosea was called on to preach a similar message. Unlike Amos, though, he had to live among the people against whom he prophesied. Part of his ministry entailed marrying Gomer, an adulterous woman. His love for her, in buying her out of slavery, further illustrates the meaning of his name: "May the Lord save," or simply "Salvation." His children would bear names that were prophetic of the coming judgment, and of a coming restoration!
Hosea prophesied during the reigns of the last two kings of Israel, shortly before Israel was conquered - and destroyed - by the Assyrian Empire. Hosea's prophecies spoke of the desolation that would result from being unfaithful to God, and of God's promise to later restore Israel.
Hosea regarded Israel, which at that time referred to the northern ten tribes, as being corrupt and evil. Hosea prophesied during the concluding years of Jeroboam II (about 783 - 743 BC). Hosea was more tenderhearted than the stern Amos. It is easy to see from his writing that he loved the people whom he was compelled to condemn.
His experiences and prophecies would become the Book of Hosea, the first of the "Minor Prophets," containing 14 short compassionate chapters.