It’s painful watching history repeat itself. It’s even more painful to realize you can’t do much to head it off. But there’s nothing new under the sun, and the prophets of old must have felt much the same way. And it was harder for them because God immersed them in what was happening and he used them as object lessons. Poor Hosea had to marry a hooker and have children by her. You know how on earth a people come to such a sorry pass. Well, it takes time and a long series of bad decisions.
For the Israel of Hosea the first bad decision had been made by their king, Jeroboam I, who turned them away from their God by decentralizing worship, changed the liturgical calendar, and setting up priests of his own choosing rather than God’s priests. (He made priests of the lowest of the people.)
It took over 200 years for the effects of this to finally come home to roost. But in the meantime Israel prospered, and the more they prospered they more they systematically forgot who gave it all to them. They had become confused about who God is, especially in Hosea’s day. He addresses this conflict, beginning in chapter 7.