I. Author, Date, And Composition
Most OT scholars are agreed that Hosea son of Beeri (1:1) is the author of the book and that it was written in the northern kingdom of Israel sometime during the latter half of the eighth century (799-700 b.c.). It is difficult to be more precise than this because of the limited information given in the book. The Judean kings mentioned in 1:1 (Uzziah-Hezekiah) ruled from about 795-700 b.c. Strangely, the only Israelite king mentioned is Jeroboam II, who reigned over Israel from about 790-750 b.c. Perhaps the Israelite kings who succeeded Jeroboam until the fall of Israel in 722 b.c. are not mentioned because Hosea did not consider them to be legitimate rulers (see 8:4). Jeroboam's son Zechariah reigned only six months before being assassinated (2Ki 15:8-10) in the first of a series of palace coups that continued right down to the destruction of Samaria some thirty years later. At any rate, it seems likely that the materials in the book were first spoken from just before the end of Jeroboam's reign until just after the beginning of Hezekiah's reign. Thus the dates would be about 755 to 725 b.c.
Although it is possible that the materials in the book were first produced in written form, it is highly unlikely. Probably they were first delivered orally, then transcribed, either by the prophet himself or by a disciple. It is also possible that the materials are now in the chronological order of their first delivery, but that is not necessarily so. Just as books of collected sermons often follow topical or other arrangements, so it appears, do the prophetic books. In any case, most recent scholarship agrees that the bulk of the book was in writing before Hosea's death and that any editing that may have taken place after his death was of a relatively minor nature.