First of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, traditional author of the Book of Hosea. (His prophecy is part of a larger book, The Twelve, in the Jewish canon.) He began to prophesy during the reign of Jeroboam II and continued until near the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 BC. The book is an allegory in which the prophet is presented as a man married to a harlot or an adulterous wife. This troubled relationship stands for the betrayal of God by Israel, which has “played the harlot” by dallying with Canaanite religion.