The first three chapters of the Book of Hosea are introductory or preparatory, showing that an experience had to be created in the prophet’s life so that when he subsequently published his message to the nation, he could do it with feeling. How would this happen? When Hosea would see the Lord’s mercy on behalf of Israel and also have in his own life a personalized experience along these lines, he could speak with great fervor, realizing the tenderness of God in dealing with His people. Hosea’s message would thus have more power and effect. Therefore, it is not until chapter 4 that Hosea began his public message and ministry to the nation: “Hear [hearken to] the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel.” In the first three chapters, Hosea was merely being instructed. In other words, some years had to pass before Hosea could begin his public ministry; all three children had to be born first.