Things have gone from bad to worse to done for Hosea, Gomer, Israel, and God. But God. There is always hope.
In verse 1, God sends Hosea to take Gomer back, even though she is a known adulteress, just as the Lord still loves the sons of Israel, even though "they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."
There is an interesting turn of phrase that seems to be in dispute in verse 1.
Then the Lord said to me, 'Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress...Hosea 3:1a, NASB
As it is written, Hosea is to love again the woman he loves. Seems confusing. There is a footnote in the Ryrie student bible that says the better translation is that she is "loved by another". So, loved by the man she cheating with. That makes more sense in parallel with God's explanation of Israel turning to other gods and loving raisin cakes.
But as written makes some sense in the metaphor that Hosea could still love her and need to love he again at the same time. Once betrayed, I imagine love for a person becomes very complex.
MacArthur interprets it as a command to pursue Hosea's estranged wife. Also, it states that raisin cakes are usually for special occasions. So either Gomer was trying to have a sacrament all the time; or it may have been part of idol rituals.
Verse 2 is equally complex.
So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.Hosea 3:2
Gomer was no longer considered Hosea's wife. And, technically, Gomer should have been stoned to death. So to restore her, there was a custom that he could purchase her.
The Ryrie Study Bible footnote tells us that the price of a slave was 30 shekels, so Hosea paid half in silver and half in grain. The MacArthur Commentary states that barley was the offering for someone accused of adultery, according to Numbers 5:15.
As a woman in the 21st century, I sort of want to vomit. Verses like this one have given feminist canon fodder for decades. I don't have to think very hard to imagine the criticism: "slut-shaming", "chattle", and "domestic abuse by enslaving a partner." The cringe factor is very high, living in the "modern" world.
But those interpretations and complaints are based in worldly wisdom, not biblical wisdom. The Bible teaches us that men and women are different. Man was made for the land, the earth. Woman was made for man. We were given domains, and expected to rule over them; but we were also given to support and help our husband. He was called to responsibility; we were called to purity. One man, as the model of only having one God.
Because Gomer committed one of the most basic and primary sins against God and against Hosea, she "should" have been stoned to death.
Hosea paying for her (presumably paying the man who stole her) was a huge act of self-sacrifice and love. She left a wife and came back a slave; but he saved her life and restored her top her home and family. (MacArthur supposes Hoes bought her at a slave auction.)
Women have accepted the world's view of femininity. And we've been deceived. The world wants us acting more like men; and seems to want men to act more like women. Why? We have to ask ourselves that. Why would the world, the prince of the air, want men and women blurring their created roles and purposes? Because it corrupts the family unit. God's building block for human civilization.
Gomer's unfaithfulness, her infidelity, should repulse us. It should make us cringe to think of the pain and hurt Hosea had to feel. If we can see that, feel that, then we can carry that through to image how God feels when we chase idols. Stupid, created junk that we love more than the One who created everything good. But if we get distracted by a feminist case on Gomer's behalf, then it muddies our own culpability in chased other gods and raisin cakes.
We also, like faithless, vile Gomer, have been bought back with a price. We are also doulos, slaves, purchased with the blood of Jesus. It's in our own best interest to remember that.
Yes, I am a child of the most high God. And yes, I was made in His image, imago dei. there is a dignity and confidence that comes with those roles. However, if I lose sight of when I was faithless and vile, then the dignity is a costume I wear, rather the the reality of the righteousness I actual wear from Christ.
Wow. that was all in the first two verses of the chapter. Good thing it's a short chapter. 🙂
Verses 3-4 describe a period of Gomer and Israel being in a forced isolation. Gomer would not have Hosea or any man as a lover during this period. And Israel would not have a king or any of the ritual relationship with the Lord, such as the high priest's ephod and sacrifices.
Gomer lost marital relations with Hosea and Israel lost spiritual relations with their kings and priests, thereby losing their formal connection to the Lord. This will materialized as captivity under the Assyrians.
Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.Hosea 3:5, NASB
Well, I'm not sure what I could add to that. Although Israel never returns from captivity, the way Judah does, God spares a remnant, and the son of King David, also the Lord of King David, Jesus Christ in the last days.