Hosea Chapter 3: Hosea Redeems Gomer

Mar 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Hosea, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Hosea Chapter 3: Hosea Redeems Gomer

Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.

God told Hosea, “Go yet, love a woman [that is, Gomer].” The NIV translation is good: “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisincakes.” Verse 1 confirms that Hosea was acting out in his own life Israel’s unfaithfulness to Jehovah.

The expression “sacred raisin-cakes” is superior to the King James “flagons of wine.” Not only were raisin cakes sacrificed to the false gods, but more was implied—pleasurable things. The following wrong principle applies. The Catholic religion is convenient, for one can willfully sin and then go to Confession and receive forgiveness. Thus a Catholic can have one foot in the world and one foot (supposedly) for God. The principle is the same with the worship of other gods or temporal goods, which bring a certain degree of satisfaction. People sin because they get a sense of satisfaction, and few feel real guilt, for they do not realize that sin brings a person down. Repentance becomes increasingly difficult the longer the sin is practiced. In other words, sin is habit-forming.

Comment: Those who offered sacred raisin cakes thought they could appease the false gods. They thought they could sin, living as they wanted, and then just offer those cakes.

Reply: Yes, they got a benefaction from the cakes. They could be generous within their means yet sin as they pleased. Also, they could eat part of the cakes, and the eating was pleasurable.

Comment: According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, the Hebrew word translated “wine” is enab, which means “grape cakes.” Raisins are dried grapes.

In spite of Gomer’s waywardness—even though she was an adulteress and had evidently left the household—Hosea still had feelings for her. However, her unfaithfulness had been so great that he did not go to her until the Lord instructed him to be reconciled to her. Then Hosea obeyed willingly. (His tenderizing experiences had prepared and softened him.) In the analogy, just as Hosea was to seek a reconciliation with Gomer, so God would seek a reconciliation with Israel. Hosea was to go to his wife, who was living in harlotry, and bring her back, and God prepared the way to restore Israel.

Hosea 3:2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:

Hosea purchased back his unfaithful wife from the slavery into which she had been sold. The purchase price of Gomer was 30 shekels in all—15 shekels in silver (money) and the rest in grain. Ezekiel 45:11 shows 1 1/2 homers of barley to be the equivalent of 15 shekels. (One homer equals 10 ephahs or shekels. Therefore, 1 1/2 homers would be 15 shekels.) One ephah was the equivalent of one shekel of silver at the time of Hosea.

Gomer became an adulteress, and the mix ed price of shekels and homers recognizes that fact.The purchase price of 30 shekels of silver was calculated as follows:

15 shekels = 15 pieces of silver

15 shekels = Since 1 homer equals 10 ephahs or shekels, then 1 1/2 homers equals 15 shekels

30 shekels

The homer and the ephah are dry measures. The shekel, an amount of money, was what the dry measure was worth. A talent of silver was the equivalent of 3,000 shekels. A talent was both a weight and a value. A homer was both a quantity and a value.

After Hosea bought back Gomer, it was necessary, because of her unfaithfulness, to have a period of separation before marital intimacy was resumed (see verse 3). The total value of Gomer’s purchase (30 shekels of silver) alludes to the price Judas accepted to betray Jesus.

Barley was known as “harlot’s food” (Num. 5:11-31). When a woman was suspected of infidelity, if she was willing to go through the ordeal of a “jealousy offering,” it meant that she was professing her innocence. Water was mixed with dust from the floor of the Tabernacle in connection with the curse. The mixing was done in an earthen vessel, and after a fractional part of an ephah of barley meal was offered on the altar, the woman drank the concoction. If the woman was thereby proved innocent, she was exonerated, and her husband was put to shame. Otherwise, the woman would die.

Hosea’s giving of the ransom price to purchase back his wife accomplished two things: (1) It “hid” the 30 pieces of silver by dividing the value into shekels and barley. (2) It showed that Gomer was being purchased because she had been unfaithful. In antitype, in spite of Israel’s infidelity, God made provision for that nation and the world to be delivered, whereas in the jealousy-offering picture, the guilty party died. In the unfavorable sense, barley implied harlotry. Revelation 6:6 shows that a time would come when Papacy would dole out three measures of barley to one measure of wheat; that is, it would be much cheaper to buy “barley [harlot’s] food” than the truth. In time of literal famine, the people bought bulk rather than quality. In the Dark Ages, when there was a famine for the Word of God, adulterated harlot food was much more plentiful than truth.

This purchase occurred antitypically when Jesus paid the price at Calvary. Thirty pieces of silver was the purchase price he gave to restore Israel. In the type, Hosea acted out this price years earlier with Gomer. She had evidently become a bondservant to some other man; that is, she had sold herself into some other man’s possession. Therefore, Hosea could not just go and take her but had to buy her back. And so God purchased Israel through the death of Jesus, the corresponding price. To date, Israel is still unaware of this purchase.

Zechariah 11:10-14 is related to Israel and the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas. When Judas tried to return the money, and the priests and Pharisees refused, he threw the money at their feet.

They subsequently used the money to buy a potter’s field for burying the poor. Evidently, Judas had thought that Jesus would deliver himself, and then he could keep the money. But instead Jesus was arrested and executed. In other words, Judas had not intended to betray Jesus to death, for he thought Jesus would evade the authorities. The potter’s field became a “field of blood” (Acts 1:19).

The reference in Zechariah 11:10,14 to Beauty and Bands pertains to when Israel was broken asunder in the days of Jeroboam and Rehoboam. The Zechariah text shows the division, and Ezekiel 37:15-19 shows the reconciliation of the two “sticks.”

Hosea 3:3 And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.

When Hosea purchased Gomer back, she had to be separated, for according to the ritual in the Law, she was unclean. Hosea was not “husband” to her, and neither was anybody else. In other words, in antitype, even though God purchased back Israel through the death of Jesus, He did not immediately show His love and affection for the nation in a “husbandly” way. He took Israel back, as it were, and put the nation in quarantine for many days—that is, for the Gospel Age and the period of the “double.” A great gulf has existed, as shown in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Diaspora is also pictured in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37:1,2). Israel was in a dry and forlorn condition until rather recently.

Comment: The NIV reads, “Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.’” Hosea purchased back Gomer but did not establish full intimacy and act as a husband to her, at least for a period of time. With no man, not even Hosea, being intimate with Gomer for some time, this situation harmonized with the antitype.

Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:

While in Diaspora, Israel did not have a “sacrifice,” for there was no Temple in which to offer sacrifices. Israel was also without a “king” or a “prince.” Only in recent years has there been a prime minister (a head) in Israel after a dearth for many years. And the children of Israel were without an “ephod” (a priesthood). In fact, their genealogy records have been lost, so that even if a Temple were built, they could not ascertain who the priesthood would be. In the Kingdom, there will be a different priesthood—from the line of Zadok under a new arrangement. Israel will have a new capital, a new king, a new priesthood—everything God has selected.

“Teraphim” were images. They were probably quite large at times like the statue Michal, David’s wife, put in the bed to make it appear that David was there when he was actually fleeing from King Saul (1 Sam. 19:12,13). God did not sanction the teraphim; they were a heathen practice incorporated into Israel through association with other nations. Only the high priest had the Urim and the Thummim, but teraphim were like a branch off them. At times, there were communication gaps, and since the priests were more or less ceremonial, expediencies were developed. A later example is the crucifix, which was found to be helpful in fighting fallen angels. The crucifix is only an artifact, but one’s faith in an artifact can sometimes be useful in combating evil, even though, inherently, it is an idol. (For example, a reprobate might wear a crucifix around his neck.) Icons and images are similar. Sometimes these items are tolerated based on an individual’s efforts to lead a proper life, that is, where one does not have sufficient edification to discern the true religion. To some extent, God may help those who ignorantly try to serve Him with such artifacts. Teraphim come under this category.

Q: The King James marginal note for “images” is “a standing, or statue, or pillar.” What were these in Israel’s history?

A: When Jacob and others had a hallowed memory, or a memorable experience, they made a pillar of stones, a monument. Looking at the pillar reminded them of the treasured memory.

But inherently, the monument was nothing. Because faith associated the monument with the memory, the memory could be sanctified. Therefore, God has honored certain methods of worship or reverence that in themselves are a handicap; nevertheless, the person receives a blessing. In the Diaspora, the Israelites were denuded of all these things.

Deeds may be inappropriate, but the spirit behind them can be appreciated. The same is true of a baby, both literally and spiritually. God expects less from an infant—He makes allowances.

Comment: Naaman the leper took soil from Israel back to Syria to kneel on when he prayed. Because he was concerned about having to enter the heathen temple, as required by his master, God made an arrangement to get around his problem with conscience.

Reply: That is a good example. God winked the eye for Naaman’s sake. The spirit behind the act is important.

Verse 4 is saying that Israel would be without its own previous Temple sacrifices and worship, as well as the religious practices of other nations. The Israelites were deprived not only of the ephod, which was legitimate and authentic and of God, but also of teraphim and images. The Jews have been estranged from both God and other religions. Money has been their “god.”

The Jews have lost contact with their own religion, for their emphasis is on the Talmud or a mixed religion containing a lot of man’s precepts. The original Torah is used only as a holy relic.

Instead of the Torah being read and studied by the people, only a privileged few know much about it. Back in the type, the Torah was to be read completely every seven years. Everyone was to hear it. And in the meantime, the families were to instruct one another in the Torah.

Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

The children of Israel “return” in two senses. First, they return to their land, and subsequently they return to God. They were cast off for a period of time; then they returned to the land. In time, God will work in them a spirit of contrition and eventually anoint them with the eye salve of deliverance.

Comment: The NIV translation is nice at the end: “Afterward the Israelites [the Holy Remnant] will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.”

Reply: Sensing they have been handpicked for survival, the Holy Remnant will feel personally unworthy. That attitude will bring them to the next step—after being brought to God, they will be brought to Jesus. They will recognize Jesus when they see a vision of the Crucifixion while fleeing through the split Mount of Olives. They will be overwhelmed to realize that, as a people, they crucified Messiah. Being brought to God and then to Jesus will happen one right after the other, like cause and effect. Their feeling of escaping extermination under miraculous circumstances and then seeing the vision of Jesus will bring instantaneous conversion.

An element in Jewry today is wondering whether Jesus is the Messiah. Although more will be needed to convince them, they are afraid to oppose the thought in case it turns out to be true.

Comment: They have a “Nicodemus-like” attitude.

Reply: Yes, they walk on the fence, which is the course of wisdom.

“David their king” is Messiah, the Beloved. (The name David means “beloved.”) The coupling of returning and seeking (1) Jehovah and (2) David, their king, suggests an instantaneous revelation, which will cause the Holy Remnant to smite their breasts in remorse. Incidentally, verse 5 is another hint, among many, that David may be the first presiding Ancient Worthy installed in office in Jerusalem, that is, the first Prince. David was a type of Messiah.

Q: Isn’t Moses held in higher esteem than David?

A: Yes, but the promises were made to David—the “sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3). As an individual, Moses was probably more noble, however.

The Ancient Worthies have made their calling and election sure based on faith and obedience, but they will come forth from the grave with traits that need to be refined, changed, and educated. Hence they will be under the New Covenant until the end of the Kingdom. Since they did not have the New Testament, they will have to learn certain principles that are taught in the Gospels and not in the Old Testament.

“The children of Israel … shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” As an illustration, Joseph calmed the fears of his brothers when he disclosed his identity—and they had betrayed him. Joseph had a principled love.

(1969 and 1993 Studies)

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