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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 3

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 2-5


These messages develop the comparison between Hosea’s relationship with his adulterous wife and Yahweh’s relationship with unfaithful Israel more fully. In both relationships, restoration follows judgment.

B. Promises of restoration 2:14-3:5

Three messages of restoration follow the preceding two on coming judgment. They assured Israel that Yahweh would remain faithful to His promises to His people even though they were unfaithful to Him and incurred His punishment (cf. Hosea 1:10 to Hosea 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:13).

Verse 1

Yahweh told Hosea to seek out in love the woman whom he formerly loved, Gomer, even though she was an adulteress. Stuart held that this second woman was not Gomer but an adulteress, probably a prostitute, with whom Hosea never consummated his (second) marriage. [Note: Stuart, pp. 64-68.] He believed there is no evidence that Gomer was ever unfaithful to Hosea. Most scholars regard the wife in chapter 1, Gomer, as the same wife in chapter 3, and I agree. The basis for this is that both women were unfaithful to Hosea.

Hosea’s action would be similar to that of the Lord Himself who loved the Israelites even though they had become spiritually unfaithful to Him. They had turned from following Him to worship other gods, and they loved the raisin cakes that were evidently part of their worship (cf. Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:19).

Verses 1-3

The restoration of Hosea’s wife 3:1-3

Verse 2

Hosea obeyed the Lord and sought out his wife. He had to pay 15 shekels of silver and an homer and a half of barley (about 9 bushels) since she had apparently become the property of someone else. Fifteen shekels of silver was half the price of a dead slave (Exodus 21:32), and barley was cattle food. An homer and a half cost about 15 shekels of silver. [Note: Wolff, p. 61.] So Hosea evidently paid the price of a dead slave for his wife.

Verse 3

After Hosea had brought Gomer home, he told her to stay with him from then on. She was his by right of marriage and by right of purchase. She was not to play the harlot or to have a lover any longer. He also promised to be faithful to her. Keil argued that Hosea meant that they would have no intimate relations. [Note: Keil, 1:69-70.] But this goes beyond what the text says.

Verse 4

The Lord explained that the Israelites would remain for a long time separated from their idolatrous practices. During this time they would not have a king or leader (i.e., enjoy national sovereignty), sacrifices or sacred pillar (or stone, i.e., engage in formal religious activity), ephod or household idols (Heb. teraphim, i.e., use methods of divination, cf. Judges 18:27-31). Large stone pillars often stood at Canaanite shrines and were probably symbolic of deity. The Mosaic Law banned these standing stones (Deuteronomy 16:22), but the Israelites ignored the prohibition. They would have none of the things that marked them as God’s people or that they had used to worship idols.

Verses 4-5

The restoration of Yahweh’s wife 3:4-5

Verse 5

After this period of cleansing, the Israelites would return to the Lord. They would seek Him as their God and a Davidic king as their ruler (cf. Hosea 2:7; Hosea 5:15; Deuteronomy 4:29). They would approach the Lord with a healthy sense of fear because of His rich blessings. This would happen "in the last days," namely, the days of Israel’s national restoration (i.e., the Millennium; cf. Deuteronomy 4:30; Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1).

"The reference to ’David their king’ should not be understood in an overly literalistic manner. The prophets view the ideal Davidic ruler of the future as the second coming of David (see Isaiah 11:1-10; Micah 5:2) and even call him ’David’ on occasion (see Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Ezekiel 37:24-25). This ’David’ carries out royal functions that cannot be distinguished from those assigned to the messianic king. Other texts make it clear that this ’David’ is actually a descendant of David (see Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:15-16) who comes in his ancestor’s spirit and power, much like John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah and thus fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:5 (see Matthew 11:10-14; Matthew 17:11-12; Mark 1:2-4; Luke 1:17; Luke 1:76; Luke 7:27)." [Note: Chisholm, Handbook on . . ., p. 348. Cf. Kaiser, p. 198.]

This appears to be another messianic prophecy (cf. Hosea 1:11).

"Chapter 3 is one of the classic O.T. passages describing Israel’s past, present, and future. Her idolatrous past is illustrated by Gomer’s unfaithfulness to Hosea (Hosea 3:1-2), despite which Hosea is commanded to love her and buy her back ’according to the love of the LORD toward . . . Israel,’ a love which led Him to pay the purchase price of the blood of the cross to redeem Israel, the basis of her restoration. The present condition of Israel is illustrated and plainly prophesied in Hosea 3:3-4. Her future is declared in Hosea 3:5, showing her repentance toward God who, in His faithfulness, will restore her." [Note: The New Scofield . . ., p. 921.]

"To summarize [chapters 1-3]:

"God is gracious, and no matter what ’name’ our birth has given to us, He can change it and give us a new beginning. Even the ’valley of trouble’ can become a ’door of hope.’

"God is holy and He must deal with sin. The essence of idolatry is enjoying the gifts but not honoring the Giver. To live for the world is to break God’s heart and commit ’spiritual adultery.’

"God is love and promises to forgive and restore all who repent and return to Him. He promises to bless all who trust him." [Note: Wiersbe, p. 320.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/hosea-3.html. 2012.
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