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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

Love Again or Still

Verse 1 describes God’s call to Hosea to "go yet" or again and love "a woman", Gomer, once his wife, mother of his three children, but now living with another man in adultery. Though unfaithful she was still his wife, "beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress." Though separated from Hosea, he was "her friend" who loved her still. She had turned her back on him in treachery, brought shame upon his name, played the harlot, yet he was to show his love for her, go after her a second time, demonstrating the love of God for lost and backslidden individuals, and His love for Israel, His adulterous wife who had broken the covenant between her and God at Sinai, as a treacherous wife, Exodus 19, 20; Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 3:20.

We love the lovely, the friendly, the pleasant, but God extends His love to the vile, the carnal, the criminal, the enemy, the ungodly, Luke 19:10; Romans 5:6; Romans 5:10. Though Hosea’s lover had turned to "flagons of wine", for merriment and promiscuity, and Israel had worshipped idols, by offering wine-cakes baked with flagons of wine, He is to love her again.

Verse 2 recounts the price Hosea paid her paramour, her live-in­partner to release her to him. Half the price of a female slave he paid in silver and the other half he paid in barley; an homer and a half, being about 127 gallons or about 16 bushels of barley. Hosea paid this as a slave redemption price of thirty shekels, as prescribed by Mosaic Law, Exodus 21:32. The price was about eighty dollars.

That Gomer had sold herself as a slave prostitute, in departing from Hosea, and her paramour was willing later to sell her back to Hosea, illustrates Satan’s willingness to use and barter in carnality, as it may profit him. That Hosea paid half the redemption price for Gomer in barley, the coarsest kind of small grains, used primarily as horse, mule, and hog feed, symbolizes the base and coarse state of moral degradation to which she had fallen. It also pictures the low state of Israel’s idolatrous condition. While sin’s allurements promise gladness they bring slavery and sadness in the end, Isaiah 1:1-5; 2 Peter 2:19.

Verse 3 describes Hosea’s instructions to and pledge of faithfulness to his redeemed slave wife, Gomer. First, he advised her that she was to "abide" or wait for him "many days", before intimate, conjugal relations, sitting and waiting in solitude and widowhood, debarred from intercourse with any man, for an extended time of purification, as Israel was carried into captivity and exile because of her adulterous, idolatrous practices. Second, during this period she was not to "play the harlot," sell her body for sexual favors, for the price of prostitute, as she had done in the past. Third, Hosea assured her that after a time of solitude and separation from the ways of an harlot, for a period of one month, he would take her unto himself in intimate conjugal love as he had done long ago, confirming his love for her still, as prescribed in the Law, Deuteronomy 21:13. This was designed to illustrate God’s love for Israel, his treacherous, divorced wife, whom He will take to Himself again, as assured in the following two verses.

Verses 4, 5 tell of six things to befall backslidden and adulterous Israel as God puts her away.

1) She shall have no king, no civil government.

2) She shall have no prince, no racial ruler.

3) She shall have no sacrifice, no national worship.

4) She shall have no image, no monument to heathen gods any more, Exodus 23:24; Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 16:22.

5) She shall have no ephod, shoulder dress of priest with urim and thumim through which God revealed Himself to His people.

6) She shall have no teraphim, no symbol of revelation of prosperity of future events.

See Joel 3:16-20; Zechariah 12:8; for her future hope, Acts 15:14-15; Romans 11:1-2; Romans 11:25-27.

Verse 5 assures that Israel shall one day return in diligent search as she now is, to her homeland, to begin eventual preparation for her final chastisement and penitence and acceptance of her redeemer, Luke 21:24; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:17. For the Messiah shall return, as the seed of David, for a certain reign over all the earth, Ezekiel 34:23; Amos 9:11; Luke 1:32-33.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/hosea-3.html. 1985.
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