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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 3

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-5

Hos 3:1-5


TEXT: Hosea 3:1-5

This very short chapter completes the heart-rending account of Hosea’s marriage. Hosea redeems Gomer; Gomer is chastened in order that she may repent; the account ends leaving us assume Gomer’s reconciliation. It all is to symbolize God’s dealing with adulterous Israel ending in Messianic blessings.

Hosea 3:1 Then saidH559 the LORDH3068 untoH413 me, GoH1980 yet,H5750 loveH157 a womanH802 belovedH157 of her friend,H7453 yet an adulteress,H5003 according to the loveH160 of the LORDH3068 toward(H853) the childrenH1121 of Israel,H3478 whoH1992 lookH6437 toH413 otherH312 gods,H430 and loveH157 flagonsH809 of wine.H6025

Hosea 3:1 . . . GO AGAIN, LOVE A WOMAN BELOVED OF HER FRIEND . . . This chapter opens with an authentic note—a command from Jehovah. Hosea is commanded to love again a “woman beloved of her friend.” The word in the original for “friend” would better be translated here companion, for it denotes a friend or companion, with whom one cherishes intercourse and fellowship, one with whom another lives in the closest intimacy. The woman beloved of such a “friend” can only be Gomer and the friend can only be Hosea. Gomer is called a woman ishah, not, thy wife, ishteca, in order to describe the state of separation in which she was living. Hosea is bidden to take the initiative and act toward Gomer with love even when she was unloved and unloveable! Hosea was to love her freely, just as God loved Israel freely (cf. Hosea 14:4). God took the initiative and “lured” Israel wooing her back to Himself (cf. Hosea 2:14 ff). It is plain that what Hosea will experience in loving “again” his wife is to symbolize what God’s experience is with Israel when He shall have redeemed her from her captivities and loved her again in the Messiah. Raisin cakes are delicacies, figuratively representing that idolatrous worship which appeals to the senses and gratifies the carnal impulses and desires (cf. Job 20:12 and Jeremiah 7:18). Loving such carnal indulgence is the reason Israel turned to other gods!

Zerr: Hosea 3:1. See the comments on Hosea 2:5 as to whether this situation was literal or figurative regarding the wife of Hosea. We know the wife of the Lord had acted in the way that is spoken of about Hosea’s wife. Israel had proved unfaithful to the Lord and committed spiritual adultery. He had put her away and abandoned her to her lovers (the idolatrous heathen). But the prediction is that the wife was to be takeo back, although she had been living with the enemies of her rightful Husband.

Hosea 3:2 So I boughtH3739 her to me for fifteenH2568 H6240 pieces of silver,H3701 and for an homerH2563 of barley,H8184 and an half homerH3963 of barley:H8184

Hosea 3:2 SO I BOUGHT HER TO ME FOR FIFTEEN PIECES OF SILVER . . . Evidently, Gomer had fallen to such depths as to be sold from one owner to another like a common slave. Perhaps her first paramours, having satisfied themselves, grew tired of her and sold her into slavery. This is always the end of illegitimate love, or false love. Sensual love or carnal love always tires and grows cold. True love is altogether different. True love always seeks the good of the other person. True love is a love that loves with the mind, the heart, the will and not just with the flesh. True love is described in I Corinthians, chapter 13, and the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15, and the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10. Gomer thought her paramours loved her, but she was to find out that only Hosea truly loved her.

Zerr: Hosea 3:2. Bought her to me. The Persians were not given any ransom for the release of the people of God, but in this "buying" the Jews themselves were the other parties to the bargaining. They were encouraged to return to their former estate by the promise of good things in the home land.

What Hosea paid for her (since at that time an ephah of barley was worth one shekel and Hosea paid 15 pieces of silver and 15 ephahs of barley) was the price of a slave, 30 shekels (cf. Exodus 21:32). It is interesting indeed that the price paid for Jesus’ betrayal was 30 pieces of silver (cf. Zechariah 11:12). Gomer was redeemed for 30 shekels and our redemption (though His blood was more precious than all the silver and gold ever coined) was obtained for 30 pieces of silver.

Hosea 3:3 And I saidH559 untoH413 her, Thou shalt abideH3427 for me manyH7227 days;H3117 thou shalt notH3808 play the harlot,H2181 and thou shalt notH3808 beH1961 for another man:H376 so will IH589 alsoH1571 be forH413 thee.

Hosea 3:3 . . . THOU SHALT ABIDE FOR ME MANY DAYS . . . AND THOU SHALT NOT BE ANY MAN’S WIFE . . . Gomer is to abide in the house of Hosea in a state of conjugal abstinence for many days. She is not to be allowed to engage in sexual intercourse with any man for a long period of time, not even with her husband, and especially not with other men. This is to be a period of chastening and testing. It is done out of love for her in order to reform her and train her up as a faithful wife. She must prove her fidelity and repentance before she is restored to full wifehood.

Zerr: Hosea 3:3. The prediction we are now considering was made before Israel had even gone into exile, although as far as the Lord was concerned, the separation was a surety since with Him all things of the future are as certain as if a present fact. This makes it logical to use the idea of this verse, The wife, though taken back (in the Lord’s foresight), was not to be received into her former intimacy with her husband until she had been tried, to see if she could be weaned away from the unfaithful life that she had been following before. The trial will be described In the next verse.

Hosea 3:4 ForH3588 the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 shall abideH3427 manyH7227 daysH3117 withoutH369 a king,H4428 and withoutH369 a prince,H8269 and withoutH369 a sacrifice,H2077 and withoutH369 an image,H4676 and withoutH369 an ephod,H646 and without teraphim:H8655

Hosea 3:4 FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL ABIDE MANY DAYS WITHOUT KING . . . Now we see that Gomer’s experience symbolized the experience of Israel during her captivities and afterward until the coming of Christ (David their king). “King and prince” represent civil government. Israel’s polity ceased at the Assyrian captivity in 721 B.C. “Sacrifice and pillar” represent Israel’s syncretistic religion. Israel’s religion was obliterated with the captivity. “Ephod and Teraphim” represent the two means (Mosaic and idolatrous) of receiving religious revelations.

Zerr: Hosea 3:4. The trial mentioned in the preceding verse was the captivity, in which the people of Israel were left no choice between serving idols or not. They were compelled to serve them, and hence were made to continue in the manner of life which they had followed when they did have the opportunity of making a choice. It might be asked how this could be a test if they had no voice in the situation. The test will be in evidence after the trial is over, for if they went on through the practice of idolatry even by force, yet if they were not being taught the lesson intended, then they would not have made the complaint that we know they did. ’While they were in captivity, all of their national activities were discontinued, including the work of a king and a priest. The image and other articles named refer to the ornamented garments worn by the priests during the altar services.

And so for 700 years the 10 northern tribes (except those who returned to Palestine with Judah in 536 B.C.) waited for God, as Gomer waited for her husband, kept apart from God under His care, yet not acknowledged by Him; not following after their idolatries, yet cut off from the sacrificial worship which He had appointed, cut off also from revelations from Him. Into this estranged condition Israel was brought by the Assyrian captivity (721 B.C.) and ever since they have remained in it, unless they have turned to “David their king.”

Hosea 3:5 AfterwardH310 shall the childrenH1121 of IsraelH3478 return,H7725 and seekH1245 (H853) the LORDH3068 their God,H430 and DavidH1732 their king;H4428 and shall fearH6342 H413 the LORDH3068 and his goodnessH2898 in the latterH319 days.H3117

Hosea 3:5 AFTERWARD SHALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL RETURN, AND SEEK . . . DAVID THEIR KING . . . IN THE LATTER DAYS . . . After Israel has been estranged from God for a long season she will turn back (the meaning of the original) and seek God. The Hebrew word for seek is the intensive seeking like that seeking which Christ enjoins in the Sermon on the Mount, “Keep on seeking and ye shall find . . .” It means a diligent search.

Zerr: Hosea 3:5. This verse is a prediction with both Jewish and Christian application. The Jews returned from the captivity and resumed the national life as it pertained to their religious activities. Also, in the time of Christ the Jews looked to the Lord through the system that was set up by Christ. David their King is expressed because he was the first king of the tribe of Judah under the Jewish Dispensation, and he was the ancestor of the King in the Christian Dispensation.

“David their king” is no other than the Messiah, the Son of David. K & D say, “we must not understand it . . . as referring to such historical representatives of the Davidic government as Zerubbabel, and other earthly representatives of the house of David, since the return of the Israelites to ‘their King David’ was not to take place rill (the end of the days.).” Every school of the ancient Jews (Talmudic, mystical, Biblical or grammatical) explained this prophecy of Christ, the Messiah. They even paraphrased it thus: “Afterward the children of Israel shall repent, or turn by repentance, and shall seek the service of the Lord their God, and shall obey the Messiah the Son of David, their King.” Such an interpretation is found in some of the Targums and the Midrash and by such authors as Ibn Ezra and Kimchi. (cf. also Ezekiel 34:23-24; Jeremiah 23:5-6).

The “fear” with which they come is a reverence and holy awe which causes them to “flee to Him for help.” It is a reverent dependence upon Him which impels them toward God for fear of losing Him,

The “latter days” is, in Hebrew acharith hayyamim, and means the final dispensation of God. That final dispensation is, of course, the Gospel dispensation. There will be no other age after the second coming of Christ (Hebrews 9:27-28). Even the Jews (Kimchi so interpreted it: “Whenever it is said in the latter days, it is meant the days of the Messiah.” This prophecy has been fulfilled ever since the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church when Jews of all tribes obeyed the commands of Christ and the apostles and became Christians. All the Israel that is ever going to be saved (Romans 11:26) is the “Israel of God” (including Gentiles) who seek God through the Son (David’s son according to the flesh) during the Gospel dispensation. When Jesus comes again, the Gospel dispensation will be over—all dispensations of time will be over—and all Israel will then have been saved. Anyone found outside of Christ at that time will not belong to the Israel of God and there will be no further offer of salvation—only judgment. These are the latter days! (cf. Isaiah 2:2, etc.)


1. Who is the “woman” whom Hosea is to love?

2. Who is the “friend” of the woman?

3. How much did Hosea pay for this woman? What did this signify?

4. Why did Hosea require her to live in conjugal abstinence?

5. How long did Israel remain estranged from God?

6. Who is “David their king?”

7. What are the “latter days?”

8. What symbolical relationship does all this have to God and Israel?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Hosea 3". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/hosea-3.html.
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