Hosea 3 Homer for Gomer

Questions: Does God love us even when we don’t love Him? How much does it cost Him? This time, will we stay? How far will He go to get us? How should we respond?

“Read More” to pursue answers from the Prophet Hosea.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love.
Draw me into your Presence, and fill me with your Holy Spirit
That I might know you as my Father, and manifest the image of Christ
In this world, and the world to come. Amen.

Hosea 3:1-5

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.

Again, there’s two ways to interpret this. This may be repeat of chapter one, in which case it is most likely speaking metaphorically. But — incurable romantic that I am — I prefer to see this as part of the same narrative. That is, God is telling Hosea to redeem the same Gomer he married in Chapter 1, who ran away from him in Chapter 2.

Either way, though, God is clearly painting a picture — not just of Israel’s faithlessness — but His faithfulness.

So I bought her to me for fifteen [pieces] of silver, and [for] an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:

Interesting. The cash value is half of what Zechariah (and Judas) got paid, so I presume a homer of barley is worth 10 pieces. So, a Gomer is worth three homers! (sorry, couldn’t resist the math problem :-). The words aren’t related in Hebrew, but they do rhyme, so it might even be a deliberate pun.

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.

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to believe that? It is hard enough to take a gamble on an unknown prostitute, in the hope that your loving concern might break the cycle of sexual abuse. But after she has broken her vows — and your heart — why even try to trust her again? Why raise such foolish expectations, given the likelihood of them being dashed?

Yet that is how God love us. Though He first lets us wander in the desert alone, to better appreciate our folly and our need for Him:

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:

But, in one sense, this is not so much punishment as preparation:

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

Huh. The focus is not merely on obedience, but seeking. This is profound, because a cynical eye could read Hosea’s actions as trying to enforce a legalistic regime of control. But here, we see that God’s heart is for us to desire him, not merely obey Him in fear. Though it helps to have a healthy dose of awe, at both His love and His power.

And that, as they say, is that: just five verses today, which means I have time to hit the gym before work. 🙂 But though the narrative drys up, Hosea is far from over, so I’ll start fresh with Chapter 4 next time.


God, I am reminded of often I’ve failed you, and flirted with other gods as the source of my supply. Father, I thank you that you have had mercy on me, and that you never let go. May I love my wife, and your bride the church, with the same love you’ve shown me. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

About the Title:

Today’s title refers both to the payment as well as her return.