Home > Uncategorized > Hosea 1: ‘God, you want me to do WHAT? Marry a PROSTITUTE?!’

Hosea 1: ‘God, you want me to do WHAT? Marry a PROSTITUTE?!’

When he received his commandment from God, I have little doubt that the prophet Hosea checked his calendar to see if it was April Fool’s Day. Or whatever the ancient Israelite equivalent of it was.

“Dear God, surely you are joking?!” Hosea probably asked, reverently. Could he really be hearing God correctly?

God had instructed Hosea to do the unthinkable:

“Go and marry a prostitute.”

It must’ve been a very strange pill to swallow. Little is known of Gomer, Hosea’s wife, and I wonder if she was one of those prostitutes in the temples of the false gods. If so, it must’ve seemed especially distasteful for Hosea.

This minor prophet, we learn from the opening verse, lived during the time of King Hezekiah of Judah and of King Jeroboam of Israel. This means, of course, that the events of this book actually happened before those of Daniel.

We see in the second verse that God doesn’t call Hosea to marry Gomer for divine amusement. There’s a reason for it: “…And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.”

There’s a lesson to be learned: Hosea and Gomer’s marriage will mirror God and Israel’s marriage.

They had three children: a son named Jezreel (because God would soon avenge Jezreel upon Jehu and would bring Jehu’s rule in Israel to a close and would judge Israel); a daughter named Loruhamah (from the Hebrew phrase meaning “no mercy” to indelicate God would cease from having mercy for Israel and would take them away while having mercy on Judah through some apparent tough love); and another son named Loammi (from the Hebrew meaning “not my people” to indicate a period of separation that would take place).

According to my Bible commentary notes, some believe that Loruhamah and Loammi were not Hosea’s biological children due to the wording of the text. I’m not so sure, simply because similar wording is used to describe all the kids Leah had when she was married to Jacob, but yet the context of Jacob and Leah shows nothing to indicate Jake wasn’t the father of all those boys and the daughter.

Verses 10 and 11 indicate that Israel will have a period of separation from God as God punishes the country for its idolatry before restoring it. I suspect this refers to the Babylonian captivity and then the Jewish people’s return back to Israel.

Richard Zowie is going through the Bible in his Richard’s Two Shekels blog when not commenting on Christian issues or blogging about his Christian walk. Post comments here or drop a line to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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