Hosea Chapter 3
Verses 1-2: Hosea responded to God’s urging to go again to his adulterous wife, buy her out of slavery, and restore her as his wife. This is what God would also do for His people.
“Raison cakes” were eaten on special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19). They were also used in idol worship. The people preferred these dry cakes to the abundance of riches found in the Lord, symbolizing Israel’s rejection of the one true God for other gods.
Hosea 3:1 “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.”
“Go yet, love a woman:” If anyone had occasion to renounce his wife, Hosea did; however, he was instructed to love her still. Similarly, God continued to love an unfaithful Israel.
Having been previously separated, Hosea was commanded to pursue his estranged wife Gomer, thereby illustrating God’s unquenchable love for faithless Israel.
Some versions of scripture add “Raison cakes”: These were eaten as a part of special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19), they may have been used in idolatrous ceremonies, possibly as an aphrodisiac (compare Song of Solomon 2:5).
“Flagons of wine” (Hebrew ashishah), are raisin cakes. They are similar, if not identical, to the cakes mentioned (in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:19) which were used in the idolatrous ceremonies in honor of the queen of heaven.
Hosea is instructed to love this unlovable wife of his, as God loves Israel. God loves with unconditional love. While we were yet in sin, God sent His Son to save us. Man loves because of some reason, or the other. God loves in spite of, not because of. His love is Agape love. The greatest love shown ever is spoken of in John.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Most husbands love their wives, because they are faithful to them, and because they see them as being beautiful. Israel was unfaithful to God, and yet He loved them in spite of their unfaithfulness. As far as the natural man could look, Israel was worthless. God loved them anyway. Remember, the prophet experiences in the physical the same thing that is happening in the spirit with his people. Hosea must love her, in spite of her unfaithfulness and heavy wine drinking.
Hosea 3:2 “So I bought her to me for fifteen [pieces] of silver, and [for] a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley:”
“Bought her”: Probably from a slave auction, Hosea purchased Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and 1-1/2 homers of barley. Together, the total may have equaled 30 pieces of silver, the price paid for a common slave (Exodus 21:32). Barley was the offering of one accused of adultery (Num. 5:15).
The price paid to redeem Gomer is indicative of the depth to which she had sunk. Barley was considered to be a food fit only for animals, and was eaten only by the poorest people.
“Silver” means redemption. Fifteen is five time three. The number 5 symbolizes grace and 3 symbolizes God. This is saying, by the grace of God, she was redeemed.
Leviticus 27:16 “And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD [some part] of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: a homer of barley seed [shall be valued] at fifty shekels of silver.”
A Homer was about 8 bushels. This homer and a 1/2 homer would have been 12 bushels of barley. Barley was thought of as the peasant’s grain, because it was cheaper. Figuring this out in our money today, she brought less than 100 dollars. Perhaps, this has something to do with the fact that all who belong to God are bought and paid for. Christians are bought with the precious blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).
Verses 3-5: These verses describe the time of exile for God’s people, a time when they would be “without” most of the things that mattered to them, including their nationhood. After this time, however, “the children of Israel” would “return and seek the Lord.” God often uses times of deprivation to urge His wayward children to return to Him.
Gomer would not be allowed conjugal relations for “many days,” with any man, including Hosea. As a further element of the picture of God’s dealings with His covenant people during the present age, Israel would exist without her existing political and religious (both true and false), relations until Messiah returns at the Second Advent to set up His millennial reign (Ezek. Chapters 40- 48; Zech. Chapters 12 to 14).
Hosea 3:3 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.
She shalt abide in seclusion at my discretion. The “many days” are an indefinite period of amendment, while watchful care was being exercised over her. During this time, she is to withdraw herself from her paramour and also from her husband. And wait in an unmarried condition, until I see it fit to espouse thee.
“Many days”: It is not said how long, but a slave, as she is represented here, may not think this severe; the preferment will compensate her waiting.
“Thou shalt not play the harlot”: This is the third condition, she is to live chaste and modest, not to do as she had done. This was to settle her in a virtuous life, and to prove whether she would betake herself to a life praiseworthy.
“Thou shalt not be for another man”: She is bound to marry, none other, nor to commit adultery with any other.
“So will I also be for thee”: In due time I will accomplish the contract, and, as I wait, so I will be for thee. So the deed is mutually sealed and signed.
This is a very personal Scripture. “Abide”, in this particular instance, means sit still. This is like a punishment for her unfaithfulness. He does not take a chance on her being unfaithful with another man during this time. She is in isolation. He includes himself in this, as well. It seems for a period of time, she is totally separated from all contact with men.
This again, symbolizes the fact that Israel would be in captivity. She would not be able to play the harlot with her false gods, and she would be alienated from God at the same time. God would choose the length of time of her captivity, for her punishment for spiritual adultery.
Verses 4-5: “Without” occurs five times in the Hebrew text. Israel actually will be without three things:
(1) The monarchy, she will have neither reigning monarch nor anyone in line to become one. Ultimately, a king must come as promised to David and Israel (in 2 Samuel 7).
(2) A sacrifice, she will not observe a God-appointed sacrificial system during this long period, though during it the Messiah will in fact come and be the supreme Sacrifice.
(3) Idolatry, even though she will not observe a true religious system, she will forsake idolatry and all its trappings.
“Israel return:” In God’s appointed time Israel will come to its senses and will have a national regeneration (Jer. 31:31-34).
Hosea 3:4 “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:”
“Without an ephod and without teraphim”: Idolatrous items of priestly clothing and objects of worship (idols in this case).
They have been stripped from all privileges of worship, as the harlot had been stripped of contact with her lovers. In the king and prince, we see they are stripped of their civil authority. All forms of religion had been stripped, as well. The image is representing the worship of false gods. The ephod was worn by the High Priest, and was their connection to God. God spoke to the people through the Urim and Thummim of the ephod of the High Priest. Soothsaying was done through the teraphim.
Hosea 3:5 “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.”
“David” (compare 1:11). This must refer to Messiah during the Millennium, as “in the last days” specifies (compare 55:3-4; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-25). The Jews did not seek after Christ at His first advent. This reference has the Davidic Covenant as its background (2 Sam. 7:12-17; Psalms Chapters 39 and 132).
David in the Kingdom: Although Christ will reign as sovereign in the kingdom; it is not clear whether He is the only One on the throne. Several passages suggest that David will reign in the Millennium (Isa. 55:3-4; Jer. 30:9; 33:15, 17, 20-21; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11).
These verses may be interpreted:
(1) Typologically, with Jesus as the Son of David, fulfilling David in type, reigning; or
(2) Literally, with David being resurrected, returning to the throne, and have a sphere of regal authority under the regency of Christ.
One of Christ’s millennial titles, “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), may suggest the presence of lesser kings and lords. So it could be that David will serve under Christ’s authority as vice-regent of Palestine, just as others may similarly rule other regions or cities (Luke 19:12-18).
Those who suffer for Christ will someday reign with Him (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 89:34-37; Ezek. Chapter 47).
This is clearly slated to happen in the latter days. When they seek the LORD, they will find Him. David, their king, is speaking of the One they call Messiah, and we call Jesus. There will be a day of repentance. They are bought and paid for with that precious blood. We see in the following Scripture that God is God of all, not just a few.
1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”
He provided salvation for everyone. Some will not accept that salvation. There is much controversy about these 10 tribes (Israel), and what happened to them. In the physical, they would be very hard to trace. In the spiritual sense, they are the lost world that comes to Christ. Every person who ever lived, was a sinner, just like Israel before they came to Christ.
All Christians have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, just like these of Israel were bought by God. Perhaps, this whole chapter has been speaking of all people who are away from God until Jesus came and set them free. It is God’s goodness and mercy that saves us, not some act upon our part. We actually deserve to die for our sins. The wages of sin is death. Jesus marked our bill Paid in Full.
I will give a selection of Scriptures that help on this.
Romans 11:26-27 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” “For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Romans 9:6-8 “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:” “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Hosea Chapter 3 Questions
1. Who is Hosea instructed to love in verse 1?
2. How was he to love her?
3. God loves in ________ of, not ___________ of.
4. Why do most husbands love their wives?
5. What was unusual about God’s love for Israel?
6. The prophet experiences in the _________, what is happening to the people in the __________.
7. How much silver did Hosea pay for her?
8. What were the other items he gave in the purchase?
9. What did a homer of barley sell for?
10. How large is a homer?
11. The total price paid for her, figured in our money would be less than _______ __________.
12. What are Christians bought with?
13. What does “abide”, in this particular Scripture, mean?
14. She is in ___________.
15. She is not only separated from her lovers, but from _________.
16. What does this confinement of the woman symbolize of Israel?
17. Israel has been stripped of all form of __________, as the harlot had been stripped of contact with her _________.
18. What other things were stripped from Israel?
19. God spoke to His people through the ______ and the __________ of the ephod of the high priest.
20. What was done through the teraphim?
21. When is verse 5 clearly dated?
22. Who is spoken of as David, their King?
23. Who are these people in the spiritual sense?
24. It is God’s __________ and ________ that saves us, not some act upon our part.
25. The wages of sin is _________.
26. The children of the _________ are counted for the seed.