Hosea and the lady of adultery
Hosea hooks up with an adulteress1The LORD told me, “Find a woman who has a lover and who sleeps around, committing adultery. Show her what true love is like. That’s what the LORD does when he shows love to the people of Israel. They commit spiritual adultery by worshiping other gods. And they sure do love those raisin cakes.”
2So, I bought a woman. I paid:
3I told her, “Here’s the deal. You’re mine for a long time. Don’t work as a prostitute. Don’t sleep around on me with other people. If you agree to this, I’ll treat you with the same respect.”
4Here’s the point. Israel’s going to have to go without some things for a long time. They won’t have a king or even a prince. They won’t be able to make sacrifices or worship near sacred pillars. They won’t be able to find answers by consulting the holy ephod vests or their teraphim household gods.
5But eventually, the Israelites will come home—to the land and to the LORD their God. David’s descendants will rule again as king. When we get to the end times,  the people of Israel will come to God, astonished by his kindness.
What woman? Gomer or some other woman? Hosea doesn’t say. He doesn’t mention Gomer by name after chapter one. Yet this could be Hosea reuniting with Gomer. It could also be Hosea marrying another loose lady of ill repute. Or it could be a metaphor that lives only in a dream Hosea has—a vision of the night. But the point of the marriage is to illustrate that though Israel became unfaithful to God, He continued to love the people.
Raisin cakes were a delicacy, and a treat that in Hosea’s day seems to have been linked to worship rituals of other gods in the region. Jews ate some of the meat, grain, and fruit they offered to God. It didn’t always all go to the Temple. Regional worship practices may have done the same thing, even arranging for feasts and potluck meals—with plenty of raisin cakes.
Fifteen shekels in ancient Hebrew currency.
A “homer” in ancient Hebrew measurement.
Wine isn’t mentioned in some texts. But there’s a “jar of wine” in the first translation of the Hebrew into Greek, from before the time of Christ. The translation is called the Septuagint.
Some interpret this as Hosea telling the woman he won’t have sex with her, either. Verse four seems to make more sense with this interpretation: Israel loses her master, the king. By comparison, Hosea’s wife can’t “have” her husband. She loses access. That would be a big deal to someone who enjoys having a lot of sex.
People built hilltop shrines marked by rocks and pillars. These were scattered worship centers in honor of regional gods, not of the LORD.
An ephod was an apron or vest worn by the high priest or an idol. Scholars debate exactly what the Israelite ephod looked like. Some describe it as a skirt or a shift-like garment that covered the body from about the waist to the mid-thigh. Priests used what was described as an ephod to store the sword of Goliath, after David killed this Philistine champion warrior (1 Samuel 23:9). But in Judges 18:14, as with Gideon’s ephod (8:27), the ephod was somehow set up as an object that people could visit and worship (17:5). Some scholars suggest the Hebrew word ephod was related to the Akkadian word epattu. Assyrian writings say epattu were idols dressed in expensive clothing worn by high officials.
Household gods were called “teraphim.”
Jews taught that “end times” or “last days,” as some call it, refers to a revival of Israel. Hosea and other prophets describe a glorious future. Deported Jews return from exile. The northern kingdom of Israel reunites with the southern kingdom of Judah and they become Israel again. David’s family restores its dynasty of kings. And Jews again worship at the Temple. Life is good.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.