About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Hosea 3

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Hosea's Reconciliation With His Wife (ch. 3:1 - 5)


In verse 1, God tells Hosea to go and show love to his wife, or now I believe his former wife, even though she is loved by someone else, this tells me that a separation had taken place between Hosea and his prostitute wife as noted in chapter 2, verse 2.  As Israel left their God, so Hosea's wife left her husband, and as the text states, "she was with another".  Now God wants Hosea to reach out to his adulterous x-wife and show her love.


God tells Hosea "to show love her as the Lord loves Israel".  The prophetic analogy of Hosea's marriage continues.  Even though a divorce has taken place between God and Israel, He still loves Israel, and, He will take her back.  This in my thinking is a passage that refutes Replacement Theology.  God might well have divorced Israel, but He will remarry her.


Something to consider here is that Gomer might not have wanted to receive love from Hosea at first.  My guess is that this might well have taken a while.  Imagine Hosea going to where Gomer lived.  Remember, at this point she has a new lover who is probably her owner, as in, slave owner.  Most Bible teachers feel that Gomer is now a temple prostitute slave again and therefore he present lover is her owner.  I can't see this process of showing love just happened in an instant.  The same is true in this prophetic analogies fulfillment.  I believe right now, in 2012, God has been showing love to Israel.   She has not yet responded but she will, and as we will see in verse 5, Israel will return to their God in fear and trembling.   


Note the words "sacred raisin cakes" in verse 1.  In 2 Samuel 6:19 we see that King David, for one reason or another, gave worshippers "raisin cakes" after they left the temple worship.  We don't exactly know why David did this.  It was not a command from the Lord.  Over time, "raisin cakes" were incorporated into pagan worship.  We see this in Jeremiah 44:19.  Like many practices today in the church, they are being practiced without any knowledge of their pagan roots.  Many Bible teachers believe that Israel was worshipping Yahweh by means of pagan practices.  They actually thought their pagan practices were what God wanted.  They were so far removed from God's will they thought their lives were exhibiting His will, but they weren't.  These "raisin cakes" actually evolved into a shape of a female god of sex and fertility.             


Hosea obeys God in verse 2.  He goes to his wife and actually buys her back.  He is purchasing her from her latest lover, who was probably a slave owner.  She was probably sold back into slavery and maybe used once again in temple prostitution.


Hosea brought her for 15 shekels of silver, which is roughly 6 ounces.  Fifteen shekels of silver is half the going price of a slave.  Why he paid 15 shekels and not 30 shekels we really don't know.  He also paid an homer and lethek of barley.  It's debatable, but this could be anywhere from 7 and a half bushels to 12 bushels.  It's quite possible that Hosea did not have the 30 shekels of silver to pay for Gomer so he had to pay the rest in barley.  This would tell us how motivated he was in buying her back. Still, this is only speculation.     


Verse 3 simply states that once the purchase was made, Gomer was no longer permitted to commit adultery.  Hosea would be faithful to her and she to him.  My guess is that this actually took place.  Gomer might well have finally reached the bottom.  She was now ready to be faithful.  I say this, because countless Old Testament prophecies speak of a day when Israel will return to their God and they will no longer commit spiritual adultery.  So in order to keep the prophetic analogy accurate, Gomer in my thinking, no longer committed adultery.  Again, this is symbolic of how it would be with the Lord and Israel. 


Concerning the purchase price of Hosea's wife.  The purchase that God made to buy Israel was made on the cross of Christ.  That was the only purchase in human history made by God, and to be technical, it was made by Jesus.  God not only purchased Israel back, but He also purchased Gentiles.  The thing to understand here is that the basis for the restoration of Israel is the cross of Christ. Concerning this purchase, we do need to understand that Jesus did not make this purchase from the devil, but from God. 


The first part of verse 4 says that Israel will live many days with a king or a prince.  "Many days" was actually many years.  It's my thinking that the "many days" is still in affect. After judgment came on both the north and the south, Israel never did have a king.  There next and last king will be King Jesus.  We should remember that in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as both King and Prince.


Verse 4 says that Israel will be without sacrifices as well.  That is certainly the case to this very day.  The return of sacrifices to Israeli worship in the thousand years as some think will take place, is quite controversial.  Some view Ezekiel 40 through 48 as taking place in the thousand year rule of Christ.  Those chapters portray a literal temple being build with literal animal sacrifices.  Many take these chapters literally, and if you do, the only real place in human history where you can put them is the thousand year rule of Christ on earth.  Of course, some allegorize Ezekiel 40 through 48 as they do the thousand year rule of Christ.  It would thus depend on how you allegorize things to determine what Ezekiel 40 through 48 means.     


Also in verse 4 you see that there would be no more "sacred stones".  It was the custom for Jews to set up "sacred stones" when people met with God or had some kind of experience with Him.  They were meant to be a memorial of what took place at the location where the stones were.  See Gen. 31:45, Josh. 4:15, 2 Sam. 20:8, 1 Kings 1:9, as some examples.  The problem arose when "sacred stones" were also used in the worship of Baal.  Also, in Ex. 34:13 God condemned this practice.  Just why God condemned this practice seems to be a point of controversy.  Some say that these stones were set up in a family's property and they worshipped there and forsook worshipping at the temple on the feast days.  The other thing to understand is that it did become a means of pagan worship as well. It appears to me, and others, as well, that the Israelis were using stones used in pagan worship when they worshipped Yahweh.  As I said before, they were so far from God they thought their form of worship was godly when it wasn't.


Note the word "ephod" in verse 4.  An "ephod" became a portable idol.  These were little stone or wood objects that priests  would use to determine God's will, like rolling dice.  This would be similar to casting lots in the New Testament. Whatever the case, and, however innocent these might have originally been, they became and idol.  I suggest the same type of thing can be seen today in the church. Something that is meant to be a tool of the Lord actually becomes and idol.  A building might be one thing like this.    


The word "idol" in verse 4 refers specifically to household gods, of which existed even in Israel.            


Verse 5 says that "afterwards", meaning, after the period of time that the text has just described, a time when there would be no king or prince, no sacrifices, or the other things mentioned in verse 4.  After this time Israel will "return and seek the Lord their God".  I see this to be the time at the end of this present age.


Note the mentioning of David here.  "David their king" refers to the Lord Jesus when He returns to earth.  David has always been seen as a prophetic image of Jesus.  There are a number of places in the Old Testament speaking of King David in a future sense, such as this verse.  David the king is simply a Messianic portrayal of Jesus, the king of the Jews.  Literally, at some future point, Jesus will be king of the Jews and He will rule from Israel.  He will sit on David's throne as the angel told Mary before Jesus' earthly birth. (Luke 1:35) 


This chapter ends with the words, "they will come trembling to the Lord".   After what Israel goes through in the Tribulation at the end of this age, they will certainly come trembling to the Lord, as we all will, when we stand before the Lord Jesus at the end of this age. Part of the reason for the Great Tribulation is to bring Israel to her knees.  Zechariah predicts that two thirds of the Israeli population will be killed during the tribulation period, but the remaining one third will return to their God, just as this verse says. 


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