What would cause a wife and mother of three to leave her family and return to a life of adultery? Why would she make this decision? Have you ever wondered what’s really going on in her life? A casual reading may miss some vital questions that need to be asked.
In Hosea 3:1 the prophet is asked to “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery.” Is he being asked to give up on his wife and love another woman who is not his wife? Surely God is not asking Hosea to commit adultery, since this would go against the whole message of Hosea. The woman referred to must be Gomer, who has returned to where they “look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” She had once more become involved in temple prostitution.
Hosea 3:2 – “So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and one and one-half homer of barley” The question is why does he buy her for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley? Who does he pay these monies to and for what reason? In Leviticus 27:2 Moses’ says, ‘to the community of Israel: If you ever want to free someone who has been promised to me,’ then the price for redeeming that person is set out by age and gender. For a female, between the ages of 20-60, the price is thirty shekels. Hosea paid this amount monetarily and in kind, with shekels and barley.
Some may read this and seek to impugn her character, but I suspect that there is more to this story. If she incurred a debt that she has been unable to repay, then those to whom the money is owed often require other means of repayment, such as prostitution.
“You can work off the debt by the manner we prescribe.”
A similar story is found in Acts 16 with a slave girl in Philippi. These people care nothing about the person. Both women were trapped in a downward spiral of abuse.
(Watch the short video linked below of modern day bondage)
Some might ask “why she wouldn’t have gone to Hosea and explained her situation.” If he helped now, would he not have helped sooner? We are not given an answer but, as so often happens, it’s possible that a threat was made against not only herself but her family. We are only left to speculate. The Bible merely lays out the facts of the situation.
The only way for Gomer to escape this bondage was for another to pay her debt. Hosea redeemed his wife of promise with the purchase price set out by God. She was to return to his home and remain chaste, as he would remain chaste with her. But I suspect it was only for a season.
This same theme carries throughout the Bible, of one’s inability to pay the required debt and yet someone else pays it for us. “But God has shown us how much he loves us–it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!
Our debt is paid in full, not by shekels or barley but through the blood of Christ. God sent His Son to pay the price for our freedom in full.
“Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”
Quotes cited: Good News Translation; Contemporary English Translation; Global Christian Relief – pic.twitter.com/AUuoHzsn4B; Martin Luther King
An excellent blog this week on Ruth and her kinsman redeemer – http://estherstable.com