Hosea's Second Symbolic Marriage1Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband,
yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel,
though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."
2So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.
3Then I said to her, "You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you."
4For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.
5Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.
"...Go again, love [the same] woman [Gomer]...." [vs. 1, Amplified Bible]
Getting back to this whole idea of a literal/figurative analogy by God's design, He tells Hosea to take his wife-turned-harlot Gomer back, just as God, Himself, has promised to take back runaway Israel. The King James Version lays it out completely: "...Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel...." That's an amazingly deep and sacrificial love, as you know. But what of raisin cakes? Mentioned in the same phrase with "turn to other gods," it must have greater significance than just being a snack, like a Twinkie.
"Raisin cakes were used as a religious ritual in fertility rites. The cakes were molded in the form of a female goddess. Raisins were delicacies, which represented enjoying the sensuality of idolatrous worship." [The Ladies Society of Sacred Knowledge, http://sacredknowledgesociety.com/raisin.html. You could say you heard it through the grapevine....]
Verse 2 describes a scene that could well be a slave auction. The pieces of silver and the dry measure of barley mentioned--worth about 30 pieces of silver [there's that number again!]--would be the price paid for a common slave. My study Bible also notes that barley was the offering of one accused of adultery, according to Numbers 5:15. It's not exactly a Will and Kate kind of marriage ceremony, is it?
Indeed, as Hosea continues speaking, there are some ground rules laid in place before he and Gomer can return to a proper marriage relationship. Although the two will live together, they will not live as husband and wife, nor will they live as harlots. More like roommates. Spouses having a long cooling-off period, perhaps. Not separated, but not together. Remember last week's post about when the everlasting covenant between God and Israel will come to fulfillment--not until the last days! Has God left Israel? No. But neither is He on intimate terms with her at this time, or at the moment.
Verse 4 is both prophecy fulfilled and prophecy yet to come. The sons of Israel definitely faced a time in which they had no representation--in earthly kings or priests--nor daily sacrifices. I just happen to be finishing a study of Daniel (love the God-incidence of timing, here), Chapters 11 and 12, in which Daniel is receiving God's word through an angel as to the Jews' return to Israel after years of captivity in Babylon.
"From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."--Daniel 12:11
The passage describes a ruler of the Grecian Empire, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who championed a most horrific reign of terror on the Jews, until the beginnings of the Roman Empire. There was no king of Israel, exactly. Likewise, Antiochus took many a mighty blow at the Jews' religious practices. An ephod is one of the garments the high priests wore, containing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved on stones. There would be no presence of an ephod, nor would there be any form of household idols or Teraphim, which were images of ancestors that the Jews kept in their homes--not that the Jews should have had any idols.
So, guidelines and conditions were tough. But, in the eyes of the Lord, the situation required serious measures to rectify the relationship.
"Surely, as a woman treacherously departs from her lover, so you have dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD."--Jeremiah 3:20 (Treacherous, meaning "characterized by faithlessness or readiness to betray trust," [Dictionary.com], which was Gomer/Israel)
Verse 5 closes out the chapter--Wow, I know!--and I like, again, the Amplified Bible's notes on this: "Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, [inquiring of and requiring Him] and [from the line of] David, their King [of kings]...." [vs. 5, Amplified Bible] The verse doesn't really make sense if you try and consider David being alive, which he wasn't. But, a King of Israel from the line of David, ah...now you know Who it is! But, again, I ask you to remember that this is prophecy to come. The Jews did not recognize Christ as the Messiah during His earthly ministry. But, soon--
"...at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and [that] every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."--Philippians 2: 10 & 11
"In those days and at that time," declares the LORD, "the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek. They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten."--Jeremiah 50: 4 & 5
"God's Controversy with Israel" is Chapter 4.... 'Til next Wednesday!
Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).