The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Chapter two ended with a ray of hope that a better day would come for adulterous Israel. The Nation (wife) had turned away from God (husband) and had worshipped other gods (had other men). As a consequence, for continuing in this pattern of unfaithfulness to its relationship with God, Israel would be conquered and taken into captivity by a foreign power, in this case, the Assyrian Empire. Even so, a better day would come.
In chapter 3, Hosea’s marriage to Gomer is used as the example to illustrate the situation Israel was facing. God tells Hosea to find his adulterous wife in her degradation and show his love for her, in spite of everything that has happened.
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” (3:2-3)
Hosea tells us that he bought his wife back, which is to say that he “redeemed” her (as Jesus would redeem all Mankind), for about 30 shekels, half silver and about half barley. Then he takes her home and tells her that she must abstain from sexual intimacy with anyone (representing idolatry) for “many days”, and that he too will abstain.
For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. (3:4)
Gomer’s complete abstinence represents Israel’s captivity and its aftermath, in which she has been cut off from everything that is holy, not to mention God’s love and grace.
Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days. (3:5)
It’s important that we remember that Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and that when their remnant was able to return, they were still estranged from Judah, the Southern Kingdom, for they were the Samaritans, and as we know, the Samaritans were cut off from the worship of God at the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, anathema to the Jews. Yet when Messiah came, His offer of grace though faith was open for the Samaritans, and God’s plan for then was that through their hardships and trials, that they would finally come to repent of their evil ways and accept His forgiveness and grace through Christ. For in that day, all would be reconciled through Christ, both Jew and Samaritan, and both Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free