Hosea 3

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 12:02.

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  • Hosea 3:1.
  • Masoretic Text: And YHWH said to me, “Again go, love a woman, one loved by a lover, an adulteress, as YHWH has love for the sons of Israel, and they turn to other gods and [are] lovers of cakes of raisins.”

    Septuagint: And the Lord said to me, “Yet [again] go and love a woman loving bad and an adulteress, as God loves the sons of Israel, and they turn attention to foreign gods and are fond of cakes with raisins.”

    Note: The Hebrew words for “evil” or “bad” and “friend” (lover) share the same consonants. This accounts for the Septuagint reading.


    YHWH’s directive for Hosea to again love an adulterous woman evidently does not mean a woman other than Gomer. The prophet’s tragic domestic life served to illustrate YHWH’s love for Israel, and for Hosea to have attached himself to another adulterous woman would not have constituted a parallel situation.

    Gomer apparently left Hosea and chose an adulterous course. As Gomer had been unfaithful to Hosea, the Israelites proved unfaithful to YHWH, violating the covenant relationship that bound them to him like a wife to her husband and attaching themselves to foreign deities. Still, YHWH loved them and left them with the opportunity of returning to their former relationship. The raisin cakes likely were used in idolatrous rituals and, therefore, the people are referred to as being fond of these cakes.

  • Hosea 3:2.
  • Masoretic Text: And I purchased her for myself for fifteen silver pieces and a homer of barley and a lethech of barley.

    Septuagint: And I hired her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer of barley and a vessel of wine.

    Note: The transliteration of the Hebrew word lethech, found in modern translations, designates a measure of capacity. According to the Vulgate, the amount was a half homer, which would be over three bushels. It does seem unusual, however, that a quantity of barley would be mentioned twice. This may explain why a number of translations have adopted the Septuagint rendering or call attention to it in a footnote.


    It appears that the adulterous Gomer’s situation deteriorated to the status of a slave. Hosea purchased her for 15 silver pieces (probably shekels) and a quantity of barley or barley and wine. A homer equals about 9.2 bushels. The price for a slave was thirty shekels, suggesting that the produce was worth fifteen shekels. (Exodus 21:32)

  • Hosea 3:3.
  • Masoretic Text: And I said to her, “Many days you will dwell with me. You will not whore, and you will not be to [another] man, and I also to you.”

    Septuagint: And I said to her, “Many days you will dwell with me and by no means whore nor should you be to another man, and I to you.”


    In the Septuagint, the use of two different Greek words for “not” signifies “by no means,” with the second “not” serving as an intensifier.

    Neither the Masoretic Text nor the Septuagint supply a verb to explain what Hosea’s relationship would be to Gomer. The meaning of “I to you” could be that Hosea would dwell with her as a faithful husband. The other possibility is that, just as she was not to be to another man, he would not be to her, refraining from resuming marital intimacies for “many days.” Both meanings are found in translations. “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 live with you.’” (NIV) “And I said to her, ‘You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.’” (NRSV) “...and I stipulated with her, ‘In return, you are to go a long time without either fornicating or marrying; even I [shall not cohabit] with you.’” (Tanakh) The following words provide a basis for concluding that the reference is to Hosea’s not immediately resuming the former relationship. In verse 4, the expression “many days” parallels the “many days” during which Gomer would dwell with Hosea. This period of “many days,” in the case of the Israelites, did not prove to be a period distinguished by the full restoration of the former relationship with YHWH. This, according to verse 5, would follow the period of “many days.”


    Hosea, upon purchasing Gomer, made it clear to her that, from then on, she would be residing with him for “many days.” During this time, she had to desist from her adulterous course, refraining from becoming intimate with any other man. During the indefinite period of “many days,” Hosea would be “to her.” Based on the parallel with Israel, the prophet appears to be saying that, for a time, he would not resume marital intimacies.

  • Hosea 3:4.
  • Masoretic Text: For the sons of Israel will dwell many days without a king, and without a prince, and without sacrifice, and without a pillar, and without an ephod and teraphim.

    Septuagint: For the sons of Israel will dwell many days not having a king, nor having a ruler, nor having sacrifice, nor having an altar, nor a priesthood nor revelations.


    Unlike the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint does not mention any appendages of idolatry. Perhaps, because of the abhorrence for idolatry that had developed by the time the Septuagint was translated, editorial changes were made. If so, the editorial changes would have matched the situation during the exile. After the exile, however, the Israelites did have a functioning priesthood, the divinely outlined sacrificial arrangement, and an altar. Revelation by means of the Urim and Thummin did not exist.

    The last word in the Septuagint is a form of délos, an adjective meaning “visible” or “clear.” The reference appears to be to the means through which things were made visible or were revealed. In Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8 and 1 Samuel 28:6, the word délos is the rendering for the designation Urim. Likely, it would have been in this favorable sense that the Septuagint reading of Hosea 3:4 is to be understood.


    Evidently the “many days” in the case of Israel parallel Gomer’s situation during the “many days” she would be living with Hosea. During this time, the circumstances would not be as they had been formerly. In the fulfillment, the people did not have an Israelite king nor an Israelite prince or ruler exercising authority independent of a foreign sovereign. No longer did the Israelites engage in the sacrificing associated with calf worship or the veneration of fertility deities. There was no priest to officiate at the centers of calf worship nor at sites where fertility deities or other gods had once been venerated. Sacred pillars, likely phallic symbols of Baal, did not exist. The Israelites did not use an ephod or priestly vestment in an idolatrous manner as they had, for example, in the days of Gideon. (Judges 8:27) Teraphim were images of deities, and these had formerly been consulted for omens. (Compare Judges 17:5; 18:14, 17, 20; 2 Kings 23:24; Ezekiel 21:21; Zechariah 10:2.) After the exile, though, the Israelites did not have teraphim.

  • Hosea 3:5.
  • Masoretic Text: Afterwards, the sons of Israel will return and seek YHWH their God and David their king, and they will be awed over YHWH and his good things at the end of the days.

    Septuagint: And after these things, the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and they will be awed over the Lord and over his good things at the last of the days.


    The Hebrew word for “good things” is singular, evidently in the collective sense, and can also mean “goodness.” In the Septuagint, the corresponding term is plural. Translations have variously rendered the Hebrew term as “goodness” (NRSV), “blessings” (NIV), and “bounty” (Tanakh).

    The Hebrew word pachád can also mean “to be in dread” or “to tremble,” but this significance does not fit as well with the reference to “good things” or “goodness” as does “to be awed.” Translations vary in the meaning chosen. “They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.” (NIV) “...they shall come in awe to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.” (NRSV)


    After the period at the end of the days without their having what is enumerated in the previous verse, the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom would seek YHWH, turning repentantly to him and desiring to enjoy a good relationship with him. The former division into two kingdoms would cease, with members of the ten-tribe kingdom wanting to be united with members of the two-tribe kingdom under one king from the royal house of David.

    Subsequent to the return from exile, no king of the house of David reigned from Jerusalem. In the fulfillment, however, this unity became possible when individuals accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah, the King from the house of David. The prophetic words revealed that this would not be a development immediately following the return from exile, for the reference is to the “last of the days” or the “end of the days.” Evidently this is the same period that is mentioned in the book of Joel, where it is linked with the outpouring of God’s spirit. (Joel 2:28, 29 [3:1, 2]) This prophecy began to be fulfilled ten days after Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Upon receiving God’s spirit, individuals were empowered to speak in foreign languages. (Acts 2:7-18)

    Miracles accomplished through the operation of holy spirit included curing the lame and the paralyzed, healing the sick, and raising the dead. (Acts 3:6-10; 5:12-16; 8:6, 7; 9:32-41; 14:8-10; 19:11, 12) In view of what God’s spirit enabled the recipients to accomplish, they were indeed filled with awe over YHWH and over the “bounty” or “good things.” It could also be said that the miracles were an evidence of God’s “goodness” and gave rise to amazement and awe among those who witnessed them. Moreover, all the blessings that came to be enjoyed by the disciples of God’s Son because of their being God’s children were “good things” or an evidence of God’s “goodness” toward them and provided reasons for amazement, wonderment, or awe.