hen God ordered me, "Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who's in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy."
I did it. I paid good money to get her back. It cost me the price of a slave.
Then I told her, "From now on you're living with me. No more whoring, no more sleeping around. You're living with me and I'm living with you."
The people of Israel are going to live a long time stripped of security and protection, without religion and comfort, godless and prayerless.
But in time they'll come back, these Israelites, come back looking for their God and their David-King. They'll come back chastened to reverence before God and his good gifts, ready for the End of the story of his love.