Hosea 3

Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife

1 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.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek[b] of barley.
3 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.”
4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods.
5 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.

Hosea 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The prophet enters into a new contract, representing the gracious manner in which God will again restore Israel under a new covenant.

Verses 1-3 The dislike of men to true religion is because they love objects and forms, which allow them to indulge, instead of mortifying their lusts. How wonderful that a holy God should have good-will to those whose carnal mind is enmity against Him! Here is represented God's gracious dealings with the fallen race of mankind, that had gone from him. This is the covenant of grace he is willing to enter into with them, they must be to him a people, and he will be to them a God. They must accept the punishment of their sin, and must not return to folly. And it is a certain sign that our afflictions are means of good to us, when we are kept from being overcome by the temptations of an afflicted state.

Verses 4-5 Here is the application of the parable to Israel. They must long sit like a widow, stripped of all joys and honours; but shall at length be received again. Those that would seek the Lord so as to find him, must apply to Christ, and become his willing people. Not only are we to fear the Lord and his greatness, but the Lord and his goodness; not only his majesty, but his mercy. Even Jewish writers apply this passage to the promised Messiah; doubtless it foretold their future conversion to Christ, for which they are kept a separate people. Though the first fear of God arise from a view of his holy majesty and righteous vengeance, yet the experience of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ, will lead the heart to reverence so kind and glorious a Friend and Father, and to fear offending him.

Cross References 11

  • 1. S Hosea 1:2
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 6:19
  • 3. Hosea 13:11
  • 4. Daniel 11:31; S Hosea 2:11
  • 5. Hosea 10:1
  • 6. S Exodus 25:7
  • 7. Judges 17:5-6; Judges 18:14-17; S Lamentations 2:9; Zechariah 10:2
  • 8. S Deuteronomy 4:29; S Isaiah 9:13; S Isaiah 10:20; Hosea 5:15; Micah 4:1-2
  • 9. S 1 Samuel 13:14; Ezekiel 34:23-24
  • 10. S Psalms 18:45
  • 11. S Deuteronomy 4:30; S Jeremiah 50:4-5; Hosea 11:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. That is, about 6 ounces or about 170 grams
  • [b]. A homer and a lethek possibly weighed about 430 pounds or about 195 kilograms.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is an order to the prophet to love an adulterous woman beloved of her friend, and by this parable to express the love of God to Israel, and their ingratitude to him, Ho 3:1, the prophet's execution of that order, making a purchase of her, and a covenant with her, which set forth the captive, servile, mean, and abject state of that people, Ho 3:2,3, which is explained of their being deprived for a long time of civil and ecclesiastic government, Ho 3:4, and the chapter is concluded with a prophecy and promise of their conversion to Christ in the latter day, Ho 3:5.

``the Lord said unto me again'';

for the word yet or again is to be joined to this, and not the following clause; and shows that this is a new vision, prophecy, or parable, though respecting the same persons and things:

\\go, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress\\; not the prophet's wife, not Gomer, but some other feigned person; beloved either of her own husband, as the Targum and Jarchi, notwithstanding her unchastity and unfaithfulness to him; or of another man, as Aben Ezra, who had a very great respect for her, courted her, and perhaps had betrothed her, but had not yet consummated the marriage; and, though a harlot, loved her dearly, and could not get off his affections from her, but hankered after her; or of the prophet, as Kimchi, who paraphrases it,

``thou shall love her, and be to her a friend;''

to protect and defend her, as harlots used to have one in particular they called their friend, by whose name they were called, and was a cover to them. The sense is, that the prophet was to go to the people of Israel, and deliver this parable to them, setting forth their state and condition, and their behaviour towards God, and his great love to them, notwithstanding all their baseness and ingratitude; it was as if a woman that was either married or betrothed, or that either had a husband or a suitor that so dearly loved her, that though she was guilty of uncleanness, and continued in it, yet would not leave her; and which is thus expressed by the Targum,

``go, deliver a prophecy against the house of Israel, who are like a woman dear to her husband; and though she commits fornication against him, yet he so loves her that he will not put her away:''

\\according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel\\; or such is the love of the Lord to them; for though they were guilty of idolatry, intemperance, and other immoralities, yet still he loved them, and formed designs of grace and goodness for them. And thus, though God does not love sinners as such; yet he loves them, though they are sinners, and when and while they are such; as appears by his choice of them, and covenant with them, by Christ's dying for them while sinners, and by his quickening them when dead in trespasses and sins:

\\who look to other gods\\; or "though they look to other gods" {c}; look to them and worship them, pray unto them, put their trust in them, and expect good things from them:

\\and love flagons of wine\\, or "tubs of grapes" {d}; or of wine made of them; or lumps of raisins, cakes or junkets made of them and other things, as the Septuagint; and may respect either the drunkenness and intemperance of the ten tribes; see Isa 28:1, they loved, as Kimchi says, the delights of the world, and not the law and commandments of God; or the feasts that were made in the temples of their idols they loved good eating and drinking, and that made them like idolatry the better for the sake of those things; see Ex 32:6, for the Heathens used to eat and drink to excess at their sacrifices: hence Diogenes {e} the philosopher was very angry with those who sacrificed to the gods for their health, yet in their sacrifices feasted to the prejudice of their health.

{c} Mynp Mhw "quamvis respiciant", Piscator. {d} Mybne yvyva "dolia uvarum", Pagninus, Montanus, Zanchius; "soa", some in Drusius. {e} Laertius in Vit. Diogenis, p. 382.


Hosea 3 Commentaries

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