February 1, 2011

Minor Prophets III: One Seriously Expensive Whore

Let us examine the apparent circumstances and value of Gomer's purchase price in verse 2.

“So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver” (if a shekel is 1/3 of an ounce then we are talking about 5 oz. of silver) “and about a homer and a lethek of barley” (10 bushels of barley). The barley would’ve been worth an additional 15 shekels. Fifteen shekels is the approximate value of a slave at the time (McComiskey 51).

Hosea paid twice what Gomer was worth as a slave. What is interesting though is in (v.1) Hosea is commanded by God to “go love your wife again” as if it is something that needs to be commanded of Hosea because he will not do it of his own accord. This combined with the need to “buy” back his wife gives the impression the love “costs” something or a “price needs to be paid” (for sin & for love) even in this situation for a second time. In Hebrew the word for bought [karah] appears to also mean that Hosea had to bargain for Gomer-to me this reads like Hosea was haggling a price like someone would do for a used car. He had to be told to go love her or keep on loving, pay to get her back and then had to haggled for the cost to redeem her out of her bondage/slavery to prostitution (or perhaps her clients/lovers?) which ended up being a rather exorbitant price to pay for "love" (McComiskey 51).

It truly shows how degraded Gomer’s condition had become because of sin. This is analogous to Israel. In return she was “not to play the harlot”. Strangely, during this entire “transaction”, other than a command to love from God, there appears to be little emotion and compassion. It seems as if this is purely a business or legal transaction to make Gomer become Hosea’s wife legally (Myers 20).

McComiskey, Thomas Edward. "III Hosea Reclaims His Wayward Wife." The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical And Expository Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009. 49-51. Print.
Myers, Jacob Martin. "The Lesson of Hosea" The Book of Hosea ; The Book of Joel ; The Book of Amos ; The Book of Obadiah ; The Book of Jonah . Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1978. 19-20. Print.

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