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If you have ever looked through the personals section of the newspaper, it’s unlikely that you found someone seeking “unfaithful female, likely to have affairs.” Who would want to marry someone like that? Yet that’s exactly the kind of woman God told Hosea to marry as an object lesson about Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.
Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel, and his intimate knowledge of that land suggests he was probably from there. At some point in his life, God commanded him to marry an adulterous wife, and she bore him three children (Hosea 1). It is not known for certain whether his wife, named Gomer, was adulterous when Hosea married her or whether she only became unfaithful after their wedding. In any case, Hosea demonstrated unrelenting love for Gomer even after she left him for another lover. He went so far as to buy her back from her lover and offered her a chance to be faithful to him once again (Hosea 3:1–2).
All of Hosea’s actions toward Gomer served to illustrate what God experienced with Israel, His covenant partner. Though God was faithful to Israel, the people were unfaithful to Him and chose to give themselves over to idolatry and wickedness. God sought to bring them back by sending prophets to warn them of the consequences of their sin.
Hosea 11:1 says, “When
Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
There it refers to the Exodus, when Israel was led out of Egypt to follow the Lord and establish a new nation in Canaan. The Gospel of Matthew quotes this same verse to explain why Jesus’ family was forced to flee to Egypt to escape Herod
Where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:15).