Month 10:28, Week 4:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year 5935:286 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 21 January 2012
The Brides of Hosea
Gomer and the Unnamed Second Wife
The Book of Hosea is a book much beloved and its interpretation much disputed by Christians, Messianics and others. He is loved principally because of his love for humanity which veritably shines through the book. He also loved his country, 10-Tribed Israel, and is the only northern Israelite prophet whose writings have survived. We know almost nothing about him personally and those who have tried to make inferences from the text have usually concluded that he was either a baker or a farmer. But we really don't know.
"When Yahweh began to speak by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea: 'Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from Yahweh.' So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son" (Hos.1:2-3, NKJV).
"Then Yahweh said to me, 'Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover (or, friend) and is committing adultery, just like the love of Yahweh for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.' So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. And I said to her, 'You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man -- so, too, will I be toward you.' For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek Yahweh their Elohim (God) and David their king. They shall fear Yahweh and His goodness in the latter days" (Hos.3:1-5, NKJV).
Hosea is a love story, which is its great attraction, and which so clearly connects it with the spirit of Joseph and the Josephite tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin in particular. To understand Hosea is to understand the lev (heart) of Joseph and the company under him. (See Who are the Modern Biblical Israelites?) And I think that is why so much of the Christian world is attracted to him - it's a matter of national character. The Josephites have a special spiritual kinship with unique tribal components - they are lovers even as Yahweh is a lover of His people. And this is the principle reason that those who have the spirit of Joseph-Ephraim are called to lead Messianic Israel until Messiah returns.
To understand Yahweh's message to 12-Tribed Israel it is very important that we get the right interpretation from the Book of Hosea. For most exegetes and believers of all denominational persuasions, this is understood to consist of five major parts:
As we look at the world situation today we see a repeat of the destruction of the northern tribes at the hands of Assyria. The Israelite nations, principally consisting of America (West Manasseh), Britain (Ephraim - with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.), Germany (East Manasseh), France (Reuben), Netherlands (Zebulun), Benjamin (Norway), Naphthali (Sweden), Dan (Denmark), and so on, are in open rebellion against the Creator and are headed for destruction. And we will see much of that happening this year.
- 1. The marriage of Hosea to Gomer, the prostitute who runs away and whom he at length buys back, which portrays Israel's relations with Yahweh (Hos.1:1-3:5);
- 2. Hosea's denounciation of Israel's corruption, pride and idolatry (Hos.4:1-8:14);
- 3. The certainty of Yahweh's judgment (Hos.4:1-10:15);
- 4. The triumph of Yahweh's ahavah (love) and mercy (Hos.11:1-11);
- 5. Israel's unfaithfulness and rebellion, resulting in judgment and destruction (Hos.11:12-13:16); and
- 6. Yahweh's mercy to a repentant people (Hos.14:1-9).
But what of Judah? If Ephraim is to be the head of the scattered tribes which are slowly but sure confederating, then Judah must have a prominent rôle. And since Hosea is the only northern prophet to speak to us, then we should expect Judah to figure in some way too. However, we will never understand that rôle unless we first identify Judah and Israel in the modern world first. If you are not familiar with my 5-part sermon series on this, then I invite you to pause to study Jacob's Trouble. In discovering who Judah is not, we will be better equipped to discover who Judah is, and to identify that tribe in the Book of Hosea.
If you were taught that Hosea only had one wife, that she was a prostitute who subsequently ran away, whom Hosea had to chase after and buy back, you will miss the mark and fail to understand a critical part of end-time prophecy. The scenario I have described never happened, even though modern translations like the Amplified Version of the Bible mislead you into thinking so when it writes:
You need to know that the words I have underlined - "the same" and "Gomer" are not in the original and have been added by the translators as an interpretation. That is why we must be very careful of paraphrased and 'dynamic equivalent' versions, however well they may flow, because such versions tend to add a lot of the word of man. The New International Version (NIV), Good News Bible (GNB), Living Bible (LB) and many others fall into this trap. If we are to get the Word of Yahweh accurately, we have got to read it exactly as it is, even if it doesn't 'flow' so well in our own tongue.
"Then said the Lord to me, Go again, love the same woman [Gomer] who is beloved of a paramour and is an adultress..." (Hos.3:1, Amp.V.)
The third chapter of Hosea is not talking about Gomer bat Diblaim. And Hosea nowhere says that Gomer ran away or that Hosea went and got her back by purchasing her. You will search in vain for such an assertion. The woman in the first chapter and the woman in the third chapter are two entirely different women. The third chapter begins:
Here the broken-hearted husband - Yahweh - is grieving over the second woman, just as He did the first one. Hosea is ordered to take two disreputable wives just as Yahweh took two allegorical ones so that he would know, and therefore admonish and plead for Israel and Judah to return to Yahweh:
"Then said Yahweh unto me (Hosea), Go again, love an isha (woman, wife) beloved of her re'a (friend, companion), yet a noefet (adultress), just like the ahavat (love of) Yahweh toward the Bnei Yisra'el (children of Israel), who look to elohim acharim (other gods), and love heathen religion raisin cakes (cp.Jer.44:19)" (Hos.3:1, OJB).
Jerusalem here represents one woman (Oholibah) and Samaria the other (Oholah). The way that Hosea is commanded to treat the two women is very different. The first he is to immediately have children with. The first son is called Jezreel (1:4), the first daughter is called Lo-ruhamah (1:6), and the third child - a son - is called Lo-ammi (1:9). I don't intend to get into their symbolic meaning today as that is not the point of this devotional, but rather to point out that with this former prostitute, Hosea has two sons and a daughter.
"Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt, they committed harlotry in their youth; their breasts were there embraced, their virgin bosom was there pressed. Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; they were Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria (Israel, 10 northern Tribes) is Oholah, and Jerusalem (Judah, 2 southern tribes) is Oholibah" (Ezek.23:2-4, NKJV).
And now another important point and here nearly all Christians, and a lot of Messianics who don't know their Torah but should, make another mistake, that makes it hard to know the emet (truth) and understand prophecies such as this one. If you don't know this, then you need to research it carefull (as I don't have time to get into this today): according to Torah, a single woman cannot commit adultery - ever. She can commit fornication but she can never commit adultery. She may be an instrument in causing a married man to break a marriage vow but she can never commit adultery. Prostititues, if they are not married woman (and they aren't usually), cannot commit adultery. They can fornicate (which is what their profession is) and be instrumental in marriage vow-breaking with their male lovers, but they cannot commit adultery.
You won't find your Strong's Concordance much use here (before you turn to that) as Strong represents an interpretive mindset that is not always Torah-compliant.
Gomer was a whore or harlot - a prostitute - but not an adulterer.
The same is not the case with the second wife Hosea took. This one is a na'af or nofet (adulterer), unlike Gomer who was a zanuwn (fornicator). Yes, you will find Strongs saying zanuwn can mean either but that is not the case. (Remember, while an excellent resource, Strong's is not infallible scripture, and mistakes have been made in overly relying on it). Actually, zanuwn can also mean 'idolatry' but not 'adultery'.
The second wife has a very different background although she comes, as Ezekiel testifies, from the same symbolic "mother" (Sarah, in fact). There are some other interesting things about her too. The Amplified Version, ever going beyond the written word, tells us that this woman "is beloved of a paramour and an adultress" (Hos.3:1), implying that this is Gomer who has since, upon running from home, found herself an adulterous lover (paramour). But Re'a, as we have already seen (the word the Amp.V. renders 'paramour' and the NKJV 'lover'), is actually a "friend" or "companion". So who's 'friend' or 'companion' is this unnamed second wife? We can't be 100% certain, but given Ezekiel's testimony that the two women are from the same mother, is it not conceivable that this was not only Gomer's friend but maybe even her sister? After all the Torah says that a man may only marry his wife's sister if the two are not rivals (Lev.18:18). Whether these two women were sisters or not cannot be established, but it seems likely that they were close friends, as Israel and Judah were in the idyllic days of David and Solomon when they were under one King and one Elohim (God).
So why has Yahweh commanded Hosea to marry these two women (as Torah permits)? Because the entire Book of Hosea is a prophecy showing how Yahweh was about to punish His two allegorical wives, Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem), the two nations that split after the death of Solomon and went their own two ways. In Hosea, Yahweh is metaphorically bringing them together, separated by a gap of time, in spite of the fact that they are a prostitute and adulterer, respectively. So which of the two women is Israel and which is Judah?
Gomer, the first of these two wives, was married and had three children. The second, unnamed woman was purchased for "fifteen pieces of silver and 1˝ homers of barley" (Hos.3:2). Why is the purchase price recorded for us? Because this was the fixed purchase price of a slave at the time. This is very important: though Gomer was a prostitute, she was not a slave and therefore 'not for sale'. She was not redeemable. These are two women from very different circumstances.
But that's not all. Now the Amplified Version goes off on an interpretive tangent again, based on the previous assumptions of the translators, saying:
However, this is not what the text says, however much the Amplified translators want it to. Let take a closer look at a version which is pretty faithful to the original:
"And I (Hosea) said to her, 'You shall be [betrothed] to Me for many days; you shall not play the harlot and you shall not belong to another man. So will I also be to you [until you have proved your loyalty to Me and our marital relations may be resumed]" (Hos.3:3, Amp.V.).
I can understand why the Amplified Version would conclude that this 'waiting time' was the betrothal period. However, the text makes it clear that this woman was purchased as a slave and it is within that context that we must properly interpret this passage. This is not a betrothal period being spoken of - it is a time for the adulterous woman to be separated from all sin - and especially sexual activity - in order to be purified and to at length win the trust of her husband. There is, indeed, a parallel here between the pagan women taken as a captive and the mandatory waiting period of one month (30 days) - see, Kidnapping & Slavery II: Serial Rape or Glorious Appearing?. Though the time period is not specified, Hosea's second wife is to be married but celibate, along with her new husband, for a period of time, reminding us of the feast of Chag haMatzah which denotes the mandatory days of repentance before betrothal at Shavu'ot and the full marriage at Sukkot may take place. There is a sacred tavnith or pattern to always be followed.
"Thou shalt abide with me yamim rabbim (many days) and thou shalt not zonah (commit adultery), and thou shalt not be for another ish (man); and thus will I also towards thee" (Hos.3:3, OJB).
This interpretation is not only truer to the original Davar (Word) of Scripture but harmonies with known Torah practices and with the theme of the post-Solomonic prophets that speak of Yahweh's two fallen allegorical wives - Israel and Judah - and His intense desire to have them back.
Hosea actually interprets this last passage for us:
The period of waiting is therefore confirmed to be a period of repentance, alone without false heads or lovers ("king or prince"), without perversion or idols ("sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim"). This is the time for re-orientation, of waiting until the soul has been made right before being united with her husband and raising a family again.
"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek Yahweh their Elohim (God) and David their king. They shall fear Yahweh and His goodness in the latter days" (Hos.3:4-5, NKJV).
Read the whole of Ezekiel, chapter 23, and you will see how all of this ties together. The two split nations are viewed by Yahweh as two wives (as is permitted in Torah). Though 'Israel' and 'Judah', they are still collectively referred to as 'Israel', just as they are in Hosea, as they are from the same ancestor or 'mother', Sarah.
So which is which? Clearly Ephraim-Israel is the prostitute and Judah-Israel is the adulterer. In the prophetic time-line, apostate Ephraim-Israel comes home first to be followed later by Judah-Israel. Judah must have time to free herself of all her former 'lovers', and in particular, the false elohim she worships in the name of Yahweh-Elohim which is none other than Moloch. First the Josephite tribes must abandon Romanism and embrace Torah and then the Judahite tribes must abandon Judaism and embrace Messiah.
This is not quite the way Messianics tell it and that is because most Messianics still have one foot in the "Synagogue of Satan" (Rev.2:9; 3:9) or Moloch-worship, are infatuated with Zionism and its many evil fruits ...and it takes time to come out of all of that. That is why Messianism is not the restoration of Messianic Israel - it can never be. That is why Evangelicism can never be the whole Besorah (Gospel) either - that is why Evangelicals and Messianics have to unite, discard the false Romanism and Judaism, and enter a totally new paradigm in the last days. And that process is described in the marriage of Hoseah to his two wives.
Why is the second wife unnamed? Because she is in total disgrace. She has got to get the tov shem or good name of her Husband (Is.4:1). Gomer, whose name means "completion" or "heart" (make a careful note of that and see yesterday's devotional) has the right heart but must learn to ovetrcome sin in and through marriage, just as the Christian Church has had to learn - the hard way - through all its sinfulness over the centuries. That is why her three children are given such strange names: Jezreel (Elohim-Sows-It), Lo-ruhamah (Not-pitied) and Lo-ammi (Not-My-people). These three children tell the story of Ephraim-Israel over the long years of exile as the 'Church' - but that, as they say, is another story in and of itself.
The revelation of Hosea is, in a way, the theme song of this ministry. Though there is a strong romantic element to it, it is not quite as it has been portrayed by Evangelicals, as we have seen, through their distorted Bible translations. But neither is it patting Judah on the head whilst condemning Ephraim, as many Messianics would like it to be. Both houses have to repent but both are coming out of the wilderness by slightly different routes, to one Israel. Neither are the 'final work' of Yahweh.
Today, in particular, is the story of the unnamed bride. She knows who she is, and if she has been following this carefully, she knows what she must do to end her life of adultery against her Husband. She is loved but she must also come in through the door in the way that Yahweh has prescribed. It won't be easy but it will be well worth it...for the grace and ahavah she will receive for doing what is right.
Comments from Readers
"Thanks for the very enlightened devotional today!" (MR, Sweden, 21 January 2012).