Gomer’s marriage to Hosea is one big, real-life parallelism of God’s thoughts and feelings about Israel and Judah at that time. Hosea was a prophet whom God spoke to about his frustration with Israel’s worship of baal and unfaithfulness to him. He considers Israel to be like his wife, for whom he provides abundantly, but who then takes the silver and gold she is lavished with and begins using it for the worship of baal. A similar relationship is depicted in Ephesians 5: 22 where the church is described as the bride of Christ.
The Lord spoke to Hosea and asked him to marry an unfaithful woman, so he married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. Gomer’s marriage and children follows the narrative of God’s relationship with Israel and Judah. When she bears her first son, Hosea is instructed to name Jezreel, signifying Israel’s imminent punishment for a massacre that happened in a place with the same name. When she bears a daughter, she is named Lo-Ruhamah, which means not loved, signifying that God will no longer show love to Israel. When she bears another son, he is named Lo-Ammi, which means not my people, signifying that God rejects Israel.
Much is asked of Gomer. She gets no say in the naming of her children, so they end up with names that can’t be easy to live with. At the point where God rejects Israel, Hosea also rejects her. Granted, she is said to be an unfaithful partner, but her story is bigger than herself and Hosea choosing her for a wife is not at all accidental. When Israel is restored, Hosea is instructed by God to, “Go show you love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Gomer was given the gift of unconditional love. Hosea went ahead to accept her (even though promiscuity was valid grounds for divorce those days) and promised to live with her for many days if she remained faithful to him. This was the kind of love that God had for Israel. So all ends well for Gomer as she becomes an integral part of God and Hosea’s plan for the punishment and restoration of Israel. Her own life, though it starts out rockily, is transformed and she grows to be accepted by God and her husband.
This is another example that shows that women have a role in God’s plans and that whether highly placed in society like Deborah or lowly placed like Gomer, God calls everyone as needed. Many women, now and back then faced brokenness, but the story of Gomer shows that even though our actions have consequences, God remains open to receive us back into the fold and raise us to a higher purpose than we ourselves can fathom.
Well-behaved women seldom make history.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich