These are notes on a Bible study for Hosea 3

Hosea 3

“The third chapter of Hosea is, in my judgment, the greatest chapter in the Bible, because it portrays the greatest story in the Bible – the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for his people.” James Boice


Hosea 3 (NASB95)

Chapter 3

1          Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman whois loved by herhusband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

2          So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekelsof silver and a homer and a half of barley.

3          Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”

4          For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacredpillar and without ephod or household idols.

5          Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.


Verse 1:


  1. Who is this woman?


  1. If it is Gomer


  1. What circumstances has Gomer found herself?


  1. How could she possibly be in a circumstance to “bought”?


  1. If she has left her husband and belonged to someone else, how do we think about the illegality of Hosea’s action? Deut. 24:1-4; Jer. 3:1


  1. Is this another description of Hos. 2:3?


  1. If it is another woman?


  1. Who is she?


  1. Is this a second wife?


  1. If this is a second wife, how does that make sense of the analogy to Israel and the Lord?


  1. Raisin Cakes:Apparently something to do with the idol worship, or possibly the benefit of worshiping the idols. There is nothing wrong with the raisin cakes per se. 2 Sam. 6:19.


III.       Translation issues:


  1. What does the “again” belong to?


  1. Does the Lord speak again?


  1. Does Hosea “go again”?


  1. The description of the woman.


  1. The NASB seems to follow the Targum (an ancient paraphrase). This translation is quite different from the other translations:


  1. Other translation possibilities:


  1. A woman loved by another
  2. A woman who is loved by her companion (the NASB seems to take companion/neighbor to equal “Husband”)
  3. A woman who is loved by another (other than her husband, the more common implication of the companion/neighbor). This also matches “she commits adultery”.
  4. A woman loved by evil (unlikely).
  5. A woman who loves evil LXX



  1. Observations


  1. The act of going after other gods, while it looked like freedom was actually an act of slavery.


  1. How does the person who is plunged into the sin view the sin? Do they see it as freedom?


  1. Even as the Lord loves


  1. The Lord’s love never varies. It is mentioned here in the midst of Israel’s complete rebellion.


  1. All of the Lord’s conduct toward Israel is thus consistent with his love of Israel: even the exile is consistent with the Lord’s love.


  1. Implications for us: if the Lord looks on Israel with love – even in the midst of her rebellion, how should we consider the Lord toward us?


  1. The Heart of Christ in Heaven (Thomas Goodwin).


  1. Christ’s restoration of Peter – contrast Judas’ despair and self-murder.


Verse 2


  1. The purchase:


  1. The verb “bought” implies haggle.


  1. What do we make of this strange price: money and barely?


  1. It appears to be less than 30 shekels (the price of a slave: Ex. 21:32/Lev. 27:4).


  1. Some commentators take it that this amounts to approximately 30 shekels.


  1. If that is the approximate price, was a slave still that price in Hosea’s time?


  1. There is a foreshadowing of Christ’s betrayal? Thirty shekels bargained for the redemption of the bride.


  1. Does this indicate some sort of scramble to find money? Did he use all of his silver and then find some grain?


  1. To whom is the money/grain paid?


  1. Note how bare a description this is: “So I bought”. It is a peculiarly spare description. Compare something like Abraham in Genesis 23.


Verse 3


  1. Stay with me


  1. The woman is kept from all her lovers.


  1. But she is also kept from her husband – and he is kept from her.


  1. He has cordoned her that previous sin: you shall not play the harlot.


  1. Hosea 2


  1. The prophecy of 2:6-7: a wall to keep her away from her lovers; she will not be able to pursue them..


Verse  4


  1. The symbol explained


  1. The woman is Israel


  1. “For the sons of Israel ….”


  1. The status of her confinement:


  1. She will lack her own government


  1. She will be not possess the implements of idolatrous worship


  1. She will also not be permitted the true worship (sacrifice and ephod). In particular, she will not know the Lord’s present will.


  1. This is Israel at present


  1. Even Jewish commentators see themselves as in the state of this woman


  1. This whole process is discussed in Romans 9-11


  1. How are we to consider ourselves in relationship to Israel?


  1. Romans 11:11-24


  1. Pay particular attention to Romans 11:22, Behold the kindness and severity of God.


Verse 5:


  1. Israel’s Restoration


  1. There is a pun in verses 4-5: remain (Israel will remain) and return (the sons of Israel will return) sound similar and have similar spelling: their remaining and returning are closely joined together.


  1. The two aims of the return


  1. They will return and seek the LORD


  1. As opposed to the false gods they have been seeking


  1. They will return and seek .. David their King


  1. This is a reference to the Messiah


  1. Hosea 1:11 says that Israel and Judah will have one leader


  1. How do we understand this dual return?


  1. Zech. 12:9


  1. This is God & Christ


  1. The manner of their return


  1. They will come trembling to the LORD


  1. This is a word which can refer to bodily shaking with either fear or joy. It is a very strong word.


(pāḥad). vb. to fear, dread, be in terror.Describes the experience of terror, likely with connotations of physical quaking in fear.

While the various verbs for “fear” in Hebrew are often used in similar ways, some contexts suggest pāḥadmay indicate a stronger form of fear than יָרֵא(yārēʾ). In Job, the use of the term suggests that the strong feeling has a physical effect like shaking or trembling (Job 3:25; 4:14; compare Jer 33:9). It is often used in reference to God’s judgment and describes the abject terror of those experiencing the wrath of God (Deut 28:66–67; Isa 19:16–17; 33:14; Mic 7:17). However, the greater intensity associated with pāḥadmay derive from its almost exclusive use in biblical poetry, where it occurs in parallel with many of the other roots for fear (with little besides context to guide making fine distinctions between the intensity or type of fear being described). Two other uses of pāḥadseem to associate it simply with strong emotional experience, such as joy at seeing the fulfillment of God’s promised salvation (Isa 60:5; Jer 33:9). Rarely the verb seems to describe the experience of awe or reverence before God (Hos 3:5).

פַּחַד(paḥad). n. masc. dread, terror.Refers to terrifying and crippling fear, perhaps accompanied by physical quaking or trembling.

The noun paḥadoccurs twice as often as the verb pāḥad, but as with the verb, many of the occurrences are in poetry. In the Song of Moses, paḥadfell on the nations of Canaan because of Yahweh’s awesome displays of power against the Egyptians (Exod 15:16). In Isaiah 2, the “terror (paḥad) of Yahweh” is mentioned three times (Isa 2:10, 19, 21; compare 1 Sam 11:7). At times, the noun indicates an object of terror or dread. In Jeremiah 48:43–44, “terror” is something to flee from. In Psalm 31:11, the psalmist describes himself as “a dread to my acquaintances.” Paḥadcan also indicate a proper reverence or awe of God. Jehoshaphat, during his reforms, encouraged the judges to have the “fear (paḥad) of Yawheh” (2 Chr 19:7) as they gave their judgments. This may also be the sense behind the use of פַחַד יִצְחָק(paḥad yiṣḥāq, “Fear of Isaac”) as another name for Yahweh (Gen 31:42, 53). The feminine form פַּחְדָּה(paḥdâ) is used once and has the sense of awe or reverence (Jer 2:19).[1]


  1. Deuteronomy 4:26–31 (NASB95)

26        I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.

27        “The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you.

28        “There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.

29        “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Himif you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

30        “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.

31        “For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.


  1. They will turn to the goodness of the Lord


  1. The goodness of God


This is a major theme. Stephen Charnock’s The Existence of Attributes of God has 150 pages on this single aspect of God.




Doctrines concerning Israel


  1. God loves Israel: “Even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel”.


  1. God will restore Israel: “Afterwards the sons of Israel will return.” This is a major theme in the prophets. See, e.g. Zeph. 3:12-20.


  1. The Church should rejoice in the expectation of the restoration of Israel. Romans 11 in particular sounds this theme:


Romans 11:12 (NASB95)

12      Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!

See also, Romans 11:33-36.


Doctrines Concerning Salvation


  1. The state of a human being outside of the redemption of God.


  1. God is sovereign in the redemption of human beings.


  1. The manner in which the redeemed should approach the Lord.


Doctrine of God


  1. The love of God.


  1. The patience of God.


  1. The goodness of God.



[1]Miles Custis, “Fear,”ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).