Gomer was a girl with a reputation. We don’t know if she was already a working prostitute or was simply a promiscuous young woman by the time she met Hosea. But she was clearly a high risk for a lasting relationship. She must have been surprised and confused when, instead of propositioning her, Hosea arranged to marry her. By common cultural rule, the decisions were made by Hosea and Diblaim. Gomer may not even have been consulted. Her father was probably eager to remove an embarrassment from his life.
Hosea loved Gomer. Gomer seemed ambivalent toward her husband. Apparently, marriage simply changed the label on Gomer’s behavior from promiscuity to adultery. She got pregnant three times, giving birth to two sons and a daughter. Hosea couldn’t be sure if the children were his or had been fathered by other men, but he claimed them and named them as God instructed.
God’s declarations about Israel overlap Hosea’s struggle over Gomer’s unfaithfulness. Sometimes after the birth of their third child, Gomer became enslaved in prostitution. Hosea had to buy her freedom. He then insisted on her faithfulness.
What did Gomer think and feel during all this? How much did Hosea reveal to her about God’s prediction that she would be unfaithful? How did she respond to Hosea’s sacrificial faithfulness? We aren’t told. After Hosea redeemed her, she isn’t mentioned again. Her final appearance in the book leads to hopeful silence. It she responded to Hosea’s love, they built a life together.
Probably the closest we come to feeling what Gomer felt are those times when we act unfaithfully toward God yet he continues to faithfully lavish his love on us. Gomer’s shameful story turns out to be a thinly veiled version of our story. We know Gomer better than we might think at first, for she was what we are - sinners offered overwhelming grace!
Strength and accomplishment
May have traded a shameful past for a faithful future as a result of her husband’s sacrificial love
Weaknesses and mistakes
Developed a persistent promiscuous lifestyle resistant even to the responsibilities of motherhood
Sold herself into sexual slavery
Lesson from her life
Unfaithfulness damages our integrity but does not prevent someone else from loving us in spite of our failure
God is committed to loving us even though he knows our waywardness and bent toward sin
Occupations: Wife, prostitute
Relatives: Husband: Hosea. Father: Diblaim. Sons: Jezreel (God plants), Lo-ammi (Not my people). Daughter: Lo-ruhamah (Not loved).
“When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, ‘Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of the children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods” (Hosea 1:2)
Gomer’s story is told in Hosea 1:1-3:5.