December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 2 Again the LORD said to me: Give your love to a woman beloved of a paramour, an adultress; Even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and are fond of raisin cakes.
- 3 So I bought her for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.
- Then I said to her: "Many days you shall wait for me; you shall not play the harlot Or belong to any man; I in turn will wait for you."
- 4 For the people of Israel shall remain many days without king or prince, Without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or household idols.
- 5 Then the people of Israel shall turn back and seek the LORD, their God, and David, their king; They shall come trembling to the LORD and to his bounty, in the last days.
- 6 The number of the Israelites shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor counted. Whereas they were called, "Lo-ammi," They shall be called, "Children of the living God."
- Then the people of Judah and of Israel shall be gathered together; They shall appoint for themselves one head and come up from other lands, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
- Say to your brothers, "Ammi," and to your sisters, "Ruhama."
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1 [1-5] Hosea is instructed to take Gomer back, redeeming her from her paramours. On condition of her amendment, she will be restored to her former position of wife. This in turn signifies God's enduring love for his people. He will put the people through a period of trial--the dissolution of the kingdom--in order that they may return to him wholeheartedly.
2  Raisin cakes: offerings to the fertility goddess Ashera, the female counterpart of Baal; cf Jeremiah 7:18; 44:19.
3  Homer: about ten bushels. Lethech: a half-homer.
4  Sacred pillar: the stone massebah, originally perhaps a phallic symbol, representing Baal. These were also used, with another signification, in Israelite worship; see notes on Genesis 28:18; Exodus 34:13. Ephod: an instrument used in consulting the deity; cf 1 Sam 23:6-12; 30:7; see notes on Exodus 28:6, 15-30. Household idols: images regarded as the tutelary deities of the household; cf Genesis 31:19; Judges 17:5; 18:14, 17- 18.
5  David, their king: the messianic King of the Davidic line who will restore the kingdom of God's people; cf Jeremiah 23:5; Ezekiel 34:23, 24: The last days: the messianic age.
6 [1-3] These verses (The number . . . Ruhama) (transposed from Hosea 2) continue the conditional promise of restoration made in Hosea 3:1-5, reversing the dire predictions of Hosea 1; the symbolic names now become names of honor: Jezreel, "God sows"; Ammi, "my people"; Ruhama, "she is pitied."
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