Gomer (wife of Hosea)

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Illustration of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible Historiale, 1372.

Gomer (go'-mer) was the wife of the prophet Hosea, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Hosea. Hosea 1:2 refers to her alternatively as a "promiscuous woman" (NIV), a "harlot" (NASB), and a "whore" (KJV) but Hosea is told to marry her according to Divine appointment. She is also described as the daughter of Diblaim.

Hosea 1 relates how Hosea has three children, a son called Jezreel, a daughter Lo-Ruhamah and another son Lo-Ammi. All the names are described in the text as having symbolic meaning, reflecting the relationship between God and Israel. Jezreel is named after the valley of that name. Lo-Ruhamah is named to denote the ruined condition of the kingdom of Israel and Lo-Ammi is named in token of God's rejection of his people.[1] Although the latter two children are not specifically said to be Hosea's, James Mays says that this is "hardly an implication" of Gomer's adultery.[2] In 3:1, however, it says that she is "loved by another man and is an adulteress" (NIV). Hosea is told to buy her back, and he does so for 15 shekels and a quantity of barley. She is not mentioned again in the book.

Some analysts, following Felix Ernst Peiser, have suggested that this marriage is really a figurative or prophetic reference to a union between the "lost tribes of Israel" with the people of Gomer, following the Assyrian deportation.

The relationship between Hosea and Gomer has been posited to be a parallel to the relationship between God and Israel. Even though Gomer runs away from Hosea and sleeps with another man, he loves her anyway and forgives her. Likewise, even though the people of Israel worshiped other gods, God continued to love them and did not abandon his covenant with them.

According to Kirsten Abbott, feminist interpretation regards the story of Hosea and his relations with his wife Gomer as a metaphor for the conflict between a Covenant Theology (Israel violating the covenant relationship with YHWH) and a Creation Theology (YHWH will undo the fertility of the earth in response to Israel following other fertility gods).[3]

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