Who was Gomer?
Gomer was a girl with a reputation. We don’t know whether she was already a prostitute or was simply a promiscuous young woman by the time she met Hosea. 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 Gomer’s father, Diblaim, and Hosea; Gomer may not even have been consulted. Her father was probably eager to remove the embarrassment from his life.
Hosea loved Gomer, but Gomer seemed ambivalent toward her husband. She became 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. Sometime 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 did she respond to Hosea’s sacrificial faithfulness? The Bible doesn’t tell us. After Hosea redeemed her, she isn’t mentioned again. Her final appearance in the book leads to hopeful silence. If 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 faithfully continues to lavish His love on us. Gomer’s shameful story turns out to be a thinly veiled version of our own. We know Gomer better than we might think at first, as she was what we are- sinners offered overwhelming grace!
Lessons 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 inclination toward sin.