Go and marry a prostitute, so some of her children will be born to your from other men” (Hosea 1:2).

That’s the word of the Lord. He gave this order to the prophet Hosea-who dutifully married Gomer.

God explained his extraordinary request: “This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the LORD by worshiping other gods” (Hosea 1:2). And so, Hosea’s family life became a parable written in flesh-a dramatic and continuing message for Israel.

Gomer delivered three children. Hosea gave them symbolic names:

  • Jezreel, after the valley where Israel’s army would die.
  • Lo-ruhamah, meaning “not loved,” because God rejected Israel.
  • Lo-ammi, meaning “not my people,” God’s description of Israel.

Hosea possibly kicked Gomer out for adultery, and she sold herself into slavery to one of her lovers. At God’s order, Hosea bought her back-just as God would one day take Israel back. “I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ Then they will reply, ‘You are our God!” (Hosea 2:23).

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