1 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days. Hos. 3:1-5
FYI: Raisin and dates cakes were the sugar of the age. They were packed together dried so that they could be stored or traded.
The first time God took Israel as His people He brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Now here in the typology the prophet is told to “go again”. Even though they are adulteress and unfaithful. They have turned to other gods, serving them the sweets paganism is always serving. These cakes of raisins were the offerings giving to Astarte. All through the Mystery religions there are various sweet cakes for the queen of heaven. These cakes are either for the god, the deceased, or the participants. Each little mystery had their own recipe for these cakes, buns, or bread. They almost always contained seeds or seedy fruit. The seeds represented fertility. (We tend to forget how seedy grapes where before hybridization gave us seedless varieties.) For even after a grape is dried the seeds are still viable. Nothing much has changed. We still have Easter candy, Halloween candy, and Christmas candy etc.
In chapter two Hosea had gone to allure her back to him. Now we are told that his way of doing this is to buy her as one would buy a slave.
A shekel was a measurement of silver about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams which in today’s prices is around $20 an ounce; a homer was about 6 bushels or 220 liters; a lethech was about 3 bushels or 110 liters. The shekels would have been around $120.00. The barley is a little harder to price. For the last three years barley has run between $4-6 dollars a bushel. All this means is that in our money he paid about $165 for her. It is clear that Hosea did not have enough silver and had to use barley for part of the price.
The full price of a servant seems to have been 30 sheckels. Which would be about $240.
If the ox gores a slave, male or female, the owner shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. Ex. 21:32
So to was the price of a woman’s vow.
If the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels. Lev. 27:4
4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
After he purchased her there is a strict instructions that she is no longer to play the harlot. She is not to have king or prince. The bad thing about government is that it alway oppresses and taxes a people. The good thing about government is that they protect and defend the people from outsiders. From this time on the Northern Tribes will have neither.
They are not to have any religion either. No priest wearing an ephod and no idols to worship.
“After many days” then they return the seek the Lord and king David. Most Church theologians agree that David means Jesus. They take this from Act 15 where we are the tent of David i.e. the temple of the Holy Spirit. [See Also; The Third Temple]
. . . then a throne will be established in steadfast love and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.” Is. 16:5
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; Amos 9:11
‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, Acts 15:16
These Ten Tribes were last known to be in what is now Iran. The time is at hand, “the many days” have just about run their course. It will be interesting to see just how God is going to “buy” them back.