Who was Gomer in the Bible?

The Bible mentions two Gomers. The first, and less well known, Gomer is listed as one of Noah's grandsons and first born of Japheth's seven sons in Genesis 10:2 and 1 Chronicles 1:5. This Gomer and his descendants settled in Eurasia from the Black and Caspian Seas to Spain. He had three sons of his own: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah (Genesis 10:3). This descendant of Noah is also briefly noted in Ezekiel 38:6 as part of the battle of Gog and Magog, but the Bible gives no more details about this Gomer.

The second, more well known, Gomer is the adulterous wife of the prophet Hosea. God told Hosea to marry a wife who would be unfaithful as a witness to the people of Israel of their unfaithfulness to God. He said, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD" (Hosea 1:2). It is debated whether Gomer was involved in prostitution before her marriage to Hosea or whether she behaved that way only after getting married and having three children. The Bible does state that Gomer was the daughter of a man named Diblaim (Hosea 1:3) and that she bore two sons and a daughter to Hosea.

Because Gomer and Hosea's marriage was to be a lesson for Israel, God also instructed Hosea how to name their children. The first son was named Jezreel, which means "scattering" and is also the name of an important battlefield. God chose this name because "I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel" and the people would be scattered throughout Assyria (Hosea 1:5). Their daughter arrived next and was to be named Lo-ruhama, which means "Not Loved" or "No Mercy" for "I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel" (Hosea 1:6). Finally, their youngest son was to be called Lo-ammi or "Not My People" for "You are not my people, and I am not your God" (Hosea 1:9).

After these children were born, Hosea's wife Gomer turned to "whoring," "adultery" (Hosea 2:2) and "acted shamefully" (Hosea 2:5) as she "pursue[d] her lovers" (Hosea 2:7). Rather than telling Hosea to divorce his adulterous wife as would have been permitted by Jewish law, God instead instructed him to "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins" (Hosea 3:1).

Hosea obeyed God's command and "bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley" (Hosea 3:2). This price Hosea paid to redeem his wife was half the price for a female slave (Exodus 21:32) and the barley was a slave's allowance of food. Gomer's pursuit of other men had led her into slavery where she was viewed as worth only half the market value, rendering her as practically worthless in the eyes of society. Jesus said, "everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). The Israelites were enslaved in their sin of idolatry and in need of God's intervention, just as Gomer was in need of Hosea's rescue and forgiveness. God promised Israel, "I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD" (Hosea 2:19–20). He also made promises in regards to the children's names as well when He said, "and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people;' and he shall say, 'You are my God'" (Hosea 2:22–23).

Hosea's marriage to Gomer is a picture of the love God has for His people. Romans 5:8 explains, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Every person is a slave to sin and in need of God's rescue and forgiveness. He sought us out in our sin and provided redemption for us with Jesus' blood just like Hosea sought his unfaithful wife and redeemed her with silver and barley. Even in our sin and unfaithfulness, God desires that we acknowledge our guilt and seek His face, and in our distress earnestly seek Him (Hosea 5:15). All we need do is turn to Him and put our trust in Jesus (John 3:16–18; Romans 10:9–13). And if we have already done that, yet still find ourselves enticed by sin, all we need do is confess and ask Him to continue His good work of transformation in us so that we may live in righteousness (1 John 1:9; Philippians 1:6; 2:12–13). Hosea's marriage and faithfulness to Gomer amidst her unfaithfulness toward him is a memorable example of God's love and faithfulness to humankind.

Related Truth:

What is Christian redemption? What does it mean to be redeemed?

Is God's love really unconditional?

How can I have a personal relationship with God?

What is the Table of Nations in Genesis 10?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?

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