Monday, January 09, 2012

Sluts, Schemers, And Other Shockingly Interesting Women Of The Bible #4 – Gomer

Disclaimer: I am doing this as a way to share what I learn about these gals. I’m not saying what I discover and write about here is the absolute truth about them. I’m not thinking I’m going to discover some revolutionary truth that nobody’s heard before, nor am I looking to start legalistic fights. This is more about me being curious and wanting to learn more about these gals, and saying “Here’s what I learned in my Bible readings today!”

Which One Is She?

Gomer is firmly in our Slut category, as she’s the woman God told the prophet Hosea to marry, despite her indiscretions that continued even after Hosea married her. She’s willful, stubborn, wants to do her own thing, comes back and says she’s sorry and she won’t ever do it again… and then promptly goes and does it again.

Just like most of mankind.

Which is why God told Hosea to marry her, as their union would vividly be a metaphor for God and Israel, his chosen people.

In that metaphor, Hosea is to God as Gomer the slut is all of us.

Who Could Be Her Celebrity Counterpart?

I’m gonna get in such trouble for this. It really doesn’t matter who I name, it’s gonna be bad news. Oh, yes, please DO “name a famous female celebrity who’s slept with MASSIVE amounts of people.” Let me Google that phrase and see what I come back with. HA! GOOGLE DOESN’T COME BACK WITH ANYTHING! GOOGLE’S STAYING THE HELL AWAY FROM THIS ONE!!

You know what? I’m gonna say Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love (Venus is the Roman version). Who was VERY well known for taking numerous lovers, and never really being faithful to her hubby Hephaestus (Vulcan is the Roman version). And since Mira Sorvino played a prostitute (and won an Oscar for it) in Woody Allen's “Mighty Aphrodite,” that’s the face we’re using today. (we’re NOT saying Mira is a slut. WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT. We’re saying that we’re using her face as an illustration. THAT’S ALL.)

Where Is She In The Bible?

Hosea, a minor prophet book in the Old Testament. Fourteen chapters long.

What Did You Already Know About Her Before This?

I knew about her, because it’s a wackadoo part of the Bible that not a lot of people know about, so when you read about it you’re like “?!HUH?!” but then I forgot. Then I remember. Then I forget. Minor prophets are like that.

What’s Her Story?

God told Hosea to marry an adulterous woman, though look at the hilarious way it reads in the Bible,

Chapter 1, vs. 2 & 3 “…the Lord said to him, “God, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. So he married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”


See, the way I read it, God doesn’t tell Hosea WHO to marry, He tells Hosea WHAT KIND OF WOMAN to marry, i.e. “Go find yourself a whore and marry her,” and Hosea thinks, “OH! I KNOW JUST THE ONE!”

Meaning it’s up to Hosea’s own judgment to find the whoriest of whores. OH MY GOD, PEOPLE, DO YOU NOT SEE THE HILARITY HERE?

After being instructed by God to pick a whore for a wife, Hosea marries Gomer and they have three kids (there’s debate over whether the second and third child are Hosea’s), and God tells them to name the children specifically these names because of what the names mean:

Jezreel, a boy– Jezreel is a famous battleground where a historical bloody coup took place under the king of Jehu. Jezreel means “God scatters.” By Hosea naming his child this, God is speaking through Hosea that Jehu’s rule is coming to an end.

Lo-Ruhamah, a daughter, - Lo-Ruhamah means “not pitied.”

Lo-Ammi, a son - Lo-Ammi means “not my people.”

With a slut for a mom, and these wackadoo names, I am shocked that we don’t hear more about how these three kids grew up to be serial killers. I mean, seriously.

God is using not just Hosea’s marriage, but his children as an extended metaphor for the bumpy love story between God and the Israel nation. Though I don’t think that explanation would’ve stopped those kids from getting their asses kicked on the playground. Thanks, God!

So the majority of the book of Hosea is either God talking, or talking through Hosea about how Israel (the nation, which takes on female qualities when God talks about her ) has turned away from Him, so He’s gonna take everything away from Israel, strip her bare, then charm her all over again, like in Ch.1 vs. 14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” And if you’re thinking this makes God sound like an abusive husband – I gave you everything, you abandoned me, so now I’m gonna take everything back! – you’d be sorta right, except for the fact that Israel brought it on herself by turning its back on God first and #2, When God woos Israel back, He doesn’t mistreat her. Israel’s the one who keeps running off (in the form of abandoning God in favor of worshipping other pagan gods), over and over and over again and God’s the one who lets Israel suffer the consequences of her choices, waits for her to come back, and takes her back over and over again, until the next time Israel runs off, enticed by some new pagan god.

This is played out in Hosea’s marriage by Hosea continually going to find and bring back Gomer from whoever’s bed she’s currently bouncing in. This includes buying her back out of slavery/possible temple prostitution (Chapter 3). While Gomer’s only specifically mentioned by name in Chapter 1 and 3, you can extrapolate that she’s married to Hosea through all 14 chapters of the book, otherwise it would’ve been mentioned if they busted up (and when God wants to use things as a metaphor, they kinda go the way He wants. Because He’s God, you know.)

Hosea’s still continuing his career as a prophet, and you gotta think this makes him an especially effective speaker, who’s literally practicing what he’s preaching in terms of how God will always go after His people, will always take them back. It’s also a good thing that Hosea’s a prophet, and not a minister, because you know he would’ve been kicked out of any church for having a wife who would so publicly embarrass him, and whom he seemingly can’t control.

No reason is given for why Gomer runs off. She could be a nympho, she could be bored of Hosea’s constant preaching of Israel’s sorrows, she might take the attitude of “F it, if this is what he thinks I’m going to do, might as well prove him right.”

She’s stuck in a pattern of behavior that she’s been in for so long, it’s quite possible that she thought this was a normal way to live. She could have said, “Yo, you knew I was a slut when you married me. In fact it was BECAUSE I was a slut that you married me. I have to keep being a slut, or else God’s metaphor of our marriage doesn’t work. So I’m heading down to the bar to pick up a guy, and I’ll catch you on the flip side, mmmkay?”

I keep getting the picture in my head that Hosea was the nerdiest of nerds, and Gomer was a total (if a little road-worn) babe. (Woody Allen and Mira Sorvino, maybe?) Because had Hosea been the least bit studly, Gomer would’ve totally stayed around, no?

I wonder if Gomer simply couldn’t handle at first what love is about. True unconditional love means accepting the person, warts and all (and there’s an assumption that the warty person will try very hard to change their warty ways, and you will love them through that process too.)

There had to have come a point where Gomer was so tired of her negative behavior that she just gave up and thought, yeah, you can have me back if you want this broken down soul and beaten up body. Because nobody can keep living that kind of life and end up happy.

And for Hosea to take her back must’ve blown her mind. Why would you want me back? After everything I’ve done to you. After everything I’ve done to myself. I am not beautiful anymore. I am not worth your love. I am not worth anyone’s love. I am not worthy of being loved.

But Gomer was worthy of being loved. We’re all worthy of being loved. Warts and all.

A big part of me wishes that the book of Hosea focused more on that aspect of Hosea and Gomer’s relationship, and less on God and Israel. Even though they’re metaphorically the same thing. But you know how it goes when it comes to Old Testament prophets – the prophecies take center stage 99.9 percent of the time.

What Did You Learn?

We’re all worthy of being loved, and that can be the hardest realization of all.


aly said...

You are absolutely brilliant. Please don't stop writing.

aly said...
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