Verse 1 – Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagan.”
Hosea is told to take Gomer back after she has committed adultery instead of divorcing her. She is called “a woman,” because instead of “your wife” she broke covenant. Just as Israel had looked to pagan gods, Gomer had went after lovers other than her husband.
Verse 2 – So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.
Gomer had become the slave of or a mistress of another man, so Hosea needed to pay to get her back. This low price that was paid shows Israel’s worthlessness.
Verse 3 – And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man, thus I will also be toward you.”
Gomer would be kept separate for a while from marriage privileges, just as Israel would be separated from God, while they were in exile.
Verse 4 – For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
Israel would abide in isolation as a separated wife. The “teraphim” were household gods, in the shape of human busts, cut off at the waist. They were supposed to give responses to consulters. Saul’s daughter, Michal, hid one in her and David’s bed when David was hiding from Saul, proving it was the shape of a man.
Verse 5 – Afterward the children of Israel shall return, seek the Lord their God and David their king, and fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.
The northern kingdom, Israel, had rejected David’s dynasty and had taken Jeroboam as their king. Their rebellion was both political and spiritual. “David their king” refers to the time the Messiah will rule when all people will bow before Him. Those who won’t accept Christ’s blessings now will face his power and judgment later.