PART I., 1-3. These Chapter s form a distinct section consisting of two narrative pieces, mainly in prose (Hosea 1:2 to Hosea 2:1 and Hosea 3), which narrate the story of the prophet's unhappy marriage with Gomer; and a prophetic discourse, in which the lessons to be deduced from his own domestic experience are applied to the nation (Hosea 2:2-23). 17 is probably an interpolation, while Hosea 1:10-11 is, at least, out of order. Steuernagel suggests that Hosea 1:1-9 and Hosea 3 are really parallel narratives, one, written by the original editor, being in the third person (Hosea 1:1-9), while the other, written in the first person, is the work of the prophet himself (Hosea 3), each describing the prophet's marriage. If Hosea 3 be read immediately after Hosea 1:9 the sections will gain in coherence.
The prophet, bidden yet again to love a woman, who is loved by another and is an adulteress, in this respect imitating Yahweh's love for His unfaithful people, buys her out of slavery and subjects her to a purifying seclusion (Hosea 3:1-3). In the same way Israel shall be deprived for a time of her civil and religious institutions (? in exile), in order to return later under Yahweh, a purified and happy people. The reference is still to Gomer, though this is denied by Marti, who regards the piece as a later addition to the Book.  According to the usual interpretation, after her unfaithful conduct had led to her repudiation by her husband, Gomer had sold herself voluntarily into bondage to one of her paramours. The prophet, however, who has been led to see in his domestic tragedy a parable of God's relation with Israel, is taught to forgive and redeem his wife by seeing God's readiness to forgive and redeem His people. As already mentioned, Steuernagel regards the narrative as Hosea's own account of his marriage to Gomer, and as parallel to not a sequel of Hosea 1:1-9. In this case omit yet in Hosea 3:1.
 Marti thinks the interpolator understood 1 allegorically, and regarded 1f. as referring to Judah, and 3 as to Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
Hosea 3:1. The imperative love is suggested to the prophet by Yahweh's love of His disloyal people. Read (changing Heb. points), a woman loving another. Obviously Gomer is meant. To suppose that the prophet was commanded to marry another adulteress (so apparently Marti) destroys the point of the application of Yahweh's love of Israel. The raisin-cakes (p. 99) were such as were offered sacrificially at vintage feasts (especially at the great autumnal feast of ingathering; cf. Isaiah 16:7). Such cakes were a regular feature of ancient cults (cf. Jeremiah 7:18). There is a touch of sarcasm in the reference to the Israelites-' love of such offerings (of which they partook). The mg. is not probable in either case.
Hosea 3:3. so. thee: read, I will not go in unto thee.
Hosea 3:4. Gomer in seclusion, corresponds to the exiled nation. King and prince are perhaps parallel to husband and lovers. The sacred pillar (massç bâ) was the mark of a holy site, and hence is coupled with sacrifice (p. 98). For ephod and teraphim see pp. 100f. Note that all these adjuncts of the Yahweh-cultus in N. Israel are referred to, apparently, without blame.
Hosea 3:5. and David their king: omit.