Hosea 1:3
So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
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(3) Gomer the daughter of Diblaim.—Gomer means complete, or perfect, but whether in external beauty or in wickedness of character is not easy to determine.

Hosea 1:3. So he went and took Gomer, &c. — The word Gomer signifies failing, or consuming, (see Psalm 12:1,) so that the very name of the harlot, whom Hosea took, was symbolical, signifying that the kingdom of Israel would experience a great failing, consumption, or decrease of its people; which indeed it did, through the Assyrian kings’ carrying away vast numbers of them, from time to time, into captivity. The daughter of Diblaim — Diblaim signifies heaps of figs; this name, therefore, may be considered as expressing symbolically, that, as some figs are good, others bad, (see Jeremiah 24.,) so there were some good people, although the major part were bad, among the Israelites. Which conceived, and bare him a son — This, it seems, was a legitimate son born to the prophet.

1:1-7 Israel was prosperous, yet then Hosea boldly tells them of their sins, and foretells their destruction. Men are not to be flattered in sinful ways because they prosper in the world; nor will it last long if they go on still in their trespasses. The prophet must show Israel their sin; show it to be exceedingly hateful. Their idolatry is the sin they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone, is an injury and affront to God; such as for a wife to take a stranger, is to her husband. The Lord, doubtless, had good reasons for giving such a command to the prophet; it would form an affecting picture of the Lord's unmerited goodness and unwearied patience, and of the perverseness and ingratitude of Israel. We should be broken and wearied with half that perverseness from others, with which we try the patience and grieve the Spirit of our God. Let us also be ready to bear any cross the Lord appoints. The prophet must show the ruin of the people, in the names given to his children. He foretells the fall of the royal family in the name of his first child: call his name Jezreel, which signifies dispersion. He foretells God's abandoning the nation in the name of the second child; Lo-ruhamah, not beloved, or not having obtained mercy. God showed great mercy, but Israel abused his favours. Sin turns away the mercy of God, even from Israel, his own professing people. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected. Though some, through unbelief, are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. Our salvation is owing to God's mercy, not to any merit of our own. That salvation is sure, of which he is the Author; and if he will work, none shall hinder.So he went - He did not demur, nor excuse himself, as did even Moses Exodus 4:18, or Jeremiah Jer 1:6, or Peter Acts 10:4, and were rebuked for it, although mercifully by the All-Merciful. Hosea, accustomed from childhood to obey God and every indication of the will of God, did at once, what he was bidden, however repulsive to natural feeling, and became, thereby, the more an image of the obedience of Christ Jesus, and a pattern to us, at once to believe and obey God's commands, however little to our minds.

Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim - "Gomer" is completion; "Diblaim," a double lump of figs; which are a figure of sweetness. These names may mean, that "the sweetness of sins is the parent of destruction;" or that Israel, or mankind had completely forsaken God, and were children of corrupting pleasure.

Holy Scripture relates that all this was done, and tells us the births and names of the children, as real history. As such then, must we receive it. We must not imagine things to be unworthy of God, because they do not commend themselves to us. God does not dispense with the moral law, because the moral law has its source in the mind of God Himself. To dispense with it would be to contradict Himself. But God, who is the absolute Lord of all things which he made, may, at His Sovereign will, dispose of the lives or things which He created. Thus, as Sovereign Judge, He commanded the lives of the Canaanites to be taken away by Israel, as, in His ordinary providence, He has ordained that the magistrate should not bear the sword in vain, but has made him His "minister, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" Romans 13:4. So, again, He, whose are all things, willed to repay to the Israelites their hard and unjust servitude, by commanding them "to spoil the Egyptian" Exodus 3:22.

He, who created marriage, commanded to Hosea, whom he should marry. The prophet was not defiled, by taking as his lawful wife, at God's bidding, one defiled, however hard a thing this was. "He who remains good, is not defiled by coming in contact with one evil; but the evil, following his example, is turned into good." But through his simple obedience, he foreshadowed Him, God the Word, who was called "the friend of publicans and sinners" Matthew 11:19; who warned the Pharisees, that "the publicans and harlots should (enter unto the kingdom of God before them" Matthew 21:31; and who now vouchsafes to espouse, dwell in, and unite Himself with, and so to hallow, our sinful souls. The acts which God enjoined to the prophets, and which to us seem strange, must have had an impressiveness to the people, in proportion to their strangeness. The life of the prophet became a sermon to the people. Sight impresses more than words. The prophet, being in his own person a mirror of obedience, did moreover, by his way of life, reflect to the people some likeness of the future and of things unseen. The expectation of the people was wound up, when they saw their prophets do things at God's command, which they themselves could not have done. When Ezekiel was bidden to show no sign of mourning, on the sudden death of "the desire of his eyes" Ezekiel 24:16-18, his wife; or when he dug through the wall of his house, and carried forth his household stuff in the twilight, with his face covered Ezekiel 12:3-7; the people asked, "Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?" (Ezekiel 24:19, add Ezekiel 12:10). No words could so express a grief beyond all power of grieving, as Ezekiel's mute grief for one who was known to be "the desire of his eyes," yet for whom he was forbidden to show the natural expressions of grief, or to use the received tokens of mourning. God Himself declares the ground of such acts to have been, that, rebellious as the house of Israel was Ezekiel 12:2, "with eyes which saw not, and ears which heard not," they might yet consider such acts as these.

3. Gomer … daughter of Diblaim—symbolical names; literally, "completion, daughter of grape cakes"; the dual expressing the double layers in which these dainties were baked. So, one completely given up to sensuality. Maurer explains "Gomer" as literally, "a burning coal." Compare Pr 6:27, 29, as to an adulteress; Job 31:9, 12. So he went and took Gomer; as commanded, so he did, whether you take it parabolically or literally. If you take it literally, this Gomer will be some known harlot, and perhaps she was famous for her beauty, and skill in the courtesan’s art, as her name may import. If you take it as a parable, we must take this name for a made name, assumed for its signification; both in the best sense Israel was perfect with the perfection which God did put upon her, Ezekiel 16:14, he made her

Gomer; and in the worst sense she made herself Gomer, one who was drawing to her end, who had undone and consumed herself; thus the word, Psalm 12:1; and so, in one word, God’s bounty and mercy, and Israel’s ingratitude and sin, is set forth, together with her punishment hastening upon her.

The daughter of Diblaim: literally understood, this Diblaim must be either father or mother of this Gomer, or else the name of the place where she was born. Parabolically understood, Diblaim, bunches of dried figs, may imply the deliciousness of her provision made of God, such as was made for great feasts, 1 Samuel 25:18; so 1 Chronicles 12:40: thus it will suit Hosea 2:5,9, and the places where the fig is mentioned as fruit with which God had blessed Israel. All which abused to luxury and sin, will now make her a daughter of Diblaim, of wilderness, desolate.

Bare him a son: this seems to favour the literal acceptation of all this as really done, and not only as represented in vision, parable, or hieroglyphic. But while either way it will be well applied to the purpose in hand, I shall leave it to the choice of every judicious reader to interpret and apply as best likes him.

So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim,.... In the course of prophesying he made mention of this person, who was a notorious common strumpet; and suggested hereby that they were just like her; or these were fictitious names he used to represent their case by Gomer signifies both "consummation" and "consumption" (l); and this harlot is so called, because of her consummate beauty, and her being completely mistress of all the tricks of one; or, being consummately wicked, a perfect whore, common to all; and because her ruin and destruction, persisting in such practices, were inevitable, and so a fit emblem of the present and future condition of Israel. Diblaim may be considered either as the name of a man, a word of the same form with Ephraim; or of a woman, the mother of Gomer; or else of a place, the wilderness of Diblath, Ezekiel 6:14 and signifies "a cake of dried figs" (m); which, in that country, was reckoned delicious eating; and so denotes, either that both the sin and ruin of this people were owing to their luxury, or indulging themselves in carnal pleasures, through the great affluence they were possessed of; or that their original was from a wilderness, and for their sins should be reduced to a desolate state again:

which conceived and bare him a son; whose name, and what he was an emblem of, are declared in the following verse. The Targum is,

"and he went and prophesied over them, that if they returned, it should be forgiven them: but, if not, as fig tree leaves drop off, so should they; but they added, and did evil works.''

(l) A rad. "perfecit, desiit", Gussetius. (m) Vox "significat massas ficuum compressarum et siccatarum", Rivetus, Tarnovius.

So he went and took {d} Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

(d) Gomer signifies a consumption or corruption, and rotten clusters of figs, declaring that they were all corrupt like rotten figs.

3. Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim] Various attempts have been made to extract a meaning from these names, which by its appropriateness to the circumstances of the Israelites might favour the view that the events related are fictitious and not real. Gomer may plausibly be interpreted ‘perfection’ (i.e. consummate in wickedness), and Diblaim ‘cakes of figs’ (i.e. the sweetness of sin). Rahmer has pointed out this view in the Talmud (see Frankel’s Monatsschrift, xiv. 216 foll.), so that St Jerome’s similar explanation must have come from his Jewish teacher. But the fact that the children of Hosea (like those of Isaiah) have names which are obviously symbolic does not justify us in forcing an allusion out of the name of the mother. It has been suggested, but the view is not borne out by usage, that Diblaim is the name of Gomer’s birthplace; Diblathaim was a Moabitish town (see Jeremiah 48:22 and Moabite Stone l. 30). The termination is that of the dual.

bare him a son] i.e. bare a son, whom for the mother’s sake he recognized.

Verse 3. - So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. Kimchi conjectures that "Gomer was the name of a harlot well known at that time;" he also explains the name, according to his view of its symbolic import, as follows: "Gomer has the meaning of completion;" as if the prophet said, He will fully execute on them the punishment of their transgressions that he may forgive their iniquity." The names of the children born to the prophet are significant and symbolical; and their symbolic significance is explained. The names mentioned in this verse are also significant, though their significance is not expressly stated, as in the former case; the cause of the omission being the fact that these names were not, like the others, now received for the first time, but simply retained. Gomer denotes "completion" or" consummation," from a verbal root signifying "to perfect" or "come to an end; and Diblaim is the dual of deblelah, the plural being debhelim, from the verb dabhal, to press together into a mass, especially a round mass. The meaning of the word, then, is "two cakes," that is, of dried figs pressed together in lumps. It may be observed, in passing, that the Greek παλάθη seems to come from the Aramaic form debhalta, by the omission of the initial daleth. But what is the mystic meaning which the prophet veils under the two names Consummation and Compressed fig-cakes (cakes of compressed figs)? The one may hint not obscurely consummation in sin and in the suffering which is the ultimate consequence of sin; while the other may imply the sweetness of sensual indulgences, especially such as idolatrous celebrants were prone to. If, then, the symbolical interpretation of these names be allowable, we may accept that given by Jerome. He says, "Out of Israel is taken typically by Hosea a wife consummated in fornication, and a perfect daughter of pleasure which seems sweet and pleasant to those who enjoy it." There is, moreover, an obvious appropriateness in the names thus symbolically understood. The prophet, whose name signifies "salvation," marries a woman who was a daughter of plea. sure and a votary of sin; this alliance represents the relation into which Jehovah, with his saving power, had mercifully taken Israel; but that people, unmindful and unthankful for such mercy, and intent on the indulgence of a sinful course, went from bad to worse in apostasy and idolatry till God at length left them in their impenitence and abandoned them to their fate. The conception and birth of Gomer's son to the prophet, though several authorities omit "him," give no countenance to the idea of the child being supposititious; and so far there seems to be some confirmation of the opinion of Keil referred to under ver. 2. Hosea 1:3"And he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bare him a son." Gomer does indeed occur in Genesis 10:2-3, as the name of a people; but we never meet with it as the name of either a man or a woman, and judging from the analogy of the names of her children, it is chosen with reference to the meaning of the word itself. Gomer signifies perfection, completion in a passive sense, and is not meant to indicate destruction or death (Chald. Marck), but the fact that the woman was thoroughly perfected in her whoredom, or that she had gone to the furthest length in prostitution. Diblaim, also, does not occur again as a proper name, except in the names of Moabitish places in Numbers 33:46 (‛Almon-diblathaim) and Jeremiah 48:22 (Beth-diblathaim); it is formed from debhēlâh, like the form 'Ephraim, and in the sense of debhēlı̄m, fig-cakes. "Daughter of fig-cakes," equivalent to liking fig-cakes, in the same sense as "loving grape-cakes" in Hosea 3:1, viz., deliciis dedita.

(Note: This is essentially the interpretation given by Jerome: "Therefore is a wife taken out of Israel by Hosea, as the type of the Lord and Saviour, viz., one accomplished in fornication, and a perfect daughter of pleasure (filia voluptatis), which seems so sweet and pleasant to those who enjoy it.")

The symbolical interpretation of these names is not affected by the fact that they are not explained, like those of the children in Hosea 1:4., since this may be accounted for very simply from the circumstance, that the woman does not now receive the names for the first time, but that she had them at the time when the prophet married her.

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