Several years passed. Gomer had a good life, even gave Hosea some beautiful children. She never needed to go back to her past life. But she did.
She recalled the thrill of freedom that lasted a moment…then the reality of her choice began to seep in when she realized she had no way to support herself. She hated the idea of prostitution, but it seemed the only way. So with a numbed heart, she sold herself.
Gomer soon found herself at auction for women with her “talents.” She couldn’t find work and her last customer’s harsh words still rang in her ears. “You’re nothing but a washed-out, old harlot. You’re not worth my time!” Gomer stared at the men in the auction place. They all eyed the younger, attractive girls in line. She knew her chances of being bought were next to nothing.
She sat near the other girls, her face veiled in case any tears betrayed her. Her head began to ache as the auction began, and the beautiful girls were sold quickly to the rich men. But her heart froze when a new customer came in the back.
Hosea –her husband–was there. He searched the crowd until he spotted her. She dropped her head; terror and shame washed over her. She didn’t dare look up. She could feel his gaze, and knew why he was here.
He knew I was at the end of my rope and wants to see me squirm.
She looked to the other customers, hoping someone strong would buy her and protect her if Hosea tried to hurt her
I don’t blame him though.
Her heart caught in her throat as she was called to the stand. The auctioneer hadn’t supplied any new clothing for her, so she looked rather pitiful in her threadbare, tattered clothing.
No one called out a price. No one wanted her.
She glanced over to Hosea. His arms were crossed and his eyes still fixed on her. He must be loving this, she thought. Hot tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks, but with the shred of dignity she had left, she held them back.
Someone in the back hollered. “We don’t want second-hand women!”
A lewder comment was given from a bleary-eyed man in the front. “C’mon, sweetheart. Show us the merchandise.” The group of men rippled with chuckles. “Let’s see what you got.”
Gomer tried to fight the nausea that rose to her throat. Her body had been loved by many men. But now, her conscience tore at her heart like a thousand knives. The group became louder, rowdier. Gomer feared less about being bought and more about her own safety. But a familiar voice rang out above the ruckus.
“I will buy her!”
All became quiet. It was Hosea. He walked toward the front, a bag of coins in his hand. “I will buy her.” He addressed the bookkeeper. “How much do you want for her?” The man named his price, and Gomer knew it was a very low one.
Before she knew what was happening, Hosea wrapped his outer robe around her and shuffled her into the street with his arms around her.
The tears that had been in hiding sprung to her eyes and escaped down her cheek. Hosea stopped for a moment to let her rest. “Darling, are you all right?”
The tenderness in her husband’s voice broke her resistance. She buried her tear-stained face into his chest and burst into sobs. Hosea only pulled her closer.
“Shh, it’s okay. We’re going home now.” They walked back. For the first time in months, Gomer felt safe.
* * *
But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there…I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.
Hosea 2:14, 19 (NLT)
Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.