Matthew Henry's Commentary
Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
3:1-3 The dislike of men to true religion is because they love objects and forms, which allow them to indulge, instead of mortifying their lusts. How wonderful that a holy God should have good-will to those whose carnal mind is enmity against Him! Here is represented God's gracious dealings with the fallen race of mankind, that had gone from him. This is the covenant of grace he is willing to enter into with them, they must be to him a people, and he will be to them a God. They must accept the punishment of their sin, and must not return to folly. And it is a certain sign that our afflictions are means of good to us, when we are kept from being overcome by the temptations of an afflicted state.
So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
3:4-5 Here is the application of the parable to Israel. They must long sit like a widow, stripped of all joys and honours; but shall at length be received again. Those that would seek the Lord so as to find him, must apply to Christ, and become his willing people. Not only are we to fear the Lord and his greatness, but the Lord and his goodness; not only his majesty, but his mercy. Even Jewish writers apply this passage to the promised Messiah; doubtless it foretold their future conversion to Christ, for which they are kept a separate people. Though the first fear of God arise from a view of his holy majesty and righteous vengeance, yet the experience of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ, will lead the heart to reverence so kind and glorious a Friend and Father, and to fear offending him.
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.