The prophet Hosea made an example of Gomer. He openly declared her faults and made her private life public. No matter what a woman has done wrong, she would not want to be subject to such humiliation, used by her husband to make a point about God.

If we consider the situation from Gomer’s point of view and sympathize with her plight, we may wonder whether there is another side to her story. As BR readers well know, the biblical authors had their own personal concerns, and those concerns affected what they wrote—including how they presented women to us. All we know about Gomer is what Hosea told us. Perhaps Gomer would tell us a different story.

Contemporary American poet Mary Caroline Jonah created a voice for Gomer in her 1975 Autobiography of Gomer. Gomer speaks in the first person as Jonah writes:

Everybody knows who Gomer is.

And they all know what I am!

If everybody knows you are, you might as well be!

As Gomer speaks of her youth, she says,

Did we Do It?

What difference does it make?

If everybody knows you did, you might as well have done it.


And her lover.

Well, they caught us.

Or me, rather—

He got away.

Go, my love, I’d rather one of us got free

Than both of us in chains for

2700 years or so.

They were going to stone me—

All those men with stones in their hands.

My friends—Jehu, Nathan, Obed—

When I was younger, we danced on the hill.

Now they stood there hating me.

If everyone says you are, you might as well be.

(This excerpt appears by permission of author Mary Caroline Jonah. The full text of the long poem is printed in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, Just Wives? [Westminister John Knox, 2003], pp. 107–124.)