I will betroth you to me. (Hosea 2:19)

Three times in two verses, the Lord says, “I will betroth you to me.” Some commentators believe that this reflects the involvement and commitment of each Person of the Godhead in this betrothal. In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each saying, “I will betroth you to me.” It is, however, more likely that the threefold repetition of “I will betroth you” is for emphasis. It emphasizes the eagerness of the Lord to unite with those who have divorced Him and are now separated from Him. Israel did the separating, but God does the uniting.

Betrothal went further than the courtship alluring of verse 14. It was also more decisive than our Western ideas of engagement. Betrothal involved handing over a bride-price to the young lady’s father, whose acceptance of it finalized the commitment. Sometimes, especially if there was no living father, the bride-price was passed to the bride herself. This is what we have here: the Lord comes to betroth His bride to Himself with a six-fold bride-price of foreverness, righteousness, judgment, lovingkindness, mercies, and faithfulness.

What is different here is that the proposer is already married to the bride-to-be! The Lord was already in covenant union with Israel. But Israel had divorced Him by covenant disobedience. Yet the Lord comes and proposes all over again. In effect, He is saying, “Let’s start over. You will be as a virgin-bride to me, as though you had never committed any unfaithfulness to me. Let us enjoy the warmth of a new beginning with all the freshness of first love.”

Unfaithful Christian, distant “divorcee” full of regrets, you long to return to your Lord, yet fear that your relationship with Him will never fully recover and be as it once was. Listen to what He says as He graciously proposes all over again: “I will betroth you to me.” Come then and start afresh with all the excitement and thrill of first love. Your relationship can recover. It can be the same again—yes, even better than before. And if you doubt His sincerity, look at the six-fold bride-price He is offering you: foreverness, righteousness, judgment, lovingkindness, mercies, and faithfulness.