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Hosea: The God with a Broken Heart (9 of 20)
Introduction: It is an unbelievable story. Were it not in the pages of the Bible, we might think it something from the Jerry Springer Show, a soap opera, or a tabloid magazine. It is a story of romance, betrayal, and heartbreak.
Perhaps chapter 3 contains the most poignant moment in the story. It could have happened like this:
Maybe it was cool spring morning. The streets of the city are filled with the rush of busy merchants setting up their wares and shoppers looking for the best produce or just a good deal. The town square is more crowded than usual. Folk have come from miles around. This is the first Wednesday of the month: auction day.
Sheep, goats, young bulls, and several bred heifers will be sold this morning. Traders from the Orient have brought stacks of trinkets, fine silk cloth, and ornate bottles of spices and perfumes to be offered to the highest bidder. But that's not what seems to be the center of attention. Every eye has turned to the auction block at the edge of the square. Chains rattle, a whip cracks, and curses fill the air, as a rough looking guard pushes and prods a woman to the center of the platform. Her hair is dirty; her ragged dress even dirtier. Whatever beauty might have been there has long evaporated through God knows how many years of a miss-spent life.
The auctioneer begins his work. ''She is for sale,'' he says. ''She may not look like much now,'' he notes. ''But she is healthy, strong, and should clean up nicely. A lot of good work left in her. She'll make somebody a fine housemaid. Maybe she could even watch your children or maybe your sheep.''
''Who will start the bidding?'' No one responds. ''Come on! Surely, someone could use a good female slave.'' Someone in the back shouts, ''Why is she being sold? What's wrong with her?'' The auctioneer gives a quick look toward the owner for permission then explains. She had been a professional w ...
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