«l will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy»(Oseas 2:19).
Nazneen was only fourteen when she got engaged to Aasir who was eighteen. Even though the two youngsters did not spend a lot of time together, they both cherished wonderful dreams of a joyful marriage, surrounded by children in a happy environment and with a blissful future. Despite her youth, Nazneen was able to love her fiancée from the bottom of her heart. Aasir was kind and handsome, with a decent job and, in all likelihood, would be an excellent husband.
Everything could have happened as they dreamed had it not been for what had happened one night. At two o’clock in the morning, thieves broke into Nazneen’s house. They tied her parents up, took all the valuable objects and found Nazneen and her two scared little sisters in the bedroom. The thieves took the eldest sister with the intention of raping her. Nazneen knew the tragic consequence of such an act, so she grabbed a knife and screamed at them that if they continued with their attempt, she would kill herself. The thieves got scared and ran away with the stolen goods, but without harming the girl. When Aasir and his family found out about the incident, they said the girl was «used» and was not worthy of marrying Aasir. wedding never took place.
Aasir and his family did not reject the girl for having been raped but for being the object of an unsuccessful rape attempt. Virginity is a highly valued condition in many present and past societies and cultures. It was also the same for the people of Israel. If it was discovered that a newly-wed girl was not a virgin, and there was proof of her guilt, she would be stoned to death (Deut. 22:13-21).
The Book of Hosea openly shows—especially for those who defend virginity and fidelity—that the God of the universe is willing to marry an adulterous nation, once it has repented. He is willing to forgive the transgressions that some nations punish by death to restore the family’s honor. God’s attitude presented in the Book of Hosea eliminates any means of violence to restore the honor and forgives the woman who is unfaithful: His chosen people. Of course, God implements the punishment (Hos. 2:13), but He then courts her, takes her to the dessert, speaks to her hear (v. 14) and marries her (v. 19). What a wonderful lesson of love and forgiveness for us to apply to our customs and traditions!