Last week in the comments, someone mentioned the Old Testament story of Gomer, the prostitute that Hosea married, and all I could think about was how hilarious that name is to me and how deeply ungraceful and unpoetic it sounds. Fitting, I suppose. So thanks not only to Jim Nabors but to my long nurtured appreciation for ridiculous sounding words like Sponch, Fleep, Yomple, and, yes, Gomer, I just don’t think I could ever listen to someone sing that name in a song without snickering a little. What can I say? The ten-year-old in me is alive and well.
I haven’t asked, but my theory is that Gomer tickles my brother Andrew’s funny bone in the same way it does mine. So when he wrote a song about Gomer’s story, he managed to do it without ever mentioning her name. Of all his songs, it’s one of my favorites, and I don’t snicker a bit when I hear it.
Hosea by Andrew Peterson
Every time I lay in the bed beside you Hosea, Hosea I hear the sound of the streets of the city My belly growls like a hungry wolf And I let it prowl till my belly’s full Hosea, my heart is a stone.
Please believe me when I say I’m sorry Hosea, Hosea You loveable, gullible man I tell you that my love is true till it fades away like a morning dew Hosea, leave me alone
Here I am in the Valley of Trouble Just look at the bed that I’ve made Badlands as far as I can see There’s no one here but me, Hosea
I stumbled and fell in the road on the way home Hosea, Hosea I lay in the brick street like a stray dog You came to me like a silver moon With the saddest smile I ever knew Hosea carried me home again Home again
You called me out to the Valley of Trouble Just to look at the mess that I’ve made A barren place where nothing can grow One look and my stone heart crumbled It was a valley as green as jade I swear it was the color of hope You turned a stone into a rose, Hosea.
I sang and I danced like I did as a young girl Hosea, Hosea I am a slave and a harlot no more You washed me clean like a summer rain And you set me free with that ball and chain Hosea, I threw away the key I’ll never leave