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When Milton Steinberg died in 1950, he left one manuscript tantalizingly unfinished. Set against a backdrop of unrest in ancient Israel, The Prophet’s Wife is a stirring portrait of the young prophet Hosea, his free-spirited wife Gomer, and a people seduced by the lures of power and idolatry.

This exciting literary find creatively brings to life the prophet and his world, in a story that is both highly personal and yet grand in scope, exploring the relationship of the Jewish people with God. Essays by three extraordinary writers and thinkers provide startling, breathtaking interpretations to deepen understanding of the novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780874411409
Publisher: Behrman House, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/28/2010
Pages: 364
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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Prophet's Wife 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
suesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was fairly interesting, but did not live up to my memories of Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf. It is the story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife Gomer, who is suposed to represent Israel. The plot was too reminiscent of a soap opera to portray the worth the author planned.
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MaggieAntonCA More than 1 year ago
Steinberg has written another beautiful and moving novel, one that delves deep into Hosea's mind and heart. The historical novelist's task is to take the reader on a mental vacation back to a time and place that is otherwise inaccessible, while simultaneously providing a compelling story populated with fascinating characters. In The Prophet's Wife, Steinberg admirably fulfills both these tasks. I knew that Steinberg left "The Prophet's Wife" unfinished, but that advance knowledge did little to assuage my disappointment and frustration. Surely the climatic scene would have been Hosea's encounter with God, and I had keenly anticipated how Steinberg would have written it. Yet Hosea's 8th-century world is brought vividly to life. We see through Hosea's eyes why the Northern Kingdom deserved to be destroyed. Steinberg lets us experience Gomer's thoughts and feelings through Hosea. We know her shame and guilt, and that deep inside she loves Hosea too. "The Prophet's Wife" allows those readers familiar with the bible to understand how Hosea and Gomer's relationship so well symbolizes that of God and Israel. This is why I believe that it is probably just as well that The Prophet's Wife remained unpublished until now. Rabbi Steinberg died just after details of the Holocaust in Europe had demoralized the Jewish world. Publishing a novel on the Prophet Hosea, who warned the Northern Kingdom that God would destroy them as punishment for their sins, could be seen as tantamount to saying that the Holocaust occurred because of its victim's sins - a view that Steinberg undoubtedly found abhorrent. Today, sixty years later, when the shadow of the Holocaust no longer so completely darkens the Jewish world, we can read "The Prophet's Wife" with sufficient distance between Northern Israel's fate in the 8th century and that of Europe's Jews in the 20th. So I gladly welcome this final work in Steinberg's corpus, frustratingly incomplete as it is. However my review would also be incomplete without this historical novelist's version of how The Prophet's Wife should end. Obviously Steinberg intended for Hosea to kill Iddo, and thus Hosea achieves justice and revenge, as well as acclamation as a hero. Coming back to the biblical story, which neither mentions Iddo nor a revolt against the king, Hosea now receives the call from God, Who tells Hosea to take Gomer back, that their marriage will embody the covenant between God and Israel. Hosea returns home to his patrimony to find that Gomer is still there, continuing to manage the family estate that Iddo had neglected. She begs Hosea's forgiveness and beseeches him not to force her back to harlotry. Hosea shares God's words with her, and she swears that she has repented all the evil she did Hosea, and henceforth will be the most faithful of wives. They remarry, but Hosea, determined to remain pure to receive God's word, will not cohabit with her. Gomer soon finds that she is pregnant, and Hosea, realizing that this child would be Iddo's heir otherwise, claims the pregnancy as his own, thus fulfilling the Bible's text that gives the couple three children. The final scene, a mirror of the opening, shows Hosea climbing onto the town rostrum. Only this time we hear the words that God has put in his mouth, those that Jews read twice a year on Tisha B'Av and Shabbat Shuva: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God." For more, see my blog at www.rashisdaughters.com