“…I was their husband…” (Jeremiah 31:32)
God’s relationship with his chosen people was described as their husband.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:31-32)
Other prophets used similar marriage language.
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” (Isaiah 54:5)
But the house of Israel committed adultery against God by worshiping idols and breaking his covenant (disobeying His laws).
“Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 3:20)
“Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!” (Ezekiel 16:32)
Ezekiel 23 metaphorically describes the two kingdoms as two daughters that defiled themselves with idols.
“Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria [representative of the 10 northern tribes], and Oholibah is Jerusalem. [representative of the 2 southern tribes]” (Ezekiel 23:4)
“Oholah [the northern tribes] played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted.” (Ezekiel 23:5-7)
The husband (God) had warned his wife (Israel) repeatedly to repent from her adultery (idol worship), but she persisted. So her husband sent her away.
Is this a real marriage or an allegory? Actually, that’s probably a trick question because of what Paul states in Ephesians 5. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. It is an illustration to help us understand what the bond is like between Christ and his assembly of believers.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)