Hos. 1:2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD."
Critics say it is horrible that God made Hosea marry a prostitue. But they need to view this from the raw-survival world of the ANE. Consider:
- Given the social status of prostitutes in the ANE, that this was a remarkable gesture of forgiveness and mercy on the part of God and His prophet. There were neither social programs to help this woman out, nor any other way to escape the cycle of despair -- other than legitimate marriage.
- Hosea's marriage symbolizes and represents God's love for (and also, response to) Israel. He brought them into a covenant relationship even though they had been worshipping false gods in Egypt (i.e., being spiritual prostitutes).
At the very least critics could look at this marriage as an ancient form of "performance art" -- but those who are still disturbed, ought to put themselves in the place of Gomer for a while and decide whether they think God's command still disgusts them.