Go on, you know you want to, God says it's okay. Get yourself a harlot for a wife:
- When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."
See also this take on it (warning -- mildly Not Safe For Work).
Having a harlot for a wife isn't all fun and games though. God has a plan: Hosea's first born son will, by God's design, go on to commit some terrible bloodshed, giving the Lord an excuse to punish the entire nation of Israel, the guilty and innocent alike.
Imagine being the son of Hosea, being told day in and day out by your father that the only reason you were born was to be God's instrument, and that your role in life will be to commit some heinous crime so that God can rain punishment on the entire nation. Imagine how twisted that poor child would grow up to be.
I hate to belabour the obvious, but when it comes to the Bible, it's amazing how many otherwise intelligent people grow blinkers. God planned for Hosea's son to commit this horrible crime. Hosea would probably have been perfectly happy wearing a hair shirt and beating himself
Sounds like entrapment to me. Sounds like God was just itchin' to rain down some divine retribution, and if he didn't have a good excuse, he'd damn well make sure he'd get an excuse, no matter what it takes.
Barely is Hosea done having children for the sole purpose of giving God an excuse to curse Israel, than God orders him to go get himself a second fallen woman:
- Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."
Just when you think you understand the mindset of the people who wrote the Bible (mostly "disturbed"), out pops an idiom that just blows you away. Eating raisin cakes is a sign of moral depravity? Gosh, I'm glad God has his priorities right. Wouldn't want him obsessing on trivialities, like cotton-blend fabrics and tassles.
Hosea goes on to say he purchased a woman from her husband, for 15 shekels of silver and some barley. I must admit to a little confusion: if her husband loved her, why was he selling her?