When Hosea married a "wife of whoredoms", did he sin?

Hosea 1:2

The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.

In Leviticus, it was commanded to not marry prostitutes. (which I assume is the same thing as a "wife of whoredoms")

Leviticus 21:14

A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry.

I know that he was commanded by the Lord to do that, but did anyone know that?

  • 6
    If you look at Leviticus 21:1, the command not to marry prostitutes was for the priests. Think about the prostitute Rahab, she came to marry an Israelite and became the mother to Boaz, an ancestor to David and later the Messiah himself.
    – agarza
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 14:46
  • We don't do contemporary application here, so I've cut back the second half of this.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 4:21

4 Answers 4


The question of whether Gomer was a prostitute at the time of her marriage to Hosea is controversial. One explanation suggests that she became a prostitute after the marriage. This was because the Lord was making Gomer an image of Israel who began faithful and later committed adultery.

When we look at the names of their three children;

  1. 1st child Jezreel - meaning "God sows" (Hosea 1:4)
  2. 2nd child Lo-Ruhamah - meaning "not loved" (Hosea 1:6)
  3. 3rd child Lo-Ammi - meaning "not my people" (Hosea 1:9)

Hosea 1:4-5 NIV

4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.”

Although the name of the first child has an implication of "The Lord's Judgement", the time of judgement had not yet come. It is possible that Gomer committed adultery after the marriage, and therefore Hosea did not violate the command in Levitus 21:7, which states that "Priests must not marry women defiled by prostitution"


The commands in Leviticus 21:14 apply specifically to the High Priest, not to the general population, as can be seen when looking at the verse in context.

Leviticus 21:10-15 (NIV)

10 “‘The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments, must not let his hair become unkempt or tear his clothes. 11 He must not enter a place where there is a dead body. He must not make himself unclean, even for his father or mother, 12 nor leave the sanctuary of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

Although we don't know much about Hosea, we have no reason to believe he was the High Priest, so these commands most likely did not apply to him.

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    – agarza
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 5:05

Disclaimer: I'm not speaking for any sect in this answer.

I should think that "sinning" implies disobedience. In the (very dangerous) words of scripture, since Hosea heard a voice in his mind to marry the ho, it would be a sin to not do so, no?

[Gen 22:1-3 NASB95] [1] Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." [2] He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." [3] So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.


Answer to Hosea marrying Gomer: was it a sin?

Judges 14:1-4

1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me. 3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father,Get her for me, for she pleaseth me well. 4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord,

Based on this similar event in scripture God is sovereign. Listen to him. No Hosea did not sin in marrying Gomer.

  • @ Audra M. Welcome to BH Audra. Stick around and you will have plenty to edit. As you can tell I am very limited by what I can format with this little LG smart phone. As a result I focus on content and not spelling and grammar. Fortunately there are many that like to help out. It takes a village.
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    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 21:43

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