Did God Actually Instruct Hosea to Marry a Prostitute?

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In Hosea 1:2, God comes to Hosea and commands him to take for himself, depending upon your English translation, a wife of whoredom. So, the question arises, was God actually commanding his prophet to marry a woman who had sexual sin evident in her life?

Now, this has led to all kinds of Christian interpretation of what is being talked about here in Hosea, chapter one. As many as eight interpretations are out there.

So you have, this is a parable, you have this is an allegory all the way to this is a real, historical figure who married Gomer, who was also a woman who was already displaying sexual sin in her life.

I think the two prevalent interpretations among Christians today are these: both of the interpretations take Hosea and Gomer to be real, historical figures. But the divide is when was Gomer involved in sexual sin?

One view says that God couldn't possibly command his prophet to marry a woman who was already involved in sexual sin, so they will say that Hosea took Gomer to be his wife but it was only later, after they were married that she fell into sexual sin, and thus paralleled the relationship that God had with Israel.

But the other popular view says that God did actually command Hosea to go and take Gomer as his wife and when he took Gomer as his wife, she was already involved in sexual sin. I hold to this view, that God actually did command his prophet Hosea to take a wife who was involved in sexual sin. So, this is naturally where the question of prostitution comes forth: how does a prophet seek out a wife for himself who is as the English translation says, 'a wife of whoredom?'

The best possible solution to that is that he probably went and took for himself a cult, a prostitute as his wife. Why do I hold to this view? I think largely because of the text itself. It doesn't appear that the text is telling Hosea to do this and it's looking back upon an event and how his wife changed in her disposition.

It appears from the text that God is going directly to Hosea and he's saying take this kind of woman to be your wife.