Question 21: I read John Calvin’s commentary on Hosea chapter one. He believed that Hosea never actually married Gomer, but that the account presented a drama of the marriage to preach to Israel. Would you agree with a non-literal interpretation of the marriage or a literal one?

Answer: John Calvin tended to use too much allegorical interpretation when it was not at all necessary. His attempt to allegorize the marriage of Hosea to Gomer is a good example of this.

The text is intended to be understood literally and Hosea’s marriage was to be a pictorial lesson for the people of Israel, but it was a real marriage with real children, and there was a separation and a reunion with certain consequences. Nothing in the text indicates that this was allegorical.


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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.