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Therefore, I will certainly cut[a] you into pieces at the hands of the prophets;[b]
I will certainly kill you[c] in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment,[d]
for[e] my judgment[f] will come forth like the light of the dawn.[g]

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  1. Hosea 6:5 tn The two suffix-conjugation verbs חָצַבְתִּי (khatsavti, Qal perfect first person common singular from חָצַב, khatsav, “to cut into pieces”) and הֲרַגְתִּים (haragtim, Qal perfect first person common singular + third person masculine plural suffix from הָרַג, harag, “to kill”) are used in reference to future-time events. These are examples of the so-called “prophetic perfect,” which emphasizes the certainty of the future event (e.g., Num 24:17; Josh 10:19; Isa 8:23 HT [9:1 ET]; 9:1 HT [9:2 ET]). For this function of the perfect, see IBHS 480-81 §30.1d. Most English versions, however, render these as past tenses.
  2. Hosea 6:5 tn Heb “by the prophets” (so KJV, NRSV). The prophets are pictured as the executioners of Israel and Judah because they announced their imminent destruction. The prophetic word was endowed with the power of fulfillment.
  3. Hosea 6:5 tn Heb “them.” The shift from the second person masculine singular referents (“your” and “you”) in 6:4-5 to the third person masculine plural referent (“them”) is an example of enallage, a poetic device used for emphasis.
  4. Hosea 6:5 tn Heb “with the words of my mouth” (so NIV); cf. TEV “with my message of judgment and destruction.”
  5. Hosea 6:5 tn The disjunctive vav prefixed to the noun (וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ, umishpatekha) has an explanatory function.
  6. Hosea 6:5 tc The MT reads וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ אוֹר יֵצֵא (umishpatekha ʾor yetseʾ, “and your judgments [are] a light [that] goes forth”), which is enigmatic and syntactically awkward (cf. KJV, NASB). The LXX reads καὶ τὸ κρίμα μου ὡς φώς (kai to krima mou hōs phōs, “my judgment goes forth like light”), which reflects וּמִשְׁפָּטִי כָאוֹר יֵצֵא (umishpati khaʾor yetseʾ, “my judgment goes forth like the light”) and posits only a simple misdivision of words. This is reflected in the Syriac Peshitta and Aramaic Targum and is followed by the present translation (so also NCV, NRSV). See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:238.
  7. Hosea 6:5 tn The noun אוֹר (ʾor, “light”) is used here in reference to the morning light or dawn (e.g., Judg 16:2; 19:26; 1 Sam 14:36; 25:34, 36; 2 Sam 17:22; 23:4; 2 Kgs 7:9; Neh 8:3; Job 24:14; Prov 4:18; Mic 2:1; cf. CEV, NLT) rather than lightning (cf. NIV). This continues the early morning imagery used throughout In 6:3 unrepentant Israel uttered an overconfident boast that the Lord would rescue the nation from calamity as certainly as the “light of the dawn” (שַׁחַר, shakhar) “comes forth” (יֵצֵא, yetseʾ) every morning. Playing upon the early morning imagery, the Lord responded in 6:4 that Israel’s prerequisite repentance was as fleeting as the early morning dew. Now in 6:5, the Lord announces that he will indeed appear as certainly as the morning; however, it will not be to rescue but to punish Israel: punishment will “come forth” (יֵצֵא) like the “light of the dawn” (אוֹר).