New English Translation
Baal Worshipers and Calf Worshipers to be Destroyed
13 When Ephraim[a] spoke,[b] there was terror;[c]
he was exalted[d] in Israel,
but he became guilty by worshiping Baal and died.
2 Even now they persist in sin![e]
They make metal images for themselves,
idols that they skillfully fashion[f] from their own silver;
all of them are nothing but the work of craftsmen.
There is a saying about them:[g]
“Those who sacrifice[h] to the calf idol are calf kissers!”[i]
- Hosea 13:1 sn In Hosea the name “Ephraim” does not refer to the tribe but to the region of Mount Ephraim, where the royal residence of Samaria was located. It functions as a synecdoche of location (Mount Ephraim) for its inhabitants (the king of Samaria; e.g., 5:13; 8:8, 10).
- Hosea 13:1 tn The rulers of Ephraim (i.e., Samaria) issued many political decisions in the 8th century b.c. that brought “terror” to the other regions of the Northern Kingdom, as well as to Judah: “hearts shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” (Isa 7:2; 2 Kgs 16:5).
- Hosea 13:1 tn The noun רְתֵת (retet, “terror, trembling”) appears only here in OT (BDB 958 s.v. רְתֵת; HALOT 1300-1301 s.v. רְתֵת). However, it is attested in 1QH 4:33, where it means “trembling” and is used as a synonym with רַעַד (raʿad, “quaking”). It also appears in Mishnaic Hebrew, meaning “trembling” (G. Dalman, Aramäisch-neuhebräisches Handwörterbuch, 406, s.v. רעד). This is the meaning reflected in the Greek recensions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, as well as Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.
- Hosea 13:1 tc The MT vocalizes the consonantal text as נָשָׂא (nasaʾ, “he exalted”; Qal perfect third person masculine singular), which is syntactically awkward. The LXX and Syriac reflect a vocalization tradition of נִשָּׂא (nisaʾ, “he was exalted”; Niphal perfect third person masculine singular). The BHS editors suggest that this revocalization should be adopted, and it has been followed by NAB, NIV, and NRSV.
- Hosea 13:2 tn The phrase יוֹסִפוּ לַחֲטֹא (yosifu lakhatoʾ, “they add to sin”) is an idiom meaning either (1) “they sin more and more,” or (2) “they continue to sin” (see BDB 415 s.v. יָסַף 2.a; HALOT 418 s.v. יסף 3.b). The English versions are divided: (1) “they sin more and more” (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV), and (2) “they go on sinning” (NJPS), “they continue to sin” (NAB), and “they (+ “still” in TEV and NCV) keep on sinning” (NRSV, NLT).
- Hosea 13:2 tn The term כִּתְבוּנָם (kitvunam, “according to their skill”; preposition כְּ + feminine singular noun תְּבוּנָה, tevunah + third person masculine plural suffix) is an abbreviated form of כִּתְבוּנָתָם (kitvunatam; GKC 255-56 §91.e). תְּבוּנָה means “understanding, faculty, skill” (BDB 108 s.v. תְּבוּנָה 1). It refers to a builder skillfully constructing a house (Prov 24:3), God skillfully fashioning creation (Ps 136:5; Prov 3:19), and a craftsman skillfully making an idol (Hos 13:2).
- Hosea 13:2 tn Heb “They say about them.” Another possible rendering for the line is: “It is said of them—those men who sacrifice, ‘They kiss calves!’” The phrase זֹבְחֵי אָדָם (zovkhe ʾadam, “those men who sacrifice”) functions either (1) as the subject of the verb יִשָּׁקוּן (yishaqun, “they kiss”) in the quotation in the direct discourse: “It is said of them, ‘Those men who sacrifice kiss calves!’” or (2) in apposition to the indirect object third person masculine plural suffix לָהֶם (lahem, “about them”): “It is said of them, that is, those men who sacrifice….”
- Hosea 13:2 tn Heb “Those among men who offer sacrifices.” The genitive construct זֹבְחֵי אָדָם (zovkhe ʾadam, “the sacrificers of men”) is misunderstood by NIV as an objective genitive phrase: “they offer human sacrifice.” Such a classification is questionable: (1) nowhere else in the book does Hosea accuse Israel of human sacrifice, and (2) archaeological evidence does not provide any evidence of human sacrifice in the Northern Kingdom during Iron Age I (1200-722 b.c.). This phrase should be classified as a genitive of species: the genitive represents the whole class or kind of a species (men). The construct represents a part of the whole or subspecies within the whole (those who sacrifice): “those among men who offer sacrifice” (those who offer sacrifices). The expression “a fool of men” in Prov 15:20 provides a similar example. The genitive represents the whole class/species (men), and the construct represents a part of the whole/subspecies (a fool): “a foolish man.” This is the tactic adopted by most English versions: “the men that sacrifice” (KJV), “the men who sacrifice” (NASB), and “they appoint men to sacrifice [to them]” (NJPS).
- Hosea 13:2 tn Heb “They kiss calves!” The verb יִשָּׁקוּן (yishaqun) may be parsed as an imperfect (“they kiss [calves]”) or jussive (“let them kiss [calves]!”). Paragogic nun endings (ן + יִשָּׁקוּ) are attached to imperfects to connote rhetorical emphasis. It is used either (1) to mark out an action that is contrary to normal practice and deviates from normal expectations (those who worship the calf idol are, in effect, kissing calves!), or (2) to express strong emotion (in this case disgust) at the action of the calf idolaters (they kiss calves!). For the function of paragogic nun, see IBHS 516-17 §31.7.1.