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Hosea 1:1-2 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Superscription

[a] This is the Lord’s message that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the time of[b] Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the time of Jeroboam son of Joash,[c] king of Israel.

Symbols of Sin and Judgment: The Prostitute and Her Children

When the Lord first spoke[d] through[e] Hosea, he[f] said to him,[g] “Go marry[h] a prostitute[i] who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution,[j] because the nation[k] continually commits spiritual prostitution[l] by turning away from[m] the Lord.”

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 1:1 tc The textual problems in Hosea are virtually unparalleled in the OT. The Masoretic Text (MT), represented by the Leningrad Codex (c. a.d. 1008), which served as the basis for both BHK and BHS, and the Aleppo Codex (c. a.d. 952), by all accounts have a multitude of scribal errors. Many medieval Masoretic mss preserve textual variants that differ from the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices. The Qumran materials (4QXIIc,d,g) contain numerous textual variants that differ from the MT; unfortunately, these texts are quite fragmentary (frequently in the very place that an important textual problem appears). The textual tradition and translation quality of the LXX and the early Greek recensions (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) is mixed; in some places they are inferior to the MT but in other places they preserve a better reading. The textual apparatus of BHK and BHS contains many proposed emendations based on the ancient versions (Greek, Syriac, Latin, Aramaic) that often appear to be superior readings than what is preserved in the MT. In numerous cases, the MT readings are so difficult morphologically, syntactically, and contextually that conservative conjectural emendations are necessary to make sense of the text. Most major English versions (e.g., KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB, NAB, NASB, NIV, TEV, NKJV, NJPS, NJB, NRSV, REB, NCV, CEV, NLT) adopt (either occasionally or frequently) textual variants reflected in the versions and occasionally adopt conservative conjectural emendations proposed in BHK and/or BHS. However, many of the textual problems in Hosea are so difficult that the English versions frequently are split among themselves. With this in mind, the present translation of Hosea must necessarily be viewed as only preliminary. Further work on the text and translation of Hosea is needed, not only in terms of the NET Bible but in Hosea studies in general. The text of Hosea should be better clarified when the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project completes work on the book of Hosea. For further study of textual problems in Hosea, see D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:228-71.
  2. Hosea 1:1 tn Heb “in the days of” (again later in this verse). Cf. NASB “during the days of”; NIV “during the reigns of”; NLT “during the years when.”
  3. Hosea 1:1 sn Joash is a variation of the name Jehoash. Some English versions use “Jehoash” here (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).
  4. Hosea 1:2 tn The construct noun תְּחִלַּת (tekhillat, “beginning of”) displays a wider use of the construct state here, preceding a perfect verb דִּבֶּר (dibber, “he spoke”; Piel perfect third person masculine singular) rather than a genitive noun. This is an unusual temporal construction (GKC 422 §130.d). It may be rendered, “When he (= the Lord) began to speak” (cf. ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, and most other modern English versions, all of which are similar). This time-determinative was not correctly understood by the LXX or by the KJV “The beginning of the word of the Lord.”
  5. Hosea 1:2 tn The preposition בְּ (bet) on בְּהוֹשֵׁעַ (behosheaʿ) functions instrumentally (BDB 89 s.v. בְּ III.2.b): “by, with, through Hosea,” rather than directionally: “to Hosea.” This use encompasses the entire prophetic revelation through Hosea to Israel.
  6. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “the Lord.” This is redundant in English, so the pronoun has been used in the translation (cf. TEV, NLT).
  7. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “to Hosea.” The proper name is replaced by the pronoun here to avoid redundancy in English (cf. NIV, NCV, NLT).
  8. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “Go, take for yourself” (so NRSV; NASB, NIV “to yourself”). In conjunction with the following phrase this means “marry.”
  9. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “a wife/woman of harlotries.” The noun זְנוּנִים (zenunim) means “fornication” (HALOT 275-76 s.v. זְנוּנִים). The term does not refer to mere adultery (cf. NIV; also NCV, TEV, CEV “unfaithful”), which is expressed by the root נַאַף (naʾaf, “adultery”; HALOT 658 s.v. נאף). The plural noun זְנוּנִים (zenunim, literally, “harlotries”) is an example of the plural of character or plural of repeated behavior. The phrase “wife of harlotries” (אֵשֶׁת זְנוּנִים, ʾeshet zenunim) probably refers to a woman who is a prostitute, possibly a temple prostitute serving at a Baal temple.
  10. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “and children of harlotries.” However, TEV takes the phrase to mean the children will behave like their mother: “your children will be just like her.”
  11. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “the land.” The term “the land” is frequently used as a synecdoche of container (the land of Israel) for the contained (the people of Israel).
  12. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “prostitution.” The adjective “spiritual” is supplied in the translation to clarify that apostasy is meant here. The construction זָנֹה תִזְנֶה (zanoh tizneh, infinitive absolute + imperfect of the same root) repeats the root זָנַה (zanah, “commit harlotry or fornication; be unfaithful”) for rhetorical emphasis. Israel was guilty of gross spiritual prostitution by apostatizing from Yahweh. The verb זָנַה is used 1) concretely, of a spouse being unfaithful in a marriage relationship (HALOT 275 s.v. זנה 1), and 2) figuratively, of being unfaithful in a relationship with God by prostituting oneself with other gods and worshiping idols (Exod 34:15; Lev 17:7; 20:5, 6; Deut 31:16; Judg 8:27, 33; 21:17; 1 Chr 5:25; Ezek 6:9; 20:30; 23:30; Hos 4:15; Ps 106:39; see HALOT 275 s.v. 2).
  13. Hosea 1:2 tn Heb “from after.”
New English Translation (NET)

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