New English Translation
The Curse of the Incurable Wound
12 I will be like a moth to Ephraim,
like wood rot[e] to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw[f] his sickness
and Judah saw his wound,
then Ephraim turned[g] to Assyria,
and begged[h] its great king[i] for help.
But he will not be able to heal you.
He cannot cure your wound![j]
- Hosea 5:11 tn The verb עָשַׁק (ʿashaq, “to oppress”) may refer to (1) oppressing the poor and defenseless (BDB 798 s.v. עָשַׁק 1), or more likely to (2) oppression of one nation by another as the judgment of God (Deut 28:29, 33; 1 Chr 16:21; Pss 105:14; 119:121, 122; Isa 52:4; Jer 50:33; Hos 5:11; BDB 798 s.v. 2). The Qal passive participles עָשׁוּק (ʿashuq, “oppressed”) and רְצוּץ (retsuts, “crushed”) might refer to a present situation (so KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); however, the context suggests that they refer to a future situation (so NLT). When a participle is used in reference to the future, it often denotes an imminent future situation and may be rendered, “about to” (e.g., Gen 6:17; 15:14; 20:3; 37:30; 41:25; 49:29; Exod 9:17-18; Deut 28:31; 1 Sam 3:11; 1 Kgs 2:2; 20:22; 2 Kgs 7:2). For functions of the participle, see IBHS 627-28 §37.6f.
- Hosea 5:11 sn The term רְצוּץ (retsuts, “crushed”) is a metaphor for weakness (e.g., 2 Kgs 18:21; Isa 36:6; 42:3) and oppression (e.g., Deut 28:33; 1 Sam 12:3, 4; Amos 4:1; Isa 58:6). Here it is used as a figure to describe the devastating effects of the Lord’s judgment.
- Hosea 5:11 tn Heb “crushed of judgment” (רְצוּץ מִשְׁפָּט, retsuts mishpat). The second term is a genitive of cause (“crushed because of judgment” or “crushed under judgment”) rather than respect (“crushed in judgment,” as in many English versions).
- Hosea 5:11 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term translated “worthless idols” is uncertain; cf. KJV “the commandment,” NASB “man’s command,” NAB “filth,” and NRSV “vanity.”
- Hosea 5:12 tn The noun רָקָב (raqav, “rottenness, decay”) refers to wood rot caused by the ravages of worms (BDB 955 s.v. רָקָב); cf. NLT “dry rot.” The related noun רִקָּבוֹן (riqqavon) refers to “rotten wood” (Job 41:27).
- Hosea 5:13 tn Hosea employs three preterites (vayyiqtol forms) in verse 13a-b to describe a past-time situation.
- Hosea 5:13 tn Heb “went to” (so NAB, NRSV, TEV); cf. CEV “asked help from.”
- Hosea 5:13 tn Heb “sent to” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV).
- Hosea 5:13 tc The MT reads מֶלֶךְ יָרֵב (melekh yarev, “a contentious king”). This is translated as a proper name (“king Jareb”) by KJV, ASV, and NASB. However, the stative adjective יָרֵב (“contentious”) is somewhat awkward. The words should be redivided as an archaic genitive-construct מַלְכִּי רָב (malki rav, “great king”; cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), which preserves the old genitive hireq yod ending. This is the equivalent of the Assyrian royal epithet sarru rabbu (“the great king”). See also the tc note on the same phrase in 10:6.
- Hosea 5:13 tn Heb “your wound will not depart from you.”sn Hosea personifies Ephraim’s “wound” as if it could depart from the sickly Ephraim (see the formal equivalent rendering in the preceding tn). Ephraim’s sinful action in relying upon an Assyrian treaty for protection will not dispense with its problems.