New English Translation
God Will Raise Up the Assyrians to Attack Israel
8 Sound the alarm![a]
An eagle[b] looms over the temple of the Lord!
For they have broken their covenant with me[c]
and have rebelled against my law.
2 Israel cries out to me,
“My God, we acknowledge you!”
3 But Israel has rejected what is morally good;
so an enemy will pursue him.
The Political and Cultic Sin of Israel
4 They enthroned kings without my consent.[d]
They appointed princes without my approval.[e]
They made idols out of their silver and gold,
but they will be destroyed![f]
5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol.
My anger burns against them!
They will not survive much longer without being punished,[g]
even though they are Israelites!
6 That idol was made by a workman—it is not God!
The calf idol of Samaria will be broken to bits.
The Fertility Cultists Will Become Infertile
7 They sow the wind,
and so they will reap the whirlwind!
The stalk does not have any standing grain;
it will not produce any flour.
Even if it were to yield grain,
foreigners would swallow it all up.
8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;
they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.
Israel’s Hired Lovers
9 They have gone up to Assyria,
like a wild donkey that wanders off.
Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers.[h]
10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations,[i]
I will soon gather them together for judgment.[j]
Then[k] they will begin to waste away
under the oppression of a mighty king.[l]
Sacrifices Ineffective without Moral Obedience
11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning.
12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,
but they regard it as something totally unknown[m] to them.
13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me
and eat the meat,
but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices.[n]
Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,
he will punish their sins,
and they will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his Maker and built royal palaces,
and Judah has built many fortified cities.
But I will send fire on their cities;
it will consume their royal citadels.
Fertility Cult Festivals Have Intoxicated Israel
9 O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly[o] like the nations,
for you are unfaithful[p] to your God.
You love to receive a prostitute’s wages[q]
on all the floors where you thresh your grain.
2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people,[r]
and new wine only deceives them.[s]
Assyrian Exile Will Reverse the Egyptian Exodus
3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.
Ephraim will return to Egypt;
they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.
4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord;
they will not please him with their sacrifices.
Their sacrifices will be like bread eaten while in mourning;
all those who eat them will make themselves ritually unclean.
For their bread will be only to satisfy their appetite;
it will not come into the temple of the Lord.
5 So what will you do on the festival day,
on the festival days of the Lord?
No Escape for the Israelites This Time
6 Look![t] Even if[u] they flee from the destruction,
Egypt will take hold of[v] them,
and Memphis will bury them.
The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure[w]—
thorn bushes will occupy their homes.[x]
7 The time of judgment[y] is about to arrive![z]
The time of retribution[aa] is imminent![ab]
Israel will be humbled![ac]
Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations
The prophet is considered a fool[ad]—
the inspired man[ae] is viewed as a madman[af]—
because of the multitude of your sins
and your intense[ag] animosity.
8 The prophet[ah] is a watchman[ai] over Ephraim[aj] on behalf of God,[ak]
yet traps[al] are laid for him along all his paths;[am]
animosity rages against him in the land[an] of his God.
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
9 They have sunk deep into corruption[ao]
as in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their wrongdoing.
He will repay them for their sins.
10 When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the wilderness.
I viewed your ancestors[ap] like an early fig on a fig tree in its first season.
Then they came to Baal Peor and they dedicated themselves to shame—
they became as detestable as what they loved.
The Fertility Worshipers Will Become Infertile
11 Ephraim will be like a bird;
what they value[aq] will fly away.
They will not bear children—
they will not enjoy pregnancy—
they will not even conceive![ar]
12 Even if they raise their children,
I will take away every last one of them.[as]
Woe to them!
For I will turn away from them.
13 Ephraim, as I have seen, has given their children for prey;[at]
Ephraim will bear his sons for slaughter.
14 Give them, O Lord—
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry,
and breasts that cannot nurse![au]
15 Because of all their evil in Gilgal,
I hate them there.
On account of their evil deeds,
I will drive them out of my land.[av]
I will no longer love them;
all their rulers are rebels.
16 Ephraim will be struck down[aw]—
their root will be dried up;
they will not yield any fruit.
Even if they do bear children,
I will kill their precious offspring.
17 My God will reject them,
for they have not obeyed him;
so they will be fugitives among the nations.
Israel is Guilty of Fertility Cult Worship
10 Israel was a fertile vine
that yielded fruit.
As his fruit multiplied,
he multiplied altars to Baal.[ax]
As his land prospered,
they adorned the fertility pillars.
2 Their hearts are slipping;
soon they will be punished for their guilt.
The Lord[ay] will break their altars;
he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.
The Lord Will Punish Israel by Removing Its Kings
3 Very soon they will say, “We have no king
since we did not fear the Lord.
But what can a king do for us anyway?”
4 They[az] utter empty words,[ba]
taking[bb] false oaths and making empty[bc] agreements.
Therefore legal disputes sprout up
like poisonous weeds[bd] in the furrows of a plowed field.
The Calf Idol and Idolaters of Samaria Will Be Exiled
5 The inhabitants[be] of Samaria will lament[bf] over the calf idol[bg] of Beth Aven.[bh]
Its people will mourn over it;
its idolatrous priests will wail[bi] over it,[bj]
because its splendor will be taken from them[bk] into exile.
6 Even the calf idol[bl] will be carried to Assyria,
as tribute for the great king.[bm]
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be put to shame because[bn] of its wooden idol.[bo]
7 Samaria and its king will be carried off[bp]
like a twig[bq] on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of the “House[br] of Wickedness”[bs] will be destroyed;
it is the place where Israel sins.
Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
Failure to Learn from the Sin and Judgment of Gibeah
9 O Israel, you have sinned since the time[bt] of Gibeah,
and there you have remained.
Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please,[bu] I will discipline them;[bv]
I will gather nations together to attack them,[bw]
to bind them in chains[bx] for their two sins.[by]
Fertility Imagery: Plowing, Sowing, and Reaping
11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;
I myself put a fine yoke[bz] on her neck.
I will harness Ephraim.
Let Judah plow![ca]
Let Jacob break up the unplowed ground[cb] for himself!
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap unfailing love.
Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers deliverance[cc] on you.
13 But you have plowed wickedness;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your chariots;[cd]
you have relied[ce] on your many warriors.
Bethel Will Be Destroyed Like Beth Arbel
14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;
all your fortresses will be devastated,
just as Shalman devastated[cf] Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel,
because of your great wickedness!
When that day dawns,[cg]
the king of Israel will be destroyed.[ch]
Reversal of the Exodus: Return to Egypt and Exile in Assyria
11 “When Israel was a young man, I loved him like a son,[ci]
and I summoned my son[cj] out of Egypt.
2 But the more I summoned[ck] them,
the farther they departed from me.[cl]
They sacrificed to the Baal idols
and burned incense to images.
3 Yet it was I who led[cm] Ephraim;
I took them by the arm,
but they did not acknowledge
that I had healed them.[cn]
4 I drew them with leather cords,[co]
with straps of hide;[cp]
I lifted the yoke[cq] from their neck,[cr]
and gently fed them.[cs]
5 They will return to Egypt![ct]
Assyria will rule over them[cu]
because they refuse to repent![cv]
6 A sword will flash in their cities,
it will destroy the bars of their city gates,
and will devour them in their fortresses.
7 My people are obsessed[cw] with turning away from me;[cx]
they call to Baal,[cy] but he will never exalt them!
The Divine Dilemma: Judgment or Mercy?
8 “How can I give you up,[cz] O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
I have had a change of heart.[da]
All my tender compassions are aroused.[db]
9 I cannot carry out[dc] my fierce anger!
I cannot totally destroy Ephraim!
Because I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you—
I will not come in wrath!
God Will Restore the Exiles to Israel
10 “He will roar like a lion,
and they will follow the Lord;
when he roars,
his children will come trembling[dd] from the west.
11 They will return in fear and trembling[de]
like birds from Egypt,
like doves from Assyria,
and I will settle them in their homes,” declares the Lord.
God’s Lawsuit against Israel: Breach of Covenant
12 (12:1)[df] Ephraim has surrounded me with lies;
the house of Israel has surrounded me[dg] with deceit.
But Judah still roams about with[dh] God;
he remains faithful to the Holy One.
12 Ephraim continually feeds on the wind;
he chases the east wind all day;
he multiplies lies and violence.
They make treaties[di] with Assyria,
and send olive oil as tribute[dj] to Egypt.
2 The Lord also has a covenant lawsuit[dk] against Judah;
he will punish Jacob according to his ways
and repay him according to his deeds.
Israel Must Return to the God of Jacob
3 In the womb he attacked his brother;
in his manly vigor he struggled[dl] with God.
4 He struggled[dm] with an angel and prevailed;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found God[dn] at Bethel,
and there he spoke with him![do]
5 As for the Lord God Almighty,
the Lord is the name by which he is remembered![dp]
6 But you must return[dq] to your God,
by maintaining love and justice
and by waiting[dr] for your God to return to you.[ds]
The Lord Refutes Israel’s False Claim of Innocence
7 The businessmen love to cheat;[dt]
they use dishonest scales.[du]
8 Ephraim boasts,[dv] “I am very rich!
I have become wealthy![dw]
In all that I have done to gain my wealth,[dx]
no one can accuse me of any offense[dy] that is actually sinful.”[dz]
9 “I am the Lord your God[ea] who brought you[eb] out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again as in the days of old.[ec]
10 I spoke to the prophets;
I myself revealed many visions;[ed]
I spoke in parables[ee] through[ef] the prophets.”
11 Is there idolatry[eg] in Gilead?[eh]
Certainly its inhabitants[ei] will come to nothing![ej]
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?
Surely their altars will be like stones heaped up on a plowed field!
Jacob in Aram, Israel in Egypt, and Ephraim in Trouble
12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram,
then Israel worked[ek] to acquire a wife;
he tended sheep to pay for her.
13 The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt by a prophet,
and due to a prophet[el] Israel[em] was preserved alive.[en]
14 But Ephraim bitterly[eo] provoked him to anger;
so he will hold him accountable for the blood he has shed,[ep]
his Lord[eq] will repay him for the contempt he has shown.[er]
Baal Worshipers and Calf Worshipers to be Destroyed
13 When Ephraim[es] spoke,[et] there was terror;[eu]
he was exalted[ev] in Israel,
but he became guilty by worshiping Baal and died.
2 Even now they persist in sin![ew]
They make metal images for themselves,
idols that they skillfully fashion[ex] from their own silver;
all of them are nothing but the work of craftsmen.
There is a saying about them:[ey]
“Those who sacrifice[ez] to the calf idol are calf kissers!”[fa]
3 Therefore they will disappear like[fb] the morning mist,[fc]
like early morning dew that evaporates,[fd]
like chaff that is blown away[fe] from a threshing floor,
like smoke that disappears through an open window.
Well-Fed Israel Will Be Fed to Wild Animals
4 But I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
Therefore, you must not acknowledge any God but me.
Except for me there is no Savior.
5 I cared for[ff] you in the wilderness,
in the dry desert where no water was.[fg]
6 When they were fed,[fh] they became satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;[fi]
as a result, they forgot me!
7 So[fj] I will pounce on them like a lion;[fk]
like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
8 I will attack them like a bear robbed of her cubs—
I will rip open their chests.
I will devour them there like a lion—
like a wild animal would tear them apart.
Israel’s King Unable to Deliver the Nation
9 I will destroy you,[fl] O Israel!
Who[fm] is there to help you?
10 Where[fn] then is your king,
that he may save you in all your cities?
Where are[fo] your rulers for whom you asked, saying,
“Give me a king and princes”?
11 I granted[fp] you a king in my anger,
and I will take him away in my wrath!
Israel’s Punishment Will Not Be Withheld Much Longer
12 The punishment[fq] of Ephraim has been decreed;[fr]
his punishment is being stored up for the future.
13 The labor pains of a woman will overtake him,
but the baby will lack wisdom;
when the time arrives,
he will not come out of the womb!
The Lord Will Not Relent from the Threatened Judgment
14 Will I deliver them from the power of Sheol? No, I will not![fs]
Will I redeem them from death? No, I will not!
O Death, bring on your plagues![ft]
O Sheol, bring on your destruction![fu]
My eyes will not show any compassion![fv]
The Capital of the Northern Empire Will Be Destroyed
15 Even though he flourishes like a reed plant,[fw]
a scorching east wind will come,
a wind from the Lord rising up from the desert.
As a result, his spring will dry up;[fx]
his well will become dry.
That wind[fy] will spoil all his delightful foods
in the containers in his storehouse.
16 (14:1)[fz] Samaria will be held guilty,[ga]
because she rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword;
their infants will be dashed to the ground—
their[gb] pregnant women will be ripped open.
Prophetic Call to Genuine Repentance
14 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for your sin has been your downfall![gc]
2 Return to the Lord and repent![gd]
Say to him: “Completely[ge] forgive our iniquity;
accept[gf] our penitential prayer,[gg]
that we may offer the praise of our lips as sacrificial bulls.[gh]
3 Assyria cannot save us;
we will not ride warhorses.
We will never again say, ‘Our gods,’
to what our own hands have made.
For only you will show compassion to Orphan Israel!”[gi]
Divine Promise to Relent from Judgment and to Restore Blessings
4 “I will heal their waywardness[gj]
and love them freely,[gk]
for my anger will turn away[gl] from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily,
he will send down his roots like a cedar of[gm] Lebanon.
6 His young shoots will grow;
his splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 People will reside again[gn] in his shade;
they will plant and harvest grain in abundance.[go]
They will blossom like a vine,
and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, I do not want to have anything to do[gp] with idols anymore!
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like[gq] a luxuriant cypress tree;[gr]
your fruitfulness comes from me!”[gs]
9 Who is wise?
Let him discern[gt] these things!
Who is discerning?
Let him understand them!
For the ways of the Lord are right;
the godly walk in them,
but in them the rebellious stumble.
- Hosea 8:1 tn Heb “A horn unto your gums!”; cf. NAB “A trumpet to your lips!”
- Hosea 8:1 tn Or perhaps: “A vulture.” Some identify the species indicated by the Hebrew term נֶשֶׁר (nesher) as the griffon vulture (cf. NEB, NRSV).
- Hosea 8:1 tn Heb “my covenant” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); cf. TEV “the covenant I made with them.”
- Hosea 8:4 tn Heb “but without me”; cf. NCV “without asking my permission,” and CEV “without consulting me.”
- Hosea 8:4 tn Heb “but I did not know”; cf. NRSV “but without my knowledge.”
- Hosea 8:4 tn Heb “in order to be cut off.” The text gives the impression that they made the idols for this purpose, but the language is ironic and sarcastic, bringing out the futility of their efforts. One could paraphrase, “they made idols…but only so that they might be destroyed.” Though they had other plans for the idols, God’s judgment would bring their intentions to naught.
- Hosea 8:5 tn Heb “How long will they be able to be free from punishment?” This rhetorical question affirms that Israel will not survive much longer until God punishes it.
- Hosea 8:9 tn Or “has hired herself out to lovers”; cf. NIV “has sold herself to lovers.”
- Hosea 8:10 tn Or “they have hired themselves out to lovers”; cf. NASB “they hire allies among the nations.”
- Hosea 8:10 tn The Piel stem of קָבַץ (qavats) is often used in a positive sense, meaning “to regather” a dispersed people (HALOT 1063 s.v. קבץ 3.a; BDB 868 s.v. קָבַץ 1.α). However, in Hosea 8:10 it is used in a negative sense, meaning “to assemble (people) for judgment” (e.g., Ezek 20:34; Hos 9:6; HALOT 1063 s.v. 3.e.i). Cf. JPS “I will hold them fast” (in judgment; see the parallel in 9:6).
- Hosea 8:10 tn The vav consecutive + preterite וַיָּחֵלּוּ (vayyakhellu, Hiphil preterite third person common plural from חָלַל, khalal, “to begin”]) denotes temporal subordination to the preceding clause: “then…” (so NLT); cf. TEV, CEV “Soon.”
- Hosea 8:10 tn Heb “a king of princes” (cf. KJV, NASB); cf. TEV “the emperor of Assyria.”
- Hosea 8:12 tn Heb “foreign” or “alien”; cf. NASB, NRSV “as a strange thing.”
- Hosea 8:13 tn Heb “does not accept them”; the referent (their sacrifices) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 9:1 tn Heb “do not rejoice unto jubilation”; cf. KJV “Rejoice not…for joy,” NASB “Do not rejoice…with exultation.”
- Hosea 9:1 tn Heb “you have committed adultery”; cf. NRSV “you have played the whore.”
- Hosea 9:1 tn Heb “you love the wages of the prostitute” (NIV similar); cf. NAB “loving a harlot’s hire.”
- Hosea 9:2 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 9:2 tn Heb “her” (so KJV, ASV). This is taken as a collective singular (so also most modern English versions).
- Hosea 9:6 tn The deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Behold!”) is used frequently in prophetic announcements, introducing a solemn or important declaration, particularly in threats of judgment (BDB 244 s.v. הִנֵּה b.β). Many modern English versions leave this particle untranslated here.
- Hosea 9:6 tn The conjunction כִּי (ki) introduces a concessive clause: “Although, when, if, even if” (BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c.β). It has a force approximating “even if” (so NIV, NCV, NRSV, CEV, NLT), but it represents a situation as more likely to occur than אִם (‘im, “if”). The concessive use of כִּי is normally followed by an imperfect, but occasionally a perfect is used, as is the case here (e.g., Mic 7:8; Nah 1:10; Pss 21:12; 119:83).
- Hosea 9:6 tn The verb קָבַץ (qavats, “to gather together”) should be nuanced as “grab hold” in this context (HALOT 1063 s.v. קבץ). This pictures a personified Egypt taking the fugitives prisoner.
- Hosea 9:6 tn Heb “the treasured things of their silver”; cf. NASB, NIV, TEV, NLT “treasures of silver.”
- Hosea 9:6 tn Heb “their tents” (so NIV, NRSV); cf. CEV “your tents.”
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “the days of the visitation”; cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “the days of punishment.”
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “has come” (בָּאוּ, baʾu). The two perfect-tense (suffix-conjugation) verbs בָּאוּ (Qal perfect third person common plural from בּוֹא, boʾ, “to come”) repeated in this verse are examples of the so-called “prophetic perfect.” The perfect, which connotes completed or factual action, is used in reference to future events to emphasize the certainty of the announced event taking place.
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “the days of the retribution”; cf. NIV “of reckoning,” and NRSV “of recompense.”
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “has come”; cf. NIV “are at hand,” NLT “is almost here.”
- Hosea 9:7 tc The MT reads יֵדְעוּ (yedeʿu, “Let them know”; cf. NIV, NAS, and see note below). The LXX reads κακωθήσεται (kakōthēsetai; “they will be afflicted”). The LXX reads a resh (ר) rather than a dalet (ד), a common scribal error, and probably understood it as יָרִעוּ (yariʿu), a Hiphil imperfect from the root רעע (resh, ʿayin, ʿayin), meaning to “treat badly.” These same consonants could also be understood as יֵרְעוּ (yereʿu), a Qal jussive from the root ירע (yaraʿ): “Let them tremble/be apprehensive.” This is a rare root that the LXX also did not recognize in Isa 15:4. Additionally, the MT breaks the verse after יֵדְעוּ (yedeʿu) by placing the atnakh (colon-divider) here, while the LXX includes the verb with the second half of the verse. The Old Greek reads the verb with the following lines as יָרִעוּ (yariʿu), a Hiphil from the root רוּעַ (ruaʿ) meaning “to shout” (cf. NRSV), appearing to introduce quotations of Israel mocking Hosea (but this is not a known function of that verbal root). Aquila (ἔγνω, egnō) and Symmachus (γνώσεται, gnōsetai) both reflect the proto-MT tradition. For a discussion of this textual and syntactical problem, see H. W. Wolff, Hosea (Hermeneia), 150.tn The verb may be imperfect “they will X” (KJV, ESV) or jussive “let them X” (NIV, NASB). The common verb יָדַע (yadaʿ) means “to know.” Among homophonous roots DCH includes יָדַע II (yadaʿ) meaning “be submissive, humbled; be quiet, at rest” (cf. Job 21:19; Prov 5:6; Isa 45:4; Jer 14:18). Reading either יֵדְעוּ (yedeʿu) “Israel will be humbled” or יֵרְעוּ (yereʿu) “Israel will tremble” makes equally good sense in context.
- Hosea 9:7 tn Or “is distraught”; cf. CEV, NLT “are crazy.”
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “the man of the Spirit”; cf. NAB, NRSV “spirit.”
- Hosea 9:7 tn Or “is driven to despair.” The term מְשֻׁגָּע (meshuggaʿ, Pual participle masculine singular from שָׁגַע, shagaʿ, “to be mad”) may be understood in two senses: (1) a predicate adjective as a figure of speech: “to be maddened,” to be driven to despair (Deut 28:34); or (2) a substantive: “a madman,” referring to prophets who attempted to enter into a prophetic state through whipping themselves into a frenzy (1 Sam 21:15 HT [21:15 ET]; 2 Kgs 9:11; Jer 29:26; see BDB 993 s.v. שָׁגַע). The prophetic context of 9:7 favors the latter option, which is followed by most English versions. Apparently, the general populace viewed these mantics with suspicion and questioned the legitimacy of their claim to be true prophets (e.g., 2 Kgs 9:11; Jer 29:26).
- Hosea 9:7 tn Heb “great.”
- Hosea 9:8 tc The Leningrad Codex (the MT ms used for BHS) and Aleppo Codex both place the atnakh (colon divider) after אלהי (“my God”) and connect נָבִיא (naviʾ, “prophet”) with the following colon. On the other hand, BHS suggests that נָבִיא belongs with the first colon. For discussion of this syntactical problem, see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Hosea (AB), 533-34.
- Hosea 9:8 tc The syntax of this line is difficult, and the questionable text has four main interpretive options. First, one could adopt the MT vocalization and BHS line division: צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עִם־אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (tsofeh ʾefrayim ʿim elohay naviʾ, “The prophet is a watchman over Ephraim with my God [= on behalf of God]”). There are two problems with this view. Although BHS places נָבִיא (“prophet”) with this colon, the Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex both connect נָבִיא with the next colon (as do KJV, ASV). Also, the phrase עִם־אֱלֹהָי (“with my God”) is difficult to explain. Second, one could adopt the MT vocalization and the MT line division:צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עִם־אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (“Ephraim is a watchman with my God”; cf. NASB). The problem with this view is that Ephraim hardly fits the description of a prophetic watchman. Third, one could revocalize the MT and adopt BHS line division: צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עַם אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (“Ephraim—the people of my God!—lies in ambush for the prophet”). This involves: (a) revocalization of the preposition עִם (ʿim, “with”) to the noun עַם (ʿam, “people”), (b) taking עַם־אֱלֹהָי (“people of my God”) in apposition to אֶפְרַיִם (“Ephraim”), and (c) nuancing צֹפֶה as “to lie in wait (=set ambush)” (e.g., Ps 37:32). This is contextually attractive and harmonizes well with the following line: “traps are laid along all his paths.” However, it has two problems: (a) there is no textual evidence supporting the revocalization of עם as “people,” and (b) the unusual nuance, “to lie in wait,” for צֹפֶה occurs only in Ps 37:32, where it takes the preposition לְ (lamed, i.e., “to lie in wait for the righteous”; HALOT 1044 s.v. צפה 4). Fourth, one could emend אֱלֹהָי (“my God”) to אֹהֶל (ʾohel, “tent”), as suggested in the BHS textual apparatus: אֶפְרַיִם עִם־אֹהֶל נָבִיא צֹפֶה (“Ephraim spies on the prophet’s tent”). The verb צָפָה may mean “to spy” (BDB 859 s.v. צָפָה; HALOT 1044 s.v. צפה 3). However, the preposition עִם (ʿim) does not normally mean “upon,” and צָפָה is not used with עִם elsewhere.
- Hosea 9:8 tn Or “Ephraim is a watchman with my God”; cf. ASV and NASB.
- Hosea 9:8 tn Heb “with my God” (so ASV, NASB).
- Hosea 9:8 tn Heb “bird trap of a bird catcher,” or “snare of a fowler” (so KJV).
- Hosea 9:8 tc Or “The prophet is like a trap along all his paths.” The Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex (ms used in BHS) both connect נָבִיא (naviʾ, “prophet”) with this colon. On the other hand, BHS places נָבִיא at the end of the preceding colon.
- Hosea 9:8 tn Heb “house.” The term בַּיִת (bayit, “house”) is used as a figure of speech, referring to either (1) the temple or official sanctuaries (so TEV, CEV) or (2) the land of Israel (e.g., Hos 9:15).
- Hosea 9:9 tn Or more literally, “they are deeply corrupted.” The two verbs הֶעְמִיקוּ־שִׁחֵתוּ (heʿmiqu shikhetu; literally, “they have made deep, they act corruptly”) are coordinated without a conjunction vav to form a verbal hendiadys: the second verb represents the main idea, while the first functions adverbially (GKC 386-87 §120.g). Here Gesenius suggests: “they are deeply/radically corrupted.” Several translations mirror the syntax of this hendiadys: “They have deeply corrupted themselves” (KJV, ASV, NRSV), “They have been grievously corrupt” (NJPS), and “They are hopelessly evil” (TEV). Others reverse the syntax for the sake of a more graphic English idiom: “They have gone deep in depravity” (NASB) and “They have sunk deep into corruption” (NIV). Some translations fail to represent the hendiadys at all: “You are brutal and corrupt” (CEV). The translation “They are deeply corrupted” mirrors the Hebrew syntax, but “They have sunk deep into corruption” seems preferable as a more graphic English idiom (cf. NAB “They have sunk to the depths of corruption”).
- Hosea 9:10 tn Heb “fathers”; a number of more recent English versions use the more general “ancestors” here.
- Hosea 9:11 tn Heb “their glory” (so NASB); cf. TEV “Israel’s greatness.”
- Hosea 9:11 tn Heb “no childbearing, no pregnancy, no conception.” The preposition מִן (min) prefixed to the three parallel nouns functions in a privative sense, indicating deprivation (BDB 583 s.v. מִן 7).
- Hosea 9:12 tn Heb “I will bereave them from a man”; cf. NRSV “I will bereave them until no one is left.”
- Hosea 9:13 tc The MT is difficult here. The first line of the MT reads, “Ephraim as I have seen like Tyre is planted in a meadow.” The verse may suggest that as Tyre had a pleasant location but will be judged (cf. Isa 23:1-18; Amos 1:9-10), so now also Ephraim will be. The BHS editors suggest emending the text of 13a to follow the LXX reading, which substantially follows the MT consonantal text and is given above. See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:250-51.
- Hosea 9:14 tn Heb “breasts that shrivel up dry”; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “dry breasts.”
- Hosea 9:15 tn Heb “out of my house” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV, NCV, and NLT have “my land.”
- Hosea 9:16 tn Or perhaps, following the plant metaphor: “will be blighted” (the NIV is similar).
- Hosea 10:1 tn The phrase “to Baal” does not appear in the Hebrew text here but is implied; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Cf. NCV “altars for idols,” NLT “altars of their foreign gods.”
- Hosea 10:2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 10:4 tc The referent of the third person common plural verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibberu, “they speak”) is the masculine singular noun וְהַמֶּלֶךְ (vehammelekh, “and a king”) in v. 3, which is used generically, representing all human kings of Israel, to which the third common plural verb refers. Although this is a bit syntactically awkward, it is not necessary to emend the MT to the third masculine singular verb form דָּבַר (davar, “he speaks”) as the BHS editors suggest. The LXX, however, reads the singular form λαλῶν (lalōn, “uttering”).
- Hosea 10:4 tn Heb “they speak words.” The cognate accusative construction דִּבְּרוּ דְבָרִים (dibberu devarim; literally, “they speak words”) is an idiom that means, “they speak mere words” (so NASB; NRSV is similar), or “they utter empty words” (so TEV; that is, they make empty promises, e.g., Isa 58:13; BDB 180-181 s.v. דָּבַר 2). The immediately following collocated phrase אָלוֹת שָׁוְא (ʾalot shaveʾ, “swearing an empty oath”) confirms this nuance. The LXX understood this idiom in the same way: λαλῶν ῥήματα προφάσειας ψευδεῖς (lalōn hrēmata prophaseias pseudeis, “speaking false professions as his words”).
- Hosea 10:4 tn The two infinitive absolutes אָלוֹת (ʾalot, Qal infinitive absolute from II אָלָה, ʾalah, “to swear an oath”; BDB 46 s.v. II אָלָה) and כָּרֹת (karot, Qal infinitive absolute from כָּרַת, karat, “to make [a covenant]”; BDB 503 s.v. כָּרַת 4), which appear without conjunctions, continue the description of the action of the preceding finite verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibberu, Piel perfect third person common plural from דָּבַר, davar, “to speak”). Although the infinitives continue the description of the action of the finite verb, they call special attention to the action of the infinitive rather than the action of the finite verb. See IBHS 595 §35.5.2b.
- Hosea 10:4 tn The word “empty” is not in the Hebrew text but is implied. It is supplied in the translation for clarity. Cf. TEV “useless treaties.”
- Hosea 10:4 tn The noun II רֹאשׁ (roʾsh) refers to a “poisonous plant” (Deut 29:17; Hos 10:4) or “bitter herb” (Ps 69:22; Lam 3:5; BDB 912 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1; HALOT 1167 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1).
- Hosea 10:5 tc The MT reads the singular construct noun שְׁכַן (shekhan, “the inhabitant [of Samaria]”), while the LXX and Syriac reflect the plural construct noun שְׁכַנֵי (shekhane, “the inhabitants [of Samaria]”). The singular noun may be a collective referring to the population of Samaria as a whole (BDB 1015 s.v. שָׁכֵן; e.g., Isa 33:24). Most English translations view this as a reference to the inhabitants of the city as a whole (KJV, RSV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NJPS, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Hosea 10:5 tc The MT reads יָגוּרוּ (yaguru, Qal imperfect third person common plural from III גוּר, gur, “to dread”; see BDB 159 s.v. III גוּר 1). This reading is followed by most English versions but is syntactically awkward because III גוּר (“to dread”) is used nowhere else with the preposition לְ (lamed, “they are in dread for…”?). BDB suggests reading יָנוּדוּ (yanudu, Qal imperfect third person common plural from נוּד, nud, “to lament”; BDB 626 s.v. נוּד 2.a), which harmonizes better in the parallelism with אָבַל (ʾaval, “to mourn”) in the following line. The verb נוּד (“to lament”) is used with the preposition לְ in the idiom “to lament for” (e.g., Isa 51:19; Jer 15:5; 16:5; 48:17; Nah 3:7). This involves simple orthographic confusion between ג (gimel) and נ (nun), as well as ר (resh) and ד (dalet), which were often confused by the scribes.
- Hosea 10:5 tc The MT reads the plural לְעֶגְלוֹת (leʿeglot, “for the calves”), while some Greek versions (LXX, Theodotion) and the Syriac reflect the singular לְעֵגֶל (“for the calf [calf idol]”). The singular reading is preferred on the basis of internal evidence: the oracle denounces the calf-idol worship of Samaria. The plural form probably arose due to the ambiguity of the term “calf” when a scribe did not realize that the term was being used as a metonymy for the worship of the Egyptian calf goddess. Most recent English versions adopt the singular form and relate it to the calf goddess cult (RSV, NASB, NIV, NCV, NJPS, TEV, CEV, NLT); however, older English versions follow the MT plural (KJV, ASV).
- Hosea 10:5 sn See the note on the place name Beth Aven in 4:15.
- Hosea 10:5 tc The MT appears to read יָגִילוּ (yagilu, “they will rejoice”; Qal imperfect third person masculine plural from גִּיל, gil, “to rejoice”), but this is likely an example of semantic polarization. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Hosea (AB), 556-67. The BHS editors propose the reading יְיֵלִילוּ (yeyelilu, “they will lament”; Hiphil imperfect third person masculine plural from יָלַל, yalal, “to lament”), which also appears in Hos 7:14. If this reading is original, the textual variant may be attributed to (1) orthographic confusion between ל (lamed) and ג (gimel), and (2) haplography or dittography of י (yod). English versions are split; some follow the MT (KJV, ASV, NIV, NJPS), others the proposed emendation (RSV, NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT).
- Hosea 10:5 tc This line division follows the MT rather than the line division suggested by the BHS editors.
- Hosea 10:5 tn Heb “from it” (so NAB, NRSV).
- Hosea 10:6 tn The antecedent of the third person masculine singular direct-object pronoun אוֹתוֹ (ʾoto, “it”) is probably the calf idol of Beth Aven mentioned in 10:5a. This has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. TEV, NLT).
- Hosea 10:6 tc The MT reads מֶלֶךְ יָרֵב (melekh yarev, “a king who contends”?), which is syntactically awkward: מֶלֶךְ (“king”) followed by יָרֵב (“let him contend!”; Qal jussive third person masculine singular from רִיב, riv, “to contend”). Note that KJV, ASV, and NASB treat this as a proper name (“king Jareb”). The MT reading is probably the result of faulty word division. As the BHS editors suggest, the original reading most likely is מַלְכִּי רָב (malki rav, “the great king”). The suffixed י (yod) on מַלְכִּי is the remnant of the old genitive 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 5:13.
- Hosea 10:6 tn The preposition מִן (min) functions in a causal sense specifying the logical cause: “because of” or “on account of” (e.g., Exod 2:23; Deut 7:7; Nah 3:4; BDB 580 s.v. מִן 2.f; HALOT 598 s.v. מִן 6).
- Hosea 10:6 tn The meaning of the root of מֵעֲצָתוֹ (meʿatsato, preposition מִן, min, + feminine singular noun עֵצָה, ʿetsah, + third person masculine singular suffix) is debated. There are three options: (1) “its counsel” from I עֵצָה (“counsel; advice; plan”; BDB 420 s.v. עֵצָה; HALOT 867 s.v. I עֵצָה 3.a); (2) “its disobedience” from II עֵצָה (“disobedience,” but the existence of this root is debated; see HALOT 867 s.v. II עֵצָה); and (3) “its wooden idol” from III עֵצָה (“wood”; cf. Jer 6:6), referring to the wooden idol/effigy (the calf idol in 10:5), a stick of wood covered with gold (HALOT 867 s.v.). The last option is favored contextually: (a) the idol is called “a stick of wood” in Hos 4:12, and (b) the calf idol (probably the referent) of the cult is mentioned in 10:5. The English versions are divided. Some have “his idol” (RSV, NRSV), “its wooden idols” (NIV), “image” (NJPS margin), “that idol” (CEV), and “this idol” (NLT). Others have “his own counsel” (KJV, ASV), “its own counsel” (NASB), “his plans” (NJPS), “his schemes” (NAB), and “the advice” (TEV).
- Hosea 10:7 tn The term נִדְמֶה (nidmeh, Niphal participle masculine singular) is derived from II דָמָה (damah; so BDB 198 s.v. דָמָה; HALOT 225 s.v. III דמה): “be cut off, cease to exist, be destroyed.” The Niphal form נִדְמֶה (“will be destroyed”) is paralleled by the Niphal וְנִשְׁמְדוּ (venishmedu, “will be destroyed”) in 10:8. Several English versions nuance the literal wording for the sake of the idiom: “will float away like a twig on the surface of the waters” (NIV), “Like a twig in a stream…will be swept away” (CEV), and “will be carried off like a chip of wood on an ocean wave” (NLT).
- Hosea 10:7 tn The noun II קֶצֶף (qetsef) is a hapax legomenon (a term that occurs only once). Historically, it has been understood in two different ways: (1) “foam” (Vulgate, Aquila, Symmachus) and (2) “snapped-off twig” (LXX, Theodotion, Syriac Peshitta). Both interpretations make sense in the light of the simile. The latter has more support because of the related verb קָצַץ (qatsats, “to cut off, chop off”) used in reference to wood (BDB 893 s.v. קָצַץ; HALOT 1125 s.v. קצץ) and the related feminine noun קְצָפָה (qetsafah, “stump; splinter” of fig-tree; BDB 893 s.v. קְצָפָה; HALOT 1125 s.v. קְצָפָה). English versions differ along these lines: (1) “foam” (KJV, NAB, NJPS) and (2) “chip” (NRSV, TEV, NCV, NLT), “stick” (NASB), and “twig” (NIV, CEV).
- Hosea 10:8 tn Alternately, “Aven” (KJV, NAB, NRSV, NLT) for the city name “Beth Aven.” The term “Beth” (house) does not appear in the Hebrew text here but is implied (e.g., Hos 4:15). It is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 10:8 tc The MT reads בָּמוֹת אָוֶן (bamot ʾaven, “high places of Aven”); however, several Hebrew mss read בָּמוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן (bamot bet ʾaven, “high places of Beth Aven”). In Hos 4:15 the name בֵּית אָוֶן (“Beth Aven”; Heb “house of wickedness”) is a wordplay on “Bethel” (Heb “house of God”). It is possible that בָּמוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן (“high places of Beth Aven”) was original: בֵּית (bet, “house”) could have dropped out as an unintentional scribal error by haplography due to presence of the consonants בת in the preceding word במות (bamot, “high places”).tn Heb “high places of wickedness” (בָּמוֹת אָוֶן, bamot ʾaven); so NIV. The noun אָוֶן (“wickedness”) is an attributive genitive: “wicked high places.”
- Hosea 10:9 tn Heb “days” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).
- Hosea 10:10 tn Heb “in my desire”; cf. ASV, NASB “When it is my desire,” NCV “When I am ready.”
- Hosea 10:10 tc The MT reads וְאֶסֳּרֵם (veʾessorem, vav conjunction + a verb form which does not properly fit any paradigm + third person masculine plural suffix). The LXX reads παιδεῦσαι αὐτούς (paideusai autous, “to discipline them”) which reflects a Vorlage of אֲיַסְּרֵם (ʾayasserem, Piel imperfect first person common singular + third person masculine plural suffix from יָסַר, yasar, “to discipline”; BDB 416 s.v. יָסַר 3). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion between ו (vav) and י (yod) and metathesis with the א (ʾalef).
- Hosea 10:10 tn Heb “Nations will be gathered together against them.”
- Hosea 10:10 tn The verb אָסַר (ʾasar, “to bind”) often refers to conquered peoples being bound as prisoners (BDB 63 s.v. אָסַר). Here it is used figuratively to describe the Israelites being taken into exile. Cf. NIV “to put them in bonds.”
- Hosea 10:10 tc The Kethib is לִשְׁתֵּי עֵינֹתָם (lishte ʿenotam, “for their two eyes”), while the Qere reads לִשְׁתֵּי עוֹנֹתָם (lishte ʿonotam, “for their two sins”). The phrase “two sins” could refer to (1) the sinful episode at Gibeah and the subsequent war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes (Judges 19-21), or (2) the entire Gibeah incident (Judges 19-21) and Israel’s subsequent failure to repent up to the time of Hosea: “the time of Gibeah” (first sin) and “there you have remained” (second sin).
- Hosea 10:11 tc The MT is unintelligible: עַל־טוּב (ʿal tuv, “upon a fine [thing]”?). Cf. KJV “I passed over upon her fair neck,” NRSV “I spared her fair neck.” The BHS editors suggest the revocalization עֹל־טוּב (ʿol tuv, “a fine yoke”), followed by many modern English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). The noun עֹל (ʿol, “yoke”) also appears in 11:4 in a metaphor comparing Israel to a young heifer.
- Hosea 10:11 tn Or “Judah will plow” (so NASB); cf. NIV, NRSV, CEV “Judah must plow.”
- Hosea 10:11 tn Or “Jacob will break up.”
- Hosea 10:12 tn Or “righteousness” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); cf. NAB “justice.”
- Hosea 10:13 tc The MT (followed by KJV, NASB) reads the enigmatic בְּדַרְכְּךָ (bedarkekha, “in your own way”) which does not seem to fit the context or the parallelism with בְּרֹב גִּבּוֹרֶיךָ (berov gibborekha, “in your multitude of warriors”). The BHS editors suggest the original reading was בְרִכְבְּךָ (verikhbekha, “in your chariots”), a reading followed by NAB and TEV. If this is correct, the MT reading was caused by orthographic confusion between רֶכֶב (rekhev, “chariot”) and דֶּרֶכ (derekh, “way”).
- Hosea 10:13 tn The phrase “you have relied” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is implied by the parallelism in the preceding line.
- Hosea 10:14 tn Heb “as the devastation of Shalman.” The genitive noun שַׁלְמַן (shalman, “Shalman”) functions as a subjective genitive: “as Shalman devastated [Beth Arbel].”
- Hosea 10:15 tn Heb “when the dawn is cut off” or “when the day ceases” (cf. NLT “When the day of judgment dawns”).
- Hosea 10:15 tn The root דָמָה (damah, “to be cut off, cease to exist, be destroyed”; BDB 198 s.v. דָּמָה; HALOT 225 s.v. דמה) is repeated in the Hebrew text. The form נִדְמֹה (nidmoh, Niphal infinitive absolute) appears in the first colon, and the form נִדְמָה (nidmah, Niphal perfect third person masculine singular) appears in the second colon. This striking repetition creates a dramatic wordplay that, for stylistic reasons, cannot be reproduced in English translations: “The moment the dawn ceases to exist (i.e., at the break of dawn), the king of Israel will cease to exist.”
- Hosea 11:1 tn The words “like a son” are not in the Hebrew text but are necessary to clarify what sort of love is intended (cf. also NLT).
- Hosea 11:1 tc The MT reads בְנִי (veni, “my son”); however, the LXX reflects בָנָיו (vanayv, “his sons”). The MT should be retained as original here because of internal evidence; it is much more appropriate to the context.
- Hosea 11:2 tc The MT reads קָרְאוּ (qareʾu, “they called”; Qal perfect third person common plural from קָרַא, qaraʾ, “to call”); cf. KJV and NASB. However, the LXX and Syriac reflect כְּקָרְאִי (keqareʾi, “as I called”; preposition כְּ [kaf] + Qal infinitive construct from קָרַא + first person common singular suffix). The presence of the resumptive adverb כֵּן (ken, “even so”) in the following clause supports the alternate textual tradition reflected in the LXX and Syriac (cf. NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT).
- Hosea 11:2 tc The MT reads מִפְּנֵיהֶם (mippenehem, “from them”; preposition + masculine plural noun + third person masculine plural suffix); so KJV, ASV, and NASB. However, the LXX and Syriac reflect an alternate Hebrew textual tradition of מִפָּנַי הֵם (mippanay hem, “they [went away] from me”; preposition + masculine plural noun + first person common singular suffix, followed by third person masculine plural independent personal pronoun); cf. NAB, NIV, and NRSV. The textual variant was caused simply by faulty word division.
- Hosea 11:3 tn Or “taught Ephraim to walk” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). The verb תִרְגַּלְתִּי (tirgalti, “I taught [him] to walk, I led [him]”; Tiphil perfect first person common singular from רָגַל, ragal, “to walk”) is an unusual verb stem: the Tiphil (properly Taphel) is attested three times in Biblical Hebrew (Hos 11:3; Jer 12:5; 22:15) and once in Biblical Aramaic (Ezra 4:7; see GKC 153 §55.h).
- Hosea 11:3 tn Or “that it was I who had healed them” (NIV and NLT are similar).
- Hosea 11:4 tn Or “cords of human [kindness].” The noun אָדָם (ʾadam) is traditionally related to I אָדָם (“man”) and translated either literally or figuratively (as a metonymy of association for humane compassion): “cords of a man” (KJV, RSV margin, NASB), “cords of human kindness” (NIV, NCV), “human ties” (NJPS), and “cords of compassion” (RSV). But while it refers to humanity it rarely if ever means “humanely.” Another view sees the noun as II אָדָם (“leather”; HALOT 14 s.v. אָדָם) or possibly to be revocalized as אֹדֶם (ʾodem, “leather”; DCH rev. 1:153 s.v. אֹדֶם and 152 s.v. אָדָם II) and in parallel in this verse with II אַהֲבָה (ʾahavah, “leather”). This homonymic root is well attested in Arabic ʾadam (“skin”) and ʾadim (“tanned skin; leather”). It could fit the context of 11:4, which compares Israel to an animal: the Lord led him with leather cords, lifted the yoke from his neck, and fed him. Elsewhere, Hosea compares Israel to a stubborn cow (4:6) and harnessed heifer (10:11). It is somewhat common that the infrequent vocabulary of the Old Testament appears in poetic contexts, and this may be the case here. Richard S. Hess, “’ĀDĀM as ‘Skin’ and ‘Earth’: An Examination of Some Proposed Meanings in Biblical Hebrew,” TynBul (39) 1988: 141-42, claims that understanding the words as from the common roots is “acceptable for the context” and that taking the words as the more common roots is “the simplest and most suitable reading of the text.” HALOT cites Hans Walter Wolff for II אָדָם and II אַהֲבָה, but Hess notes that Wolff later rejected “leather” as a translation for these words in a commentary on Hosea. Hess is followed by NIDOTTE (261 s.v. אָדָם I).
- Hosea 11:4 tn Or “ropes of love.” The noun אַהֲבָה (ʾahava) is traditionally related to I אַהֲבָה (“love”; BDB 13 s.v. אַהֲבָה 2). This approach is adopted by most English translations: “bands of love” (KJV, RSV), “bonds of love” (NASB), “ties of love” (NIV), and “cords of love” (NJPS). However, אַהֲבָה could derive from the homonymic root II אַהֲבָה (“leather”; HALOT 18 s.v. II אַהֲבָה). This root is attested in Arabic and Ugaritic. It might occur in the description of Solomon’s sedan chair: “upholstered with purple linen, and inlaid with leather” (Song 3:10). The context of 11:4 compares Israel to a young heifer: the Lord could lead him with leather ropes, lift the yoke from his neck, and bend down to feed him. Elsewhere, Hosea compares Israel to a stubborn cow (4:6) and a young heifer harnessed for plowing (10:11). This may be supported by the parallelism with II אָדָם (ʾadam, “leather”; HALOT 14 s.v. II אָדָם). In addition, this could be an example of a homonymic wordplay on both roots: “ropes of leather/love.” For discussions of II אַהֲבָה, see G. R. Driver, “Supposed Arabisms in the Old Testament,” JBL 55 (1936): 111; G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 133; S. E. Loewenstamm, Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, 1:39; and D. Grossberg, “Canticles 3:10 in the Light of a Homeric Analogue and Biblical Poetics,” BTB 11 (1981): 75-76. For homonymic wordplays, see W. G. E. Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry [JSOTSup], 237-38, and J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, 151-55.
- Hosea 11:4 tn Heb “And I was to them like those who lift a yoke.” Eugen J. Pentiuc (Long-Suffering Love, 183, n. 940) says that the Vulgate and Syriac have the singular: “as one who lifts”). BHS suggests emending עֹל (‘ol, “yoke”) to עוּל (‘ul, “suckling”), and this might have originally required only a change of pointing: עֻל. Numerous commentaries and translations (NRSV, NJB, NIV, NAB, CEB) have agreed. The NIV has, “like one who lifts a little child to the cheek.” J. Andrew Dearman (The Book of Hosea (NICOT), 283) notes that this is modern. The Latin and Syriac agree with the MT in the animal imagery. Cords and ropes suit animals. Embracing to the face is not otherwise attested in Scripture. Dearman sees parallels between Hos 11:1-4 and Exod 20:2-5, and the image can be removal of the yoke of slavery in Egypt (see Lev 26:13; Jer 2:20). A yoke was standard imagery for servitude (1 Kgs 12:4, 10-11, 14; Deut 28:48; Jer 28:14; 30:8). A harness on the jaws occurs in Isa 30:28. God’s feeding of Israel would have been in the wilderness. A yoke here would match imagery of a yoke in Hos 10:11. God removed Israel from slavery but will return it to slavery for its sin (10:11).
- Hosea 11:4 tn Heb “their jaws” (so KJV, ASV, NASB). This noun (לְחִי, lekhiy) can also mean “cheek,” which is how the NIV, NRSV, NJB, NAB, and CEV take it here.
- Hosea 11:4 tn Heb “him.” This is regarded as a collective singular by most English versions and thus translated as a plural pronoun.
- Hosea 11:5 tc Or “Will they not return to Egypt?” (so NIV). Following the LXX and BHS, the MT לֹא (loʾ, “not”) should probably be read as לוֹ (lo, “to him”) and connected to the end of 11:4 rather than the beginning of 11:5. The textual confusion between לֹא and לוֹ probably reflects an unintentional scribal error due to a mistake in hearing (cf., e.g., Kethib/Qere in Ps 100:3).
- Hosea 11:5 tn Heb “Assyria, he will be his [Israel’s] king” (NASB similar).
- Hosea 11:5 tn Heb “return” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). The root שׁוּב (shuv, “to turn, return”) appears at the beginning and ending of this verse, creating an inclusio. This repetition produces an ironic wordplay: because Israel refuses to “return” to God or “turn” from its sin, it will “return” to Egypt. The punishment fits the crime.
- Hosea 11:7 tn The term תְלוּאִים (teluʾim, Qal passive participle masculine plural from תָּלָא, talaʾ, “to hang”) literally means “[My people] are hung up” (BDB 1067 s.v. תָּלָא). The verb תָּלָא // תָּלָה (“to hang”) is often used in a concrete sense to describe hanging an item on a peg (Ps 137:2; Song 4:4; Isa 22:24; Ezek 15:3; 27:10) or impaling the body of an executed criminal (Gen 40:19, 22; 41:13; Deut 21:22, 23; Josh 8:29; 10:26; 2 Sam 21:12; Esth 2:23; 5:14; 6:4; 7:9, 10; 8:7; 9:13, 14, 25). It is used figuratively here to describe Israel’s moral inability to detach itself from apostasy. Several English versions capture the sense well: “My people are bent on turning away from me” (RSV, NASB), “My people are determined to turn from me” (NIV), “My people are determined to reject me” (CEV; NLT “desert me”), “My people persist in its defection from me” (NJPS), and “they insist on turning away from me” (TEV).
- Hosea 11:7 tn The first person common singular suffix on the noun מְשׁוּבָתִי (meshuvati; literally, “turning of me”) functions as an objective genitive: “turning away from me.”
- Hosea 11:7 tc The meaning and syntax of the MT is enigmatic: וְאֶל־עַל יִקְרָאֻהוּ (veʾel ʾal yiqraʾuhu, “they call upwards to him”). Many English versions, including KJV, NIV, NRSV, and NLT, take the referent of “him” as the “most High.” The BHS editors suggest reading וְאֶל־בַּעַל יִקְרָא וְהוּא (veʾel baʿal yiqraʾ vehuʾ, “one calls to Baal, but he…”), connecting the third person masculine singular independent personal pronoun וְהוּא (vehuʾ, “but he…”) with the following clause. The early Greek recensions (Aquila and Symmachus), as well as the Aramaic Targum and the Vulgate, vocalized עֹל (ʿol) as “yoke” (as in 11:4): “they cry out because of [their] yoke” (a reading followed by TEV).
- Hosea 11:8 tn The imperfect verbs in 11:8 function as imperfects of capability. See IBHS 564 §34.1a.
- Hosea 11:8 tn The phrase נֶהְפַּךְ עָלַי לִבִּי (nehpakh ʿalay libbi) is an idiom that can be taken in two ways: (1) a tumult of emotions, not just a clash of ideas, that are afflicting a person (Lam 1:20; HALOT 253 s.v. הפך 1.c) and (2) a decisive change of policy, that is, a reversal of sentiment from amity to hatred (Exod 14:5; Ps 105:25; BDB 245 s.v. הָפַךְ 1; HALOT 253 s.v. 3). Some English versions express God’s emotional discomfort and tension over the prospect of destroying Israel: “mine heart is turned within me” (KJV), “my heart recoils within me” (RSV, NRSV), “My heart is turned over within Me” (NASB), and “My heart is torn within me” (NLT). Others stress volitional reversal of a previous decision to totally destroy Israel: “I have had a change of heart” (NJPS), “my heart is changed within me” (NIV), and “my heart will not let me do it!” (TEV). Both BDB 245 s.v. 1.b and HALOT 253 s.v. 3 suggest that the idiom describes a decisive change of heart (reversal of decision to totally destroy Israel once and for all) rather than God’s emotional turbulence, shifting back and forth between whether to destroy or spare Israel. This volitional nuance is supported by the modal function of the first person common singular imperfects in 11:8 (“I will not carry out my fierce anger…I will not destroy Ephraim…I will not come in wrath”) and by the prophetic announcement of future restoration in 11:10-11. Clearly, a dramatic reversal both in tone and in divine intention occurs between 11:5-11.
- Hosea 11:8 tn The Niphal of כָּמַר (kamar) means “to grow warm, tender” (BDB 485 s.v. כָּמַר), as its use in a simile with an oven demonstrates (Lam 5:10). It is used several times to describe the arousal of the most tender affection (Gen 43:30; 1 Kgs 3:26; Hos 11:8; BDB 485 s.v. 1; HALOT 482 s.v. כמר 1). Cf. NRSV “my compassion grows warm and tender.”
- Hosea 11:9 tn The three imperfect verbs function as imperfects of capability, similar to the imperfects of capability in 11:8. See IBHS 564 §34.1a.
- Hosea 11:10 tn When the verb חָרַד (kharad, “to tremble”) is used with prepositions of direction, it denotes “to go or come trembling” (BDB 353 s.v. חָרַד 4; e.g., Gen 42:28; 1 Sam 13:7; 16:4; 21:2; Hos 11:10, 11). Thus, the phrase מִיָּם…וְיֶחֶרְדוּ (veyekheredu…miyyam) means “to come trembling from the west” (cf. NAB “shall come frightened from the west”).
- Hosea 11:11 tn For the meaning of חָרַד (harad, “to tremble”) with prepositions of direction, see 11:10 above.
- Hosea 11:12 sn Beginning with 11:12, the verse numbers through 12:14 in the English Bible differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 11:12 ET = 12:1 HT, 12:1 ET = 12:2 HT, etc., through 12:14 ET = 12:15 HT. From 13:1 to 13:16 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
- Hosea 11:12 tn The phrase “has surrounded me” is not repeated in the Hebrew text here but is implied by the parallelism in the preceding line. It is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons, smoothness, and readability.
- Hosea 11:12 tn The verb רוּד (rud, “to roam about freely”) is used in a concrete sense to refer to someone wandering restlessly and roaming back and forth (BDB 923 s.v. רוּד; Judg 11:37). Here, it is used figuratively, possibly with positive connotations, as indicated by the preposition עִם (ʿim, “with”), to indicate accompaniment: “but Judah still goes about with God” (HALOT 1194 s.v. רוד). Some English versions render it positively: “Judah still walks with God” (RSV, NRSV), “but Judah stands firm with God” (NJPS), and “but Judah yet ruleth with God” (KJV, ASV). Other English versions adopt the negative connotation “to wander restlessly” and nuance עִם in an adversative sense (“against”): “Judah is still rebellious against God” (NAB), “Judah is restive under God” (REB), “Judah is unruly against God” (NIV), and “the people of Judah are still rebelling against me” (TEV).
- Hosea 12:1 tn Heb “a treaty” (so NIV, NRSV); cf. KJV, NASB “a covenant,” NAB “comes to terms.”
- Hosea 12:1 tn The phrase “as tribute” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is supplied in the translation for clarity (cf. NCV “send a gift of olive oil”).
- Hosea 12:2 tn The noun רִיב (riv, “dispute”) is used in two contexts: (1) nonlegal contexts: (a) “dispute” between individuals (e.g., Gen 13:7; Isa 58:1; Jer 15:10) or (b) “brawl, quarrel” between people (e.g., Exod 17:7; Deut 25:1); and (2) legal contexts: (a) “lawsuit, legal process” (e.g., Exod 23:3-6; Deut 19:17; 21:5; Ezek 44:24; Ps 35:23), (b) “lawsuit, legal case” (e.g., Deut 1:12; 17:8; Prov 18:17; 25:9), and (c) God’s “lawsuit” on behalf of a person or against his own people (Hos 4:1; 12:3; Mic 6:2; HALOT 1225-26 s.v. רִיב). The term in Hosea refers to a covenant lawsuit that Yahweh, the suzerain, lodges against his disobedient vassal, accusing Israel and Judah of breach of covenant that will elicit the covenant curses (cf. NLT “is bringing a lawsuit”).
- Hosea 12:3 tn The verb שָׂרָה (sarah) means “to strive, contend” (HALOT 1354 s.v. שׂרה) or “persevere, persist” (BDB 975 s.v. שָׂרָה; see Gen 32:29). Almost all English versions render the verb here in terms of the former: NAB, NASB “contended”; NRSV “strove”; TEV, CEV “fought against.”
- Hosea 12:4 tc The MT vocalizes the consonantal text וָיָּשַׂר (vayyasar, vav consecutive + Qal preterite third person masculine singular from שׂוּר, sur, possibly a byform of one or more other roots. Parallelism with שָׂרַה (sarah, “he contended”) in 12:3 suggested that it be vocalized as ויִּשַׂר (vav consecutive + Qal preterite third person masculine singular from שׂרה [“to strive, contend”]). The latter is followed by almost all English versions here.
- Hosea 12:4 tn Heb “him”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 12:4 tc The Leningrad Codex and the Allepo Codex both read first person common plural עִמָּנוּ (ʿimmanu, “with us”). The LXX and Peshitta both reflect an alternate Hebrew Vorlage of third person masculine singular עִמּוֹ (ʿimmo, “with him”). The BHS editors suggest emending the MT in favor of the Greek and Syriac. The internal evidence of 12:4-5 favors the third person masculine singular reading. It is likely that the first person common plural reading, נוּ-, on עִמָּנוּ arose due to a misunderstanding of the third person masculine singular נוּ- suffix on יִמְצָאֶנּוּ (yimtsaʾennu, “he found him”; Qal imperfect third person masculine singular + third person masculine singular suffix), which was probably misunderstood as the first person common plural suffix: “he found us.” Several English versions follow the LXX and Syriac: “there he spoke with him” (RSV, NAB, NEB, NIV, NJPS, TEV). Others follow the MT: “there he spoke with us” (KJV, NASB, CEV). The Hebrew University Old Testament Project, which tends to preserve the MT whenever possible, adopts the MT reading but gives it only a “C” rating. See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:262-63.
- Hosea 12:5 tn Heb “[is] his memorial name” (so ASV); cf. TEV “the name by which he is to be worshipped.”
- Hosea 12:6 tn The verb תָשׁוּב (tashuv, Qal imperfect second person masculine singular from שׁוּב, shuv, “to return”) functions as an imperfect of moral obligation, introducing the following imperatives (e.g., Gen 20:9; Exod 4:15). For this function of the imperfect, see IBHS 508-9 §31.4g.
- Hosea 12:6 tn The verb וְקַוֵּה (veqavveh, vav + Piel imperative second person masculine singular from קָוָה, qavah, “to wait for”) means “to hope for, wait for, look eagerly for” (BDB 875 s.v. קָוָה 1; HALOT 1082 s.v. קָוָה 2.b). The Qal meaning refers to a general hope; the Piel meaning refers to hope directed toward an object, or hope inserted within a sequence of expectation and fulfillment. When the Piel is used in reference to a thing, it refers to waiting expectantly for something to occur (e.g., Gen 49:18; Isa 5:2, 4, 7; 59:9, 11; Jer 8:15; 13:16; 14:19; Ps 69:21; Job 3:9; 6:19; 11:20). When it is used in reference to God, it refers to the people of God waiting expectantly for God to do something or to fulfill his promise (e.g., Pss 25:5, 21; 27:14; 37:34; 40:1 HT [40:1 ET]; 52:11 HT [52:9 ET]; 130:5; Isa 8:17; 25:9; 26:8; 33:2; 51:5; 60:9; Hos 12:7). The personal object can be introduced by the preposition לְ (lamed, “for”; HALOT 1082 s.v. קָוָה 2.a) or אֶל (ʾel, “for”; HALOT 1082 s.v. קָוָה 2.b; e.g., Pss 27:14; 37:34; Isa 51:5; Hos 12:7). The point seems to be that if Israel will repent and practice moral righteousness, she can look to God in confident expectation that he will intervene on her behalf by relenting from judgment and restoring the covenant blessings.
- Hosea 12:6 tn The phrase “to return to you” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is implied; it is provided in the translation for clarity. This ellipsis fills out the implicit connotations of the verb קָוָה (qavah, “to wait for”).
- Hosea 12:7 tn Heb “the merchant…loves to cheat.” The Hebrew has singular forms (noun and verb) that are used generically to refer to all Israelite merchants and traders in general. The singular noun II כְּנַעַן (kenaʿan, “a merchant; a trader”; BDB 488 s.v. II כְּנַעַן) is used in a generic sense to refer to the merchant class of Israel as a whole (e.g., Ezek 16:29; 17:4; Zeph 1:11).
- Hosea 12:7 tn Heb “The merchant—in his hand are scales of deceit—loves to cheat.” The present translation rearranges the Hebrew line division to produce a smoother English rendering.
- Hosea 12:8 tn Heb “says” (so NAB).
- Hosea 12:8 tn Heb “I have found wealth for myself.” The verb מָצַא (matsaʾ, “to find”) is repeated in 12:8 to create a wordplay that is difficult to reproduce in translation. The Israelites have “found” (מָצַא) wealth for themselves (i.e., become wealthy; v. 8a) through dishonest business practices (v. 7). Nevertheless, they claim that no guilt can be “found” (מָצַא) in anything they have done in gaining their wealth (v. 8b).
- Hosea 12:8 tc The MT reads the first person common singular suffix on the noun יְגִיעַי (yegiʿay, “my labors/gains”; masculine plural noun + first person common singular suffix). The LXX’s οἱ πόνοι αὐτοῦ (hoi ponoi autou, “his labors”) assumes a third person masculine singular suffix on the noun יְגִיעַיו (yegiʿayv, “his labors/gains”; masculine plural noun + third person masculine singular suffix). The BHS editors suggest adopting the LXX reading. The textual decision is based upon whether or not this line continues the speech of Ephraim (first person common singular suffix) or whether these are the words of the prophet (third person masculine singular suffix). See the following translator’s note for the two rival lexical meanings that in turn lead to the textual options for the line as a whole.tn Heb “In all my gains/labors.” The noun יְגִיעַ (yegiʿa) has a twofold range of meaning: (1) “toil, labor” and (2) metonymical result of toil: “product, produce, gain, acquired property” (i.e., wealth gained by labor; BDB 388 s.v.; HALOT 385-86 s.v.). Normally, only one of the categories of meaning is present in any usage; however, it is possible that intentional semantic ambiguity is present in this usage because the context invokes both ideas: action + wealth.
- Hosea 12:8 tn The phrase מָצָאתִי אוֹן לִי (matsaʾti ʾon li, “I have found wealth for myself” = I have become wealthy) forms a wordplay with לֹא יִמְצְאוּ לִי עָוֹן (loʾ yimtseʾu li ʿavon, “they will not find guilt in me”). The repetition of מָצָא לִי (matsaʾ li) is enhanced by the paronomasia between the similar sounding nouns עָוֹן (ʾavon, “guilt”) and אוֹן (ʾon, “wealth”). The wordplay emphasizes that Israel’s acquisition of wealth cannot be divorced from his guilt in dishonest business practices. Israel has difficulty in professing his innocence, that he is not guilty (עָוֹן) of dishonest acquisition of wealth (אוֹן).
- Hosea 12:8 tc The MT reads, “[in] all my gains, they will not find guilt in me that would be sin.” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage that would be translated, “in all his labors, he cannot offset his guilt that is sin.” Some translations follow the LXX: “but all his riches can never offset the guilt he has incurred” (RSV), “None of his gains shall atone for the guilt of his sins” (NEB), and “All his gain shall not suffice him for the guilt of his sin” (NAB). Most follow the MT: “In all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin” (KJV); “In all my labors they will find in me no iniquity, which would be sin” (NASB); “With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin” (NIV); “All my gains do not amount to an offense which is real guilt” (NJPS); “No one can accuse us of getting rich dishonestly” (TEV); and “I earned it all on my own, without committing a sin” (CEV). See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:262-63.tn Heb “In all my gains/labors, no one can find in me any guilt that is sin.”
- Hosea 12:9 sn The Lord answers Ephraim’s self-assertion (“I am rich!”) with a self-introduction formula (“I am the Lord your God!”) that introduces judgment oracles and ethical instructions.
- Hosea 12:9 tn Or “[Ever since you came] out of Egypt”; cf. CEV “just as I have been since the time you were in Egypt.”
- Hosea 12:9 tn Heb “as in the days of meeting” (כִּימֵי מוֹעֵד, kime moʿed). This phrase might refer to “time of the festival” (e.g., Hos 2:13; 9:5; cf. NASB, NRSV, NLT) or the Lord’s first “meeting” with Israel in the desert (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV). In his announcements about Israel’s future, Hosea uses “as in the days of […]” (כִּימֵי) or “as in the day of […]” (כְּיוֹם, keyom) to introduce analogies drawn from Israel’s early history (e.g., Hos 2:5, 17; 9:9; 10:9).
- Hosea 12:10 tn Heb “I myself multiplied vision[s]”; cf. NASB “I gave numerous visions.”
- Hosea 12:10 tn There is debate whether אֲדַמֶּה (ʾadammeh, Piel imperfect first person common singular) is derived from I דָמָה (damah, “similitude, parable”) or II דָמָה (“oracle of doom”). The lexicons favor the former (BDB 198 s.v. I דָּמָה 1; HALOT 225-26 s.v. I דמה). Most translators favor “parables” (cf. KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NJPS), but a few opt for “oracles of doom” (cf. NRSV, TEV, CEV).
- Hosea 12:10 tn Heb “by the hand of”; cf. KJV, ASV “by the ministry of.”
- Hosea 12:11 tn The noun אָוֶן (ʾaven) has a broad range of meanings that include: (1) “wickedness, sin, injustice” (2) “deception, nothingness,” and (3) “idolatry, idolatrous cult” (HALOT 22 s.v. אָוֶן; BDB 19 s.v. אָוֶן). While any of these meanings would fit the present context, the second-half of the verse refers to cultic sins, suggesting that Hosea is denouncing Gilead for its idolatry (cf. NLT “Gilead is filled with sinners who worship idols”).
- Hosea 12:11 tn The introductory deictic particle אִם (ʾim) functions as an interrogative and introduces an interrogative clause: “Is there…?” (see HALOT 60 s.v. אִם 5; BDB 50 s.v. אִם 2). The LXX assumed that אִם was being used in its more common function as a conditional particle: “If there….”
- Hosea 12:11 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the inhabitants of Gilead) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 12:11 tn The noun שָׁוְא (shavʾ, “emptiness, nothing”), which describes the imminent judgment of the people of Gilead, creates a wordplay in Hebrew with the noun אָוֶן (ʾaven, “nothingness” = idolatry). Because Gilead worshiped “nothingness” (idols), it would become “nothing” (i.e., be destroyed).
- Hosea 12:12 tn Heb “served” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); cf. NLT “earned a wife.”
- Hosea 12:13 tn Heb “by a prophet” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Hosea 12:13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Israel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 12:13 tn Heb “was protected”; cf. NASB “was kept.” The verb שָׁמַר (shamar, “to watch, guard, keep, protect”) is repeated in 12:13-14 HT (12:12-13 ET). This repetition creates parallels between Jacob’s sojourn in Aram and Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness. Jacob “tended = kept” (שָׁמַר) sheep in Aram, and Israel was “preserved = kept” (נִשְׁמָר, nishmar) by Moses in the wilderness.
- Hosea 12:14 tn The noun תַּמְרוּרִים (tamrurim, “bitter things”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner, modifying the finite verb: “He bitterly provoked Him to anger” (GKC 375 §118.q). The plural form of the noun functions as a plural of intensity: “very bitterly.” For the adverbial function of the accusative, see IBHS 172-73 §10.2.2e.
- Hosea 12:14 tn Heb “He will leave his blood upon him”; cf. NIV “will leave upon him the guilt of his bloodshed.”
- Hosea 12:14 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
- Hosea 12:14 tn Heb “for his contempt” (so NIV); cf. NRSV “for his insults,” NAB “for his outrage.”
- 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.
- Hosea 13:3 tn Heb “they will be like” (so NASB, NIV).
- Hosea 13:3 tn The phrase כְּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר (keʿanan boqer, “like a cloud of the morning”) occurs also in Hos 6:4 in a similar simile. The Hebrew poets and prophets refer to morning clouds as a simile for transitoriness (Job 7:9; Isa 44:22; Hos 6:4; 13:3; HALOT 858 s.v. עָנָן 1.b; BDB 778 s.v. עָנָן 1.c).
- Hosea 13:3 tn Heb “like the early rising dew that goes away”; cf. TEV “like the dew that vanishes early in the day.”
- Hosea 13:3 tn Heb “storm-driven away”; cf. KJV, ASV “driven with the whirlwind out.” The verb יְסֹעֵר (yesoʿer, Poel imperfect third person masculine singular from סָעַר, saʿar, “to storm”) often refers to the intense action of strong, raging storm winds (e.g., Jonah 1:11, 13). The related nouns refer to “heavy gale,” “storm wind,” and “high wind” (BDB 704 s.v. סָעַר; HALOT 762 s.v. סער). The verb is used figuratively to describe the intensity of God’s destruction of the wicked whom he will “blow away” (Isa 54:11; Hos 13:3; Hab 3:14; Zech 7:14; BDB 704 s.v.; HALOT 762 s.v.).
- Hosea 13:5 tc The MT reads יְדַעְתִּיךָ (yedaʿtikha, Qal perfect first person common singular + second person masculine singular suffix from יָדַע, yadaʿ, “to know”), followed by KJV and ASV (“I did know thee”). The LXX and Syriac reflect an alternate textual tradition of רְעִיתִיךָ (reʿitikha, Qal perfect first person common singular + second person masculine singular suffix from רָעָה, raʿah, “to feed”), which is followed by most recent English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Hosea 13:5 tn Heb “land of intense drought” or “intensely thirsty land.” The noun תַּלְאֻבוֹת (talʾuvot) occurs in the OT only here. It probably means “drought” (BDB 520 s.v. תַּלְאֻבָה). The related Arabic verb means “to be thirsty,” and the related Arabic noun means “a stony tract of land.” The plural form (singular = תַּלְאֻבָה, talʾuvah) is a plural of intensity: “a [land] of intense drought.” The term functions as an attributive genitive, modifying the construct אֶרֶץ (ʾerets, “land”). The phrase is variously rendered: “land of (+ “great” in KJV) drought” (RSV, NASB), “thirsty land” (NJPS), “thirsty desert” (CEV), “dry, desert land” (TEV), and the metonymical (effect for cause) “land of burning heat” (NIV).
- Hosea 13:6 tc The MT reads כְּמַרְעִיתָם (kemarʿitam, “according to their pasturage”; preposition כְּ (kaf) + noun מַרְעִית, marʿit, “pasture” + third person masculine plural suffix). Text-critics propose: (1) כְּמוֹ רְעִיתִים (kemo reʿitim, “as I pastured them”; preposition כְּמוֹ (kemo) + Qal perfect first person common singular from רָעַה, raʿah, “to pasture, feed” + third person masculine plural suffix) and (2) כִּרְעוֹתָם (“when they had pastured”; preposition כְּ + Qal perfect third person masculine plural from רָעַה). Some English versions follow the MT: “according to their pasture” (KJV), “as they had their pasture” (NASB), and “when you entered the good land” (TEV). Others adopt the first emendation: “when I fed them” (NIV, NRSV) and “I fed you [sic = them]” (CEV). Still others follow the second emendation: “but when they had fed to the full” (RSV) and “when they grazed” (NJPS).
- Hosea 13:6 tn Heb “their heart became exalted”; cf. KJV, ASV “was exalted.”
- Hosea 13:7 tn The vav consecutive + preterite form וָאֱהִי (vaʾehi) introduces a consequential or result clause; cf. NAB “Therefore,” NCV “That is why.”
- Hosea 13:7 tn Heb “So I will be like a lion to them” (so NASB); cf. NIV “I will come upon them like a lion.”
- Hosea 13:9 tc The MT reads שִׁחֶתְךָ (shikhetekha, “he destroyed you”; Piel perfect third person masculine singular from שָׁחַת, shakhat, “to destroy” + second person masculine singular suffix). The BHS editors suggest שׁחתיךָ (“I will destroy you”; Piel perfect first person common singular + second person masculine singular suffix). Contextually, this fits: If the Lord is intent on destroying Israel, there is no one who will be able to rescue her from him. This reading is also followed by NCV, NRSV, and TEV.
- Hosea 13:9 tc The MT reads כִּי־בִי בְעֶזְרֶךָ (ki vi veʿezrekha, “but in me is your help”); cf. KJV, NIV, and NLT. The LXX and Syriac reflect an underlying Hebrew text of כִּי־מִי בְעֶזְרֶךָ (ki mi veʿezrekha, “For who will help you?”). The interrogative מִי (“Who?”) harmonizes well with the interrogatives in 13:9-10 and should be adopted, as the BHS editors suggest; the reading is also followed by NAB, NCV, NRSV, and TEV.
- Hosea 13:10 tc The MT reads the enigmatic אֱהִי (ʾehi, “I want to be [your king]”; apocopated Qal imperfect first person common singular from הָיָה, hayah, “to be”), which makes little sense and conflicts with the third person masculine singular form in the dependent clause: “that he might save you” (וְיוֹשִׁיעֲךָ, veyoshiʿakha). All the versions (Greek, Syriac, Vulgate) read the interrogative particle אַיֵּה (ʾayyeh, “where?”), which the BHS editors endorse. The MT reading was caused by metathesis of the י (yod) and ה (hey). Few English versions follow the MT: “I will be thy/your king” (KJV, NKJV). Most recent English versions follow the ancient versions in reading, “Where is your king?” (ASV, RSV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NJPS, CEV, NLT).
- Hosea 13:10 tn The repetition of the phrase “Where are…?” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is implied by the parallelism in the preceding lines. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and for stylistic reasons.
- Hosea 13:11 tn The prefix-conjugation verb אֶתֶּן (ʾetten, “I gave”) refers to past-time action, specifying a definite past event (the enthronement of Saul); therefore, this should be classified as a preterite. While imperfects are occasionally used in reference to past-time events, they depict repeated action in the past. See IBHS 502-4 §31.2 and 510-14 §31.6.
- Hosea 13:12 tn The noun עָוֹן (ʿavon) has a threefold range of meanings: (1) “iniquity” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV), (2) “guilt” (so NAB, NIV), and (3) “punishment” (BDB 730 s.v. עָוֹן). The oracle of 13:12-13 announces that Israel’s punishment, though momentarily withheld, will suddenly come upon her like labor pains that will kill her.
- Hosea 13:12 tn Heb “has been bound.” צָרַר (tsarar, “to bind”) refers elsewhere to the action of scribes binding a document into a sealed scroll of safekeeping (Isa 8:16; HALOT 1058 s.v. I צרר 1; BDB 864 s.v. צָרַר 1). Here it figuratively depicts the record of Israel’s sins being written down and permanently bound in a sealed scroll for safekeeping (cf. NCV, TEV “are on record”). The guilt of Israel’s sin will be retained.
- Hosea 13:14 tn The translation of the first two lines of this verse reflects the interpretation adopted from among three interpretive options for v. 14. First, in spite of Israel’s sins, the Lord will redeem them from the threat of death and destruction (e.g., 11:8). However, against this view, the last line of 13:14 probably means that the Lord will not show compassion to Israel. Second, the Lord announces the triumphant victory over death through resurrection (cf. KJV, ASV, NIV). However, although Paul uses the wording of Hosea 13:14 as an illustration of victory over death, the context of Hosea’s message is the imminent judgment in 723-722 b.c. Third, the first two lines of 13:14 are rhetorical questions without explicit interrogative markers, implying negative answers: “I will not rescue them!” (cf. NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT). The next two lines in 13:14 are words of encouragement to Death and Sheol to destroy Israel. The final line announces that the Lord will not show compassion on Israel; he will not spare her.
- Hosea 13:14 tn Heb “Where, O Death, are your plagues?” (so NIV).
- Hosea 13:14 tn Heb “Where, O Sheol, is your destruction?” (NRSV similar).sn The two rhetorical questions in 13:14b function as words of encouragement, inviting personified Death and Sheol to draw near like foreign invading armies to attack and kill Israel (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Hosea 13:14 tn Heb “Compassion will be hidden from my eyes” (NRSV similar; NASB “from my sight”).
- Hosea 13:15 tc The MT reads בֵּן אַחִים יַפְרִיא (ben ʾakhim yafriʾ, “he flourishes [as] a son of brothers”), which is awkward syntactically and enigmatic contextually. The Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions reflect a Vorlage of בֵּין אַחִים יַפְרִיד (ben ’akhim yafrid, “he causes division between brothers”). The BHS editors suggest the MT confused the common term אָח (ʾakh, “brother”) for the rarer term אָחוּ (ʾakhu, “marsh plant, reed plant” [Job 8:11] and “reed bed” [Gen 41:2, 18; HALOT 31 s.v. אָחוּ]). This is an Egyptian loanword which is also attested in Ugaritic and Old Aramaic. The original text probably read either כְּאָחוּ מַפְרִיא (keʾakhu mafriʾ, “he flourishes like a reed plant”; comparative כְּ, kaf, + noun אָחוּ, “reed,” followed by a Hiphil participle masculine singular from פָּרַה, parah, “to flourish”) or בֵּין אָחוּ מַפְרִיא (ben ʾakhu mafriʾ, “he flourishes among the reeds”; preposition בֵּין, ben, “between,” followed by a masculine singular noun אָחוּ, “reed,” and a Hiphil participle masculine singular from פָּרַה). The confusion over אָחוּ (“reed plant”) probably led to secondary scribal errors: (1) faulty word-division of אָחוּ מַפְרִיא to אָחוּם יַפְרִיא, and (2) secondary orthographic confusion of י (yod) and ו (vav) between אָחוּם and resultant אָחִים. For discussion, see D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:268-69. Several English versions retain the MT: “even though he thrives among his brothers” (NIV), “Though he be fruitful among his brethren” (KJV), “No matter how much you prosper more than the other tribes” (CEV), and “Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers (NLT). Others adopt one of the two emendations: (1) “though he flourishes among the reeds” (NEB, NASB, NJPS), and (2) “even though he flourishes like weeds” (TEV), and “though he may flourish as the reed plant” (RSV).tn Or “among the reed plants” (cf. NEB, NASB, NJPS).
- Hosea 13:15 tc The MT וְיֵבוֹשׁ (veyevosh, “will be ashamed”; vav + Qal imperfect third person masculine singular from בּוֹשׁ, bosh, “to be ashamed”) does not fit the context. The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate reflect a Vorlage of וְיוֹבִישׁ (veyovish, “will dry up”; vav + Hiphil imperfect third person masculine singular from יָבַשׁ, yavash, “to be dry”; HALOT 384 s.v. יבשׁ 1). This fits well with the parallel וְיֶחֱרַב (veyekherav, “will become dry”; vav + Qal imperfect third person masculine singular from חָרַב, kharav, “to be dry”). See Isa 42:15; 44:27; Jer 51:36. The variant read by the ancient versions is followed by almost all modern English versions (as well as KJV, ASV).
- Hosea 13:15 tn The term “wind” is not repeated in the Hebrew text at this point but is implied; it is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 13:16 sn Beginning with 13:16, the verse numbers through 14:9 in the English Bible differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 13:16 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:1 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:9 ET = 14:10 HT. Thus ch. 14 in the Hebrew Bible has 10 verses.
- Hosea 13:16 tn Or “must bear its guilt” (NIV similar); cf. NLT “must bear the consequences of their guilt,” CEV “will be punished.”
- Hosea 13:16 tn Heb “his.” This is a collective singular, as recognized by almost all English versions.
- Hosea 14:1 tn Heb “For you have stumbled in your iniquity”; cf. NASB, NRSV “because of your iniquity.”
- Hosea 14:2 tn Heb “Take words with you and return to the Lord” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Hosea 14:2 tn The word order כָּל־תִּשָּׂא עָוֹן (kol tisaʾ ʿavon) is syntactically awkward. The BHS editors suggest rearranging the word order: תִּשָּׂא כָּל־עָוֹן (“Forgive all [our] iniquity!”). However, Gesenius suggests that כָּל (“all”) does not function as the construct in the genitive phrase כָּל־עָוֹן (“all [our] iniquity”); it functions adverbially modifying the verb תִּשָּׂא (“Completely forgive!”; see GKC 415 §128.e).
- Hosea 14:2 sn The repetition of the root לָקַח (laqakh) creates a striking wordplay in 14:2. If Israel will bring (לָקַח) its confession to God, he will accept (לָקַח) repentant Israel and completely forgive its sin.
- Hosea 14:2 tn Heb “and accept [our] speech.” The word טוֹב (tov) is often confused with the common homonymic root I טוֹב (tov, “good”; BDB 373 s.v. I טוֹב). However, this is probably IV טוֹב (tov, “word, speech”; HALOT 372 s.v. IV טוֹב), a hapax legomenon that is related to the verb טבב (“to speak”; HALOT 367 s.v. טבב) and the noun טִבָּה (tibbah, “rumor”; HALOT 367 s.v. טִבָּה). The term טוֹב (“word; speech”) refers to the repentant prayer mentioned in 14:1-3. Most translations relate it to I טוֹב and treat it as (1) accusative direct object: “accept that which is good” (RSV, NJPS) and “Accept our good sacrifices” (CEV), or (2) adverbial accusative of manner: “receive [us] graciously” (KJV, NASB, NIV). Note TEV, however, which follows the suggestion made here: “accept our prayer.”
- Hosea 14:2 tc The MT reads פָרִים (farim, “bulls”), but the LXX reflects פְּרִי (peri, “fruit”), a reading followed by NASB, NIV, NRSV “that we may offer the fruit of [our] lips [as sacrifices to you].” Although the Greek expression in Heb 13:15 (καρπὸν χειλέων, karpon cheileōn, “the fruit of lips”) reflects this LXX phrase, the MT makes good sense as it stands; NT usage of the LXX should not be considered decisive in resolving OT textual problems. The noun פָּרִים (parim, “bulls”) functions as an adverbial accusative of state.
- Hosea 14:3 tn Heb “For the orphan is shown compassion by you.” The present translation takes “orphan” as a figurative reference to Israel, which is specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hosea 14:4 sn The noun מְשׁוּבָתָה (meshuvatah, “waywardness”; cf. KJV “backsliding”) is from the same root as שׁוּבָה (shuvah, “return!”) in 14:1 [14:2 HT]. This repetition of שׁוּב (shuv) creates a wordplay that emphasizes reciprocity: if Israel will return (שׁוּבָה, shuvah) to the Lord, he will cure her of the tendency to turn away (מְשׁוּבָתָה) from him.
- Hosea 14:4 tn The noun נְדָבָה (nedavah, “voluntariness; free-will offering”) is an adverbial accusative of manner: “freely, voluntarily” (BDB 621 s.v. נְדָבָה 1). Cf. CEV “without limit,” TEV “with all my heart,” NLT “my love will know no bounds.”
- Hosea 14:4 sn The verb שָׁב, shav, “will turn” (Qal perfect third person masculine singular from שׁוּב, shuv, “to turn”), continues the wordplay on שׁוּב in 14:1-4 [14:2-5 HT]. If Israel will “return” (שׁוּב) to the Lord, he will heal Israel’s tendency to “turn away” (מְשׁוּבָתָה, meshuvatah) and “turn” (שָׁב) from his anger.
- Hosea 14:5 tn Heb “like Lebanon” (so KJV; also in the following verse). The phrase “a cedar of” does not appear in the Hebrew text; it is supplied in translation for clarity (cf. TEV “the trees of Lebanon,” NRSV “the forests of Lebanon”).
- Hosea 14:7 tn Hosea uses the similar-sounding terms יָשֻׁבוּ יֹשְׁבֵי (yashuvu yosheve, “the dwellers will return”) to create a wordplay between the roots שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”) and יָשַׁב (yashav, “to dwell; to reside”).
- Hosea 14:7 tn Heb “they will cause the grain to live” or “they will revive the grain.” Some English versions treat this as a comparison: “they shall revive as the corn,” (KJV) and “will flourish like the grain” (NIV).
- Hosea 14:8 tn The Hebrew expression מַה־לִּי עוֹד (mah-lli ʿod) is a formula of repudiation/emphatic denial that God has anything in common with idols: “I want to have nothing to do with […] any more!” (cf., e.g., Judg 11:12; 2 Sam 16:10; 19:23; 1 Kgs 17:18; 2 Kgs 3:13; 2 Chr 35:21; Jer 2:18; Ps 50:16; BDB 553 s.v. מָה 1.d.[c]).
- Hosea 14:8 tn The term “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is supplied in the translation for clarity, as in the majority of English versions (including KJV).
- Hosea 14:8 tn Cf. KJV “a green fir tree,” NIV, NCV “a green pine tree,” NRSV “an evergreen cypress.”
- Hosea 14:8 tn Heb “your fruit is found in me”; cf. NRSV “your faithfulness comes from me.”
- Hosea 14:9 tn The shortened form of the prefix-conjugation verb וְיָבֵן (veyaven) indicates that it is a jussive rather than an imperfect. When a jussive comes from a superior to an inferior, it may connote exhortation and instruction or advice and counsel. For the functions of the jussive, see IBHS 568-70 §34.3.