Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 25
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Hosea 8:1--10:8

Context
God Will Raise Up the Assyrians to Attack Israel

8:1 Sound the alarm! 1 

An eagle 2  looms over the temple of the Lord!

For they have broken their covenant with me, 3 

and have rebelled against my law.

8:2 Israel cries out to me,

“My God, we acknowledge you!”

8:3 But Israel has rejected what is morally good;

so an enemy will pursue him.

The Political and Cultic Sin of Israel

8:4 They enthroned kings without my consent! 4 

They appointed princes without my approval! 5 

They made idols out of their silver and gold,

but they will be destroyed! 6 

8:5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!

My anger burns against them!

They will not survive much longer without being punished, 7 

even though they are Israelites!

8:6 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

8:7 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.

8:8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;

they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.

The Willful Donkey and the Wanton Harlot

8:9 They have gone up to Assyria,

like a wild donkey that wanders off.

Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers. 8 

8:10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations, 9 

I will soon gather them together for judgment. 10 

Then 11  they will begin to waste away

under the oppression of a mighty king. 12 

Sacrifices Ineffective without Moral Obedience

8:11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,

these have become altars for sinning!

8:12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,

but they regard it as something totally unknown 13  to them!

8:13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,

and eat the meat,

but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices. 14 

Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,

he will punish their sins,

and they will return to Egypt.

8:14 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

9:1 O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly 15  like the nations,

for you are unfaithful 16  to your God.

You love to receive a prostitute's wages 17 

on all the floors where you thresh your grain.

9:2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people, 18 

and new wine only deceives them. 19 

Assyrian Exile Will Reverse the Egyptian Exodus

9:3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.

Ephraim will return to Egypt;

they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.

9:4 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.

9:5 So what will you do on the festival day,

on the festival days of the Lord?

No Escape for the Israelites This Time!

9:6 Look! 20  Even if 21  they flee from the destruction,

Egypt will take hold 22  of them,

and Memphis will bury them.

The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure 23 

thorn bushes will occupy their homes. 24 

9:7 The time of judgment 25  is about to arrive! 26 

The time of retribution 27  is imminent! 28 

Let Israel know! 29 

Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations

The prophet is considered a fool 30 

the inspired man 31  is viewed as a madman 32 

because of the multitude of your sins

and your intense 33  animosity.

9:8 The prophet 34  is a watchman 35  over Ephraim 36  on behalf of God, 37 

yet traps 38  are laid for him along all of his paths; 39 

animosity rages against him in the land 40  of his God.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

9:9 They have sunk deep into corruption 41 

as in the days of Gibeah.

He will remember their wrongdoing.

He will repay them for their sins.

9:10 When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the wilderness.

I viewed your ancestors 42  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

9:11 Ephraim will be like a bird;

what they value 43  will fly away.

They will not bear children –

they will not enjoy pregnancy –

they will not even conceive! 44 

9:12 Even if they raise their children,

I will take away every last one of them. 45 

Woe to them!

For I will turn away from them.

9:13 Just as lion cubs are born predators, 46 

so Ephraim will bear his sons for slaughter.

9:14 Give them, O Lord

what will you give them?

Give them wombs that miscarry,

and breasts that cannot nurse! 47 

9:15 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. 48 

I will no longer love them;

all their rulers are rebels.

9:16 Ephraim will be struck down 49 

their root will be dried up;

they will not yield any fruit.

Even if they do bear children,

I will kill their precious offspring.

9:17 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

10:1 Israel was a fertile vine

that yielded fruit.

As his fruit multiplied,

he multiplied altars to Baal. 50 

As his land prospered,

they adorned the fertility pillars.

10:2 Their heart is slipping;

soon they will be punished for their guilt.

The Lord 51  will break their altars;

he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.

The Lord Will Punish Israel by Removing Its Kings

10:3 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?”

10:4 They 52  utter empty words, 53 

taking 54  false oaths and making empty 55  agreements.

Therefore legal disputes sprout up

like poisonous weeds 56  in the furrows of a plowed field.

The Calf Idol and Idolaters of Samaria Will Be Exiled

10:5 The inhabitants 57  of Samaria will lament 58  over the calf idol 59  of Beth Aven. 60 

Its people will mourn over it;

its idolatrous priests will wail 61  over it, 62 

because its splendor will be taken from them 63  into exile.

10:6 Even the calf idol 64  will be carried to Assyria,

as tribute for the great king. 65 

Ephraim will be disgraced;

Israel will be put to shame because 66  of its wooden idol. 67 

10:7 Samaria and its king will be carried off 68 

like a twig 69  on the surface of the waters.

10:8 The high places of the “House 70  of Wickedness” 71  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!”

1 tn Heb “A horn unto your gums!”; NAB “A trumpet to your lips!”

2 tn Or perhaps “A vulture.” Some identify the species indicated by the Hebrew term נֶשֶׁר (nesher) as the griffon vulture (cf. NEB, NRSV).

3 tn Heb “my covenant” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “the covenant I made with them.”

4 tn Heb “but without me”; NCV “without asking my permission”; CEV “without consulting me.”

5 tn Heb “but I did not know”; NRSV “but without my knowledge.”

6 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.

7 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.

8 tn Or “has hired herself out to lovers”; cf. NIV “has sold herself to lovers.”

9 tn Or “they have hired themselves out to lovers”; cf. NASB “they hire allies among the nations.”

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).

11 tn The vav consecutive + preterite וַיָּחֵלּוּ (vayyakhellu, Hiphil preterite 3rd person common plural from חָלַל, khalal, “to begin”]) denotes temporal subordination to the preceding clause: “then…” (so NLT); cf. TEV, CEV “Soon.”

12 tn Heb “a king of princes” (cf. KJV, NASB); TEV “the emperor of Assyria.”

13 tn Heb “foreign” or “alien”; NASB, NRSV “as a strange thing.”

14 tn Heb “does not accept them”; the referent (their sacrifices) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

15 tn Heb “do not rejoice unto jubilation”; KJV “Rejoice not…for joy”; NASB “Do not rejoice…with exultation.”

16 tn Heb “you have committed adultery”; NRSV “you have played the whore.”

17 tn Heb “you love the wages of the prostitute” (NIV similar); NAB “loving a harlot’s hire.”

18 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “her” (so KJV, ASV). This is taken as a collective singular (so also most modern English versions).

20 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.

21 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).

22 tn The verb קָבַץ (qavats, “to gather together”) should be nuanced “grab hold” in this context (HALOT 1063 s.v. קבץ). This pictures a personified Egypt taking the fugitives prisoner.

23 tn Heb “the treasured things of their silver”; NASB, NIV, TEV, NLT “treasures of silver.”

24 tn Heb “their tents” (so NIV, NRSV); CEV “your tents.”

25 tn Heb “the days of the visitation”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “the days of punishment.”

26 tn Heb “has come” (בָּאוּ, bau). The two perfect tense (suffix-conjugation) verbs בָּאוּ (Qal perfect 3rd person common plural from בּוֹא, bo’, “to come”) repeated in this verse are both 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.

27 tn Heb “the days of the retribution”; NIV “of reckoning”; NRSV “of recompense.”

28 tn Heb “has come”; NIV “are at hand”; NLT “is almost here.”

29 tc The Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex (the MT ms employed for BHS) both place the atnach (colon-divider) after יֵדְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל (yedÿu yisrael, “Let Israel know!”), indicating that this line belongs with 9:7a (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). However, the LXX reads κακωθήσεται (kakwqhsetai) which reflects an underlying Vorlage of יָרֵעוּ (yareu, Qal imperfect 3rd person common plural from יָרַע, yara’, “to cry”), as opposed to the MT יֵדְעוּ (yedÿu, Qal jussive 3rd common plural from יָדַע, yada’, “to know”). The Old Greek connects יֵדְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל (“Israel cries out”) with the following lines (cf. NRSV), which appear to be quotations of Israel mocking Hosea. Aquila (ἔγνω, egnw) and Symmachus (γνώσεται, gnwsetai) both reflect the proto-MT tradition. For a discussion of this textual and syntactical problem, see H. W. Wolff, Hosea (Hermeneia), 150.

30 tn Or “is distraught”; cf. CEV, NLT “are crazy.”

31 tn Heb “the man of the Spirit”; NAB, NRSV “spirit.”

32 tn Or “is driven to despair.” The term מְשֻׁגָּע (mÿshugga’, Pual participle masculine singular from שָׁגַע, shaga’, “to be mad”) may be understood in two senses: (1) It could be a predicate adjective which is a figure of speech: “to be maddened,” to be driven to despair (Deut 28:34); or (2) it could be a substantive: “a madman,” referring to prophets who attempted to enter into a prophetic state through whipping themselves into a frenzy (1 Sam 21:16; 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).

33 tn Heb “great.”

34 tc The Leningrad Codex (the MT ms used for BHS) and Aleppo Codex both place the atnach (colon divider) after אלהי (“my God”) and connect נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) with the following colon. On the other hand, BHS suggests that נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) belongs with the first colon. For discussion of this syntactical problem, see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Hosea (AB), 533-34.

35 tc The syntax of this line is difficult, and the text is questionable. The major options include: (1) Adopt the MT vocalization and BHS line division: צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עִם־אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (tsofehefrayimim-elohay navi’, “The prophet is a watchman over Ephraim with my God [= on behalf of God]”). There are two problems with this: (a) 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). (b) The phrase עִם־אֱלֹהָי (“with my God”) is difficult to explain. (2) Adopt the MT vocalization and the MT line division: עִם־אֱלֹהָי צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם (“Ephraim is a watchman with my God,” cf. NASB). The problem with this, of course, is that Ephraim hardly fits the description of a prophetic watchman. (3) 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 (’im, “with”) to the noun עַם (’am, “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 of 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). (4) Emend אֱלֹהָי (“my God”) to אֹהֶל (’ohel, “tent”), as suggested in the BHS textual apparatus: אֶפְרַיִם עַם־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 (’im) does not normally mean “upon” and צָפָה is not used with עִם elsewhere.

36 tn Or “Ephraim is a watchman with my God”; cf. ASV, NASB.

37 tn Heb “with my God” (so ASV, NASB).

38 tn Heb “bird trap of a bird catcher” or “snare of a fowler” (so KJV).

39 tc Or “The prophet is like a trap along all of his paths.” The Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex (ms used in BHS) both connect נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) with this colon. On the other hand, BHS places נָבִיא (“prophet”) at the end of the preceding colon.

40 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).

41 tn Or more literally, “they are deeply corrupted.” The two verbs הֶעְמִיקוּ־שִׁחֵתוּ (hemiqu-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” is a more graphic English idiom and is preferred here (cf. NAB “They have sunk to the depths of corruption”).

42 tn Heb “fathers”; a number of more recent English versions use the more general “ancestors” here.

43 tn Heb “their glory” (so NASB); TEV “Israel’s greateness.”

44 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).

45 tn Heb “I will bereave them from a man”; NRSV “I will bereave them until no one is left.”

46 tc The MT is corrupt in 9:13. The BHS editors suggest emending the text to follow the LXX reading. See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:250-51.

47 tn Heb “breasts that shrivel up dry”; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “dry breasts.”

48 tn Heb “out of my house” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV, NCV, NLT “my land.”

49 tn Or perhaps, following the plant metaphor, “will be blighted” (NIV similar).

50 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.”

51 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

52 tc The referent of the 3rd person common plural verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibbÿru, “they speak”) is the masculine singular noun וְהַמֶּלֶךְ (vÿhammelekh, “a king” in v. 3) which is used generically, representing all human kings of Israel to which the 3rd common plural verb refers. Although this is a bit syntactically awkward, it is not necessary to emend the MT to the 3rd masculine singular verb form דָּבַר (davar, “he speaks”) as the BHS editors suggest. The LXX, however, reads the singular form λαλῶν (lalwn, “uttering”).

53 tn Heb “they speak words.” The cognate accusative construction דִּבְּרוּ דְבָרִים (dibbÿru dÿvarim; literally, “they speak words”) is an idiom that means “they speak mere words” (so NASB; NRSV 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 (’alot shavÿ’, “swearing an empty oath”) confirms this nuance. The LXX understood this idiom in the same way: λαλῶν ῥήματα προφάσειας ψευδεῖς (lalwn r{hmata profaseias yeudeis, “speaking false professions as his words”).

54 tn The two infinitive absolutes אָלוֹת (’alot, Qal infinitive absolute from II אָלָה, ’alah, “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 (dibbÿru, Piel perfect 3rd 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.

55 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.”

56 tn The noun II רֹאשׁ (rosh) 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).

57 tc The MT reads the singular construct noun שְׁכַן (shÿkhan, “the inhabitant [of Samaria]”), while the LXX and Syriac reflect the plural construct noun שְׁכַנֵי (shÿkhane, “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).

58 tc The MT reads יָגוּרוּ (yaguru, Qal imperfect 3rd 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 3rd person common plural from נוּד, nud, “to lament”; BDB 626 s.v. נוּד 2.a) which harmonizes better with the parallelism with אָבַל (’aval, “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.

59 tc The MT reads the plural לְעֶגְלוֹת (lÿeglot, “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).

60 sn See the note on the place name Beth Aven in 4:15.

61 tc The MT appears to read יָגִילוּ (yagilu, “they will rejoice”; Qal imperfect 3rd 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 (yÿyelilu, “they will lament”; Hiphil imperfect 3rd 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).

62 tc This line division follows the MT rather than the line division suggested by the BHS editors.

63 tn Heb “from it” (so NAB, NRSV).

64 tn The antecedent of the 3rd person masculine singular direct object pronoun אוֹתוֹ (’oto, “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).

65 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 3rd person masculine singular from רִיב, riv, “to contend”). Note that KJV, ASV, 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.

66 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).

67 tn The meaning of the root of מֵעֲצָתוֹ (meatsato, preposition מִן, min, + feminine singular noun עֵצָה, ’etsah, + 3rd 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: (1) “his idol” (RSV, NRSV), “its wooden idols” (NIV), “image” (NJPS margin), “that idol” (CEV), “this idol” (NLT); and (2) “his own counsel” (KJV, ASV), “its own counsel” (NASB), “his plans” (NJPS), “his schemes” (NAB), “the advice” (TEV).

68 tn The term נִדְמֶה (nidmeh, Niphal participle feminine 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 (vÿnishmÿdu, “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), “will be carried off like a chip of wood on an ocean wave” (NLT).

69 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 (qÿtsafah, “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), “twig” (NIV, CEV).

70 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.

71 tc The MT reads בָּמוֹת אָוֶן (bamotaven, “high places of Aven”); however, several Hebrew mss read בָּמוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן (bamot betaven, “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”) 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, bamotaven); so NIV. The noun אָוֶן (“wickedness”) is an attributive genitive: “wicked high places.”



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