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Hosea 12:11

Context

12:11 Is there idolatry 1  in Gilead? 2 

Certainly its inhabitants 3  will come to nothing! 4 

Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?

Surely their altars will be like stones heaped up on a plowed field!

1 tn The noun אָוֶן (’aven) has a broad range of meanings which includes: (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.”

2 tn The introductory deictic particle אִם (’im) 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….”

3 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the inhabitants of Gilead) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn The noun שָׁוְא (shav’, “emptiness, nothing”), which describes the imminent judgment of the people of Gilead, creates a wordplay in Hebrew with the noun אָוֶן (’aven, “nothingness” = idolatry). Because Gilead worshiped “nothingness” (idols), it would become “nothing” (i.e., be destroyed).



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