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Hosea 14:1-4

Context
Prophetic Call to Genuine Repentance

14:1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,

for your sin has been your downfall! 1 

14:2 Return to the Lord and repent! 2 

Say to him: “Completely 3  forgive our iniquity;

accept 4  our penitential prayer, 5 

that we may offer the praise of our lips as sacrificial bulls. 6 

14:3 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!” 7 

Divine Promise to Relent from Judgment and to Restore Blessings

14:4 “I will heal their waywardness 8 

and love them freely, 9 

for my anger will turn 10  away from them.

1 tn Heb “For you have stumbled in your iniquity”; NASB, NRSV “because of your iniquity.”

2 tn Heb “Take words with you and return to the Lord” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

3 tn The word order כָּל־תִּשָּׂא עָוֹן (kol-tisa’ ’avon) is syntactically awkward. The BHS editors suggest rearranging the word order: תִּשָּׂא כָּל־עוֹן (“Forgive all [our] iniquity!”). However, Gesenius suggests that כָּל (“all”) does not function as the construct in the genitive phrase כָּל־עוֹן (“all [our] iniquity”); it functions adverbially modifying the verb תִּשָּׂא (“Completely forgive!”; see GKC 415 §128.e).

4 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.

5 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), “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.”

6 tc The MT reads פָרִים (farim, “bulls”), but the LXX reflects פְּרִי (pÿri, “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 xeilewn, “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 פָרִים (parim, “bulls”) functions as an adverbial accusative of state.

7 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.

8 sn The noun מְשׁוּבָתָה (mÿshuvatah, “waywardness”; cf. KJV “backsliding”) is from the same root as שׁוּבָה (shuvah, “return!”) in 14:1[2]. This repetition of שׁוּב (shuv) creates a wordplay which emphasizes reciprocity: if Israel will return (שׁוּבָה, shuvah) to the Lord, he will cure her of the tendency to turn away (מְשׁוּבָתָה) from him.

9 tn The noun נְדָבָה (nÿdavah, “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.”

10 sn The verb שָׁב, shav, “will turn” (Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular from שׁוּב, shuv, “to turn”) continues the wordplay on שׁוּב in 14:1-4[2-5]. If Israel will “return” (שׁוּב) to the Lord, he will heal Israel’s tendency to “turn away” (מְשׁוּבָתָה, mÿshuvatah) and “turn” (שָׁב) from his anger.



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