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Hosea 1:4-5

Context
1:4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, 1  “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish 2  the dynasty 3  of Jehu on account of the bloodshed 4  in the valley of Jezreel, 5  and I will put an end to the kingdom 6  of Israel. 7  1:5 At that time, 8  I will destroy the military power 9  of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

1 tn Heb “to him.” The referent (Hosea) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “I will visit.” The verb פָּקַד (paqad, “to visit”) has a very broad range of meanings: (1) “to pay attention to; to look at” (a) favorably: to look after; to provide for; to care for; (b) unfavorably: to seek vengeance for; to punish for; (2) militarily: (a) “to muster; to enroll”; (b) “to inspect; to review”; (3) leadership: (a) “to rule over; to oversee”; (b) Hiphil: “to appoint an overseer” (see BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד; HALOT 955-58 s.v. פקד). In this context, the nuance “to punish” or “to take vengeance” (see 1b above) is most appropriate. Cf. KJV, ASV “I will avenge”; NAB, NASB, NRSV “I will punish.”

3 tn Heb “house” (so NAB, NRSV); NCV “family”; CEV “descendants.”

4 tn The plural form of דָּם (dam, “blood”) refers to “bloodshed” (BDB 196 s.v. דָּם 2.f). This is an example of a plural of abnormal condition (GKC 400 §124.n). The plural is used to represent natural objects which are found in an unnatural or abnormal condition. The plural is used because the natural object is normally found as a whole or in one unit, but in the abnormal condition the object is found in many parts. Normally, blood is contained as a whole within the body. However, when a brutal murder occurs, blood is shed and literally spilled all over the place. Cf. NIV “the massacre”; TEV, CEV, NLT “the murders.”

5 tn Heb “I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.”

6 tn Heb “the kingdom of the house of Israel” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 sn The proper name יִזְרְעֶאל (yizréel, “Jezreel”) sounds like יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisrael, “Israel”). This phonetic wordplay associates the sin at Jezreel with the judgment on Israel, stressing poetic justice.

8 tn Heb “In that day” (so NIV; NAB, NRSV “On that day”).

9 tn Heb “I will break the bow” (so NAB, NRSV). The phrase “break the bow” (וְשַׁבָרְתִּי אֶת־קֶשֶׁת, véshavartiet-qeshet) is figurative. The term קֶשֶׁת (qeshet, “bow”) frequently refers to the warrior’s weapon (2 Sam 22:35; Ps 18:35; Job 20:24; Hos 2:20; Zech 9:10; 10:4). The reference to the warrior’s bow is a synecdoche of specific (bow) for general (military weaponry or power; see HALOT 1155 s.v. קֶשֶׁת 3). The noun קֶשֶׁת is used figuratively for “power” several times (e.g., Gen 49:24; 1 Sam 2:4; Jer 49:35; Job 29:20; Ps 37:15; BDB 906 s.v. 1.e).



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