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Hosea 1:4-9

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.”

1:6 She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord 10  said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity 11  on the nation 12  of Israel. For 13  I will certainly not forgive 14  their guilt. 15  1:7 But I will have pity on the nation 16  of Judah. 17  I will deliver them by the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory, 18  by chariot horses, or by chariots.” 19 

1:8 When 20  she had weaned ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son. 1:9 Then the Lord 21  said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you 22  are not my people and I am not your 23  God.” 24 

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).

10 tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the Lord) does not appear in Hebrew, but has been specified in the translation for clarity. Many English versions specify the speaker here (KJV “God”; ASV “Jehovah”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “the Lord”).

11 sn The negative particle לאֹ (lo’, “no, not”) and the root רָחַם (rakham, “compassion”) are repeated in 1:6, creating a wordplay between the name Lo-Ruhamah (literally “No-Pity”) and the announcement of divine judgment, “I will no longer have pity on the nation of Israel.”

12 tn Heb “house”; cf. TEV, NLT “the people of Israel.”

13 tn The particle כִּי (ki) probably denotes cause (so NCV, TEV, CEV) or result here (GKC 505 §166.b; BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 3.c).

14 tn The verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to take away”) frequently denotes “to forgive” meaning to take away sin (BDB 671 s.v. נָשָׂא 3.c). The construction נָשׂא אֶשָּׂא (naso’ ’esa’, “I will certainly take away,” infinitive absolute + imperfect of the same root) repeats the root נָשָׂא for rhetorical emphasis, stressing the divine resolution not to forgive Israel.

15 tn The phrase “their guilt” does not appear in Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation for clarification. The ellipsis of the accusative direct object of נָשׂא אֶשָּׂא (naso’ ’esa’, “I will certainly take away”) is an example of brachyology. The accusative “guilt” must be supplied frequently with נָשַׂא (see BDB 671 s.v. נָשָׂא 3.c; e.g., Num 14:19; Isa 2:9; Ps 99:8). Many recent English versions simplify this to “forgive them” (e.g., NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT).

16 tn Heb “house”; cf. NCV, TEV, NLT “the people of Judah.”

17 tn The word order in this line is rhetorical, emphasizing the divine decision to withhold pity from Israel but to bestow it on Judah. The accusative direct object, which is introduced by a disjunctive vav (to denote contrast), appears before the verb: וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה אֲרַחֵם (et-bet yéhudaharakhem, “but upon the house of Judah I will show pity”).

18 tn Heb “by war” (so NAB, NRSV, TEV); KJV, NASB, NIV “battle.”

19 sn These military weapons are examples of the metonymy of adjunct (the specific weapons named) for subject (warfare).

20 tn The preterite וַתִּגְמֹל (vatigmol, literally, “and she weaned”) functions in a synchronic sense with the following preterite וַתַּהַר (vattahar, literally, “and she conceived”) and may be treated in translation as a dependent temporal clause: “When she had weaned…she conceived” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). Other English versions render this as sequential with “After” (NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT).

21 tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. As in v. 6, many English versions specify the speaker here.

22 tn The independent personal pronoun אַתֶּם (’attem, “you”) is a plural form, referring to the people of Israel as a whole. To make this clear TEV translates this as third person: “the people of Israel are not my people” (cf. CEV, NLT).

23 tn The pronominal suffix on the preposition לָכֶם (lakhem, “your”) is a plural form, referring to the people of Israel as a whole.

24 tc The MT reads לֹא־אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם (lo-ehyeh lakhem, “I will not be yours”). The editors of BHS suggest emending the text to לֹא־אֱלֹהֵיכֶם (lo-elohekhem, “I will not be your God”). The emendation creates a tighter parallel with the preceding אַתֶּם לֹא עַמִּי (’attem lo’ ’ammi, “you are not my people”). Because of a lack of external evidence, however, the reading of the MT should be retained.

tn Heb “I am not yours.” The divine name “God” is supplied in the translation for clarity even though the reading of the MT is followed (see previous tc note). Almost all English versions (including KJV, ASV, NASB) supply “God” here.

sn This is an allusion to Yahweh’s promise to Moses אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ (’ehyehimmakh, “I will be with you”; Exod 3:12, 14). In effect, it is a negation of Exod 3:12, 14 and a cancellation of Israel’s status as vassal of Yahweh in the conditional Mosaic covenant.



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