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Hosea 2:14-23

Context
Future Repentance and Restoration of Israel

2:14 However, in the future I will allure her; 1 

I will lead 2  her back into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her.

2:15 From there I will give back her vineyards to her,

and turn the “Valley of Trouble” 3  into an “Opportunity 4  for Hope.”

There she will sing as she did when she was young, 5 

when 6  she came up from the land of Egypt.

2:16 “At that time,” 7  declares the Lord,

“you will call, 8  ‘My husband’; 9 

you will never again call me, 10  ‘My master.’ 11 

2:17 For 12  I will remove the names of the Baal idols 13  from your lips, 14 

so that you will never again utter their names!” 15 

New Covenant Relationship with Repentant Israel

2:18 “At that time 16  I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals,

the birds of the air, and the creatures that crawl on the ground.

I will abolish 17  the warrior’s bow and sword

– that is, every weapon of warfare 18  – from the land,

and I will allow them to live securely.” 19 

2:19 I will commit myself to you 20  forever;

I will commit myself to you in 21  righteousness and justice,

in steadfast love and tender compassion.

2:20 I will commit myself to you in faithfulness;

then 22  you will acknowledge 23  the Lord.” 24 

Agricultural Fertility Restored to the Repentant Nation

2:21 “At that time, 25  I will willingly respond,” 26  declares the Lord.

“I will respond to the sky,

and the sky 27  will respond to the ground;

2:22 then the ground will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;

and they will respond to ‘God Plants’ (Jezreel)! 28 

2:23 Then I will plant her as my own 29  in the land.

I will have pity on ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah).

I will say to ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), ‘You are my people!’

And he 30  will say, ‘You are 31  my God!’”

1 tn The participle מְפַתֶּיהָ (méfatteha, Piel participle masculine singular + 3rd feminine singular suffix from פָּתָה, patah, “to allure”) following the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Now!”) describes an event that will occur in the immediate or near future.

2 tn Following the future-time referent participle (מְפַתֶּיהָ, méfatteha) there is a string of perfects introduced by vav consecutive that refer to future events.

3 tn Heb “Valley of Achor,” so named because of the unfortunate incident recorded in Josh 7:1-26 (the name is explained in v. 26; the Hebrew term Achor means “disaster” or “trouble”). Cf. TEV, CEV “Trouble Valley.”

4 tn Heb “door” or “doorway”; cf. NLT “gateway.” Unlike the days of Joshua, when Achan’s sin jeopardized Israel’s mission and cast a dark shadow over the nation, Israel’s future return to the land will be marked by renewed hope.

5 tn Heb “as in the days of her youth” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV).

6 tn Heb “as in the day when” (so KJV, NASB).

7 tn Heb “And in that day”; NLT “In that coming day.”

8 tc The MT reads תִּקְרְאִי (tiqrÿi, “you will call”; Qal imperfect 2nd person feminine singular). The versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) all reflect an alternate Vorlage of תִּקְרָא לִי (tiqrali, “she will call me”; Qal imperfect 3rd person feminine singular followed by preposition לְ, lamed, + 1st person common singular pronominal suffix). This textual variant undoubtedly arose under the influence of לִי תִּקְרְאִי (tiqrÿi li) which follows. Most English versions follow the reading of the MT (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT, CEV), but some follow the ancient versions and read the 3rd person (“she”, so NAB, NCV, TEV).

9 tn There are wordplays on the terms אִישׁ (’ish) and בַּעַל (baal) here. The term אִישִׁי (’ishi, “my man, husband”) is a title of affection (Gen 2:23; 3:6, 16) as the counterpart to אִשָּׁה (’ishah, “woman, wife”). The term בַּעְלִי (bali, “my lord”) emphasizes the husband’s legal position (Exod 21:3; Deut 22:22; 24:4). The relationship will no longer be conditioned on the outward legal commitment but on a new inward bond of mutual affection and love.

10 tc The MT reads תִקְרְאִי לִי (tiqrÿi li, “you will call me”; Qal imperfect 2nd person feminine singular followed by preposition לְ, lamed, + 1st person common singular pronominal suffix). The versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) all reflect an alternate Vorlage of תִקְרְא לִי (tiqrÿli, “she will call me”; Qal imperfect 3rd person feminine singular followed by preposition לְ + 1st person common singular pronominal suffix). This textual variant is related to the preceding textual issue (see preceding tc note).

11 sn There is a wordplay on the terms בַּעְלִי (bali, “my master”) and הַבְּעָלִים (habbéalim, “the Baals”) which are derived from the root בַּעַל (baal, “master; lord”). This wordplay is especially effective because the term בַּעַל can refer to one’s husband and is also the name of the Canaanite storm god Baal. Referring to a spouse the term normally means “husband; master.” It was a common, ordinary, nonpejorative term that was frequently used in an interchangeable manner with אִישׁ (’ish, “husband; man”). Due to its similarity in sound to the abhorrent Canaanite fertility god Baal, the repentant Israelites would be so spiritually sensitive that they would refrain from even uttering this neutral term for fear of recalling their former idolatry. The purpose of the exile is to end Israel’s worship of Baal and to remove syncretism.

12 tn The vav consecutive prefixed to וַהֲסִרֹתִי (vahasiroti) “I will remove” (vav consecutive + Hiphil perfect 1st person common singular) introduces an explanatory clause.

13 tn Heb “the Baals.” The singular term בַּעַל (baal) refers to the Canaanite god Baal himself, while the plural form הַבְּעָלִים (habbéalim) refers to the manifestations of the god (i.e., idols; BDB 127 s.v. בָּעַל II.1).

14 tn Heb “from her mouth.” In the translation this is rendered as second person for consistency.

15 tn Heb “they will no longer be mentioned by their name.”

16 tn Heb “And in that day” (so KJV, ASV).

17 tn Heb “I will break”; NAB “I will destroy”; NCV “I will smash”; NLT “I will remove.”

18 tn Heb “bow and sword and warfare.” The first two terms in the triad וְקֶשֶׁת וְחֶרֶב וּמִלְחָמָה (vÿqeshet vÿkherev umilkhamah, literally, “bow and sword and warfare”) are examples of synecdoche of specific (bow and sword) for general (weapons of war, so CEV). However, they might be examples of metonymy (bow and sword) of association (warfare).

19 tn Heb “and I will cause them to lie down in safety.” The causative nuance (“will make them”) is retained in several English versions (e.g., KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).

20 tn Heb “I will betroth you to me” (so NIV) here and in the following lines. Cf. NRSV “I will take you for my wife forever.”

21 tn The preposition בְּ (bet), which is repeated throughout 2:19-20 [21-22], denotes price paid (BDB 90 s.v. בְּ III.3; e.g., Ezek 3:14). The text contains an allusion to the payment of bridal gifts. The Lord will impute the moral character to Israel that will be necessary for a successful covenant relationship (contra 4:1).

22 tn The vav consecutive on the suffix conjugation verb וְיָדַעַתְּ (véyadaat, “then you will know”) introduces a result clause (cf. NASB, CEV).

23 tn Or “know.” The term יָדַע (yada’, “know, acknowledge”) is often used in covenant contexts. It can refer to the suzerain’s acknowledgment of his covenant obligations to his vassal or to the vassal’s acknowledgment of his covenant obligations to his suzerain. When used in reference to a vassal, the verb “know” is metonymical (cause for effect) for “obey.” See H. Huffmann, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew ya„daà,” BASOR 181 (1966): 31-37.

24 tc The MT reads יְהוָה (yÿhvah, “the Lord”); however, many Hebrew mss read כִּי אָנִי (kiani, “that it is I”), as also reflected in the Latin Vulgate (cf. CEV “know who I am”).

25 tn Heb “And in that day”; NAB, NRSV “On that day.”

26 tn The verb עָנָה, (’anah) which is used throughout 2:23-24, is related to the root I עָנָה (’anah), “to answer, listen attentively, react willingly” (BDB 772 s.v. 1.b; HALOT 852 s.v. ענה 3.b).

27 tn Heb “and they.” In the Hebrew text the plural pronoun is used because it refers back to the term translated “sky,” which is a dual form in Hebrew. Many English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NRSV) use the plural term “heavens” here, which agrees with a plural pronoun (cf. also NIV, NCV “skies”).

28 tn Heb “Jezreel.” The use of the name יִזְרְעֶאל (yizréel, “Jezreel”) creates a powerful three-fold wordplay: (1) The proper name יִזְרְעֶאל (“Jezreel”) is a phonetic wordplay on the similar sounding name יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisrael, “Israel”): God will answer Israel, that is, Jezreel. (2) The name יִזְרְעֶאל (“Jezreel”) plays on the verb זָרַע (zara’, “to sow, plant”), the immediately following word: וּזְרַעְתִּיהָ (uzératiha, vav + Qal perfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person feminine singular suffix: “I will sow/plant her”). This wordplay creates a popular etymology for יִזְרְעֶאל meaning, “God sows/plants,” which fits well into the agricultural fertility imagery in 2:21-23 [2:23-25]. (3) This positive connotation of יִזְרְעֶאל (“Jezreel”) in 2:21-23[23-25] reverses the negative connotation of יִזְרְעֶאל (“Jezreel”) in 1:4-5 (bloodshed of Jehu in the Jezreel Valley).

29 tn Heb “for myself.”

30 tn The Hebrew text, carrying out the reference to the son born in 1:8-9, uses the third person masculine singular pronoun here; some English translations use third person plural (“they,” so KJV, NASB, NIV, CEV) in keeping with the immediate context, which refers to reestablished Israel.

31 tn The words “You are” do not appear in the Hebrew text, but are implied. It is necessary to supply the phrase in the translation to prevent the reader from understanding the predicate “my God” as an exclamation (cf. NAB).



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