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Hosea 2:18-23

Context
New Covenant Relationship with Repentant Israel

2:18 “At that time 1  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 2  the warrior’s bow and sword

– that is, every weapon of warfare 3  – from the land,

and I will allow them to live securely.” 4 

2:19 I will commit myself to you 5  forever;

I will commit myself to you in 6  righteousness and justice,

in steadfast love and tender compassion.

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

then 7  you will acknowledge 8  the Lord.” 9 

Agricultural Fertility Restored to the Repentant Nation

2:21 “At that time, 10  I will willingly respond,” 11  declares the Lord.

“I will respond to the sky,

and the sky 12  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)! 13 

2:23 Then I will plant her as my own 14  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 15  will say, ‘You are 16  my God!’”

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

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

3 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).

4 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).

5 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.”

6 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).

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

8 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.

9 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”).

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

11 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).

12 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”).

13 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).

14 tn Heb “for myself.”

15 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.

16 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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