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Hosea 2:2-5

Context
Idolatrous Israel Will Be Punished Like a Prostitute

2:2 Plead earnestly 1  with your 2  mother

(for 3  she is not my wife, and I am not her husband),

so that 4  she might put an end to her adulterous lifestyle, 5 

and turn away from her sexually immoral behavior. 6 

2:3 Otherwise, I will strip her naked,

and expose her like she was when she was born.

I will turn her land into a wilderness

and make her country a parched land,

so that I might kill 7  her with thirst.

2:4 I will have no pity on her children, 8 

because they are children conceived in adultery. 9 

2:5 For their mother has committed adultery;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, “I will seek out 10  my lovers; 11 

they are the ones who give me my bread and my water,

my wool, my flax, my olive oil, and my wine. 12 

1 tn Heb “Plead with your mother, plead!” The imperative רִיבוּ (rivu, “plead!”) is repeated twice in this line for emphasis. This rhetorical expression is handled in a woodenly literal sense by most English translations: NASB “Contend…contend”; NAB “Protest…protest!”; NIV “Rebuke…rebuke”; NRSV “Plead…plead”; CEV “Accuse! Accuse your mother!”

2 sn The suffix on the noun אִמְּכֶם (’immékhem, “your mother”) is a plural form (2nd person masculine). The children of Gomer represent the “children” (i.e., people) of Israel; Gomer represents the nation as a whole.

3 tn The particle כִּי (ki) introduces a parenthetical explanatory clause (however, cf. NCV “because”).

sn The reason that Hosea (representing the Lord) calls upon his children (representing the children of Israel) to plead with Gomer (representing the nation as a whole), rather than pleading directly with her himself, is because Hosea (the Lord) has turned his back on his unfaithful wife (Israel). He no longer has a relationship with her (“for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband”) because she abandoned him for her lovers.

4 tn The dependent volitive sequence of imperative followed by vav + jussive (רִיבוּ, rivu followed by וְתָסֵר, vétaser) creates a purpose clause: “so that she might turn away from” (= “put an end to”); cf. NRSV “that she put away”; KJV “let her therefore put away.” Many English translations begin a new sentence here, presumably to improve the English style (so NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT), but this obscures the connection with the preceding clause.

5 tn Heb “put away her adulteries from her face.” The plural noun זְנוּנֶיהָ (zénuneha, “adulteries”) is an example of the plural of repeated (or habitual) action: she has had multiple adulterous affairs.

6 tn Heb “[put away] her immoral behavior from between her breasts.” Cf. KJV “her adulteries”; NIV “the unfaithfulness.”

7 tn Heb “and kill her with thirst.” The vav prefixed to the verb (וַהֲמִתִּיהָ, vahamittiha) introduces a purpose/result clause: “in order to make her die of thirst” (purpose) or “and thus make her die of thirst” (result).

8 tn Heb “her sons.” English versions have long translated this as “children,” however; cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT.

sn The word order is rhetorical: the accusative וְאֶת־בָּנֶיהָ (et-baneha, “her sons”) is moved forward for emphasis.

9 tn Heb “sons of adulteries”; KJV “children of whoredoms.”

sn The word order is rhetorical: the construct clause בְנֵי זְנוּנִים (vÿne zÿnunim, “sons of adulteries”), which functions as the predicate nominative, is moved forward, before the independent personal pronoun הֵמָּה (hemma, “they”) which functions as the subject, to focus on the immoral character of her children.

10 tn Heb “I will go after” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).

11 sn This statement alludes to the practice of sexual rites in the Canaanite fertility cult which attempted to secure agricultural fertility from the Canaanite gods (note the following reference to wool, flax, olive oil, and wine).

12 tn Heb “my drinks.” Many English versions use the singular “drink” here, but cf. NCV, TEV, CEV “wine.”



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