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Hosea 2:21-23

Context
Agricultural Fertility Restored to the Repentant Nation

2:21 “At that time, 1  I will willingly respond,” 2  declares the Lord.

“I will respond to the sky,

and the sky 3  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)! 4 

2:23 Then I will plant her as my own 5  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 6  will say, ‘You are 7  my God!’”

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

2 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).

3 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”).

4 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).

5 tn Heb “for myself.”

6 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.

7 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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