because they are children conceived in adultery. 2
she will seek them, but she will not find them. 4
Then she will say,
because I was better off then than I am now.” 7
1 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 (vé’et-baneha, “her sons”) is moved forward for emphasis.
2 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.
3 tn Heb “overtake” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NLT “be able to catch up with.”
4 tn In the Hebrew text the accusative direct object pronoun אֹתָם (’otam, “them”) is omitted/elided for balanced poetic parallelism. The LXX supplies αὐτους (autous, “them”); but it is not necessary to emend the MT because this is a poetic literary convention rather than a textual problem.
5 tn Heb “I will go and return” (so NRSV). The two verbs joined with vav form a verbal hendiadys. Normally, the first verb functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal sense (GKC 386-87 §120.d, h). The Hebrew phrase אֵלְכָה וְאָשׁוּבָה (’elkhah vÿ’ashuvah, “I will go and I will return”) connotes, “I will return again.” As cohortatives, both verbs emphasize the resolution of the speaker.
6 tn Heb “to my man, the first.” Many English translations (e.g., KJV, NAB, NRSV, TEV) take this as “my first husband,” although this implies that there was more than one husband involved. The text refers to multiple lovers, but these were not necessarily husbands.
7 tn Or “because it was better for me then than now” (cf. NCV).