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Hosea 3:1

Context
An Illustration of God’s Love for Idolatrous Israel

3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show love to 1  your wife 2  again, even though she loves 3  another man 4  and continually commits adultery. 5  Likewise, the Lord loves 6  the Israelites 7  although they turn to other gods and love to offer raisin cakes to idols.” 8 

1 tn Heb “Go again! Love!” Cf. NAB “Give your love to.”

2 tn Heb “a woman.” The probable referent is Gomer. Some English translations (e.g., NIV, NLT) specify the referent as “your wife.”

3 tc The MT vocalizes אֲהֻבַת (’ahuvat) as a construct form of the Qal passive participle and takes רֵעַ (rea’) as a genitive of agent: “who is loved by רֵעַ.” However, the ancient versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) all vocalize אֲהֻבַת as an absolute form of the Qal active participle, and take רֵעַ as the accusative direct object: “who loves רֵעַ.” The English translations consistently follow the MT. The editors of BHS suggest the revocalization but with some reservation. For discussion of the vocalization, see D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:230.

tn Heb “a woman who is loved by a companion” (אִשָּׁה אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ, ’ishahahuvat rea’). The substantival participle אֲהֻבַת (“one who is loved”) is in apposition to אִשָּׁה (“a woman”). The genitive noun רֵעַ (“companion”) functions as the agent of the preceding construct noun: “who is loved by a companion” (אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ). Cf. NAB “a woman beloved of a paramour”; NRSV “a woman who has a lover.”

4 tn The meaning of the noun רֵעַ (rea’) is debated because it has a broad range of meanings: (1) “friend,” (2) “lover,” (3) “companion,” (4) “neighbor,” and (5) “another” (HALOT 1253-55 s.v. II רֵעַ; BDB 945-46 s.v. II רֵעַ). The Hebrew lexicons favor the nuance “lover; paramour” here (HALOT 1255 s.v. 2; BDB 946 s.v. 1). Most scholars adopt the same approach; however, a few suggest that רֵעַ does not refer to another man, but to her husband (Hosea). Both approaches are reflected in English translations: NASB “a woman who is loved by her husband”; NIV “though she is loved by another”; NAB “a woman beloved of a paramour”; KJV “a woman beloved of her friend”; NJPS “a woman who, while befriended by a companion”; TEV “a woman who is committing adultery with a lover”; CEV “an unfaithful woman who has a lover.”

5 tn Heb “love a woman who is loved of a lover and is an adulteress.”

6 tn Heb “like the love of the Lord.” The genitive after the construct functions as a subjective genitive.

7 tn Heb “sons of Israel” (so NASB); KJV “children of Israel”; NAB “people of Israel.”

8 tn Heb “they are lovers of cakes of raisins.” A number of English translations render this literally (e.g., ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).



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