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Hosea 4:16

Context

4:16 Israel has rebelled 1  like a stubborn heifer!

Soon 2  the Lord will put them out to pasture

like a lamb in a broad field! 3 

Hosea 10:11

Context
Fertility Imagery: Plowing, Sowing, and Reaping

10:11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;

I myself put a fine yoke 4 on her neck.

I will harness Ephraim.

Let Judah plow! 5 

Let Jacob break up 6  the unplowed ground for himself!

1 tn The Hebrew verb “has rebelled” (סָרַר, sarar) can also mean “to be stubborn.” This is the same root used in the simile: “like a stubborn (סֹרֵרָה, sorerah) heifer.” The similarity between Israel and a stubborn heifer is emphasized by the repetition of the same term.

2 tn The particle עַתָּה (’attah) often refers to the imminent or the impending future: “very soon” (BDB 774 s.v. עַתָּה 1.b). In Hosea it normally introduces imminent judgment (Hos 2:12; 4:16; 5:7; 8:8, 13; 10:2).

3 tn Or “How can the Lord feed them like a lamb in a meadow?” The syntax of this line is difficult and has been understood in two ways: (1) a declarative statement as an announcement of judgment (BDB 774 s.v. עַתָּה 1.b): “Now the Lord will feed them like a lamb in the broad field” (cf. KJV, ASV, NCV, NLT) or (2) as a rhetorical question lamenting the uncooperative spirit of Israel: “How can the Lord feed them like a lamb in a meadow?”; cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV), designed to produce a negative answer (“He cannot feed them…!”). However, this statement lacks an explicit interrogative marker. Although Hosea occasionally asks a rhetorical question without an explicit interrogative marker (e.g., 10:9; 13:14a), he normally does use a rhetorical particle to introduce rhetorical questions (e.g., 6:4; 8:5; 9:5, 14; 11:8; 13:9-10, 14b). Elsewhere, Hosea uses the introductory temporal adverb עַתָּה (“soon”) to introduce announcements of imminent future judgment (2:12; 4:16; 5:7; 8:8, 13; 10:2) and accusations of sin (5:3; 13:2). Although Israel has been as rebellious as a stubborn heifer, the Lord will indeed gain control of Israel: they will be like lambs (weakened and defeated) when he puts them out to pasture in a broad field (exile).

4 tc The MT is unintelligible: עַל־טוּב (’al-tuv, “upon a fine [thing]”?). Cf. KJV “I passed over upon her fair neck”; NRSV “I spared her fair neck.” The BHS editors suggest the revocalization עֹל־טוּב (’ol-tuv, “a fine yoke”), followed by many modern English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). The noun עֹל (’ol, “yoke”) also appears in 11:4 in a metaphor which compares Israel to a young heifer as well.

5 tn Or “Judah will plow” (so NASB); NIV, NRSV, CEV “Judah must plow.”

6 tn Or “Jacob will break up.”



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