5:12 I will be like a moth to Ephraim,
like wood rot 1 to the house of Judah.
and Judah saw his wound,
then Ephraim turned 3 to Assyria,
But he will not be able to heal you!
He cannot cure your wound! 6
1 tn The noun רָקָב (raqav, “rottenness, decay”) refers to wood rot caused by the ravages of worms (BDB 955 s.v. רָקָב); cf. NLT “dry rot.” The related noun רִקָּבוֹן (riqqavon) refers to “rotten wood” (Job 41:27).
3 tn Heb “went to” (so NAB, NRSV, TEV); CEV “asked help from.”
4 tn Heb “sent to” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV).
5 tc The MT reads מֶלֶךְ יָרֵב (melekh yarev, “a contentious king”). This is translated as a proper name (“king Jareb”) by KJV, ASV, NASB. However, the stative adjective יָרֵב (“contentious”) is somewhat awkward. The words should be redivided as an archaic genitive-construct מַלְכִּי רָב (malki rav, “great king”; cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) which preserves the old genitive hireq yod ending. This is the equivalent of the Assyrian royal epithet sarru rabbu (“the great king”). See also the tc note on the same phrase in 10:6.
6 tn Heb “your wound will not depart from you.”
sn Hosea personifies Ephraim’s “wound” as if it could depart from the sickly Ephraim (see the formal equivalent rendering in the preceding tn). Ephraim’s sinful action in relying upon an Assyrian treaty for protection will not dispense with its problems.