the evil of 2 Israel is not hidden from me.
For you have engaged in prostitution, O Ephraim;
Israel has defiled itself. 3
They make metal images for themselves,
idols that they skillfully fashion 5 from their own silver;
all of them are nothing but the work of craftsmen!
There is a saying about them: 6
1 tn The phrase “all too well” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity and stylistic reasons.
2 tn The phrase “the evil of” does not appear in the Hebrew text here, but is implied by the metonymical (cause-effect) use of the term “Israel.” It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Cf. NCV “what they have done is not hidden from me.”
3 tn Or “Israel has become corrupt”; NCV “has made itself unclean”; TEV “are unfit to worship me.”
4 tn The phrase יוֹסִפוּ לַחֲטֹא (yosifu lakhato’, “they add to sin”) is an idiom meaning either (1) “they sin more and more” or (2) “they continue to sin” (see BDB 415 s.v. יָסַף 2.a; HALOT 418 s.v. יסף 3.b). The English versions are divided: (1) “they sin more and more” (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV) and (2) “they go on sinning” (NJPS), “they continue to sin” (NAB), “they (+ still TEV, NCV) keep on sinning” (NRSV, NLT).
5 tn The term כִּתְבוּנָם (kitvunam, “according to their skill”; preposition כְּ + feminine singular noun תְּבוּנָה, tÿvunah + 3rd person masculine plural suffix) is an abbreviated form of כִּתְבוּנָתָם (kitvunatam; GKC 255-56 §91.e). תְּבוּנָה means “understanding, faculty, skill” (BDB 108 s.v. תְּבוּנָה 1). It refers to a builder skillfully constructing a house (Prov 24:3), God skillfully fashioning creation (Ps 136:5; Prov 3:19), and a craftsman skillfully making an idol (Hos 13:2).
6 tn Heb “They say about them.” Another possible rendering for the line is: “It is said of them – those men who sacrifice, ‘They kiss calves!’” The phrase זֹבְחֵי אָדָם (zovkhe ’adam, “those men who sacrifice”) functions either (1) as the subject of the verb יִשָּׁקוּן (yishaqun, “they kiss”) in the quotation in the direct discourse: “It is said of them, ‘Those men who sacrifice kiss calves!’” or (2) in apposition to the indirect object 3rd person masculine plural suffix לָהֶם (lahem, “about them”): “It is said of them, that is, those men who sacrifice….”
7 tn Heb “Those among men who offer sacrifices.” The genitive construct זֹבְחֵי אָדָם (zovkhe ’adam, “the sacrificers of men”) is misunderstood by NIV as an objective genitive phrase: “they offer human sacrifice.” Such a classification is questionable: (1) Nowhere else in the book does Hosea accuse Israel of human sacrifice, and (2) archaeological evidence does not provide any evidence of human sacrifice in the Northern Kingdom during Iron Age I (1200-722
8 tn Heb “They kiss calves!” The verb יִשָּׁקוּן (yishaqun) may be parsed as an imperfect (“they kiss [calves]”) or jussive (“let them kiss [calves]!”). Paragogic nun endings (ן + יִשָּׁקוּ) are attached to imperfects to connote rhetorical emphasis. It is used either (1) to mark out an action that is contrary to normal practice and deviates from normal expectations (those who worship the calf idol are, in effect, kissing calves!), or (2) to express strong emotion (in this case disgust) at the action of the calf idolaters (they kiss calves!). For function of paragogic nun, see IBHS 516-17 §31.7.1.