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Hosea 6:1

Context
Superficial Repentance Breeds False Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

6:1 “Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!

He himself has torn us to pieces,

but he will heal us!

He has injured 1  us,

but he will bandage our wounds!

Hosea 11:4

Context

11:4 I led them with leather 2  cords,

with leather 3  ropes;

I lifted the yoke 4  from their neck, 5 

and gently fed them. 6 

1 tn “has struck”; NRSV “struck down.”

2 tn Or “humane cords” or “cords of human kindness.” The noun אָדָם (’adam) is traditionally related to I אָדָם (“man”) and translated either literally or figuratively (as a metonymy of association for humane compassion): “cords of a man” (KJV, RSV margin, NASB), “cords of human kindness” (NIV, NCV), “human ties” (NJPS), “cords of compassion” (RSV). It is better to relate it to II אָדָם (“leather”; HALOT 14 s.v. אָדָם), as the parallelism with II אַהֲבָה (’ahavah, “leather”) suggests (see below). This homonymic root is well attested in Arabic ’adam (“skin”) and ’adim (“tanned skin; leather”). This better fits the context of 11:4 which compares Israel to a heifer: the Lord led him with leather cords, lifted the yoke from his neck, and fed him. Elsewhere, Hosea compares Israel to a stubborn cow (4:6) and harnessed heifer (10:11).

3 tn Or “ropes of love.” The noun אַהֲבָה (’ahava) is traditionally related to I אַהֲבָה (“love”; BDB 13 s.v. אַהֲבָה 2). This approach is adopted by most English translations: “bands of love” (KJV, RSV), “bonds of love” (NASB), “ties of love” (NIV), “cords of love” (NJPS). However, it is probably better to derive אַהֲבָה from the homonymic root II אַהֲבָה (“leather”; HALOT 18 s.v. II אַהֲבָה). This root is attested in Arabic and Ugaritic. It probably occurs in the description of Solomon’s sedan chair: “upholstered with purple linen, and lined with leather” (Song 3:10). This fits the context of 11:4 which compares Israel to a young heifer: the Lord led him with leather ropes, lifted the yoke from his neck, and bent down to feed him. Elsewhere, Hosea compares Israel to a stubborn cow (4:6) and a young heifer harnessed for plowing (10:11). This is supported by the parallelism with II אָדָם (’adam, “leather”; HALOT 14 s.v. II אָדָם). Of course, this might be an example of a homonymic wordplay on both roots: “ropes of leather/love.” For discussions of II אַהֲבָה, see G. R. Driver, “Supposed Arabisms in the Old Testament,” JBL 55 (1936): 111; G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 133; S. E. Loewenstamm, Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, 1:39. D. Grossberg, “Canticles 3:10 in the Light of a Homeric Analogue and Biblical Poetics,” BTB 11 (1981): 75-76. For homonymic wordplays, see W. G. E. Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry [JSOTSup], 237-38; J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, 151-55.

4 tn Heb “And I was to them like those who lift a yoke.”

5 tn Heb “their jaws” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

6 tn Heb “him.” This is regarded as a collective singular by most English versions and thus translated as a plural pronoun.



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