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Hosea 6:3-4

Context

6:3 So let us acknowledge him! 1 

Let us seek 2  to acknowledge 3  the Lord!

He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn,

as certainly as the winter rain comes,

as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”

Transitory Faithfulness and Imminent Judgment

6:4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?

What am I going to do with you, O Judah?

For 4  your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; 5 

it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 6 

1 tn The object (“him”) is omitted in the Hebrew text, but supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “let us pursue in order to know.” The Hebrew term רָדַף (radaf, “to pursue”) is used figuratively: “to aim to secure” (BDB 923 s.v. רָדַף 2). It describes the pursuit of a moral goal: “Do not pervert justice…nor accept a bribe…pursue [רָדַף] justice” (Deut 16:20); “those who pursue [רָדַף] righteousness and who seek [בָּקַשׁ, baqash] the Lord” (Isa 51:1); “He who pursues [רָדַף] righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor” (Prov 21:20); “Seek [בָּקַשׁ] peace and pursue [רָדַף] it” (Ps 34:15); “they slander me when I pursue [רָדַף] good” (Ps 38:21).

3 tn The Hebrew infinitive construct with לְ (lamed) denotes purpose: “to know” (לָדַעַת, ladaat).

4 tn The vav prefixed to וְחַסְדְּכֶם (vÿkhasdÿkhem, “your faithfulness”) functions in an explanatory sense (“For”).

5 tn Heb “your faithfulness [so NCV; NASB “your loyalty”; NIV, NRSV, NLT “your love”] is like a morning cloud” (וְחַסְדְּכֶם כַּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר, vÿkhasdÿkhem kaanan-boqer).

sn The Hebrew poets and prophets frequently refer to the morning clouds as a simile for transitoriness (e.g., Job 7:9; Isa 44:22; Hos 6:4; 13:3; BDB 778 s.v. עָנָן 1.c). For discussion of this phenomena in Palestine, see Chaplin, PEQ (1883): 19.

6 tn Heb “the dew departing early” (BDB 1014 s.v. שָׁכַם); cf. NRSV “the dew that goes away early.” The Hiphil participle מַשְׁכִּים (mashkim) means “to depart early” (Gen 19:27; Josh 8:14; Judg 19:9). The idiom means “early morning” (1 Sam 17:16).



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