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Hosea 6:4

Context
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 1  your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; 2 

it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 3 

Hosea 8:5

Context

8:5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!

My anger burns against them!

They will not survive much longer without being punished, 4 

even though they are Israelites!

Hosea 9:5

Context

9:5 So what will you do on the festival day,

on the festival days of the Lord?

Hosea 9:14

Context

9:14 Give them, O Lord

what will you give them?

Give them wombs that miscarry,

and breasts that cannot nurse! 5 

Hosea 11:8

Context
The Divine Dilemma: Judgment or Mercy?

11:8 How can I give you up, 6  O Ephraim?

How can I surrender you, O Israel?

How can I treat you like Admah?

How can I make you like Zeboiim?

I have had a change of heart! 7 

All my tender compassions are aroused! 8 

Hosea 13:9-10

Context
Israel’s King Unable to Deliver the Nation

13:9 I will destroy you, 9  O Israel!

Who 10  is there to help you?

13:10 Where 11  then is your king,

that he may save you in all your cities?

Where are 12  your rulers for whom you asked, saying,

“Give me a king and princes”?

Hosea 13:14

Context
The Lord Will Not Relent from the Threatened Judgment

13:14 Will I deliver them from the power of Sheol? No, I will not! 13 

Will I redeem them from death? No, I will not!

O Death, bring on your plagues! 14 

O Sheol, bring on your destruction! 15 

My eyes will not show any compassion! 16 

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

2 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.

3 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).

4 tn Heb “How long will they be able to be free from punishment?” This rhetorical question affirms that Israel will not survive much longer until God punishes it.

5 tn Heb “breasts that shrivel up dry”; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “dry breasts.”

6 tn The imperfect verbs in 11:8 function as imperfects of capability. See IBHS 564 §34.1a.

7 tn The phrase נֶהְפַּךְ עָלַי לִבִּי (nehpakhalay libbi) is an idiom that can be taken in two ways: (1) emotional sense: to describe a tumult of emotions, not just a clash of ideas, that are afflicting a person (Lam 1:20; HALOT 253 s.v. הפך 1.c) and (2) volitional sense: to describe a decisive change of policy, that is, a reversal of sentiment from amity to hatred (Exod 14:5; Ps 105:25; BDB 245 s.v. הָפַךְ 1; HALOT 253 s.v. 3). The English versions alternate between these two: (1) emotional discomfort and tension over the prospect of destroying Israel: “mine heart is turned within me” (KJV), “my heart recoils within me” (RSV, NRSV), “My heart is turned over within Me” (NASB), “My heart is torn within me” (NLT); and (2) volitional reversal of previous decision to totally destroy Israel: “I have had a change of heart” (NJPS), “my heart is changed within me” (NIV), and “my heart will not let me do it!” (TEV). Both BDB 245 s.v. 1.b and HALOT 253 s.v. 3 suggest that the idiom describes a decisive change of heart (reversal of decision to totally destroy Israel once and for all) rather than emotional turbulence of God shifting back and forth between whether to destroy or spare Israel. This volitional nuance is supported by the modal function of the 1st person common singular imperfects in 11:8 (“I will not carry out my fierce anger…I will not destroy Ephraim…I will not come in wrath”) and by the prophetic announcement of future restoration in 11:10-11. Clearly, a dramatic reversal both in tone and in divine intention occurs between 11:5-11.

8 tn The Niphal of כָּמַר (kamar) means “to grow warm, tender” (BDB 485 s.v. כָּמַר), as its use in a simile with the oven demonstrates (Lam 5:10). It is used several times to describe the arousal of the most tender affection (Gen 43:30; 1 Kgs 3:26; Hos 11:8; BDB 485 s.v. 1; HALOT 482 s.v. כמר 1). Cf. NRSV “my compassion grows warm and tender.”

9 tc The MT reads שִׁחֶתְךָ (shikhetkha, “he destroyed you”; Piel perfect 3rd person masculine singular from שָׁחַת, shakhat, “to destroy” + 2nd person masculine singular suffix). The BHS editors suggest שׁחתיךָ (“I will destroy you”; Piel perfect 1st person common singular + 2nd person masculine singular suffix). Contextually, this fits: If the Lord is intent on destroying Israel, there is no one who will be able to rescue her from him. This reading is also followed by NCV, NRSV, TEV.

10 tc The MT reads כִּי־בִי בְעֶזְרֶךָ (ki-vi veezrekha, “but in me is your help”); cf. KJV, NIV, NLT. The LXX and Syriac reflect an underlying Hebrew text of כִּי־מִי בְעֶזְרֶךָ (ki-mi veezrekha, “For who will help you?”). The interrogative מִי (“Who?”) harmonizes well with the interrogatives in 13:9-10 and should be adopted, as the BHS editors suggest; the reading is also followed by NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV.

11 tc The MT reads the enigmatic אֱהִי (’ehi, “I want to be [your king]”; apocopated Qal imperfect 1st person common singular from הָיָה, hayah, “to be”) which makes little sense and conflicts with the 3rd person masculine singular form in the dependent clause: “that he might save you” (וְיוֹשִׁיעֲךָ, vÿyoshiakha). All the versions (Greek, Syriac, Vulgate) read the interrogative particle אַיֵּה (’ayyeh, “where?”) which the BHS editors endorse. The textual corruption was caused by metathesis of the י (yod) and ה (hey). Few English versions follow the MT: “I will be thy/your king” (KJV, NKJV). Most recent English versions follow the ancient versions in reading “Where is your king?” (ASV, RSV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NJPS, CEV, NLT).

12 tn The repetition of the phrase “Where are…?” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism in the preceding lines. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and for stylistic reasons.

13 tn The translation of the first two lines of this verse reflects the interpretation adopted. There are three interpretive options to v. 14: (1) In spite of Israel’s sins, the Lord will redeem them from the threat of death and destruction (e.g., 11:8). However, against this view, the last line of 13:14 probably means that the Lord will not show compassion to Israel. (2) The Lord announces the triumphant victory over death through resurrection (cf. KJV, ASV, NIV). However, although Paul uses the wording of Hosea 13:14 as an illustration of victory over death, the context of Hosea’s message is the imminent judgment in 723-722 b.c. (3) The first two lines of 13:14 are rhetorical questions without explicit interrogative markers, implying negative answers: “I will not rescue them!” (cf. NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT). The next two lines in 13:14 are words of encouragement to Death and Sheol to destroy Israel. The final line announces that the Lord will not show compassion on Israel; he will not spare her.

14 tn Heb “Where, O Death, are your plagues?” (so NIV).

15 tn Heb “Where, O Sheol, is your destruction?” (NRSV similar).

sn The two rhetorical questions in 13:14b function as words of encouragement, inviting personified Death and Sheol to draw near like foreign invading armies to attack and kill Israel (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).

16 tn Heb “Compassion will be hidden from my eyes” (NRSV similar; NASB “from my sight”).



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