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Hosea 6:7

Context
Indictments Against the Cities of Israel and Judah

6:7 At Adam 1  they broke 2  the covenant;

Oh how 3  they were unfaithful 4  to me!

1 tn Or “Like Adam”; or “Like [sinful] men.” The MT reads כְּאָדָם (kÿadam, “like Adam” or “as [sinful] men”); however, the editors of BHS suggest this reflects an orthographic confusion of בְּאָדָם (bÿadam, “at Adam”), as suggested by the locative adverb שָׁם (sham, “there”) in the following line. However, שָׁם sometimes functions in a nonlocative sense similar to the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Behold!”). The singular noun אָדָם (’adam) has been taken in several different ways: (1) proper name: “like Adam” (כְּאָדָם), (2) collective singular: “like [sinful] men” (כְּאָדָם), (3) proper location: “at Adam,” referring to a city in the Jordan Valley (Josh 3:16), emending comparative כְּ (kaf) to locative בְּ (bet, “at”): “at Adam” (בְּאָדָם). BDB 9 s.v. אָדָם 2 suggests the collective sense, referring to sinful men (Num 5:6; 1 Kgs 8:46; 2 Chr 6:36; Jer 10:14; Job 31:33; Hos 6:7). The English versions are divided: KJV margin, ASV, RSV margin, NASB, NIV, TEV margin, NLT “like Adam”; RSV, NRSV, TEV “at Adam”; KJV “like men.”

2 tn The verb עָבַר (’avar) refers here to breaking a covenant and carries the nuance “to overstep, transgress” (BDB 717 s.v. עָבַר 1.i). Cf. NAB “violated”; NRSV “transgressed.”

3 tn The adverb שָׁם (sham) normally functions in a locative sense meaning “there” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם). This is how it is translated by many English versions (e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). However, in poetry שָׁם sometimes functions in a nonlocative sense to introduce expressions of astonishment or when a scene is vividly visualized in the writer’s imagination (see BDB 1027 s.v. 1.a.β), or somewhat similar to the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Behold!”): “See [שָׁם] how the evildoers lie fallen!” (Ps 36:13); “Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter! See [שָׁם]! The shouting of the warrior!” (Zeph 1:14); “They saw [רָאוּ, rau] her and were astonished…See [שָׁם] how trembling seized them!” (Ps 48:7). In some cases, it introduces emphatic statements in a manner similar to הִנֵּה (“Behold!”): “Come and see [לְכוּ וּרְאוּ, lÿkhu urÿu] what God has done…Behold [שָׁם], let us rejoice in him!” (Ps 66:5); “See/Behold [שָׁם]! I will make a horn grow for David” (Ps 132:17). The present translation’s use of “Oh how!” in Hos 6:7 is less visual than the Hebrew idiom שָׁם (“See! See how!”), but it more closely approximates the parallel English idiom of astonishment.

4 tn The verb בָּגַד (bagad, “to act treacherously”) is often used in reference to faithlessness in covenant relationships (BDB 93 s.v. בָּגַד).



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