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Hosea 8:5-14

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, 1 

even though they are Israelites!

8:6 That idol was made by a workman – it is not God!

The calf idol of Samaria will be broken to bits.

The Fertility Cultists Will Become Infertile

8:7 They sow the wind,

and so they will reap the whirlwind!

The stalk does not have any standing grain;

it will not produce any flour.

Even if it were to yield grain,

foreigners would swallow it all up.

8:8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;

they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.

The Willful Donkey and the Wanton Harlot

8:9 They have gone up to Assyria,

like a wild donkey that wanders off.

Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers. 2 

8:10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations, 3 

I will soon gather them together for judgment. 4 

Then 5  they will begin to waste away

under the oppression of a mighty king. 6 

Sacrifices Ineffective without Moral Obedience

8:11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,

these have become altars for sinning!

8:12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,

but they regard it as something totally unknown 7  to them!

8:13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,

and eat the meat,

but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices. 8 

Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,

he will punish their sins,

and they will return to Egypt.

8:14 Israel has forgotten his Maker and built royal palaces,

and Judah has built many fortified cities.

But I will send fire on their cities;

it will consume their royal citadels.

1 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.

2 tn Or “has hired herself out to lovers”; cf. NIV “has sold herself to lovers.”

3 tn Or “they have hired themselves out to lovers”; cf. NASB “they hire allies among the nations.”

4 tn The Piel stem of קָבַץ (qavats) is often used in a positive sense, meaning “to regather” a dispersed people (HALOT 1063 s.v. קבץ 3.a; BDB 868 s.v. קָבַץ 1.α). However, in Hosea 8:10 it is used in a negative sense, meaning “to assemble (people) for judgment” (e.g., Ezek 20:34; Hos 9:6; HALOT 1063 s.v. 3.e.i). Cf. JPS “I will hold them fast” (in judgment, see the parallel in 9:6).

5 tn The vav consecutive + preterite וַיָּחֵלּוּ (vayyakhellu, Hiphil preterite 3rd person common plural from חָלַל, khalal, “to begin”]) denotes temporal subordination to the preceding clause: “then…” (so NLT); cf. TEV, CEV “Soon.”

6 tn Heb “a king of princes” (cf. KJV, NASB); TEV “the emperor of Assyria.”

7 tn Heb “foreign” or “alien”; NASB, NRSV “as a strange thing.”

8 tn Heb “does not accept them”; the referent (their sacrifices) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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