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Hosea 13:9-11

Context
Israel’s King Unable to Deliver the Nation

13:9 I will destroy you, 1  O Israel!

Who 2  is there to help you?

13:10 Where 3  then is your king,

that he may save you in all your cities?

Where are 4  your rulers for whom you asked, saying,

“Give me a king and princes”?

13:11 I granted 5  you a king in my anger,

and I will take him away in my wrath!

1 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.

2 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.

3 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).

4 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.

5 tn The prefix-conjugation verb אֶתֶּן (’eten, “I gave”) refers to past-time action, specifying a definite past event (the enthronement of Saul); therefore, this should be classified as a preterite. While imperfects are occasionally used in reference to past-time events, they depict repeated action in the past. See IBHS 502-4 §31.2 and 510-14 §31.6.



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