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Hosea 14:4-8

Context
Divine Promise to Relent from Judgment and to Restore Blessings

14:4 “I will heal their waywardness 1 

and love them freely, 2 

for my anger will turn 3  away from them.

14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel;

he will blossom like a lily,

he will send down his roots like a cedar of 4  Lebanon.

14:6 His young shoots will grow;

his splendor will be like an olive tree,

his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.

14:7 People will reside again 5  in his shade;

they will plant and harvest grain in abundance. 6 

They will blossom like a vine,

and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.

14:8 O Ephraim, I do not want to have anything to do 7  with idols anymore!

I will answer him and care for him.

I am like 8  a luxuriant cypress tree; 9 

your fruitfulness comes from me! 10 

1 sn The noun מְשׁוּבָתָה (mÿshuvatah, “waywardness”; cf. KJV “backsliding”) is from the same root as שׁוּבָה (shuvah, “return!”) in 14:1[2]. This repetition of שׁוּב (shuv) creates a wordplay which emphasizes reciprocity: if Israel will return (שׁוּבָה, shuvah) to the Lord, he will cure her of the tendency to turn away (מְשׁוּבָתָה) from him.

2 tn The noun נְדָבָה (nÿdavah, “voluntariness; free-will offering”) is an adverbial accusative of manner: “freely, voluntarily” (BDB 621 s.v. נְדָבָה 1). Cf. CEV “without limit”; TEV “with all my heart”; NLT “my love will know no bounds.”

3 sn The verb שָׁב, shav, “will turn” (Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular from שׁוּב, shuv, “to turn”) continues the wordplay on שׁוּב in 14:1-4[2-5]. If Israel will “return” (שׁוּב) to the Lord, he will heal Israel’s tendency to “turn away” (מְשׁוּבָתָה, mÿshuvatah) and “turn” (שָׁב) from his anger.

4 tn Heb “like Lebanon” (so KJV; also in the following verse). The phrase “a cedar of” does not appear in the Hebrew text; it is supplied in translation for clarity. Cf. TEV “the trees of Lebanon”; NRSV “the forests of Lebanon.”

5 tn Hosea uses the similar-sounding terms יָשֻׁבוּ יֹשְׁבֵי (yashuvu yoshve, “the dwellers will return”) to create a wordplay between the roots שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”) and יָשַׁב (yashav, “to dwell; to reside”).

6 tn Heb “they will cause the grain to live” or “they will revive the grain.” Some English versions treat this as a comparison: “they shall revive as the corn” (KJV); “will flourish like the grain” (NIV).

7 tn The Hebrew expression מַה־לִּי עוֹד (mah-liod) is a formula of repudiation/emphatic denial that God has anything in common with idols: “I want to have nothing to do with […] any more!” Cf., e.g., Judg 11:12; 2 Sam 16:10; 19:23; 1 Kgs 17:18; 2 Kgs 3:13; 2 Chr 35:21; Jer 2:18; Ps 50:16; BDB 553 s.v. מָה 1.d.(c).

8 tn The term “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity, as in the majority of English versions (including KJV).

9 tn Cf. KJV “a green fir tree”; NIV, NCV “a green pine tree”; NRSV “an evergreen cypress.”

10 tn Heb “your fruit is found in me”; NRSV “your faithfulness comes from me.”



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