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Hosea 9:7-8

Context

9:7 The time of judgment 1  is about to arrive! 2 

The time of retribution 3  is imminent! 4 

Let Israel know! 5 

Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations

The prophet is considered a fool 6 

the inspired man 7  is viewed as a madman 8 

because of the multitude of your sins

and your intense 9  animosity.

9:8 The prophet 10  is a watchman 11  over Ephraim 12  on behalf of God, 13 

yet traps 14  are laid for him along all of his paths; 15 

animosity rages against him in the land 16  of his God.

1 tn Heb “the days of the visitation”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “the days of punishment.”

2 tn Heb “has come” (בָּאוּ, bau). The two perfect tense (suffix-conjugation) verbs בָּאוּ (Qal perfect 3rd person common plural from בּוֹא, bo’, “to come”) repeated in this verse are both examples of the so-called “prophetic perfect”: the perfect, which connotes completed or factual action, is used in reference to future events to emphasize the certainty of the announced event taking place.

3 tn Heb “the days of the retribution”; NIV “of reckoning”; NRSV “of recompense.”

4 tn Heb “has come”; NIV “are at hand”; NLT “is almost here.”

5 tc The Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex (the MT ms employed for BHS) both place the atnach (colon-divider) after יֵדְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל (yedÿu yisrael, “Let Israel know!”), indicating that this line belongs with 9:7a (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). However, the LXX reads κακωθήσεται (kakwqhsetai) which reflects an underlying Vorlage of יָרֵעוּ (yareu, Qal imperfect 3rd person common plural from יָרַע, yara’, “to cry”), as opposed to the MT יֵדְעוּ (yedÿu, Qal jussive 3rd common plural from יָדַע, yada’, “to know”). The Old Greek connects יֵדְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל (“Israel cries out”) with the following lines (cf. NRSV), which appear to be quotations of Israel mocking Hosea. Aquila (ἔγνω, egnw) and Symmachus (γνώσεται, gnwsetai) both reflect the proto-MT tradition. For a discussion of this textual and syntactical problem, see H. W. Wolff, Hosea (Hermeneia), 150.

6 tn Or “is distraught”; cf. CEV, NLT “are crazy.”

7 tn Heb “the man of the Spirit”; NAB, NRSV “spirit.”

8 tn Or “is driven to despair.” The term מְשֻׁגָּע (mÿshugga’, Pual participle masculine singular from שָׁגַע, shaga’, “to be mad”) may be understood in two senses: (1) It could be a predicate adjective which is a figure of speech: “to be maddened,” to be driven to despair (Deut 28:34); or (2) it could be a substantive: “a madman,” referring to prophets who attempted to enter into a prophetic state through whipping themselves into a frenzy (1 Sam 21:16; 2 Kgs 9:11; Jer 29:26; see BDB 993 s.v. שָׁגַע). The prophetic context of 9:7 favors the latter option (which is followed by most English versions). Apparently, the general populace viewed these mantics with suspicion and questioned the legitimacy of their claim to be true prophets (e.g., 2 Kgs 9:11; Jer 29:26).

9 tn Heb “great.”

10 tc The Leningrad Codex (the MT ms used for BHS) and Aleppo Codex both place the atnach (colon divider) after אלהי (“my God”) and connect נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) with the following colon. On the other hand, BHS suggests that נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) belongs with the first colon. For discussion of this syntactical problem, see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Hosea (AB), 533-34.

11 tc The syntax of this line is difficult, and the text is questionable. The major options include: (1) Adopt the MT vocalization and BHS line division: צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עִם־אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (tsofehefrayimim-elohay navi’, “The prophet is a watchman over Ephraim with my God [= on behalf of God]”). There are two problems with this: (a) Although BHS places נָבִיא (“prophet”) with this colon, the Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex both connect נָבִיא with the next colon (as do KJV, ASV). (b) The phrase עִם־אֱלֹהָי (“with my God”) is difficult to explain. (2) Adopt the MT vocalization and the MT line division: עִם־אֱלֹהָי צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם (“Ephraim is a watchman with my God,” cf. NASB). The problem with this, of course, is that Ephraim hardly fits the description of a prophetic watchman. (3) Revocalize the MT and adopt BHS line division: צֹפֶה אֶפְרַיִם עַם אֱלֹהָי נָבִיא (“Ephraim – the people of my God! – lies in ambush for the prophet”) This involves: (a) revocalization of the preposition עִם (’im, “with”) to the noun עַם (’am, “people”), (b) taking עַם־אֱלֹהָי (“people of my God”) in apposition to אֶפְרַיִם (“Ephraim”), and (c) nuancing צֹפֶה as “to lie in wait (=set ambush)” (e.g., Ps 37:32). This is contextually attractive and harmonizes well with the following line: “traps are laid along all of his paths.” However, it has two problems: (a) there is no textual evidence supporting the revocalization of עם as “people” and (b) the unusual nuance “to lie in wait” for צֹפֶה occurs only in Ps 37:32, where it takes the preposition לְ (lamed, i.e., “to lie in wait for the righteous”; HALOT 1044 s.v. צפה 4). (4) Emend אֱלֹהָי (“my God”) to אֹהֶל (’ohel, “tent”), as suggested in the BHS textual apparatus: אֶפְרַיִם עַם־אֹהֶל נָבִיא צֹפֶה (“Ephraim spies on the prophet’s tent”). The verb צָפָה may mean “to spy” (BDB 859 s.v. צָפָה; HALOT 1044 s.v. צפה 3); however, the preposition עִם (’im) does not normally mean “upon” and צָפָה is not used with עִם elsewhere.

12 tn Or “Ephraim is a watchman with my God”; cf. ASV, NASB.

13 tn Heb “with my God” (so ASV, NASB).

14 tn Heb “bird trap of a bird catcher” or “snare of a fowler” (so KJV).

15 tc Or “The prophet is like a trap along all of his paths.” The Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex (ms used in BHS) both connect נָבִיא (navi’, “prophet”) with this colon. On the other hand, BHS places נָבִיא (“prophet”) at the end of the preceding colon.

16 tn Heb “house.” The term בַּיִת (bayit, “house”) is used as a figure of speech, referring to either (1) the temple or official sanctuaries (so TEV, CEV) or (2) the land of Israel (e.g., Hos 9:15).



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