Israel will blossom and grow branches.
Has Israel been killed like their enemies? 5
and this is how they will show they are finished sinning: 7
They will make all the stones of the altars 8
like crushed limestone,
and the Asherah poles and the incense altars will no longer stand. 9
1 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “the coming ones, let Jacob take root.” הַבָּאִים (habba’im, “the coming ones”) should probably be emended to יָמִים בָאִים (yamim va’im, “days [are] coming”) or בְּיָמִים הַבָּאִים (biyamim habba’im, “in the coming days”).
2 tn Heb “fruit” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
4 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Like the striking down of the one striking him down does he strike him down?” The meaning of the text is unclear, but this may be a rhetorical question, suggesting that Israel has not experienced divine judgment to the same degree as her oppressors. In this case “the one striking down” refers to Israel’s oppressors, while the pronoun “him” refers to Israel. The subject of the final verb (“does he strike down”) would then be God, while the pronoun “him” would again refer to Israel.
5 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Or like the killing of his killed ones is he killed?” If one accepts the interpretation of the parallel line outlined in the previous note, then this line too would contain a rhetorical question suggesting that Israel has not experienced destruction to the same degree as its enemies. In this case “his killed ones” refers to the one who struck Israel down, and Israel would be the subject of the final verb (“is he killed”).
6 tn Or “be atoned for” (NIV); cf. NRSV “be expiated.”
7 tn Heb “and this [is] all the fruit of removing his sin.” The meaning of the statement is not entirely clear, though “removing his sin” certainly parallels “Jacob’s sin will be removed” in the preceding line. If original, “all the fruit” may refer to the result of the decision to remove sin, but the phrase may be a corruption of לְכַפֵּר (lekhaper, “to atone for”), which in turn might be a gloss on הָסִר (hasir, “removing”).
9 sn As interpreted and translated above, this verse says that Israel must totally repudiate its pagan religious practices in order to experience God’s forgiveness and restoration. Another option is to understand “in this way” and “this” in v. 9a as referring back to the judgment described in v. 8. In this case כָּפַר (kafar, “atone for”) is used in a sarcastic sense; Jacob’s sin is “atoned for” and removed through severe judgment. Following this line of interpretation, one might paraphrase the verse as follows: “So in this way (through judgment) Jacob’s sin will be “atoned for,” and this is the way his sin will be removed, when he (i.e., God) makes all the altar stones like crushed limestone….” This interpretation is more consistent with the tone of judgment in vv. 8 and 10-11.