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Hosea 10:4


10:4 They 1  utter empty words, 2 

taking 3  false oaths and making empty 4  agreements.

Therefore legal disputes sprout up

like poisonous weeds 5  in the furrows of a plowed field.

Hosea 10:10


10:10 When I please, 6  I will discipline them; 7 

I will gather nations together to attack them, 8 

to bind them in chains 9  for their two sins. 10 

1 tc The referent of the 3rd person common plural verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibbÿru, “they speak”) is the masculine singular noun וְהַמֶּלֶךְ (vÿhammelekh, “a king” in v. 3) which is used generically, representing all human kings of Israel to which the 3rd common plural verb refers. Although this is a bit syntactically awkward, it is not necessary to emend the MT to the 3rd masculine singular verb form דָּבַר (davar, “he speaks”) as the BHS editors suggest. The LXX, however, reads the singular form λαλῶν (lalwn, “uttering”).

2 tn Heb “they speak words.” The cognate accusative construction דִּבְּרוּ דְבָרִים (dibbÿru dÿvarim; literally, “they speak words”) is an idiom that means “they speak mere words” (so NASB; NRSV similar) or “they utter empty words” (so TEV), that is, they make empty promises (e.g., Isa 58:13; BDB 180-181 s.v. דָּבַר 2). The immediately following collocated phrase אָלוֹת שָׁוְא (’alot shavÿ’, “swearing an empty oath”) confirms this nuance. The LXX understood this idiom in the same way: λαλῶν ῥήματα προφάσειας ψευδεῖς (lalwn r{hmata profaseias yeudeis, “speaking false professions as his words”).

3 tn The two infinitive absolutes אָלוֹת (’alot, Qal infinitive absolute from II אָלָה, ’alah, “to swear an oath”; BDB 46 s.v. II אָלָה) and כָּרֹת (karot, Qal infinitive absolute from כָּרַת, karat, “to make [a covenant]”; BDB 503 s.v. כָּרַת 4), which appear without conjunctions, continue the description of the action of the preceding finite verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibbÿru, Piel perfect 3rd person common plural from דָּבַר, davar, “to speak”). Although the infinitives continue the description of the action of the finite verb, they call special attention to the action of the infinitive rather than the action of the finite verb. See IBHS 595 §35.5.2b.

4 tn The word “empty” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied. It is supplied in the translation for clarity. Cf. TEV “useless treaties.”

5 tn The noun II רֹאשׁ (rosh) refers to a “poisonous plant” (Deut 29:17; Hos 10:4) or “bitter herb” (Ps 69:22; Lam 3:5; BDB 912 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1; HALOT 1167 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1).

6 tn Heb “in my desire”; ASV, NASB “When it is my desire”; NCV “When I am ready.”

7 tc The MT reads וְאֶסֳּרֵם (vÿessorem, vav conjunction + Niphal imperfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person masculine plural suffix from אָסַר, ’asar, “to bind”). The LXX reads παιδεῦσαι αὐτούς (paideusai autous, “to discipline them”) which reflects a Vorlage of אִיסַּרֶם (’issarem, Qal imperfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person masculine plural suffix from יָסַר, yasar, “to discipline”; BDB 416 s.v. יָסַר 3). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion between ו (vav) and י (yod) with metathesis of the two letters.

8 tn Heb “Nations will be gathered together against them.”

9 tn The verb אָסַר (’asar, “to bind”) often refers to conquered peoples being bound as prisoners (BDB 63 s.v. אָסַר). Here it is used figuratively to describe the Israelites being taken into exile. Cf. NIV “to put them in bonds.”

10 tc The Kethib is לִשְׁתֵּי עֵינֹתָם (lishteenotam, “for their two eyes”), while the Qere reads לִשְׁתֵּי עוֹנֹתָם (lishteonotam, “for their two sins”). The phrase “two sins” could refer to (1) the sinful episode at Gibeah and the subsequent war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes (Judges 19-21), or (2) the entire Gibeah incident (Judges 19-21) and Israel’s subsequent failure to repent up to the time of Hosea: “the time of Gibeah” (first sin) and “there you have remained” (second sin).

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