like a twig 2 on the surface of the waters.
it is the place where Israel sins.
Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
1 tn The term נִדְמֶה (nidmeh, Niphal participle feminine singular) is derived from II דָמָה (damah; so BDB 198 s.v. דָמָה; HALOT 225 s.v. III דמה): “be cut off, cease to exist, be destroyed.” The Niphal form נִדְמֶה (“will be destroyed”) is paralleled by the Niphal וְנִשְׁמְדוּ (vÿnishmÿdu, “will be destroyed”) in 10:8. Several English versions nuance the literal wording for the sake of the idiom: “will float away like a twig on the surface of the waters” (NIV), “Like a twig in a stream…will be swept away” (CEV), “will be carried off like a chip of wood on an ocean wave” (NLT).
2 tn The noun II קֶצֶף (qetsef) is a hapax legomenon (a term that occurs only once). Historically, it has been understood in two different ways: (1) “foam” (Vulgate, Aquila, Symmachus) and (2) “snapped-off twig” (LXX, Theodotion, Syriac Peshitta). Both interpretations make sense in the light of the simile. The latter has more support because of the related verb קָצַץ (qatsats, “to cut off, chop off”) used in reference to wood (BDB 893 s.v. קָצַץ; HALOT 1125 s.v. קצץ) and the related feminine noun קְצָפָה (qÿtsafah, “stump; splinter” of fig-tree; BDB 893 s.v. קְצָפָה; HALOT 1125 s.v. קְצָפָה). English versions differ along these lines: (1) “foam” (KJV, NAB, NJPS) and (2) “chip” (NRSV, TEV, NCV, NLT), “stick” (NASB), “twig” (NIV, CEV).
3 tn Alternately, “Aven” (KJV, NAB, NRSV, NLT) for the city name “Beth Aven.” The term “Beth” (house) does not appear in the Hebrew text here, but is implied (e.g., Hos 4:15). It is supplied in the translation for clarity.
4 tc The MT reads בָּמוֹת אָוֶן (bamot ’aven, “high places of Aven”); however, several Hebrew
tn Heb “high places of wickedness” (בָּמוֹת אָוֶן, bamot ’aven); so NIV. The noun אָוֶן (“wickedness”) is an attributive genitive: “wicked high places.”