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Hosea 2:6-11

Context
The Lords Discipline Will Bring Israel Back

2:6 Therefore, I will soon 1  fence her in 2  with thorns;

I will wall her in 3  so that 4  she cannot find her way. 5 

2:7 Then she will pursue her lovers, but she will not catch 6  them;

she will seek them, but she will not find them. 7 

Then she will say,

“I will go back 8  to my husband, 9 

because I was better off then than I am now.” 10 

Agricultural Fertility Withdrawn from Israel

2:8 Yet 11  until now 12  she has refused to acknowledge 13  that I 14  was the one

who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;

and that it was I who 15  lavished on her the silver and gold –

which they 16  used in worshiping Baal! 17 

2:9 Therefore, I will take back 18  my grain during the harvest time 19 

and my new wine when it ripens; 20 

I will take away my wool and my flax

which I had provided 21  in order to clothe her. 22 

2:10 Soon 23  I will expose her lewd nakedness 24  in front of her lovers,

and no one will be able to rescue her from me! 25 

2:11 I will put an end to all her celebration:

her annual religious festivals,

monthly new moon celebrations,

and weekly Sabbath festivities –

all her appointed festivals.

1 tn The deictic particle הִנְנִי (hinni, “Behold!”) introduces a future-time reference participle that refers to imminent future action: “I am about to” (TEV “I am going to”).

2 tn Heb “I will hedge up her way”; NIV “block her path.”

3 tn Heb “I will wall in her wall.” The cognate accusative construction וְגָדַרְתִּי אֶת־גְּדֵרָהּ (vÿgadartiet-gÿderah, “I will wall in her wall”) is an emphatic literary device. The 3rd person feminine singular suffix on the noun functions as a dative of disadvantage: “as a wall against her” (A. B. Davidson, Hebrew Syntax, 3, remark 2). The expression means “I will build a wall to bar her way.” Cf. KJV “I will make a wall”; TEV “I will build a wall”; RSV, NASB, NRSV “I will build a wall against her”; NLT “I will fence her in.”

4 tn The disjunctive clause (object followed by negated verb) introduces a clause which can be understood as either purpose or result.

5 tn Heb “her paths” (so NAB, NRSV).

6 tn Heb “overtake” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NLT “be able to catch up with.”

7 tn In the Hebrew text the accusative direct object pronoun אֹתָם (’otam, “them”) is omitted/elided for balanced poetic parallelism. The LXX supplies αὐτους (autous, “them”); but it is not necessary to emend the MT because this is a poetic literary convention rather than a textual problem.

8 tn Heb “I will go and return” (so NRSV). The two verbs joined with vav form a verbal hendiadys. Normally, the first verb functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal sense (GKC 386-87 §120.d, h). The Hebrew phrase אֵלְכָה וְאָשׁוּבָה (’elkhah vÿashuvah, “I will go and I will return”) connotes, “I will return again.” As cohortatives, both verbs emphasize the resolution of the speaker.

9 tn Heb “to my man, the first.” Many English translations (e.g., KJV, NAB, NRSV, TEV) take this as “my first husband,” although this implies that there was more than one husband involved. The text refers to multiple lovers, but these were not necessarily husbands.

10 tn Or “because it was better for me then than now” (cf. NCV).

11 tn Or “For” (so KJV, NASB); or “But” (so NCV).

12 tn The phrase “until now” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

13 tn Heb “she does not know” (so NASB, NCV); or “she does not acknowledge.”

14 tn The 1st person common singular independent personal pronoun אָנֹכִי (’anokhi, “I”) is emphatic, since the subject of this verbal clause is already explicit in the verb נָתַתִּי (natatti, Qal perfect 1st person common singular: “I gave”).

15 tn The phrase “that it was I who” does not appear in the Hebrew text here, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

16 sn The third person plural here is an obvious reference to the Israelites who had been unfaithful to the Lord in spite of all that he had done for them. To maintain the imagery of Israel as the prostitute, a third person feminine singular would be called for; in the interest of literary consistency this has been supplied in some English translations (e.g., NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

17 tn Heb “for Baal” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); cf. TEV “in the worship of Baal.”

18 tn Heb “I will return and I will take.” The two verbs joined with vav conjunction form a verbal hendiadys in which the first verb functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal sense (GKC 386-87 §120.d, h): אָשׁוּב וְלָקַחְתִּי (’ashuv vÿlaqakhti) means “I will take back.”

19 tn Heb “in its time” (so NAB, NRSV).

20 tn Heb “in its season” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV).

21 tn The words “which I had provided” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons; cf. NIV “intended to cover.”

22 tn Heb “to cover her nakedness” (so KJV and many other English versions); TEV “for clothing.”

sn This announcement of judgment is extremely ironic and forcefully communicates poetic justice: The punishment will fit the crime. The Israelites were literally uncovering their nakedness in temple prostitution in the Baal fertility cult rituals. Yahweh will, in effect, give them what they wanted (nakedness) but not in the way they wanted it: Yahweh will withhold the agricultural fertility they sought from Baal which would lead to nakedness caused by impoverishment.

23 tn The particle עַתָּה (’attah) often refers to the imminent or the impending future: “very soon” (BDB 774 s.v. עַתָּה 1.b). In Hosea it normally introduces imminent judgment (Hos 2:12; 4:16; 5:7; 8:8, 13; 10:2).

24 tn Heb “her lewdness” (so KJV, NIV); NAB, NRSV “her shame.”

25 tn Heb “out of my hand” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV); TEV “save her from my power.”



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