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Hosea 6:4

Transitory Faithfulness and Imminent Judgment

6:4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?

What am I going to do with you, O Judah?

For 1  your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; 2 

it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 3 

Hosea 13:3


13:3 Therefore they will disappear like 4  the morning mist, 5 

like early morning dew that evaporates, 6 

like chaff that is blown away 7  from a threshing floor,

like smoke that disappears through an open window.

1 tn The vav prefixed to וְחַסְדְּכֶם (vÿkhasdÿkhem, “your faithfulness”) functions in an explanatory sense (“For”).

2 tn Heb “your faithfulness [so NCV; NASB “your loyalty”; NIV, NRSV, NLT “your love”] is like a morning cloud” (וְחַסְדְּכֶם כַּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר, vÿkhasdÿkhem kaanan-boqer).

sn The Hebrew poets and prophets frequently refer to the morning clouds as a simile for transitoriness (e.g., Job 7:9; Isa 44:22; Hos 6:4; 13:3; BDB 778 s.v. עָנָן 1.c). For discussion of this phenomena in Palestine, see Chaplin, PEQ (1883): 19.

3 tn Heb “the dew departing early” (BDB 1014 s.v. שָׁכַם); cf. NRSV “the dew that goes away early.” The Hiphil participle מַשְׁכִּים (mashkim) means “to depart early” (Gen 19:27; Josh 8:14; Judg 19:9). The idiom means “early morning” (1 Sam 17:16).

4 tn Heb “they will be like” (so NASB, NIV).

5 tn The phrase כְּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר (kÿanan-boqer, “like a cloud of the morning”) occurs also in Hos 6:4 in a similar simile. The Hebrew poets and prophets refer to morning clouds as a simile for transitoriness (Job 7:9; Isa 44:22; Hos 6:4; 13:3; HALOT 858 s.v. עָנָן 1.b; BDB 778 s.v. עָנָן 1.c).

6 tn Heb “like the early rising dew that goes away”; TEV “like the dew that vanishes early in the day.”

7 tn Heb “storm-driven away”; KJV, ASV “driven with the whirlwind out.” The verb יְסֹעֵר (yÿsoer, Poel imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from סָעַר, saar, “to storm”) often refers to the intense action of strong, raging storm winds (e.g., Jonah 1:11, 13). The related nouns refer to “heavy gale,” “storm wind,” and “high wind” (BDB 704 s.v. סָעַר; HALOT 762 s.v. סער). The verb is used figuratively to describe the intensity of God’s destruction of the wicked whom he will “blow away” (Isa 54:11; Hos 13:3; Hab 3:14; Zech 7:14; BDB 704 s.v.; HALOT 762 s.v.).

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