1#tc The textual problems in Hosea are virtually unparalleled in the OT. The Masoretic Text (MT), represented by the Leningrad Codex (c. a.d. 1008), which served as the basis for both BHK and BHS, and the Aleppo Codex (c. a.d. 952), are textually corrupt by all accounts and have a multitude of scribal errors. Many medieval Masoretic mss preserve textual variants that differ from the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices. The Qumran materials (4QXIIc,d,g) contain numerous textual variants that differ from the MT; unfortunately, these texts are quite fragmentary (frequently in the very place that an important textual problem appears). The textual tradition and translation quality of the LXX and the early Greek recensions (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) is mixed; in some places they are inferior to the MT but in other places they preserve a better reading. The textual apparatus of BHK and BHS contains many proposed emendations based on the ancient versions (Greek, Syriac, Latin, Aramaic) that often appear to be superior readings than what is preserved in the MT. In numerous cases, the MT readings are so difficult morphologically, syntactically, and contextually that conservative conjectural emendations are necessary to make sense of the text. Most major English versions (e.g., KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB, NAB, NASB, NIV, TEV, NKJV, NJPS, NJB, NRSV, REB, NCV, CEV, NLT) adopt (either occasionally or frequently) textual variants reflected in the versions and occasionally adopt conservative conjectural emendations proposed in BHK and/or BHS. However, many of the textual problems in Hosea are so difficult that the English versions frequently are split among themselves. With this in mind, the present translation of Hosea must necessarily be viewed as only preliminary. Further work on the text and translation of Hosea is needed, not only in terms of the NET Bible but in Hosea studies in general. The text of Hosea should be better clarified when the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project completes work on the book of Hosea. For further study of textual problems in Hosea, see D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:228-71. This is the word of the Lord which was revealed to Hosea#tn Heb “The word of the Lord which was to Hosea.” The words “This is” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. son of Beeri during the time when#tn Heb “in the days of” (again later in this verse). Cf. NASB “during the days of”; NIV “during the reigns of”; NLT “during the years when.” Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah ruled Judah,#tn Heb “Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” and during the time when Jeroboam son of Joash#sn Joash is a variation of the name Jehoash. Some English versions use “Jehoash” here (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). ruled Israel.#tn Heb “Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel.”
Symbols of Sin and Judgment: The Prostitute and Her Children
2 When the Lord first spoke#tn The construct noun תְּחִלַּת (tékhillat, “beginning of”) displays a wider use of the construct state here, preceding a perfect verb דִּבֶּר (dibber, “he spoke”; Piel perfect 3rd person masculine singular) rather than a genitive noun. This is an unusual temporal construction (GKC 422 §130.d). It may be rendered, “When he (= the Lord) began to speak” (cf. ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, and most other modern English versions, all of which are similar). This time-determinative was not correctly understood by the LXX or by the KJV: “The beginning of the word of the Lord.” through#tn The preposition בְּ (bet) on בְּהוֹשֵׁעַ (bÿhoshea’) is an instrumental use of the preposition (BDB 89 s.v. בְּ III.2.b): “by, with, through Hosea” rather than a directional “to Hosea.” This focuses on the entire prophetic revelation through Hosea to Israel. Hosea, he#tn Heb “the Lord.” This is redundant in English, so the pronoun has been used in the translation (cf. TEV, NLT). said to him,#tn Heb “to Hosea.” The proper name is replaced by the pronoun here to avoid redundancy in English (cf. NIV, NCV, NLT). “Go marry#tn Heb “Go, take for yourself” (so NRSV; NASB, NIV “to yourself”). In conjunction with the following phrase this means “marry.” a prostitute#tn Heb “a wife of harlotries.” The noun זְנוּנִים (zÿnunim) means “prostitute; harlot” (HALOT 275-76 s.v. זְנוּנִים). The term does not refer to mere adultery (cf. NIV; also NCV, TEV, CEV “unfaithful”) which is expressed by the root נַאַף (na’af, “adultery”; HALOT 658 s.v. נאף). The plural noun זְנוּנִים (zénunim, literally, “harlotries”) is an example of the plural of character or plural of repeated behavior. The phrase “wife of harlotries” (אֵשֶׁת זְנוּנִים, ’eshet zénunim) probably refers to a prostitute, possibly a temple prostitute serving at a Baal temple. who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution,#tn Heb “and children of harlotries.” However, TEV takes the phrase to mean the children will behave like their mother (“your children will be just like her”). because the nation#tn Heb “the land.” The term “the land” is frequently used as a synecdoche of container (the land of Israel) for the contained (the people of Israel). continually commits spiritual prostitution#tn Heb “prostitution.” The adjective “spiritual” is supplied in the translation to clarify that apostasy is meant here. The construction זָנֹה תִזְנֶה (zanoh tizneh, infinitive absolute + imperfect of the same root) repeats the root זָנַה (zanah, “harlotry”) for rhetorical emphasis. Israel was guilty of gross spiritual prostitution by apostatizing from Yahweh. The verb זָנַה is used in a concrete sense to refer to a spouse being unfaithful in a marriage relationship (HALOT 275 s.v. זנה 1), and figuratively meaning “to be unfaithful” in a relationship with God by prostituting oneself with other gods and worshiping idols (Exod 34:15; Lev 17:7; 20:5, 6; Deut 31:16; Judg 8:27, 33; 21:17; 1 Chr 5:25; Ezek 6:9; 20:30; 23:30; Hos 4:15; Ps 106:39; see HALOT 275 s.v. 2). by turning away from#tn Heb “from after.” the Lord.” 3 So Hosea married#tn Heb “so he went and took” (וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּקַּח, vayyelekh vayyiqqakh; so NAB, NRSV). Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him. 4 Then the Lord said to Hosea,#tn Heb “to him.” The referent (Hosea) has been specified in the translation for clarity. “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish#tn Heb “I will visit.” The verb פָּקַד (paqad, “to visit”) has a very broad range of meanings: (1) “to pay attention to; to look at” (a) favorably: to look after; to provide for; to care for; (b) unfavorably: to seek vengeance for; to punish for; (2) militarily: (a) “to muster; to enroll”; (b) “to inspect; to review”; (3) leadership: (a) “to rule over; to oversee”; (b) Hiphil: “to appoint an overseer” (see BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד; HALOT 955-58 s.v. פקד). In this context, the nuance “to punish” or “to take vengeance” (see 1b above) is most appropriate. Cf. KJV, ASV “I will avenge”; NAB, NASB, NRSV “I will punish.” the dynasty#tn Heb “house” (so NAB, NRSV); NCV “family”; CEV “descendants.” of Jehu on account of the bloodshed#tn The plural form of דָּם (dam, “blood”) refers to “bloodshed” (BDB 196 s.v. דָּם 2.f). This is an example of a plural of abnormal condition (GKC 400 §124.n). The plural is used to represent natural objects which are found in an unnatural or abnormal condition. The plural is used because the natural object is normally found as a whole or in one unit, but in the abnormal condition the object is found in many parts. Normally, blood is contained as a whole within the body. However, when a brutal murder occurs, blood is shed and literally spilled all over the place. Cf. NIV “the massacre”; TEV, CEV, NLT “the murders.” in the valley of Jezreel,#tn Heb “I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.” and I will put an end to the kingdom#tn Heb “the kingdom of the house of Israel” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons. of Israel.#sn The proper name יִזְרְעֶאל (yizré’e’l, “Jezreel”) sounds like יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisra’el, “Israel”). This phonetic wordplay associates the sin at Jezreel with the judgment on Israel, stressing poetic justice. 5 At that time,#tn Heb “In that day” (so NIV; NAB, NRSV “On that day”). I will destroy the military power#tn Heb “I will break the bow” (so NAB, NRSV). The phrase “break the bow” (וְשַׁבָרְתִּי אֶת־קֶשֶׁת, véshavarti ’et-qeshet) is figurative. The term קֶשֶׁת (qeshet, “bow”) frequently refers to the warrior’s weapon (2 Sam 22:35; Ps 18:35; Job 20:24; Hos 2:20; Zech 9:10; 10:4). The reference to the warrior’s bow is a synecdoche of specific (bow) for general (military weaponry or power; see HALOT 1155 s.v. קֶשֶׁת 3). The noun קֶשֶׁת is used figuratively for “power” several times (e.g., Gen 49:24; 1 Sam 2:4; Jer 49:35; Job 29:20; Ps 37:15; BDB 906 s.v. 1.e). of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”
6 She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord#tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the Lord) does not appear in Hebrew, but has been specified in the translation for clarity. Many English versions specify the speaker here (KJV “God”; ASV “Jehovah”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “the Lord”). said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity#sn The negative particle לאֹ (lo’, “no, not”) and the root רָחַם (rakham, “compassion”) are repeated in 1:6, creating a wordplay between the name Lo-Ruhamah (literally “No-Pity”) and the announcement of divine judgment, “I will no longer have pity on the nation of Israel.” on the nation#tn Heb “house”; cf. TEV, NLT “the people of Israel.” of Israel. For#tn The particle כִּי (ki) probably denotes cause (so NCV, TEV, CEV) or result here (GKC 505 §166.b; BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 3.c). I will certainly not forgive#tn The verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to take away”) frequently denotes “to forgive” meaning to take away sin (BDB 671 s.v. נָשָׂא 3.c). The construction נָשׂא אֶשָּׂא (naso’ ’esa’, “I will certainly take away,” infinitive absolute + imperfect of the same root) repeats the root נָשָׂא for rhetorical emphasis, stressing the divine resolution not to forgive Israel. their guilt.#tn The phrase “their guilt” does not appear in Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation for clarification. The ellipsis of the accusative direct object of נָשׂא אֶשָּׂא (naso’ ’esa’, “I will certainly take away”) is an example of brachyology. The accusative “guilt” must be supplied frequently with נָשַׂא (see BDB 671 s.v. נָשָׂא 3.c; e.g., Num 14:19; Isa 2:9; Ps 99:8). Many recent English versions simplify this to “forgive them” (e.g., NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT). 7 But I will have pity on the nation#tn Heb “house”; cf. NCV, TEV, NLT “the people of Judah.” of Judah.#tn The word order in this line is rhetorical, emphasizing the divine decision to withhold pity from Israel but to bestow it on Judah. The accusative direct object, which is introduced by a disjunctive vav (to denote contrast), appears before the verb: וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה אֲרַחֵם (vé’et-bet yéhudah ’arakhem, “but upon the house of Judah I will show pity”). I will deliver them by the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory,#tn Heb “by war” (so NAB, NRSV, TEV); KJV, NASB, NIV “battle.” by chariot horses, or by chariots.”#sn These military weapons are examples of the metonymy of adjunct (the specific weapons named) for subject (warfare).
8 When#tn The preterite וַתִּגְמֹל (vatigmol, literally, “and she weaned”) functions in a synchronic sense with the following preterite וַתַּהַר (vattahar, literally, “and she conceived”) and may be treated in translation as a dependent temporal clause: “When she had weaned…she conceived” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). Other English versions render this as sequential with “After” (NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT). she had weaned ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son. 9 Then the Lord#tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. As in v. 6, many English versions specify the speaker here. said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you#tn The independent personal pronoun אַתֶּם (’attem, “you”) is a plural form, referring to the people of Israel as a whole. To make this clear TEV translates this as third person: “the people of Israel are not my people” (cf. CEV, NLT). are not my people and I am not your#tn The pronominal suffix on the preposition לָכֶם (lakhem, “your”) is a plural form, referring to the people of Israel as a whole. God.”#tc The MT reads לֹא־אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם (lo’-’ehyeh lakhem, “I will not be yours”). The editors of BHS suggest emending the text to לֹא־אֱלֹהֵיכֶם (lo’-’elohekhem, “I will not be your God”). The emendation creates a tighter parallel with the preceding אַתֶּם לֹא עַמִּי (’attem lo’ ’ammi, “you are not my people”). Because of a lack of external evidence, however, the reading of the MT should be retained.tn Heb “I am not yours.” The divine name “God” is supplied in the translation for clarity even though the reading of the MT is followed (see previous tc note). Almost all English versions (including KJV, ASV, NASB) supply “God” here.sn This is an allusion to Yahweh’s promise to Moses אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ (’ehyeh ’immakh, “I will be with you”; Exod 3:12, 14). In effect, it is a negation of Exod 3:12, 14 and a cancellation of Israel’s status as vassal of Yahweh in the conditional Mosaic covenant.
The Restoration of Israel
10 (2:1)#sn Beginning with 1:10, the verse numbers through 2:23 in the English Bible differ by two from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 1:10 ET = 2:1 HT, 1:11 ET = 2:2 HT, 2:1 ET = 2:3 HT, etc., through 2:23 ET = 2:25 HT. Beginning with 3:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same. However,#tn The vav prefixed to וְהָיָה (véhaya) functions in an adversative sense: “however” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 71, §432). in the future the number of the people#tn Heb “sons” (so NASB); KJV, ASV “the children”; NAB, NIV “the Israelites.” of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although#tn Heb “in the place” (בִּמְקוֹם, bimqom). BDB 880 s.v. מָקוֹם 7.b suggests that בִּמְקוֹם (preposition בְּ, bet, + noun מָקוֹם, maqom) is an idiom carrying a concessive sense: “instead of” (e.g., Isa 33:21; Hos 2:1). However, HALOT suggests that it functions in a locative sense: “in the same place” (HALOT 626 s.v. מָקוֹם 2b; e.g., 1 Kgs 21:19; Isa 33:21; Hos 2:1). it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are#tn The predicate nominative, “You are…,” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. children#tn Heb “sons” (so KJV, NASB, NIV). of the living God!” 11 Then the people#tn Heb “sons” (twice in this verse, so NASB); KJV, ASV “children”; NIV, NRSV, TEV “people.” of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint for themselves one leader,#tn Heb “head” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV). and will flourish in the land.#tn Alternatively, “gain possession of the land” (cf. NRSV) or “rise up from the land” (cf. NIV). This clause may be understood in two ways: (1) Israel will gain ascendancy over the land or conquer the land (e.g., Exod 1:10; cf. NAB “come up from other lands”) or (2) Israel will be “planted” in the land (Hos 2:24-25; cf. NLT “will…plant his people”). Certainly,#tn Or “For” (so NASB); NCV “because”; TEV “Yes.” the day of Jezreel will be great!