Superficial Repentance Breeds False Assurance of God’s Forgiveness
1 “Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!
He himself has torn us to pieces,
but he will heal us!
He has injured#tn “has struck”; NRSV “struck down.” us,
but he will bandage our wounds!
2 He will restore#tn The Piel of חָיָה (khayah) may mean: (1) to keep/preserve persons alive from the threat of premature death (1 Kgs 20:31; Ezek 13:18; 18:27); (2) to restore the dead to physical life (Deut 32:39; 1 Sam 2:6; cf. NCV “will put new life in us”); or (3) to restore the dying back to life from the threat of death (Ps 71:20; BDB 311 s.v. חָיָה). us in a very short time;#tn Heb “after two days” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV). The expression “after two days” is an idiom meaning “after a short time” (see, e.g., Judg 11:4; BDB 399 s.v. יוֹם 5.a).
he will heal us in a little while,#tn Heb “on the third day” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV), which parallels “after two days” and means “in a little while.” The “2-3” sequence is an example of graded numerical parallelism (Prov 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-23, 24-28, 29-31). This expresses the unrepentant overconfidence of Israel that the Lord’s discipline of Israel would be relatively short and that he would restore them quickly.
so that we may live in his presence.
3 So let us acknowledge him!#tn The object (“him”) is omitted in the Hebrew text, but supplied in the translation for clarity.
Let us seek#tn Heb “let us pursue in order to know.” The Hebrew term רָדַף (radaf, “to pursue”) is used figuratively: “to aim to secure” (BDB 923 s.v. רָדַף 2). It describes the pursuit of a moral goal: “Do not pervert justice…nor accept a bribe…pursue [רָדַף] justice” (Deut 16:20); “those who pursue [רָדַף] righteousness and who seek [בָּקַשׁ, baqash] the Lord” (Isa 51:1); “He who pursues [רָדַף] righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor” (Prov 21:20); “Seek [בָּקַשׁ] peace and pursue [רָדַף] it” (Ps 34:15); “they slander me when I pursue [רָדַף] good” (Ps 38:21). to acknowledge#tn The Hebrew infinitive construct with לְ (lamed) denotes purpose: “to know” (לָדַעַת, lada’at). the Lord!
He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn,
as certainly as the winter rain comes,
as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”
Transitory Faithfulness and Imminent Judgment
4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?
What am I going to do with you, O Judah?
For#tn The vav prefixed to וְחַסְדְּכֶם (vÿkhasdÿkhem, “your faithfulness”) functions in an explanatory sense (“For”). your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist;#tn Heb “your faithfulness [so NCV; NASB “your loyalty”; NIV, NRSV, NLT “your love”] is like a morning cloud” (וְחַסְדְּכֶם כַּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר, vÿkhasdÿkhem ka’anan-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.
it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew!#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).
5 Therefore, I will certainly cut#tn The two suffix conjugation verbs חָצַבְתִּי (khatsavti, Qal perfect 1st person common singular from חָצַב, khatsav, “to cut into pieces”) and הֲרַגְתִּים (haragtim, Qal perfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person masculine plural suffix from הָרַג, harag, “to kill”) are used in reference to future-time events. These are examples of the so-called “prophetic perfect” which emphasizes the certainty of the future event (e.g., Num 24:17; Josh 10:19; Isa 8:23; 9:1). For this function of the perfect, see IBHS 480-81 §30.1d. Most English versions, however, render these as past tenses. you into pieces at the hands of the prophets;#tn Heb “by the prophets” (so KJV, NRSV). The prophets are pictured as the executioners of Israel and Judah because they announced their imminent destruction. The prophetic word was endowed with the power of fulfillment.
I will certainly kill you#tn Heb “them.” The shift from the 2nd person masculine singular referents (“your” and “you”) in 6:4-5 to the 3rd person masculine plural referent (“them”) is an example of enallage, a poetic device used for emphasis. in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment;#tn Heb “with the words of my mouth” (so NIV); TEV “with my message of judgment and destruction.”
for#tn The disjunctive vav prefixed to the noun (וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ, umishpatekha) has an explanatory function. my judgment#tc The MT reads וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ אוֹר יֵצֵא (umishpatekha ’or yetse’, “and your judgments [are] a light [which] goes forth”) which is enigmatic and syntactically awkward (cf. KJV, NASB). The LXX reads καὶ τὸ κρίμα μου ὡς φώς (kai to krima mou {ws fos, “my judgment goes forth like light”) which reflects וּמִשְׁפָּטִי כָאוֹר יֵצֵא (umishpati kha’or yetse’, “my judgment goes forth like the light”) and posits only a simple misdivision of words. This is reflected in the Syriac Peshitta and Aramaic Targum and is followed by the present translation (so also NCV, NRSV). See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:238. will come forth like the light of the dawn.#tn The noun אוֹר (’or, “light”) is used here in reference to the morning light or dawn (e.g., Judg 16:2; 19:26; 1 Sam 14:36; 25:34, 36; 2 Sam 17:22; 23:4; 2 Kgs 7:9; Neh 8:3; Job 24:14; Prov 4:18; Mic 2:1; cf. CEV, NLT) rather than lightning (cf. NIV). This continues the early morning imagery used throughout 6:2-5.sn In 6:3 unrepentant Israel uttered an over-confident boast that the Lord would rescue the nation from calamity as certainly as the “light of the dawn” (שַׁחַר, shakhar) “comes forth” (יֵצֵא, yetse’) every morning. Playing upon the early morning imagery, the Lord responded in 6:4 that Israel’s prerequisite repentance was as fleeting as the early morning dew. Now in 6:5, the Lord announces that he will indeed appear as certainly as the morning; however, it will not be to rescue but to punish Israel: punishment will “come forth” (יֵצֵא) like the “light of the dawn” (אוֹר).
6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;
I delight#tn The phrase “I delight” does not appear in the Hebrew text a second time in this verse, but is implied from the parallelism in the preceding line. in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.#sn Contrary to popular misunderstanding, Hosea does not reject animal sacrifice nor cultic ritual, and advocate instead obedience only. Rather, God does not delight in ritual sacrifice without the accompanying prerequisite moral obedience (1 Sam 15:22; Pss 40:6-8; 51:16-17; Prov 21:3; Isa 1:11-17; Jer 7:21-23; Hos 6:6; Mic 6:6-8). However, if prerequisite moral obedience is present, he delights in sacrificial worship as an outward expression (Ps 51:19). Presented by a repentant obedient worshiper, whole burnt offerings were “an aroma pleasing” to the Lord (Lev 1:9, 13).
Indictments Against the Cities of Israel and Judah
7 At Adam#tn Or “Like Adam”; or “Like [sinful] men.” The MT reads כְּאָדָם (kÿ’adam, “like Adam” or “as [sinful] men”); however, the editors of BHS suggest this reflects an orthographic confusion of בְּאָדָם (bÿ’adam, “at Adam”), as suggested by the locative adverb שָׁם (sham, “there”) in the following line. However, שָׁם sometimes functions in a nonlocative sense similar to the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Behold!”). The singular noun אָדָם (’adam) has been taken in several different ways: (1) proper name: “like Adam” (כְּאָדָם), (2) collective singular: “like [sinful] men” (כְּאָדָם), (3) proper location: “at Adam,” referring to a city in the Jordan Valley (Josh 3:16), emending comparative כְּ (kaf) to locative בְּ (bet, “at”): “at Adam” (בְּאָדָם). BDB 9 s.v. אָדָם 2 suggests the collective sense, referring to sinful men (Num 5:6; 1 Kgs 8:46; 2 Chr 6:36; Jer 10:14; Job 31:33; Hos 6:7). The English versions are divided: KJV margin, ASV, RSV margin, NASB, NIV, TEV margin, NLT “like Adam”; RSV, NRSV, TEV “at Adam”; KJV “like men.” they broke#tn The verb עָבַר (’avar) refers here to breaking a covenant and carries the nuance “to overstep, transgress” (BDB 717 s.v. עָבַר 1.i). Cf. NAB “violated”; NRSV “transgressed.” the covenant;
Oh how#tn The adverb שָׁם (sham) normally functions in a locative sense meaning “there” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם). This is how it is translated by many English versions (e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). However, in poetry שָׁם sometimes functions in a nonlocative sense to introduce expressions of astonishment or when a scene is vividly visualized in the writer’s imagination (see BDB 1027 s.v. 1.a.β), or somewhat similar to the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “Behold!”): “See [שָׁם] how the evildoers lie fallen!” (Ps 36:13); “Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter! See [שָׁם]! The shouting of the warrior!” (Zeph 1:14); “They saw [רָאוּ, ra’u] her and were astonished…See [שָׁם] how trembling seized them!” (Ps 48:7). In some cases, it introduces emphatic statements in a manner similar to הִנֵּה (“Behold!”): “Come and see [לְכוּ וּרְאוּ, lÿkhu urÿ’u] what God has done…Behold [שָׁם], let us rejoice in him!” (Ps 66:5); “See/Behold [שָׁם]! I will make a horn grow for David” (Ps 132:17). The present translation’s use of “Oh how!” in Hos 6:7 is less visual than the Hebrew idiom שָׁם (“See! See how!”), but it more closely approximates the parallel English idiom of astonishment. they were unfaithful#tn The verb בָּגַד (bagad, “to act treacherously”) is often used in reference to faithlessness in covenant relationships (BDB 93 s.v. בָּגַד). to me!
8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers;#tn The participle phrase פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן (po’ale ’aven, “workers of wickedness”) emphasizes continual (uninterrupted), habitual action. This particular use of the participle is an ironic play on the professional occupation function (see IBHS 615 §37.2c). In effect, the major “professional guild” in Gilead is evil-working; the people are producers of evil!
its streets are stained with bloody footprints!#tn Heb “it is foot-tracked with blood”; NAB “tracked with (+ footprints of NLT) blood.”
9 The company of priests is like a gang of robbers,
lying in ambush to pounce on a victim.
They commit murder on the road to Shechem;
they have done heinous crimes!
10 I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel:
there Ephraim practices temple prostitution
and Judah defiles itself.
11 I have appointed a time to reap judgment#tn Heb “a harvest is appointed for you also, O Judah” (similar ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). for you also, O Judah!
If Israel Would Repent of Sin, God Would Relent of Judgment
Whenever I want to restore the fortunes of my people,#tc In the verse divisions of the MT (Leningrad Codex and Aleppo Codex), this is the last line of 6:11. However, the BHK and BHS editors suggest that it belongs with the beginning of 7:1. The ancient versions (Greek, Syriac, Latin) all reflect textual traditions that connect it with 6:11. The English versions are divided: some connect it with 6:11 (KJV, NASB, NLT), while others connect it with 7:1 (RSV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NJPS). The parallelism between this line and 7:1a favors connecting it with 7:1.
Loading reference in secondary version...
1996 - 2007 by Biblical Studies Press, LLC