1:1 1 This is the word of the Lord which was revealed to Hosea 2 son of Beeri during the time when 3 Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah ruled Judah, 4 and during the time when Jeroboam son of Joash 5 ruled Israel. 6
1:2 When the Lord first spoke 7 through 8 Hosea, he 9 said to him, 10 “Go marry 11 a prostitute 12 who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, 13 because the nation 14 continually commits spiritual prostitution 15 by turning away from 16 the Lord.”
1:4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, 17 “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish 18 the dynasty 19 of Jehu on account of the bloodshed 20 in the valley of Jezreel, 21 and I will put an end to the kingdom 22 of Israel. 23
1:6 She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord 24 said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity 25 on the nation 26 of Israel. For 27 I will certainly not forgive 28 their guilt. 29
1:9 Then the Lord 30 said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you 31 are not my people and I am not your 32 God.” 33
3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show love to 34 your wife 35 again, even though she loves 36 another man 37 and continually commits adultery. 38 Likewise, the Lord loves 39 the Israelites 40 although they turn to other gods and love to offer raisin cakes to idols.” 41
For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty in the land,
nor do they acknowledge God. 45
he wept and begged for his favor.
and there he spoke with him! 49
12:10 I spoke to the prophets;
I myself revealed many visions; 50
[1:1] 1 tc The textual problems in Hosea are virtually unparalleled in the OT. The Masoretic Text (MT), represented by the Leningrad Codex (c.
[1:2] 7 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
[1:2] 8 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.
[1:2] 12 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.
[1:2] 15 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).
[1:4] 18 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.”
[1:4] 20 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.”
[1:4] 23 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.
[1:6] 24 tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the
[1:6] 25 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.”
[1:6] 28 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.
[1:6] 29 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).
[1:9] 31 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).
[1:9] 33 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.
[1:9] 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.
[1:9] 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.
[3:1] 36 tc The MT vocalizes אֲהֻבַת (’ahuvat) as a construct form of the Qal passive participle and takes רֵעַ (rea’) as a genitive of agent: “who is loved by רֵעַ.” However, the ancient versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) all vocalize אֲהֻבַת as an absolute form of the Qal active participle, and take רֵעַ as the accusative direct object: “who loves רֵעַ.” The English translations consistently follow the MT. The editors of BHS suggest the revocalization but with some reservation. For discussion of the vocalization, see D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:230.
[3:1] tn Heb “a woman who is loved by a companion” (אִשָּׁה אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ, ’ishah ’ahuvat rea’). The substantival participle אֲהֻבַת (“one who is loved”) is in apposition to אִשָּׁה (“a woman”). The genitive noun רֵעַ (“companion”) functions as the agent of the preceding construct noun: “who is loved by a companion” (אֲהֻבַת רֵעַ). Cf. NAB “a woman beloved of a paramour”; NRSV “a woman who has a lover.”
[3:1] 37 tn The meaning of the noun רֵעַ (rea’) is debated because it has a broad range of meanings: (1) “friend,” (2) “lover,” (3) “companion,” (4) “neighbor,” and (5) “another” (HALOT 1253-55 s.v. II רֵעַ; BDB 945-46 s.v. II רֵעַ). The Hebrew lexicons favor the nuance “lover; paramour” here (HALOT 1255 s.v. 2; BDB 946 s.v. 1). Most scholars adopt the same approach; however, a few suggest that רֵעַ does not refer to another man, but to her husband (Hosea). Both approaches are reflected in English translations: NASB “a woman who is loved by her husband”; NIV “though she is loved by another”; NAB “a woman beloved of a paramour”; KJV “a woman beloved of her friend”; NJPS “a woman who, while befriended by a companion”; TEV “a woman who is committing adultery with a lover”; CEV “an unfaithful woman who has a lover.”
[4:1] 43 tn The noun רִיב (riv, “dispute, lawsuit”) is used in two contexts: (1) nonlegal contexts: (a) “dispute” between individuals (e.g., Gen 13:7; Isa 58:1; Jer 15:10) or (b) “brawl; quarrel” between people (e.g., Exod 17:7; Deut 25:1); and (2) legal contexts: (a) “lawsuit; legal process” (e.g., Exod 23:3-6; Deut 19:17; 21:5; Ezek 44:24; Ps 35:23), (b) “lawsuit; legal case” (e.g., Deut 1:12; 17:8; Prov 18:17; 25:9), and (c) God’s “lawsuit” on behalf of a person or against his own people (Hos 4:1; 12:3; Mic 6:2; HALOT 1225-26 s.v. רִיב). The term in Hosea refers to a covenant lawsuit in which Yahweh the suzerain lodges a legal case against his disobedient vassal, accusing Israel and Judah of breach of covenant which will elicit the covenant curses.
[12:4] 46 tc The MT vocalizes the consonantal text וָיָּשַׂר (vayyasar, vav consecutive + Qal preterite 3rd person masculine singular from שׂוּר, sur, “to see”); however, parallelism with שָׂרַה (sarah, “he contended”) in 12:3 suggested that it be vocalized as ויּשׂר (vav consecutive + Qal preterite 3rd person masculine singular from שׂרה [“to strive, contend”]). The latter is followed by almost all English versions here.
[12:4] 49 tc The Leningrad Codex and the Allepo Codex both read 1st person common plural עִמָּנוּ (’immanu, “with us”). The LXX and Peshitta both reflect an alternate Hebrew Vorlage of 3rd person masculine singular עִמוֹ (’imo, “with him”). The BHS editors suggest emending the MT in favor of the Greek and Syriac. The internal evidence of 12:4-5 favors the 3rd person masculine singular reading. It is likely that the 1st person common plural ־נוּ reading on עִמָּנוּ arose due to a misunderstanding of the 3rd person masculine singular ־נוּ suffix on יִמְצָאֶנּוּ (yimtsa’ennu, “he found him”; Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine singular + 3rd person masculine singular suffix) which was probably misunderstood as the 1st person common plural suffix: “he found us.” Several English versions follow the LXX and Syriac: “there he spoke with him” (RSV, NAB, NEB, NIV, NJPS, TEV). Others follow the MT: “there he spoke with us” (KJV, NASB, CEV). The Hebrew University Old Testament Project, which tends to preserve the MT whenever possible, adopts the MT reading but gives it only a “C” rating. See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 5:262-63.
[12:10] 51 tn There is debate whether אֲדַמֶּה (’adammeh, Piel imperfect 1st person common singular) is derived from I דָמָה (damah, “similitude, parable”) or II דָמָה (“oracle of doom”). The lexicons favor the former (BDB 198 s.v. I דָּמָה 1; HALOT 225-26 s.v. I דמה). Most translators favor “parables” (cf. KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NJPS), but a few opt for “oracles of doom” (cf. NRSV, TEV, CEV).