1:2 When the Lord first spoke 1 through 2 Hosea, he 3 said to him, 4 “Go marry 5 a prostitute 6 who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, 7 because the nation 8 continually commits spiritual prostitution 9 by turning away from 10 the Lord.” 1:3 So Hosea married 11 Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him. 1:4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, 12 “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish 13 the dynasty 14 of Jehu on account of the bloodshed 15 in the valley of Jezreel, 16 and I will put an end to the kingdom 17 of Israel. 18 1:5 At that time, 19 I will destroy the military power 20 of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”
1:6 She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord 21 said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity 22 on the nation 23 of Israel. For 24 I will certainly not forgive 25 their guilt. 26 1:7 But I will have pity on the nation 27 of Judah. 28 I will deliver them by the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory, 29 by chariot horses, or by chariots.” 30
1:8 When 31 she had weaned ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son. 1:9 Then the Lord 32 said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you 33 are not my people and I am not your 34 God.” 35
1:10 (2:1) 36 However, 37 in the future the number of the people 38 of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although 39 it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are 40 children 41 of the living God!” 1:11 Then the people 42 of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint for themselves one leader, 43 and will flourish in the land. 44 Certainly, 45 the day of Jezreel will be great! 2:1 Then you will call 46 your 47 brother, “My People” (Ammi)! You will call your sister, “Pity” (Ruhamah)!
3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show love to 48 your wife 49 again, even though she loves 50 another man 51 and continually commits adultery. 52 Likewise, the Lord loves 53 the Israelites 54 although they turn to other gods and love to offer raisin cakes to idols.” 55 3:2 So I paid fifteen shekels of silver and about seven bushels of barley 56 to purchase her. 3:3 Then I told her, “You must live with me many days; you must not commit adultery or have sexual intercourse with 57 another man, and I also will wait for you.” 3:4 For the Israelites 58 must live many days without a king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred fertility pillar, without ephod or idols. 3:5 Afterward, the Israelites will turn and seek the Lord their God and their Davidic king. 59 Then they will submit to the Lord in fear and receive his blessings 60 in the future. 61
[1:2] 1 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] 2 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] 6 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] 9 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] 13 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] 15 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] 18 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.
[1:5] 20 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).
[1:6] 21 tn Heb “Then he said”; the referent (the
[1:6] 22 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] 25 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] 26 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).
[1:7] 28 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”).
[1:8] 31 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).
[1:9] 33 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] 35 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.
[1:10] 36 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.
[1:10] 39 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).
[1:11] 44 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”).
[2:1] 46 tn Heb “Say to….” The imperative אִמְרוּ (’imru, Qal imperative masculine plural) functions rhetorically, as an example of erotesis of one verbal form (imperative) for another (indicative). The imperative is used as a rhetorical device to emphasize the certainty of a future action.
[2:1] 47 sn The suffixes on the nouns אֲחֵיכֶם (’akhekhem, “your brother”) and אֲחוֹתֵיכֶם (’akhotekhem, “your sister”) are both plural forms. The brother/sister imagery is being applied to Israel and Judah collectively.
[3:1] 50 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] 51 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.”
[3:2] tn Heb “a homer of barley and a lethech of barley.” A homer was about 5 bushels (180 liters) and a lethech about 2.5 bushels (90 liters).
[3:5] sn It is not clear whether Hosea was predicting a restoration of Davidic kingship over Israel and Judah (e.g., Jer 17:25; 22:2) or referring to the ultimate Davidic king, namely, the Messiah, who will fulfill the conditions of the Davidic covenant and inaugurate/fulfill the blessings of the Davidic covenant for Israel. The Messiah is frequently pictured as the “New David” because he would fulfill the ideals of the Davidic covenant and be everything that David and his descendants were commissioned to be (e.g., Isa 9:7; 16:5; Jer 23:5-6; 30:9; 33:15-16; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25).