Hosea 2

Hosea 2

1. And the number of the children of Israel will be[1] as the sand of the sea, which can neither be measured nor counted. In the place where[2] they were called[3] “You are not my People,” they will be called “Sons of the Living God.”[4] 2. Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will designate a single leader and they will rise up from the earth,[5] for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 3. Call your brothers, “My people,” and your sisters, “Compassion.” 4. Make an accusation against your mother. Contend that[6] she is not my wife, and I am not her husband, for she must remove harlotry from her face,[7] and adultery from between her breasts; 5.  Lest I stripped her naked and leave her as in the day of her birth. I will make her like the desert, I will make her like the dry earth, I will cause her to die of thirst. 6. And I will not show compassion to her children, for they are prostituting children; 7. For their mother[8] has played the harlot. The one who conceived them has acted shamefully, for she thought, “Let me follow after my lovers, who have given my bread and water, my wool and linen, my oil and drink. 8. Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will wall her up,[9] and she will not find her paths. 9. When she pursues her lovers she will not get close to them, and when she seeks them she will not find them.[10] Then she will say, “Let me go and return to my original husband, for it was better then than now.” 10. And she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain and the new wine and the oil, and I showered her with silver and gold,[11] which they used to make Baal. 11. Therefore I will go back and take my grain in its time, my new wine in the appointed time, and I will rescue my wool and linen which was intended [12] to cover her nakedness. 12. And now I will uncover her shamelessness to the eyes of her lovers, and none will be able to rescue her from my hand. 13. And I will put an end to all her rejoicing, her festival, her new moon, and her sabbath, and every appointed assembly.[13] 14. And I will desolate her vine and her fig tree, which she said, “They are my wages[14] which my lovers gave to me.” But I will make them as a forest,[15] and the beasts of the field will devour them. 15. Then I will punish her for the days of Baalim,[16] to whom she burnt incense,[17] When she adorned herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot. Oracle of Yhwh: 16. Therefore behold, it is I who will entice her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly to her. 17. And I will give her a vineyard from there and the Valley of Achor as a doorway of hope, and she will respond there as in the days of her youth, and as the day of her ascent from the land of Egypt. 18. And in that day—oracle of Yhwh—you will call me[18] “My Husband,” and you will no longer call me “My Baal.” 19. And I will remove the names of the Baalim from her mouth, and they will no longer be mentioned by name. 20. And I will cut a covenant with them[19] in that day; with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky and the crawling things of the earth. But the bow and sword and weapons of war[20] I will destroy from the earth, and I will lay them down in safety. 21. I will betroth you to me forever; and I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice, and in mercy and compassion.[21] 22. And I will betroth you to me in truth and you will know Yhwh. 23. I it will happen in that day that I will respond—Oracle of Yhwh—I will respond to the heavens and they will respond to the earth. 24. And the earth will respond to the grain, and to the wine, and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 25. And I will sow her in the earth for me, and I will have compassion on Lo Ruhama. And I will say to Lo Ammi, “You are my people,” and they will say, “My God!”


[1] The Greek has the perfect: “number of the children of Israel was. . .”

[2] This phrase is not the equivalent of תחת אשׁר, and so does seem to refer to an actual location.

[3] We would expect קרא instead of the niphal of אמר. This is literally “it will be said to them.” The same verb is used in v. 3 to mean “call.”

[4] A rare reference to humans as “sons of God.” The terminology may allude to the בני אלהים used elsewhere, but it is not related to that technical vernacular.

[5] There may be some intentional ambiguity between a rising up in the sense of the resurrection of the nation from the dust, and a rising up in the sense of their growing in prominence over the nations of the earth.

[6] The כי is a relative particle, identifying the substance of the ריב as an accusation of marital infidelity.

[7] The possessive pronoun is found in Aleppo, but in Leningrad the qamets is absent from the final /h/.

[8] We have a switch here from the second masculine plural pronominal suffix in v. 4 to the third masculine plural (“your mother” – “their mother”).

[9] Literally, “I will wall up her wall.”

[10] The pronoun here is omitted in the Hebrew but found in the Greek and Syriac.

[11] The verb “showered” seems only to govern the word “silver,” but both “silver and gold” are intended as objects of the verb “give,” and so are more easily understood when combined.

[12] I restore a sense of intention, although it is not present in the Hebrew. The other option is to read the infinitive as complementary to “and I will take,” which creates a favorable outcome for a verse meant to criticize. The next verse also states that Yhwh will uncover her shamelessness.

[13] We find here a progression of nouns from a wide temporal context to a narrow one (yearly festivals – monthly festivals – weekly festivals) framed by more general terms associated with those nouns which also move from general to specific (rejoicing – festivals).

[14] The normal term for a prostitutes wages is אתנן. This may be an attempt to mark the harlotry of Hosea’s wife as non-conventional, or it may be harmonizing, phonetically, with תאנתה and אמרה.

[15] G has “witness,” metathesizing the ayin and the yod and mistaking the resh for a dalet.

[16] Literally, “I will punish the days of Baalim because of her.”

[17] This verb is in the hiphil in MT, but the piel is likely intended.

[18] Here we have קרא rather than אמר, as in vv. 1 and 3. I amend to תקראי to read תקרא לי.

[19] The author moves from the third feminine singular to the third masculine plural. Likely the subject has returned to the “sons of Israel” from v. 1.

[20] Literally just “war,” but the sense seems to be instruments of war and not just war itself.

[21] The last noun uses the abstract plural, while the first three are singular.


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