לְכוּ וְנָשׁוּבָה אֶל־יְהוָה כִּי הוּא טָרָף וְיִרְפָּאֵנוּ יַךְ וְיַחְבְּשֵׁנוּ׃ 6:1
Hose. 6:1 Come and let us return to the Lord!
For He shall be tearing, but He shall heal us;
He shall smite, but He shall bind us up.
יְחַיֵּנוּ מִיֹּמָיִם בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי יְקִמֵנוּ וְנִחְיֶה לְפָנָיו׃ 6:2
Hose. 6:2 He may have revived us more times;
the third time, He will raise us up
and we will live in His presence.
The words I translate as more times (first line) and time (second line) are usually translated as two days and day respectively. They are typically interpreted to be an idiom meaning after a while. This seems to me to be an ad hoc fix to a difficult passage. The whole verse with that translation becomes “He shall revive us after a while; He will raise us up and we will live in His presence.” This seems to be an adequate translation, but I suspect something more significant is being implied here, and it may be a meaningful revelation. As I interpret the verse, it is picturing a marvelous future, but more than that: While we have been revived some number of times (twice?), the third time will be charmed, our final and eternal revival. Could the state of Israel represent the third time? It might grow into it in time. If so, it would not be a pleasant transition, as the Temple would have to be rebuilt.
וְנֵדְעָה נִרְדְּפָה לָדַעַת אֶת־יְהוָה כְּשַׁחַר נָכֹון מֹוצָאֹו וְיָבֹוא כַגֶּשֶׁם לָנוּ כְּמַלְקֹושׁ יֹורֶה אָרֶץ׃ 6:3
Hose. 6:3 So let us know -- ardently pursue to know -- the Lord!
As the certainty of the dawn is His emergence,
and He shall come to us like the rain,
like spring rain watering the earth.
To me, Hosea’s plea seems to lack an air of assurance, as it should, considering our consistently stubborn refusal to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and might. Hosea reveals that the Lord’s emergence among us is as sure as the dawn, and will be as spring rains, which are essential to our continued prosperity.
מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לְּךָ אֶפְרַיִם מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לְּךָ יְהוּדָה וְחַסְדְּכֶם כַּעֲןַן־בֹּקֶר וְכַטַּל מַשְׁכִּים הֹלֵךְ׃ 6:4
Hose. 6:4 “What shall I do to you, Ephraim?
What shall I do to you, Judah?
That your faithfulness is like a morning cloud,
and as dew evaporating early!”
Now the Lord addresses the children of Israel, expressing in Hosea’s words, a frustration and an almost despairing recognition of their lack of faith.
עַל־כֵּן חָצַבְתִּי בַּנְּבִיאִים הֲרַגְתִּים בְּאִמְרֵי־פִי וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ אֹור יֵצֵא׃ 6:5
Hose. 6:5 “Therefore by the prophets I have hewed,
slain them with the utterances of My mouth,
but the dawn of your judgment comes forth.”
כִּי חֶסֶד חָפַצְתִּי וְלֹא־זָבַח וְדַעַת אֱלֹהִים מֵעֹלֹות׃ 6:6
Hose. 6:6 “For I desire faithfulness, and not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God instead of burnt offerings.”
וְהֵמָּה כְּאָדָם עָבְרוּ בְרִית שָׁם בָּגְדוּ בִי׃ 6:7
Hose. 6:7 “But they, like Adam, have transgressed a covenant;
they have been treacherous there with Me.”
גִּלְעָד קִרְיַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן עֲקֻבָּה מִדָּם׃ 6:8
Hose. 6:8 “Gilead is a city of fabricaters of iniquity,
covered with bloody footprints.”
It’s interesting to note that Gilead was not a city but a large region in the mountainous northeastern portion of Israel, now part of Jordan. Hosea was undoubtedly using poetic license.
וּכְחַכֵּי אִישׁ גְּדוּדִים חֶבֶר כֹּהֲנִים דֶּרֶךְ יְרַצְּחוּ־שֶׁכְמָה כִּי זִמָּה עָשׂוּ׃ 6:9
Hose. 6:9 “And as ambushers of a man,
the company of priests, marauding bands;
a journey to Shechem, they would murder;
surely they carry out an evil plot.”
All other translations of this verse with which I’m familiar add the word on at the beginning of the third line to make the translation something like on the way to Shechem. Such a word or prefix is not present in the Hebrew, and I suspect Hosea was trying to tell us something other than what appears in the text. Possibly he was alluding to the episode depicted in Genesis 34 of the rape of Dinah and the subsequent massacre of the inhabitants of Shechem. On the other hand, commentators point out that Shechem was one of the cities of refuge (Josh. 20:7), and was now a place of more death.
בְּבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאִיתִי (שַׁעֲרִירִיָּה) [שַׁעֲרוּרִיָּה] שָׁם זְנוּת לְאֶפְרַיִם נִטְמָא יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 6:10
Hose. 6:10 “In the house of Israel I see a horrible thing:
Ephraim's harlotry is there; Israel is defiled.”
There’s an error in the word in the parentheses. The correction in the brackets substitutes a vav for the first yad in the word.
גַּם־יְהוּדָה שָׁת קָצִיר לָךְ בְּשׁוּבִי שְׁבוּת עַמִּי׃ 6:11
Hose. 6:11 “Yet, Judah, a harvest time is set for you,
on My turning back the captivity of My people.”
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