Hosea 1:2-10

Hosea 1:2-10
Ordinary C35


When the LordA firstB spokeC through Hosea,D

Notes on verse 2a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “first” = techillah. From chalal (to pierce, which implies to wound; used figuratively for making someone or something profane or breaking your word; to begin as though one opened a wedge; to eat something as a common thing). This is beginning, first, previously.
C “spoke” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
D “Hosea” = Hoshea. 16x in OT. From yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe; in a causative sense, to free someone). This is Hosea, Hoshea, or Joshua, meaning “salvation” or “deliverer.”

the Lord said to Hosea, “Go,E takeF for yourself a wifeG of prostitutionH

Notes on verse 2b

E “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
F “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
G “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
H “prostitution” = zenunim. 11x in OT. From zanah (being or playing a prostitute; figuratively, fornicating). This is fornication, debauchery, whoredom. Figuratively, it can be idolatry.

and have childrenI of prostitution, for the landJ commits great prostitutionK by forsakingL the Lord.” 

Notes on verse 2c

I “children” = yeled. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
J “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
K “commits great prostitution” = zanah + zanah. Related to “prostitution” in v2. See note H above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
L “forsaking” = achar. From achar (to remain behind, linger, continue, be behind, or delay; can also imply procrastination). This is after or the last part, following.

So he went and took GomerM daughterN of Diblaim,O and she conceivedP and boreQ him a son.R

Notes on verse 3

M “Gomer” = Gomer. 6x in OT. From gamar (to end, perfect, or accomplish; end as to complete or end as a failure). This is Gomer, meaning “completion.”
N “daughter” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
O “Diblaim” = Diblayim. 1x in OT. From debelah (pressed fig cake). This is Diblaim, meaning “two fig cakes.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Diblaim.html
P “conceived” = harah. This is to conceive or be pregnant – it can be literal or figurative.
Q “bore” = yalad. Related to “children” in v2. See note I above.
R “son” = ben. Related to “daughter” in v3. See note N above.

And the Lord said to him, “NameS him Jezreel,T for in a littleU while I will punishV

Notes on verse 4a

S “name” = qara + shem. Literally, “call his name.” Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem may be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
T “Jezreel” = Yizreel. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield) + el (God, a god). This is Jezreel or Yizreel. It means “God sows” or “God will sow.”
U “little” = me’at. From ma’at (being or becoming small, decrease, diminish, pare off). This is a little or few, lightly little while, very small matter.
V “punish” = paqad. This is to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter. So, it can be to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge.

the houseW of JehuX for the bloodY of Jezreel,

Notes on verse 4b

W “house” = bayit. Related to “daughter” and “son” in v3. Probably from banah (see note N above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
X “Jehu” = Yehu. Related to “Lord” in v2. From YHVH (see note A above) + hu (he, she, it). This is Jehu or Yehu, meaning “The Lord is He.”
Y “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.

and I will put an endZ to the kingdomAA of the house of Israel.BB 

Notes on verse 4c

Z “put an end” = shabat. This is to rest, stop, repose, cease working. By implication, it is to celebrate.
AA “kingdom” = mamlakut. 9x in OT. From the same as melek (king, royal); from malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is kingdom, dominion, or reign.
BB “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “Jezreel” in v4. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note T above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

CCOn that dayDD I will breakEE the bowFF of Israel in the ValleyGG of Jezreel.”

Notes on verse 5

CC {untranslated} = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v2 & “Jehu” in v4. See note A above.
DD “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
EE “break” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
FF “bow” = qeshet. Perhaps from qush (to set a trap, lure, ensnare) OR from qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is a bow, arrow, or archer. Bow can be used figuratively for strength.
GG “Valley” = emeq. From amoq (to be deep in a literal or figurative sense; profound). This is Vale or valley – frequently part of place names.

She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah,HH for I will no longerII have pityJJ on the house of Israel or forgiveKK them. 

Notes on verse 6

HH “Lo-ruhamah” = Lo Ruchamah. 2x in OT. From lo (not, no) + racham (to love, have compassion, have mercy); {from racham (compassion, tender love, womb, compassion; the womb as that which cherishes the fetus)}. This is Lo-ruhamah or Lo Ruchamah, meaning “without compassion” or “not pitied.”
II “longer” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
JJ “have pity” = racham. Related to “Lo-ruhamah” in v6. See note HH above.
KK “forgive” = nasa + nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”

But I will have pity on the house of Judah,LL and I will saveMM them by the Lord their God;NN I will not save them by bow or by swordOO or by warPP or by horsesQQ or by horsemen.”RR

Notes on verse 7

LL “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
MM “save” = yasha. Related to “Hosea” in v2. See note D above.
NN “God” = Elohim. Related to “Jezreel” and “Israel” in v4. From el (see note T above).
OO “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
PP “war” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
QQ “horses” = sus. Root may mean to skip as in jump for joy. This is a crane or a swift bird. It is also a horse as leaping.
RR “horsemen” = parash. From parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter; can also imply to wound). This is a horse or a person who rides a horse. A chariot driver or cavalry as a collective.

When she had weanedSS Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi,TT for you are not my people,UU and I amVV not your God.”

Notes on verses 8-9

SS “weaned” = gamal. This is how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite. It can also mean to wean or the work that goes into something ripening.
TT “Lo-ammi” = Lo Ammi. 1x in OT. From lo (not, no) + am (people or nation; a tribe, troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals); {from amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together)}. This is Lo Ammi, meaning “not my people.”
UU “people” = am. Related to “Lo Ammi.” See note TT above.
VV “am” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note CC above.

10 Yet the numberWW of the peopleXX of Israel shall be like the sandYY of the sea,ZZ which can be neither measuredAAA nor numbered,BBB

Notes on verse 10a

WW “number” = mispar. From the same as sepher (writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register); from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This is a number, whether definite or symbolic – could be innumerable, few, abundance. It can also be a tally or account – or a narration.
XX “people” = ben. Same as “son” in v3. See note R above.
YY “sand” = chol. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting). This is sand, perhaps because of its roundness or the way that the grains can whirl.
ZZ “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
AAA “be…measured” = madad. This is to measure, stretch, be extended, continue.
BBB “numbered” = saphar. Related to “number” in v10. See note WW above.

andCCC in the placeDDD where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “ChildrenEEE of the livingFFF God.”GGG 

Notes on verse 10b

CCC {untranslated} = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note CC above.
DDD “place” = maqom. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
EEE “children” = ben. Same as “son” in v3. See note R above.
FFF “living” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
GGG “God” = El. Related to “Jezreel” and “Israel” in v4 & “God” in v7. See note T above.

Image credit: “Prophet Hosea” by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

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