Translating the Twelve: Hosea 1:2-4

Today’s “Translating the Twelve” is Hosea 1:2-4

2 תְּחִלַּ֥ת דִּבֶּר־יְהוָ֖ה בְּהוֹשֵׁ֑עַ פוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־הוֹשֵׁ֗עַ לֵ֣ךְ קַח־לְךָ֞ אֵ֤שֶׁת זְנוּנִים֙ וְיַלְדֵ֣י זְנוּנִ֔ים כִּֽי־זָנֹ֤ה תִזְנֶה֙ הָאָ֔רֶץ מֵֽאַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָֽה׃

3 וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ֙ וַיִּקַּ֔ח אֶת־גֹּ֖מֶר בַּת־דִּבְלָ֑יִם וַתַּ֥הַר וַתֵּֽלֶד־לוֹ֖ בֵּֽן׃

4 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו קְרָ֥א שְׁמֹ֖ו יִזְרְעֶ֑אל כִּי־ע֣וֹד מְעַ֗ט וּפָ֨קַדְתִּ֜י אֶת־דְּמֵ֤י יִזְרְעֶאל֙ עַל־בֵּ֣ית יֵה֔וּא וְהִ֨שְׁבַּתִּ֔י מַמְלְכ֖וּת בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

 2. At the beginning, Yahweh spoke1 to Hosea, and Yahweh said2 to Hosea, “Go3, take4 for yourself a wife of immorality and children of immorality for ‘the land’ has continually5 acted as a harlot6 from following Yahweh.

3. So he went6 and he took7 Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant8 and she bore9 for him a son.

4. Then Yahweh said10, “Call11 his name Jezreel, because in a little while I will repay12 the blood of Jezreel against the house of Jehu and I will cause the reign of the house of Israel to end13.

Below I’ll parse the verbs and briefly discuss some of my syntactical choices if I have time and remember.

Syntactical Choices

2. “At the beginning”–I translated like it has a preposition even though it doesn’t. I would have liked to render it “the beginning of Yahweh’s speaking to Hosea” but I don’t think the grammar allows for that.
“wife of immorality and children of immorality”–Though I think it should be something like “an immoral wife and children from immorality” I tried to keep the repetition of the Hebrew since the word modifying both wife and children is the same.
“the land”–Probably a reference to the land of Israel.
“continually acted as a harlot”–infinitive + finite verb of the same root = emphatic. I think “continually” fits Israel’s case better than “great.”


1. Piel qtl 3ms דבר
2. Qal wyyqtl 3ms אמר
3. qal imv ms הלך
4. Qal imv ms לקח
5. Qal inf abs זנה (emphatic usage)
6. Qal wyyqtl 3ms הלך
7. Qal wyyqtl 3ms לקח
8. Qal wyyqtl 3fs הרה
9. Qal wyyqtl 3fs ילד
10. Qal wyyqtl 3ms אמר
11. Qal imv ms קרא
12. Qal wqtl 1cs פקד
13. Hif wqtl 1cs שבת

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