Translating the Twelve: Hosea 1:5-6

Today’s “Translating the Twelve” is Hosea 1:5-6

5 וְהָיָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וְשָֽׁבַרְתִּי֙ אֶת־קֶ֣שֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּעֵ֖מֶק יִזְרְעֶֽאל׃

6 וַתַּ֤הַר עוֹד֙ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בַּ֔ת וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לוֹ֔ קְרָ֥א שְׁמָ֖הּ לֹ֣א רֻחָ֑מָה כִּי֩ לֹ֨א אוֹסִ֜יף ע֗וֹד אֲרַחֵם֙ אֶת־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל כִּֽי־נָשֹׂ֥א אֶשָּׂ֖א לָהֶֽם׃

5. And it will be1 in that day, that I will break2 the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

6. Then she became pregnant3 again and she bore4 a daughter. Then He said5 to him, “Call6 her name ‘no mercy’ for I will have mercy7 no more8 on the house of Israel, that I will certainly9 forgive10 them.

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

Syntactical Choices

6. “Mercy no more”–literally ‘I will not increase again, I will have mercy.’ The first verb often takes an imperfect and merges together like a helping verb. In other words, God is done having mercy on Israel.

“That I will certainly forgive them.”–This is a double doozey. This phrase is a combination of infinitive absolute + finite verb of the same root to show emphasis. It is also, however a figurative use of the word that is most often translated ‘to lift, raise etc’. I’m not 100% convinced that this is what is meant. Part of me wants to say he is using it to mean that God isn’t taking Israel as his bride (of course the masculine plural object make that understanding difficult). The third option is to say that God is rising up against them. Grammatically this is the easiest to defend, but usually when נשא is used like that there is another word mixed in as an indirect object. I’m going to stick with ‘forgive’ until I see more evidence otherwise.

Footnotes

1. Qal wqtl 3ms היה
2. Qal wqtl 1cs שבר
3. Qal wyyqtl 3fs הרה
4. Qal wyyqtl 3fs ילד
5. Qal wyyqtl 3ms אמר
6. Qal imv ms קרא
7. Hif yqtl 1cs יסף
8. Piel yqtl 1cs רחם
9. Qal yqtl 1cs נשא
10. Qal inf abs נשא

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