Posts Tagged With: 2:1

Translating the Twelve: Hosea 2:1

Today’s “Translating the Twelve” is Hosea 2:1 (1:10 in English)

1 וְֽ֠הָיָה מִסְפַּ֤ר בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ כְּח֣וֹל הַיָּ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יִמַּ֖ד וְלֹ֣א יִסָּפֵ֑ר וְֽ֠הָיָה בִּמְק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יֵאָמֵ֤ר לָהֶם֙ לֹֽא־עַמִּ֣י אַתֶּ֔ם יֵאָמֵ֥ר לָהֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֥י אֵֽל־חָֽי׃

1. Then the number of the children of Israel will become1 like the sand of the sea which cannot be measured2 and cannot be counted.3 Then,4 instead of when it would be said5 to them, “You are not my people,” it will now be said6 to them, “You are sons of the living God.”

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

Syntactical Choices

1. “Then…”–I think the ו’s here are just moving the narrative along. I find then to be a helpful narrative mover.
“Then…”–This second go around is the same thing, but I also think it clues the reader in that the second is more concerned about time than locale (which I know is contrary to every major translation).
“Instead of when…”–Every single other translation renders this “in the place where” but I’m not convinced. For one, I think the “when” is referencing “that day” as we have already seen it poking his head into the prophecy in verse 5. Secondly, each time the switch is referred it is a temporal comparison: “In a little while” vs 4; “In that day” vs 5. “No more (many translate ‘no longer’) vs 6. and now he says instead of when
“It would be said”–I’m using the contingent aspect of the imperfect. Had God not saved his people through Yahweh, it would have been said of them, “They are not my people.” On the contrary:
“It will now be said”–Just a simple future. I added the ‘now’ to emphasize the contrasting of what would have happened vs what has happened.
“You are”–Added the “You are” as ellipsis; it helps smooth out the contrast.


1. Qal wqtl 3ms היה
2. Nif yqtl 3ms מדד
3. Nif yqtl 3ms ספר
4. Qal wqtl 3ms היה
5. Nif yqtl 3ms אמר
6. Nif yqtl 3ms אמר

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