Hosea 2

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  • Hosea 2:1 (2:3).
  • Masoretic Text: Say to your brothers, “my people,” and to your sisters, “shown mercy.”

    Septuagint: Say to your brother, “my people,” and to your sister, “being shown mercy.”

    Note: While the Masoretic Text uses the plural for “brothers” and “sisters,” the extant Septuagint has the singular.

    Commentary:

    Those to whom the second person plural imperative “say” is directed are not identified. Likely, in view of the previous statement pointing to restoration, the words apply to all who have been shown mercy. The imperative encourages them to manifest a welcoming family spirit to those who were once not shown mercy and not God’s people. They should now, as part of the family reconciled to YHWH, be called “my people” and “shown mercy.” The mercy was manifest in their being granted God’s forgiveness and thereupon being acknowledged by him as his people.


  • Hosea 2:2 (2:4).
  • Masoretic Text: Contend with your mother, contend (for she is not my wife and I am not her husband) that she remove her whoredom from her face and her adultery from between her breasts,

    Septuagint: Contend with your mother, contend, for she is not my wife and I am not her husband. And I will remove her whoredom from before my face and her adultery from between her breasts,

    Note: The first word of the partially preserved Dead Sea Scroll text, “contend” is singular, not plural. The corresponding term in the Septuagint can also mean “judge” or “condemn.”

    Commentary:

    The mother evidently is the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, and those being called upon to contend with her are the children, the individual members of the tribes. They had valid grounds for contending with their “mother,” condemning her unfaithfulness to YHWH. The call to “judge,” “condemn,” or “rebuke” her is intensified by the repetition of the imperative. Their “mother’s” record was one of idolatry from the start, with calf worship having been perpetuated by all the kings from the time of Jeroboam, the first monarch of the ten-tribe kingdom. The veneration of Baal and other fertility deities also became part of her sordid record. Therefore, YHWH did not recognize this “mother” as continuing in a covenant relationship with him, a relationship comparable to a marriage. She was not his wife nor was he her husband.

    This “mother” had violated her covenant relationship, practicing whoredom (in the form of idolatry) before his face and her idolatrous acts were like that of an adulterous wife who allows another man to fondle her breasts. According to the reading of the Masoretic Text, the mother was to change her ways, refraining from whoredom and from exposing her breasts for adulterous purposes. The reading of the extant Septuagint, however, indicates that YHWH would take this action toward her, stopping it by punishing her like an unfaithful wife.


  • Hosea 2:3 (2:5).
  • Masoretic Text: lest I strip her naked and expose her as on the day of her being born and appoint her as a wilderness and make her as a parched land and kill her with thirst.

    Septuagint: that I may strip her naked and reestablish her as on the day of her birth and appoint her as a wilderness and place her as a waterless land and kill her with thirst.

    Commentary:

    The punishment YHWH would inflict upon the “mother” (the ten-tribe kingdom) would be like that imposed on an adulterous wife. She would be publicly humiliated, stripped of every vestige of dignity, and exposed in the naked state of a newborn baby. Her condition would come to be like that of a barren wilderness, devoid of any produce that could contribute to the enjoyment of life. In the state of a waterless land, she would not benefit from any relief comparable to refreshing rains. With nothing to alter the parched condition, she would be killed by thirst.


  • Hosea 2:4 (2:6).
  • Masoretic Text: And to her sons I will not show mercy, for they are sons of whoredom.

    Septuagint: And to her children I will absolutely not show mercy, for they are children of whoredom.

    Note: The Septuagint has two different words for “not,” the second “not” serving as an intensifier and the significance being “absolutely not,” “definitely not,” or “by no means.”

    Commentary:

    With the exception of the prophets and the few who heeded their admonition, the “sons,” “children,” or people of the ten-tribe kingdom proved to be just like their “mother.” YHWH, therefore, would not manifest mercy or pity toward them when executing his adverse judgment. By reason of their attachment to idolatry and the resultant breach of the covenant relationship with him, the “children” were guilty of whoredom and so are designated as “sons” or “children of whoredom.”


  • Hosea 2:5 (2:7).
  • Masoretic Text: For whored has their mother, and shamed herself has the one conceiving them, for she said, “Let me go after my lovers, the givers of my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drinks.”

    Septuagint: For whored has their mother, shamed herself has the one bearing them, for she said, “I will follow after my lovers, the ones giving me my bread and my water and my garments and my linen cloths and my oil and all that is appropriate for me.”

    Commentary:

    The whoredom of the “mother” (the ten-tribe kingdom) was her illicit attachment to fertility deities, calf worship, and other gods and goddesses. As members of the ten-tribe kingdom, the Israelites individually were offspring of this “mother,” the one who could be spoken of as having “conceived them.” Her course was disgraceful, an adulterous breach of her covenant relationship with YHWH. Her “lovers” included the fertility deities. She went “after them” by venerating them, with the objective that they would grant fertility to flocks, herds, trees, and fields. This adulterous “mother” acknowledged these deities as the “givers” of food or bread and water, the wool and linen for making clothing, and the olive oil and wine (included in the broader term “drinks”).
    .

  • Hosea 2:6 (2:8).
  • Masoretic Text: Therefore, see, I am the one barring your way with thorns, and I will wall up her wall, and her pathways she will not find.

    Septuagint: Therefore, see, I am hedging her way in with thorns, and I will wall up her ways, and her path she shall absolutely not find.

    Note: The Septuagint has two different words for “not,” the second “not” serving as an intensifier. The basic meaning is “absolutely not,” “definitely not,” or “by no means.”

    Commentary:

    The “way” by which the “mother” (the ten-tribe kingdom or, collectively, the people of the realm) pursued their lovers (gods and goddesses) would be barred as with thorns, an impenetrable barrier. Also, an obstructive wall would restrict the “mother’s” movement. It would be impossible for her to find any pathways to her “lovers.” When the people of the ten-tribe kingdom were taken into exile, they were forcibly deprived of engaging in idolatrous rites at the former sites. The locations where the people believed the various deities could be invoked for help became inaccessible to them. No pathway could they find that would give them access to the deities they had venerated, and no help would be forthcoming from such deities. The people found themselves in a confined condition, from which there was no escape.


  • Hosea 2:7 (2:9).
  • Masoretic Text: And she will pursue her lovers and not overtake them, and she will seek them and not find them, and she will say, “Let me go and return to my husband, the first one, for better for me [it was] then than [it is] now.”

    Septuagint: And she will pursue her lovers and absolutely not overtake them, and she will seek them and absolutely not find them, and she will say, “I will go and return to my husband, the first one, because better for me [it] was then [than it is] now.”

    Note: In both occurrences, the “not” in the Septuagint represents two different words, with the second “not” serving as an intensifier. The basic meaning is “absolutely not,” “definitely not,” or “by no means.”

    Commentary:

    With her pathways blocked, apparently on account of the exile, the “mother” (the ten-tribe kingdom or, collectively, the people of the realm) would be unsuccessful in efforts to pursue or find her “lovers,” the gods and goddesses to whom she had become attached. Her pursuit would not overtake them, and her search would not find them. In her distress, they would not be within reach to provide any aid or relief. This desperate situation would prompt the “mother” to think about the past when her circumstances were far better. As a result, she would choose to return to YHWH to whom she was bound by a covenant relationship like that of a wife to her husband.


  • Hosea 2:8 (2:10).
  • Masoretic Text: And she did not recognize that I gave her the grain and the wine and the oil, and silver I increased to her, and gold, [of which] they made [use] for Baal.

    Septuagint: And she did not recognize that I gave her the grain and the wine and the oil, and silver I increased to her, but she made [use of] the silver and the gold [for] Baal.

    Note: The Septuagint rendering is clearer than the reading of the Masoretic Text.

    Commentary:

    The “mother” (the ten-tribe kingdom or, collectively, the people of the realm) did not “know,” recognize, or acknowledge YHWH as the Giver of the essential food products — grain, wine and olive oil. He also had made it possible for her to prosper, resulting in an increase of “silver.” Yet, the “mother” used the gifts from YHWH in a way that dishonored him, lavishing both silver and gold on the fertility god Baal. The precious metals would have been used to make images of the deity. Vessels and other cultic objects may also have been fashioned from gold and silver.


  • Hosea 2:9 (2:11).
  • Masoretic Text: Therefore, I will withdraw and take my grain in its time and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my linen for covering her nakedness.

    Septuagint: Therefore, I will withdraw and take away my grain according to its season and my wine in its time, and I will remove my garments and my linen cloths, not covering her shame.

    Commentary:

    On account of having misused the gifts he had generously bestowed on the “mother,” YHWH would turn away from her and deprive her of the essentials for sustenance and covering. This would be by allowing the people to experience serious disruptions of agricultural operations from enemy invasions, unfavorable weather conditions, and insect infestations. So, in the “time” or “season” of harvest, the yield would be disappointing. Limited supplies of grain would lead to a serious lack of flour for baking the daily bread. In the “time” or “season” of the grape harvest, crops would be poor, greatly reducing the production of wine. Loss of sheep from enemy invasions, predators, and disease would cause a major reduction in wool for making clothing. With an insignificant flax harvest, the raw material for making linen would be scarce, affecting the amount of clothing that could be made.


  • Hosea 2:10 (2:12).
  • Masoretic Text: And now I will uncover her shame before the eyes of her lovers, and no man will deliver her from my hand.

    Septuagint: And now I will uncover her impurity before her lovers, and no one will by any means deliver her out of my hand.

    Note: The Septuagint uses two separate words for “not,” the entire expression (“no one not not”) indicating the absolute impossibility of any deliverance or rescue.

    Commentary:

    YHWH would treat the “mother” like an adulterous wife, stripping her so as to expose her impurity, shame, or private parts. This would be before the “eyes” of her lovers, the deities who would be powerless to prevent this humiliating exposure and so are depicted as if having to look at the shocking spectacle. Absolutely no one would be able to effect a rescue from YHWH’s hand directed against her. The Assyrian military force proved to be the instrumentality for accomplishing this, bringing an end to the ten-tribe kingdom and forcibly taking the survivors of the conquest into exile.


  • Hosea 2:11 (2:13).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will end all her exultation, her festival, her new moon and her sabbath and all her festal season.

    Septuagint: And I will turn away all her exultations, her festivals and her new moons and her sabbaths and all her assemblies.

    Note: The Septuagint has plural nouns where the Masoretic Text has the singular. The Hebrew term for “festal season” can also mean “assembly.”

    Commentary:

    The “mother” would experience a reversal of fortunes. YHWH would bring an end to the rejoicing or exultation that accompanied her ritualistic festivities. “Festivals” could include all the festive occasions associated with calf worship and the veneration of Baal and other deities. On the day of the “new moon,” which marked the start of each month, the Israelites appear to have enjoyed themselves in feasting. (Compare 1 Samuel 20:5, 18, 24, 26.) Besides being a welcome time for rest and refreshment, the weekly sabbath was a day for rejoicing over accomplishments and results from the previous six days. In the ten-tribe kingdom, a harvest festival was observed annually in the eighth Jewish month (mid-October to mid-November). Jeroboam, the first monarch, instituted this observance as part of the cult of calf worship, doing so in imitation of the “festival of booths” celebrated in the two-tribe kingdom of Judah one month earlier. This festival was an occasion for a large “assembly” of Israelites at Bethel, one of the two official sites for calf worship. (Compare 1 Kings 12:32, 33.) Doubtless there were also other regular assemblies associated with idolatrous practices.


  • Hosea 2:12 (2:14).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will devastate her vine and her fig tree about which she said, “They are the hire my lovers gave me,” and I will transform them into a forest and the animal[s] of the field will eat them.

    Septuagint: And I will destroy her vine and her fig trees about which she said, “These are my hire, which my lovers have given me,” and I will place them as a witness, and the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky and the creeping things of the land will devour them.

    Notes:

    In the Masoretic Text, the singular for “animal” may be understood in the collective sense as meaning animals.

    The Septuagint is an expanded text. Being placed as a witness, the grapevine and the fig trees, in the desolated land, would testify to the “mother’s” guilt and YHWH’s judgment against her for unfaithfulness.

    Commentary:

    The “mother” regarded the grapevine and the fig tree (therefore, also their produce) as hire from her lovers, the fertility deities which she venerated. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words for “hire” or “wages” denote the payment a prostitute receives for her services.

    YHWH would deprive the “mother” of her “wages” that she wrongly attributed as having been bestowed on her by her “lovers.” In the fulfillment, YHWH allowed the Assyrian invaders to devastate the land, ruining grapevines and fig trees, at least some of which may have been cut down for siegeworks. While the Mosaic law did not permit Israelite warriors to cut down fruit-bearing trees, the Assyrian forces would have acted without any restraint. (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20) The devastated land would remain uncultivated and come to be like a “forest.” Wild animals, birds, and creeping things would feed on the yield of the neglected grapevines and fig trees.


  • Hosea 2:13 (2:15).
  • Masoretic Text: “And I will visit [judgment] upon her the days of the Baals in which she burned incense to them and decked herself with her ring and her jewelry and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” [is the] announcement of YHWH.

    Septuagint: “And I will take vengeance upon her the days of the Baals in which she burned incense to them and put on her earrings and her necklaces and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” says the Lord.

    Notes:

    The Hebrew term for “in which” could either apply to the days “on which” she burned incense or to the Baals “to which” she burned incense.

    Both the Hebrew and the Greek words that could be understood to mean “burn incense” could also mean to “present offerings.”

    Commentary:

    The visitation would be a punitive one on account of the “days” or time the “mother” venerated the Baals, likely the Baals associated with various locations. As an act of worship, she presented offerings or burned incense. Like a prostitute, the mother is depicted as adorning herself with her ring (earrings, LXX) and jewelry (necklaces, LXX) and pursuing her lovers, the fertility deities to which she was ardently attached. YHWH, the One from whom she had received everything, however, the “mother” disregarded, forgetting him or totally putting him out of her mind.


  • Hosea 2:14 (2:16).
  • Masoretic Text: Therefore, see, I will make her wander and bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart.

    Septuagint: Therefore, see, I make her wander, and I will place her in a wilderness and speak to her heart.

    Notes:

    Definitions for the Hebrew word patháh include “persuade,” “seduce,” “entice,” and “deceive.” These terms can also signify “to lead astray” or “to make wander.” Among the definitions in lexicons for the Greek word planáo, when used as an active verb, are “make wander,” “lead astray,” “mislead,” “seduce,” and “deceive.” In the Septuagint, the term is frequently used to mean “stray” or “wander” aimlessly or in confusion. (Genesis 21:14; 37:15; Exodus 14:3; 23:4; Deuteronomy 22:1; 27:18)

    For the Hosea passage, translators have commonly chosen “lure” or “allure.” Based on this understanding of the Hebrew term, the possible meaning would be that YHWH “lured” the “mother” into the wilderness. The Contemporary English Version conveys this sense. “I, the LORD, will lure you into the desert and speak gently to you.” In view of the context and the fulfillment, however, it appears more likely that the reference is to making her wander. The “mother” did not choose to go into the wilderness because of having been enticed or persuaded to do so.

    Commentary:

    The “mother” had put YHWH out of her mind and chosen to attach herself to fertility deities. On this account, he would cause her to wander in confusion as if lost in a wilderness. The means by which the “mother” was placed or brought into the “wilderness” proved to be the Assyrian invaders who exiled the survivors of the ten-tribe kingdom. This state of exile proved to be comparable to wandering aimlessly and helplessly in an inhospitable wilderness. It was a painful and trialsome experience. While she found herself in this pitiable state, YHWH would appeal to her, speaking to her “heart.” The objective would be to move her to repentance and to return to him. In the fulfillment, the painful experience had a wholesome disciplinary effect on a remnant of the exiled people, reaching the “heart” or deep inner self.


  • Hosea 2:15 (2:17).
  • Masoretic Text: And, from there, I will give to her her vineyards and the valley of Achor for an entrance of hope, and she will answer there as in the days of her youth and as in the day of her going up from the land of Egypt.

    Septuagint: And, from there, I will give to her her possessions, and the valley of Achor to open her understanding, and she will be humbled there according to the days of her youth and according to the days of her going up from the land of Egypt.

    Notes:

    The reading of the Septuagint suggests that the Hebrew word for “vineyard” (kérem) may have had a less restrictive meaning and included “land” or a “field” suitable for a vineyard. One of the basic meanings for the Greek word ktéma is “possession,” and it can also mean “field.”

    The difference between the Hebrew word defined as “hope” and the corresponding Greek term “understanding” is not as great as it might appear. An expectation or hope results from the use of one’s capacity for thought.

    The Hebrew consonants for “humble,” “humiliate,” or “afflict” are the same as for the word “answer.” The vowel points in the Masoretic Text are for the word “answer,” whereas the Septuagint reading is representative of the vowels for “humble.” Against the backdrop of the experiences of the Israelites in the wilderness after their leaving Egypt, the word “humbled” does fit. As Moses told the Israelites, “He [YHWH] humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 [3]; see also verse 15 [16].)

    The reading of the Masoretic Text suggests that the “mother” would respond or answer favorably as in the days of youth. In Jeremiah 2:2, the initial response is represented in a favorable light. Viewed from the standpoint of their entire history in the wilderness upon leaving Egypt, however, the Israelites repeatedly rebelled. Consequently, the Septuagint may preserve the correct sense.

    Commentary:

    YHWH, in time, would deal favorably with the “mother,” the exiled people (as a collective whole) who would be in the distressing wilderness state. The implication is that those represented by the “mother” would repentantly return to YHWH while in the painful wilderness condition. During the period she would be “there” or in the “wilderness,” YHWH would give her “vineyards,” “fields,” or “possessions” that formerly belonged to her. The certainty of the “mother’s” being restored to her land is revealed by the fact that the giving takes place while she is in the “wilderness.” YHWH’s word is as sure as the reality that is promised.

    In the “valley of Achor,” Achan and his family were put to death by stoning because of his flagrant violation of specific divine instruction. (Joshua 7:1-26) The name “Achor” means “trouble,” and Achan by his actions brought great trouble upon the Israelites (resulting in loss of life) and upon himself and his family. YHWH, through Hosea, promised a marvelous reversal. The valley that had signified “trouble” would prove to be the opening or entrance of hope, a desirable expectation that evidently related to the restoration of an approved relationship with YHWH as manifest in the “mother’s” being able to return to her land.

    The reading of the Masoretic Text indicates that the “mother,” while still in the wilderness, would respond favorably as when she (Israel as a collective whole) was in her youth or infancy. This was when she made her exodus from Egypt. The sense conveyed by the Septuagint reading “humble” (instead of “answer”), however, does harmonize with what did occur during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness and also the experience of the “mother” while in the distressing wilderness state during the time of her exile.


  • Hosea 2:16 (2:18).
  • Masoretic Text: “And it will be in that day,” [is the] announcement of YHWH, “you will call [me], ‘My husband,’ and you will not still call to me, ‘My Baal.’”

    Septuagint: “And it will be in that day,” says the Lord, “she will call me, ‘My husband,’ and she will not still call me ‘Baalim.’”

    Note: The Hebrew verbs are second person singular, whereas the Greek verbs are third person singular. The significance, however, is the same.

    Commentary:

    In “that day,” when the relationship to YHWH would be restored and the time of exile would end, the “mother” (the people collectively) would express herself differently. In acknowledging herself as bound in a covenant relationship to YHWH as if married to him, she would call him her “husband.”

    The name “Baal” signifies “Owner.” In view of the linkage of this designation to a fertility deity and the mother’s sordid record of unfaithfulness to YHWH and attachment to Baal worship, that name would never again pass her lips. The history of the Israelites who returned from exile confirms the fulfillment of these words. Never again did they engage in Baal worship, and never did they link the name of this fertility deity to YHWH.


  • Hosea 2:17 (2:19).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they will not still be remembered by their name.

    Septuagint: And I will remove the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, and by no means will their names be remembered anymore.

    Note: The Septuagint reading includes a strong intensification, with two different words for “not” conveying the sense of “by no means,” “definitely not,” or “absolutely not.”

    Commentary:

    As a consequence of the punitive discipline to which YHWH would submit the “mother,” she would cease to mention the names of the Baals, the fertility deities that had been linked to various sites in the land. In the fulfillment, YHWH used the Assyrians as his agent for inflicting punishment. This served to effect the removal of the names of the Baals from the “mother’s” mouth, never again to be mentioned in a worshipful way.

    The Baals were not to continue to be remembered by “name.” All former attachments to the Baals would be completely obliterated. These local deities would be recognized for what they truly were — unrealities incapable of providing aid or benefits. Their names as objects of worship would be blotted out, completely wiped away from memory.


  • Hosea 2:18 (2:20).
  • Masoretic Text: And, in that day, I will conclude with them a covenant, with the animal[s] of the field and the bird[s] of the skies and the creeping thing[s] of the ground, and bow and sword and war I will obliterate from the land, and I will make them lie down in safety.

    Septuagint: And, in that day, I will establish with them a covenant, with the beasts of the field and with the birds of the sky and with the creeping things of the land, and bow and sword and war I will obliterate from the land, and I will make you dwell in hope.

    Notes:

    The Hebrew idiom for “conclude a covenant” is “cut a covenant” and evidently reflects the common means for establishing or ratifying a covenant. Sacrificial victims were cut in two, after which the parties to the covenant or agreement would pass between the pieces. (Compare Genesis 15:9-17; Jeremiah 34:18.) The implication would have been that a violation of the terms of the covenant or agreement would be deserving of the fate of the sacrificial victims.

    In the Masoretic Text, “animal,” “bird,” and “creeping thing” are singular nouns, but evidently are to be understood in the collective sense as meaning animals, birds, and creeping things.

    Both in Greek and in Hebrew, the terms rendered “obliterate” have the basic meaning of “break.”

    The reading “hope” in the Septuagint may signify that the people would be assured of the fulfillment of their hope, which would include the enjoyment of security.

    Commentary:

    YHWH’s covenant with the people assured them that they would no longer have to face enemy invasions, with the resulting devastation of the land and the disruption of agricultural operations. The covenant included the beasts, birds, and creeping things. This indicates that harm would not come to the Israelites from these creatures as was often the case when war led to significant habitat changes. (Compare Deuteronomy 7:22; 2 Kings 17:26; Isaiah 7:24.) No longer would invading military forces successfully wield implements of war—bow and sword—against the Israelites. In that sense, the weapons and war itself would be broken, crushed, or obliterated. The people inhabiting the land would be able to enjoy a peaceful and secure life.

    In view of the continuity of the true Israel (always by means of a believing remnant), these words found fulfillment among those who accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. To them, the assurance of God’s Son applies: “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)


  • Hosea 2:19 (2:21).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will espouse you to me for eternity, and I will espouse you to me in righteousness and in justice and in loyalty and in mercies.

    Septuagint: And I will espouse you to me for eternity, and I will espouse you to me in righteousness and in justice and in mercy and in compassion.

    Notes:

    In Hebrew, the expression “for eternity” signifies a time without any set limit. The corresponding Greek expression denotes “into the age.”

    The Hebrew term chésed conveys the thought of abiding loyalty, graciousness, and mercy. It is a compassionate concern that expresses itself in action. The corresponding term in the Septuagint means “mercy” or “pity.”

    Commentary:

    YHWH would accept the “mother” (the repentant people collectively after the period of punitive discipline), entering into the abiding intimate relationship of a husband with his wife. This relationship would endure, not leading to an eventual casting off or divorce. Righteousness, justice, loyalty (mercy, graciousness) and compassion would be the admirable qualities evident in the relationship. YHWH would always prove true to his covenant promises, never acting contrary thereto and thus revealing his righteousness or uprightness at all times. Never would his actions be arbitrary but would continually be based on what was just and fair. Because the “mother” would not be without weaknesses and failings, YHWH would deal mercifully with her. He would prove to be loyal. Moreover, his compassion for her would be prompted by deep love. (Again, the fulfillment of this promise applies to those who make up the real Israel.)


  • Hosea 2:20 (2:22).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will espouse you to me in faithfulness, and you will know YHWH.

    Septuagint: And I will espouse you to me in faithfulness, and you will know the Lord.

    Commentary:

    As one espoused to YHWH in “faithfulness” or “trustworthiness,” the “mother” is assured that the relationship would endure. This has been the experience of the true Israel throughout the centuries. YHWH has been faithful or true to his covenant promises. For the “mother” to “know” YHWH would mean enjoying an intimacy with him. It would include a full recognition of what that relationship involved, and this would be evident from conduct harmonizing therewith.


  • Hosea 2:21, 22 (2:23, 24).
  • Masoretic Text: “And it will be in that day I will answer,” [is the] announcement of YHWH, “I will answer the skies, and they will answer the land, and the land will answer the grain and the wine and the oil, and they will answer Jezreel.”

    Septuagint: “And it will be in that day,” says [the] Lord, “I will respond to the sky, and the sky will respond to the land, and the land will respond to the grain and the wine and the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.”

    Commentary:

    “That day” refers to the time of restoration. The poetic portrayal represents an appeal that YHWH will answer. To flourish, grain, grapevines, and olive trees need nourishment from the soil, and sunshine, dew, and rain. On its own, the land cannot provide sunshine, dew, and rain. Therefore, it is personified as appealing to the sky. From the sky, the petition rises to the ultimate source of all blessings, YHWH.

    The response to the appeal starts with YHWH and cycles through from the sky to the land and then to the grain, grapevines, and olive trees. Jezreel means “God sows” and appears to be representative of the people (as if sown by God) who have been restored to the land and with whom the petition originated. YHWH’s assurance is that the people’s appeal for grain, wine, and oil would be answered.


  • Hosea 2:23 (2:25).
  • Masoretic Text: And I will sow her to me in the land, and I will show mercy to Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people. ” And he will say, “My God.”

    Septuagint: And I will sow her to me upon the land, and I will show mercy to Not-Shown-Mercy, and I will say to Not-My-People, “You are my people.” And he will say, “Lord, you are my God.”

    Note: The Septuagint does not transliterate the names but renders them according to their meanings.

    Commentary:

    The Hebrew word for “sow” is feminine. In the Septuagint, this suffix is rendered as the pronoun “her,” evidently referring to the “mother” (collectively designating the people who had been exiled). With the return of the repentant exiles, YHWH began “sowing” them in the land. Thus the depopulated land began to sprout with the returnees and their offspring. The people who had not been shown mercy (as represented by Lo-ruhamah) would be shown mercy upon repenting, being restored to YHWH’s favor and their land. The people whom YHWH had cast off on account of disloyalty to him (represented by Lo-ammi) but who would repent were assured of again being acknowledged by him as his people. As for the people represented by Lo-ammi (Not-My-People), they would acknowledge YHWH as “My God.”