Hosea 14

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 12:40.

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  • Hosea 14:1 (14:2).
  • Masoretic Text: Return, Israel, to YHWH your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity.

    Septuagint: Return, Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your injustices.


    Instead of walking uprightly, the Israelites had stumbled about in a wayward course. With few exceptions, they had pursued idolatry, and many among them had oppressed and defrauded the poor. A return to YHWH would require repentance and abandonment of their former lawless ways.

  • Hosea 14:2 (14:3).
  • Masoretic Text: Take words with you and return to YHWH. Say to him, “All iniquity take away, and accept [what is] good, and we will pay the bulls of our lips.”

    Septuagint: Take words with you and return to the Lord your God. Say to him (that you may not receive injustice but receive good things), “And we will repay the fruit of our lips.”


    The Septuagint reading about not receiving injustice may mean not being punished for injustice but being forgiven and thereupon receiving good things from YHWH.

    A number of translations have chosen to follow the Septuagint and Syriac or have used interpretive renderings for the expression “bulls of our lips”—“fruit of our lips” (NIV, NRSV), “bullocks from our stalls” (NAB), and “sacrifices of praise instead of bulls” (CEV).


    The Israelites are admonished to approach YHWH with words of repentance, returning to him for the purpose of having his approval. They are encouraged to appeal to have their iniquity taken away or forgiven and to have their humble request accepted. The promise to offer the bulls of their lips apparently means offering up expressions of praise and thanksgiving or, according to the Septuagint rendering, the fruit of their lips.

  • Hosea 14:3 (14:4).
  • Masoretic Text: Assyria will not save us. On horses, we will not ride nor will we again say, “our god,” to the work of our hands. In you, the fatherless will find mercy.

    Septuagint: Assyria will by no means save us. We will not mount on horses. Let us not any longer say, “our gods,” to the works of our hands. The one in you will pity the orphan.


    In the Masoretic Text, a relative pronoun follows the word for “hands.” This pronoun ’ashér, in its basic sense, means “which” and functions as a connecting link. If it is included in the translation, it could be rendered as “whom” (you in whom the orphan will find mercy). This, however, requires adding words to make a complete sentence. (You [are the one] in whom the orphan will find mercy.)

    The Septuagint rendering “the one in you” could mean: (1) The person “in” (at one with) YHWH would be merciful to the orphan. (2) He (YHWH) who is among you will pity the orphan.

    The two distinct words for “not” in the Septuagint serve to intensify the negative and signify “by no means,” “definitely not,” or “absolutely not.” Another intensification of this kind is used regarding ceasing to call “gods” the works of human hands.


    While Hosea served as a prophet, the ten-tribe kingdom at times allied itself with Assyria. Israelite kings Menahem and Hoshea endeavored to secure their position with the aid of Assyria. (See comments on 5:13.) The time would come, however, when the Israelites would realize that looking to Assyria or any other foreign power would not effect their deliverance. Upon repenting for having abandoned YHWH as the only dependable source of protection, guidance, and blessing, they would cease to rely on horses as a vital part of a military force and would no longer venerate deities an artisan had fashioned. Instead, they would look to YHWH, the One who did not ignore the lowliest persons in their midst. Even the orphan could expect to be a recipient of YHWH’s compassionate care.

  • Hosea 14:4 (14:5).
  • Masoretic Text: I will heal their apostasy. I will love them freely, for my anger will turn away from him.

    Septuagint: I will heal their dwellings. I will love them openly, for my anger has turned away from them.

    Note: The Septuagint rendering does not include any reference to Israel’s defection.


    When the Israelites forsook YHWH and turned to the veneration of fertility gods and other deities, they plummeted into a sickly state. Upon their repenting, YHWH would heal the diseased state of their apostasy or defection. The Israelites would come to experience his spontaneous love, for his anger or intense displeasure would be turned away from them.

  • Hosea 14:5 (14:6).
  • Masoretic Text: I will be like dew to Israel. He will blossom like a lily and thrust his roots like Lebanon.

    Septuagint: I will be like dew to Israel. He will blossom like a lily and thrust his roots like Lebanon.


    To Israel in its repentant state, YHWH would become like refreshing dew that revives vegetation. As a result, Israel would then flourish, “sprouting” or “blossoming” like a beautiful flower of the lily family and sending out an extensive root system like the magnificent cedars that were the fame of Lebanon.

  • Hosea 14:6 (14:7).
  • Masoretic Text: His shoots will go forth, and his splendor will be like the olive, and his aroma like Lebanon.

    Septuagint: His branches will go forth, and he will be like a fruitful olive tree, and his aroma like Lebanon.


    In the restored state, Israel would flourish like a tree with new shoots or branches. The splendor would be comparable to an olive tree bearing abundant fruit. Disobedience to God’s commands brought consequences that made Israel a stench among the nations. This stench would give way to the pleasant aroma of cedars in Lebanon.

  • Hosea 14:7 (14:8).
  • Masoretic Text: They will return to dwell in his shadow. They will revive grain, and they will sprout like the vine; his remembrance [will be] like the wine of Lebanon.

    Septuagint: They will return and dwell under his shelter. They will live and be drenched with grain, and his remembrance will flourish like a vine, like wine of Lebanon.


    Translators vary in their renderings, with many choosing to omit the reference to the return and using “again” instead. “Men will dwell again in his shade.” (NIV) “They shall again live beneath my shadow.” (NRSV) “Again they shall dwell in his shade.” (NAB) “You will rest in my shade.” (CEV) “They who sit in his shade shall be revived.” (Tanakh)

    Among the renderings that preserve the aspect about returning are the following: “They shall return and sit under his shadow.” (Darby) “They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow.” (ESV) Es kehren zurück, die in seinem Schatten wohnen. (Those who dwell in his shadow will return.) (German, revised Elberfelder)

    The expression regarding reviving grain is probably to be understood as meaning to cultivate grain.


    In a hot climate, a shadow or shade is welcome, providing a measure of relief from the intense heat. Therefore, for the Israelites to return to YHWH and be restored to their land would mean that they would once again come under his protective care. They would cultivate grain and enjoy an abundance, flourishing like a healthy grapevine. In the restored state, Israel’s “remembrance” or fame would be comparable to the wine of Lebanon. This thought is explicitly expressed in a number of translations. “They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.” (GNT, Second Edition) “You will blossom like a vineyard and be famous as the wine from Lebanon.” (CEV) [S]ie...gedeihen wie die Reben, deren Wein so berühmt ist wie der Wein vom Libanon. (They...flourish like the grape clusters, the wine of which is as famous as the wine from Lebanon.) (German, Einheitsübersetzung)

    There is also a possibility that “his remembrance” signifies the renown of YHWH, the One under whose shadow the Israelites would find protection. This may be the thought expressed in the rendering, “His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.” (NAB) This rendering also has the support of the Septuagint.

    A number of translations link the fame to the vine. Ja, mein Volk wird aufblühen wie die berühmten Weinstöcke an den Hängen des Libanon. (Yes, my people will bloom like the famous grapevines on the slopes of Lebanon.) (German, Hoffnung für alle) [S]ie werden...blühen wie ein Weintstock, dessen Ruf wie der Wein vom Libanon ist. (They will...blossom like a grapevine, the reputation of which is like the wine from Lebanon.) (German, revised Elberfelder)

  • Hosea 14:8 (14:9).
  • Masoretic Text: Ephraim—what [is there] still [between] me [and] idols? I, I have answered and will look after him. I [am] like a luxuriant juniper; from me, your fruit is found.

    Septuagint: To Ephraim, what [is there] still [between] him and idols? I, I humbled him, and I, I will strengthen him. I [am] like an overshadowing juniper; from me, your fruit has been found.

    Note: Instead of mentioning answering or responding, the Septuagint refers to God’s humbling Ephraim. The New American Bible reads similarly: “I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.”


    Ephraim, the dominant tribe, here represents the people of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The question about idols may either relate to Ephraim’s giving up idols or YHWH’s rejection of idols and, accordingly, his admonition for Ephraim to abandon idolatry. Both meanings can be found in translations. “Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?” (NAB) “Ephraim [shall say]: ‘What more have I to do with idols?’” (Tanakh) “O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?” (NRSV) “Israel, give up your idols!” (CEV)

    YHWH’s answering or responding to the Israelites would be dependent on their shunning idolatry and being exclusively devoted to him. This would assure them of his watching over them, providing needed aid and protection.

    Through Hosea, the Almighty likened himself to a luxuriant juniper. The Hebrew term berósh may designate the Juniperus excelsa, an impressive evergreen that may attain a height in excess of 60 feet. Such a tree would provide protective shade.

    For the Israelites, YHWH alone would be the source of their fruit—everything essential for their sustenance. Another possible meaning is that YHWH enabled Ephraim to be fruitful (NAB, NIV).

  • Hosea 14:9 (14:10).
  • Masoretic Text: Who [is] wise? [Then] let him understand. Discerning? [Then] let him know them. For straight [are] the ways of YHWH, and the upright ones will walk in them, and the transgressors will stumble in them.

    Septuagint: Who [is] wise and will understand these things? Or sensible and will recognize these things? For straight [are] the ways of the Lord, and the upright ones will walk in them, but the impious will stumble in them.

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


    Wise persons understand YHWH’s straight, just or upright ways. Based on what he has revealed regarding his will and purpose, they comprehend what is required of them. “Discerning” or “sensible” parallels “wise.” Those who are discerning or sensible “know” or “recognize” YHWH’s ways. As wise and discerning persons, they choose to walk in the way outlined for them, conducting themselves in harmony with the direction provided. Transgressors, on the other hand, resist YHWH’s guidance and so stumble in his ways, their conduct being contrary to his right paths.