אֶל־חִךְּךָ שֹׁפָר כַּנֶּשֶׁר עַל־בֵּית יְהוָה יַעַן עָבְרוּ בְרִיתִי וְעַל־תֹּורָתִי פָּשָׁעוּ׃ 8:1
Hose. 8:1 A horn to Your mouth,
like a vulture over the house of the Lord!
“Because they ignore My covenant
and rebel against My Torah.”
This verse is almost universally mistranslated. Words are added, thereby distorting the meaning, particularly in the first two English lines (the first seven Hebrew words). “A horn to your mouth/ like a vulture over the house of the Lord” is Hosea shouting to God. He is pleading with Him to sound the alarm, like a soaring vulture screeching before diving to a dead or dying creature on the ground. Then in the final two lines, he mouths the Lord’s words as the reason the Lord is “angry.” One might speculate that this is also a prophecy of the destruction of the Temple.
לִי יִזְעָקוּ אֱלֹהַי יְדַעֲנוּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 8:2
Hose. 8:2 “Let them cry out to Me,
‘My God, we of Israel know You.’”
Notice the use of the first-person singular pronoun my rather than our. Rarely is the pronoun used if the expression is uttered by more than one person. Normally, when the term is related to God, it is our God. Not only that, but the very next word is we! So what’s going on here? Is the Lord telling us something? Or Hosea? Are we each being instructed to regard the Lord as my God? A personal God? I suspect so. Quite intriguing!
זָנַח יִשְׂרָאֵל טֹוב אֹויֵב יִרְדְּפֹו׃ 8:3
Hose. 8:3 “Israel rejects good
-- an enemy will pursue him.”
הֵם הִמְלִיכוּ וְלֹא מִמֶּנִּי הֵשִׂירוּ וְלֹא יָדָעְתִּי כַּסְפָּם וּזְהָבָם עָשׂוּ לָהֶם עֲצַבִּים לְמַעַן יִכָּרֵת׃ 8:4
Hose. 8:4 “They have made a king, but not from Me,
princes, and I did not know;
they made idols of their silver and their gold for themselves,
so that it had to be cut off.”
Hosea, in quoting God, is not saying that God was unaware. He is saying that God had not “known” Israel’s princes or kings. In other words, they were strangers.
זָנַח עֶגְלֵךְ שֹׁמְרֹון חָרָה אַפִּי בָּם עַד־מָתַי לֹא יוּכְלוּ נִקָּיֹן׃ 8:5
Hose. 8:5 “Your calf is rejected, Samaria;
My ‘anger’ burns against them.”
For how long will they continue without innocence?
In the last line Hosea is speaking.
כִּי מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְהוּא חָרָשׁ עָשָׂהוּ וְלֹא אֱלֹהִים הוּא כִּי־שְׁבָבִים יִהְיֶה עֵגֶל שֹׁמְרֹון׃ 8:6
Hose. 8:6 “For it is from Israel, and he is the craftsman;
he made it, and it is no god,
the calf of Samaria shall become for fragments.”
כִּי רוּחַ יִזְרָעוּ וְסוּפָתָה יִקְצֹרוּ קָמָה אֵין־לֹו צֶמַח בְּלִי יַעֲשֶׂה־קֶּמַח אוּלַי יַעֲשֶׂה זָרִים יִבְלָעֻהוּ׃ 8:7
Hose. 8:7 “If they sow the wind,
then they shall reap the whirlwind.
there is not a stalk for it;
the growth cannot make grain;
if it could make, strangers would eat it up.”
נִבְלַע יִשְׂרָאֵל עַתָּה הָיוּ בַגֹּויִם כִּכְלִי אֵין־חֵפֶץ בֹּו׃ 8:8
Hose. 8:8 “Israel is swallowed up;
now they are among the nations,
like a vessel with nothing pleasurable in it.”
כִּי־הֵמָּה עָלוּ אַשּׁוּר פֶּרֶא בֹּודֵד לֹו אֶפְרַיִם הִתְנוּ אֲהָבִים׃ 8:9
Hose. 8:9 “For they go up to Assyria;
Ephraim is a wild ass separated to itself;
they hire lovers.”
גַּם כִּי־יִתְנוּ בַגֹּויִם עַתָּה אֲקַבְּצֵם וַיָּחֵלּוּ מְּעָט מִמַּשָּׂא מֶלֶךְ שָׂרִים׃ 8:10
Hose. 8:10 “Although they may hire among the nations,
now I will gather them,
and they will begin to be diminished
because of the burden of a king, of princes.”
כִּי־הִרְבָּה אֶפְרַיִם מִזְבְּחֹת לַחֲטֹא הָיוּ־לֹו מִזְבְּחֹות לַחֲטֹא׃ 8:11
Hose. 8:11 “For Ephraim made many altars to sin;
they were for him altars to sin.”
אֶכתֹוב) [אֶכְתָּב]־לֹו (רִבֹּו) [רֻבֵּי] תֹּורָתִי כְּמֹו־זָר נֶחְשָׁבוּ׃ 8:12
Hose. 8:12 ”I could have written myriads for him of My Torah,
they were esteemed as foreign.”
I believe the Lord is saying here that whatever He would have written in the Torah, the words would not be understood; they’d be as in a foreign language. Now to the errors: The word before the first left parenthesis is spelled incorrectly with an unnecessary vav. The correction is in the first set of brackets. The word in the second parentheses is incorrect, but I don’t agree with its correction in the second brackets. The word, which is feminine singular, translates to myriad or ten thousand. The word, which I translate as myriads, could not be singular. None of its singular meanings fits in this context. I believe the correction should be feminine plural. But the word in the brackets is not the feminine plural of the word in error. It should be either רִבְבֹת or רִבְבוֹת.
Hose. 8:13 “Of the sacrifices of My offerings,
they may sacrifice flesh and eat it;
the Lord not does accept them.
Now He will remember their iniquity
and pay attention to their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.”
I will have something to say about this mention of Egypt in the next chapter. [Return to Hose. 9:3]
וַיִּשְׁכַּח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־עֹשֵׂהוּ וַיִּבֶן הֵיכָלֹות וִיהוּדָה הִרְבָּה עָרִים בְּצֻרֹות וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי־אֵשׁ בְּעָרָיו וְאָכְלָה 8:14 אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ׃
Hose. 8:14 “And Israel forgot his Maker and built palaces,
and Judah multiplied fortified cities,
but I will send a fire into his cities
that shall consume his fortresses.”