1tn The phrase “to Baal” does not appear in the Hebrew text here, but is implied; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Cf. NCV “altars for idols”; NLT “altars of their foreign gods.”

2tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3tc The referent of the 3rd person common plural verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibb˙ru, “they speak”) is the masculine singular noun וְהַמֶּלֶךְ (v˙hammelekh, “a king” in v. 3) which is used generically, representing all human kings of Israel to which the 3rd common plural verb refers. Although this is a bit syntactically awkward, it is not necessary to emend the MT to the 3rd masculine singular verb form דָּבַר (davar, “he speaks”) as the BHS editors suggest. The LXX, however, reads the singular form λαλῶν (lalwn, “uttering”).

4tn Heb “they speak words.” The cognate accusative construction דִּבְּרוּ דְבָרִים (dibb˙ru d˙varim; literally, “they speak words”) is an idiom that means “they speak mere words” (so NASB; NRSV similar) or “they utter empty words” (so TEV), that is, they make empty promises (e.g., Isa 58:13; BDB 180-181 s.v. דָּבַר 2). The immediately following collocated phrase אָלוֹת שָׁוְא (’alot shav˙’, “swearing an empty oath”) confirms this nuance. The LXX understood this idiom in the same way: λαλῶν ῥήματα προφάσειας ψευδεῖς (lalwn r{hmata profaseias yeudeis, “speaking false professions as his words”).

5tn The two infinitive absolutes אָלוֹת (’alot, Qal infinitive absolute from II אָלָה, ’alah, “to swear an oath”; BDB 46 s.v. II אָלָה) and כָּרֹת (karot, Qal infinitive absolute from כָּרַת, karat, “to make [a covenant]”; BDB 503 s.v. כָּרַת 4), which appear without conjunctions, continue the description of the action of the preceding finite verb דִּבְּרוּ (dibb˙ru, Piel perfect 3rd person common plural from דָּבַר, davar, “to speak”). Although the infinitives continue the description of the action of the finite verb, they call special attention to the action of the infinitive rather than the action of the finite verb. See IBHS 595 §35.5.2b.

6tn The word “empty” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied. It is supplied in the translation for clarity. Cf. TEV “useless treaties.”

7tn The noun II רֹאשׁ (rosh) refers to a “poisonous plant” (Deut 29:17; Hos 10:4) or “bitter herb” (Ps 69:22; Lam 3:5; BDB 912 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1; HALOT 1167 s.v. רֹאשׁ 1).

8tc The MT reads the singular construct noun שְׁכַן (sh˙khan, “the inhabitant [of Samaria]”), while the LXX and Syriac reflect the plural construct noun שְׁכַנֵי (sh˙khane, “the inhabitants [of Samaria]”). The singular noun may be a collective referring to the population of Samaria as a whole (BDB 1015 s.v. שָׁכֵן; e.g., Isa 33:24). Most English translations view this as a reference to the inhabitants of the city as a whole (KJV, RSV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NJPS, TEV, CEV, NLT).

9tc The MT reads יָגוּרוּ (yaguru, Qal imperfect 3rd person common plural from III גוּר, gur, “to dread”; see BDB 159 s.v. III גוּר 1). This reading is followed by most English versions but is syntactically awkward because III גוּר (“to dread”) is used nowhere else with the preposition לְ (lamed, “they are in dread for…”?). BDB suggests reading יָנוּדוּ (yanudu, Qal imperfect 3rd person common plural from נוּד, nud, “to lament”; BDB 626 s.v. נוּד 2.a) which harmonizes better with the parallelism with אָבַל (’aval, “to mourn”) in the following line. The verb נוּד (“to lament”) is used with the preposition לְ in the idiom “to lament for” (e.g., Isa 51:19; Jer 15:5; 16:5; 48:17; Nah 3:7). This involves simple orthographic confusion between ג (gimel) and נ (nun), as well as ר (resh) and ד (dalet) which were often confused by the scribes.

10tc The MT reads the plural לְעֶגְלוֹת (eglot, “for the calves”), while some Greek versions (LXX, Theodotion) and the Syriac reflect the singular לְעֵגֶל (“for the calf [calf idol]”). The singular reading is preferred on the basis of internal evidence: the oracle denounces the calf idol worship of Samaria. The plural form probably arose due to the ambiguity of the term “calf” when a scribe did not realize that the term was being used as a metonymy for the worship of the Egyptian calf goddess. Most recent English versions adopt the singular form and relate it to the calf goddess cult (RSV, NASB, NIV, NCV, NJPS, TEV, CEV, NLT); however, older English versions follow the MT plural (KJV, ASV).

11sn See the note on the place name Beth Aven in 4:15.

12tc The MT appears to read יָגִילוּ (yagilu, “they will rejoice”; Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine plural from גִּיל, gil, “to rejoice”), but this is likely an example of semantic polarization. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Hosea (AB), 556-67. The BHS editors propose the reading יְיֵלִילוּ (y˙yelilu, “they will lament”; Hiphil imperfect 3rd person masculine plural from יָלַל, yalal, “to lament”), which also appears in Hos 7:14. If this reading is original, the textual variant may be attributed to: (1) orthographic confusion between ל (lamed) and ג (gimel), and (2) haplography or dittography of י (yod). English versions are split; some follow the MT (KJV, ASV, NIV, NJPS), others the proposed emendation (RSV, NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT).

13tc This line division follows the MT rather than the line division suggested by the BHS editors.

14tn Heb “from it” (so NAB, NRSV).

15tn The antecedent of the 3rd person masculine singular direct object pronoun אוֹתוֹ (’oto, “it”) is probably the calf idol of Beth Aven mentioned in 10:5a. This has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. TEV, NLT).

16tc The MT reads מֶלֶךְ יָרֵב (melekh yarev, “a king who contends”?) which is syntactically awkward: מֶלֶךְ (“king”) followed by יָרֵב (“let him contend!”; Qal jussive 3rd person masculine singular from רִיב, riv, “to contend”). Note that KJV, ASV, NASB treat this as a proper name (“king Jareb”). The MT reading is probably the result of faulty word division. As the BHS editors suggest, the original reading most likely is מַלְכִּי רָב (malki rav, “the great king”). The suffixed י (yod) on מַלְכִּי is the remnant of the old genitive ending. This is the equivalent of the Assyrian royal epithet sarru rabbu (“the great king”). See also the tc note on the same phrase in 5:13.

17tn The preposition מִן (min) functions in a causal sense specifying the logical cause: “because of” or “on account of” (e.g., Exod 2:23; Deut 7:7; Nah 3:4; BDB 580 s.v. מִן 2.f; HALOT 598 s.v. מִן 6).

18tn The meaning of the root of מֵעֲצָתוֹ (meatsato, preposition מִן, min, + feminine singular noun עֵצָה, ’etsah, + 3rd person masculine singular suffix) is debated. There are three options: (1) “its counsel” from I עֵצָה (“counsel; advice; plan”; BDB 420 s.v. עֵצָה; HALOT 867 s.v. I עֵצָה 3.a); (2) “its disobedience” from II עֵצָה (“disobedience,” but the existence of this root is debated; see HALOT 867 s.v. II עֵצָה); and (3) “its wooden idol” from III עֵצָה (“wood”; cf. Jer 6:6) referring to the wooden idol/effigy (the calf idol in 10:5), a stick of wood covered with gold (HALOT 867 s.v.). The last option is favored contextually: (a) the idol is called “a stick of wood” in Hos 4:12, and (b) the calf idol (probably the referent) of the cult is mentioned in 10:5. The English versions are divided: (1) “his idol” (RSV, NRSV), “its wooden idols” (NIV), “image” (NJPS margin), “that idol” (CEV), “this idol” (NLT); and (2) “his own counsel” (KJV, ASV), “its own counsel” (NASB), “his plans” (NJPS), “his schemes” (NAB), “the advice” (TEV).

19tn The term נִדְמֶה (nidmeh, Niphal participle feminine singular) is derived from II דָמָה (damah; so BDB 198 s.v. דָמָה; HALOT 225 s.v. III דמה): “be cut off, cease to exist, be destroyed.” The Niphal form נִדְמֶה (“will be destroyed”) is paralleled by the Niphal וְנִשְׁמְדוּ (v˙nishm˙du, “will be destroyed”) in 10:8. Several English versions nuance the literal wording for the sake of the idiom: “will float away like a twig on the surface of the waters” (NIV), “Like a twig in a stream…will be swept away” (CEV), “will be carried off like a chip of wood on an ocean wave” (NLT).

20tn The noun II קֶצֶף (qetsef) is a hapax legomenon (a term that occurs only once). Historically, it has been understood in two different ways: (1) “foam” (Vulgate, Aquila, Symmachus) and (2) “snapped-off twig” (LXX, Theodotion, Syriac Peshitta). Both interpretations make sense in the light of the simile. The latter has more support because of the related verb קָצַץ (qatsats, “to cut off, chop off”) used in reference to wood (BDB 893 s.v. קָצַץ; HALOT 1125 s.v. קצץ) and the related feminine noun קְצָפָה (q˙tsafah, “stump; splinter” of fig-tree; BDB 893 s.v. קְצָפָה; HALOT 1125 s.v. קְצָפָה). English versions differ along these lines: (1) “foam” (KJV, NAB, NJPS) and (2) “chip” (NRSV, TEV, NCV, NLT), “stick” (NASB), “twig” (NIV, CEV).

21tn Alternately, “Aven” (KJV, NAB, NRSV, NLT) for the city name “Beth Aven.” The term “Beth” (house) does not appear in the Hebrew text here, but is implied (e.g., Hos 4:15). It is supplied in the translation for clarity.

22tc The MT reads בָּמוֹת אָוֶן (bamot aven, “high places of Aven”); however, several Hebrew mss read בָּמוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן (bamot bet aven, “high places of Beth Aven”). In Hos 4:15 the name בֵּית אָוֶן (“Beth Aven”; Heb “house of wickedness”) is a wordplay on “Bethel” (Heb “house of God”). It is possible that בָּמוֹת בֵּית אָוֶן (“high places of Beth Aven”) was original: בֵּית (bet, “house”) dropped out as an unintentional scribal error by haplography due to presence of the consonants בת in the preceding word במות (bamot, “high places”).

tn Heb “high places of wickedness” (בָּמוֹת אָוֶן, bamot aven); so NIV. The noun אָוֶן (“wickedness”) is an attributive genitive: “wicked high places.”

23tn Heb “days” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).

24tn Heb “in my desire”; ASV, NASB “When it is my desire”; NCV “When I am ready.”

25tc The MT reads וְאֶסֳּרֵם (essorem, vav conjunction + Niphal imperfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person masculine plural suffix from אָסַר, ’asar, “to bind”). The LXX reads παιδεῦσαι αὐτούς (paideusai autous, “to discipline them”) which reflects a Vorlage of אִיסַּרֶם (’issarem, Qal imperfect 1st person common singular + 3rd person masculine plural suffix from יָסַר, yasar, “to discipline”; BDB 416 s.v. יָסַר 3). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion between ו (vav) and י (yod) with metathesis of the two letters.

26tn Heb “Nations will be gathered together against them.”

27tn The verb אָסַר (’asar, “to bind”) often refers to conquered peoples being bound as prisoners (BDB 63 s.v. אָסַר). Here it is used figuratively to describe the Israelites being taken into exile. Cf. NIV “to put them in bonds.”

28tc The Kethib is לִשְׁתֵּי עֵינֹתָם (lishte enotam, “for their two eyes”), while the Qere reads לִשְׁתֵּי עוֹנֹתָם (lishte onotam, “for their two sins”). The phrase “two sins” could refer to (1) the sinful episode at Gibeah and the subsequent war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes (Judges 19-21), or (2) the entire Gibeah incident (Judges 19-21) and Israel’s subsequent failure to repent up to the time of Hosea: “the time of Gibeah” (first sin) and “there you have remained” (second sin).

29tc The MT is unintelligible: עַל־טוּב (’al-tuv, “upon a fine [thing]”?). Cf. KJV “I passed over upon her fair neck”; NRSV “I spared her fair neck.” The BHS editors suggest the revocalization עֹל־טוּב (’ol-tuv, “a fine yoke”), followed by many modern English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). The noun עֹל (’ol, “yoke”) also appears in 11:4 in a metaphor which compares Israel to a young heifer as well.

30tn Or “Judah will plow” (so NASB); NIV, NRSV, CEV “Judah must plow.”

31tn Or “Jacob will break up.”

32tn Or “righteousness” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “justice.”

33tc The MT (followed by KJV, NASB) reads the enigmatic בְּדַרְכְּךָ (b˙dark˙kha, “in your own way”) which does not seem to fit the context or the parallelism with בְּרֹב גִּבּוֹרֶיךָ (b˙rov gibborekha, “in your multitude of warriors”). The BHS editors suggest the original reading was בְרִכְבְּךָ (v˙rikhb˙kha, “in your chariots”), a reading followed by NAB, TEV. If this is correct, the textual corruption was caused by orthographic confusion between רֶכֶב (rekhev, “chariot”) and דֶּרֶכ (derekh, “way”).

34tn The phrase “you have relied” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism in the preceding line.

35tn Heb “as the devastation of Shalman.” The genitive noun שַׁלְמַן (shalman, “Shalman”) functions as a subjective genitive: “as Shalman devastated [Beth Arbel].”

36map For location see Map4-G4; Map5-C1; Map6-E3; Map7-D1; Map8-G3.

37tn Heb “when the dawn is cut off” or “when the day ceases.” Cf. NLT “When the day of judgment dawns.”

38tn The root דָמָה (damah, “to be cut off, cease to exist, be destroyed”; BDB 198 s.v. דָמָה; HALOT 225 s.v. דמה) is repeated in the Hebrew text. The form נִדְמֹה (nidmoh, Niphal infinitive absolute) appears in the first colon, and the form נִדְמָה (nidmah, Niphal perfect 3rd person masculine singular) appears in the second colon. This striking repetition creates a dramatic wordplay which, for stylistic reasons, cannot be reproduced in English translations: “The moment the dawn ceases to exist (i.e., at the break of dawn), the king of Israel will cease to exist.”