Hosea 12:4

Melvin Ely and Naama Zahavi-Ely nxzaha at wm.edu
Thu Dec 27 01:16:06 EST 2001

Hi!  The ending "nu" usually means "us" or "we";  it can also be a variant
for the "him" suffix with verbs and with some prepositions, but not with
others.  In this verse, it comes with the preposition "(im" meaning "with".
There is no other place that I know of in the Bible where "(im" comes with a
"nu" suffix meaning "him";  there are plenty of cases of "(im" + "nu" suffix
where the suffix clearly means "us".   And there are other verses where the
"nu" suffix serves both as "us" (with some words) and as "him" (with other
words) -- see for example Deuteronomy 29:14, where within 3 words you have
the "nu" suffix clearly meaning "us" in "(imanu", and clearly meaning "him"
in ")eynenu" (please excuse the rough phonetic transcription).

Is this an unusual use of the "nu" suffix by Hosea attached to "(im" meaning
"him" -- which might be unique, but would make sense in the context of the
verse?  Or is Hosea switching references from "him" to "us" to drive a point
home -- something that the Hebrew prophets were very capable of doing?

Best wishes


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