Hosea 12:4

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu Dec 27 11:11:54 EST 2001

Dear Ted,
It's a question of the versions.
Now by versions, I don't mean exetetical traditions or Freudian
theory. I mean the very earliest manuscripts that are available.
For example, what is written in the Dead Sea Scroll text of Hosea,
or what do the early Greek manuscripts have, what does the Samaritan
text have. IT must be rememembered that these texts were maintained
by scribes, copying the texts over and over. Errors creep in,
and are then copied by the next copiest. Prior to the discovery
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest versions of the MT (Masoretic
Text, the text of the HEbrew Bible which everyone uses, but whose
vowel pointing was added by the Masoretes in Tiberius)was the
Allepo Codex (around 900 ce, I think, and not complete - I should
check this), the second earliest is the Leningrad Codex (I can't
remember the date, off-hand, and I'm too lazy to check it, 1100 ce maybe).
In any case, if there is no Hosea manuscript among the Dead Sea Scrolls
the Greek text will be far earlier than any Hebrew text. In that
case, it is worthwhile to consider if the Greek provides a better
testimony of the original Hebrew than the Hebrew manuscripts that
we have. Here, the Greek texts have "him". Now the usual rule of
thumb in a case like this is to prefer the more difficult reading.
The more difficult reading would be the MT, us. But if the us
doesn't make sense,and the Greek does make sense, many translators
go with the Greek, and footnote the HEbrew.
Hope this sheds some light on the subject.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Theodore H. Mann [mailto:theomann at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Wed, December 26, 2001 12:17 PM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: RE: Hosea 12:4
> I very much appreciate your response to my question.
> I hope you'll be patient with someone (me) who knows nothing about Hebrew,
> but if the Hebrew clearly says "us," why would translators render it as
> "him" on the basis of exegetical considerations or Freudian theory?  To an
> untutored person like myself, it sounds as though it is being said that a
> mistake was made by Hosea; that is, that he wrote "us," but probably meant
> "him."
> Many thanks.
> Ted
> > It should probably be translated "him."
> > The Hebrew has "us" as Shoshana notes,
> > but the sense of the passage (referring to Jacob)
> > suggests "him" and so the versions have translated it.
> > On the other hand, it is possible that a double-entendre
> > is meant here, or a Freudian slip by the author.
> > Jacob stands really for the whole Northern Kingdom,
> > and Hosea chastises them throughout for worship at
> > Beth-El (House of God), which he calls Beth-Aven (House of Iniquity).
> > (Tho see an interesting article by N.Na'aman on that.)
> > It could be that the author is now saying that the angel
> > encountered us at Bet-el, and strove with us there, putting
> > himself along with the people he is castigating.
> > Hosea doesn't do that elsewhere tho, he never puts himself
> > along with the people he blames. So, it probably should be
> > emmended to "him" with the versions.
> > Liz
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Ted Mann [mailto:theomann at earthlink.net]
> > > Sent: Tue, December 25, 2001 11:30 AM
> > > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > > Subject: Hosea 12:4
> > >
> > >
> > > Greetings good friends:
> > >
> > > It has been pointed out to me that the last part of Hosea 12:4 is
> > > sometimes
> > > translated into English as "And there He spoke with us," and
> sometimes as
> > > "And there He spoke with him."  Why the difference, and which
> is correct?
> > > Many thanks.
> > >
> > > Ted
> > > Dr. Theodore H. Mann
> > > theomann at earthlink.net
> > > http://home.earthlink.net/~theomann
> > >
> > >
> > >
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