Note: is there a pattern here? The references to the man Jacob’s life are split into two sections. Also the references to the sins of Ephraim are interrupted by YHWH’s promise of blessing.
A. God will repay
2 The LORD has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.
B. Concerning the man Jacob
3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
5 the LORD, the God of hosts,
the LORD is his memorial name:
6 “So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”
C. false balances
7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”
D. 9 I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.
C’. false worship
11 If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
B’. Concerning the man Jacob
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.
A’. God will repay
14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.
One thought on “Hosea 12:2-14*”
Jack Lundbom has proposed that verses 3-4 are a chiasm with a and a’ referring to Jacob’s relationship with Esau. See “Chiasmus, the Key to Hosea XII 3-6 William L. Holladay, Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 16, 1966 pp. 53-64” for earliest reference. This makes good sense of an otherwise difficult passage.
a. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
b. and in his manhood he strove with God.
b’. 4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;
a’. he wept and sought his favor.