Hosea 13:14 "I will redeem them from death...REPENTANCE shall be hid from mine eyes."
One of the most beautiful and comforting promises in the book of the prophet Hosea has been completely turned on its head and made out to be utter non-sense in many versions.
King James Bible - "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: REPENTANCE SHALL BE HID FROM MINE EYES."
ESV 2001-2011 - "SHALL I ransom them from the power of Sheol? SHALL I redeem them from Death? O Death, WHERE ARE your plagues? O Sheol, WHERE IS YOUR STING? COMPASSION is hidden from my eyes."
Note the changing of the promise of God to redeem them from death into a Question and a Threat in the ESV - "I WILL redeem them from death" to " SHALL I redeem them from death?".
Then we have the textual change from "I WILL BE thy plagues...I WILL BE thy destruction" to "WHERE ARE your plagues...WHERE IS your sting?.
And last we have the total change in meaning from "REPENTANCE shall be hid from mine eyes" (I will not change my mind, but will surely do it) to "COMPASSION is hidden from my eyes."
The ESV reads exactly the same as the liberal RSV 1952 and the NRSV 1989, but it lacks some of the footnotes found in both the RSV and NRSV. The RSV, NRSV inform us that the textual reading of "WHERE ARE YOUR PLAGUES? WHERE IS YOUR DESTRUCTION? (Both the RSV and NRSV read "destruction" as the KJB has it, but the ESV changed this to "sting") comes from the Greek and the Syriac, but that the Hebrew text reads: "I WILL BE thy plagues...I WILL BE thy destruction."
The ESV conveniently left out this information. So right off the bat, the ESV is rejecting the clear Hebrew reading for something else. Not even the NIV rejected the Hebrew text in this passage, but several other modern versions have, as we shall see shortly.
The meaning of this promise is abundantly clear in the King James Bible. God has promised to redeem His people from death and destroy the power of the grave and He will not change His mind about doing this for us.
The word "repentance" here simply means a change of mind and is used in this way many times in Scripture when referring to God. Psalm 110:4 "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Romans 11:29.
One would think the meaning of this precious promise is obvious.
John Gill comments: "repentance shall be hid from mine eyes; that is, the Lord will never repent of his decree of redemption from hell, death, and the grave; nor of the work of it by Christ; nor of the entire destruction of these things; which being once done, will never be repented of nor recalled, but remain so for ever."
Adam Clarke's Commentary says: "Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. On these points I will not change my purpose; this is the signification of repentance when attributed to God."
The Coffman Commentary on the Bible says: "Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes…The clear meaning of that is that God will not repent of his glorious promise. The immutable and eternal God will do what he promised!"
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary simply says: "repentance shall be hid from mine eyes--that is, I will not change My purpose of fulfilling My promise by delivering Israel."
John Wesley comments: "Repentance shall be hid - I will never, as a man that repents, change my word and purpose, saith the Lord. What a glorious promise is this, which is interposed in the midst of all these judgments!"
Matthew Henry comments: "This promise he has made, and it shall be made good to all that are his; for repentance shall be hidden from his eyes; he will never recall this sentence passed on death and the grave, for he is not a man that he should repent. Thanks be to God therefore who gives us the victory."
Matthew Poole comments:"Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes - this grace toward the godly, toward believers in Israel and in the church, throughout all ages, is unchangeable; I will never, as man that repenteth, change my mind and purpose, saith the Lord."
Not only does the King James Bible read this way but so do the following Bible translations: the Geneva Bible 1587 -"I will redeem them from the power of the graue: I will deliuer them from death: O death, I wil be thy death: O graue, I will be thy destruction: repentance is hid from mine eyes.", the Longman Version 1841, the Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Jewish Family Bible 1864, the Revised Version 1881, Noyes Translation 1869, the Sharpe Bible 1883, Darby 1890, Young's 1898, the ASV 1901, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the JPS 1917 (Jewish Publication Society)- "Ho, thy plagues, O death! Ho, thy destruction, O nether-world! REPENTANCE shall be hid from Mine eyes!", The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, The Koster Scriptures 1998, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, Green's literal translation 2005, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, A Conservative Version 2011 and The Biblos Bible 2013 - "I will redeem them from the power of the grave....O grave, I will be your destruction. Repentance shall be hid from my sight."
The New Jewish Version 1985 is very similar in meaning to the KJB,with: - “From Sheol itself I will save them, Redeem them from very Death. Where, O Death, are your plagues? Your pestilence where, O Sheol? Revenge shall be far from My thoughts.”
Even a modern paraphrase like God's Word Translation 1995 agrees with the sense found in the KJB. It reads: - "I want to free them from the power of the grave. I want to reclaim them from death. Death, I want to be a plague to you. Grave, I want to destroy you. I won't even think of changing my plans."
Foreign language Bibles that agree with the meaning found in the King James Bible are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the Cipriano de Valera 1602, 1865, the Reina Valera of 1909 and the Reina Valera Gómez of 2010 - "De la mano del sepulcro los redimiré, los libraré de la muerte. Oh muerte, yo seré tu muerte; y seré tu destrucción, oh sepulcro; el arrepentimiento será escondido de mis ojos." = "repentance will be hidden from my eyes", the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 - "Je les rachèterais de la puissance du Sépulcre; je les garantirais de la mort. O mort! je serais ta peste. O Sépulcre! je serais ta destruction. Le repentir se cache à mes yeux!", the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida E Fiel 1681 and A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués - "Eu os remirei da violência do inferno e os resgatarei da morte; onde estão, ó morte, as tuas pragas? Onde está, ó inferno, a tua perdição? O arrependimento será escondido de meus olhos." = "repentance shall be hidden from my eyes", the Italian Diodati 1649, New Diodati 1991, and Italian Riveduta 1927, 1994, 2006 - "Io li riscatterei dal potere del soggiorno de’ morti, li redimerei dalla morte; sarei la tua peste, o morte, sarei la tua distruzione, o soggiorno de’ morti; ma il lor pentimento è nascosto agli occhi miei!" = "the repentance is hidden to the eyes mine!", the Modern Greek translation - "Εκ χειρος αδου θελω ελευθερωσει αυτους, εκ θανατου θελω σωσει αυτους. Που ειναι, θανατε, ο ολεθρος σου; που, αδη, η φθορα σου; η μεταμελεια θελει κρυπτεσθαι απο των οφθαλμων μου." = "Repentance will be hid from my eyes".
In other words, God has promised to redeem His people from the power of the grave and and He will not change His mind nor alter His purpose. Let's look at the verse once again as it stands in the King James Bible and so many others, and then compare it to many other versions around today to see the differences.
Hosea 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues; O Grave, I will be thy destruction, REPENTANCE shall be hid from mine eyes."
The NKJV keeps the verse as 4 statements but changes the meaning. It says: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! PITY is hidden from My eyes."
The NIV and the Holman Standard change this verse by making it 2 statements and 2 questions and alter the meaning with: "I WILL ransom them from the power of the grave; I WILL redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? I WILL HAVE NO COMPASSION." (NIV)
While versions like the RSV, NRSV and ESV have turned all 4 statements into 4 questions and again completely change the meaning of the verse. The ESV along with the RSV, NRSV change the 4 statements into 4 questions and alter the entire meaning of the verse, making it some sort of a threat instead of a comforting promise.
The ESV says: "Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? COMPASSION IS HIDDEN FROM MY EYES." The NASBs keep on changing their text and meaning.
The earlier NASBs of 1972, 1973 and 1977 all say: "I WILL ransom them from the power of Sheol; I WILL redeem them from death."
But the 1995 NASB now reads: "SHALL I ransom them from the power of Sheol? SHALL I redeem them from death?" Then it totally changed the meaning of the rest of the verse by saying: "O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? COMPASSION will be hidden from My sight."
NET version - Perhaps the worst of them all is Dan Wallace and company's NET version which has changed all 4 statements into exclamations, added words not found in any Hebrew text and turned the meaning completely upside down, making it a threat of doom rather than a promise of deliverance.
The NET version actually says: "WILL I DELIVER THEM FROM THE POWER OF SHEOL? NO, I WILL NOT! WILL I REDEEM THEM FROM DEATH? NO, I WILL NOT! O DEATH, BRING ON YOUR PLAGUES! O SHEOL, BRING ON YOUR DESTRUCTION! MY EYES WILL NOT SHOW ANY COMPASSION!"
Notice also the totally opposite meaning from the King James Bible that is found in what is called The Good News Bible (which turns out to be not good news at all) which says: "I will not save this people from the world of the dead or rescue them from the power of death. Bring on your plagues, death! Bring on your destruction, world of the dead! I will no longer have pity for this people."
Coffman's Commentary -
What I found to be of great interest is Burton Coffman's Commentary on the Old and New Testament regarding Hosea 13:14. Please read it and pay close attention to what he says.
He comments: "Many have tried to pervert this precious promise into a threat of destruction by the rendition of it as an interrogative instead of a declaration; but we are compelled to reject this. The apostle Paul viewed the passage as a promise and quoted it in 1 Cor. 15:55; and thus inspiration from God provides the true meaning of it. What upsets the commentators is the totally unexpected appearance of a blessed promise like this in the midst of the most severe denunciations to be found in the whole Bible; but the setting is this: God had promised that through Israel "all the families of the earth" should be blessed, and Hosea had been charged with the task of revealing God's purpose of rejection and destruction of the very Israel through whom the blessing of all men was promised to be conveyed! Did that mean that the hope of human salvation was lost? Indeed no! The ultimate victory of God, upon behalf of men, over the consequences of sin would yet be achieved. "I will ransom them!" thundered from the throne of God as the answer for any doubt. God was not being defeated in the apostasy of Israel; it was Israel that was being defeated. God would yet achieve his purpose through the righteous remnant which would remain, and particularly through the True Israel, even Jesus Christ our Lord! How appropriately, therefore, do the words of this sublime promise shine like a blazing lamp in the midnight darkness of Israel's wretched apostasy.
It is a fact that, "Modern scholarship is virtually unanimous in taking this verse as a threat. God is summoning up the plagues of death to punish his recalcitrant people." Despite this, we are certain that the scholars are wrong here because they are blind to the crying need for just such a promise in this exact place. They are looking only at Israel; but God's purpose in Israel has always been a redemption planned for all men, and not for Jews only. Most of the so-called "modern translations" follow the lead of the scholars in perverting this blessed promise; and in this particular, they become not "translations" in any sense but commentary, and woefully ignorant and inaccurate commentary at that! The apostle Paul could not have used this passage as he did, unless it is a glorious promise. Many of the scholars, even some of them who accept the passage as a threat, have pointed out that there is no genuine authority whatever for their changing the meaning of this verse." (end of comments - Coffman's Commentary)
The Catholic versions are very much like today's NKJV, NIV, NASB. The 1610 Douay-Rheims reads: "I will deliver them out of the hand of death. I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy death; O hell, I will be thy bite: COMFORT IS HIDDEN FROM MY EYES."
While the St. Joseph New American bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 read basically the same with "Shall I save them from the clutches of Sheol? Shall I buy them back from Death? Where are your plagues, Death? Where are your scourges, Sheol? COMPASSION WILL BE BANISHED FROM MY SIGHT!"
It should be blatantly obvious that not all Bible versions teach the same things. Many of them teach the exact opposite from what is found in others. Is God this confused? Of course not. Who is the father of lies and confusion? Who corrupts and steals the words of God from the hearts of men? He's been at it since the garden of Eden. It is Satan, the devil and Lucifer who asks the very first question recorded in the Holy Bible way back in Genesis 3 - "Yeah, hath God said...?"
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All of grace, believing the Book,
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