Hosea the Prophet

In Hosea 6.7 we find the statement that Ephraim and Judah has “transgressed the covenant” like “Adam.” The Hebrew preposition כ can be translated a variety of ways including “as,” “just as,” “like,” “about,” “according to,” “among,” “in,” “in accordance with,” and so forth. It would seem that the most straightforward reading of כאדם is “like/as Adam.” This is how translations like the NASB, NRSV, ESV, HCSB, and several others render it. This translation seems to present as אדם the figure Adam. But there are other ways to interpret this word.

The NET, NIV, and RSV translates it “At Adam,” indicating that “Adam” may be a proper noun, but rather than referring to a person it refers to a location. The translation “like Adam” can have the same connotation.

The KJV represents a minority view rendering כאדם as “like men.” This is the most unlikely since it would seem to differentiate Ephraim and Judah from other humans.

I think views #1 and #2 make more sense than #3.

To render כאדם as “like Adam” seems to acknowledge a possible echo of Genesis 2-3 where Adam seems to have transgressed his covenant with the Creator God.

To render כאדם as “like Adam” or “in Adam” indicating that Adam may be a town or region makes sense as well. In v. 8 there is mention of Gilead. In v. 9 there is mention of Shechem. Then the narrator returns to mentioning “the house of Israel,” Ephraim, and Judah in vv. 10-11. Also, Samaria is mentioned in 7.1.

It is possible that is a double entendre of sorts. Maybe a location known as “Adam” is being mentioned, but the word choice regarding covenant breaking is meant to cause an echo?

Let me know your thoughts!

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